In this second article of five where I will try to match the five colours of the fantasy card game Magic the Gathering with five different Italian football clubs I will deal with the colour black. While black has traditionally been connected with death, infestation, and evil it is also the colour of sacrifice, pride, and power, so fans Milan fans shouldn’t despair. It’s not all doom and gloom even if I’ve chosen your beloved Rossoneri as the black force of Calcio.
I hope that both Milan fans and people without the slightest knowledge of the wonderfully wicked world of Magic the Gathering will stay with me through the oncoming power ride. Let’s go!
First of all, as if any other reason was needed, Milan is ruled by the dark overlord himself, the incarnation of evil (I actually think so) Silvio Berlusconi. As a Mikaeus the Unhallowed he’s revered by his minions and feared by all others. With demonic power he has swept Italian football and politics for decades, supported by his Fleshbag Marauder incarnation Adriano Galiani (even if Galiani looks more like another famous grand villan, the emperor from Star Wars.).
Milan has been criticized for being an aging team, the thing is that it works. Nesta, Seedorff, Van Bommel, Gattuso, Ambrosini and before them Maldini, Beckham, Costacurta, Favalli, and Pancaro delivered the goods in what from the opponents’ viewpoint might be seen as an Endless Rank the Dead.
In reality it has rather been a very clever way of exploiting the naivety or ignorance of the opponents. Was Favalli too old? Could Van Bommel raise his game? Was Pippo way over the hill? Milan has known when to play a Beacon of Unrest or even a Treacherous Instinct to reap where others have sowed. Ironic that Juventus now reap the crops from the premature sacrifice of Andrea Pirlo.
If we go through the current Milan squad from the defense and forward we see an Uncle Istvan in Allesandro Nesta. He might not be insane, but he’s own feeble body rather than the opponents’ fruitless attempts of overcoming him has surely been the biggest problem of his career.
While the hot headed Mexes is more red aligned and Zambrotta (zombie theme again!) and Silva both very classy players Daniele Bonera does a classic Sightless Ghoul impression. He refuses to die, but he’s inept in defense…
The defensive midfield is where black’s ability to outright kill the opponents shine through the most. They have to fend through a Mark van Bommel reign of Terror and a Gennaro Gattuso rain of Go for the throats. This kind of spells might not win you the game, but they make sure that the opponents don’t either.
In the midfield we have also seen some heavy sacrificing, one of black’s specialties. A notable example was Ronaldinho, who was given a Gruesome Encore when that was deemed profitable and brought to the altar, when new ammunition was needed. In his ruthless craving of power Berlusconi has even tried to sacrifice the democracy of Italy – he has only partially succeeded.
Arrogance and huge self belief, a blakc specialty, is personified by players like Clarence Seedorff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The slow, elegant, and yet grinding feeling of Seedorff’s game brings Isahn’s Shade to mind. He’s big, he’s mean, he’s black, and he leads a team who not only knows how to win but also know how to claim victory when thought long dead by the naive.
Ibra complements him perfectly like a vampire feeding off the innocent and weak or simply just the pity worthy normals. The flavour text on Falkenrath Noble is as spoken by Ibra.
For fans of other Italian clubs AC Milan is in many ways the dark force. Dangerous and scary, but also ambitious and competent, they are both the subject of hate and envy from all over the peninsula. No matter your thoughts on them they play their part in punishing the naive, forcing the other clubs to raise their game. In calcio as in Magic you have to fight the dark to find the light.