The Champions League group stage is just around the corner and Milan public relations in the face of Galliani and Ancelotti are already talking about Milan’s infamous CL DNA. While I believed in it during the ‘oughties, I don’t put much value on the current team’s ability simply because the biggest part of that DNA in my mind was experience.
Soccernomics has nicely showed the link between success and experience. An important part of experience comes from the club but I wanted to look at the players. A quick glance showed that current goalkeepers have less CL experience than a Dida, the whole defense can’t match a Maldini, the Seedorf-Gattuso-Pirlo trident tops the midfield and strikers are left behind by a Sheva. But how do Milan match up against other clubs?
For that I did some simple research that was more fun than evidence. I added up all CL competition games (doesn’t include preliminary matches or coach experience) from the UEFA site and I divided them with 116 which is the number of games Maldini played. Simply because having a number of games was too boring and after post-Maldini stress there is not much better to do than to make him a benchmark.
1. FC Barcelona 943/116= 8.136 mldn
2. Real Madrid CF 909/116= 7.84 mldn
3. Manchester United FC 871/116 = 7.51 mldn
4. Chelsea FC 614/116= 5.29 mldn
5. FC Bayern München 593/116= 5.11 mldn
6. AC Milan 455/116 = 3.92 mldn
7. Arsenal FC 415/116 = 3.58 mldn
8. FC Shakhtar Donetsk 363/116 = 3.13 mldn
9. Paris Saint-Germain FC 351/116 = 3.03 mldn
10. Juventus 332/116= 2.86 mldn
11. Manchester City FC 330/116 = 2.84 mldn
12. FC Dynamo Kyiv 249/116= 2.15 mldn
13. FC Zenit St Petersburg 238/116 = 2.05 mldn
14. Valencia CF 234/116 = 2.02 mdln
15. Galatasaray AŞ 212/116= 1.83 mldnn
16.SL Benfica 209/116=1.80 mldn
17. FC Schalke 04 209/116= 1.80 mldn
18. Málaga CF 209/116= 1.80 mldn
19. FC Porto 119/116= 1.72 mldn
20. LOSC Lille 162/116= 1.4 mldn
21. FC Spartak Moskva 151/116= 1.30 mldn
22. FC BATE Borisov 134/116=1.16 mldn
23. AFC Ajax 133/116= 1.15 mldn
24. Olympiacos FC 106/116 = 0.91 mldn
25. Borussia Dortmund 99/116= 0.85 mldn
26. GNK Dinamo Zagreb 86/116 = 0.74 mldn
27. RSC Anderlecht 67/116 = 0.58 mldn
28. CFR 1907 Cluj 63/116= 0.54 mldn
29. SC Braga 59/116=0.51 mldn
30. Celtic FC 23/116= 0.2 mldn
31. Montpellier Hérault SC = 0.19 mldn
32. FC Nordsjælland 0 mldn
Of course the more important part is how much of that experience is on the field during matchday but in the end the 6-th place injected a little optimism into me before we kick off (this was done before the Milan loss vs Atalanta).
PS: Let me know if you spot a mistake.
Written by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Lagercrantz, “Io, Ibra” sold 500,000 copies in Sweden and it is part of every fourth household there. The latest news from the co-author is that there is interest to turn it into a movie. What was it about?
A story of a ghetto-kid making it big. The American dream accomplished by a Swedish new face from a war-refugee family. A story on how to protect your own and blast everyone else.
It felt a little different than the other biographies because of its age. I heard it was done through interviews and during the read I got a feeling like most questions came from scandals or YouTube (marvelous addition to the stories if you know how to use it). Some might suggest it was all Ibra bragging about his triumphs and coming clean on selected episodes but he also sheds light on hard subjects like segregation, alcoholism, drug abuse and poverty.
At first it looked like a very honest piece to me. Zlatan talking about what happens behind the curtain and showing this to all who have been against him. After finishing, however, it seems like he picked his fights very carefully. He is very strategic as he says it himself. By the end it seems most of the episodes are him just advocating his point of view to set the record straight and punch out his opponents.
But I don’t hold it against him at all. As weird as it sounds it makes me respect him even more since this is like a first person view to the mindset he has. The confidence/arrogance he wears. He shows the attitude that is needed to carry on. Deep down I see a man who understands his faults but plays on his strengths. The most similar thing I’ve read is Salvador Dali’s “Diaries of a Genius”. Similarly, he criticizes everybody else while talking about his own grace although he has earned his spot in the history with such attitude. And if van Basten (another figure making a supportive role in the book) was called Leonardo da Vinci, Zlatan can take the odd-mustached egocentric place in his art.
The much furored book is everything you wanted it to be. To his followers it was like a bible, to his haters there was a sentence on every page to be ripped out and put into their context or logic. That’s what Zlatan is all about – hard to ignore, polarizing figure, unquestioned champion.
All pictures are from Bring Your Sister which is the best blog/site/place for picture-loving Ibraholics.
This is Shevchenko for me. The defining moment, the most heavily etched memory of him in my head. Whenever he’s mentioned, I recall this moment. Maybe because I was doing the same at the time, and what a time it was.
I turned fourteen that day, 27th of May 2003. Relatives came to visit during the day and the night was spent out with friends. I had every reason to be excited at the time. First of all, it was my birthday, turning 14, meaning that from September I’d be in High School, all grown up. Second, the next morning, I’d set off to a lake resort with my entire school for a three day stay. You know what that means – experimenting with alcohol and girls. Things would be good. But the entire day, the 27th, one thing was making me more excited than anything. The Champions League Final against Juventus was tomorrow. My birthday wishes were for us to win Big Ears, bugger me and my hormones.
When the day came, we went by bus, first to a mountain town on the way to the lake. I was not feeling well. The trip was not long, but with the final on my mind and the atmosphere around me got the best of me. The cheap vodka I had while in town didn’t help either. By the time we got to the lake and got settled in the hotel, I was feeling seriously ill. Barely able to stay conscious. God knows I needed sleep, but I was afraid I’d miss the match so I rolled around in bed while my friends drank and smoked in my room. I tried too but both the cigarette and the drink made me want to vomit. Decided to cut the drink and kept smoking to a minimum.
As the game started, I was more than dizzy. Tired and ill, I must admit, I followed the game like it was a dream. To be honest though, the situation was surreal. Me, face a mixture of red and yellow, smoking a cigarette while laying in bed, wearing my ’94 Milan shirt and my scarf around my neck surrounded by a bit drunk teenage boys and girls. Yeah, the room I was in (4 kids shared the same room) was the official football room with more than 20 people in it at all times. Almost all of them cheering for Milan, mostly because of me. Especially liked the fact that the girls decided Milan had the better looking players and made their “loyalties” known.
During extra time, I began to regain consciousness. At the penalties, I was standing, hugging whoever was next to me, looking excited. However, I was scared shitless. If Milan lost, my “life” was ruined. It would all go horribly horribly wrong, when it could have gone so good. Here I was, sick, most probably unable to enjoy myself like I had planned, a penalty shootout loss away from total collapse.
When Sheva took the ball to the spot to shoot, I couldn’t bear to watch. I covered my eyes with my hands, but peeking. My heart was racing so fast. I knew it wasn’t over if he missed, but it would have killed me if it went on. His panic look mirrored mine. He shot the ball, and it went in. Sheva went mad with joy, and so did I. I don’t know where that strength came from me, since I was weak as a baby a few moments ago, but when I saw him run, I started running. I jumped from the bed amidst all the congratulatory hugs, and dashed out of the room, running through the hallways, screaming with joy. It seemed like a lifetime, while it was probably closer to 5 minutes of running. Upon which I promptly collapsed and lost consciousness.
When I woke up, a teacher was with me, and some of my friends. She said I needed to be taken to a doctor immediately. Personally, I couldn’t care less. We were Champions of Europe. Me, Shevchenko and Milan. Didn’t bother arguing with her, she took me with a car to a local hospital as an emergency. A friend and the girl I liked came with us too. Turned out I had a hell of a fever, with a body temperature of 40.2 Celsius. I was dehydrated and was put on a course of fluids and injections. Stayed the night there. Again, couldn’t care less.
Champions of Europe. Me, Shevchenko and Milan.
This post was written by Marcus. Give us your feelings and thoughts of that night? Here are Sheva’s own:
As we all know Filippo Inzaghi wasn’t included to our Champions League list. And though he has the chance to make it in January (in case we progress as expected) there is a certain end of an era vibe. How many nights have Milan been in danger yet we kept the faith? With hope on those skinny shoulders something might happen:
That in mind I found myself lurking for the best videos to relive the moments of magic, goals and victories that Superpippo gave to you and me during the European nights. Here is my top five:
5. CL quarterfinal 2006/07 Bayern – Milan 0-2 – nice quality video with top-notch commentary of a rare out of the box goal for Pippo(I think he has only 2 during his Milan career).
4. CL group stage 2010/11 Milan – Real Madrid 2-1 – the essence of Pippo. Quality is low like his tehnique, but the emotion is nuclear like his celebrations.
3. CL quarterfinal 2005/06 Milan – Lyon Olympique 2-1 – time was ticking away as Lyon had an away goal against us and Sheva’s shot bounced off both posts. Luckily Pippo knew what to do.
2. CL final 2006/2007 Milan – Liverpool 2-0 – rematch of 2005 final and the second final in Athens. Hero of the day.
1. CL quarterfinal 2002/2003 Milan – Ajax 3-2 – you can feel everybody taking a breath as Pippo lifts the ball over Lobont and how everyone releases the tsunami after they realise it’s going in. Top commentary, build-up, goal, timing, player – everything is perfect. (I know Tomasson got into the books with that but the moment was all Pippo’s).
What would you change in this top 5? See also – Fillipo Inzaghi’s Top 10 Goals for Milan from DVD set ‘I 3000 gol del Milan’.
Looking back at the most memorable moments from Milan’s 18th scudetto celebrations… from Oddo’s drunken run around the Olimpico to Kevin Prince’s moonwalk in front of 80.000 fans, we relive the moments.
We begin where Milan first sealed the scudetto with a 0-0 tie against Roma on May 7th, and where the first celebrations kicked off away from home at the Stadio Olimpico. Here is a video of the most memorable moments and celebrations scenes that took place right after Milan sealed the title:
The biggest partiers of the night were Antonio Cassano who celebrated his first scudetto in style and Massimo Oddo who celebrated by running around the Stadio Olimpico’s 400m track in under a minute to allegedly have his contract extended after title win.
The usually serious Max Allegri was soaked in champagne by the players and received praise from Adriano Galliani after winning the title in his first year at Milan. He also spent some moments personally celebrating with some fans that made the trip to Rome:
Before the game against Cagliari, the team paraded around the Piazza Duomo saluting and celebrating with thousands of fans that gathered. A lengthy video of the celebrations can be found here. The party was moved to the San Siro where the Scudetto trophy was officially presented to the team along with the festivities organized by Adriano Galliani.
The San Siro was sold out in anticipation for the scudetto celebration. The game had a sort of summer friendly feel to it, with a brace from Robinho, who joins Ibrahimovic and Pato as Milan’s top scorer with 14 goals each this season. A header from outside the box from Rino Gattuso and a goal from Clarence Seedorf who continues his great season-ending form completed Milan’s poker 4-1 win.
The final whistle blew and the long-awaited celebrations took place in front of the home crowd. The team came out one by one dawning the new jerseys with the scudetto patch. They then took a lap of honor around the stadium followed by more festivities highlighted by Kevin Prince Boateng’s long-awaited moonwalk and a beautiful fireworks display. Scenes that will be remembered not only by those who were present in the stadium, but by Milan fans around the world.
Milan’s top 5 players of the season (as chosen by the R&B forums):
1. Thiago Silva
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
3. Christian Abbiati
4. Kevin Prince Boateng
5. Alexandre Pato
Finally, let’s take a look at the most memorable goals, celebrations and scenes from the season:
FORZA MILAN! CAMPIONI D’ITALIA 2011!keep looking »