Ambrosini reflects on ‘very hard’ moment at Milan and names what the current side are missing

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan midfielder Massimo Ambrosini has reflected on some of the key moments of his career, and also gave his assessments on the current Rossoneri squad.

Ambrosini made well over 300 appearances for Milan during an 18-year spell at the club, and we took a look back at his exceptional performance in the 2007 Champions League final in a previous article.

He won several titles with the Rossoneri and captained the side from 2009 to 2013 following Paolo Maldini’s retirement, and he still keeps up with how his old side are getting along, being spotted frequently on the touchline at San Siro often doing media work.

In the third episode of the podcast ‘The history of Milan told by Carlo Pellegatti’ the journalist spoke to Ambrosini about his past at the club and also what he thinks of the current squad and their prospects for the new season, with MilanNews relaying his comments.

On 2012 and the departure of several key players like Gattuso, Inzaghi and Nesta: “Those days were emotionally very hard. We understood that in those days we would lose a pillar of that team there. There I felt the fear of remaining in a situation that would no longer be what it was before, the feeling that then unfortunately was almost a certainty, that day there had its peak.”

On the departure of Ibra and Thiago Silva during the summer of 2012: “The feeling was that the wind had changed for the team and for the club: the needs were different, the club’s needs were to be able to monetise something. The perception of not being as competitive as we were before was there. The awareness of going back 3-4 steps was delicate.”

On Muntari’s infamous non-goal against Juventus: “We can’t have certainties, but as a footballer the emotional wave of a victory and the possibility of extending the advantage would have had a decisive weight I don’t know, but it would have given us a totally higher percentage to win that title.”

On the Milan of Boban, Savicevic and Baggio: “I also defined it as a Milan ‘funfair’. I was a kid who was occasionally made to go around the carousel in training, in a little game (laughs). I had the feeling of having arrived in a different reality, not only from a football point of view.

“That team there was made up of sensational men, they were footballers and men who challenged each other every day in training with the desire to improve. When they went out on the pitch they had a ferocity and a quality… We were the Harlem Globetrotters.”

On the comparison with the Scudetto winning team of this year: “They told us, it was a theme. In my opinion, due to the parable that the guys from Pioli had, this team here had even more awareness, and achieved it with the work of these years. We, on the other hand, began to realise our strength around February.

“That was a bit of a troubled year, but in this one Milan reaped the fruits of two years of work. Then I saw the last few matches from the pitch, I must admit that the sensations that San Siro gave in the last two or three home games was something sensational. It was unique: the will and energy that people had, probably frustrated by the last few years, they transferred them to the stands.

“I saw the expression of the people, it was a desire for an explosion that had been brewing for years. Against Atalanta and Fiorentina it was a continuous explosion, there was a positive energy that was also shared by Paolo [Maldini] on the sidelines, whom I occasionally met before matches. He looked at the stadium, which was much more Rossoneri than in our times.”

On De Ketelaere: “He is an interesting, modern player, but we have to find out well at certain levels. He comes from a league that has a football culture devoted to work and sacrifice: it could be a profile that could integrate and give something. Milan needs there in that area of ​​the pitch, maybe not one but a couple of elements. I like the Belgian and Ziyech.”

On the 2003-04 season: “That team there was strong, the year before they had won the Champions League and had self-esteem and a structure of a certain type, already tested. The club was then phenomenal to go and shore up the squad there. On Kaká, to be honest, I had a different feeling than my teammates. I had the feeling that he wasn’t ready in the first training sessions, then after the first game at Ancora I thought that maybe I was wrong [laughs].”

Like Tonali you scored a goal in Rome – back in 2004 – against Lazio that was a crucial winner: “Tonali’s came a little later, mine was in the period of February-March. How important it was certainly decisive, he gave awareness of being able to do it. Mine, on the other hand, at that moment had given the certainty that we would make it.”

In 2010-11 Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived. What did it mean? “The feeling when Ibra arrived was that the wind had changed, with the club wanting to win again. I remember when the news came out and we asked Allegri for confirmation of this possibility and he told us it was true.

“I remember we were going to train and we said to ourselves: ‘If these players come…’ [Ibra and Robinho]. It was a very well played season, Allegri was good at putting many stars together, it was a well deservedly won title.”

How do you see this Milan? What is missing for a further qualitative leap? “In my opinion there is something missing in the attck. We are in an early stage of the market, so everything is in the making. If Milan settle in that part of the pitch… They have an effective defensive structure. Despite having an attacking game, Milan won the title because they have not conceded many goals, only two in their last nine. There will be no fear of adding quality to this squad.”

On Pioli: “He managed to transfer his ideas coherently and with courage to the group. Even in moments of difficulty, Milan did not change their way of being, they did not change but they had the ability to vary a few lines of play from time to time; but in my opinion the team was recognisable, they won with merit.”

On Maldini as a director: “He has changed compared to the first year of work, he has understood many things, the dynamics of work, he has understood his role, what to do and when to do. To do that job there it takes a bit of experience that has been gained over the years. He was on track and had some insights: Maignan and Theo are his stuff, as well as many others.”

On what’s missing to win the Champions League: “It’s complicated. There are 4-5 top clubs that have economic possibilities that make you have more solutions, you go to collide with realities that have a quantity of talent that, within a competition like the Champions League, make the difference. Ideas, courage, personality and even a bit of luck can shorten a gap that cannot fail to exist.”

Tags AC Milan Massimo Ambrosini

1 Comment

  1. What a man I Massimo Ambrosini.
    This man played like a lion on the pitch for us, very technical and unique in his own qualities. So sad that the modern day football have lost that commitment from players who used to be devoted and loyal to the batch and colors of the team. I love u Ambrosini and I remember your work ethic just like Mark Van Bommel at the time. I remember when he knocked Marek Hamzik off in the first 20 minutes of the game so we can have a fair game that year. That footballing beast was so unstoppable in his time. Good to have u as one of our faithful milanista….ciao✌️✌️

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.