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OPINION: Francesco Coco Can Go To Hell
29.5 || scharatz

AUTHOR: Lo Scrivano

I have been an AC Milan fan as far back as I can remember watching football. And, the most important thing I have learnt is that no player is greater than the team…ever! Believe me, it is hard for me to say this after seeing the likes of Francesco Baresi, Marco Van Basten and Paolo Maldini don the red and black shirt, but that doesn't change anything. Look at Roy Keane, the most inspirational midfielder in the world and leader of Ireland. He is sitting at home today because at some point he stopped caring about the team and started to think of himself as an individual and not as a member of that team. Francesco Coco is showing day by day that he is made of the same material.

A true thoroughbred of the Milan youth system, Coco arrived on the big stage with a bang in 1994, replacing an injured Paolo Maldini and becoming a hero almost overnight with his impressive displays at left-back. Coco was groomed for that position and was tipped to take over when Maldini quit, but that obviously was not about to happen anytime soon and so the story goes. Coco was loaned out a couple of times, and after three years in oblivion (primarily due to injury), he came back to Milan in 2000 to stake his claim in the side he professed his love to. Coco rose to dizzy heights yet again, scoring twice in the Champions' League. And a match winning display at the Nou Camp finally earned him a call to the Azzurri.

However, the lad has gone awry since then. He fought with Milan coach Fatih Terim after Terim told him that he was to play either at left-back or as second fiddle to Brazilian Serginho. Coco told Milan that he no longer wished to stay at the club and left for Barcelona claiming, "My aim is to play in the World Cup and for that I must get first team football."

While Coco could have thrived at Milan replacing the glorious, yet erratic and inconsistent Serginho, he chose to move to Barcelona, a move that he surely must regret in retrospect. Coco spent most of the season on the bench and even when Barca left-back Sergi was injured, Coco saw little action. What's more, all this did little to hamper his World Cup place, as he is the only real left wingback of International quality in the country at the moment. Cristiano Doni, his only competition for that position is a far more attack-minded player.

But a year later, his tune hasn't changed a bit. Barcelona have refused to keep him (probably because of his nonsensical attitude) and he is back in Milan. At a point like this one would think that he would try and win back his fans and earn a starting spot at the club to try and settle his haphazard career. But, no! Coco has now announced his relish at the thought of joining deadly rivals Inter Milan and has all but transformed every ounce of love every AC Milan fan had for him in to hate. "I do not want to stay at Milan. The club does not interest me", Coco was cited as saying.

AC Milan may tolerate poor form, but they definitely do not tolerate misbehavior (as don't most respectable clubs). Coco is a brat with the brain of a child (no offense to any intelligent children out there) and should he succeed in lobbying for a cross-city move, he can add the title of "traitor" to that resumé too. Coco's career at Milan may already be over, but if he wants to truly realize his dreams of being a key member of the Azzurri, he better get his act together now. Ironically, he may receive a blessing in disguise if his transfer to Internazionale does go through. For in Hector Cuper, the disciplinarian, he will have met his match.





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