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!
1. Signing Of Ibrahimovic
The two suspensions Ibrahimovic has recently received from the FIGC may have ruined everything Ibra did this season with Milan, but one must admit that once this guy was signed Milan suddenly became title contenders. His amazing solo displays in the first half of the season were more than enough to put Milan on top. He has been fundamental to Milan’s Scudetto winning season, and it’s his 8th consecutive league (Dutch – Italian – Spanish) title in a row. Not a coincidence at all.
2. AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
I know Real Madrid isn’t a Serie A team, but Milan’s match against them at San Siro was the start of a great season for Ignazio Abate. Many Milan supporters were upset that the fullback positions, which are pretty weak compared to the CBs Milan have, weren’t reinforced with better quality players. But, in the game against Real Madrid, Abate put an amazing performance (when compared to the performances he put before) to stop Cristiano Ronaldo (with the help of Gennaro Gattuso) and he never stopped improving from that game on. Soon, Milan had the formidable defense that won us the title.
3. Milan 3 – 1 Palermo (Round 11)
It was in this match that Milan clinched the very important 3 points to go on and top the league table. Allegri knew the importance of that match, claiming in his pre-match conference that it was Milan’s most important match of the season, and so it proved to be. The only downside of that match was the injury of Inzaghi ( who might feature in Milan’s next 2 Serie A matches) and the injury of Pato just before the derby.
4. Milan 3 – 0 Napoli (Round 27)
Milan were facing one of their competitors for the title and knew that it was bound to be a tough match. Yet, despite the great team Mazzari has made Napoli into, Milan’s Trio (Ibra, Boateng, Pato) proved to be too good for Napoli’s defense as they scored one each. This win gave Milan the confidence and the lead needed to eventually win the Scudetto.
5. Milan 3 – 0 Inter (Round 32)
Pre-match, no one thought that Milan would have it as easy as they did against their arch rivals. Everyone expected a very tough encounter (with the absence of Ibrahimovic), but a very very early Pato goal gave Milan the boost to maintain their lead, control the game, and eventually score two more to leave Inter happy they didn’t concede more.
Abbiati; Bonera, Nesta, T. Silva, Antonini; Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf; Pato, Borriello, Ronaldinho. No, that’s not the team that lost 4-0 to Man Utd at Old Trafford. On the contrary, that was Milan’s starting line-up for the first official game this season, the 4-0 win vs Lecce. However, people with short memories are more likely to go for the first option. After all, that line-up was almost an exact replica of Milan’s Leonardo. Nowadays, only Abbiati, Nesta, T. Silva and Pato are guaranteed starters on the team, with Pato now occupying his natural position.
What has changed since then? A lot. Ronaldinho and Borriello where shipped out for good. Ambrosini, Pippo, Pirlo, and to a lesser extent, Pato, missed large parts of the season due to injuries. Also players like Bonera and Antonini started to see limited minutes in comparison to the rise of Abate, Boateng, and Yepes. Oh and we signed Ibrahimovic, Robinho, and Cassano too.
Yet there has to be a main difference between the current Milan side and its precedent, right? Leonardo’s Milan was a more attacking version of Ancelotti’s Milan, with much worse players of course. So how could Allegri’s Milan be defined? By a rock solid defense. I think Allegri closely resembles Capello: focuses on defense, very good tactically, excellent man manager, and has a fairly humble and uncontroversial character. With Milan’s transfer deals, some feared that Milan would even upgrade its 4-2-fantasia (only God knows how Milan would have lined-up if Leonardo was still in charge!), and pessimists thought Allegri wasn’t much of a character to handle egos such as Zlatan’s and Cassano’s in the same dressing room. But Allegri, swiftly and confidently, brushed all those doubts away.
Credit to Allegri for transforming a defensively weak team in the best side in the country in less than six months. It might sound cliche, but as usual, good teams are built from the back. Rock solid defense is the foundation upon which any successful football team is built, just ask Capello or Mourinho. Or just look at Leonardo’s Inter to understand that ‘outscoring’ opponents isn’t such a good idea in today’s football.
Yet, as pointed out earlier, Milan started the season as if Leonardo was in charge. Or not. There were some tactical moves and a bit of defensive strategy imposed, but overall there wasn’t much of a difference. A slow midfield that was vulnerable to counterattacks and forwards that didn’t contribute with any defensive effort. Allegri, however, could be excused. After all, Ibrahimovic and Robinho arrived late in the market, after all the pre-season was over and so the team was ‘built’ without them. Also, Allegri had to integrate some players that clearly were more of a liability than an asset – coughronaldinho – uhm, excuse me. Lest we forget, failure to obey Berlusconi is widely believed to have cost both Leonardo and Ancelotti their jobs. And of course, Allegri knew better than to start his stint on Milan’s bench by ignoring his boss’s instructions.
So, Allegri needed time. He slowly but convincingly shaped the team as the season went further. Initially, he tried the Berlusconi formula of Pirlo, Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Pato, and Ibrahimovic in one team, but I guess he did that to prove a point. After the two Madrid games, it was clear that some changes needed to be made. Allegri had made his point, now it was time for work.
The key game for change was the 10th round of Serie A vs Bari at San Nicola. The starting line-up that day was: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Yepes (T. Silva was injured), Zambrotta; Ambrosini, Gattuso, Flamini; Seedorf; Ibrahimovic, Robinho. A 4-3-1-2 formation, clearly familiar to Milan through the Ancelotti-era, but yet a little bit different. Three pure defensive midfielders were used, with the anchor in midfield (usually Pirlo under Ancelotti) a player with defensive skills primarily. Milan would maintain this shape for the rest of the season with great success, and the defensive midfielder slot, then occupied by Il Capitano Massimo Ambrosini, and currently by Mark ‘the Boss’ van Bommel, would remain the key spot for the transformation of Milan from Scudetto hopefuls to Scudetto favorites.
Of course some argued at the time that it was only Bari, and for so called ‘football experts’ who follow the games through live text, Milan had won ‘only’ 3-2 so it was nothing to take note of. However, that day, Allegri had finally dared to do what many people wanted to see: using a proper defensive midfielder as the last man in midfield, instead of the flashy but unconvincing defensively Andrea Pirlo. In that game, 30 minutes on the clock and Milan were already 2-0 up. Failure to convert chances, as well as lacking T. Silva, and slacking a bit contributed to the final score of 3-2, but on that day, the result wasn’t the most important thing. That game was the foundation for what was to follow, Milan leading for the Scudetto and bossing title rivals Napoli and Inter by playing entertaining football while remaining solid defensively.
Massimo Ambrosini and Mark van Bommel are the two players who were primarily used in that position since the Bari game. And undoubtedly, they delivered. Undoubtedly, they were better than Pirlo. So undoubtedly, Milan controlled the midfield, and thus, undoubtedly, Milan conceded less. If we compare the two players, they do share some characteristics in common. To put it simply, they boss football matches. However, there is a more detailed explanation for that. Both players are excellent leaders (Ambrosini is the current Milan captain, while van Bommel captains his national team and was Bayern’s first ever non-German captain), both players have great tactical knowledge and are great at reading games and both players are solid defensively while having sufficient technique to control the midfield. They also have a good eye for a decent pass, which isn’t the priority for their position but rather a luxury. Does this mean there’s no room for Pirlo? Of course not, a player with Pirlo’s technique and passing ability could always have room in any team. However, not at the expense of the team’s balance. Pirlo was used mainly this season by Allegri (when not sidelined by injuries), in a more advanced role that seemed to suit him (something I suggested at the beginning of the season).
So I guess the main point of change under Allegri was the use of Ambrosini/van Bommel in place of Pirlo. As mentioned earlier, and as the numbers prove, Milan’s defense is the best in the league and one of the best in the world. And what is the reason for that? Nesta and T. Silva were starters last season, so was Abate towards the end. And while dropping Antonini contributed a bit, there is no doubt that the main reason for Milan’s success is the use of a proper defensive midfielder in front of the back four. Gone are the days of conceding for fun, like vs Man Utd or Inter last season; nowadays Milan dominate games, or let me rephrase that, Milan boss games on a weekly basis. A nice reminder of that is the games vs. the so-called Scudetto rivals, Napoli and Inter, who were both brushed aside 3-0 and outclassed and outplayed everywhere on the pitch. Grazie for that Allegri, Ambrosini, and van Bommel.
Mark van Bommel brings extreme reactions from every single football fan. His critics have mostly been those on the receiving end of things, while his supporters have close ties with the teams he has played for – PSV, Barcelona, Bayern, the Dutch national team, and now Milan. For the rest of the world he is a thug or a disgrace for the sport which might have stemmed from the analysis of Sky pundits having a direct impact on the fan base in south East Asia and India. So this is a post dedicated to all the fans that enjoy continental football and its diverse style. I hope you folks stop for a minute and read this without any bias.
Milan has been struggling for a long time in midfield, even though we have a battalion of defensive midfielders who pack a lot of aggression but with little tenacity. With the shrewd business of gold tie Mr. Galliani, we brought a world class anchor in place of technically gifted but physically frail Pirlo. I am not a big fan of Andrea and Ancelotti’s deep lying midfield position covered by aggressive midfielders, but I will leave that topic for some other day. Milan’s policy of bringing in old washed up champions may look very cheap and pathetic from outside but I am all for hard working, dedicated professionals – regardless of age – who add some value to the starting line-up. Over the years this has given me the opportunity to admire, watch and like some world class players whom otherwise would have gone unnoticed in my book. For example Stam and Beckham who hail from Manchester United, a club that brings the absolute worst in me in footballing philosophy. Then there was the ever smiling Cafu who joined us at the ripe age of 34 and played for some good years. So I was very much excited for MvB’s transfer especially when our most consistent player of the past couple of years, captain Ambrosini, was sidelined for rest of the season, leaving Flamini, Gattuso and Strasser for the job.
Flamini was not ready to give up his EPL style and as large as Gattuso’s heart might be he can’t compensate for his small stature, which plays a huge role in the aerial game as an anchor. He is an aggressive ground soldier and excels in that role, there is no point in retraining an old pitbull. So we were looking for an Ambrosini type of player and from out nowhere on the last day of the winter mercato our vice president brings in the captain of Bavaria, who in the past year has captained his teams to both a Champion League and World Cup final and without a shadow of a doubt was the most important player of those teams. So what conclusion should I draw? A Dutch team dragged to final by an anti-footballer; he achieved something similar to the great Cryuff. I am not naive to compare an absolute football master to MvB but you cannot ignore his effectiveness for your prejudice.
When he came and played a few games I realized how good he was. He is a leader of men, who tries to impose his will on the game and like a true traffic police man directs the flow with so much authority. His best act is the legendary stop sign – when he puts that up no opponent moves. If they have the testicular fortitude for violating that rule they end up paying some hefty fine in the form of a clean tackle, bruised ankle, a shoulder push or maybe a red card for Milan. With two godlike but mild CB’s, there wasn’t enough aggression towards the opposite number 10 trying to breach our defense, but with the coming of MvB, I can sleep peacefully knowing that we won’t concede unless the Boss personally thinks otherwise (see games against Palermo and Bari).
People following him since his Barcelona or Eindhoven days say he doesn’t do anything special these days and that he is simply the van Bommel of yesteryear, but I decided to watch his performances with zero animosity. So I am enjoying this phase of the Scudetto race, a solid defense protected by an insane destroyer, the Boss, and the entire thing masterminded by a prudent Italian tactician. Like every championship team we are building from the back and we sure have a hell of a war head with Cassano, Ibrahimovic, Pato, and Robinho. So we only need a set of technical CMF’s (Pirlo and Seedorf have served Milan well over the years, but it’s time for some fresh blood) to finish the entire product and we are ready to rumble again.
Van Bommel is a very likable man within his teams’ fans. You should see the affection crowds showed him when he danced with the German title in Munich. He never talks or does anything detrimental in training or off the pitch; all his tactics or dark art revolve around winning another inch for the team, by any means necessary to defend the flag, or in the voice of English commentators he is a lionhearted player who is willing to fight ’till death. He is a master in reading the game, having won 7 titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany and being now on the verge of conquering another one in the peninsula. He has some coaching badges and his prowess is on display in a live game while he is instructing/guiding inexperienced players. His ability to pick Antonini or Abate from way deep shows he is not just a physical player, he is ready to move forward and control the tempo of the game according to the situation (and he has a bomb of a right foot, which can be unleashed against any team but we Milan for some unknown reason never ever rely on a long ranger). The media is the one who created this image which is costing Milan a lot of cards because he is getting booked for normal fouls. His reputation precedes him in Serie A, not as a champion but as a bulldozer.
For a tough man he does have a true heart. He is loyal to the teams he’s played for and he is so instinctive with his passion. As an example, he showed his Barcelona heart when Madrid was dumped by him in the 2006 CL campaign. He cried like a baby when Bayern sold him to Milan and he feels like home in Milanello thanks to his promptness to learn and adjust along with the family atmosphere in our dressing room, which is under no imminent turmoil even though we pack some of the most volatile elements in the game.
I think it’s time to test the limits by bringing Balotelli. People often compare MvB to Materazzi because they experience the beautiful game through commentary. You should watch the games once in a while without bombastic and over the top biased reviewers. Materazzi is a butcher whose aim is to hurt an opponent regardless of footballing advantage. The Dutch master brings in every single trick in the book to gain advantage which only coincides with the state of play. He is a true professional and plays for his employer. For example, his tough tackling game against Messi and Wesley Sniejder (his ex team mates) show he might be friends with them but that friendship ends when you cross that white line and you don our jersey, an admirable quality.
Every single player who played with him or against him applauds his importance. Ibrahimovic (who you might remember had an altercation with the Dutch skipper) said he is a player I would hate to play against and welcomed him to Milan. Sneijder who was man handled in the derby begged him to join the blue part of Milan. This is a kind of signing Milan needed to help us in the Champions League and gives an opportunity to further groom young Strasser in that role. An experienced leader on the field and a gentleman off the field, with absolute knowledge of the game is a perfect fit in the cynical and tactical world of Calcio. He is not going to hang here as deadwood, he will perform at his best until he can and most probably play as a mentor in the future or leave us to his native place.
With that said, there are a few limitations. His mobility is not world class but far better in his age bracket and when compared to the existing champion senators in Milan. He has to get more adjusted to this team as he has conceded a few goals with Milan showing some communication breakdown while defending in the box.
In conclusion, if you look at him closely without any premonition about his game or style you might witness a master at his very best, reading the game, breaking the opponents’ play, passing the ball to players pushing forward and guiding the troops under extreme pressure. Immovable object with a fair sense of attacking game, I’m in love with him. A true great who oozes Italian style of play (substance over style). I am a self proclaimed samba fan boy but when you witness complete players you can’t stop yourself from admiring them. Complete players with the least of limitations is a dying breed in today’s era. I might think so because I personally rate the football of the last decade any day ahead of the physical play of today.
Thanks to: The Red & Black Forums – for admiring the Boss over their personal hate for the love of Milan, to Cristina who proof read the article and restructured it to something nice (which originated as an incoherent rambling) and to a bunch of DM lovers from Brazil and Scotland. Finally to all the fanboys and fangirls of Boss like fara/sage/wild/fiero/congo.
Video by Cristina.
A Journey Through Calciopoli Outside The Regular Walls
Calciopoli was an Italian football scandal that involved some of Italy’s elite football clubs. The scandal erupted when a few telephone interceptions showed a relationship between team managers and referees. The teams were accused of manipulating games by selecting favorable referees. As a result of these accusations trials took place and each of the teams involved were punished. Juventus were relegated to Serie B, were stripped of the 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles. They also had 9 points deducted. (they started in Serie B with a point tally of -9 and not 0). AC Milan had 8 points deducted from their 2006/2007 Serie A season. They also had 30 points deducted off their 2005/2006 Serie A campaign but still managed to make it to the Champions League. Fiorentina, another team that was punished, had 15 points deducted from their 2006/2007 Serie A campaign and were out of the Champions League. Lazio and Reggina had point deductions as well. As a result of the punishments, Internazionale Milan was awarded the 2005/2006 Italian Serie A trophy.
Perfect picture, eh? No. There’s much more about Calciopoli than the above would suggest. From illegal activities that lead to the discovery of some shady phone calls to the appointment of pro-Inter people in organizations related to Italian football, to the fact that Inter eventually turned out to be the only party that benefited from the scandal raises questions that SHOULD be highlighted and answer. We’ve decided to take the time and let you know what has been forgotten or what was meant to be buried with time.
Inter – Only Team To Benefit From Calciopoli
Anyone who watches series like C.S.I would know that the number one suspect of a certain crime would be the one with the biggest motive and evidence that connects him to the murder. Well, it’s sort of the same story. Who had the biggest motive to destroy Juventus and AC Milan? I’ll let you come with the answer yourself. Why would Inter want to destroy Juve and Milan? Well, the only way to make it back to domestic success would be with the top 2 teams out of sight. Before Calciopoli, Inter Milan hadn’t won the Scudetto since the 1988-1989 Serie A season. During that period, Juventus and Milan dominated Serie A. Both teams had won a combined 11 Serie A titles since Inter’s last. These facts clearly show that Inter were a relatively “weaker” team than AC Milan and Juventus in Serie A. That was of course before Calciopoli. Now if one takes a look at the titles won by Inter after Calciopoli, the record is crazy. Inter won 5 consecutive Serie A titles, with no real competition in 3 or 4 of them. Inter also went on to become a team that attracted a lot of great players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was vital for most of these 5 titles. Coincidence? Don’t think so, but that’s just a piece of the puzzle. Please, continue reading.
Telecom Italia – FIGC – Gazzetta Della Sport – Moratti
Putting the “Inter benefited the most” argument aside, one must take a look at the parties involved in the “development” of the Calciopoli case. How were they connected? Was Inter again involved in a rather sarcastic way? Sarcastic it is, as conflict of interest doesn’t come out of nowhere.
First Party: Gazzetta Della Sport
Gazzetta Della Sport is an Italian sports newspaper that is known by the name “ Gazztta Dell’ Inter” by rival fans. The newspaper is owned by Carlo Buaro, vice president of Inter and a self-proclaimed Interista. How is the newspaper related to Calciopoli? It all started when the newspaper itself performed an ILLEGAL ACTIVITY and published transcripts of Luciano Moggi’s telephone conversations. Those transcripts however didn’t make their way to any incriminating party involved. However, Gazzetta Della Sport’s involvement doesn’t stop there. The media frenzy that resulted from these transcripts forced FIGC (the Italian football federation) to open an investigation.
Second Party: FIGC
Before Calciopoli evolved, Adriano Galliani was the president of FIGC. Due to the scandal, Galliani was forced to resign from that job since AC Milan were one of the clubs accused of involvement in a certain type of cheating (“certain type” will be discussed further on in the research). His resigning from the presidency of the FIGC was no controversy but actually a step forward toward “a better trial”; or at least one would have hoped so. The person that was appointed to replace Galliani was Guido Rossi. He was a director at Internazionale Milan from 1995 to 1999. He is also a self-proclaimed Inter fan, a shareholder in the club, and a friend of Massimo Moratti. As part of his first assignment Rossi would be in charge of Calciopoli. Interesting, eh? Well, here’s another interesting thought: Guido Rossi handed the 2005/2006 Serie A title to Inter after Juventus were relegated. His relationship to the case doesn’t stop there. He later on resigned from his position as president of FIGC and became president of TIM (Telecom Italia).
Third Party : Telecom Italia (TIM)
Telecom Italia (TIM) was the company that recorded the conversations that lead to the scandal. That doesn’t mean that Inter were part of all this or even that Telecom Italia “purposely” involved themselves indirectly in the case. However, the following issue does raise some suspicions. On the board of TIM were both Massimo Moratti and Carlo Buora. The connections between the many parties involved in Italian football and Calciopoli don’t end there. Inter’s second largest shareholder after Moratti, Mario Provera, is the owner of Pirelli, which owned TIM at the time and is the official shirt sponsor of Inter Milan. So in a nutshell, all parties involved were connected in every possible way.
Calciopoli: The Trial
This “circus” doesn’t stop there. What was Milan and Juventus REALLY accused of? Well, in a nutshell, “having an exclusive relationship with the referee designators”. That relationship itself was seen to have given both teams an advantage. Milan were accused of having that relationship with referee designator Pairetto. Meanwhile, Juventus were accused of having that same relationship with another referee designator, Bergamo. The teams violated a rather minor infraction – unsportsmanlike conduct. One can say that both teams deserved to be punished. But what was the punishment for such violation? A fine. The punishment never exceeded that. How did it reach titles stripping and point deductions? Well, our friend Guido Rossi comes up again. He decided to make “contacting a referee designator” an infringement (wasn’t against any rules before that). He managed to group all the calls together and sprinkle a little magic, “enough” to accuse the clubs of “match-fixing” when there’s no evidence whatsoever of that. So basically he grouped a series of minor infractions to create a rather major one.
During trial, 171000 phone calls “magically” missed from the court documents and were not taken into consideration when Juventus, Milan and the rest of the teams were punished. The calls that were taken into consideration were the ones that seemed “perfect” enough to incriminate the clubs and parties punished. What about the rest of the phone calls? Couldn’t these phone calls have helped brighten Juve and Milan’s picture? Or even accuse a certain club of cheating? Say, Inter Milan? Some of the phone calls eventually came out and the Inter presidents were overheard speaking to referee designators.
Either Punish All, Or Punish No One
The facts stated show that Calciopoli may as well have been invented by Inter to incriminate other teams. If Juventus did wrong by having an exclusive relationship with the referees then why were all phone calls involving Inter ignored? Moggi himself said it: either all should be punished – or none. And since many were, then Inter should have as well. They should be punished upon the same standards that Juve were punished on.
Sources: wikipedia.com, acmilanblog.net.« go back — keep looking »