Former AC Milan defender Alessandro Costacurta has given his thoughts on the current team and what the future might hold for them.
Costacurta spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via SempreMilan.it) this morning about a number of topics related to Stefano Pioli’s team, such as the end to the league season, the strengths of the group and an important upcoming summer.
He began by discussing Milan’s strange contrast in form when playing other teams in the top seven versus those in the bottom half, given that the team have dropped a lot of frustrating points against teams that they should be beating.
“Starting with Napoli I can say that I have seen an important show of strength. They have the ability to direct and manage games against top tier teams. Now the calendar is simpler, and in April the return of the Coppa Italia and then Lazio and Fiorentina will say a lot,” he said.
“I thought that certain slowdowns were sins of youth. But if other teams, in Italy and in Europe, more mature than AC Milan have the same trend then there is more: Covid and then the atrocities of the war take everyone’s concentration away, including the players. These are situations that shake us like never before.”
Milan’s results on the field serve as prove that the youth project can work and an exciting core is being built. Fikayo Tomori is the pivot of defence, Theo Hernandez is one of the best in his position in the world, Davide Calabria is future captain material, Ismael Bennacer is an all-round midfielder and Sandro Tonali has really kicked on.
On the youth project, Costacurta added: “This is how it works with talent, and Milan are affected by the ups and downs of Leao, the most decisive player in the team. The left wing is often exalted, rightly so, but the dangers almost always come from there.
“In Napoli Di Lorenzo looked like Cafu, also thanks to the lack of defensive capacity of Rafa and Hernandez, who instead clash too often. The solidity of other key players brings balance. I am referring to the central defenders, to Tonali and Bennacer, who have grown a lot, and Giroud: always on the spot, he had few touches but was decisive. He surprised me, I didn’t think he was a champion and instead he is pushing Milan towards the title.”
It is a complicated moment for captain Alessio Romagnoli as he missed the last game due to injury and is not expected to regain his starting place against Empoli tomorrow night, all while his contract enters its final few months.
“My expectations were really high for him, I thought he could become the strongest, the new Chiellini. I don’t mean he’s poor, just that I saw what he did at 19 and thought he had limitless potential.
“Kalulu, on the other hand, has grown a lot in one year, he has to improve ball and chain but he is fast and attentive. Botman in the summer? He has qualities to work on, but I don’t know him temperamentally and for the commitment he puts into training. Today he can easily be the same as Romagnoli.”
On the possible farewell of Kessié, he added: “I see fewer and fewer fundamental players around, except Mbappé. Franck like many others is important but not decisive, absolutely replaceable. Tonali is more important than him, indeed he is the most important of today’s AC Milan, even of Maignan or Giroud.
“I wrote to Maldini after the purchase from Brescia defining him as the best prospect of European football. I will have been called an idiot many times, but today it makes me presumptuous and say: I was right!”
On Ibrahimovic: “He was fundamental in the recovery of Milan, with Maldini, Massara and Pioli. This is their team, the fruit of their work. Zlatan may no longer be as decisive as before, but he always has weight.”