- A.C. Milan are one of the most historic clubs in world football.
- Despite this, its been over a decade since their last league title.
- On the verge of a championship, Milan’s manager is using stories of Kobe Bryant to keep the team motivated.
Despite being one of the most recognizable and successful football clubs in the world — their seven European titles trails only Real Madrid — it’s now been over ten years since A.C. Milan won the Serie A title, as a decade of Juventus dominance was then followed by an Inter Milan resurgence last season.
However, with just one match left in the 2021-22 Serie A season, A.C. Milan is in pole position to win the league, as they’re currently two points ahead of their crosstown rivals Inter Milan, with whom they share a stadium (the legendary San Siro).
Because they trail Inter on goal difference by 14, A.C. is going to need a win on Sunday against Sassuolo to clinch their first Serie A title since the 2010-11 season (assuming that Inter beats Sampdoria).
With his team so close to their ultimate goal, A.C. Milan manager Stefano Pioli — who has previously taken charge at the likes of Inter Milan and Fiorentina — is using stories of the late, great Kobe Bryant to keep his team focused and motivated.
A.C. Milan’s manager is using stories about Kobe Bryant to keep the team focused
“I showed the lads an interview with Kobe Bryant, who said at 2-0 up in the NBA Playoffs, ‘the job is not done’. We’re not done. We need to maintain that calm and concentration that can in the end prove decisive.
“When we took charge at Milan, the team had completely different tactical ideals and concepts, so we had to change everything. Now the good thing is that the players enjoy making the most of our strengths and preparing tactically, being able to adjust also to limit our opponents.” [via Goal]
The comments Pioli is referring to were made by Bryant when the Los Angeles Lakers took a 2-0 lead over Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals, a series they would ultimately go on to win 4-1.
“Job’s not finished.”
—Kobe after he was asked why he wasn't smiling with a 2-0 lead in the 2009 Finals pic.twitter.com/gmGclJFERv
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 15, 2020
Bryant was famously an AC Milan fan as he grew to love the club while living in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13. It just goes to show that Kobe Bryant’s greatness and reputation as one of the greatest competitors of all time translates across all ages, languages, and cultures.