Emanuele Giulianelli reporting live from the San Siro following AC Milan's 6-0 win over Shkëndija
If there is a keyword to describe the new Milan, of course it's enthusiasm. After too many seasons spent with a low profile of the club, with a 6th, a 7th and a 10th place reached in the last three seasons, the Rossoneri seem to have finally found what they had lost. And it's not a little thing.
One of the clubs that have won more in the whole world suffered a big reshaping after the last scudetto won in 2011 and the following 2nd place in the table; who was the guilty? Too hard and complex to say, but what we could be sure of is that the new dimension of Milan, the middle table Milan, coincided with a gradual moving away of Silvio Berlusconi from the team that he considered as his beloved creature, that he was able to lead to the top of the world.
The last season ended with a rally, which sent MIlan to the preliminary rounds of the Europa League, after too many seasons spent out of the continental competitions: a little light at the end of a tunnel. A tunnel too long, even for the most patient of the supporters. Then the incredibly long and frustrating deal between Berlusconi and the Chinese buyers that, after months and months spent in a wearying on again, off again, was finally completed. On April 13, the group Fininvest sold the 99,93% of the stocks of the club to the company Rossoneri Sport Invstment Lux, based in Luxembourg, headed by the Chinese tycoon Li Yonghong for a total amount of €740 millions.
That moment can be considered as the breaking, as the turning of the page to a new era. Milan started with a sumptuous transfer season, spending something about €190 millions, one of the top in all the European football, and taking many important players that have enforced a lot their squad.
The element of continuity in this moment of transition is just one and his name is Vincenzo Montella; the manager seems to now have the right players to play the football he likes, made up of great quality, attacking and a lot of fantasy. His ideas were the same last year, of course, but the interpreters of the plot can really make the difference.
The cherry on the cake has been the buying of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus, become immediately the new captain of the team (it would be curious to ask Ignazio Abate if he's happy about this, but this is another story): Milan fans, under their breath, whisper that he reminds them of their best leader ever of the defence, Franco Baresi. Of course, without bringing up these kind of comparisons, Bonucci is, for charisma, defensive qualities, personality, a natural born leader, the one who can take the Milan back line by the hands. The line from where his Juventus has built up a sequence of 6 scudetti in a row.
The big victory against Shkendija has put under the spotlight how the addition of Bonucci to Milan has already brought many improvements in Milan defence: Zapata, playing at his side, seems a new player, being more self confident and playing more calm, sure that his shoulders are very well covered.
André Silva could be a real revelation for the next Serie A (just read the words pronounced from Cristiano Ronaldo about him): take a look at the two goals scored against the Macedonian club to make yourself an idea and, above all, the quality of his playing, the ability to be always at the centre of the action, in the middle of the box, calling the ball towards him.
Patrick Cutrone is a young forward, a really nice surprise that can give many satisfactions to his supporters. Don't forget that Milan are already active on the transfers market to take one or two big forwards, Kalinic and the dream called Andrea Belotti.
Franck Kessié is a force of nature, he is everywhere in the midfield, he fight on every ball and 90% he wins. Calhanoglu has still to find a good feeling with his teammates, but he has all the skills to become the important quality midfielder that Milan need, the man who has the really precious role to change the tactic from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 if needed.
Milan have a new personality, born from the nature of Vincenzo Montella: they don't stop themselves, they are always hungry for winning. Against Shkendija they haven't been ever satisfied, even on the 5-0 they have kept on attacking to find the sixth goal and so on.
But what's more important is that supporters have found again their enthusiasm, that around Milan there is lot of confidence and passion: two things that you can't buy in the transfer market but that can be more crucial and decisive than a central forward.