Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2013

Forget Balotelli? Flamini Is AC Milan’s Real Revelation

Finally, this is more like the world class player that Mathieu Flamini was when AC Milan purchased him from Arsenal in 2008.

Following his near-perfect display in the middle of the park for the Rossoneri against Udinese last night, it prompted Adriano Galliani to state: “The Flamini that we saw tonight reminded me of the good old Flamini.”

He was truly outstanding in the middle of the park and did not allow the likes of Giampiero Pinzi and Allan to play the passes on the break that could cause his side problems.

The home side controlled the game for the entire first half and much of that was down to the Frenchman and fellow midfielders Antonio Nocerino and Riccardo Montolivo.

His passing was always on point, his running into the area to support the attack was astute and intelligent while his shielding of a defence that needs it was exceptional and those who questioned the club’s decision not to buy another midfielder in January due to Nigel De Jong’s season ending injury could now be made to eat their words.

The midfield trio last night did not get the credit they deserved for their display but really, were they ever going to when the Mario Balotelli show not only rolled into town but saved the day for the Diavolo?

It is understandable that he is hitting the headlines but do not overlook Flamini in particular’s contribution, the icing on the cake of which was that glorious 360 degree turn on the edge of his own box to skip past a challenge and set AC Milan away on another attack.

This is a man who has in the past had his critics, and deservedly so.

The club’s decision to award him a four-year deal worth a truly incredible €5.6 million had many a Milanista raising their eyebrows in disbelief.

He enjoyed a solid if unspectacular first season at San Siro which was not helped by being played at right-back much of the team to help the club deal with their defensive problems.

Afterwards, he struggled to maintain a starting spot in the side which was not helped by the fact that he picked up a very serious pre-season knee injury which forced him out for an extended period.

If eyebrows were raised when Milan handed him such a lucrative contract upon his arrival from North East London, they were sure to have reached people’s hairlines when the news broke this summer that he had re-signed with the club just a few weeks after leaving and becoming a free agent.

The 28-year-old has only signed a one year deal this time around on much decreased wages but if he continues to show the club when free of injury, he can still be a key player for them, then they may be forced to hand him another new deal.

After all, you could not allow him to leave in the form that he has been in lately and he has arguably taken over from Nocerino last season as this year’s surprise package at Milanello.

He had not featured much, making only two Serie A starts, until the month of January brought with it an unexpected twist of fate and one that has breathed new life into the former Marseille man’s ailing career with the seven-time Champions League winners.

Massimo Ambrosini limped out of their game last month away to Sampdoria after 24 minutes with an injury to be replaced by the French international and he grasped the opportunity with both hands, or feet, as would be more appropriate.

Since that game, he has started each game for Milan all of which they have won. By no means is this a suggestion that this is solely down to the return of Flamini but it is undoubtedly a contributing factor.

He is certainly giving Galliani a big decision to make again this summer in relation to his future.

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