Former AC Milan midfielder Massimo Ambrosini has weighed in on the captaincy debate by suggesting Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a candidate for the armband.
There is some debate ongoing about what will happen if Alessio Romagnoli’s contract expires and he decides to leave Milan on a free transfer when the season ends. In the absence of Romagnoli it was Davide Calabria who took the captaincy, but more due to his ‘seniority’ within the squad rather than being appointed in that role, while Theo Hernandez and Simon Kjaer have also stepped up.
Ambrosini gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport about a number of different topics related to the captaincy, including who held the armband while he played and what it was like to wear it himself.
“My captain at Milan was Paolo, but I thank God every day for letting me experience what Franco was doing on a playing field,” he said (via PianetaMilan).
“Is Ibrahimovic difficult to manage as a captain? No, he gave so much to others. also in terms of enthusiasm. But it was a period of transition, there were many heads to put together, and Allegri’s third year was complicated, especially towards the end.”
Ambrosini inherited the captaincy from Paolo Maldini and he has revealed that he had internal doubts about whether he was suitable to wear it.
“And in my case the concern was that I was up to the task, because I was inheriting something huge. But the honor for the band was directly proportional to that concern great honour and great responsibilities.”
The captain is still Romagnoli, given that he is likely to be a starter until the end of the season, and Ambrosini believes this is correct.
“It must be respected. I remember when rumours began to circulate about me, it bothered me. As long as Alessio is at Milan he has that armband and you have to remember that.”
On what skills a good captain should have, he added: “He must learn to manage responsibilities in everyday life, he must be recognised in that role by the club but first of all by his team-mates.
“Years of service do not necessarily correspond to leadership. The criterion of appearances cannot be the only one: it is important, but not the only one to be evaluated.”
There is the accepted notion that the captain of a big club is chosen by the coach, something the ex-midfielder agrees with but not as the sole factor.
“You cannot ignore the coach, because it is right that the coach fully recognises himself in his captain. But it cannot be a univocal condition.”
On whether Tonali has what it takes to be a leader: “If he confirms what he is showing, the fabric is certainly there, not only on a technical level.
“If Tonali continues like this, he has all the qualities needed to be the captain of Milan in the future. But he is not the only one in the team: I am also thinking of Simon Kjaer, who seems to me a natural captain and on the other hand is already the leader of his national team.
“I repeat, there could be many candidates, but I’ll throw it there: why not Ibra, if he will continue in Milan? Another year, and with the captain’s armband: it would be a wonderful career finale and he would still give Milan a lot.”