- History of A.C. Milan
Foundation and early years
Associazione Calcio Milanwas founded December 16, 1899 by Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin(from Nottingham, England) as the "Milan Cricket and Football Club". Edwards, a former British vice-consul in Milan and well-known personality of the Milanese high society, was the club's first elected president. Initially the team included a cricketsection, managed by Edward Berra, and a football section managed by David Allison.
The official colours chosen were red and black. Immediately the team gained relevant notability under
Herbert Kilpin's guide. The first trophy to be won was the "Medaglia del Re" (King's Medal) on January 1900, and the team later won three national leagues, in 1901, 1906 and 1907. The triumph of 1901 was particularly relevant because it ended the consecutive series of wins of Genoa, which had been the only team to have won prior to 1901.
In 1908, issues over the signing of foreign players led to a split of the team's "progressive" faction, who formed
F.C. Internazionale Milano.
In 1916, AC Milan won the "Federal Cup", a national trophy which had replaced the Italian league, suspended because of
World War I. This cup was never recognized as an Italian title.
In 1919, the team changed its name to "Milan Football Club". After their first triumphs, Milan was unable to continue with their former high-level success, obtaining only a number of half-table placements, even if always playing in the top Italian division.
In 1938 the fascist regime imposed a new italianized name, "Associazione Calcio Milano", for the team. However, that name was abandoned immediately after the
World War II, but maintaining the initial part: the team was called "Associazione Calcio Milan", which is the current official name.
In the post-war period, AC Milan was among the three top Italian teams, and won the "Scudetto" in 1951 - the first time since 1907. "Il Grande Milan" included the famous
Gre-No-Li, a trio of Swedish players composed by Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahland Nils Liedholmwho were Olympic winners. That team also fielded quality players such as Lorenzo Buffon, Cesare Maldiniand Carlo Annovazzi.
Perhaps the most resounding victory of this period was the 7-1 defeat of
Juventusin Turin on February 5th 1950, with Gunnar Nordahlbagging a hat-trick.
After the 1951 "Scudetto", AC Milan won another three Serie A seasons, in 1955, 1957 and 1959, and two "Latin Cups", in 1951 and 1956. In the end, AC Milan always placed among the top three teams from 1947/1948 to 1956/1957.
1960s: Nereo Rocco
AC Milan returned to win a football league in 1961/1962. Its manager was
Nereo Rocco, an innovative football coach, known as inventor of the catenacciotactic. The team included a young Gianni Riveraand José Altafini. The following season, thanks also to Altafini's goals, Milan won their first European Cup (later known as UEFA Champion League) by defeating Benfica2-1. This was also the first time an Italian team won the European Cup.
Despite that, during the 1960s Milan won less trophies, mainly because of the heavy concurrence of
Helenio Herrera's Inter. Its next Scudetto arrived only in 1967/1968, thanks to the goals of Pierino Prati, the Serie A topscorer in that season, as well as the Cup Winners' Cup, won against Hamburger SVthanks to the two goals of Kurt Hamrin. The next season AC Milan won its second European Cup (4-1 to AFC Ajax), and in 1969 won its first Intercontinental Cup, after having defeated Estudiantes de La Plataof Argentinain two dramatic legs (3-0, 1-2).
The 10th "scudetto" and the first Serie B
In the 1970s, AC Milan won three
Italian Cups and its second Cup Winners' Cup; however, the real goal of the "Rossoneri" was the tenth Scudetto, which would have awarded the first "stella" ("star") to the team. In 1972 they reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cuplosing to eventual cup winners Tottenham Hotspur. A strong 1972/1973 season provided their first opportunity for the tenth Scudetto, but ultimately proved a failure after a humiliating defeat against Hellas Verona F.C.on the last day of the season.
AC Milan had to wait until 1978/1979 to win their tenth Scudetto, primarily being led by Gianni Rivera who retired from football after this final triumph.
However, the worst was yet to come for the "Rossoneri": after the 1979/1980 season, AC Milan was relegated to
Serie Bby the Football Federation, together with S.S. Lazio, because of a betting scandal [ [http://www.worldcup-2002.co.uk/clubs/ac-milan.htm AC Milan Football Club, find information on AC Milan Football Club, hotels in Milan ] ] . In 1980-81, Milan easily won the Serie B, and returned to Serie A, where it would suffer its worst season ever, in 1981/1982, being relegated once again.
After several different financial troubles had caused bad times and a lack of success, AC Milan was bought on
February 20, 1986by Silvio Berlusconi, a Milanese enterpreneur. Berlusconi brought in a rising coach, Arrigo Sacchi, and three Dutch players, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaardand Ruud Gullit, to return the team to glory. He also signed some Italian stars: Roberto Donadoni, Carlo Ancelottiand Giovanni Galli.
Sacchi won the 1987-88 scudetto after a great recovery over
Diego Maradona's S.S.C. Napoli. In 1988-1989, AC Milan won its third European Cup, defeating Steaua Bucuresti4-0 in the final, and its second Intercontinental cup against National de Medellin (1-0, goal in the last minute of extra time). The team repeated their triumph the following season, against Benfica (1-0), and earned its second Intercontinental Cup in a row and third overall beating Olimpia Asunciónin 1991. Their European winning line-up was: Giovanni Galli; Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini; Angelo Colombo, Frank Rijkaard, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Donadoni; Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten.
With Sacchi leaving Milan to coach the
Italy national football team, Fabio Capellowas hired and under him, the "Rossoneri" came to be known as "Gli Invicibili" ("The Invincibles") or the "Dream Team". With an unprecedented 58-match run with no defeats the Invincibili team had the likes of Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurtaand Paolo Maldinicommanding one of the best defences in history, with Marcel Desaillyand Roberto Donadoniin midfield and Dejan Savićević, Zvonimir Boban, and Daniele Massaroplaying in attack.
In addition to three consecutive "scudetti" (from 1992 to 1994, including the feat of not losing a single match in the 1991/1992 season), AC Milan reached the Champions League final for three consecutive years: in 1993 they were defeated by
Olympique de Marseille; this match was disputed by a match-fixing scandal in the French league involving Marseille's then club president. In 1994 it was FC Barcelonawho experienced the taste of defeat, after a famous 4-0 win at the hands of the "Rossoneri"; and in the 1995 finals, Milan were again defeated, this time by Ajax Amsterdam. Then, in 1995-96, led by famous world-class players such as Roberto Baggio, Marco Simoneand George Weah, AC Milan gained their fifteenth Italian Championship. Milan's primary line-up under Capello (1996): Sebastiano Rossi; Christian Panucci, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini; Roberto Donadoni, Demetrio Albertini, Marcel Desailly; Zvonimir Boban; George Weah, Roberto Baggio.
Tabarez to Terim
After the departure of
Fabio Capelloin 1996, Milan recruited Oscar Washington Tabarezbut they struggled under the new manager and were winless in their first few opening matches. In an attempt to regain former glories they brought back Arrigo Sacchi to replace Tabarez. Milan signed new players like Ibrahim Ba, Christophe Dugarryand Edgar Davids. Milan struggled and shockingly ended the Season 1996-97 in eleventh place in Serie-A.
Sacchi was replaced with Capello in the following season. Capello's new Milan signed many potential players like
Christian Ziege, Patrick Kluivert, Jesper Blomqvist, and Leonardo but the results were even worse than the season before. The team suffered their worst Serie-A defeat, humiliated by Juventus FCat their own home of San Siro with a 1-6 score, although they ended Season 1997-98 an improved tenth place. This was still unacceptable and Capello, like Sacchi, was fired.
In their search for a new manager,
Alberto Zaccheroniattracted Milan's attention. Zaccheroni was the manager of Udinese who had ended the Season 1997-98 on a high note in 3rd place. Milan signed Zaccheroni along with two of his players at Udinese, Oliver Bierhoffand Thomas Helveg. Milan also signed Roberto Ayala, Luigi Salaand Andres Guglielminpietroand with a 3-4-3 formation, Zaccheroni brought the club's 16th "Scudetto" back to Milan. The winning line-up was: Christian Abbiati; Luigi Sala, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini; Thomas Helveg, Demetrio Albertini, Massimo Ambrosini, Andres Guglielminpietro; Zvonimir Boban, George Weah, Oliver Bierhoff.
Despite success in the previous season, Zaccheroni failed to transform Milan to the great team it used to be. The following season, despite the emergence of Ukraine's great
Andriy Shevchenko, Milan disappointed their fans in both the Champions League and Serie-A. Milan exited the Champions League early, only winning one out of six matches (three draws and two losses) and ended the Season 1999/00 in the 3rd place. Milan was never a challenge to the top two contenders to the "Scudetto", S.S. Lazioand Juventus FC.
The following season, Milan qualified for the
UEFA Champions League 2000-01by defeating Dinamo Zagrebto a 6-1 aggreggate. Milan started the Champions League at a high note, defeating Beşiktaş J.K.from Turkey and Spanish giants FC Barcelona, who at the time consisted of international world-class superstars in Rivaldoand Patrick Kluivert. But Milan's form began to seriously decline, drawing against a number of teams (which are seen as technically inferior to Milan), but mainly losing by a 3-0 scoreline to Juventus in the Serie-A and 1-0 to Leeds United. In the Champions League second round, Milan only won once and drew four times. They failed to beat Deportivo de La Coruñafrom Spain in the last game and Zaccheroni was fired. Cesare Maldini, the father of team captain Paolo, was appointed and things immediately got better. Maldini's official coaching debut at Milan started with a 4-0 win over A.S. Bari, who still had the young gun, Antonio Cassano. It was also under Maldini's leadership that Milan defeated their city rivals Internazionale with an outstanding score of 6-0, a score which has never been repeated and in which Serginho starred in the match. However, after this peak of form, Milan started losing again including a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Vicenza Calcio, with the only goal in the match scored by a young Luca Toni. In spite of these results, the Milan board of directors were adamant that Milan reach the fourth place in the league at the end of the season but Maldini failed and the team ended 6th.
Milan started their 2001-02 campaign by signing more star players including
Javi Morenoand Cosmin Contrawho took Deportivo Alavésto the final round of the UEFA Cup. They also signed Kakha Kaladze(from Dynamo Kyiv), Rui Costa(from AC Fiorentina), Filippo Inzaghi(from Juventus), Martin Laursen(from Hellas Verona), Jon Dahl Tomasson(from Feyenoord), Umit Davala(from Galatasaray) and Andrea Pirlo(from Inter Milan). Fatih Terimwas appointed manager, replacing Cesare Maldini, and had moderate success. However, after five months in the club, Milan was nowhere near the top five in the league and Terim was sacked for failing to meet the board of directors' expectations. He was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, despite rumours that Franco Baresi would be the new manager. Despite the injury problems of full-back Paolo Maldini, Ancelotti was successful and ended the Season 2001-02 in fourth, earing a place in the Champions League. Milan's starting line at that point was Christian Abbiati; Cosmin Contra, Alessandro Costacurta, Martin Laursen, Kakha Kaladze; Gennaro Gattuso, Demetrio Albertini, Serginho; Manuel Rui Costa; Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi.
Right at the top: Ancelotti years
;2002-2003 (3rd in Serie A, Champions of European Cup)
AC Milan ended the season with their sixth Champions League trophy in 2003. On route to the final in Manchester, England, Milan beat their cross city rivals Internazionale in the semi-finals and they ended the competition on a glorious note by beating their other Italian rival, Juventus, in a dramtatic penalty shoot-out. That same season, Milan placed third in Serie-A. They also won the
Coppa Italiaand European Super Cup. Champions League winning starting line-up was: Nelson Dida; Alessandro Costacurta, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Kakha Kaladze; Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf; Manuel Rui Costa; Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi. Then the following season, Milan signed Kaká. The team earned the nickname "I Meravigliosi" (The Amazing's).
;2003-2004 (Champions in Serie-A, Quarter Finals in European Cup)
Milan set a points record to win the scuddetto with a team that is largely still in place today. An attack spearheaded by Shevchenko, playmaking by Kaká, and defence with Nesta and Maldini. Milan's season was not perfect as they were beaten by Deportivo La Coruna 0-4 in the quarter finals of the European Cup after winning 4-1 in the San Siro. Despite being Italian champions, Milan showed, as some critics said, weak midfield character that would repeat itself in the European Cup final in the following season. Nevertheless, the squad proved successful and able to express a brilliant style of play for many months.
;2004-2005 (2nd in Serie A, 2nd in European Cup)
Hernán Crespoproved to be a solid signing. Massimo Ambrosiniscored an incredible late goal against PSV Eindhoven. However, the season ended in disastrous defeat in Istanbul's Atatürk Stadium. In 2005, Milan let a 3-0 half time lead in their Champions League Final against Liverpool F.C.of Englandslip to a 3-3 draw. They conceded 3 second half goals in a span of 6 minutes, before losing on penalties. The nightmare of La Coruna was now replaced with a new nightmare of Istanbul. Milan ended the season being 2nd in the League and won the Italian Super Cup, defeating Lazio. 2004-2005 could be summed up as another solid season, but Liverpool won the European Cup and Juventus was the champion of Italy.
;2005-2006 (3rd in Serie A, Semi Finals in European Cup)
Milan's Serie A campaign appeared to be one of their most successful in recent years. The team ended the season with a league high 28 wins, but could not edge
Juventusin the standings thanks to their (at the time) record setting pace of 91 points. However all this success was nullified by the Calciopoli scandal. Milan were named in the Serie A scandal of 2006and deprived of 44 out of the 88 points they gained in Serie A 2005-06. In addition, Milan would start their 2006-07 campaign with minus 15 points. Later, however, these point deductions were reduced, to 30 and minus 8 respectively, giving Milan the chance to compete in UEFA Champions League 2006-07.
Milan's efforts in the Champions League that year also proved close, but ultimately unsuccessful. After coming out on top of their group, Milan advanced to the knockout phase of the
UEFA Champions League - 2005/06 season, first defeating FC Bayern Munichof Germanyon aggregate and then Olympique Lyonnais3-1 on aggregate. Advancing to the semi-finals of the competition, they were defeated by eventual champion FC Barcelonaof Spain 0-1 on aggregate, thus ending their Champion's League run for that season
;2006-2007 (4th in Serie A, Champions of European Cup)
Milan's Serie A campaign began with the aforementioned -8 points penalty resulting from the Caliopoli Scandal. After a lackluster first half of the season which saw Milan hover at the center of the standings, several January transfers (including World Cup member
Massimo Oddo, and Brazilian legend Ronaldo) reinvigorated the club. By the end of the campaign, Milan surged up the table to finish fourth, thus assuring their participation for the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League.
While their Serie A campaign proved moderately successful, the 2006-2007 season is best remembered for the team's performance in the Champion's League. The penalties imposed after the Calciopoli scandal resulted in Milan being seeded third in the final 2005-06 Serie A table. Thus the team was forced to play in the Champion's League Qualifers against former European champion
Red Star Belgrade. Milan were victorius in the qualifier and advanced to the group phase which they would eventually win.
Milan survived a first round fight, defeating Celtic (eventual champions of the Scottish League) 1-0 on aggregate after an extra time goal by
Kaká. Milan would go on to defeat European giant FC Bayern Munchen 4-2 on aggregate (2-2 at San Siro and 2-0 at Allianz Arena).
With the win over Bayern, Milan was propelled to the Champions League semi-finals. This marked the third consecutive and fourth time in five years that AC Milan has reached the final four of the competition. The first leg of the semi-final was played against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Manchester scored early on a goal from
Cristiano Ronaldo, but Milan answered back thanks to a brace from Kaká, taking a 1-2 lead at half time. Manchester United would ultimately prove victorious thanks to two 2nd half goals from striker Wayne Rooney. This match was regarded by the media and UEFA President Michel Platinias the greatest match in recent memories.Fact|date=October 2007 The second leg of the Semi Final was played at San Siro on 2 May. Milan played a near perfect first half taking a 2-0 lead into halftime with goals from Kaká and Clarence Seedorf. A 78-minute goal by Alberto Gilardinosealed the victory for the home side.
Milan advanced to the UEFA Champions League final, pitting them in a rematch against their 2005 finals opponent
Liverpool FC. The match was played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece, on 23 May 2007, with Milan prevailing 2-1 with both goals coming from Filippo Inzaghi. With the victory, the club affirmed its status as one of the powerhouses of European football, with three European Cup final appearances in five years, including two victories.
;2007-2008 (5th in Serie A, Eliminated First Knockout Round in Europe)
Hot off the heels of winning their seventh Champions League title, Milan continued their international success by winning the
2007 UEFA Super Cupagainst Sevilla FCin a game marked with sadness over the recent on-field death of Sevilla player Antonio Puerta. Milan's Champions League success also made the club eligible to compete in the 2007 FIFA Club World Cupwhere they would win their 18th officially recognized international trophy - tied for most club international trophies in the world. Ironically, Milan won their 18th title in a match against Boca Juniors, the team that also currently has 18 international titles.
However, these two trophies only served as consolation for a very disappointing season for Milan. The club had a slow start in Serie A, often finding it difficult to score after a pre-season injury to
Ronaldo. This coupled with their aging backline and some deteriorating performances by Dida, found the club in mid table for much of the season. New signing Alexandre Patowas a bright light for an otherwise dark season for Milan. By the end of the Serie A campaign, AC Fiorentina edged Milan out for fourth place in the standings and thus Milan failed to qualify for the 2008-09 Champions League - their first failure since the 2001-02 season.
Milan's involvement in the 2007-08 edition of the UEFA Champions League was also forgettable. While the club won its group, they were quickly eliminated by a much younger opponent,
Arsenal FCin the first knockout round. Prior to this season, Milan had made it to at least the quarterfinals of every Champions League going back to the 2002-03 edition.
* [http://www.acmilan.com/InfoPage.aspx?id=37224 Official website history page]
* [http://www.goal.com/en/articolo.aspx?contenutoid=505139 A Historical Look At AC Milan And The Club World Cup]
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