On Tuesday, Italian media outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport released their exclusive interview with former Milan star Alessandro Costacurta. The longtime star centre-back, who last played for the rossoneri in 2007, weighed in on the inconsistencies surrounding his beloved club.
Costacurta had compiled a lengthy list full of achievements during his historic playing career: seven Scudetti, five European Cup/UEFA Champions League trophies and another five Italian Super Cups (24 pieces of hardware throughout twenty years , but who’s counting?)
Since his playing career ended, the former Azzurri international had stepped into the role of manager, standing at the helm of then-Serie B promotion candidates Mantova. Unlike his heralded and often praised playing career in Italy, the 49-year old did not have much success on the bench, resigning as manager of the club after a brief taste at the post.
If you had the chance to witness Costacurta in the prime of his successful career alongside the likes of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti during the 80s and 90s-under the leadership of Arrigo Sacchi and Carlo Ancelotti-you were one of the lucky ones. But of course, it must pain the once-prolific and versatile defender to see his club in such a state of disarray and dysfunction. In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Costacurta provided his input on the current state of the seven-time Champions League winners.
Costacurta on the recent run by the red and black:
I would be more upset with the players as they could have played like this two months ago. They were the ones playing below their standards. It can’t be Adriano Galliani and Mihajlovic’s fault. Time is needed to see through a project, even though some time has passed.”
Milan, while they may not have the best assembled club in Italy, have disappointed once again this season, dropping points against the provinciale of Serie A on several occasions. Surely you can’t win every single match as Italian football is the prime example of “any given matchday.” However the club, who has maneuvered in and out of European contention, can’t seem to put it all together for a string of fixtures.
As it stands, Milan sit in 6th place and are within striking distance of a return to Europe. Costacurta on the Rossoneri’s quest for qualification:
I don’t think they can finish in the top three. Napoli, Juventus, Roma and even Inter are stronger. Only Roma are inferior in terms of mentality at this time. Fourth or fifth place [is more realistic], but above all else they must continue with the project they had in mind, when they signed young players along with Italians.”
Three points from Roma for 5th separates Milan from taking their seat at the table that is Europe, and watching the tournament from their couch. They also have some work to do-eight points adrift city rival Inter- if they want to prove Costacurta wrong and qualify for the Champions League, which feels a bit empty without the Italian giants.
Costacurta did take some time to recognize summer signing Carlos Bacca, who has scored 9 goals since his €30m move from Sevilla, comparing his play this season to Hernan Crespo:
Carlos [Bacca] is exactly like the Crespo I played with. He surprises you by making some great plays.”
All in all, Costacurta was spot on in his interview. Many pegged the Italian club as a top three contender prior to this season. Milan should be performing better on the pitch as the quality within the squad exceeds what we’ve seen this season. Siniša Mihajlović has been unfairly criticized this season and should be given time to adapt with his squad, but when the positive (and consistent) results are non-existent, the man overseeing the group is held most accountable.
January has been fairly quiet on the Milan front. Aside from the usual rumor mill, things are pretty calm. Costacurta did approve of the summer Milan had, however, he thinks a few more components are needed if the objective-which it should be-is to stand atop the podium at the conclusion of the season.
The signings they made this year were very good. With another two they can push to finish on the podium next season.”
Wink wink Adriano Galliani.