By Cesar Trelles – July 23, 2014
Today the New York Cosmos held two workout sessions. The first was their routing morning work out. The second, was an afternoon session with Italian Serie A side, AC Milan.
With AC Milan in the United States for the Guinness International Champions Cup tournament, Emirates Air was pivotal in getting the two teams to practice together in a dual training session at Mitchell Athletic Field Complex today. The workout was not extensive and was brief. The workout was not adversed but the Cosmos and that was evidenced by the closed door nature feel of the practice. Roughly 100 spectators were on hand to see the two sides workout for about one hour.
Nevertheless, for those fortunate enough to attend, it was exciting to see stars like Keisuke Honda, Stephan El Shaararwy, Michael Eissen, Sulley Muntari and of course the one and only Mario Balotelli amongst others. AC Milan departed swiftly after the workout session as they had to be hurried to JFK Airport for a flight that will take them to Toronto. Once there, they will be playing Greek side Olympiakos, in their first match as part of the Guinness International Champions Cup.
I have been around the Cosmos for about a year and there were noticeable differences with respect to AC Milan. First off, they had a separate bus for the equipment crew and support staff. None of the players carried any of their bags. I was definitely awe struck at seeing the way the trainers handled Mario Balotelli. He really only practiced with his team for 10 minutes. The rest of time he was off to the side, stretching and running with separate trainers. To some extent, some of the coaches seemed a bit standoffish about the training session. Was Mitchell Field too small or were there too many media clamoring for pictures of the team? But what I enjoyed seeing most about AC Milan was how accommodating they were. After their workout they stayed and signed several autographs and took pictures with young kids who did not get to attend the closed door practice. Definitely a treat for the young kids.
For the Cosmos it was a thrill to be on the same pitch as AC Milan. Clearly having Emirates Air as one of your sponsors has its advantages. We already have seen the team fly business class to Dubai to play their preseason there. Today we saw them take on another Emirates club in AC Milan. Once can only dream and wonder in awe, that if the Cosmos ever get their own stadium, what other Emirates sponsored teams might make appearances at the home of the Cosmos. Arsenal, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Paris Saint Germain, Hamburger SV and of course AC Milan all proudly display Fly Emirates across their chests.
Here are some pictures from today’s training session – enjoy!