Sunday March 8 2020
Milan a dysfunctional family

Zvonimir Boban's sacking is just the tip of the iceberg, as Vijay Rahaman looks into the utter chaos that is the current Milan management.

AC Milan has always prided itself on being a "family club", but right now this legendary sporting institution is tearing itself apart, taking valuable attention away from on-field issues that still need fixing.

Following rumours for some time now, it was made official on Saturday that Chief Football Officer Zvonimir Boban has been sacked. The former midfielder, who was on the books at San Siro for a decade as a player, was let go after his public statements. In a recent interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Croatian lambasted the club's CEO Ivan Gazidis for initiating contact with Ralf Rangnick “behind the backs” of the other directors. 

The German is currently employed as the head of sports development at Red Bull, who own clubs such as Salzburg and Leipzig. There have been strong rumours, although not officially confirmed by the club that the man from Backnang, has been touted as a potential joint coach and head of sports development for the Rossoneri. Boban essentially confirmed this, so the continued insistence of Gazidis that Milan have full faith in Stefano Pioli is patently not true.

It should be important to note that Boban used the word "our backs" in his interview. He spoke up, he was fired, but he was representing Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara in everything he said. Let us also remember that the player who glided across the field like a seal in water, left a very successful position with FIFA to go back to his former club to try and help them recapture their former glories. You could say Zvone was like a big brother who moved away to pursue his career, but returned after the family suffered hardships.

It was of course Boban's former teammate Paolo Maldini who coerced him to return the club. Il Capitano's position is also precarious at best at Milan, as he is also reportedly close to getting the sack as well, or to put it more diplomatically "leave by mutual consent." It was not supposed to be like this, was it? 

Milan had new owners Elliott Management, who were going to invest in "young and upcoming talent" to complement the good players already at the club, two former legends on the field returning to give that sense and hope of legitimacy and a public face to a club that recently celebrated its 120th birthday. Instead it looks like yet another Year Zero, once again Milan stagger from one owner to the next, building up a smorgasbord of warring former directors who can’t or won’t stop declaring everything that has gone wrong, like some bitter ex-boyfriend.

Speaking of those that love the club, the Ultras of course had their say on the matter and released a damning statement asking that "dirty laundry be dealt with in private." Well, that is long gone. Milan are being run like Maurizio Zamparini’s Palermo.

This must in some way, shape or form affect Pioli. The Parma native was never a popular choice with fans when he was appointed, so much so that the hashtag #PioliOut had been trending even before the 54-year-old had his first game. To his credit, at least publicly, he has maintained a decorum that he is pressing forward with the team, working well at Milanello and feels the support of the club, but he must know that he’s a caretaker at best?

Gazidis obviously can't fire Pioli at the moment, not least because he does not need another potential public relations nightmare, so he has publicly backed the coach, who to be fair has improved the team, both in terms of the performances and the results. 

Now is the time for this Milan family to come together, focus on the rest of the campaign and salvage some semblance of stability. At least until May, when it’ll all start up again.

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Have your say...
Milan need a new modern 60.000 seater stadium they fill week in and week out.
on the 11th March, 2020 at 5:08pm
Cont'd: Hear me out- Let's trade Roma and Gigio to Juve for Perin (10mm), Bernardeschi (35mm) and two of Romero (15mm), Rugani (15mm) and Demiral (30mm) plus any cash to reach the 110mm valuation of the two Milan players? So, for example, Perin, Berna, Rugani and Demiral plus 20mm. I think Mandragora and De Paul will cost 60 together. So that's only 40mm total spend for 6 internationals. Plus if Juve values them somewhat higher it will be covered by Paqueta's likely departure. Thoughts?;-)
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:39pm
Jahr Null! Let's play the fun game of transfer speculation! I say Gianluigi Raiola and Romagnoli get the desire to leave, to finally play for something during their prime years. All Transfermarkt values Gigio at ~55mm and Roma at ~45mm (I think the latter is more like 50-60. Let's assume both are 55. Both of these players fit the profile of playes Juventus love: Young, talented, Italian. (Cont'd).
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:32pm
Cont'd: So Ivan "the Terrible" Gazidis, of mediocre Arsenal fame, of more business development than football fame, brings us German Ralf of corporate Red Bull fame. Maybe Ivan should become Lega Serie A president? He might be more useful there actually, since this league is dismally run. We are going to be in this wilderness until Elliot sells this club. Unfortunately that won't happen until they qualify for the CL, build a stadium and increase value. Vicious cycles.
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:22pm
Cont'd: Did I mention he was German? There is a reason why you don't see many non-Latin diaspora managers succeed in Italy. You need to understand the culture, and the football culture. Who remembers the last successful spell for an English/German/Scandinavian coach? Eriksson almost 20 years ago I guess? Hodgson in the mid 90s (wasn't even successful). Can't remember the last German. (Cont'd)
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:18pm
So here we go into another summer of turmoil. It seemed that all we would need to get us to the CL next year was a good CB to partner Romagnoli, a good CM to get in there with Bennacer and Kessie, plus maybe a real RW to compete with Castillejo. Our entire summer transfer budget could be spent on at the very least the first two as targeted, proven, in-their-prime signings. Now we're getting a German who will take over THREE people's positions. None of the current players are his players.(Cont'd)
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:08pm
Well Maldini's Heir, I guess we're headed for another year zero anyway. Not that I wanted one.

Until the derby everything seemed to be going right. That much is proving fundamental now. 2-0 at halftime. The high water mark of our season perhaps? Had we won that game we might still have been in the CL race at the moment. To add insult to injury it seems Inter's "heroics" in that game are now wasted as they are 6 pts behind Juve if they win their game in hand. (Cont'd)
on the 10th March, 2020 at 7:04pm
Don't you find it Ironic that Milan's midfield has gone down the toilet since Inter fired Marco Branca? gone are the days that Inter gives you Pirlo/Seedorf/Muntari for close to nothing.

This team lost 120 mill and you write an article about milan being dysfunctional? Gazidis needs to cut back costs before you end up playing in Serie B which isn't too bad when you got Buffon/ADP/Trezegol you think this Milan team can win Serie B without Ibra? i doubt it.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 7:18pm
If we look back, even with the three best players of the world at the time, the three “Tulipani”, results didn’t happen overnight, the team still needed quite some time to gel into a unit.
This mad cycle of rapid hire-and-fire has to stop, it’s simply ridiculous and ten years of it should be pretty convincing evidence it doesn’t work.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 4:07pm
I never expected anything less than gradual improvement for the next 2-3 years. Despite the mistakes and inconsistencies, I still think it’s happening.
For crying out loud, let’s give the most prestigious person this club ever had a chance to do his work and let’s acknowledge it takes time no matter what, especially in the current financial/ownership/hierarchical state of the club.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 4:06pm
All great points from Ambrose/Maldini/Sheva.
My 2¢s ... being a great player doesn’t equate to being a great manager but it really should account for something.
In case of Maldini, the fact he bled red-and-black all his life at the highest level, the way he conducted himself on and off the field, the example he was for the sport, should account for much more.
If Allegri had to make lemonade from a team of lemons, just think of the toxic mess Maldini stepped in.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 4:05pm
I am watching my only family my milan on self destruction path for last few years.

Just utterly speechless.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 11:08am
Milan haven't been run properly in 15 years

That's when the original rot set in.

Now it's just the same thing year-in, year-out.

And they sold Cutrone and Locatelli, two players who may not be brilliant, but were desperate to play for the club.

And that's something Milan lack nowadays. I doubt many of these players feel much connection to the club because the roster changes constantly every season
on the 9th March, 2020 at 10:18am
Anyone knows other big club, who had 4 different sporting directors, 3 different owners in just a five years? And it`s not the end of it. God knows, how many new owners, sporting directors, coaches, general managers, and (off course) players we will see in another five years? If you`re ACM fan, you`ll never get bored. Supporting Milan in recent years feels like some kind of sado-maso...Don`t get me wrong, i love this club, but it`s gets harder every year, because it`s so messed up.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 9:53am
Don't get me wrong,I'm not against the idea of Ragnick (decent record,new football perspective) but the way it was done was wrong.Gazidis,with everything he did wrong at Arsenal,going behind the backs of the people who are demonstrating some football knowledge was wrong.Say what you want but despite their mistakes they made solid signings,lessened the salary load without selling any of our stars,and took action when they realized they made mistakes.Boban,Maldini,and Pioli deserved more.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 9:33am
I'm surprised at all the flak Boban and Maldini are getting.Yes in hindsight losing true Milanista like Gattuso and Cutrone (despite getting decent money) was a shame but let's not forget the positives.With a limited budget,they've made some of the best signings in years in Theo,Bennacer,Rebic,Ibra.They were also ruthless in January with Piatek,Suso,Borini,Reina,Caldara,RR saving a lot of money in salaries of players who were giving little back.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 9:19am
Things arent that confusing, it's simply Boban and Maldini generally know how to bring the club back to elite level although by a few trials and errors. Gazidis, on the other hand, all he know is to improve the club financially even if by sacrificing the sporting aspect. Too bad Gazidis is on the upper hand. Expect this era will lasted for a few years. Rangnick? He never won anything major and an alien to serie A.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 8:17am
If they sacked Cutrone and Gattuso they deserve to be sacked both men had the fire in their hearts. It was painful watching them this Sunday. Pacqueta is not a playmaker.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:09am
the same thing of appointing some inexperienced manager 7 times and remarkably it has not worked. Pioli was our first appointed since Allegri to have ever got a team to qualify for the Champions League and he has done a reasonable in steadying the ship. But I feel his inability to even utilise the likes of Paquetá suggests he's not a keeper. Anyway we'll see if the next experiment works.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 11:49pm
I love the idea of appointing one person to take over everything. I am also attracted to the idea of a foreigner because I feel Serie A is a little behind Germany, Spain and England in terms of tactics and fitness. Rangnick has not won any significant titles which is not ideal but at least he's guided teams to Champions League finishes which no Milan manager has done since Allegri. Which is probably the main reason for a lack of Champions League football since Allegri. Since Allegri we've tried
on the 8th March, 2020 at 11:46pm
And that is the key. Sacchi's team and the previous teams that Maldini was part of did not have wall to wall superstar players. They had a solid unit and then added world class players on top to lift the side. Milan have struggled in recent years to build that solid unit because we keep changing the team every 5 minutes. Another issue with Boban and Maldini AND Massara AND Gazidis AND whoever else we have in the background is there are far too many people in non-footballing roles.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 11:36pm
tearing it up elsewhere, that is never the point. The point is Cutrone displayed all of the characteristics of a future Milan captain. The sort of hunger and connection with the fans and the club are precisely the things that Milan have been lacking. Plus Cutrone had scored goals at every level, so with a bit of support and actual playing time who knows what he could've achieved. At a minimum he'd have been no worse than the likes of Massaro and Simone.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 11:32pm
Personally I'm actually quite pleased with recent events. Maldini and Boban shouldn't feel too bad after the way they treated Gattuso and Cutrone. If you insist on jumping on the conveyor belt then don't complain when you get thrown off. The most disappointing thing about the Cutrone saga was that it seemed that it was Maldini, of all people, who was pushing for more experienced players and saying "you can't win anything with kids". For those you rightly point out that Cutrone is not exactly
on the 8th March, 2020 at 11:29pm
Think about this people, juventus, Inter, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd, Bayern Munich all have former players as directors and within their hierarchy because they know the club and they know their football.

So everyone criticising the former Milan players, you guys stick to the playstation.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 10:14pm
gazidis should be fired also. so far he's doing a terrible job. he's the one who hired these amateures, and commercial side is suffering also. he created all this mess.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 6:41pm
Its started before Marco (who was awful), years before. With Inzaghi and Seedorf etc. We should have never let Gattuso go, he should still be Milan manager.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 5:07pm
Shame on Maldini especially, for all his time criticising the club from afar. He wasn't wrong about the things he said, but consequently I expected better from him when he took over. I personally won't be sorry about the pair of them leaving.

I am surprised to find Pioli has even managed to get the team up to 7th. A sad statement to make, but a sign of the club's downfall.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 4:05pm
The legendary Maldini and Boban coming in to take charge of the club's on-the-pitch agenda was supposed to be the beginning of things taking a turn for the better. Instead, they seem to have mimicked Berlusconi and Galliani in their final years at the helm, lurching from one unwise and unpopular decision to the next.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 4:02pm
This has truly been an age of strife and ignominy for Milan. Like any historical phenomenon, there are multiple factors involved and one can place the 'start date' of it at different points for different reasons. For me, a/the turning point was letting Ibrahimovic and Silva go, the mass exodus of veterans that same year, followed by Berlusconi's treatment of Allegri the following year despite his heroic efforts to make lemonade with the team of lemons he was given.
on the 8th March, 2020 at 3:56pm
everything started with letting marco go . they let him go after only seven games telling us that 'it is not working' while it was clear that the coche did not had a good players to implement his ideas and those good players (bin naccer,leao) arrived so late, nether had Enough time to know the players well than as soon as he said that they put the blame on the coach and acted like they had nothing to do with it .since than the session looked clear for me and realized how big the problem is .
on the 8th March, 2020 at 12:32pm

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