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Seedorf a calculated but romantic risk for the Rossoneri

Monday 20th January 2014
When Massimiliano Allegri was sacked by Milan on Monday, it was about as much of a surprise as presents at Christmas. Despite doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances at the San Siro and overseeing a transitional period, a 4-3 loss at relegation battling Sassuolo was the final straw and he was sent packing.Allegri had already claimed that this was to be his last season at the club as he wouldn't be extending his contract, and after leading them to three successive top three finishes and one Scudetto title, you could hardly blame him for walking away as what would be a season of inevitable disappointment. Of course, with Milan languishing in unfamiliar territory in Serie A, it was always likely that the forty-six year old would be relieved of his duties sooner rather than later. With every one of the four goals scored on the night by Juventus loanee Domenico Berardi, the chances grew that the decision would be made at the hands of his former club, and it was.

Once Allegri had gone, attention then turned to the search for his replacement. A wounded animal with a squad cutesy of cost-cutting, if ever there was a job that called for an experienced head, it was the current one at Milan.

Or so you'd think.

It seemed like a two horse race for the top job at the Rossoneri from the offset, even weeks if not months before the position became available. Former players Filippo Inzaghi, the current Milan reserve team coach and Clarence Seedorf, still playing the game in Brazil with Botafogo, were clearly the only names really in contention. One with no coaching experience, and one with none at the top level, yet that was the board's choice.

It was split. Vice President Adriano Galliani wanted Inzaghi, Barbara Berlusconi, owner Silvio's daughter wanted Seedorf. The Dutchman got the call, swiftly called time on his 22 year long playing career and flew in from Rio de Janeiro.

Everybody loves the nostalgic side of football, and this was certainly nostalgic. A legendary player, both for Milan and football in general, Seedorf will immediately get the disgruntled Milan ultras on-side, but his aforementioned lack of any previous coaching experience makes this a risk at the best of times, but with Milan in no mans land in calcio's top division, this is the type of risk that could lead to the thirty-seven year old, who only left the club's playing staff as part of their old guard clear-out two years ago, out of his depth.

But there is an upside to having never managed, he's never failed, and perhaps his sheer presence will be enough to inspire Milan to past glories.

But Seedorf, the only man to win the Champions League with three different clubs, doesn't inherit the greatest squad in the club's history. Having played along side the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Andriy Shevchenko and Paolo Maldini in the past, he won't find a wealth of quality when he steps through the doors at the Milanello training complex once again. He will be able to call on the services of Kaka and Mario Balotelli, but with the Italian maverick's long term future in question, and his former teammate not the player he once was, the cool and calm managerial debutant may have his work cut out.

Despite all that, it's undoubtedly beautiful to see Clarence Seedorf back at Milan, and given his age and status at the club it looks like he's in it for the long haul. Having played in the famous red and black shirt for over 400 times in ten years, he seems destined to succeed at the helm of the club. Who knows, given time he may even make it a fourth Champions League title, and an eighth for the club.

Great players don't necessarily make great managers, but Clarence Seedorf's temperament, knowledge and love for the club may well cancel out his lack of experience as he steps into Max Allegri's shoes. Here's hoping it does.
Harry De Cosemo
19 years old, Newcastle season ticket holder. European football enthusiast and aspiring football writer. Currently doing a Journalism degree at Teesside University. You can follow me on Twitter: @harrydecosemo

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