After seeing red after just 17 minutes against Juventus in the Coppa Italia in our first game back, question marks were raised over Ante Rebic’s ability to lead the line for Milan.
It isn’t the first time that the 26-year-old Croatian international has faced adversity since moving to Italy, as his time in Serie A began with a goal and assist drought which stretched eight games, while he spent a further eight games on the bench.
It’s fair to say by mid-January there were serious doubts over his future at San Siro, and then things finally clicked into place against Udinese on January 19 and Rebic hasn’t looked back since.
He now has seven goals in 16 Serie A appearances this season along with a goal and assist in the Coppa Italia, and while the majority of that influence came while playing out wide on the left, he showed against Lecce on Monday night that he can also deliver as the lone frontman in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence.
Naturally, we’ll need to see him follow that up against tougher opposition in the form of Roma on Sunday to determine whether or not he is a genuine solution in that department, but there was undoubtedly a lot to like about his performance this week as he showed real quality both in terms of offering a direct goal threat and his overall play in the 4-1 victory.
Rebic showed a superb work ethic to not only press high up the pitch to put Lecce under pressure and get us on the front foot, but he showed incredible commitment at times too with his tracking back.
Further, he scored a brilliant goal after a quick-fire counter-attack, keeping his composure to slot home. On top of that, he showed real intelligence with his movement and runs off the ball to stretch the Lecce backline and subsequently create space for his teammates, while also knowing when to come short and offer a different dynamic.
If that wasn’t enough, he also showed his class with a gesture after his goal as seen in the tweets below, as he embraced a Lecce ballboy who looked disheartened behind the net, while MilanNews also reported on Wednesday that Rebic was at Milanello to train despite it being a day off for some of the players.
Nella partita di ieri con il Milan viene designato per fare il raccattapalle. Rebic dopo aver segnato il gol lo vede affranto e, compiendo un bel gesto, lo abbraccia per rinfrancarlo. pic.twitter.com/wAOlWf305P
— U.S. Lecce (@OfficialUSLecce) June 23, 2020
It’s that kind of work ethic and attitude that is contributing to make him a fundamental figure in the side and a popular individual with supporters as he is marrying that commitment with quality and it’s producing decisive results. To react to adversity so positively in two big situations this season says a lot about his character too and we need more players like that in the squad.
With that in mind, it seems a no-brainer in terms of making his loan move from Eintracht Frankfurt a permanent switch at this point, and it’s hoped that he further reinforces that point in the coming weeks as he has shown that he has the ability, quality and experience to be a difference maker for Milan moving forward while showing personal traits that will help get us back to the top.
– Scores seventh goal in 16 Serie A games ✅
– Shows his class with gesture to Lecce ballboy ✅
– Among Milan players to turn up at Milanello today despite day off ✅
— Milan Talk (@MilanTalk1) June 24, 2020