Surprisingly, Seedorf has not always been a favourite of the Milan faithful and had been jeered by fans earlier in the season. After the victory over Bayern he defended his contribution: “I have nothing to prove to anyone. I know that the hard work I do for the team every single day is done with the right attitude. I have struggled to fulfil my potential over the last few weeks and feel the responsibility I hold in this side, but I was happy to be back in shape. I hadn’t felt this good physically in a long time and the coach gave me the opportunity to just train hard for three or four days last week. It really made the difference, as I had been doing a lot of travelling and hardly any training.”
The secret of Seedorf’s transformation was a move forward from a role on the left side of a defensive midfield three to a more creative position alongside Kaka, just behind the striker, which involved Milan changing formation from 4-3-1-2 to 4-3-2-1. The switch was seen in Italy as a brilliant tactical intuition by Milan’s coach, Carlo Ancelotti. In fact, it was Seedorf who suggested it.
The improvement in Seedorf’s play was not lost on experienced Milan-watchers, including Riccardo Silva, the owner of the club’s television channel, Milan Channel. “Seedorf had an explosion of form in his new role. He doesn’t appear to run as much as players like Kaka or Gennaro Gattuso but the intelligence of his movement makes the difference.”
Silva classes Seedorf as “one of the top 10 midfielders in the world” and believes that he is underrated by the football media generally, something which is definitely not the case within the Milan family. Silva: “Clarence is charismatic and is tactically astute. He is one of a small group of senior players, alongside the likes of Paolo Maldini, whom Ancelotti listens to most on tactical matters.”