From ‘excellent choice’ to ‘corporate coach’: The reaction to Milan’s Fonseca hire

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s decision to hire Paulo Fonseca as their next head coach has generated what would fairly be described as a mixed reaction, not just from fans but from pundits and ex-professionals.

Before his appointment, and even following it, Fonseca becoming the head coach of Milan has been a controversial topic for some with a vocal section of the fanbase wanting a bigger name with a more impressive CV.

It is a time when social media outcry is so powerful in football, and we saw this with the Julen Lopetegui saga. The coach is heavily respected within the game, but his imminent appointment caused outrage, and Milan took another route.

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Stam’s seal

Former defender Jaap Stam has praised Milan for the appointment and offered some words of praise for the coach when speaking to

“It is an excellent choice. He is a top coach, who has always made his teams play well. Fonseca has all the credentials to bring AC Milan back to the glory of the past.”

Ibra’s explanation

After talking about his return and role at Milan during a recent presser, Ibrahimovic was asked to make the big announcement and confirmed that Fonseca is the new head coach, explaining the decision.

“The new head coach will be Paulo Fonseca. We have studied him well and after giving it a lot of thought, we decided to move forward with him,” he said.

“We want his identity with the players we have, an attacking-minded football. After five years, with all due respect to Pioli, we wanted to come up with something new and fresh for the players.

“We have studied how Fonseca prepares matches, how he prepares the players and how he sets up his teams. We wanted to bring something new to San Siro as well. With the players that we have, we want it to click and Fonseca fits the bill, he is the right man.”

The inside scoop

Many names were linked with the job, some of which were of a higher profile than Fonseca, but Sky’s Peppe Di Stefano feels it is an extension of the Pioli era in terms of what will be expected from Fonseca.

“They’ve taken the extension of the Pioli era, very similar in terms of education, results, tactical system. They don’t expect a 10/10 season but neither do they expect a 4/10,” Di Stefano said.

“He’s a more evolved Pioli. He did much more than was expected with Milan’s squad, while Fonseca arrives having already won with Shakhtar, was at Roma and did well at Lille.

“The idea is to prolong these results, they made it clear to me that they want a ‘corporate’ coach, who works hand in hand with the management in the search for talent and solutions, not one who goes to press conferences in the style of Conte and asks for champions.”

Sacchi and Sheva disagree

Andriy Shevchenko spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about a number of topics including the upcoming European Championship and what he thinks about the developments surrounding Milan, including Fonseca.

“I don’t know if it’s official or not, I can say that Paulo worked well in Ukraine and left a mark. He is a competent and respectable person. A serious person. Then I don’t know what plans Milan have and what his are. They’ll talk about it, I assume.”

Meanwhile, Arrigo Sacchi has previously expressed discontent at the idea of Fonseca arriving to take over from Pioli and he did so again during an interview with Libero last month.

“I’ve lost sight of Fonseca a bit in recent years, so I prefer not to go into specifics because I don’t know him that well. Let’s hope that at Milan he turns out to be a strategist, even if he seems more like a tactician. He certainly isn’t a name that I would have thought of,” he began.

Tags AC Milan Paulo Fonseca
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