Milan defender Alessandro Nesta believes that the critics should leave struggling goalkeeper Nelson Dida alone.
The much-maligned Dida has been in the firing line this term after some costly errors - most critically against Inter - and made a shaky start to 2008 by conceding six times in a training match in Dubai.
The rumour mill has been working overtime to suggest alternative names for the Rossoneri No 1 shirt, including Celtic’s Artur Boruc and Fiorentina’s Sebastien Frey, but Nesta believes in the current custodian.
“We could have won the game against Inter, but Dida has done well to bounce back from his error and turn up at training in the right frame of mind,” the former Azzurri star claimed.
“He is a good teammate and he deserves protection from the Press criticism.”
Nesta was also keen to defend struggling hitman Ronaldo, who has been written off by many after recent injury woes.
“He is training with great enthusiasm,” he revealed. “We don’t really know his physical condition at the moment or what chance he has of making his return soon, but I am convinced that he will be back for Milan.”
While his colleagues struggle, Nesta is in superb form and couldn’t hide his satisfaction at finding the net in December’s Club World Cup Final.
“That goal was important for me because it came in open play,” he admitted.
“It may not have been a life-changing goal, but at that moment I thought of nothing – I was just happy as if I had wiped away the memory of not playing in the World Cup Final.”