Category Archives: Italian Serie A

Fabio Capello: Leonardo Bonucci can’t play his role at MIlan

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Former AC Milan boss Fabio Capello says Leonardo Bonucci “can’t defend” and was fortunate to play in a system that suited him at Juventus.

Italy international Bonucci moved to San Siro from the Serie A champions in a shock €42 million deal but the player has found himself on the wrong side of scathing criticism from a former Rossoneri coach after a poor start to life at San Siro.

It was telling of Milan’s struggles at the back as the Serie A giants — who spent £160 million to bring in 10 players in the summer transfer window — as the Rossoneri conceded 25 goals in 18 games, and with only 22 goals, for them languishes at 3 goals against in goal difference.

Capello, who guided Milan to four Serie A titles and the 1994 Champions League in a glittering spell in the early 1990s, has since offered his own assessment of Bonucci’s qualities and the reason behind his poor performances.

“He’s the best Italian defender when he has the ball at his feet. He’s among the top three in the world,” Capello said.

“But he can’t defend. He has big problems. It was ideal for him at Juventus, where he was free. It’s perfect for him to play in a three [in defence]. Playing in a four is hard.”

Bonucci has played in 16 of Milan’s 18 Serie A matches this season.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side, who face Inter in a Coppa Italia quarter-final on Wednesday, sits at 11th place in the league table while their neighbouring rivals stays at 3rd place, just five points behind leaders Napoli.

Milan thrashed by Verona amidst UEFA concern over club books

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UEFA has expressed concern over AC Milan’s financial situation even as the club’s miserable season hit a new low after slumping to a 3-0 loss at struggling Verona in Serie A on Sunday

Verona rose to 17th in the table and above the relegation zone after earning only their third league win of the season, thanks to goals from Antonio Caracciolo, Moise Kean and Daniel Bessa scored.

Caracciolo, who was left unguarded by the Milan defence headed in from Romulo’s corner in the 24th minute, with the ball hitting the bar and going in off goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Kea then scored the second after Bessa pulled the ball back 10 minutes after halftime.

After the break, Bessa tripled Verona’s unchallenged lead in the 77th minute by finishing from Romulo’s pass after the Brazilian burst down the right unchallenged. Milan forward Suso was then sent off for kicking Daniele Verde, who was on the ground, in a decision made with the help of the video assistant referee.

The result meant that Milan have managed one win, one draw and one defeat in their three league games since Gennaro Gattuso was appointed as coach, who said his side had started well but failed to react after falling behind in the 24th minute.

“Until the first goal, we played some good football and created plenty of chances,” Gattuso said. “Then, at the first sign of trouble, we collapsed as we have so often this season. We need to understand why we collapsed like that…..we don’t know how to react when we go behind. There are no excuses, we made fools of ourselves.”

Milan, who are seven-time European champions have came under Chinese ownership since April, and spent more than €200m (£176.5m) in the last transfer window in an attempt to re-establish themselves as a force in Serie A. The effort turned out mixed results, as they are currently seventh in the table with seven wins and seven defeats.

Topping off their miserable run, UEFA has rejected Milan’s request for a voluntary agreement that would have temporarily exempted the club from European football’s financial fair play rules last week.

The European football governing body said regarding Milan’s finances that there were “still uncertainties in relation to the financing of the loans to be paid back in October 2018 and the financial guarantees provided by the main shareholder”.

 

AC Milan shows support to Gianluigi Donnarumma amidst fan abuse

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AC Milan say they “know where the evil comes from” as they show support to Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was left in tears by abusive fan amidst reports that he wants to leave.

Donnarumma, 18, had looked likely to leave Milan after turning down a new deal in June, but then extended his contract until 2021.

However, a number of papers published the story that the Italian wanted the deal he agreed in July cancelled, as it was signed under “psychological pressure”.

In response, fans unfurled a banner during the Coppa Italia win over Verona on Wednesday saying they had “lost patience”.

AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli said they will protect Donnarumma, but that there is “someone who is damaging our image”, adding that the club have not met Donnarumma’s agent, Mino Raiola and there was “nothing else to say”

“I think that one day he [Donnarumma] will realise what’s good and bad,” said Mirabelli, who asked fans to “whistle our opponents, not our players.”

“Gigio has never said he wants to leave. There’s someone who is trying to organise something deliberately, but we will look out for Milan’s interests in every arena.”

“Gigio is very young. It’s not entirely his fault. We’ll always protect him, he’s our asset. We know where the evil comes from, we hope to solve this issue over the next few months.”

Club coach Gennaro Gattuso had also backed his player, adding: “He’s not how some people depict him. His team-mates are backing him too, he’s a very humble guy.”

Donnarumma had broke into the first team in AC Milan as a 16-year-old teenager, and have since featured more than 80 times in Serie A for the team and won four caps for Italy.

Benevento snatches shock first point in Serie A from Gattuso’s Milan

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Benevento has secured their first point in their Italian top-flight debut after their goalkeeper scored a goal an injury-time to tie 2-2 against Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan.

The Serie A newcomers are playing in their first ever season in the Italian top flight but had lost each of their previous 14 games.

Benevento — who were in the third tier in 2015-16 — had also lost more games at the start of a season than any team in history from Europe’s top five leagues, and looked to be on their way to a 15th defeat with Milan leading in the 95th minute.

However, Alberto Brignoli, a goalkeeper on loan at Benevento from Juventus, came up into the box for a Danilo Cataldi free-kick, and rose above the Milan defence to glance a header into the bottom corner to level the score dramatically, and thus becoming the first goalkeeper to score in Serie A since Massimo Taibi for Reggina in 2001.

“It’s difficult to describe,” said Brignoli. “I was thinking: ‘It’s 2-1, the 95th minute, we have nothing to lose.’ I went up there, closed my eyes and jumped.”

“It would have been terrible to lose this, as we’ve lost so many at the last second that we really didn’t deserve to. Today we got some of that [luck] back. We’ve shown that we can play against anyone and just need the incidents to go our way.”

The result also extends a bad spell for Milan, who were looking for a fresh start under new coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Gattuso had replaced Vincenzo Montella as coach last Monday, and was frustrated at the sight of his team squandering their lead twice in a game they looked prepared to win despite Alessio Romagnoli’s sending off in the 75th minute.

“We conceded a strange goal and at the moment that’s just what our luck is,” said Gattuso. “We have a long way to go and a lot to improve. “It hurts. A stabbing would have been better than this goal. We’re Milan and we need to be better, because this isn’t enough.”

AC Milan dropped to eighth place with the draw, as Fiorentina leapfrogged them by cruising to a 3-0 home win over struggling Sassuolo to end a spell of four Serie A games without a win.