Comic capers in Milanese massacre
AC Milan fans are going to need a good sense of humour this season.
The 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Inter certainly had plenty of comic value at every turn.
After making a game of it for about 20 minutes, Milan started the circus when Ronaldinho ballooned the ball over the bar from inside the area.
Soon, Rino Gattuso fell over, got up, decided he could play on, but was looking very dodgy on one good leg.
Meanwhile, there on the bench sat Clarence Seedorf in his flip-flops and training vest, without a care in the world.
Then, just like that, 1-0 Inter, 2-0 Inter, and Gattuso booked for dragging back Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo inside the area.
Cue Gattuso deciding he has had enough and indicating that he is coming off, although no one on the Rossoneri bench seemed to be taking it seriously Ã¢ÂÂ least of all Seedorf, who was still acting as if he was lounging around at the San Siro beach club.
When Leonardo finally stopped fiddling with his hair and informed the Dutchman that maybe he should slip on a pair of boots, a thoroughly demented and wide-eyed Gattuso had already lunged after Wesley Sneijder Ã¢ÂÂ making a classy debut Ã¢ÂÂ and seen red.
The hirsute one had a few parting words for his coach and Seedorf, as if it was their fault and the only way Gattuso could get their attention was by being sent off.
Indomitable Lion trumps Irritable Rino
Mathieu Flamini and Marek Jankulovski then donned chicken suits and ran around in circles while Inter just simply ran amok. 3-0 and still another 45 minutes to go.
Up the stands, Silvio Berlusconi sat stony-faced and no doubt wishing he could enforce a media blackout on reporting the debacle unfolding in front of him.
Meanwhile the Inter fans began a rendition of Ã¢ÂÂWe are here to see Kaka playÃ¢ÂÂ - a little ditty that their rivals used to sing in happier times.
Silvio didnÃ¢ÂÂt hang around for much of the second half and neither did many of the soon-to-be-long-suffering Rossoneri supporters, who must have regretted giving up the last weekend of the summer holidays to pay to be humiliated.
The only bright note is that things cannot get much worse.
It was a bitter lesson for Leonardo, who only last week was being hailed as the brightest young coach around.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs clear that the coach needs to put some distance between himself and his players Ã¢ÂÂ for example, a quick rollicking for Clarence may have got him to dress for the occasion.
But the Brazilian must know that the crux of the crisis lies with his cruise-control creative maverick.
These days, Ronaldinho can only play in fits and starts.
And as long as he is remains immobile for most of the game, Milan are going to be overrun in midfield and thus stretched to wilting point in defence Ã¢ÂÂ especially as both Marek Jankulovski and the previously majestic Gianluca Zambrotta have become so ineffectual in just about every aspect of their game.
"No, you get it Ã¢ÂÂ you're obviously nearer"
With Berlusconi demanding that his flavour of the year start on a regular basis, how to employ dithering Dinho will tax LeoÃ¢ÂÂs thoughts throughout his waking hours.
No such worries for Jose, who watched in admiration as his team produced a fluid display of passing and movement.
The opener, dispatched crisply by Thiago Motta, was a succession of neat, short inter-play straight out of the Barcelona training manual.
Sneijder turned out to be key to this new effortless approach, where power and precision have made way for craft and guile.
Then, there is the ease with which Diego Milito and Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo drop off their markers to encourage the midfielders to play that extra 10 metres or so further up the pitch Ã¢ÂÂ and suddenly black and blue shirts are crowding the opposition penalty area.
Against 10 men and thoroughly disorganised opposition it was too easy, but a real test looms over the horizon in Barcelona.
Mourinho has set his sights on dethroning the Catalans and on this display there would seem to be little or no gap between the two sides.
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