Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fallen Giant

AC Milan, how great thou were.

Just over 4 years ago the stylish Italians from the fashion capital were mowing through the Champions League, on their way to their seventh title when workmanlike Liverpool dashed their hopes to the ground with a remarkable comeback in Istanbul.

Fast forward to now: with 0 wins in 5 preseason matches, the increasingly geriatric Milanese club looks to be in dire straights. Apart from the signing of Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, the Rossoneri have done little to supplement the loss of icons Paolo Maldini and Kaká, as well as the increased fragility of Milan's aging outfield players.

Although Ronaldinho has shown flashes of his previous brilliance, he no longer has the drive or physique that propelled him to such great heights in the past. Alexandre Pato is still young, despite his frightening potential, and the old guard of Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Gianluca Zambrotta are just that: Old. Despite Andrea Pirlo's undeniable quality, the argument remains whether or not his presence in the side is a liability due to the predictability he sometimes gives Milan.

The response to Milan's current predicament has been nothing short of laughable. A number of legends have lauded the current squad and predicted success for the upcoming season. The club's directors have repeatedly stated their confidence in the current squad, and despite the signing of Huntelaar they look set to continue with the resources at their disposal.

To be blunt, the future looks bleak for Milan. Lazio, Fiorentina, Genoa and Napoli have all strengthened (with possibly the exception of Fiorentina who lost an integral part of their side in Felipe Melo), and their young, exciting and hungry sides look primed to make the leap in front of Milan.

Only time will tell whether the faltering giants can maintain their proud history. Right now, however, it looks to be a time of despair.

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