Mattia Caldara has endured one of the most unfortunate and frustrating spells in his young career over the past 12 months as Milan wait for his comeback from injury.
The 25-year-old has made just two appearances for the club since his arrival last summer, with an Achilles tendon rupture and an ACL injury keeping him sidelined for long periods.
Those are two serious setbacks for any player to suffer regardless of the stage of their respective career, and ultimately the priority at this point is that he makes a full recovery and is capable of rediscovering the form that earned him the switch to join us in the first place.
It’s been a long road back to full health, but as noted by MilanNews, the centre-half is said to be closing in on a long-awaited comeback as he’s expected to train with the rest of the group next week and is targeting a return to action either at the end of this month or the start of November.
As noted above, the most important thing now is that he stays healthy and avoids any setbacks, but what will surely be a crucial motivating factor for him is that the opportunity to cement himself as a key figure in the Milan defence is still there for him to grab with both hands.
Caldara can climb to top of pecking order
In his absence, Mateo Musacchio has continued to partner captain Alessio Romagnoli in the heart of our backline. At times, the 29-year-old is a steady and experienced presence, while his quality on the ball has helped us try to play a certain way.
However, the Argentine is surely not a long-term pillar in this side as he has shown time and time again that he is susceptible to lapses in concentration and remains a vulnerable individual when it comes to pace, movement and trickery in and around the box.
There have been countless occasions where goals conceded have involved some element of a mistake from Musacchio, and the hope remains that he will eventually be pushed down the pecking order and perhaps adopt a more suitable role as quality depth.
Leo Duarte will get his chance to impress this weekend as he’s expected to start against Genoa with Musacchio suspended, and so our Brazilian summer signing could yet spoil Caldara’s comeback by cementing his place in the side if he impresses on Saturday night.
It’s unfair to judge the 23-year-old until we’ve had a proper look at him, and so any assessment will be reserved until Sunday morning.
Nevertheless, given Caldara’s experience in Serie A, coupled with the qualities that he possesses both defensively and in possession, there is still a strong argument in favour of him becoming a permanent starter if he can prove his fitness and form.
Partnership with Romagnoli still to take off
One of the most exciting aspects of his move to Milan was the potential partnership that he could build with Romagnoli in defence, for both club and country.
The pair genuinely do compliment each other well, and although we’ve been forced to wait much longer than any of us would have hoped for, it will hopefully be worth it all in the end if the defensive duo can form a long-lasting partnership in the months and years ahead.
While it’s been a frustrating process for us as we’ve waited for Caldara to return, it’s difficult to imagine what the man himself has been through over the 12 months not being able to play and help his teammates. He could now be closing in on a return, and everything is crossed for him to finally start showing his worth in a Milan shirt on a consistent basis.