Opinion: Milan fans must appreciate what Suso gave, but it was the right time to part ways

By Fred Ilondo -

Last week, it was confirmed that Suso had left Milan for a move to Sevilla. The Spaniard departed after five years of dedication and hard work and despite not ending this adventure on a high note, it is important to acknowledge that parting ways is the best outcome for both the player and the club.

Suso joined Milan from Liverpool in January 2015 for a compensatory fee of €1.3million as he only had a few months left in his contract with the English club. The winger made his debut in Coppa Italia in a 1-0 home defeat against Lazio on January 27th.

He would end the second part of that season with one assist in six appearances under the mentorship of coach Filippo Inzaghi in what was considered one of the worst seasons in the club’s history as the Rossoneri finished 10th.

During the season 2015-2016, Suso struggled to find playing time under newly appointed coach Sinisa Mihajlovic. He would be loaned out to Genoa in January 2016 after only making twi appearances for Milan that season. Despite not really impressing at first, he ended up having a decent run at Genoa, even scoring a hat-trick against Frosinone, becoming only the second Spanish player to score three goals in a Serie A game since Luis Suarez for Inter in 1963.

But it would only be on his return to Milan in the 2016-17 season that Suso would truly show what he was capable of. Indeed, the then 23-year-old found new life under coach Vincenzo Montella, scoring his first goal for Milan against Napoli in a 4-2 defeat. He ended that season with seven goals and nine assists, making him the most creative but also most important player at the club, all that while lifting the Supercoppa Italiana after beating Juventus in a final where he was one of the protagonists.

In September 2017, Suso signed a new contract that would keep him at the club until 2022. Despite having yet another fairly decent season, the fans as well as the club started raising their expectations, and the pressure was on Suso to deliver every single game.

After missing out on the Champions League again at the end of the 2018-19 under Gattuso Milan decided to appoint Marco Giampaolo, and that is the moment everything started to go wrong for the Spaniard again.

If Sinisa Mihajlovic disliked Suso’s playing style, Marco Giampaolo simply did not understand it at all. Giampaolo insisted on playing him as a trequartista as the tactician refused to adapt to the players he had.

With players playing in unfamiliar positions, an abysmal start to the season resulted and the team were robbed of the little confidence they had left. Suso – just as he had before – received all the blame both from the fans and to some extent the management as well.

The backlash was so extreme it started affecting his performances. He would miss simple passes, his crosses stopped being accurate, and even his dribbling became almost non-existent. Simply put, he had begun regressing in a big way.

With the arrival of coach Stefano Pioli – who took the team back to their usual system and put each players back to their normal roles – Suso was expected to flourish again. But the damage was already done; he had already lost the support of the fans, some whistling him during games and others attacking him on social media.

His form never truly improved under Pioli and nobody was that surprised in truth to see him consistently benched. Samu Castillejo’s rise did not help calm things down for the 26-year-old either as it became evident both to him and his detractors that he was no longer irreplaceable.

Milan would go on winning streak of five games in all competitions, scoring 12 goals and only conceding 4, though this was snapped in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona. Nobody was calling for Suso anymore, there was no need for him on the pitch in a 4-4-2 formation as he shines more as a winger and struggles anywhere else, and with their current form it was always doubtful Milan would switch back to his favourite formation.

So from that there was only one choice beneficial for both parties. Suso’s cycle had ended, and he moved back home to Spain.

After five years at the club, two seasons being the most important player in the team, Suso deserved better from the fans. He was a shining light in very dark times and has always given his all.

Whether he has reached his full potential or still has something to give to football is to be determined, but seeing how toxic the environment had become for him it would have likely only got worse for him with the Rossoneri and the good memories he provided would have been further tarnished.

There is definitely an argument to be made about keeping him until end of the season at least, but the truth is that without the right motivation Suso is useless to Pioli and postponing the inevitable would have made the transition even more painful.

Now Suso gets to start a fresh in a cleaner environment and a coach that values him and can perform at his best again, while Milan get to make a decent amount of profit on his soon-to-be-activated sale.

There are no losers in this situation, except for the ungrateful fans who never deserved the love and dedication he gave them throughout the years. With all things considered, it was the perfect time for Suso to leave the Rossoneri and go flourish somewhere else, and Milanisti wish him the best of luck.

Tags AC Milan Suso