CorSport: From leader to emergency option – Kjaer’s pre-derby paradox

By Oliver Fisher -

Simon Kjaer will make his first start of the season on Saturday night against Inter at San Siro, and it will demonstrate an interesting paradox with regards to his situation.

Today’s edition of Corriere dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) reports that Kjaer will take the place of the suspended Fikayo Tomori at the centre of the defence against Inter, but he will only do so because of the simultaneous unavailability of the injured Pierre Kalulu.

Having arrived at the clubs together with Zlatan Ibrahimović in January 2020, Kjaer contributed to reviving the fortunes of a Milan side who changed head coach from Marco Giampaolo to Stefano Pioli and had just been beaten 5-0 by Atalanta.

Since then, Milan have come a long way, winning the Scudetto in 2021-22 and then getting to the Champions League semi-finals last season. During that period the Dane played 73 games, earning tons of praise and becoming a leader.

It was in December 2021 that he seriously injured his knee, and when he came back he found his starting spot had been taken by Pierre Kalulu. Now, in the hours preceding the Inter-Milan derby, Kjaer is warming up to return as a starter.

It is tough to avoid that his physical state has become the topic of discussion and the cause of a lot of concern. The 34-year-old was and is a leader due to his seniority and character, and yet now he only plays if there is an emergency.

In 2023, Milan lost four out of four derbies against Inter and often Kjaer was blamed as one of the responsible for errors and distractions on conceded goals. Despite this, Pioli considers him an asset rather than a liability, and has no issues fielding him on Saturday.

It is no coincidence that during the first three rounds of the season Pioli has already brought Kjaer on twice from the bench to manage the final part of the two matches, demonstrating that he still trusts him.

Tags AC Milan Simon Kjaer

1 Comment

  1. They really took down my comment because I was confused as to where the parable is in the article(as per the title)?? 🤷‍♂️It was a genuine question

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