Milan aren’t the best squad in Serie A, but that’s not an insult

by | May 7, 2022 23:01

Verona coach Igor Tudor infuriated Milan supporters by claiming their squad should be third or fourth in Serie A, but Susy Campanale asks was he really wrong and shouldn’t that be a compliment?

In the build-up to Sunday evening’s showdown at the Stadio Bentegodi, Tudor spoke in his press conference and was trying to compliment the Rossoneri on building a real project and mentality.

“If you look at Milan’s squad, they ought to be in third or fourth position, so that shows what Stefano Pioli and the club have achieved. They’ve been up there challenging for two years now.”

This was taken as an insult by some supporters, who felt he was doing down the quality of the side, or suggesting they were not worthy Scudetto contenders.

That is an unfair interpretation, as well as a refusal to look reality square in the face, because Tudor said nothing that was not true.

If you take it one player at a time, does this Milan side really stack up against the options available to Simone Inzaghi at Inter, Luciano Spalletti at Napoli or Max Allegri at Juventus?

This is without even taking into account the strength in depth that is so markedly lacking and was behind Milan’s early Champions League collapse, but simply their ideal starting XI.

Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are great veterans, but realistically at the end of their careers, so cannot be compared to Lautaro Martinez, Victor Osimhen or Dusan Vlahovic.

Brahim Diaz blows more cold than hot, Franck Kessie has looked unengaged throughout his final season, while Ante Rebic is either injured or starting an argument in an empty room.

Rafael Leao is the only genuine outfield talent in that Milan squad and even he is far from the finished article, although he is making the right decision slightly more often than he used to.

In defence, Theo Hernandez and Fikayo Tomori are certainly impressive, but would they really shove Ivan Perisic, Robin Gosens or Milan Skriniar out of the Inter XI?

Perhaps the one player who really would be first pick at Inter, Juventus or Napoli is goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who rescued the Rossoneri on numerous occasions this term and ensured Gianluigi Donnarumma was not missed.

It’s nowhere near enough to consider this Milan squad the strongest in Serie A, and not even Pioli would argue that they are.

Does that mean they are not worthy Scudetto contenders, though? Not in the slightest. Football has a long history of the best group of players not winning silverware, because they were not a team, otherwise Paris Saint-Germain would lift the Champions League every season.

Milan have achieved far more than they ought to be capable of already and that’s before new owners and Champions League qualification boost investment. So rather than be insulted at the idea, their fans should embrace their ability to out-play and out-think bigger spenders, wondering just what they can achieve by building on these foundations in the near future.

epa09806557 Milan's forward Olivier Giroud jubilates with his teammates after scoring the goal 0-1 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between SSC Napoli and AC Milan at 'Diego Armando Maradona' stadium in Naples, Italy, 6 March 2022 EPA-EFE/CESARE ABBATE

38 Comments

  1. Tinubu

    This should be a motivation for the squad. I remember how Milan ended the campaign last season and it’ll be nice to have that this time around. It’ll also help to begin on a high level next season. Tudor just did Milan a favor and all Pioli has to do is paste the headline in the locker room and let the players wake up to see that

  2. ACMABZ

    Yep definitely not an insult. It’s fact.

  3. Nico

    Yes Susy, while reading Tudor’s comments earlier I did a double take to understand what he really meant. Yes, one can say that we aren’t the top team on paper.

    That said, would I take any other player in the league to replace the following:

    Magic Mike – NO
    Tomori – NO
    Kjaer – NO
    Kalulu – NO
    Calabria – NO
    Tonali -NO
    Bennacer – NO
    Kessie – NO
    Giroud – NO
    Ibra – NO
    Leao – NO

    So we may not have the best team but there are some players for me that are very good at their role and totally in sync with the club, coach, playing style and our tifosi. The team, the camaraderie, the versatility, the playing style, the coach, the future, the bench, etc. are all deeper than names on a team sheet. There’s a synchronicity in there that cannot be bought.

  4. Nico

    Forgot Theo!! – NO!

  5. MG

    @nico. Go smoke another joint. Ibra? Are you for real? Milan is garbage.

  6. nyr2k2

    On a player by player basis, it is true, they are behind a handful of other teams in pure talent. But, football is a team sport, and they play team football as well as anyone else in Serie A, to be sure.

    At the same time, while they do lack quality in attack, their commitment to the defensive side of the game is outstanding. It is not just because of Maignan that they have conceded the fewest goals in Serie A.

  7. Milo

    As a milan supporter, two seasons ago would I have thought we would finish second and be challenging for the scudetto? No. But to say they’re the third or fourth best team is insulting the players. Yes they’re young but don’t tell me they don’t have quality. We definitely have the best goalie in the league by far, probably a top 5 keeper in the world this season. We have a fantastic defence full of speed power and technique. We have the best holding midfielder in the league as tonali has shown head to head he was Better in both legs against locatelli and beat barella too in the victory. It’s really in attack where milan is lacking but don’t undermine the players and team. Between them and inter they’re the two strongest teams in Italy right now.

  8. Milo

    And to whoever wrote this article your truly insulting milan by saying would theo and fikayo tomori be able to replace gosens, perisic or skriniar? Absolutely yes!

    Then you go even further and insult them by saying only maignan would be able to go into juve or napoli? Oh because juves full backs arent atrocious? Their midfield is the worst they’ve been in 10 years. I would never take rabiot, Arthur, loca in the team over we have anyone. Not even juve fans want those players.

    Napoli I wonder every day how they are even so high up in the table because their players aren’t impressive, albeit a few. Give milan the credit they deserve because at least they aren’t playing boring like Juventus and predictable like napoli.

    This team has shown they’re taking the leap in quality to be the best and don’t forget many are under the age of 25

  9. G

    This is the weakest serie A this century by far, but thats how football is. Both Milan and Inter are weak teams, evident by their performances in Europe

  10. FERBAN

    @Nico

    Of course Milan would take many other players in the league to replace some that you listed. They’re being a supported and then there’s being ridiculous.

    Basically what you’re saying is is that Serie A’s best 11 is all Milan players lol.

  11. Solointer

    So since Milan have a weak side to be in the current position (FACT) it has to be said it’s LUCK that has kept them there. That’s the main reason the default is crying about the refs because if that’s gets taken away it’s the actual performance and stats that gets used and there’s no question inter are way ahead.

  12. FERBAN

    Fair play to Milan if they win it. But it’ll be more down to grit than talent.

    If they do win it. they’ll probably be the lowest quality champions of Serie A I’ve ever seen. Even that rubbish Juve side from 2 years ago had a few big stars in it.

    It’s a worrying trend for Serie A that some of the recent champions have been the worst, quality wise, in a long, long time.

  13. Jack

    Milans team has plenty of room for improvement. That is a fact. It is also a fact that most of the players on other teams are 3 or 4 years older than Milans players and are either entering their prime or already in their prime.

    If Milan manage to compete for consecutive seasons for honors with this young team, that means that they’ve done so on growth, not on luck as some biased inter fans are saying.

    The future of Milan is as bright as Inters is dire.

  14. bUNGA2

    No offence taken, in fact I am proud that my “weak” team is wiping the floor with the better teams on paper. I think most Milan fans would agree to say that we’re actually ahead of the ‘schedule’ to be a contender. We were supposed to be in a rebuilding phase lol. I think the comment is also a slight to Inter, Juve and Napoli, don’t you think? If I am to read between the lines, probably he’s trying to campaign for his case as the next Juve manager 😉

    It’s been a while since we see Milan teams which are better than sum of its parts. If we’re able to build on this culture while upgrading the individual part (especially the attacking department), the future is looking ever so bright.

  15. Artin

    I don’t care if this is insulting or not. Let’s just win tonight!!!

  16. Tony

    @solointer luck!! Really!! The league would be over if it wasn’t for bad calls against Milan and decisions given to inter. Performance and stats have shown Milan have lost one game against the top teams all season and only when a dubious offside call against Giroud was given, vs Napoli. Try come up with a coherent argument instead of luck.

  17. Dm

    This team without Pioli would finish outside the top 4,
    Pioli is the real star
    If Allegri was the coach they would be in the bottom half a good coach is vital in todays game,

  18. Stan (Milanfan)

    Milan‘s team are definitely not the best but this article is ridiculous to say Theo who has been the best left back since he came to Italy wouldn’t make Inter XI, if not for injuries, Inter have no player like Zlatan, Tomori has been outstanding, Kessie is going to Barcelona and yet wouldn’t make inter’s team, the same team Hakan has auto starting spot. Locatelli didn’t get a starting spot in the weakest Milan team but now he’s rated so high.
    2 players I would take from inter’s team is Lautaro and Perisic and from Juve is Chiesa and Napoli Victor Osimen.. Milan’s problem is only the attack and don’t forget, in the Champions League, being the first for many players, we outplayed athletico in both legs.. It wasn’t a total disaster as you put it

  19. Matt

    @SoloInter Your are absolutely right, luck is the only reason the league isn’t over by now – and everybody knows it. But Milan aren’t the lucky ones. Just think about how lucky Inter are. Udinese‘s goal against Milan allowed to stand despite an obvious handball, play stopped seconds before Messias scoring against Spezia, 1-1 goal against Napoli disallowed under very dubious circumstances, Torino NOT given a clear penalty against Inter when already 1-0 up. The league would’ve been over by now if Italy had decent refs. Yes, luck indeed.

  20. Ad

    Historically intermilan and juventus are not know to play with flair and a touch of European football so the constant envy of Milan couple’s with her European success and widespread popularity throughout the whole world…. similarly this current Juve and inter is a reflection of what their DNA is all about; Individuality and talent’s but not teamwork and flair like Milan, that’s why they’re jealous. This Milan team is far far better miles apart and ahead than inter and Juve and the stats and table confirms it.
    Moreso, structurally wise, inter and Juve are in a dire management situations compared to the ever growing Milan

  21. Viktor

    @MG

    Milan is garbage?? You little hating scum, accept the fact that they are doing wonders considering what they have at their disposal. Shame on you for being so ignorant

  22. Viktor

    @ Solointer

    LUCK?? Numbers doesn’t lie. There is no luck involved and brining up ref as an excused is just pathetic, if anything your team is the most corrupt team of them all. Shut you mouth and show some respect

  23. Milan Fan

    I agree with Tudor, and I took that as a compliment. Pioli must be proud for what he’s done. After all, what’s the magic in being top with the best and most expensive squad? This feels much better.

  24. Nico

    @MG Ibra brings something that cannot be quantified on the pitch. You c;early missed what Ibra is all about and what he brought to this young team since we re-signed him.

    He brought a level of professionalism, conviction and belief to the team that isn’t only measured by whether he plays or not and how good he plays. His primary work has been off it and yes…NOT a single player in serie A (or any other league-can’t think of another player) can do what he did to our squad without playing.

    Irreplaceable player! Keep until he decides to leave. We have a another coach, manager and director in his number 11.

  25. Maldinis heir

    What does any of this even mean?

    If they’re top of the league, and have been for nearly 2 years, then clearly they are better than most.

    That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

    The opinions of players’ abilities are no different to opinions about fashion, and as interesting/relevant to real life.

  26. soloInter

    It’s funny that some Milan fans reject it’s not LUCK but then agree that their team is weak. In the CL it was very clear and it will be the same in the next CL. Some try to bring on the stats which are open for everyone to see that the best performing team this season was Inter. In terms of everything from goals scored, defence and performing better outside of Italy. Is it just a coincidence that the teams that Inter faced in the CL are both in the final and yes they lost but it was a close match-up compared to Milan and others. I still believe the best team will win the league because the thing about LUCK is that it runs out at the most convenient/unfortunate time. If Radu can concede that goal and Inter can come back from two goals down then this will go down to final seconds and I’m 100% sure it won’t be luck.

  27. Bunga2

    Why is so many Inter fans are adamant to say that Milan is lucky thus far, does that make them sleep better at night or what? Does it hurt your ego to have a scudetto battle against such a weak team? If your team is so strong, why don’t you have the scudetto in the bag by now? Especially considering that Inter is the one benefited the most by the dubious ref decisions all season long. We’ve been challenging you for scudetto for the last two seasons now, that ain’t JUST luck. We even made progress from last season.

    I am sensing envy actually. Milan has been building well, we’re financially responsible, with players who are mostly under 25s who hasn’t even peaked. The future looks great compared to a team who has to pay 21 million in interest fee every season. Ask any neutrals, which team is on the right path and which team is probably going in downward spiral unless some drastic changes occur.

  28. BOSS

    @Viktor

    Don’t call people “you little hating scum” – that only sheds a light on how hating you are yourself on here.

    Remember your disgusting hate-speech directed at Calhanoglu?

    Get a grip on yourself and start acting like an adult.

  29. Adel

    @ Boss, even your hate is laid bare for all to see by your speech and language which is a reflection of what’s in your heart.. in your heart all I see is ;
    H- Haughtiness and hatred hence, you aren’t humble
    E- envy and enmity thus you are enslaved.
    A- Arrogance and thus you argue
    R- Rebellion and thus you resist reasoning.
    T- Temper and thus tear with Tongue
    Learn to observe and keep to yourself not degrade your fellow man because you are an inter fan.

  30. BOSS

    @Adel

    Quit trying to sound like some guru, would u? lol

    I was calling up Vicky on his hatred. You know, complaining about it? Understand now?

    And your heart-reading skills are about as talented as your judgement. I don’t support Inter. do u want to have another blind stab in the dark?

    the fact u chose Inter does show your hatred towards them, though.

  31. Viktor

    @boss

    Happy to hear that you alive. Haven’t heard from you in a minute. Keep the lectures to someone else. Anyone, who ever claims that Milan are “lucky” is going to be addressed accordingly. That’s all. Regards Fossa dei Leoni

  32. Viktor

    @adel

    Well said

  33. Milan Fan

    @ soloInter

    You are a joke. You’ve been saying this exact same thing for the past six months, and guess what? Milan are still first. At one point you were sure Milan’s luck will run out and they will finish 4th or even 5th in the end LMAO

    If Milan ultimately ends up second, no one will blame them, but if Inter finish as runners up, then it just shows what a bunch of clowns those overpaid players and some of their fans like you are.

    Oh and you might want to check your stats, as Milan have the best defense in the league, and you know what they say, the best defense always wins the league.

  34. Adel

    @ solo inter, you have just heard! Thus, just listen

  35. Viktor

    Are we still lucky?!?????

  36. BOSS

    @Viktor

    “that you alive”? What? lol

    I said don’t be insulting people on here, okay? The fact that u didn’t apologise for it or call yourself out says al lot about your evident bitterness and inner rage on here.

    You react aggressively and/or sanctimoniously to anyone who says anything negative about Milan, even when they’re right. Cheer up, Vicktor!

    Now, I want to see u apologise for your “hating little scum” and “shut your mouth” comments.

    Go on, let’s see if you’re man enough.

  37. Ardhi

    As a milan fan, I am not insulted with Tudor’s statement. The true champion is the one with the best teamwork, regardless the quality of the individuals. It’s amazing to see Milan won really tough games against all odds. I hope the team and fans keep humble until the end. It’s just 4 points, guys, and scudetto will be ours!

  38. Tony

    Wow, Susy deserves the sack for thinking any Left back in the league is stronger than Theo.
    Theo is without any doubt a top 3 LB in the world, arguably the best.
    No one would pick Skriniar over Tomori either. Laughable.
    It’s our attack that is significantly weaker than our rivals. Hence why we’ve struggled lately. But we have a strong defence and midfield.

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