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50-50 Challenge: AC Milan vs. Juventus

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May 18, 2014

Milan end with win, but miss out on Europe

FC's Gab Marcotti discusses Mario Balotelli's future with AC Milan and gives his opinion on Clarence Seedorf's possible departure from the club.

After a season of struggles, Milan closed out their campaign with a 2-1 win at San Siro against Sassuolo on Sunday night. However, despite the three points, Parma’s win against Livorno helped them secure Europa League qualification leaving the Rossoneri and Clarence Seedorf to evaluate their failure to achieve their primary objective.

- ESPN FC: Balotelli set to leave Milan? - Paul: Seedorf's future unclear - Report: AC Milan 2-1 Sassuolo

Initially there was little pressure put on the Dutchman to ensure Milan secured European football for next seasos. But as results improved it suddenly became a more prominent requirement. While it isn’t expected to play a significant role in the decision over his future, it will in all probability count against him regardless with the sense that the hierarchy want to make a change.

Nevertheless, there has been much debate over Milan’s possible qualification for the Europa League for many months, with some questioning whether or not it would act as a hindrance in the club’s rebuilding process next season.

While there are likely to be changes made to the squad, it remains to be seen whether or not Seedorf is given the opportunity to continue. Whoever the coach is next season, it will undoubtedly be an advantage for them to completely focus on domestic matters. The precedent has been set by Juventus and more recently Roma with both teams flourishing in Serie A without the mid-week distraction that Europe creates. Were it for Champions League qualification then it is without doubt a different conversation, but ultimately perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.

Should Seedorf be given more time to implement his philosophy over the summer and prepare the team for next season, an entire week dedicated to developing his players and studying the opposition is an advantage they must exploit.

The pressure will be on Juventus to deliver in Europe next season, while it will be interesting to see how both Roma and Napoli strengthen this summer as they will need to construct a squad capable of competing on a number of fronts.

As a result, that will give Milan the opportunity to go about their business in a calm manner with Serie A and the Coppa Italia as their objectives, and while the disappointment settles over an eighth-place finish, it isn’t perhaps as bad a situation as it first looks moving forward.

However, it will still be a vital summer for the club in a number of aspects and the decisions they make before a ball is even kicked next season will shape the level of success that they will possibly enjoy.

It all perhaps starts with Seedorf as there is still no clarity over his position, and that will potentially be the first significant decision that Milan must take. In somewhat of a trickle effect, that will in turn influence the transfer market.

Nevertheless, whichever direction the club is taken, Milan will be relieved that this season has concluded and they will now look forward to bouncing back next year with the objectives clearer than ever before.

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow Sumeet on Twitter @italiafooty