AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has had a huge hand in helping a number of players begin to realise their true abilities, according to a report.
Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanLive) highlights the players that Pioli has managed to re-evaluate in recent months, starting with Franck Kessie.
The Ivorian seemed certain to be sold in the last January window and the summer before that, but has since formed a fantastic and reliable double pivot with Ismael Bennacer and his stock has never been higher.
Another player who has managed to surprise is Alexis Saelemaekers. The Belgian arrived amid general skepticism regarding the Rossoneri’s strategy given he had played just a few times for Anderlecht, but he is proving to be a valuable player in Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 contributing hugely to the overall balance of the system.
He also recently won his first even call-up for the Belgian national team, a sign of his growth and good performances in recent months.
Davide Calabria has also had a resurgence under Pioli after a disappointed 2019-20 campaign, and he has now made the right-back spot his own given the physical problems of Andrea Conti and the late arrival of Diogo Dalot. The Primavera graduate has put in good performances and also earned a national team call-up.
Simon Kjaer is another player who arrived at Milan with some wondering just what role he would play after a bad experience at Atalanta, but he is now one of the first names on the team sheet. He cost just €3.5m and has become a real leader in defence.
Comforting signs have also begun to arrive from Rafael Leao, who is in search of the right continuity to make the leap in quality that everyone expects from him.
Finally we can add Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic to the list, both of whom had done nothing at Milan until the start of the calendar year but now are decisive, with the latter ending up as last season’s top scorer.