Rudderless Milan face fourth-place shame

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Josep Guardiola is certainly a classy fellow.

Not only does he show the world how to play football, the Barcelona coach then dedicates the Champions League victory to Paolo Maldini.

Doing things with style was once a feature of Milan, but that panache of old has been missing for some time now.

The club has refused to publicly accept the open secret that Carlo Ancelotti is off to Chelsea, and has also failed to condemn those who booed and jeered Maldini on his farewell lap of honour last Sunday.

The club used to be transparent in its dealings, proactive rather than reactive, but the mists of indecision which have descended from the hierarchy could have very serious repercussions in the long run.

Ancelotti’s revelations that he met with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last summer and even discussed possible signings if he were to take the job presumably not only breached his contract with Milan but sowed the seeds of the sorry state we now find the club in.

"Me and my mouth..."

Where was the commitment to the Milan cause this season, if in his mind he is already in charge of the Blues?

Admitting that he has been taking English lessons is another snub to everyone at Milanello.

Rather than maintaining a lofty silence, apart from some utterances about Ancelotti’s future being decided at the end of the season, Silvio Berlusconi and his No.2 Adriano Galliani should have allowed not-so-cuddly Carlo to get on with his lessons – by buying his plane tickets.

It worked for Juventus, whose ruthlessness in sacking Claudio Ranieri ensured they ended the season as runners-up.

Instead, with the club silent while Ancelotti tweets like a bluebird, the former certainties for second spot could finish fourth if they lose by a two-goal margin at Fiorentina on Sunday.

If Milan fail – and they have conceded five goals in the last two games - there will be further damage to the Rossoneri's reputation of getting things done rather than being passive bystanders.

Fourth place also means the preliminary round of the Champions League – and after the humiliation of a year in the UEFA Cup, that's a big risk for established stars.

Will Ricky Kaka continue to resist the sirens from Real Madrid tempting him to a new life in Spain? Will Andrea Pirlo follow Ancelotti to the Kings Road?

It's a lame state of affairs. And in times of uncertainly who better to turn to than Rino Gattuso, who is always guaranteed to make sense out of the nonsensical.

“I haven’t a clue what is going on,” claimed the combative midfielder in a newspaper interview at the start of the week. “One day I read the coach is staying, the next I read he is going - I've given up wondering what will happen.”

"What's going on, gaffer?"

No doubt Rino was speaking for all the players, which suggests Milan will travel to Florence not only clueless but rudderless.

No wonder Maldini was all smiles when he revealed he was looking ahead to having a proper summer holiday for the first time in life. His team-mates would no doubt love to have that thought in mind.

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