Serafini calls on Milan’s leaders to ‘take the group by the hand’ and ‘suffer with humility’

By Oliver Fisher -

Luca Serafini has urged AC Milan’s leaders to take the team by the hand and out of a difficult moment, while he also explained why he would keep using Theo Hernandez at centre-back.

After the 2-2 draw against Salernitana at the Stadio Arechi just before Christmas there were widespread reports that Stefano Pioli’s job was more at risk than ever before, and yet the team have again responded as they so often do.

Milan have won back-to-back games with their coach under pressure, firstly beating Sassuolo 1-0 at San Siro on December 30 and then following that up with a 4-1 Coppa Italia victory over Cagliari to open the new year.

The feeling is that one negative result could still ignite the long list of doubts and bring issues back to the surface, such as the injury crisis which has seen Matteo Gabbia recalled and Theo playing as a centre-back.

Serafini published his weekly column on MilanNews and in addition to talking about the aims for the remainder of the January window he also made some points on the leaders within the squad.

“Frankly, at this stage I would insist on Theo Hernandez as central defender. In this role, in addition to his availability, he is performing at his best thanks to the attention, concentration and self-sacrifice which he has lacked quite a bit lately. So much so that Pioli didn’t fail to direct a couple of affectionate jabs at him: the bar needed to be raised,” he said.

“Milan needs its two top technical leaders, Theo and Rafa, more than ever. Leao also ended up in the sights of some fans (he has been among the critics for some time) who were not willing to allow him to end his convalescence.

“The boos shouldn’t put him down. San Siro is used to it well, he’s always hit the aces more ferociously than the less gifted ones. It happened to Rivera, Gullit, Seedorf, Albertini, even Van Basten. The Rossoneri San Siro demands the best from the best, the reconciliation with the good entrance and the goal against Cagliari must serve as a spur for Rafa.

“It’s time for technical leaders, as well as character leaders, to take the group by the hand, helping it to unite, suffer with humility, and bring home the results. Just like last week, I repeat that at this stage the game must adapt to the players and not vice versa.

“You win with your head, with your heart, but also by changing your skin when necessary. Happy 2024 again to all of you: many events will be needed to make it better than 2023, we must have faith and desire to each contribute their part.”


Tags AC Milan Luca Serafini Rafael Leao theo hernandez


  1. I’m convinced leao will never be world class. He has the potential but he doesn’t have the hunger. You look at mbappe, that guy can play a scrimmage and you see it in his eyes he’s all business. That’s the mentality of a champion. Leao strolls around lazy, smiles, laughs. Comes on as a sub and runs around like there’s no point.

    You know the potential is there because when he turns on he does something but the biggest obstacle is making him have that hunger for 90 minutes. It’s been his worst season yet

    1. Leao is hot & cold. Will always be that way. So if you cheer him for the “hot” be patient with him during the “cold”. Period.

      1. Problem is there’s a lot of cold. And the Hot, he is still only giving 50% effort at best. Which his 50% is still damn good, but not world class.

  2. Leao is too loose with the ball. How many times does he lose the ball in a game? A top player is more efficient then he is. Also, he is too selfish- misses open players all the time. He will make the great play because he is an incredible athlete, but how many chances are missed because of his showboating? The only big team I could see wanting him is PSG when Mbappe leaves because they are all style with no substance. Take the 100ml and get two 50ml players to firm up the squard. And, when people talk about last year, remember if Juve didn’t have points deducted Milan would have been out if the cold.

  3. If Pulisic only converted one in five of the chances where he was wide open in a shooting position and Leao went it alone instead of passing, he’d be on ten or eleven goals by now.

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