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Friday July 11 2014
Can Milan and Inter walk the walk?

Milan and Inter can be optimistic as preseason gets underway but Richard Thomas believes it would be dangerous for either to set unrealistic targets.

Ironically, it could be said that the time of the year when the largest proportion of football fans are happy is when there is no football being played at all. While we all, of course, miss our weekly dose of the beautiful game during the summer months, it comes as great relief to know that during June and July at least, there is absolutely no chance of our teams contriving to ruin our weekend, again.

As such, emotional scars from the previous campaign heal, while positive sound bites from within our clubs drum up fresh optimism for the year ahead. Past sins are, for the most part, forgiven as hope and anticipation reach fever pitch in time for the opening day of the new season.

The above sentiments could certainly be said to be true of Milan fans, who watched their beloved Rossoneri lurch from one disaster to another during last term. A humiliating Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid, an eighth place Serie A finish and two coaching casualties were some of the lows that ensured that in the end, the summer could not come quickly enough at San Siro.

How time can be a great healer though. Yesterday afternoon, new Rossoneri Coach Pippo Inzaghi and his players were given a rousing reception by thousands of buoyant tifosi as they arrived at the club’s Casa Milan headquarters to mark the start of a new dawn. “People have forgotten who Milan is, what it represents and the fact this is the most successful club in the world,” the boss said at his first Press conference in charge. “I think the most important thing is to recreate the DNA of Milan.”

It was a rallying cry echoed by club joint-CEO Barbara Berlusconi. “The objective is to qualify for the Champions League,” the club President’s daughter declared. “Therefore, this is a positive moment and an emblematic one that should be remembered.”

Considering the Rossoneri finished last season a staggering 21 points off qualification to Europe’s premier club competition, these are big words. They appear bigger still when the club badly lack the sort of financial clout that will probably be needed to bridge the gap between themselves and last year’s top three of Juventus, Roma and Napoli. Alex, Jeremy Menez and Michael Agazzi have all arrived at San Siro for no cost this summer, while reports suggest that Adil Rami is having to fork out €500,000 of his own money to help the Rossoneri sign him from Valencia for €4.25m. These are hardly the dealings of a Champions League team in the making.

Over at Inter’s training camp in Pinzolo meanwhile, Nerazzurri boss Walter Mazzarri set his stall out for the new campaign. “My teams always have a soul and this year I want to see more,” he claimed having presided over a thoroughly mixed first season in charge. “If we do things better than others, if we push together for a result, we can do better than those who are considered technically better than us.”

Though Mazzarri stopped short of naming a specific aim for the season ahead, it is clear he too will be expected to deliver a big improvement on last term’s fifth place finish. An ability to convert some of the whopping 15 draws amassed during 2013-14 into wins would be a good start, but as with their San Siro rivals they have huge ground to make up.

Just how much President Erick Thohir is willing to invest in making the necessary additions remains to be seen, while Mazzarri must also go about the unenviable task of filling a Javier Zanetti-sized hole within the Nerazzurri dressing room. As the Coach alluded to, his team’s chances of success this year will probably be largely dependent on whether they can amount to something greater than the sum of their parts.

At a time of the footballing calendar when talking and image are everything, both Milan clubs are doing all they can to make the right noises in their efforts to win tifosi round in time for the start of the season. Once August 31 comes, however, the talking will stop and they will be expected to deliver. Should they fail, the positive media spin they attempt to generate - and any lofty targets they set - over preseason will be used as a stick with which to beat them.

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Have your say...
I'm having a hard time figuring out, how AC Milan should make it to the champions league, top 5 for that matter.
IMO Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter, possibly Lazio and even Torino are currently stronger teams than Milan, so I don't see a bright 14/15 for Milan.
I'm not sure about Inter though, it all depends.
on the 22nd July, 2014 at 9:30pm
Whoever you are that's why I said "look over there" as in look at the other blog. Anyway it's a blog about milan and inter not about one player. Now get a different username as you're coming across as a bit of a stalker
on the 18th July, 2014 at 7:16pm
This particular blog is about Milan and inter. You highlighted stories that concern Juve and Roma, which are obviously not Milan or inter! That's a fact you over looked isn't it?
on the 17th July, 2014 at 10:20pm
Are people still banging on about the B word. Look over there. Conte's resigned, he's been replaced by Allegri and Iturbe's just go to Roma. I think there's more to talk about.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:35am
Maldini's heir I'm here to start a campaign against you being allowed to post on this site. YOU TALK SO MUCH RUBBISH! My god! You are unbelievable, how can 1 man talk so much rubbish, day in day out the same. Just shut up! You and your facts should can take a really long run and jump, while you're at it take balotelli with you, seeing has he travelled so far in 3 games he can inspire you to run and jump further! I think people hate you more than him!
on the 16th July, 2014 at 10:30pm
So what you are saying Maldini's heir is, pointing a gun at a camera to his apparent haters is a way of hitting out at his them? Why doesn't he put more effort into his performances rather than feeding the media and his critics? He doesn't really help himself does he? He adds fuel to the fire with lack lustre performances and his general attitude. He doesn't show us if he is actually any good because he spends more time doing ridiculous things. He is 24 years old he isn't a teenager anymore!
on the 16th July, 2014 at 10:13pm
@ anonymous No my opinion of him is he can do a lot wrong but you can't talk about these things when there's a campaign against him. I've listed actual facts and stats. According to the FIFA website he ran 20.8 km in the World Cup. That's not opinion. It's a fact. Popular opinion is not fact. Popular opinion says that Justin Bieber is talented. I'll stick with facts. At least with Conte's resignation we can stop talking about him for a few days.
on the 16th July, 2014 at 10:07am
Well my opinion of Balotelli is lazy, selfish and very unprofessional. Your opinion on him, based on things I have seen from you is that he can do no wrong. You have an opinion of him that seems to be the opposite to most of the people on here yet you throw what you believe to be facts out like you are an expert yet all you have is differing opinions. The comments on him turning the gun on himself are step to far and I am totally with you on that. Balotelli has behavioural issues. He needs help
on the 15th July, 2014 at 4:18pm
@ annonymous I'll forgive you because you missed my other post. I'm suggesting no mention of the B word for one whole week.

Ps these aren't opinions. An opinion is should a team play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or whose better messi or maradona? These comments are insults for the sake of insults.
on the 15th July, 2014 at 3:48pm
No. You (Maldini's heir) go to far with your obsession with him. He's a waste of space. You have to be really foolish to be in his position and post such a disgraceful picture. You are even more foolish than he is for trying to brush this off. It is hard to judge a man for his talent when he does such ridiculous things. What makes it worse is he posted it online himself, so you can't even say the media followed him or invaded his private life! Stop mocking people's opinion.
on the 15th July, 2014 at 12:48pm
As for the others 2 people on here have already (jokingly?) called on a 24 year old to turn a gun on himself. I'll let you all think whether that's going a little far.
on the 15th July, 2014 at 7:51am
Balotelli is a waste of space. The guy is toxic for a dressing room and even worse on the pitch. Maldini's heir every single word you used describes Balotelli perfectly. Unfortunately no team will be stupid enough to buy him for even half of the asking price so Milan are stuck with him. Aussie bob hit the nail on the head, lets hope milan turn the gun on him!
on the 14th July, 2014 at 3:22pm
Milanista
No 1 has forgotten anything that he did, he score 1 good goal against germany, its the only goal that his fans can actually latch on to. Yes he scored in 2010 against germany- but he didnt do much else, yes for milan he scored afew goals- but before his arrival ses was scoring just fine once we introduced balo SES didnt score again. You can not base a team around a players past 'glory' (if you can call 1 goal glory), he vanished against england and spain.
on the 14th July, 2014 at 3:08pm
The labels are what they are. Ppl dont pluck the words lazy and stupid out of the sky! He is lazy, just look at all 3 of the world cup games, he is stupid, take a look at the picture of him holding gun up to haters. End of the day he is a professional footballer with that comes a responsibility. Suarez is an exceptionally stupid player to actually try and eat players on 3 separate occasions. Your right we dont need to agree to disagree but you need to open your eyes regarding balo.
on the 14th July, 2014 at 3:00pm
Anyway like I said I support a ban as this incident is unacceptable and then we can move on. I also think generally footballers use of social media needs to be reined in. It's a recipe for disaster. I like the sound of a swapping Criscito for Abate. Anyone any thoughts on Albertazzi? I didn't really notice him at Verona.
on the 14th July, 2014 at 11:53am
@ MILANISTA Absolutely. I'd say since he's been at Milan he's been one of our best players. It's fair to say he was instrumental in Milan securing a CL spot in 12/13 and he was decisive in a number of games last season where Milan were flat including decisive in the CL qualifier and in games with Livorno, Bologna, Cagliari and the second derby match when his free kick set up De Jong. Did he not score 2 of the goals of the season last season against Bologna and Livorno?
on the 14th July, 2014 at 11:47am
@ MILANISTA Absolutely. I'd say since he's been at Milan he's been one of our best players. It's fair to say he was instrumental in Milan securing a CL spot in 12/13 and he was decisive in a number of games last season where Milan were flat including decisive in the CL qualifier and in games with Livorno, Bologna, Cagliari and the second derby match when his free kick set up De Jong. Did he not score 2 of the goals of the season last season against Bologna and Livorno?
on the 14th July, 2014 at 11:47am
@ mm so you support a ban if someone posts hateful and/or inappropriate content on the internet? Will you be banning yourself from the FT website? Love the moral high ground. You and people like you spend the summer verbally abusing some 24 year old and then act all superior when he retaliates by doing something stupid. It's as if he doesn't take too kindly to being called "stupid", "lazy", "selfish", "talentless", "responsible for Italy's World Cup failure". We won't agree to disagree
on the 14th July, 2014 at 9:18am
I would like to see what Balo could've done with 2006 Milan, or 2006 Azzurri....I wonder how many people would have hated him then...
on the 14th July, 2014 at 3:45am
Everyone forgets what he did in the last euro, or even what he did for Milan in his first 1/2 season...
Last season was bad for him (and all of milan) but im sure with El Shaarawy coming back Balo will definitely have some support and hopefully get back to his old ways.He's not a waste of space just needs support in attack...Sheva and inzaghi had Rui Costa then Kaka (in his prime) as well as a solid midfield (pirlo, gattuso, seedorf) Balo has montilivo,poli,de jong LOL...
on the 14th July, 2014 at 3:41am
Id support a ban. But I think it should be more than 6games. But not because its balotelli (as much as I cant stand him) its an unacceptable picture especially at a time where gangs and gun crimes do flood our news rooms all over the world. He knew the frenzy a pic like that would create- and if he 'didnt' hes even more stupid.
@maldini heir we probably annoy everyone with comments- so lets agree to disagree and keep things relevant from this point onwards. Good call on a ban.
on the 13th July, 2014 at 6:17pm
The state of the Milan fans on this comments section mirrors that of the club! Lol
Forza Inter!!
on the 13th July, 2014 at 5:38pm
a tad frustrated after the Napoli game). Anyway that should do it and then we can focus on the football again. I've no desire to see another one of our best players from last season let go while we have so many other problems. If he's sold and the money properly re-invested then fine but I doubt it will. If we only have a few pennies spare can we sign a CB?
on the 13th July, 2014 at 3:05pm
@ anonymous I didn't know we were talking about football since the mention of the "B" word usually sees these comments descend into a combination of a Lega Nord party rally and the play ground. On the subject of Mr B I think the infamous photo is an absolute disgrace and Milan must act quickly to discipline him. I'd support a fine and a possibly a ban of 3-6 games. In reality it's the first incident he's been involved in since being at Milan (I don't count defending himself on TV and getting....
on the 13th July, 2014 at 3:02pm
Wow there's some very pleasant comments on here as usual. I normally don't care about typos and we all do it but I think in the case of mm (or should it not be MM?) (s)he seems to often make the same mistakes. I just thought I'd point it out since if you're calling someone stupid you'd probably want to be able to spell.
on the 13th July, 2014 at 2:56pm
I hope inzaghi can sort this mess out but I think the team has serious issue that changing players wont resolve. The issue start from the top and work all the way down. Berlusconi family have unsettled everything and galliani is still there doing god only knows what. With no clear vision above how is the manager and team ever going to settle?
The team needs to be cut and focus needs to turn away from gun pointing balo and more towards the youth, we need fresh home grown talent.
on the 13th July, 2014 at 11:35am
Well said aussie bob. I think the whole of italy feels the same. Except of course balotelli' love child maldini heir who is currently not commenting on football but on being a personal spell check for me! I think I might have done us all a favour as we no longer have to listen to his horrendously useless football comments. So, I say thanks maldini heir plaesee kip corectng me! **IF ANYONE ELSE WOULD LIKE THIS FREE SERVICE FROM MALDINI HEIR, JUST QUESTION HIS FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE**
on the 13th July, 2014 at 11:24am
Hey maldini heir impressive spelling, I think you managed to impress us all. If you had as much knowledge about football as you 'clearly' have with spelling we might actually take what you say seriously. I've had the 'pleasure' of reading some of you comments over the last few months and I must say you really do talk rubbish. You talk like someone with very little knowledge of football. I would also say that it would be better to check over some of your work below before commenting on others!
on the 13th July, 2014 at 11:06am
his talent there is not much between the ears with him. Which is a shame but he is another Cassano. Otherwise the rest of the forward line looks ok with a rejuvenated El Shaarawy. Robinho obviously needs to go and we need to find a way to get the best out of Honda. The big question is after all the posturing and rhetoric about getting back into the CL, do the hierarchy at Milan really believe that is achievable this year? Can't see it at all!
on the 13th July, 2014 at 9:13am
but still not good enough to win anything. Until Bonera and Mexes move on and we find a young italian defender who leads by example we will always look soft in my mind. In midfield we have some quality but need 2-3 players more. Essien and Muntari must go, they are just not reliable players to build a team around. If De Jong goes that will be a huge gap, he is a solid player and we miss his experience. Up front i can't see Balotelli staying, Inzaghi is not going to indulge him and i'm afraid for
on the 13th July, 2014 at 8:44am

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