GdS: What he found and what he leaves behind – Pioli’s legacy at Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli has been the head coach of AC Milan for more than four and a half years but tomorrow will mark his last game, it has been confirmed.

La Gazzetta dello Sport write how Pioli has done an exceptional job not letting the external noise get to him given the way that he has always spoken with clarity and dignity about his work and his future.

There was one striking comment he made: “I have always evaluated my work for what I find and what I leave. I have found certain situations and I leave another situation.” Now, we can begin to evaluate.

Feet in the rubble

Milan, quite simply, have grown in all areas under Pioli. The credit must obviously be shared with all the components – the management, the financial point etc. – but if Milan are now back to relevancy on the European stage it is clear this is thanks to on-field results.

Ultimately, the proof is easy: on 20 October 2019, the day of Milan-Lecce – Pioli’s first match on the Rossoneri bench – predicting one Scudetto and four Champions League places for the next four and a half years would have been possibly laughed at.

The rubble that Stefano inherited from Marco Giampaolo is well illustrated by the first results: three wins, three draws and three defeats in the nine outings until the collapse in Bergamo, that 5-0 which prompted a reset.

A miracle via video call

After that heavy defeat, Milan needed someone with a firm hand and clear ideas. Someone who was more authoritative than authoritarian, and thus Pioli started building.

Long collective and individual sessions on the couch in his office were needed to convince the players that none of them were actually what they had seen up to that moment. First of all, it was necessary to convince the team of its value, and then give tactical awareness.

The results started to arrive but the real miracle Pioli did was keeping the squad so close together during Covid, with video calls to allow the team to bond but also to keep transmitting his ideas so they were ready for when they could return to the field.

From there a virtuous circle was generated that was unstoppable for a long time, which built the platform for some long streaks without defeat, allowed the Diavolo to return to Europe and above all to regain lost self-esteem.

The sore points

This – to put it in his own words – is what Pioli found and what he leaves behind. Of course, the current season – net of a qualification for the Champions League which guarantees the maintenance of certain budget parameters on the market – cannot be considered positive.

Compared to the virtuous circle of two years ago, some things have deteriorated. Some players have experienced an involution, the Scudetto enthusiasm has given way to depression caused by six derbies lost in a row and the second star slammed in their face by Inter.

And there is also the very painful note of the massacre of injuries, grains of sand one after the other inside the gear costing points. Tactical surprises no longer succeeded and collective belief suffered.

It was probably, quite simply, a cycle that ended naturally. Pioli probably had nothing left to squeeze out of this group but the point remains: five years ago there was one Milan, now there is another.

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Farewell and THANK YOU.

    Now then all this talk regards the new coach OH HANG ON POTENTIAL NEW COACH yes Ac milan before hired coaches withe no proven track record in winning major titles HOWEVER we had people working within the club and owned the club who both knew what they were doing and who LOVED the club hence the first teams those coaches had to work with were DIFFERENT CLASS to what we have now .

  2. I truly thank and appreciate everything pioli did! I even met him last year and he was a great guy. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and he brought this team as far as he could. Wish you all the best in your future management! Hopefully fonseca can do what you did to us. Made us believe after not being optimistic

  3. I thank him and wish him the best. He was part of revitalizing this team. I remember doubting him when he first came, but he did deliver. Yes, his Euro record could have been a little better and sometimes he made some mistakes, but overall he has done well here.

    We have a great team and with some reinforcements could be even better.

    I didn’t believe in him when he first came, but he proved me wrong.

  4. I was very disappointed when we were in the running for Spalletti and ended up with his clone. He did beyond well here and helped transform the club to a football team that is finally relevant again. Grazie di cuore mister.

  5. This is the first club that make him stay longer also highest salary in his career. Good luck mister on your next club

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