The 5-1 scoreline doesn’t lie. Except for a few moments in the first half, the new and downgraded AC Milan hardly had any touches throughout the match, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and Angel Di Maria delivered a beautiful goal to open the match, with a world of difference between the two teams in the New York friendly.
And while Real Madrid look exactly like the team they were last season – aggressive, hungry and insanely quick on their counter attacking, Milan looked bad. All the work and the right moves over the last few seasons that put them back in a position to be called on of Europe’s best teams has been undone during the course of one summer. Letting go of nearly all the veterans, who still had plenty to give, while selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the best player in the Serie A, and Thiago Silva, their best defender.
Now? Antonio Cassano is what drives this team and makes things happen, but that’s not enough. Robinho, maybe Pato, a little bit of Nocerino and Boateng. That might be enough to make the knockout stage in the Champion League, no further. It won’t be enough to win the title in Italy, despite the Serie A continuing to be a step behind the Premier League, Bundesliga and the La Liga in terms of overall strength.
Another interesting figure was Kaka, a subject of much debate as AC Milan are trying to return the team’s best player over the last 7-8 years, hoping he won’t be costing too much. Kaka did get to play and even recorded an assist, setting up a goal for Sergio Ramos in the second half. He’s not too much in Jose Mourinho’s plans, and a player of this kind of caliber should get to play and start. He’ll be more useful and meaningful in Milan, but that doesn’t mean anything.
Ronaldo? Nothing’s really changed from last season. A short summer break because of the Euro hasn’t made him look tired or slow. Still the deadliest player to have at the end of a counter attack, hungry for goals, team and individual titles. Real Madrid have yet to make any acquisitions this summer, but they still have the most impressive squad in Europe, and still, by the early going of things, look like the best team in Spain.