The Rossoneri coach is ready to start the race again: the club supports him, the controversy is over, the calendar is smiling until January and if Zlatan returns…
Stefano Pioli today has shoulders as broad as this: they go from New York to Milanello, passing through Via Aldo Rossi and the skyscrapers of Porta Nuova, where Zlatan Ibrahimovic will soon melt his reservations about his third life in Milan, closer than ever. All for Pioli, Pioli for all: Because the week just archived will certainly not go down in history as one of Milan’s most glamorous, but this is not the place to dramatize it. on the contrary. Milan are a lively team – we saw that in Maradona’s opening 45 minutes – and above all, they are on pace to achieve their seasonal goals: the Scudetto is currently 3 points away and the calendar is starting to smile, the Champions League round of 16 is daunting but not impossible. Success on November 7 against Paris Saint-Germain would change views and perceptions. However, perceptions around Pioli never changed at Milan: the more social media targeted him – substitutions, tactical situation, injuries – the more the club supported him.
For Pioli’s owners, he was and remains a brilliant technician, the respected coach who knows how to make the most of the available technical capital and get results. The company’s choices this summer say so, putting Pioli at the heart of the project more and more than before: he has never been involved in transfer strategies like this season, and the harmony with CEO Forlani, head of the technical area Moncada and sporting director Dotavio was almost perfect. Pioli personally worked on signing new players, from Pulisic to Loftus-Cheek, from Reinders to Chukwueze, and requested job profiles for the Milan he was considering. Transfer options were then pursued by those on the pitch, and here Pioli positively surprised the club’s senior management: with such a profoundly revamped squad, a trial period was a scenario that needed to be taken into account, and instead Milan started strongly straight away. He slipped in the derby, it’s true, but he started running again, rising to first place alone, then losing it after the defeat to Juve: in short, Pioli bought time according to initial expectations, slowing down in the big matches – Juve specifically but also Paris Saint-Germain. Germain and the draw with Napoli do not prevent Milan from looking at the rest of the season with the same confidence as in August. Gerry Cardinale, the first owner of the RedBird team in Milan, never fails to support the coach: he will be at San Siro for the return match against Paris Saint-Germain next Tuesday. After that, Milan may have started winning again, because Udinese arrives on Saturday: a delicate but completely manageable match and it is not the only one. Putting all the direct confrontations behind them (Atalanta is missing), from now until the end of the first round, the Rossoneri will play 6 matches out of 9 against mid- and low-ranked opponents: it is a great opportunity and he will be “called” for the championship points.
Ibrahim towards the return
Cardinale’s return to Milan could help in a new meeting with Ibrahimovic, after the meetings that took place in mid-September, when Mr. Red Bird and the former striker met for two days in a row between Milanello and a hotel in central Milan. From then until today, contacts between the owner and Zlatan have remained alive, very alive: Ibra also spoke about a possible return with the CEO. Forlani and the thinking continues, even if those who know Zlatan talk about Ibrahimovic’s interest in him. The white smoke may be much closer than the parties involved let on. The return of Ibrahimovic to Milanello, perhaps as a collaborator with Pioli, in close daily contact with the team, would make everyone happy: the coach, who together with Zlatan formed a crucial axis to return Milan to success in Italy, and Ibrahimovic himself, involved in a project that would make it work. .
Now more pressure with Zlatan by his side in the locker room, Pioli will find the inimitable leadership (his words) of the champion who until a few months ago was an example to his teammates. But managing the group, for the Rossoneri coach, was never a problem, and it is not yet: there were moments of tension between Paris and Napoli, from Calabria’s words at the Parc des Princes to the reactions of Leao and Giroud. After Maradona changes, but everything came back quickly, let’s say on a plane ride. However, one thing is certain: Pioli, in the post-match moments, wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it. Although it was instinctive, the club didn’t like some of the statements either, and the team got the message. Because to get going, this Milan has to be compact.
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