Milan's hopes of European football mostly rest on Ante Rebic (Photo: Giuseppe Cottini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Milan Hopes of European Football Next Season Will Rest On This Man

With 12 games of the Serie A season remaining, Milan sit precariously placed outside the top-six. They’ve still every chance of qualifying for Europe next season, but they’ll need one Ante Rebic to be at his best.

Goals have evaded Milan this season. Stefano Pioli’s side have managed just 28 in 26 league games – only Udinese, SPAL, and Brescia have scored less. The club’s top-scorer so far this season is Rebic with 6 in 15 in the league, and it’s the Croatian who seems the likeliest of any to fire Milan into the top-six.

Sitting ahead of them in 7th is Ivan Juric’s Verona. They’ve currently got a two point lead over Milan with 5th-place Roma a full nine points ahead of Milan. Champions League qualification then seems a distant dream, but a spot in next season’s Europa League is definitely achievable.

Having taken over in October, Pioli has since stabilized a fluctuating Milan side. They started the season inconsistently but have found much more solidity at both ends of the pitch under Pioli. He’s had an effect on many of his players, but Rebic seems like the one who’ benefited most from Pioli’s appointment.

Rebic signed a two-year loan deal from Eintracht Frankfurt back in September but would go on to spend most of the first-half of this season on the bench. The likes of the now departed Krzysztof Piatek were running the forward line for Milan – and not to great effect might it be said.

The likes of Rafael Leao showed some promising talent in the Milan attack, but like his teammates, he’s had a misfire season – Leao has scored just twice in 21 Serie A games this campaign. Also, in a bid to strengthen his attack, Pioli recalled attacking midfielder Diego Laxalt from his miserable loan spell at Torino, and the footballing legend that is Zlatan Ibrahimovich has also joined Milan midway through the campaign.

Laxalt has made a couple of substitute appearances since rejoining, but looks uninspired back at his parent club, whilst the 38-year-old Ibrahimovic has netted three in eight since his return to Italy. In a team of misfiring strikers then, bar from Ibrahimovic, Rebic has managed to emerge as the main source of goals for Milan.

The break in football came at a bad time for him – he scored seven in nine games in all competitions before the break, but returned against Juve with a red card after just 17 minutes of the game. That being said, Rebic won’t miss any Serie A games through suspension, and after a shorter stint against Juve, he’ll be fired up for the return of league action against Lecce tonight.

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Feature Photo: Giuseppe Cottini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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