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OPINION: San Alessandro, The Calming Influence
31.8 || scharatz

AUTHOR: Lo Scrivano

When Francesco Baresi hung up his boots in 1997 and Milan retired his No. 6 jersey, few thought that they would see a sweeper of his calibre grace the San Siro anytime soon. After 20-years in a red-and-black shirt, Baresi had left more than just a legacy behind. He had left a gaping hole in the Milan back-line that the club would struggle to fill for years to come. That was, until now.

Tassotti-Baresi-Costacurta-Maldini…bit-by-bit that barbican defence has been dismantled and the last piece, Paolo Maldini is now forced to play in the centre to plug the holes that his teammates dig. However, Maldini can now sleep peacefully at night. For just like his forays up the left wing in the 90s, he can now make forays down the middle. He no longer needs to stay back and orchestrate plays and organize his defence. For, just like he had the luxury of having Baresi behind him all through the 90s, Alessandro Nesta will see him though to retirement.

Alessandro Nesta may not realize it right away, but he is about the change AC Milan for good. He is about to fulfil the one need that the Rossoneri have had since the departure of that elegant man, Baresi.

Nesta will take his time to settle in at the San Siro. All players need that. The only difference is that some take 2 days while others take more than a year. Nesta has yet to train with his teammates, even with the Italian championship but a fortnight away, but Milan fans can rest assured that they have in their side the most calm, composed and professional player they could hope for.

"There is no team in the world Alessandro Nesta wouldn't improve," Cragnotti had said a year or so ago. The cereal-baron has seen his (former) captain hold the team aloft single-handedly. Nesta has vision. He can, from his position at the rear of the field size up a situation in a split-second. He can visualize, order, and act all at once. And that is what Milan have paid 30 million Euros for (a bargain if you ask me).

Aug 30, the signature…Aug 31, the presentation…and, Sep 1 the first training! Yet, when 'la prima giornata' of Serie A comes around, it is almost certain that San Alessandro will be ready. He already knows Maldini from the national team and it is hard to believe that anyone else is going to have issues adjusting to Nesta or vice-versa. Milan will kick-off their campaign free of defensive insecurity for the first time in many, many seasons. And the calming influence will be none other than the man they have just signed: Alessandro Nesta.

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