It wasn't all red and black for Milan this season.
But after winning their first three games of the season and managing to eat away their points deduction Milan found a change in form. They were struck with a series of injuries and battled to find the back of the net.
These times were hard for all that played, coached and supported Milan, because no one could see why Milan were playing the way they were. Many couldn't help think if Milan were going to get out of the last 15 let alone qualify for Champions League next season. And each game was looking more and more likely to be Coach Carlo Ancelotti's last on the rossoneri bench.
The rise of Alberto Gilardino and Milan
Many of the players had been criticised but no one had received the same amount of criticism Gilardino received during Milan's slump. Many blamed him for Milan's poor form and dubbed him the curse of the rossoneri as he had only scored 2 goals and the half way mark of the season was drawing nearer.
However after months of Ancelotti trying different attacking formations, Carlo decided to have it all rest on Gila's shoulders for one of the biggest games of the season. He was the sole attacker for Milan supported by his five man midfield for Milan against Fiorentina. He managed to find the back of the net three minutes into the game to put Milan ahead. However as the game moved Milan found themselves once again loosing, 2-1 the score. But a minute from time Milan won a corner and substitute Yoann Gourcuff bent in the corner to find the head of Gilardino who headed it home to secure a point.
That game proved to be the turning point in the rossoneri's and Gila's revival. Milan started to win games and Gila helped in that revival as he scored 6 goals in 5 games. And Milan had remained unbeaten since early November, and the team spirit had certainly started to return and Milan were slowly climbing their way back up the table. At the time they also just managed Champions League qualification to the round of the last 16.
In Milan's hard times there were few stars, as all had their bad spells on the field. But Milan haven't only had bad spells this season, there have been great spells too, and the good ones coming just at the right time as Milan head to their 11th Champions League final in history. But a few names have to be mentioned, in a team full of stars:
Kaka: One of the best, if not the best player in the world. He has been immense for Milan seeing them finish 4th and helping them reach the Champions League final. He proved what a world class player he is when his indiviual goal against Celtic saw Milan qualify for the quarter finals. He also won the battle between him and Ronaldo when Milan played Man Utd in the semi-finals. seeing him put 3 goals behind Man utd, for Milan to reach the Champions League final.
Clarence Seedorf: He started the season in bad form, but his goal against Bayern Munich saw the rebirth of the Dutchman. He put in magnificent displays which saw him break his personal best record for goals in a season. And another fine performance by him today saw him net him 10th goal of the season.
Daniele Bonera: As soon as he played in the centre of defence he fitted in well, putting in displays that could have given a younger Nesta a run for his money. He has certainly proved why he is rated as one of the best up and coming defenders in Italy. And when times were tough he never stopped trying for his beloved Milan!
After Favalli and Serginho's injuries Marek was forced to adapt quickly to Milan, after his spending almost the whole season on the sidelines last season. And he had big boots to fill. Nevertheless the Czech never let that get in his way, and he fitted in well. He also scored 3 match winners for Milan, and defended his heart out. Although he hasn't been exactly consistent we have to remember that he played all the games as he was the only LB, due to Kaladze and Maldini playing in the centre of defence and both suffered injuries too. He never showed any signs of giving up, and that must be remembered.
The brave heart suffered a horrible knee injury early in the season that was said to rule him out of action for 3 months. But Gattuso was adamant that he had to be back on that field, and that 3 months was way too long for him. He proved once again how determined he is and how much his presence is needed in the Milan midfield. He made it back in 2 months and started playing like he hadn't suffered an injury. He put in fine displays most notably his one against Manchester United at home that made every team wish they had a play like him. The brave heart once again proving that nothing is impossible.
As the season draws to a close Milan have mathematically qualified for the preliminary rounds of the Champions League, and their last home match will be in dedication to Alessandro "Billy" Costacurta. The legend will take his final bow as a rossoneri player but we will still see him on the rossoneri bench next season as an assistant coach for Milan.
After an up and down season, all is left is for Milan is to avenge their loss in Istanbul and beat Liverpool to be crowned champions for the 7th time. No easy task but after Milan's season the faith is certainly there! FORZA DIAVOLI!