Let me first get the most important sentiment off my chest: Barcelona did not steal this game in the sense that they didn't deserve it, rather had an inept referee gift them an opportunity that they clearly did not need. They are the best team in the world, had many more chances than Milan, and generally are about as unstoppable as an asteroid the size of one of Bobo Vieri's boobs shooting towards the earth at a high rate of speed.
The last thing I want to debate is who deserved what, which penalties should or shouldn't have been awarded, and most importantly - does the controversial call against Nesta cancel out the penalty Barcelona should've had in the first game. I couldn't care less about that garbage now as it's banal talk. Milan are going back home to focus on winning the Scudetto, and may Barcelona meet Real Madrid in the final so casual bandwagon fans all over the world can rejoice with their collective erections for Clasico Fever.
We can sit here and play the blame game. Blame the injuries. Blame the referee. Blame the San Siro pitch. Blame Melissa Satta for having sex with Boateng too much. Blame the doctor in Atlanta who said Pato was in 'perfectly good health'. Blame Allegri and his frown. Blame Messi for his superhuman ability. But let's just blame Ibrahim Ba, for the hell of it.
Tuesday's match was yet another emphatic statement that the equilibrium in football is vastly disproportional. It's safe to say 15 out of the best 20 players in the world are on two different teams. Really, Barcelona are in another stratosphere. The fact that they can replace an injured Xavi with a FOURTH choice creative midfielder like Thiago Alcantara says everything you need to know about their impressive depth. Milan just had the misfortune of meeting the Martians right away, but in the grand scheme of things, does it even matter? Wouldn't it have been more painful anyway to lose against the band of elves in the semi-finals?
- It's unfortunate that yet another culling off the old guard will take place this summer. Seeing Seedorf, Ambrosini, and Nesta on the pitch playing at such a high level against the best team in the world is a breath of fresh air, and reminds me of the times when we were actually a likable team. I like to think that the arrival of Ibrahimovic started the new trend of 'Inter face' players coming to the Rossoneri. Alessandro Nesta, at age 36, was monumental today. Ambrosini was valiant in his pursuit of men nearly half his age and twice his speed. Also, we must not forget the somber exit of Seedorf, who has most likely played his last Champions League match for Milan. It's rather unfortunate that such class individuals are being replaced by a new generation of overly petulant and arrogant players, seemingly more concerned with the appearance of their perfectly gelled hair prematch than anything else. This issue has been bothering me plenty - the fact we've become such a volatile side with plenty of unlikable players. What happened to the Milan I grew up adoring? I miss the Maldini's, Kaka's, Shevchenko's, Inzaghi's, Costacurta's, Cafu's. The classy sides that perfectly resembled the storied history of the club, and the image it was trying to exude on the public.
- For Barbara's sake, I hope Pato lasts more in bed than he does on the pitch. What we saw today was another botched mismanagement of injured players by Allegri, clearly putting too much trust into the Atlanta based Doctor that visited with Pato earlier in the week and said Alexandre was in perfect working order. Saying Pato is in perfect working order is like saying Andrea Masiello is an honest young man. More than anything, how does a player comically enter the match only to be taken off five minutes later? The Pato Corollary has become a form of unintentional comedy of the highest order. Unfortunately, it seems Pato's net worth has gone from €38m a few months ago, to the €199.99 Hospital visit he now requires twice a week.
- As I said earlier on twitter, I'm going to continue talking about the highly unpopular topic that most of you are vastly overrating Antonio Nocerino. Even though he did score the goal today, and his form in the Serie A is unquestionably surprising, he is a player with modest skills who seems out of his element in Europe. Now don't get me wrong, he is a perfect fit for the Serie A grind, but in Europe makes too many costly errors with his often diabolical passing that ends up in a deadly counter attack for the opposing side. Why is Nocerino untouchable? Sometimes we create these mythical cartoons out of players, whether they carry a negative/positive connotation is unique in every case, but the fact of the matter is Nocerino is the direct embodiment of an Allegri type game plan. Plenty of running, little technique. As the coach himself said, "you can't feast on caviar every day. Sometimes you must be content with a ham sandwich."
- Instead of issuing blame to the referee for the final result, we need to put aside bias and come to the realization (rather obvious one) that Milan were outmatched over two legs. The injuries were too much to overcome, Antonini reverted back to being Antonini, and the attack was too inconsistent to cause a significant dent in the questionable Barcelona defense.
With the Champions League out the window, it's time to focus the energies solely on maintaining our slender lead in the Scudetto race. However, this summer will be the most telling of all, and will show if Milan is more committed towards winning a Champions League, or negating past debt.
Blame Ibrahim Ba.
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