Atletico Madrid vs. AC Milan: 5 Things We Learned

Matteo BonettiContributor IMarch 11, 2014

Atletico Madrid vs. AC Milan: 5 Things We Learned

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Milan bow out of the Champions League after losing 4-1 at the Vicente Calderon against Atletico Madrid.

    The 5-1 aggregate was convincing enough to see the Spaniards through to the quarterfinals, where they'll be a force to be reckoned with.

    On the other hand, the Rossoneri will most likely be out of Champions League football for another year or two, as the Serie A has gotten more competitive at the top of the table.

    Here are five things we learned from this pivotal European clash:

Kaka Only One Up to the Occasion for Milan

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Kaka was the only one truly up to the occasion for Milan, as he scored the lone goal that gave Rossoneri fans temporary hope.

    Even though the Brazilian rarely featured in multiple seasons for Real Madrid, he has adapted well to being back with the club where he won every imaginable trophy and has proven to be a classy leader that always elevates his game according to the opposition.

    It's unclear how Kaka will be used next year, but he's one of Clarence Seedorf's main pieces in the formation, someone he can always count on to give every ounce of his heart and bleed the red and black colors.

Diego Costa in Top 5 Worldwide?

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Seven goals in the Champions League and 21 strikes in La Liga.

    Has Diego Costa done enough this season to be mentioned among the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

    After all, the hulking naturalized Spanish striker has been the focal point of a Colchonero squad that is threatening to break up the two-horse race at the top of La Liga.

    On top of that, his away goal was truly the one that crippled the Rossoneri and put them on the back foot for both legs, as he has looked virtually unstoppable against most opposition.

    Perhaps it's time to elevate Diego Costa to the highest echelon of footballing prowess.

Atletico a Dangerous Opposition for Anyone

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    A packed Vicente Calderon set the stage for a historical victory.

    Atletico Madrid's second ever trip to the quarterfinals of the Champions League was attained in style, as they comfortably cruised past a bruised Milan squad that is still trying to figure out their true identity. 

    Mario Balotelli and company were nowhere to be seen, and Diego Costa stole the show by scoring three goals in the two legs.

    Atletico Madrid play in the form of their coach Diego Simeone, who emphasizes diabolical pressure and confident build-up play that focuses on capitalizing on opportunities.

    They could be one of the toughest tasks for a number of teams with a more storied history.

Milan Have to Figure out Plenty of Things

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Switching a coach and a formation midway into the season is always going to take some time to get used to, but Milan's performance against Atletico Madrid was nothing short of embarrassing.

    It isn't so much the scoreline, but the lack of true fighting spirit in the second half when their backs were against the wall.

    Self proclaimed superstars like Mario Balotelli were nowhere to be seen and outshadowed by a real superstar like Diego Costa.

    Other than Balotelli, most of the team looked flat and without any ideas. The possession game Seedorf is trying to build is still a work in progress, as the front four have a hard time understanding each other's movements.

Balotelli Upsetting

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    When Milan needed him most, he was nowhere to be seen.

    Mario Balotelli has certainly done enough to warrant the inconsistency tag being placed above his head, as he has disappointed in some of the bigger matches Milan has been involved in.

    While he an an immense talent, it doesn't seem like Balotelli is anything close to being a leader on the field who embodies the true essence of wearing the Milan shirt.

    The excuse of him being a teenager is out the window. Balotelli is turning 24, an age where he should be just getting into his prime. 

    For now, he needs to still work on his game and his mental acumen and become decisive in matches of this caliber.