If a club has been spoiled by seeing an endless list of the greatest defenders in football history, it’s Milan.
I Rossoneri was fortunate enough to witness legendary center-back Franco Baresi’s entire career unfold, as they also watched Paolo Maldini grow from a young boy to an all-time great during his 25 years with the club.
Add the astonishing Alessandro Nesta to the mix and you begin to understand the luxury that San Siro has enjoyed in recent decades. It’s safe to say Milan fans know a good defender when they see one.
Thus, they will have been genuinely encouraged by Fikayo Tomori’s league debut in the 2-1 win over Bologna, in which the Englishman demonstrated exactly why Maldini called him directly to convince him to swap London for Milan.
“Paolo Maldini was one of the greatest defenders of all time and when he called me I was a little surprised but I knew the project and it didn’t take long to make up my mind. ”
– Fikayo tomori
Simon Kjaer’s injury forced Milan to fend for arguably their best center-back, and Tomori was thrown into the depths to help the league leaders bounce back from their disappointing losses to Atalanta and Inter .
It was far from a gift for the 23-year-old to get acquainted with Italian football, either, with Bologna touting a lot of danger in their attack line. Big players Nicola Sansone and Riccardo Orsolini offer bags of cunning, while striker Musa Barrow is an explosively paced powder keg and frightening power, just waiting to sniff out any weakness in his marker.
Tomori was not scared by the prospect of stopping the Gambian striker and produced an impressive display to extend I Rossoneri’s lead at the top of Serie A to five points. The former Chelsea star started the game confidently, pointing and gesturing towards his teammates, and showing great composure on the ball.
He was responsible for beating the press and passing balls to his deep midfielders, and he regularly selected Sandro Tonali and Franck Kessie with a sparkling and precise ball or a smart smooth pass on the forward attack.
“I already knew the history of the Club; it’s inspiring that it was founded by an Englishman and I wanted to be part of it. ”
– Fikayo tomori
In terms of working on the ball at the time, Tomori was exceptional. And he was able to deliver an equally imposing defensive display. He defended himself on the front foot, stuck in Barrow from all angles; pushing the ball out of the attacker’s path when he has attempted to put other players into play.
His offensive defensive style allowed Milan to operate from height, squeezing Bologna into their own half and denying them space to build attacks. Of course, this system comes with its own risks, and I Rossoneri was almost caught napping when their fast hosts counterattacked.
An attack from Milan failed and left the league leaders to defend a two-on-one situation with Tomori being the last man standing. The center-back also showed great composure on this occasion, delaying the spare man’s pass as long as possible, before continuing in pursuit of Nicolas Dominguez, narrowing the angle and do enough to force him to shoot Gianluigi Donnarumma directly.
Luckily for Tomori, it was as complicated as his afternoon arrived, and he was able to fend off anything Bologna threw at him, whether on the ground or in the air. The final whistle meant the end of Milan’s recent rut, putting a massive three points on the board, and although they couldn’t keep the sheet clean at the end, they showed heart in the 10s. last minutes.
Stefano Pioli was visibly delighted with his new defender and often shouted encouraging words throughout the game, happy to have found a suitable replacement for his regular starters – and one who can undoubtedly fight for a place. consistent in the side.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. We will delay the Fikayo Tomaldini nicknames at the moment.