Versatile Milan star keeps delivering to establish himself as decisive pillar of Pioli’s XI

As Milan prepare for the trip to SPAL in midweek, Ante Rebic will be looking to continue his fine form in 2020 as he has firmly established himself as a fundamental figure for the Rossoneri.

In his opening eight Serie A appearances, the 26-year-old failed to register a single goal or assist and having also been benched for eight games, it looked as though his loan spell was going to end in real disappointment.

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Since he made that all-important breakthrough against Udinese on January 19 though, he hasn’t looked back as he has eight goals in his last nine league outings for the Rossoneri and has not only cemented his place in the starting XI, but has shown that he can be decisive in various roles too.

From playing out on the left to drifting inside as a support striker to now playing up top as the lone frontman leading the line, the Croatian international has grown into a key figure under Stefano Pioli and his most important impact is that his goals generally tend to be decisive ones.

From the brace against Udinese which sealed a 3-2 win to winning-goals against Brescia and Torino as well as key breakthroughs in the last two games against Lecce and Roma. His goals come at important times and he has without doubt proven his worth as turning his loan move into a permanent switch is arguably now inevitable if terms can be agreed with Eintracht Frankfurt.

There is so much more to like about Rebic aside from his goals too, as his work-rate, energy, commitment and desire off the ball are also key components in our improved form as his effort when he’s not in possession is vital to the way in which Pioli wants his side to play and press high up the pitch to win the ball back quickly.

We’ve seen in the last two games how the attacking quartet have pressed high up the pitch and set the tone for the rest of the team, and leading that charge is Rebic who is constantly closing down or tracking back while his movement off the ball to give his teammates options helps to stretch defences and get them involved with Hakan Calhanoglu, Giacomo Bonaventura and Samu Castillejo all benefiting as a direct result.

Time will tell if Rebic is able to add to his tally against SPAL, and there is an important decision ahead for Pioli as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is closing in on a return from injury.

Does his in-form forward get the nod up front? Or does he shift him back out wide on the left to bring Ibrahimovic back in? It’s likely to be the latter, but as Rebic has shown in the last few months, he’s capable of delivering regardless of where he plays and that ability to be a difference-maker coupled with his attitude and work ethic are making him a serious contender to be a focal point in Milan’s long-term future.

It’s hoped that he can maintain this form between now and the end of the season, but the character he’s shown to turn his loan spell around and the quality he continues to display week in and week out, he’s already established himself as fans’ favourite for this supporter in particular.