After almost ten years of troubles, 2020 was the beginning of a new decade and, seemingly, a new era for AC Milan. Led by Stefano Pioli and driven on by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Simon Kjaer and others, I Rossoneri finally started to look as though they have what it takes to compete in Serie A again.
Ibrahimovic’s mid-season arrival in January 2020 sparked a resurgence. Pioli’s side were one of the form teams in the second half of the 2019/20 season, and that carried into 2020/21, possibly helped by the shortened off-season.
Crowned winter champions and eventually ending the season second only to city rivals Inter, there was every reason for Milan fans to be excited about what the club were building, spearheaded from upstairs at the Stadio San Siro by Paolo Maldini.
Despite the excitement about the rebuilding project, there were some loose threads that needed to be resolved before the summer’s European Championship and, unfortunately for Milan, they weren’t.
Gianluigi Donnarumma played more minutes than anyone for them last term, and Hakan Calhanoglu accumulated the fifth-most minutes, but both are now on their way out of the club.
The Italian goalkeeper’s future always looked likely to be away from Milan, particularly with Mino Raiola’s handling of his renewal talks. Having insisted on a higher salary time and again, Milan eventually said enough was enough and refused to go any higher. He’s now likely to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Losing two players of such importance won’t be easy for Milan, and Ibrahimovic is going to be another year older with injuries having already been a problem.
Pioli might have yet another rebuilding project on his hands next season.