If there is one Milan player that typifies the turnaround that the club have experienced over the course of this season, then it arguably has to be Ante Rebic.
Such was the disappointment surrounding his form after his arrival on loan last summer, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported in December that he may well have seen his stint called to an early end.
At that time, that was a fair argument in many ways as the Croatian international hadn’t scored or assisted in seven Serie A games and had spent eight games on the bench.
Since making that memorable breakthrough against Udinese in January though, he hasn’t looked back and in many ways, his character, attitude and desire has epitomised Milan’s resurgence under Stefano Pioli in 2020.
Rebic leads Milan fightback
The 26-year-old now has 10 goals and an assist in his last 12 league outings, and whether it’s playing out on the left or up top or even off the bench if necessary, he’s finding a way to deliver and that should be commended.
It’s coincided with Milan’s upturn in form, as while his decisive impact with his goals has been a fundamental reason for our turnaround, it’s one of many factors that have contributed to us getting ourselves back in a position to compete for European qualification this season.
That fight and character he’s shown to turn his spell around has arguably rubbed off on others, as you’re seeing players who had question marks hanging over their respective futures at the club and particularly their form to that point, step up and make themselves be counted too.
Andrea Conti has improved, Franck Kessie is now a pivotal piece in the XI, Hakan Calhanoglu is growing into a key player and Samu Castillejo has emerged as an important starter.
More recently, you have Rafael Leao showing a better attitude and a decisive touch off the bench and Alexis Saelemaekers stepping up and taking his chance.
The way in which Rebic has turned his loan spell around after facing the ignominy of potentially being sent back to Eintracht Frankfurt early has been nothing short of superb, and it’s arguably set the tone at the club for others to follow suit and show that same level of commitment and desire to pull us in the right direction again.
And once again, Pioli’s influence in that shouldn’t be downplayed as he’s stuck with him and found the right balance to get the best out of him both on and off the ball.