Report: Kessie showed against Atalanta what Milan may miss when he leaves in the summer

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie showed what the Rossoneri will miss when he leaves as he won the ball back more than anyone else against Atalanta, a report claims.

As was noted in the Lega Serie A match report of Milan’s 2-0 victory over Atalanta on Sunday evening (via Milan News), Kessie recovered the ball eight times during the game which is more than anyone else on the pitch.

The next best player in this regard was Fikayo Tomori who had a very strong game along with defensive partner Pierre Kalulu.

Kessie’s work in the midfield was key to making sure that the Rossoneri did not fall behind and let the pressure start to get to them.

The Ivorian is leaving the club on a free transfer at the end of the season as he could not agree on terms for an extension during the season. Milan will need to replace him during the summer.

Tags AC Milan Atalanta Fikayo Tomori Franck Kessie Serie A


    1. no sound-headed fan will say that, only fools like you who called themselves Milan fans will say that. What he did for us in this season was extraordinary. You are either an amateur or a kid if you don’t know his contribution to this Milan team, who cares if he is leaving if he’s helping us to get the title after 11 years! Fans like you will say Pioli out after just one bad game, so nothing new here.

      1. Fans like Robert get butt hurt over everything. No, we won’t miss him. Just like Milan did not miss Donnarumma. and for the record, Kessie’s season this year has been quite average and subdued.

          1. Which stats are you comparing lol? He was extraodinary? Tonali has better stats in every single category, including the “DM” stats. Hahahahah. An “extraodinary” 25 year old player that is worse in defensive stats compared to a 21 year old kid that just played his second year in Milan. There are 6 better DMs in Serie A only. This should be the easiest position to replace as Kessies defensive contribution was average when you compare him to top DMs and his offensive contribution is shooting penalties..

          2. @crorossenero dude are you blind or something? Can you not see that kessie played 5 match less than tonali? That’s 5, 90 minute match, which contribute to a total of atleast 450 minutes, if you’re a logical person, you’d see that his stats would have been much better if he had played much (he missed those matches because of African nations League). And his stats his not way far off from tonali, did you actually see the stats? I don’t think you have, the tackle, balls recovered, distribution everything is just a slight less,which would have been easily recover with 2 or 3 games. But he missed 5. If you are a logical person you’d agree but then again it’s evident that you are not.

      2. “What he did for us in this season was extraordinary.”

        Yeah. He was the only one who promised to sign a contract extension and then signed for a another team.

        That was the only thing worth remembering this season. He won’t be missed as Pobega is already better than him.

      3. @Robert

        Don’t forget that, “Pioli Out” proves just how silly people (those fans) are when they base their convictions on their emotion and ego. Common sense is scarce nowadays!


        Are you insane? whats wrong with you? Even Barca didnt offer him his precious 8m/yr wages cuz he ISNT WORTH IT

    2. He is a solid player. Barcalona are getting a huge boost and he is injury free, and for free! That’s Milan’s loss and Barcas gain.

  1. Dude, come on. We can agree he was not trash but he was by no means “extraordinary”. He helped for sure but he was far from decisive at any moment, he was probably the least influential starter. In fact for part of the season, he was not a starter. At his position, he was not even close to Tonali’s level (at any moment in the season) and overall, behind Bennacer as well.
    So all in all his absence should be covered relatively easily (Pobega). Having said that I would be happy if he stayed, it’s very unfortunate to lose him for free.

    1. I don’t want to be harsh dude, but your judgment on Kessie is very poor, please try to watch football more critically, and not just watch for the goals. Tonali has been great because he’s got some good goals this past few matches, and that is why fans who hate Kessie have been putting him above kessie, but if it wasn’t for Kessie, we would concede more than Score, Kessie’s position is very important for piolis plan to work, you would have seen this if you weren’t so busy hating kessie. in no way tonali is on the same level with kessie. He has still a lot to learn, definitely a great player, but still young. Also, your overestimation of pobega is the living proof of why you need to watch football more attentively. Don’t take it personally but please try to be more rational, I’m sure you’ll understand. Even our coach and the pundits are praising kessie for his role. It’s hard to understand because his role isn’t flashy like others.

      1. Oh Robert. How can you say Kessie was better than Tonali…
        PS: Uefa granted me a license to coach and I played semi-professional soccer. Not a kid and a real fan. I´m so sorry

        1. As you are professional, please enlighten me that with five-game less played, how is kessie’s stat not better than tonali? Don’t get me wrong, I love tonali, he’s going to be great I’m sure, but he’s still young. On the other hand, Kessie’s late-game mentality is as strong as ever.

      2. Robert, you are talking nonsense, don’t embarras yourself. Tonali was better defensively than Kessie, stats show it clearly.

        1. It’s you who’s being illogical here, you didn’t even read the message and just jumped right out in the comments, it’s clear that you’re a manchild, so keep the nonsense to yourself please!

      Are you on crack?
      Calabria was HORRIBLE — he started. Terrible for 2nd straight match.
      Giroud was very poor as well.
      Kessie, IMO, was probably the 4th best player for us vs Atalanta (after Kalulu, Tomori and Theo).

      Maybe you are talking about the entire season and not the Atalanta match? but anyway even if you look at the entire season, he has been better than Calabria this season (Calabria is nothing like he was last year) and OBVIOUSLY the worst starters for Milan this year have been CAM position w/ Diaz and the RW position with Saele/Messias.

      I do love Bennacer and think he’s underrated and love Tonali too — but I’m annoyed at all of the Kessie haters. He is helping our team and playing so well and we should support our team. Grow up people! He has a right to look out for his best interests financially and because he’s playing very hard and loving this team and his teammates while he’s still here we should return that love and support him.

      1. Guys, you probably forget too easily. Kessie was repeatedly flop of the match in the first have – just look back at the ratings. Again, he was not even a starter for part of the season.
        He improved after February and he indeed helped a lot in the last part but “extraordinary”?? What was then Mike, Tomori, Kalulu, Kjaer (until injury), Theo, Tonali, Leao??
        @ in my view, we didn’t have real starters in AMC and RMC. Regarding Giroud, you also forget that the reason we are so close to the title it was his goals (especially vs Inter). I won’t even comment on Tonali, it’s absurd to say that Kessie was close to his level – again, just go back and see their ratings, Tonali is probably second to MOTM only to Leao.

        1. Perhaps extraordinary is overdoing it a bit, (Kjaer was not extraordinary) but seriously “go look at their ratings”, bro these ratings are not in any way reliable.
          Kessie has been, on average, as good as Tonali over full season. Sure he’s had bad games, but so has Tonali, and Tonali is only near Kessie BCS of his ridiculous work rate, bit like Salad with better than average skills + amazing decision making. Kessie has better defence + equal attack (tonali specialty long passing)

      2. LOL? Calabria was injured before the season and for half of the season. He wasn’t any worse in most matches than the fully fit Kessie. So drop the bullshit.

  2. Kessie has been playing ball the entire season. Only the people here who are angry that he’s not re-signing with us or are bitter or just biased would downplay his contribution to the team this season. He has been absolutely immense and we will miss him badly. And no, Pobega isn’t better than him. He’s still green. Too bad we couldn’t afford to keep Kessie but wish him luck

    1. Thanks, dude, for making some sense, you’re absolutely right on every point. To the fans who don’t see Kessie as influential, I don’t know what to say.

      1. Thanks bro. Bet you when he leave then fans will see the massive gap he is going to leave behind. His work rate/stamina alone is incredible. He plays at such a high intensity even in the latter stages of the game tracking back and moving forward that ppl don’t realize that he’s the reason why we keep our shape so late in the game. Such an excellent box to box, one of the best in Europe.

        1. again, fantastic observation! The thing you said about Keeping the shape in the late game and having a bold late-game mentality, workrate is one of the key reasons for our success.

        2. yeah is that why only stupid Barca is the one offering him barely 6.5m/yr

          if he was so amazing where’s the 10m/yr offers?

          got anything smart to say to that, huh smartass?

      2. @robert you are correct. Well said. Of course Kessie will be missed. We are all bitter he’s not staying esp after what he said last summer – but he was a professional throughout and gives 100 percent on the pitch bad that is all u can ask for. Let’s not forget management must take some blame not extending him earlier – but that is water under the bridge now. If he helps us raise the title on Sunday I will wish him well as he served our colors well. Hope we can sign a suitable replacement – Kamara, sanches, etc… as I agree w @Ikwydls that Poegba is not ready yet. Good thing we have bennacer. Forza Milan!!!

      3. Robert, you are very right indeed. We will miss Kessie. The success Theo and Leao are having is partly because of the abilities Kessie has. Even more so, I would say in the tactical system Pioli is playing, Kessie is one of the most important guys and he understands so well what Pioli asks for him. Probably the first name Pioli puts on the players sheet. He understands double pivot better and reads the game better than Bennacer and Tonali do, even though he isn’t playing his best form.
        Especially how he often covers up for the left flank will be hard to replace. Most fans will probably realise it next season, all though Pioli is a great coach, I trust he will have a solution, but won’t be easy that’s for sure.
        So nope definitely not embarrassing yourself. Don’t mind what guys like croroso are saying. He has always had problems keeping his panties on.

    2. Hhahahaahha. He had worse defensive stats than Tonali as well. I can’t wait for Cashie to leave. There are better players in Serie A for 15M

      1. Kessie has been great this season for Milan..

        People talk about Tonali late goal against Lazio that kept us in the title race, but they forget who won the ball off SMS in the midfield and made an attacking pass to Rebic who capitalized on the defender’s error and created the situation for the Tonali goal..

        That he didn’t renew with us hurts but this doesn’t take away his contributions to the team.

          1. …you forgot how every milan fan justifably blamed the refs for Atletico game??
            Thats why haters are scum

            Truth about Kessie will come out in Barca. For 6,5 we should have kept him

            If Pobega is so good how come he never plays for Italy? Hes 23 not 19..

            Bennacer proved hes too weak for CL. Sanches is great, but injury prone

    3. LOL. He has had a countribution but “playing ball” and being “absolutely immense” just HAHAHAHAHAHAH.

      1. Immense is winning the ball of SMS instead of letting it into touch..

        Playing is fighting for that ball late into the game, not only winning it but making the attacking pass that created the situations late goal against Lazio.

    4. Playing so much ball best defensive mid ever thats why only a depleted Barca side is the only side going after him rofl and not even the wages he wants

  3. I don’t want to be harsh dude, but your judgment on Kessie is very poor, please try to watch football more critically, and not just watch for the goals. Tonali has been great because he’s got some good goals this past few matches, and that is why fans who hate Kessie have been putting him above kessie, but if it wasn’t for Kessie, we would concede more than Score, Kessie’s position is very important for piolis plan to work, you would have seen this if you weren’t so busy hating kessie. in no way tonali is on the same level with kessie. He has still a lot to learn, definitely a great player, but still young. Also, your overestimation of pobega is the living proof of why you need to watch football more attentively. Don’t take it personally but please try to be more rational, I’m sure you’ll understand. Even our coach and the pundits are praising kessie for his role. It’s hard to understand because his role isn’t flashy like others.

    1. yeah and you should try watching actual matches instead of pulling up stats like a mathematicians like that defines every single player rofl

  4. Stop crying babies. Players arrive and leave, AC Milan is always there. We have a good foundation there and Paolo Maldini is behind, so who cares about Kessie. Forza Milan, and in Maldini we believe!

  5. We will 100% miss Kessie. I don’t like how he went about it all but once we finally started playing him as a DM and stopped this box to box and AM nonsense he became a great player, we will 100% miss him especially leaving for free. Plus he barely was injured and was an incredibly reliable PK taker. Tank. Thanks Franck and good luck, but don’t forget Milan made you what you are today.

  6. I tip my hat to Kessie for a number of reasons, first all the fans whistling/booing him, I understand their point of view, but Kessie responded by giving 100% and understanding their distaste, second he could play a little more timid, back off the 50/50s ,to prevent any injury jeopardizing his new career move,instead he sticks his nose in there and fights for A.C. ,has my respect, his decision was wrong and like Lukaku will may regret it, but his play in the second half of the season has been admirable

  7. The ideal replacement for a player like kessie is tchouameni and zambo anguissa. I don’t think he will be missed because M & M will find pioli another player or pioli will make some changes in the tactics

  8. They said it last season too,this media said AC Milan Will Miss Donna and lord Hakan but in reality our point increase more than last season. We get 20 penalty last season just for Runner up with Donna and lord Hakan but now without that 20 penalty we can still leading serie A and have more point than last season. I believe M&M Will find good replacement for kessie. Yes kessie is good but we cannot just overpay kessie and make him highest player salary on AC Milan above Theo and leao

    1. The difference is that Donnarumma is a generational talent and Kessie is just one of the top 50 defensive midfieldiers in football. You can find a replacement much easier, especially when he didn’t contribute to attack (not including penalties). There are players that can take the ball and press as good as Kessie and pass a long ball for under 20M.

  9. Milan definitely will not miss Kessie next season. That’s not saying that he’s a bad player or that he hasn’t been an important player for us but we have to be realistic, he’s not fundamental to our project going forward.
    I like Kessie and I think he’s one of the best defensive midfielders in todays game but he’s not as dynamic as Bennacer or Tonali. The fact that his minutes this season have been reduced by almost a thousand minutes is a clear indication that the management and coach have already begun to plan for his inevitable departure. His conduct has remained exemplary and he’s kept it professional regardless of the jeers from the fans and he deserves respect for that.

    1. If you like Kessie and admit he’s “ one of the best defensive midfielders in todays game” – hard to make your own argument that he will not be missed lol. But to each his own. Time will tell how much we miss him and we will see who we get to replace him. Sad to see him leave esp on a FREE…

      1. It seems like you’ve misconstrued my comment so please let me be clear.

        “I like Kessie” I’m a Milan fan and I like all of our players as long as they are respectful and give 110% when they are on the pitch. Kessie has done that for seasons so he definitely has earned my admiration. His contract renewal issues could have been handled differently but I think that we the fans haven’t been given the full story on why both parties couldn’t find an agreement to renew his contract.

        ” He’s one of the best defensive midfielders in todays game” In my honest and humble opinion, Kessie is one of the top 100 defensive midfielders in the world. I definitely don’t think that he’s in the top 10 but it’s possible he could be in the first 50.

        I mentioned both Bennacer and Tonali in my initial comment because they are the main reasons why we won’t miss him, as we have partially seen already this season. I’ve also stated that the coach has purposely used him less this season because he’s not fundamental to our project. They (the management) have known this from the beginning of the season. Kessie is actually lucky to have the amount of minutes he does because if Diaz had performed better Kessie would have seen less time on the pitch.

        Most Milan fans would’ve argued that Donnarumma was the best keeper in the world while he was here ( I would’ve said top 10 or 20) and yet for some strange reason Milan hasn’t missed him. Can’t argue with that can we?

    2. I think you are over hyping him. He is not one of the best DMs anywhere and you can check that easily. Compare him to any of the top 10 and see where he is at. Good player, that is it. I would bet Svanberg is already better defensively and he can actually play football and carry the ball. You are talking about Cashie like he could stand next to Kante and in reality he can clean his boots.

      1. I wasn’t talking top 10 or anything like that but I’m sure his stats will put him somewhere in the 50 to 100 category. Which is huge because they are thousands of defensive midfielders out there.

  10. This comment section was healthy up until this kid named crorossonero showed up, so there’s no point replying to a kid who doesn’t know how to talk rationally. Good bless you kid.

  11. What I can deduce from the comments written above is that you kids are angry kessie didn’t renew his contract. The contract dilemma even took a toll on him, the reason for his flops this season.

    Kessie remains and would remain one of the best box to box midfielders to have played the game in our history and you moaners can go to sleep.

    Kessie, I don’t hate you, you have done fantastically well, I wish you the best in your professional career. I hope we will cross paths again

    1. what sort of garbage history you think Milan has if you think Kessie is the best? You having a laugh? You think this is Arsenal or something?

  12. He was at his best last season, but against Atalanta he was tactically brilliant.

    Milan will change without him, for better or worse remains to be seen.

  13. Some people said we would miss donnaruma, others said a 14m goalkeeper could not be better than a pure bred talent like donnaruma. well, the story has changed aint it? maldini was not the one who signed kessie, he tried severally to negotiate with his agent, kessie said he would “settle” all issues when he returned from the national team. well, he never OUTRIGHT said he was going to renew. we fans, assumed he was. (it was rumored that raiola even had a hand in offering him to Barcelona- and there is no love lost between Raiola and milan fans).
    Playing to his best 100% till the end of the season is NOT exemplary behaviour, he is being PAID to do just that. anything less makes his character questionable and him less of a professional.
    Maldini balked at signing faivre eventually not becaise he did have talent or we no longer needed him, but because of the manner he tried to publicly fiorce his way out of his club. that did not sit down well with Maldini IMHO.

    Stats do not always tell the whole game. pioli tried his best to soften the blow of kessies departure by speaking well of him, commending him in public et al. He tried to keep kessie’s performances up, but the fact remains that his perofrmances dropped after the whole contract renewal saga started and kessie was at fault. there are more professional ways to leave a club. the same reason donnaruma is quite disliked by many fans.
    Kessie can go to barca, but he should remember the words of zlatan after joining and leaving barca: sometimes your dreams do not match reality. playing for barca was a childhood dream of his, but the experince left a sour aftertaste.
    Saying pobega is not a good replacement is akin to saying donnaruma should not have started for milan at the age of 15/16. many coaches would NEVER have placed such responsibility on his shoulders, never. give the lad his day in the sun and watch. Tonalli’s explosion his year to being a starter and kalulu keeping Romagnoli on the bench is a sign not to underestimate anyone. heck, the pass from a former refridgerator salesman got us our first goal!

    We are all entitled to the adjectives we use to qualify players we like, but exemplary, outstanding etc should only be used to describe players like kalulu, tomori and maignan! they surpassed all expectations. truth be told, kessie was far better last year compared to this year.

    what stopped him from meeting maldini, one on one and explaining his desires? why the drama? he will not be remembered as being pivotal to the scudetto, he was not the main actor. people will be quicker to remember the last minute goals of tonalli or the tackle from krunic or the headers from Giroud before they remember the penalties of kessie this season.

    1. Kid Donnarumma still played in Champions league semi finals.

      We exited at group stage. Porto was better.

      We are NOT YET at good level.
      Kessie was our 6th best player this season imho – Tonali Tomori Kalulu Leao Maignan before him, Theo is flashy but really did not improve degending much this season

      And he goes for free.

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