Verona coach Igor Tudor infuriated Milan supporters by claiming their squad should be third or fourth in Serie A, but Susy Campanale asks was he really wrong and shouldn’t that be a compliment?
In the build-up to Sunday evening’s showdown at the Stadio Bentegodi, Tudor spoke in his press conference and was trying to compliment the Rossoneri on building a real project and mentality.
“If you look at Milan’s squad, they ought to be in third or fourth position, so that shows what Stefano Pioli and the club have achieved. They’ve been up there challenging for two years now.”
This was taken as an insult by some supporters, who felt he was doing down the quality of the side, or suggesting they were not worthy Scudetto contenders.
That is an unfair interpretation, as well as a refusal to look reality square in the face, because Tudor said nothing that was not true.
If you take it one player at a time, does this Milan side really stack up against the options available to Simone Inzaghi at Inter, Luciano Spalletti at Napoli or Max Allegri at Juventus?
This is without even taking into account the strength in depth that is so markedly lacking and was behind Milan’s early Champions League collapse, but simply their ideal starting XI.
Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are great veterans, but realistically at the end of their careers, so cannot be compared to Lautaro Martinez, Victor Osimhen or Dusan Vlahovic.
Brahim Diaz blows more cold than hot, Franck Kessie has looked unengaged throughout his final season, while Ante Rebic is either injured or starting an argument in an empty room.
Rafael Leao is the only genuine outfield talent in that Milan squad and even he is far from the finished article, although he is making the right decision slightly more often than he used to.
In defence, Theo Hernandez and Fikayo Tomori are certainly impressive, but would they really shove Ivan Perisic, Robin Gosens or Milan Skriniar out of the Inter XI?
Perhaps the one player…