AC Milan will be looking to sign off for Christmas the right way tonight when they take on Salernitana at the Stadio Arechi, with a third win in a row the target.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes how Zlatan Ibrahimovic will attend his first game as a RedBird consultant, essentially as an assistant manager of Milan, and meets his former team-mate Pippo Inzaghi.
On Pippo’s last great night in the Champions League, Ibrahimovic was on the pitch. Inzaghi came on half an hour from the end and scored two goals against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, with Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.
Stefano Pioli arrived yesterday with the team and on the plane he will have gone over his moves against Antonio Candreva who one day, on SportWeek, said: “Pioli? They called him my dad, because there are often arguments between fathers and sons.”
And a few months earlier, at Lazio: “I wanted the captain’s armband but Pioli disappointed me. I thought I deserved it, he didn’t give me any explanations.” They are perhaps not on great terms, therefore.
Pioli doesn’t have time to think about the past, these are weeks of tension and the future on paper is smiling. Milan will close the first half of the season against Salernitana (away, tonight at 20:45 CET), Sassuolo (at home, 30 December at 18:00) and Empoli (7 January at 12:30 in Tuscany).
Obtaining nine points would mean closing the first half on 41, perhaps shortening the gap to Inter and Juventus, but probably extending the one to Bologna, Napoli, Fiorentina, Atalanta, Roma. And 2024 could start well too. Napoli, fifth today, are the perfect example: Mazzarri will meet Roma, Monza and Torino, with two away games and one home game.
Pioli would be happy if Rafael Leao gave the fans an early present, given he hasn’t scored a goal in the league for almost three months. His last goal was the decisive one against Hellas Verona back on 23 September.
In the meantime he got hurt, he scored against PSG in the Champions League playing an unreal match, he gave his team-mates with pre-Christmas assists, but Leao is too strong not to score for three months. If Pioli wants to accelerate in Serie A, he needs his turbo man with the number 10.