Moncada outlines Milan’s scouting process: “You must watch players live”

By Isak Möller -

Geoffrey Moncada, who was the Chief Scout at Milan up until the summer, has opened up about the Rossoneri’s scouting process in a recent interview. Now working as the technical director, he is at the helm of it all. 

Moncada first joined Milan in December of 2018 after Elliott Management headhunted him. He had been working as a video analyst and scouting coordinator for Monaco, helping them win Ligue 1 and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

In a long interview with MilanTV, Moncada spoke about all things Milan and his journey to the club. Among other things, he explained how the scouting process works and how the Rossoneri operated in the summer.

Scouting at Milan: “Most of the scouts are here in Italy. It’s important to have some foreign scouts because they have a different perspective, and we can’t travel everywhere. My role now is technical director. We have a lot of meetings and all of our reports are in a database.

“When we have done all of our work – scouting, watching live and collecting data – I speak directly to the staff and coach Pioli. Then we can say ‘we have an interesting right-back, left-back, what do you think?’. A report is a hand. This is how we did things in the summer.

“We worked with a certain profile in mind. We wanted physically strong, fast and powerful players. Then it also depends on the mercato, how much we can develop the squad, the available solutions, the budget etc. However, the most important to work with the staff and the coach.”

On the modus operandi: “You should understand that today, there is incredible competition. There are German, English, Spanish and Italian clubs that work well. We are all more or less after the same players. I think you need to watch a player live a minimum of four times: two matches at home and two away.

“We also need to look at important data, information on the injury history, the player’s mentality and family. We need to understand the entire package. When we have this information, I go to watch the player live. I can talk about tactical aspects and so on, but nowadays players want to understand what’s in it for them. I think we are a great club in a great city, so I try to sell them on the entire lifestyle.”

What you look for in a player: “The data helps you find players you don’t know. But at the end of the day, you must watch them live because you see a lot of things: their pace, how strong they are etc.

“We are looking for an excellent player profile, and we also focus a lot on the mentality. Perhaps they like talking about Milan, or about themselves. I want to understand this because this is a lad who might become part of a 25-man locker room. We need to create a group and a culture of unity. The club is bigger than anyone, we want a group.”

The ‘Moneyball’ term, which has been thrown around a lot since the summer, is thus not the best way to describe Milan’s process. Moncada and his scouting team obviously use data in their work but only as an enhancing tool, not as the deciding one.

Tags AC Milan Geoffrey Moncada


  1. This sort of behavior is unheard of in football! What clowns Moncada Furlani and Cardinale are trying make Milan successful by spending millions to bring in top players within budget! The nerve of it!

  2. No way.
    I thought the algorithm picked the player, and Furlani just started negotiating with his team to buy that player without watching him. At least that’s what the dinosaur Italian media and overly emotional fanboys have been saying for 6 months now.
    There is an interview from a Toulouse director explaining the whole process of identifying, scouting the player live, talking to gis coaches, family, friends before deciding if they wanna sign the player or not.
    Algorithm is just an extra tool clubs use not the end all be all.
    Instead just relying on scouts, agents and intermediaries, recommending you players, for which they get percentage( Serginho-Duarte) , you have another resource.
    You can’t have a scout everywhere, but most of the players from all around the world are in some data base.

  3. Same dude who said Milan had many great French players in the 90’s.

    130 millions spent to have worst than last season record. Seems neither data or watching players live helped him.

      1. You really are d*mb as night. Comparing last season at the same time you m0r0n. We had 37 points last season while this year after Salernitana we have 33 points.

        Season 20/21 we had 40 points.
        Season 21/22 we had 39 points.
        Season 22/23 we had 37 points.
        Thia season we are at 33 points.

        1. THe squad is stronger and has more depth than last year. It’s just that Pioli the Butcher and his record-breaking physio team has destroyed 21 out of the 27 players’ health already and we’re still not at the halfway of the season.

          Without the injuries Milan would be in much better position. In fact they were leading the league before players started dropping like flies.

          1. When you guys say we have depth what exactly do you mean? Because that’s dependant on formation. We DON’T have more depth for the 4231 compared to last year (as we don’t have a CAM nor proper double pivots). We have more players for a 433 but u can’t say we have more depth because we’ve never had the 433 until now …and which we’ve now abandoned somewhat.
            You definitely can’t say we’re stronger if we’re doing much worse than last year. We’d like to think we’re stronger but in reality we’re not. Id like to think Puli is an upgrade to the RW in terms of style of play but otherwise where really are we stronger? The defence is the same or one less (Gabbia, who we want to have back anyways).

          2. Last year we had one decent LW: Leao. Now there’s Okafor & Pulisic too. And RW? Well, I wouldn’t call Saelemaekers or Messias great but now we have Pulisic AND Chukwuenze (not calling him great either but still an upgrade). Also in the middle Tonali left but we got two starters to replace him. And don’t get me started on the vice-Giroud (Origi & CDK)…

          3. “You definitely can’t say we’re stronger if we’re doing much worse than last year. ”

            If everyone (or even 90%) were available, we’d definitely be in better situation regarding the league (and UCL).

  4. He says “we also focus a lot on the mentality” …
    Leao’s mentality – Sh$# – he doesnt lead – he walks around the pitch like he has won 100000 CLs after winning one league
    Theo’s couldnt care less this season.

    I must say you can find talent these days but there is a different between talent and technical issues like integrating players into the team and shaping a player in accordance with your tactics. 70% of our players are substitutes at the very most.

    Musah is a sub and requires 3 seasons to be a starter. Reijnders is amazing but cant carry a team like milan at such an early stage. Krunic is a sub FULL STOP. Calabria … well theres better quality. Tomori is good but seems to always fall apart in the bigger games like the CL (especially vs English teams for some reason). Giroud cant play for 90 minutes. Chukwueze – nothing special so far hopefully he develops and is not another Castellejo, RLC has always been a reserve player but I like his attitude most of the time.

    In a nutshell – we need better quality in the midfield and more importantly players with higher mentalities – I mean look at the drive inter has ! They dont have the greatest players but they sure as hell know how to buy players.

    1. We need a mix of older and younger players to up that quality. When Mirante and Kjaer (who have won nothing) are the only source of experience in this team – you sure as hell wont win anything,

  5. “I speak directly to the staff and coach Pioli. Then we can say ‘we have an interesting right-back, left-back, what do you think?’. A report is a hand. This is how we did things in the summer.”

    So they looked at all these players together and Pioli/Moncada thought Pellegrino was better then Gabbia, and a bunch of injury prone players (RLC, Pulisic, Okafor and Chukuweze) was the way forward? They, as a collective, thought a total revamp to the team was sensible smh

    Someone’s lying here but I won’t say who. People who celebrated in the Duomo when Italy won the WC and those who watch apparently the MANY French players Milan had in the 90s are not to be trusted.

  6. This article is describing the table stakes of identifying and evaluating a human for a task.

    They have data profiles of players they want. Height, weight, age, stats key to their position etc. These summative metrics create a pool of candidates (anyone whose hired people should feel very familiar with this).

    Then they watch film on the pool and winnow it down. This activity is still relatively inexpensive. Likely they have a rubric for this stage and more junior staff are rocking boxes on tangibles, intangibles and relative metrics. Nobody is yet flying g around the world, etc.

    Junior staff come together on a focus group lead by senior staff to review candidates who make the cut. At this point it’s still mostly metrics (summative stuff) and relatively inexpensive.

    The pool is now further winnowed down. Here they begin to think about cost of the player and if their game style is either a fit for the current project or if the talent indicates a change in the project. If the latter the candidate pools on other positions might be adapted.

    Puli is a partial example here. Not a super star to build a project around but his ability to play right and left to excellent effect can open an opportunity not otherwise know beforehand.

    The pools for all desired positions are rebalanced based on such observations and plans + contingencies are laid in.

    Now it gets expensive. Top prospects for the plans are scouted in person. They are white-sourced (look up all online info the post and build a psych profile). More film is watched. Here we have moved from summative (mostly numbers and facts) to formative (judgements based on observation). Here is where the senior staff takes a direct hand.using there experience in talent identification and expertise with the project and it’s needs.

    Players are identified and negotiations open. As players accept and are signed the plan and contingencies are evaluated, adapted and executed. (Again Puli most likely meant they moved to Okafur because he’d cover at Striker as well rather than a more specialized Leao deputy. )

    After the mercato the staff takes the players and the plan and they run a series of retrospectives. The goal is to figure out what went well and do more of that. Tune numeric models. Learn from what didn’t go well. Improve.

    After a few games into season they’d run the exercise again. For e.g. with Chuk clearly struggling maybe they realize he is too one-footed and that he is struggling to pick up Italian and this causes him to not grasp the system. This info feeds the metics with more weight given to thecharacteristic “speaks Italian or similar latin language”. It also creates a part of the rubric to evaluate film on use of both feet and movement in both directions.

    Now later with Chuk improving they feel confirmed about his purchase and those changes to the evaluation program. They might be thinking they have the right guy and it took longer than expected. Scouting dept collaborates with training dept to improve initial language uptake and to drill hard on system with a native speaker of the player’s language in the first 4 weeks after arrival (i.e. personalized onboarding to the Milan culture and system?

    This sort of learning is feeding and improving what we will see in Jan for the mercato.

    Just like there are great hiring managers in all industries it is the same here. Just far far more public in result and opaque in process.

    In the end our senior scouts are those who’ve proven best at collecting and interpreting data then building a profile of the few candidates who make it through. Hiring is, in the end, always a judgement call.

    Someone brought up Pellegrino v. Gabbia above. It’s a good point it id suggest having a think about:

    1. For young players there will be formative and summative metrics on upside. We plan to develop them so what is their ceiling, so we need to see …
    2. Given that a mistake on Pellegrino v. Gabbia was made, the system of retrospectives will uncover the cause and feedback to improve the system moving forward. (Personally Gabbia has lead feet and will always be limited by his mobility. Pellegrino is clearly out of his depth today but also is a more gifted natural athlete so I _suspect_ he was all about upside and not planning for our 4 moan CB to all be injured at the same time. (This was sbe par tof the plan and contingency I referred to above)

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