The Serie A has been on a steady decline over the last few years. The league now boasts a lower average attendance than the MLS, the North American football division. Given Italy’s football tradition, the above is almost unacceptable, but reality reveals outdated stadiums, violence at matches, political games at football clubs and more.
Amongst all of this, a club seems to be stuck in an identity crisis. AC Milan have struggled to even qualify for the Europa League, let alone the Champions League, the competition that the Rossoneri enjoy so much. At the pinnacle of European football as recently as 2007, Milan are now stuck between the past and the future. With a new stadium in the offing, the latter seems bright, but there is no time to waste in between. In recent years, Milan were bypassed by a much more forward-thinking club, namely Juventus.
Juve came out of its biggest crisis with a new stadium and an entirely new approach to reclaim their throne and retain it. It seems as though, a number of Italian clubs want to follow suit. AC Milan are no different. The club continue to attract interest by touring parts of the world during their pre-season, but when new supporters have been won over from Bangkok to Beijing, they struggle to find the club in the Champions League schedule – a major issue. Hence, the need for fixing the sporting crisis first.
The problem seems to be that it is almost impossible to describe today’s AC Milan. How do they play? What is their philosophy? What is their goal? None of these questions can be answered straightforwardly. However, for change to happen, they have to be dealt with soon.
First, the club need a strong coach, someone who has a winning formula. For Milan this might mean going for experience, or for someone who is young and dynamic. The latter was allegedly tried when first Seedorf, then Inzaghi took over, and they both failed, probably due to lack of support to some extent. Inzaghi is still there, but finishing way outside the international spots is a clear failure for a club of Milan’s reputation. Therefore, Carlo Ancelotti might be an intriguing prospect, now that he has become available. A Milan legend with the credentials needed, he might be able to take the club back to where they belong.
In addition to this, the club’s ownership will have to show faith and determination when ringing in a new era. There needs to be consistency and perseverance, if continued success is to be achieved. As such, there should be some uncertainty around Silvio Berlusconi who just seems to be too distracted to show the same level of focus that made AC Milan so successful. One of the ideas could be new ownership, but that can be a lengthy process.
It is obvious that changes have to be made, not just at Milan, but across the Serie A to ultimately ensure that the league and its clubs can become great again. Juventus was a starting point, but Milan could become a significant milestone. Let us see what the future holds and let us hope for an Italian Renaissance.