By Gaia Brunelli
Former AC Milan captain Franco Baresi believes that new coach Clarence Seedorf faces a tough task in getting the Rossoneri back on track.
The Serie A side parted company with Massimiliano Allegri earlier this month, after a dreadful first half of the season, and appointed Seedorf as the 46-year-old's successor.
The Dutchman aims to follow in the footsteps of high-profile coaches such as Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti, who all guided Milan to great success during their respective spells at San Siro, but Baresi fears Seedorf could struggle because of club's current financial problems.
"Every coach has his own story. Some of them were experienced when they came to Milan and others were not. A lot of factors decide whether a coach will be successful," the Rossoneri legend told Goal.
"You need a great team and the faith of the club, but you also need a bit of luck. Ancelotti, for example, joined Milan at the perfect moment when they had an amazing squad. Seedorf faces a much bigger challenge.
"Milan are going through a difficult moment. Things are changing and the club's economic situation is no longer like before.
"You might have some amazing ideas, but it's going to be hard if you are not working with the best material.
"I hope Ancelotti serves as an inspiration to him, even though their situations are different. Ancelotti remains the best Milan coach from recent years, both as a human being and for his methods."
Baresi then went on to discuss the role of Mario Balotelli at Milan and stressed that the striker could become a key man for the Rossoneri, even though an individual can only do so much for the team.
"Balotelli himself is not completely aware of how much he could give to the team yet," the former defender argued. "Football is a collective game, though. Individuals are important, but they can only do so much.
"Look at [new signing] Keisuke Honda for example. He might encounter some difficulties because he has joined a team that is struggling."
The former Italy international also had his say on Milan's philosophy and insisted that they should stay true to their own style rather than try and copy teams like Barcelona and Ajax.
"For me, Milan should focus on their own philopshy and style," he mused. "It's a good thing to look at how other clubs work, but it's difficult to copy the Barcelona model. We're talking about a different country, a different culture and a different style of football.
"Milan will have to be rebuilt step by step, with a new and ambitious project. This is going to take time.
"Milan need young and good players. That's the path the club should follow. The goal should be to become competitive again.
"And let's not forget that Milan are still in the Champions League. The team will give its all in the round of 16."
Milan take on Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, with the first leg of the tie taking place at San Siro on February 19.