“Without Kaka, we cannot be champions”

So spake Paolo Maldini in his last press conference. El Gran Capitano said that this move to sell the Brazilian was unprecedented and forecast a gloomy future for Milan.

“This is a historic change for Milan and it will be unrealistic to expect us to win the Champions League without Kaka.”

When Franco Baresi retired the club was able to bounce back from that dark period. But he sees less chances of that happening.

“Kaka is one of the best five players in the world and the other four are not moving. They are not coming to Milan.”

It was a sombre Maldini speaking. The comments that follow the article show a majority of fans share his pessimistic assessment of the club’s future.

There is a dawning feeling that Milan was woefully under prepared for these monumental changes. In every sphere, in every aspect of the game, Milan has been found reactive or shortsighted.

Take a look at defense, Maldini’s forte. Nesta and Gattuso’s injuries, forced a makeshift back line that gave up late goals in crucial matches. The club did not search out suitable replacements, even as they knew Maldini was set to retire sooner than later.

Kaka’s transfer to bail out a club from financial distress has disturbed many. With Berlusconi’s status as one of the richest Italians (he is currently ranked third behind the owners of Nutella and Ray Ban), he was looked on Abramovich like to provide funds for high priced transfers. The new reality is that the recession has considerably diminished his spending powers.

Ancelotti’s replacement, his long time assistant Leonardo is looked on as a cut price gamble. Not going outside to attract a big name coach has led to further questions about the leadership’s future vision. There are disturbing signs that Pirlo and Pato might be tempted away by higher spending clubs. There are open questions whether Ronaldinho can effectively take over the role of the chief playmaker.

In his press conference, Maldini gave a less than hearty endorsement to Ronaldinho filling Kaka’s shoes. He suggests that the Brazilian is unprepared.

“Ronaldinho could become a leader if he accepts that responsibility.”

Which is at odds with Berlusconi’s statement that Ronaldinho is ready to fill that void.

There are some who look for the sun under the dark clouds. But this comment sums up the majority’s feeling:

” Thank you, Maldini for being a sincere friend who says what he thinks. Even a scudetto seems unrealistic (probably even more now). Be prepared for another disappointing season. Without Kaka and Maldini, the two reasons for going to the stadium.”

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