Wednesday January 15 2014
Does Seedorf have the Midas touch?

Milan have turned to their past in hiring Clarence Seedorf. Luca Cetta examines the decision to appoint someone who until the weekend was still a player.

With one Press conference a glittering playing career was stopped in favour of a journey into the unknown. It happened in Brazil but was of keen interest to those in Italy. Clarence Seedorf was trading his boots for a suit. “I am here to announce that I will retire from playing after 22 years. It has been a difficult decision, but I am satisfied with what I have achieved in my career and what I have done here at Botafogo.”

A sudden retirement. But there was a key motivation behind it. Milan had come calling. “I could not say no to Milan after spending 10 years with the Rossoneri,” Seedorf would add.

Massimiliano Allegri had already given word of his departure set for June, but Sunday’s incredible 4-3 loss against Sassuolo hastened his exit. The club felt they had to act immediately. Barbara Berlusconi noted on Sunday night it was: “necessary and urgent to make a change.” Change they did.

For club and Coach it’s perhaps better this way. Something was clearly awry this season. The Rossoneri collected just 22 points in the first half of the campaign. Only five wins. They sit in 11th. Allegri can now rest his weary neck – one which had been resting on the chopping block for over a year.

For Seedorf it’s a return to the club which brought him great success as a player. The Dutchman was a midfielder of supreme talent. Technically gifted, cool on the ball and with a keen eye for the game around him. In his later years Seedorf was a locker room leader. Does that translate to the coaching arena? He thinks the time at Botafogo will serve him well: “This experience of the last year and a half has made me grow up a lot and will help me in my next step, as Coach of Milan...”

What can Seedorf bring to Milanello? He’s a fresh face. He was, until recently, still a player and so knows the modern footballer and game. More importantly, he was a winner and can instil that into the current group. “He knows the environment,” said assistant Coach Mauro Tassotti. “I hope that there is a change of mentality and a return to the old values.” This may be the jolt the players need, a reminder of which shirt they wear.

“I am sorry for Milan but, if Seedorf arrives, he can do very well on the Milan bench,” ex-teammate Thiago Silva stated. “Clarence is sure to change the mentality, because he is a serious person, capable of change.” Carlo Ancelotti also praised the former Dutch international: “I know Clarence very well, he was always a player who showed huge personality. I’m sure that he has the knowledge and ability to do anything in the world of football.” It seems those who have worked alongside Seedorf have nothing but praise.

Conversely, the reins of one of Italy’s most glittering clubs have been handed to a person with no coaching experience. And at a delicate time. As it stands, Milan are 20 points from third spot and have a difficult upcoming Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid to negotiate.

Former Milan star Ruud Gullit admitted ‘surprise’ over the move. Seedorf walks into the role bereft of time. Things have happened so quickly. There was no pre-season to drill his ideas into the squad, rather it’s straight into the action with little time for experimentation. He’s expected to be joined by former teammates Hernan Crespo and Jaap Stam, the latter with two-and-a-half years’ experience as an assistant Coach. And there’s Tassotti, who has been in his current role for over a decade.

The new boss needs his big players to shine. From veteran Christian Abbiati through to Ricky Kaka, captain Riccardo Montolivo, Nigel de Jong, Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli. The latter duo must show greater discipline. The arrival of Keisuke Honda and Adil Rami, plus the return from injury of Giampaolo Pazzini, boosts the squad.

Interestingly, last May the Curva Sud released a statement against the appointment of “Seedorf or others who have zero experience on the bench.” Two days later ultras unfurled a banner outside Milan’s headquarters: ‘Seedorf, no grazie’. How will fans react to this move?

Ancelotti argued this is nothing new for Milan. They appointed Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello in the past and it worked out well then. True, but the pair had spent some time on various benches when Silvio Berlusconi came calling and they had fantastic squads too. Seedorf is only allowed into the role due to special dispensation. He does not yet have his coaching badges.

So what will constitute a successful half-season for Seedorf? A trophy – most likely the Coppa Italia – would be nice, but importantly there must be signs of improvement.

The appointment has BerlusconiSilvio and Barbara – written all over it, so the new tactician will have support. That should help on the summer transfer market. For now, Milan fans will be happy the Allegri saga finally reached its conclusion. Now the Rossoneri goes forth with a legend. They’re hoping he’ll sprinkle some of his playing magic on to the current lot.

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Have your say...
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on the 29th May, 2014 at 2:09pm
And I wonder how much were paying Honda. Does Galliani not see that salaries eat into cash flow as much as transfer fees. Free signings are not free because the players demand more in salaries. So Mexes was free but he's paid 125k a week to spend on sun beds. If Seedorf wanted to send a message he should've sold Mexes (26 yellow cards in 74 games) and Robinho (an embarrassing 30 goals in 133 games!). These typify the sort of average, overrated players which are the problem not Saponara.
on the 18th January, 2014 at 1:24pm
It seems Saponara could be one his way out. So that was a waste of time. He obviously failed to prove himself in the 90s he was given on his first start in the derby. Another free signing has cost another young player his career and so it continues. If Milan had carried on like this in 80s I am not sure we would've seen players like Costacurta, Tassotti, Evani and Massaro. Maldini and Baresi were obviously world class like De Sciglio. But Milan's success was also built on around a team.
on the 18th January, 2014 at 1:20pm
I think people need to read up on who Clarence is, what he does and his ethics in life. He is no fool and definitely has all the dignity of Leonardo.
Forza Milan, let's support our team rather than tear them apart.
on the 18th January, 2014 at 12:51pm
Seedorf is an unknown quantity, how he will do no one knows. We don't have a great team or high quality squad. But the players that are with us should be performing better than 11th in the table and 22 points.
Now is a great time for Seedorf to start, half a season to find his feet and research the team then build for next season. What pressure is there this season now? Surely any true milanista doesn't have high expectations for this year.
As for Seedorf being Berlusconi's puppet?
on the 18th January, 2014 at 12:49pm
Let's start afresh. There's no point getting pessimistic now. Forza milan!
on the 18th January, 2014 at 11:44am
Ok so what your saying is we are waiting for vidic to become free and get another pointless player!
Midfield and attack solid are you joking? You are clearly not watching what everyone else is. Montolivo, emanuelson, dejong... etc are not solid, not creative they are not really anything. And as for the 'solid' attack who are you referring to.. balo? He spends most his game on the floor, pazzini? Hes a joke, matri 11mil he has score a grand total of.... 1 (thank god hes gone).
on the 17th January, 2014 at 7:56pm

Spending money is not the answer. Wisely picking our team I'm convinced we would have done great if it wouldn't be for our miserable center backs and they way we concede goals on set pieces, free kicks corners etc.

I don't think we need to spend that much get a ok central defender (imagine getting vidic from Man U) as he's suppose to leave soon anyways .

Our midfield and attack is solid. Just need to put on more blood and sweet for the red and black shirt
on the 17th January, 2014 at 7:31pm
Tough guy Mexes is probably serving out a match ban on the sunbeds!
on the 17th January, 2014 at 7:26pm
@ mm I agree about the signing of Honda. All it does is give a manager a selection headache as now he has 3 players who play behind the front 2 and we have another 5 players for those 2 positions. We could nearly put a team out of just strikers. And then there's the central defence. Not a single decent defender between them except at a stretch Zapata on a good day. Rami was only signed because Valencia fired him. We may as well see how Rami and Zapata do. Bonera surely is dropped after last week
on the 17th January, 2014 at 7:25pm
Now you will lose to a team who will be in Europe next season. Hellas Verona. Better show up.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 7:23pm
@maldini heir
The 2nd half of last season was good run for milan, but instead of investing and putting rite the weaknesses in the team which we could all see we brought in no 1 of any true value instead we went for another free transfer, honda, then berlusconi's presenting him to us as if hes the quality we are missing, well this crap doesn't wash with me anymore, we need quality so an overhaul is needing, the crap sent packing and those who actually want to play and play with pride should stay.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 6:09pm
Give Seedorf time, the summer to get rid of the dead wood and bring in 2/3 quality players. You don't need to spend loads to get them, it's more about scouting and seeing potential. You could name Cabaye, Honda, Lloris, Negredo (Only 16 Million!!), Llorente, Pogba, Vidal, Rossi, Suarez, the list goes on, who were all bought for varying amounts, but the point is they were all bought for less than they are now worth, and were not "wonderkids" (apart from Pogba) when bought, but established players
on the 17th January, 2014 at 6:05pm
@ Viktor. You ask the question " Do you know for a fact Seedorf won't be the new Conte?" Well I can tell you for a FACT he won't unless you have developed the ability to clone humans? I still think Seedorf will become a great coach, he's too intelligent not too.

@BOSS. You say you want an experienced manager for Milan, and then you go on to name AVB as your ideal candidate? Remind me again what successful experience he actually has? Other than Porto in an average league
on the 17th January, 2014 at 5:55pm
If any1 believe seedorf will be like pep are seriously mistaken. Not bcoz seedorf cant but under berlusconi its impossible. Pep had a ready made team, messi, iniesta, xavi just 3 of an endless list of quality, which were never sold! What do we have left?? Come on ppl be honest. What quality we had was sold and the money pocketed. Replaced by free players who are just not good enough, We got balo who is no messi, kaka great 6 years ago average now, montolivo along with many other is overated..
on the 17th January, 2014 at 5:42pm
The point im trying to make- which I think most seem to understand (except you) is that an experienced and proven manager would never have been an option for milan as berlusconi's have no intention to spend real money. I swear for someone who claims to understand so much you make seriously stupid comments! Most of our team has been bundled together from free transfers the only real money was spent on balo, and he is no messi! We sell youth the min they show promise, berlusconi's must go!
on the 17th January, 2014 at 4:51pm
Seedorf may surprise us with his quality but he is not the answer for Milan nor is he the new Conte or Guardiola. In fact i can't even compare Conte with Guardiola. It's simple really this is a temporary bandaid to a sinking ship that is Milan. I've said it before that the only thing able to fix Milan is a complete overhaul of the system, meaning r e m o v e Galliani, Berlusconi and anyone related to these two and bring in new owners.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 11:29am
Seedorf always struck me as witty and clever, both in his play, and his occasional punditry on UK tv.

Gattuso played like a brute...wonder what his coaching was like?
on the 17th January, 2014 at 3:30am
In finance and business, there is a mantra saying "high risk, high return". Given how our season is going, I'd rather take this risk and see how it pans out in our already lousy season.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 3:06am
I can't really believe that some people are building on fact that Seedorf can bring something to Milan. The team will definitely change (better or worse not my business), but it will be a change for two or three games until it goes full circle again. Get it to your heads. Despite the fact that he was a really bad coach, Leonardo had dignity and quit. Seedorf was brought in to be the new Berlusconi puppet. Enough said !
on the 16th January, 2014 at 10:58pm

Kaka is doing great, Honda looked good, balotelli is still an great asset, abate, de scigilio, de jong montilivo, ses, Robinho, cristante, urby They have a great team. They just need a coach that can manage em right.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 9:34pm

Yes he cost less then Mourinho you kidding? The fact you brought up that as an excuse for us to seedorf prove how little you know. No coach on the planet except for pep maybe cost as much as Mourinho. Clearly we couldn't afford that. Lol
on the 16th January, 2014 at 9:30pm
The right manager can make a huge difference to players. Suddently average players can gel and become a team. There's no way Allegri made the most of what had available. Do Genoa, Parma and Verona have better squads? No. They just have better managers. And might still do if Seedorf turns out as many of us are expecting.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 8:52pm
@ mm if the squad is so rubbish how did they put together the run in the second half of last season? I'm tired of teams chopping and changing the whole time. Average players suddenly become amazing with the right manager. If you look at Juve 3 years ago would you have said that Bonucci, Barzagli, Asamoah, Vidal, Marchisio and Vucinic would be in the best team in Serie A? Pirlo was supposedly passed it. And how come De Sanctis and Gervinho suddently became good at Roma?
on the 16th January, 2014 at 8:50pm
@ St Ambrose I agree about Emanuelson. Not a very promising start. Definitely a dynamic midfield was the biggest thing lacking under Allegri. Poli and Monty should play probably with De Jong in the middle against big teams. Cristante should definitely cover for them both with Muntari being used as cover for De Jong not alongside him. Nocerino can probably be sold. In fact if Seedorf really wanted to send a message now he could sell Mexes and Robinho!
on the 16th January, 2014 at 8:46pm
Remind me what happened to Gattuso?

This is a poor appointment. The squad is rubbish. No manager can pull a rabbit out of the hat, least of all seedorf. Milan should have opted for an experienced manager.

I'm not AVB's biggest fan but I think he would have been better for Milan then seedorf. Time will tell, but great players rarely make great managers.

I think seedorf will be sacked by Christmas.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 7:01pm
seedorf got this job is bcoz he costs less than a van bastan, lippi or Mourinho. He can be moulded into the manager berlusconi wants- thats basically a face for the camera's and a manager that will play and pick the players berlusconi wants. Kaka was brought back to cover the cracks, balotelli was brought for the free media coverage, honda brought in to raise japan sales, montolivo painted as a great but in reality is useless. The list is endless. We need quality not this 2nd rate nonsense!
on the 16th January, 2014 at 6:35pm
Seedorf cant be conte as we dont spend money! An overhaul is exactly what is needed. Bring players with ethics and pride. We may have 30 players but look at the 30 players we are talking about, not exactly world class. Our only real quality came from ses, unfortunately hes now faded thanks to the pointless entrance of 'strikers' who dont score n spend more time on the floor being a 'victim'. Montolivo creates nothing, the rest of the midfield are pretty useless to! The defence is beyond words!
on the 16th January, 2014 at 6:20pm
As usual, I think Maldini's Heir has the right of it. As for a permanent starting 11, Seedorf's reported interest in Emmanuelson concerns me. I personally would be delighted to see a line-up almost identical to that used by Tassotti in the Coppa Italia tie. I find a midfield with Montolivo, Cristante, Poli and Honda all on the pitch at once an exciting prospect, and their linking play against Spezia looked promising. Balotelli instead of Robinho and Abate for Zaccardo when he's available.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 4:53pm
If Seedorf can do these things then he has my backing. There's a lot of improvements that can be made to Allegri's tactical set up. It'll be interesting to see Seedorf's team selections in the first few games. I'll judge him after that.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 9:50am

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