Unsellable Montolivo set to lead Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Marco Luzzani/Getty ImagesMidfielder Riccardo Montolivo will be wearing the captain's armband next season for Milan.

Just twelve months on after his arrival from Florence, midfield general Riccardo Montolivo has officially been named the new captain of Milan.

Having proven over the course of his first season at the club that he is ready to lead a new generation of Rossonero stars, it was an important decision that Adriano Galliani has undoubtedly called right.

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The Milan vice-president revealed that he had spoken with Christian Abbiati, the natural successor to Massimo Ambrosini given the length of time he has spent at the club, and that the veteran 'keeper had given his blessing to appoint Montolivo.

However, the news arrived after speculation suggested that Spanish side Sevilla were preparing a 20 million euro bid for the Italian international, an offer that was almost immediately rebuffed.

In addition, Milan have wasted little time in handing the 28-year-old the armband, and he will look forward to returning from the Confederations Cup for what will be a vital year for the club.

Having struggled to assert himself upon his arrival in the early stages of last season, critics suggested that the Rossoneri had made a line of erroneous decisions following the departure of Andrea Pirlo.

It appeared as though the club had allowed one of their most talented individuals to leave, despite having plenty left to offer. While Pirlo went on to win back-to-back Scudetti with Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri had returned to a system which would arguably have suited the 34-year-old.

However, it is a wasteful task comparing individuals, and it has become apparent that Montolivo offers different facets of the game that make him an effective all-round box-to-box midfielder.

The newly-appointed captain combines creativity with industry, while also providing the protective screen in front of the defensive line that Allegri has craved for since his arrival.

Since the switch to the 4-3-3 formation, Montolivo has found himself as the creative hub of this Milan side, which has allowed him to dictate play while benefiting from having two "destroyers" either side of him.

This approach is likely to continue in spite of the tactical change next season, and he will benefit from having additional creative help higher up the pitch as the trequartista role is re-introduced at the club.

Nevertheless, he grew into one of the most consistent performers at Milan last season, around which the Rossoneri ideally feel they can continue to build for the future. Aside from his injury woes as last season drew to a close, his consistent presence in the side would also suggest he is the most appropriate choice.

The announcement comes just days after La Gazzetta dello Sport ran a feature suggesting that up to 15 players would leave Milanello this summer.

Among the more high profile names were Kevin-Prince Boateng, Stephan El Shaarawy and Robinho. The list was then completed by Marco Amelia, Luca Antonini, Didac Vila, Urby Emanuelson, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Nocerino, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Bartosz Salamon, Rodney Strasser, Taye Taiwo, Bakaye Traore and Cristian Zaccardo.

While that is an exhaustive list which is unlikely to see all fifteen individuals leave, one player that will not be leaving no matter the circumstances is Milan's new captain, Riccardo Montolivo.

Agree with the club's choice to appoint Montolivo as captain? Of the 15 linked with a departure this summer, who should stay or go?

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