AC Milan : confirmer et régner

AC Milan : confirmer et régner

Almost three months after winning their first Scudetto in eleven years, AC Milan begin at their San Siro, this Saturday against Udinese, an exercise as the favorite for the title. With a double objective in mind: to consolidate its national supremacy and definitively return to the big leagues at European level.

More than 60,000 people had decided to give each other a little summer gift in Marseille on July 31, under a sweltering Sunday sun. The great return to the Vélodrome for a gala match between OM and AC Milan, who have just been crowned with their nineteenth title of Italian champion under the nose and beard of Inter, not to be missed. But after a great thirty minutes of play, the amateurs Marseille quickly understood that they did not ultimately sign up for a party of pleasure, as Stefano Pioli’s men quickly cleared the record on the meadow. Two goals came quickly and skilfully from perfectly executed collective actions, as we saw by the dozen during the previous exercise, and they came to remind one thing: this Milan is already ready to grab everything in its path.

CDK, to pass the course

In fact, almost nothing has changed in three months. The core elements of the title remained and even Zlatan Ibrahimović decided to flex his muscles for one more season. Only Alessio Romagnoli and Franck Kessié spun and some small curiosities arrived to brighten up the summer rossonero : the first are Yacine Adli and Divock Origi, the eldest is named Charles de Ketelaere. A 21-year-old prospect, direct from Bruges, for a check of 36 million euros, which so far constitutes the only slight excess of the Milanese in a transfer window far from titanic. Author of fourteen goals and seven assists in the Belgian championship last season, the slender offensive player (1.92 m) has had the luxury this week of being praised by his coach, Roberto Martínez, in the columns of La Gazzetta Dello Sport : “De Ketelaere blows your mind with his technical ease and elegance. He has that quality of coordination, especially in the last pass and the shot on goal, that few players have at his age in Europe. He has the intelligence to adapt to all offensive zones. He knows how to do it thanks to his technique above the rest. »

A reinforcement carefully chosen by the Paolo Maldini-Frederic Massara duo, still at the head of the sports management, who must deal with a checkbook carefully released by Elliott Management, the American investment fund at the head of the club, before they are absorbed. in September by RedBird Capital Partners. A change in the upper echelons that should take the Lombards to a dimension that they have found many times in their history: that of the largest in Europe.

Milan has had enough

To return to being that great Milan respected by all, the red and black must now set the bar very high at all levels. First on the national scene, where anything other than first place at the end of the season will be considered a disappointment. At a time when Juve are opening a new chapter in their history, when Inter have repatriated Romelu Lukaku (again) and when Roma have managed to lure Paulo Dybala into their networks, the challenge promises to be daunting. But even more so on a continental level, where the Champions League must represent a more important objective in the Milanese microcosm than in the recent past. Last season, Pioli’s side finished bottom of their group, with four small points, leaving Liverpool and Atlético to progress to the round of 16 and Porto to savor C3. This year, AC Milan will appear in hat 1 of the draw and will therefore have to assume the status of favorites in their group. In other words: everything that is not a qualification for the rest of the competition appears as formally prohibited in the record book. As they await the start of European hostilities in early September, the Lombards have a relatively full five-game schedule ahead of them, including two trips to Atalanta and Sassuolo, before hosting Inter at home. After that, we should know more about what this team really has in the bag. Because OM in a friendly at the end of July is fine, but two consecutive Scudetti for the first time since 1993-1994 is better.

By Alexandre Lejeune

#Milan #confirmer #régner

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