Written By Onyeka Daniel

With AC Milan set to announce the appointment of Paulo Fonseca in the coming days after parting ways with Stefano Pioli, the choice hasn’t really gone down well with some people, just like the initial choice of Julen Lopetegui was met with protest from the fans.

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Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi is thoroughly unimpressed by the imminent decision to appoint the Portuguese, ‘I honestly expected a bigger name.’ “I honestly expected a bigger name,” Sacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Or at least, seeing as I am Italian, I hoped the directors would choose a coach from this country.

“Milan need a strategist, a coach who is able to give a style of play to the team and through that make the most of the players at his disposal. “There are several fine Italian coaches who would’ve suited the Rossoneri. I am thinking of Roberto De Zerbi, Maurizio Sarri, Gian Piero Gasperini, Vincenzo Italiano, Thiago Motta. They know Serie A, know the dynamics of our football, have ideas and proved it.


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“Fonseca is someone we still need to really discover.”It will not be the first Serie A experience for Fonseca, as the Portuguese boss already had a couple of years at Roma.However, that was not enough to convince Sarri that he is ready to take hold at San Siro.

“Fonseca did very well in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, in France he got a fifth and a fourth place, he wasn’t exactly enchanting at Roma. These were not exceptional results,” added Sacchi.

“Having said that, we must not be hasty or prejudicial. I will be the first to applaud if he gets Milan to entertain and prove they can be a courageous, modern, European team.“I hope he can be a strategist and not a tactician, someone who has the desire to dominate the opposition.”

Over the last five years, Sacchi was not always particularly kind to Pioli either and was often critical of his approach to the sport. The Rossoneri supporters have also been unenthusiastic about the choice of new coach, although not quite to the virulent degree of anger they showed when Lopetegui was going to be appointed.

But it looks like they will have to settle for the choice of Fonseca and see where he takes them, and hopefully, he doesn’t end like Marco Giampaolo who was sacked by the club after 7 games.


Pioli has hinted that he might be heading towards the English Premier League or at least going abroad after the end of his Milan experience. ‘I am learning English, we’ll see.’ The coach was under contract until June 2025, but the club informed him this week that they intend to go in another direction and he will negotiate a termination by mutual consent.

He said goodbye to the players and fans at a packed San Siro during the 3-3 draw with Salernitana, concluding the campaign in second place. “I experienced emotions thanks to our fans that don’t happen often in the career of a coach,” Pioli told DAZN in a post match interview.

“They filled my heart with joy and gratification. I can only be proud of what we did together, to be forever in the history books of such a prestigious club.”Pioli had never won the Scudetto before this and got a tattoo of the symbol with 19 on his forearm, but it was also the first Milan Serie A title in 11 years.

“This experience took me to this moment and I want to keep building, if I get the possibility, something special. I am very demanding with myself, I leave my comfort zone. I know what to ask from the club and players, I know what it takes to raise the level again. That is the joy of this profession.

“We were the youngest squad to win the Scudetto and I watched these lads become men. I can say that I have the ambition to try to repeat something special.”Will Pioli take a Sabbatical year or look to immediately get back to work elsewhere after five seasons at Milan? “My agent called in recent weeks, I told him don’t tell me anything until the rapport with the club is concluded. I think something could happen over the next 10 days. I need to find something that stimulates me.

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“I also thought that I could take time off, because just the idea of travelling around watching teams can help you to evolve, to keep learning new things. I don’t feel tired, but I need something convincing.” Among the Premier League clubs looking for a coach there are Chelsea, Manchester United and even Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton and Hove Albion. Did Pioli agree with Milan directors that his era was over?

“This is how things happen, eras begin and end, it’s not easy to last as long as we did. I think this is best for everyone. ”The coach did drop a rather large hint as to his possible next destination, which could be outside of Serie A. “I am studying English, it might be the right time. We’ll see over the next 10-15 days, which could be decisive, but I don’t feel the pressure to choose anything in particular.”

Having been on the end of a lot of criticism over the years at Milan, Pioli learned something about himself. “I realised that I am very resilient and tenacious. This is part of the growth process for a coach. I don’t like coaches who talk too much, above all those who are not working now or worked in the past and talk a lot. They’ve all been through the same things we have, they know judgment could be more balanced.” He further added.

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