Former Milan midfielder explains why he always had a feeling Pioli’s men would win the league

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan star Walter Novellino has given his thoughts on the Scudetto win that the team managed to achieve in the 2021-22 season.

Not many pundits and fans has Milan down as favourites for the Scudetto going into the last campaign, but after winning 10 of their first 11 league games people began to believe, so much so that some may have backed it via a site like KUBET.

The Rossoneri were in a head to head battle with their city rivals Inter but won six of their last six games to take advantage of the slip-up from the Nerazzurri against Bologna, never looking back and powering to the finish line.

Novellino spoke during an interview with MilanNews about the triumph of Stefano Pioli’s men and the key architects of it.

“What I can say is that Milan were the team that most deserved the title victory. I believe that beyond the difficulties, the Rossoneri deserved to win. The players embraced a major project that ultimately turned out to be a winner. The team put passion, enthusiasm, determination and nastiness into it,” he began.

In a previous interview back in November 2021, you told me that Milan would win the Scudetto. What made you think this already at the time?

“The enthusiasm that was around the team. And then I realised that Mr. Pioli would be able to convey his belief to the players, his way of interpreting football. Pioli gave the group tranquility and serenity.

“In my opinion, Ibrahimovic was also important because he is a fundamental player, both on and off the pitch. Ibra has had a lot of impact in the locker room because sometimes he doesn’t just count on scoring goals. When a young man was in trouble he helped him. For me the Swede was also decisive in this way.”

What was the decisive moment for Milan in winning this title?

“There are important milestones and not a single episode. In moments of difficulty, I think of when the team lost some tough points, they always knew how to react by rejecting everything that was said about them. Then the last few rounds… they faced them with the right malice. You could see that Milan was a team that wanted to win the title.”

If he has to choose a symbol for this Scudetto, who would he choose? Any players, or Pioli?

“I would not choose just one symbol but I would choose three. The club first of all, then Pioli and then as a player I say Leao. Obviously also Ibrahimovic as a player because he was fundamental as I said before.”

Next year the Rossoneri will have to try to pass the Champions League group stages. What do they need to do this?

“Milan need to gain experience because the team is already strong like this. It should not be forgotten that there are many young players who need to grow up and need to gain experience also in the European field. I don’t think big purchases are needed, at most some tweaks. In the Champions League, experience goes a long way, so this is the thing Milan need most at the moment to do well in the cups.”

Do you think Ibra should continue or retire as a winner?

“Why should he retire? He is a driver and he wants to win more and more. He is intelligent, so if he feels like he should continue. Then there is also the need to evaluate how he is physically and what are the projects of the company, but these are different discussions.”

Can Sandro Tonali become an icon of Milan?

“Sergio Volpi – who I coached for many years at Sampdoria – told me about Tonali six years ago. He was coach of the Brescia youth teams and he told me: ‘Mister there is a player who looks like me and is stronger than me’. It was Tonali. Great player who plays with the right wickedness. He has character and I think he can become a big shot not only for Milan, but also for the national team.”

Tags AC Milan Walter Novellino
Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.