Riccardo Montolivo and the Darkest Era of Milan in Modern Football


If Carlos Bacca said there was horrible circumstances in Milan, I agree on Colombian striker words. This former Milan player, Carlos Bacca have been stated that his football (carrier) in Milan actually “good”. But, his goals never lift up Rossonero to the top because at the time, darkest era is still wrapping San Siro.

Actually, Milan crowned scudetto in season 2010/11, first season under Massimiliano Allegri as head coach. Then, positive aura emerged. But later, Milan suffered the series of difficult circumstances. Firstly, there was wrong-way from management to give Andrea Pirlo on free transfer in late 2010/11 season.

Many people argued, that was Allegri fault. It proven with Pirlo lack of game under Allegri at Milan. It’s true, but management also play in this part. There was rumor if Galliano and co. didn’t trusting Pirlo performance with his aging. But, we find out that Pirlo was the key who made Juventus great again in Serie A, after quit from Milan.

Pirlo out only preliminary. Because there was mass exodus of veteran and several key players in the end of 2011/2012 season such as Alessandro Nesta, Filippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mark Van Bommel, Antonio Cassano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva. This was called as “the end of era”, so basically 2012/13 season, Milan will start with creddo “new era”.

Before joined Milan, Montolivo was the captain for Fiorentina.

In the new era, only left Massimo Ambrosini, Christian Abbiati and Daniele Bonera who are the senior players. Milan still had competitiveness. Thanks to Philippe Mexes, Antonio Nocerino, Riccardo Montolivo, Nigel De Jong, Robinho, Mattia De Sciglio, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ignazio Abate, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and others who reinforces and take the empty space after the mass exodus of veteran and key players.

Milan finished third place in Serie A in 2012/13, still looked as strong side. But, unfortunately Milan performance decreased gradually after the old era gone. Financial crisis forced Milan to sold keys like Ibra and Silva. In other hand, they had no money to spend in mercato, so Galliani just give Milan average and young players to replace the stars.

Season 2013/14, Ambrosini left to Fiorentina and the captaincy belong to Riccardo Montolivo. Abbiati, as senior had only gained vice-captain role in the team. Regarding to this issue, Montolivo appointed as the captain for several reasons.

First, Montolivo had experienced became a captain. He was the Fiorentina captain, before joining Milan in 2012/13. Second, since his good performance in first season at Milan, the management thought that Montolivo should be the key player in the team and give him captaincy role, will kept he remain at Milan.

Third, Abbiati fitness in doubt because of his aging factor, so choosing Montolivo as the captain was the logical decision from management at the time. Montolivo is midfileder and it will easier to give command to others if the captain stand in the middle field rather than from goalpost.

Fourth and last, the reason Montolivo was born in Milan. Definitely it was pride to be captain of the big club from where the place you were born. But from all those reasons, the most important one it was experienced as the captain. That’s why, Montolivo appointed to be Milan captain since 2013/14.

Analyzing Milan after the series departures of veteran and key players, as like as Bacca’s said early in this article, we can called as “the darkest era of Milan”. Actually, this dark era started since Pirlo left and more dominant effect since several veteran and key players leave together in the end 2012/13.

The combination lack of quality on the pitch (as the effect of financial crisis) meet with lack of influential figures in locker room, which made Milan suffered decreased since scudetto in 2010/11 and enter light crisis mode after that. Later, the real and severe crisis started from 2013/14 at least until 2016/17, they never qualified to Champions League spot. Either in field performance and financial side, Milan suffered very difficult circumstances.

Improvement just appeared last season, when they had acquired Supercoppa Italiana 2017. The positive thing that is Milan comeback to European competition, Milan going to Europa League this season, though this competition actually not a real place for big club like Milan.

Beside speaking about Milan performance, this season, Milan fans also dragged into the discussion about the captaincy in Milan. The arrival of Leonardo Bonucci created an issue that Montolivo will lost his captain armband. He considered inappropriate to be Milan captain anymore, since his performance which is not good at all.

He often played, because there was only one or two choice in his position before. After the appearing youngster Manuel Locatelli, it was proven the coach realize if Montolivo quality not as good as before.

So many peoples criticizes Montolivo performances, since broken leg nearing the World Cup 2014. His quality and performance decline after that injury. He was failed to play in Euro 2016, also due to injury problem. Montolivo live up with a heavy-pressure in Milan. Even though he was the captain, but the fans doubted his quality and leadership skill.

Injuries made his performance decline until his quality and leadership doubted by the fans.

In social media, many fans give harsh comment such as “kick out” Montolivo from Milan. I agree, if Montolivo performances wasn’t good after injury in 2014 and i will said yes to you that Montolivo sometimes looked so unworthy with his Milan captain armband, but do we deserve to insult Montolivo? Remember, he accepted the captaincy role since 2013/14, that means, he take very heavy responsibility to being captain of Milan in their darkest era of this modern day football.

Just imagined under the pressure from fans, Montolivo lead the team and responsible to the squad harmony in the crisis time, even though in other hand his performance decline because of injuries.

Once, Montolivo had an several offers from Juventus in 2015 adn 2016. So many believe, that Montolivo will resurrect his carrier in Juve, just like Pirlo did before. But, Montolivo always rejecting the offers in order to show the loyalty for Rossonero.

Montolivo in the case of Bonucci arrival, again show the patience. Still under the pressure to leave Milan, he never created a conflict in the team, though his armband should given to new player like Bonucci. He accept the fate that Milan need some changes atmosphere and he showing the humility after his captain role have removed.

Arrived at Milan when they are in crisis, obtain the heavy responsibility as the leader of the squad with their worst side ever or “the darkest era” in modern football, but when the sunshine started coming, he removed as the captain. I am not a Montolivo fan, but in the sense of human, just a few people would experience a fate like Montolivo. Last but not least, insulting our captain (former) was not good habit.

Montolivo, captain in the difficult circumstances since veteran and key figures leave. Does he deserve to be insults?

Do you remember, what Inter fans done to Andrea Ranocchia, their former captain, just because his performance decline and he idolize Paolo Maldini? They are insulting Ranocchia. Oh come on, we looked fool if still replicated their habit toward our former captain, Montolivo.

We are Milan fans more humane than them. We should support Milan and all players unconditionally. Aren’t falling in love with Milan, it means support all Milan players to give their best? Grazie!

Pictures from calciomercatonews, bleacherreport, zonacesarini.net and goal.com.