Milan derby marks new era

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

IT WILL likely be Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni’s fi­nal derby as AC Milan owner. And the first for Inter’s new Chi­nese pro­pri­etors. Plus Sil­vio Pi­oli’s de­but as coach of strug­gling Inter.

Com­bined with the rise of Milan’s youth-ori­ented squad af­ter sev­eral dif­fi­cult sea­sons, to­mor­row’s match is be­ing cel­e­brated both as the end of an era and a time of new be­gin­nings.

“It seems like a dif­fer­ent derby com­pared to the last sev­eral, in terms of in­ter­est, tick­ets, stand­ings, and the new de­vel­op­ments in club own­er­ship,” Milan vice-pres­i­dent Adri­ano Gal­liani said.

Ber­lus­coni, who pur­chased Milan 30 years ago, is ex­pected to close a deal next month sell­ing his ma­jor­ity stake in the club to a Chi­nese in­vestor group that in­cludes the par­tic­i­pa­tion of a Chi­nese state-in­vest­ment fund. While seven-time Euro­pean cham­pion Milan have not qual­i­fied for con­ti­nen­tal play for three con­sec­u­tive sea­sons, the Ros­soneri have seen a turn­around this sea­son un­der first-year coach Vin­cenzo Montella.

NEW SENSE OF TEAM UNITY

Re­ly­ing on 17-year-old goal­keeper Gian­luigi Don­narumma, 18-year-old mid­fielder Manuel Lo­catelli, and for­ward M’Baye Niang, a rel­a­tive vet­eran at 21, Montella has guided Milan to third place with a new sense of team unity.

“Af­ter all these dif­fi­cult years full of prob­lems, which I’m not go­ing to list now, this might be the first time that we’re re-es­tab­lish­ing a close-knit group,” Milan mid­fielder An­drea Poli said. “We’re on the right road and we’ve got to con­tinue along this path.”

Inter, mean­while, are lan­guish­ing in ninth place

with just as many losses – five – as wins this sea­son.

Pi­oli, the for­mer Chievo Verona and Lazio coach, was hired last week to re­place the fired Frank de Boer.

De Boer was hired less than two weeks be­fore the sea­son be­gan fol­low­ing the un­ex­pected res­ig­na­tion of Roberto Mancini, who re­port­edly wanted more con­trol over the trans­fer mar­ket and clashed with Sun­ing, the Chi­nese re­tail gi­ant that took con­trol of 70 per cent of Inter in June.

Inter have a wide ar­ray of top-qual­ity play­ers such as Mauro Icardi, who tops the Serie A scor­ing chart along­side Roma’s Edin Dzeko with 10 goals each, plus Croa­tia mid­fielder Ivan Perisic, Mon­tene­gro for­ward Ste­van Jovetic, and Italy in­ter­na­tion­als Eder and An­to­nio Can­dreva, but the Ner­az­zurri were in­con­sis­tent and ap­peared con­fused un­der De Boer.

BER­LUS­CONI

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