Knives out in Milan after Ancelotti's old men crumble

How much blame should be apportioned to a) the club and b) Carlo Ancelotti in the spectacular decline of AC Milan from kings to paupers of European football is open to debate?But in the wake of the lame exit to Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup, the majority of Rossoneri fans have laid the blame firmly with the suits and their failure in the transfer market to inject some much-needed youthful vigour.

Pizarro plunders second to seal Werder win on away goals

In hindsight, Ancelotti should have walked away last season although - as all Italians know - it’s difficult to walk away from home comforts.

Whispers around Milanello suggest that Madrid is his likely destination, and if Leonardo had completed all his coaching badges, we could have been looking at the new man in charge of Silvio Berlusconi’s side as early as this morning. The team lost its self-esteem against Bremen, and not even the most die-hard of Rossoneri fan would have said they deserved to be 2-0 ahead at the break.They were played off the park in the first half, and then were left as mere spectators in the second.Basically, the Bundesliga side had everything Milan can only long for: fluency and flair provided by dynamic, young players who work their socks off.We’ve been here before and the disaster waiting to happen finally occurred in explosive style.With so much riding on the outcome, there was still space for Nelson Dida whose only semblance to a goalkeeper is that he wears a keeper’s shirt.

Paolo bows out of European football on bum note

Poor old Paolo Maldini was forced to drag his middle-aged limbs into the fray once again, and who wants to remember the final days of their glorious career playing alongside Philippe Senderos?

And what a shame it was to see the legend gesture to the crowd at the final whistle to cease their very justifiable jeers.David Beckham was busy when he brought traffic to a halt in the centre of the city during a promotional junket on the eve of the game, and we can now see where his true value lies.He obviously left his best footwork dodging the fans out on the Milan streets, because he looked like a player more suited to the MLS than the rigours of the European game.While Mathieu Flamini must be wondering what he has to do to get a game when he sees Massimo Ambrosini shuffle around like a zombie - bumping into team-mates and opponents alike with total disregard to where the ball is.Ancelotti is just too close to the players who were past it when they won the Champions League two years ago, but then he hasn’t been helped by the club who are still blinded by the star factor.

Pato: The Rossoneri's one reason to be cheerful

However, there is Alexandre Pato. And maybe, tellingly, it was Leonardo who had a comforting arm around the only bright note in the side at the full-time whistle on Thursday night.

With Fiorentina and Sampdoria also eliminated, Italian hopes in the competition now rest solely with Udinese – in short, a European evening to forget all round.

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