AC Milan are slowly waking up to the fact that they may have to concentrate on domestic football next season.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs increasingly looking as if ItalyÃ¢ÂÂs most celebrated club in the Champions League will have to watch EuropeÃ¢ÂÂs elite on television for the first time since 2001-02.
Who would have thought a home game against Cagliari this weekend would be the defining moment of the season? But that's the way itÃ¢ÂÂs looking. After turning in a wretched display to go down 2-1 to Atalanta in front of an increasingly disgruntled San Siro, the Rossoneri are a dismal joint-sixth alongside Sampdoria.
More San Siro misery for Milan against Atalanta
Both are on 49 points, four off that all-important fourth spot held by the consistent Fiorentina while the improving Udinese, on 50 points, could be the surprise side of the run-in until the end of the campaign.
Then thereÃ¢ÂÂs Inter who are 20 points ahead but letÃ¢ÂÂs not go there Ã¢ÂÂ thereÃ¢ÂÂs enough of a mess to clear up on the doorsteps of Milanello, AC Milan's swanky headquarters.
Reports that Marcello Lippi has already signed up to take over from Carlo Ancelotti in July have really got CarlettoÃ¢ÂÂs back up. Apparently, the coach has demanded that president Silvio Berlusconi forget about welcoming Andriy Shevchenko back as he canÃ¢ÂÂt see the Chelsea failure bringing the best out of Alexandre Pato.
Sheva back in a Milan shirt? Don't bet on it
Then, there's all the deadwood: the likes of Guiseppe Favalli and Serginho who have been offered new contracts rather than a map of Milanello with the exit marked clearly.
Most worryingly, a perplexed Ricky Kaka has been asking whatÃ¢ÂÂs going on Ã¢ÂÂ hence a swiftly arranged photo-op of SilvioÃ¢ÂÂs henchman and Uncle Fester lookalike Adriano Galliani out wining and dining RonaldinhoÃ¢ÂÂs agent and brother Roberto Assisi.
The word is that the wayward Brazilian can be landed for a mere 17million euros but would Dinho come to an ailing side who arenÃ¢ÂÂt in the Champions League? And anyway, wouldn't the money be better spent on beefing up the fragile defence?