Van Basten the man to take Milan back to the future

It’s been a rough old week for Silvio Berlusconi.First his side lose the derby, then he falls out with Argentina after a “witty” remark about dictators and prisoners falling out of aeroplanes.The centre-left opposition may have imploded in humiliation after being routed in a regional election while Gordon Brown was in Rome to cheer him up.

But really what the PM wanted was Milan to celebrate his 23rd year in charge of the club with an all-dancing, goal-filled UEFA Cup win at Werder Bremen.It’s the only trophy he has never got his hands on. But instead, it was another insipid display and for the umpteenth time the ageing, ailing defence failed to hold on to a lead in the dying moments of a game.No wonder the perma-tanned one was beside himself and basically handed Carlo Ancelotti the Italian equivalent of his P45 – to be picked up in June.

Diego celebrates his post-Horlicks leveller

All indications are that Carlo really, really is finished this time – and three cheers to that.

Leonardo is the hot favourite to bring back the glory days, but after witnessing Ajax’s win over Fiorentina on Thursday, Silvio need look no further than his face in the mirror and see that the future is orange.Marco van Basten is, of course, well-versed in the ways of Milan and the manner in which the Dutch master’s young charges performed at the Artemio Franchi brought back memories of many a Rossoneri performance under Arrigo Sacchi.Pressurising the opposition at every turn and then breaking quickly to steal an away goal, was the order of the day back then and Van Basten certainly demonstrated that he had learnt a thing or two from his time at Milanello.That’s what his side did and, just like Sacchi’s multi-functional wonders, when they had possession they kept it.Didn’t Milan play like that not so long ago? Yes, but then they got old and – like the '80s – will never make a comeback.

The way we were... Milan '89 (Van Basten on right)

Berlusconi claimed on Friday he can’t watch the team go on like this and, even if he doesn’t employ Van Basten, he should take the word of his best-ever purchase to heart.“I feel this Milan side is a bit too old to dominate,” declared the Dutchman when asked on the eve of the Fiorentina game for his take on the derby defeat.Imagine Van Basten given carte blanche to rebuild a new, young and dynamic team in his image. Then, finally, we would have something to wipe that smug grin off Jose’s face.The only positive from a disappointing week in Europe was Udinese drawing 2-2 with Lech Poznan in Poland. Actually, maybe “positive” is overdoing it.All eyes are now on the Champions League next week.Inter, Juventus and AS Roma have been given a helping hand of sorts from the league with all three having their domestic chores moved to Saturday.Let’s hope the extra rest on Sunday works out – or Italy could be facing European ruin before winter turns to spring.

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