At the beginning of 2020 Ante Rebic was a something of a ghost at the Stadio San Siro, but if there is just one thing found in Milan’s victory over Roma on Sunday, it has to be the fact that Rebic right now is the most important player for Milan. Yes, even more so than Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Theo Hernandez.
Never really settling at Milan since his move at the end of last summer, neither Marco Giampaolo or Stefano Pioli managed to find a way to make the most out of the Croatian.
The fans soon gave up on him and it looked like the board had the same feeling as during the winter’s transfer window there were a lot of rumors about a possible return in Bundesliga. Then came Milan v Udinese on January 19, the game that change Rebic’s fortunes at San Siro.
He scored a brace, including the winning goal in stoppage time and from then on, he never stopped scoring. Five more goals in the next six Serie A’s games, including the one in the Derby della Madonnina against Inter, and one more in Coppa Italia against Juventus in the semi-final first leg.
Not even the pandemic has managed to slow him down. Since the return of Serie A, in fact, Rebic has scored two goals in two games, the last being the crucial goal on Sunday afternoon against Roma.
Rebic has an intensity that no other striker in the Rossoneri squad can claim. His movement all over the pitch is a pain for any defence and allows Milan to play a much more vertical game.
Now he’s a regular starter and the more he plays, the more he runs, the more he scores, the more he gains trust in himself. And thanks to that he’s developing his most important skill: his mentality.
He’s always focused, always in the game. Against Roma he failed with three dribbles, more than any other Milan player, he lost 11 balls, he missed three out of his nine passes. He wasn’t at his best and looked tired, but despite all of that, he was the man of the match for Milan as on the last kick of his game he broke the deadlock exploiting a mistake from Davide Zappacosta.
In 2020, Milan have amassed 21 points from 11 Serie A games, the same amount they had picked up in the previous 17.
Furthermore, Pioli’s side have scored in 10 consecutive matches in Serie A which has its roots in Rebic’s performances given he has 47 percent of Milan’s goals in 2020, eight out of 17, five more than any other player.
From all of that, Rebic is the biggest reason why Milan can look to the remainder of the campaign with optimism as they now have a game-changing striker.