Pellegatti compares Pioli to Napoleon ahead of ‘most difficult season of his career’

By Oliver Fisher -

Carlo Pellegatti rarely produces a dull column, and this week he has compared AC Milan head coach to the historic figure Napoleon Bonaparte.

It has been a strange summer for Milan so far. Zlatan Ibrahimovic sprung his retirement on everyone after the final game of the season, then Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara were sacked plunging the project into disrepute.

CEO Giorgio Furlani and chief scout Geoffrey Moncada took the reins and their first big bit of business was to conduct a club-record sale. It wasn’t just any exit though, it was fan favourite and supposed future Milan icon Sandro Tonali, which created another violent storm.

Now, Pioli faces his most important and perhaps a watershed season in 2023-24. He has the trust of Gerry Cardinale and RedBird, gaining more responsibility too when it comes to the transfer window, but with that comes more pressure too.

Pellegatti has written his weekly column for MilanNews and he looked ahead to the new season by comparing Pioli to Napoleon, with a film on the general to launch later this year.

“Exciting. A friend sends me the trailer of a film that will be released in November on my mobile phone. The title is ‘Napoleon’, directed by the extraordinary Ridley Scott, interpreted by the magnificent and histrionic actor, already admired in ‘Joker’, Joaquim Phoenix,” he began.

“Both were together in the unforgettable ‘Gladiator’, where Scott is the director and Phoenix plays the terrible and cruel emperor Commodus. Looking at the preview, I’ve already fallen in love with this film, which promises to be epic, spectacular, intriguing and magnificent.

“Thanks to the events of the figure considered among the most iconic in the history of the world, obviously leaving out those related to religion. Even Milan this season has its Napoleon. His name is Stefano Pioli.

“It’s the most difficult, fascinating, significant season of his career. Gerry Cardinale’s words give him a fundamental role in building the new Milan. What happened, in the post-war period, to other famous and imperishable coaches who sat on the bench for a long time.

“Creating, illuminating, amazing, winning. Like Lajos Czeizler, Gipo Viani, Nereo Rocco, Nils Liedholm, Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti. The American owner claims that every technical decision is the result of the activity of a team.

“He is therefore the son of the intuitions of Geoffrey Moncada, of the obscure work of Hendrik Almstadt, finally of the synthesis of Giorgio Furlani. Above all, however, of the final decisions, on the battlefield, of the Rossoneri Napoleon.

“Too bad he can’t direct training, dominating the hill of Milanello, riding a descendant of ‘El Vizir’, the legendary white horse, that the French soldiers saw distant but reassuring, before the great battles of Jena and Austerlitz.

“Maybe, when he finishes running, I can give him my young bay, which I named, in honour of him, ‘Pioli is on fire’. The first choices, the sketch of the first strategies already help to understand which Milan wants its commander on the field.

“In midfield he must dominate the strength, intensity, compactness of his new troops. ‘Cheek to Cheek’ Loftus Cheek, perhaps the determined Musah, perhaps another trusted general, as an alternative to Bennacer, the Dutchman Tijjani Reijnders.

“The Milan coach no longer wants the light cavalry to attack only on the left flank. Too predictable for the many Francesco I of the championship. For this reason he dreams… Chukwueze, on the right wing. Fast, lethal, spectacular.

“As a central wedge, the glorious French general Olivier Giroud, viscount of Chambery is no longer sufficient. Thanks to his fearless courage, his dedication to his country, he has already entered history as, in France, Bonaparte’s loyalist, General Oudinot.

“Pioli is a scholar who loves to innovate. So I imagine a Milan that, on a tactical level, can surprise, also to give new stimuli to players, who have been with him for years. Always in the name of balance and game organisation. Characteristics at the base of the successes of these years.

“In short, a new Milan, not only in the interpreters, but also in the interpretation of the schemes. Behind Stefano Bonaparte, always present. The Rossoneri people who love him. Ready to follow him in his most dramatic and difficult undertakings, ready to applaud him for future successes.

“With a dream. That of admiring soon in the Milan museum a picture similar to the one painted by Jacques-Louis David, ‘The coronation of Napoleon’. On Stephen I’s head, however, a star-shaped crown. That of the twentieth Scudetto!”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. Yeah and Jerry will excommunicate him on an island when defeats will come. He’s next in line, they put a lot of pressure on him. Everybody in the building knows what happen when Jerry isn’t happy and someone will be the victim if things don’t go according to the lousy plan. The management started with “he’ll have more responsibilities”, Pioli responded “I need a complete team before the US tour”, everybody is looking for an alibi haha

      1. Yes sir I think we can identify several types of owners, the lame Chineses with no funds (we’ve been there), the Gulf billionaires who want to win at every cost and fans usually don’t complain, etc. We have the kind of owner that sees the club as a business opportunity, fires the competent people aboard, thinks only about profits and make promises worth nothing to the fans. Actually it’s Twitter’s recent history haha maybe we won’t win trophies in the next years but at least we’ll have a nice accountability to be proud of.

        1. Well i understand you want gulf billionaire / oil state kingdom as AC Milan owner. But you must wake up on reality , none of them interesting buying italian club . Investcorp are just investment corporation similar to redbird, investment corporation want to make profit as much as they can for their investor , not spending crazy like PSG owner. PIF ( saudi arabia) not even interesting buy duo milan and choose buy newcastle with half price from duo milan club. Most of italian club only owned by italian , american , chinese billionaire. For gulf billionaire they will think better buy cheap EPL club but have high income compared to top serie A club that cost billion euro to buy

  2. Aight to be fair, how many of us here are confident about the 20th Scudetto for next season? Personally, I think top 4 would be great achievement, given the massive overhaul, but having said that, anything lesser than a top 4 finish will warrant questions to everyone involved.

    If we’re not losing another star on the next windows, and continue to have a -decent- acquistition of talents, then perhaps we could start to talk about Scudetto run again next summer, but as for now, I just can’t see it yet. Too many uncertainties atm.

    Squeaky bum times ahead.

    1. To be honest if we actually get Chukwueze and Raindeer and get rid of some dead weight and replace them with cheaper depth options we are a far better team than last season..

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