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...
We need an embargo on any more transfers as in any event Galliani's transfer policy just causes more mahem with unnecessary "free" signings. The new manager needs to make it clear to the players that between now and the summer they are playing for the future at the club. Out of a ridiculously large squad of nearly 30 players (thanks Galliani) the manager needs to pick a consistent starting 11 a let it gel. Then in the summer the defence has to be our main priority. No more pointless strikers.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 9:47am
While there's no point criticising Allegri now and while we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that he did win the league first time round it is worth pointing out that there were significant failings both tactical and motivation wise. It is important to point this out since what we do not need is entire overhaul of the squad. This will just lead to be instability. In addition, I believe (although I have seen very little evidence of it lately) that there are players with potential in this squad.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 9:44am

Do you know for a fact that Seedorf wont be the new Conte? No you dont, I'm not saying that he will be but I'm saying no one knows. And you sir, most definitely dont.

One thing I DO know tho is, he has immense knowledge about football and I dont see how that could possible harm us more then what we've gone through over last 12 month.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 2:25am

Completely wrong. You have no idea what it take for milan to qualify as you have no idea on how many games of the 19 left the other teams will win. However, yeah its unlikely that they will qualify for a spot, but they most certainly don't have to win every 19 of them.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 2:19am
....don’t waste money on players like Constant, Birsa, Matri, Zaccardo, Silvestre, I could go on. Invest in youth and buy ready made quality. This is Milan we are talking about, 7 time European Champions for gods sake, not some mediocre, mid-table team. Instil legends such as Maldini & Baresi into the set up, these two especially were icons of Milan. We have to utilize what they know & can teach us, it would be a crying shame not to & for them to go elsewhere and succeed. Keep the faith!!!!!
on the 16th January, 2014 at 12:32am
To utter the immortal line of: "It can't get any worse" is risky but I've written it now so here goes. I wish Seedorf all the luck in the world; he was a fantastic player, a leader on the pitch with a winning track record. Fingers crossed he will be a success at Milan, but don’t expect success like that of Pep Guardiola. I have my doubts over Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani, as much as they love for Milan, I think they need to pump more money into the club and buy sensibly for a change....
on the 16th January, 2014 at 12:18am
on other hand, Allegri tactics prove that he was wrong. The players look like they are doing what its, but its simply doesnt work. Balo and Mexes actions was just frustration. Maybe seedorf can motivate them with his ideas on the pitch and his values off the pitch.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:19pm
I cant understand how many people are defending allegri. Berlusconi and Galliani arent examples of good people, but they knew how to won a lot of trophies sinces 1986, and now, with barbara advise, they are trying to make something magical. Its a gamble thats for sure, but if seedorf can manage it to get in 5th place or better, and work with crespo, stam, davids, and pippo in the primavera, with probably the return of the capitano in a director role, it would be amazing.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:14pm

I understand what youre saying and where youre coming from, but I doubt Roma will be a flash. They have incredibly intelligent owners who seem to care about the team and actually are wise enough to reinvest in talent-unlike milans retarded owners. Roma will be a force in serie a for the next few years and hopefully they can make it far in europe too, as they have built an amazingly strong core squad. Also, their new stadium will be a step in the right direction for serie a.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:03pm
Crystal palace... hahahhahaha o my goodness. You have come on to football italia where we are all having a debate about 1 of the historical greats of football to tell us about palace!
No manager can organise milan in this state. We have players who believe they are bigger than the club, egotistic youngsters who have been led to believe by the media they are the saviour of milan and italy! There is nothing to teach this bunch they have no pride.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 10:44pm
Some off the chat about allegri being treated unfairly and not his fault is unbelievable. I never seen a milan team so badly organised. The players are fantastic, however getting a basic shape, formation and style lies completely with him and he had no idea. Look at crystal place. A bit off organisation and they've been much better. The biggest crime keeping allegri past the summer.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 10:01pm
It´s obvious from the comments of other Milan fans that I am not alone in being tired of Berlusconi. In the new football world populated by sheikhs and oligarchs, we have to be realistic, Milan are not where they once were but that's part of supporting a team - You take the good with the bad but it really hurts to see how little the players care. I wonder if Seedorf will tell them about a forgotten player called Gattuso who although not technically gifted used to run and run and bleed Rossonero.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 8:53pm
Wow. What a desperate move, here's a news flash... he is not Conte! I'm a Juve fan and know what your going through and hope for the good of Serie A that Milan get rid of the rot (so the majority of the team). They are not worthy of your shirt, we the big clubs need to grab the league by the scruff of the neck and control it again as Roma and Napoli will be quick flashes, we need to be smart, buy Italian youth and you need to find the new Kaka, Pogba! I almost forgot who Zidane was.........
on the 15th January, 2014 at 8:26pm
Seedorf is going to suffer badly but I would have no sympathy coz the signs of the greed/corrupt/lack of true quality in the team has been evident for afew years now. There is no intention to BUY quality players, we dont even keep the good players. We have been fed the same rubbish for years but now the teams all dried up left with a group of overated/egotistic kids from balo to mexes its a terrible team. Berlusconi has brought seedorf in, like kaka, in an attempt to mask his greed!
on the 15th January, 2014 at 7:31pm
Can't get any worse than what it was. Time for change. I do feel for allegri he started off with Pirlo ibra t.silva seedorf pato ronaldinho etc world class players and had them taken away from him due to financial reasons. but even then the tactic of pump it towards ibra and hope he can deliver is something anyone can instruct a team to what it was with pinning all hope on balotelli to pull something out of the bag. New man new ideas needed thank god it was sooner not later.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 7:20pm
I doubt Seedof is a qualified candidate to guide Milan at this delicate moment, he still lacks coaching and man handling experience. I wonder those younger players like Balotelli or Mexes can get along with him is still a question mark.

Well we cannot entirely put all the blame on Allegri because there are just too many players injured even before the season started.

Personally I feel Allegri is the right person to bring Milan out of this predicament.

Well we shall see from now.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 6:36pm
Im ashamed to be a milan fan. This team is a complete joke, from players to owners the whole lot is just a joke.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 6:19pm
We need to rid ourselves of famiglia berlusconi not allergi. Only someone like seedorf or inzaghi could accept the job. No proven manager would accept a job like this. By hiring a manager with zero experience like seedorf you get cheap labour, a puppet who will always feel in debt for being given this chance and the most important fact is if it all fails berlusconi has the scapegoat in that seedorf is inexperieced. Tassotti is over looked coz he knows the greed/corrupt state of the owners!!!
on the 15th January, 2014 at 6:12pm
Galliani and Papi really screwed Allegri and he didn't stand a chance to be successful, and that should be the case with Seedorf as well. Truly shocking appointing a coach with zero experience... I feel for the Milan fans, and this gamble could impact all of Italian football as Milan represent Serie A. Maybe we are truly seeing the end of Italian football in the top tier of European leagues.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 6:09pm
Milan need to win every single game from now on (19 more W's) to get to 76 pts which should give them top-3/4 and a CL spot.

In other words, a flippin MIRACLE.

Seedorf has loads of potential, but being introduced in such a high-pressure, disastrous situation will show what this guy is made of so early in his coaching career.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 6:08pm
I have a hard time thinking this is the right move. I've never understood how this team could fail to make a move for Frank Rijkaard...has a CL winner and proven brilliant mind ever been so discarded?

But those arguing for Allegri finishing the season are being short-sighted. If Milan are going to make this move then RIGHT NOW is the time to do it. Give him a half season and see what he can do. This season is wasted. It would be wrong to start next season fresh and potentially waste that, too.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 4:50pm
Shocking move even if it's not surprising as there was speculation about Seedorf becoming manager for a year at least. But it's almost unbelievable that someone with zero football management experience is going to manage AC Milan. Either Silvio and his daughter have incredible foresight or are complete bonkers. -Well either way Silvio is definitely bonkers!
on the 15th January, 2014 at 4:24pm
It is a risk taking at its peak!. Like always, I expect an unstoppable Milan for few games (Clarence Adrenaline) and a loss in direction afterwards. Junior ideas last less "usually". I hope I'm wrong. "If Clarence becomes more of a problem than a solution, The Great AC MILAN risks Relegation".
on the 15th January, 2014 at 4:16pm
Allegri wasn't at fault. We never had a consistent starting line-up due to injuries. I think it is a cowardly move to fire him before he had a chance to work with a full squad. Milan actually played well, except for their defensive woes that were due to individual errors from mistake prone players, not coaching mistakes.Their standing in the table is deceiving, they are top five in nearly every passing and shooting statistical category. They created as many opportunities as the best in Italy.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 4:15pm
I am over the moon with allegri's departure thank God he is gone! The way i see it no one can come in and do as badly as allegri was doing. The people blaming the players seriously need to grow up! If an entire class of students fail an exam do u blame each individual student or the teacher? Am sorry but the coach takes the bullet not the players, it has always been like that and always will! I wish Seedorf the best of luck and cannot wait for him to start. Forza Milan!
on the 15th January, 2014 at 3:39pm
I've been lucky enough to meet Seedorf back in Germany 09. I really hope he succeeds at Milan however I think we should write off this season and concentrate on the new season. If he can get Milan into Europe then that should be considered a success.

I guess a couple of players should be sold such as Muntari, Birsa, Bonera, Zaccado and I'm sure theres more. With Seedorf in charge now I'm sure it will attract more big names, getting into Europe will be an extra attraction too for some players to
on the 15th January, 2014 at 2:21pm
this is going to backfire very badly imho (and i dont wish it to) but at this rate im actually thinking there's a chance of relegation.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 1:17pm
Same stupid Leonardo scenario. Milan only can hope to avoid relegation.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:24am
I wanted Inzaghi to coach coz he is more familiar with the youngsters and would've incorporated them in the squad but I'm very excited about Seedorf.Experience is overrated just as we saw with Allegri. Even Ancelotti, who was great in assembling the team and its style, wasn't that good when it came to substitutions or when his starters would get injured or when it came to developing youngsters.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:13am
Despite a number of exceptions, there are some strong players in this squad. Aside from a better coach, though, there needs to be a sensible transfer strategy in mind. A year ago the club were focusing on youth prospects they could develop to make the team strong in the long run. That project has been dismantled over the last year, with young players loaned out or marginalised in the current squad in favour of older names. I personally would like to see a reversal of this.
on the 15th January, 2014 at 11:09am

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