116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Old School

So Milan, in full desperation mode and needing to score at least once to force extra time, and twice to actually move on to the final, assembled a lineup that would have kicked @$$ back in '98, starting Inzaghi, Seedorf, Costacurta (isn't he older than Santa Claus?) and Stam. With so much "experience" on the field, the Rossoneri were certainly well-organized; at the same time, was it even remotely surprising to see Barcelona run circles around them, beating them to every loose ball?
Barca, to their credit, were not merely content to sit back and defend (Ronaldinho would probably never have that), which makes Milan's performance that much more disappointing. Lacking the quickness to get as far forward as they would like, they had to drop Shevchenko further back than normal to sustain their attack, and while they got a few chances, they also seemed to be lacking in ideas.
All of this speaks to a larger problem within Milan, ever since they won the European Cup in '03; they are simply too old to win this thing anymore. They started six players over the age of 30 last night (including Methuselah himself, Costacurta), and two of their three substitutes, Rui Costa and Cafu, also fit into that "great in '98" category. The team only has two significant players age 25 and under, Alberto Gilardino and Kaka (off-topic: is it just me, or is there something Mandy Moore-like about Kaka?).
So, after watching Barcelona run laps around these guys, after being witness to their seven minutes of hell against Liverpool last year, and after observing their failure to take the scudetto back from Juventus, I have come to the conclusion that unless some major changes occur this off-season, AC Milan will be irrelevant for the near future. Barca is younger and more skilled, the Red Devils are retooling, Arsenal is practically a youth academy now, Chelsea is buying everyone and Juve is just plain better. Of course, it's not all bad news at the San Siro: at least they're not Real Madrid.


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