Thursday, July 27, 2017

AC Milan's Greatest All-Time Team Under Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
AC Milan All-Time Team

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for AC Milan under the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.  

AC Milan had a glorious history throughout the 1960's, winning two European Cups.  However, by the time Silvio Berlusconi bought the club in 1986, it had fallen into disarray. Berlusconi turned the club around. From 1986 to 2017, the club would win 5 European Cups, making it the second most successful club in Europe after Real Madrid.

AC Milan All-Time Team: here

2007 Champions League

GK: Sebastiano Rossi (Italy)  
Rossi spent 12 seasons in Milan, winning the 1994 Champions' league in convincingly fashion.  He was called up by Italy, but was never capped.

GK: Dida (Brazil)
Remembered for his 8 seasons with AC Milan.  He was the hero of the 2003 Champions' League Final when he helped Milan to win the penalty shootout against Juventus.  He became the first Brazilian keeper to be nominated for Ballon d' Or that year.  He went to three World Cup Finals and started in 2006 for the Seleção.

GK: Giovanni Galli (Italy)
In a professional career which spanned nearly two decades, he played in 496 Serie A games, mainly with Fiorentina (nine seasons) and Milan (four).  He also started in Milan's back-to-back European Cup conquests, in 1989 and 1990.  Galli appeared with Italy in the 1980 European Championship; he was an unused member of the squad that won the 1982 FIFA World Cup and served as Italy's starting goalkeeper at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

RB: Mauro Tassotti (Italy)
He was a part of both Arrigo Sacchi's and Fabio Capello's AC Milan.  He won 17 major titles in 17 years.He went to the WC in 1994, where Italy came second.

RB: Cafu (Brazil
Cafu is the all-time cap record holder for Brazil.  He is the only man to play in three WC Finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.  He was the captain of the national team as they won the World Cup in 2002.  He played with Sao Paulo, Roma and AC Milan. He was South American Player of the Year in 1994.  

CB: Alessandro Nesta (Italy)
He is considered the best defender of his generation.  He was the Serie A defender of the Year for 4 times.  He played in the 2006 WC winning team, but injured in the third game of the tournament.  He won two Champions' league with AC Milan.  He started his career with Lazio and played with them.
Alessandro Nesta
CB: Alessandro Costacurta (Italy)
He was Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a long term serving member of AC Milan.  He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, he only played 59 times for Italy because of injuries.

SW: Franco Baresi (Italy)
Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the WC in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994.  He was a part of the 1982 World Cup winning team, but he did not play a single match.  He was the captain of AC Milan for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles.  This team was considered one of the greatest club side of all-time.
Franco Baresi 
CB: Filippo Galli (Italy)
He is mostly remembered for his lengthy and successful spell with A.C. Milan, where he played alongside Baresi, Maldini, Costacurta, Tassotti, and Panucci, forming a strong defensive line-up under managers Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, which was known as The Invincibles; during his 15 seasons with the club, he won five Serie A titles and three UEFA Champions League titles, among other trophies. 

CB/LB: Paolo Maldini (Italy)
He was considered the greatest leftback of all-time.  He won 26 trophies in his 25 year career with AC Milan, including 5 Champions' league trophies. With the Azzurri, Maldini took part in three European Championships, and four World Cups. Although he did not win a tournament with the Italian National team, he reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the US and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and Euro 1988 in West Germany, and was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments, in addition to the Euro 96 all-star team.  He was capped 126 times for Italy.  
Paolo Maldini 

CB/DM:  Marcel Desailly (France)
Marcel Desailly was considered to be one of the greatest defensive players during the 1990's.  He played 116 times for France, winning the WC in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  He was the first player to win the European Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs, when he won it with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan the following year.

DM/CM: Massimo Ambrosini (Italy)
 At club level, he is mostly known for his successful time at Italian team A.C. Milan, where he spent eighteen years of his career, winning several titles, and even captained the side from 2009 to 2013, following the retirement of Paolo Maldini. Ambrosini retired from professional football in 2014, after a season with Fiorentina. At international level, he represented Italy at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and in two UEFA European Championships, winning a runners-up medal at UEFA Euro 2000.

CM: Carlo Ancelotti (Italy)
Began his career with Parma, but he made his name with AS Roma. He won the Serie A title in 1982-1983 and 4 Italian Cup's.  In 1987, he joined AC Milan and became a part of the team that won two European Cup.  He was capped 26 times.  He narrowly missed the WC Finals in 1982, but went to Mexico 1986 and 1990.
Carlo Ancelotti 

CM: Frank Rijkaard (Holland)
Frank Rijkaard was one of Holland's most important player.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany, and then, played 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory. 

CM: Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
He was the deep-lying playmaker of the great Milan team of the 1990's.  He won 5 league titles in the 1990's and the Champions' League title in 1994. He played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000.

CM: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in recent years.  He won the WC in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  He played over 280 matches for AC Milan, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career. 

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf (Holland)
Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team.

LW: Roberto Donadoni (Italy)
Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of Milan's squad under both Sacchi and Capello, winning six Serie A titles, three European Cups, four Italian Supercups, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups during his time at Milan. He went to the WC Finals in 1990 and 1994.

AM/CM: Kaka (Brazil)
Kaka started his career with Sao Paulo in Brazil before moving to AC Milan in 2003.  He was the star player who helped Milan to win the Champions' League in 2007 and he himself won he Ballon d'or the same year.  In 2009, he left Milan for Real Madrid.  For Brazil, he was capped 92 times.  He was a young and seldom used player at the WC in 2002.  He was a key player after the WC Finals in 2002.
AM: Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro)
He was a part of the Red Star Belgrade team that won the 1990–91 European Cup before joining A.C. Milan in 1992. With Milan, he won three Serie A titles and the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.  However, his international career was limited by the FIFA ban on Yugoslavia.

AM: Ruud Gullit (Holland)
He was the iconic captain of Holland 1988.  In 1987,  he moved from PSV Eindhoven to A.C. Milan for a world record transfer fee.  He was an important player for AC Milan during the 1980's where they won two straight European Cups. He was the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.  He spent one season with Sampdoria winning the Italian Cup in 1994.

FWGeorge Weah (Liberia) 
In terms of individual awards, no African player wins more awards than him.  He was was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in 1995.  He won African Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1994, 1995.  He was voted African Player of the Century in 1996.  He had great careers with AC Milan where he won two Serie A titles. He also played for Monaco, PSG, Chelsea, etc. In 2017, Weah was elected as the President of Liberia.
George Weah 
ST: Andrei Shevchenko (Ukraine)
He is considered one of the greatest Ukrainian player in history.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 2004 and came 3rd on the World Player of the Year.  He was best remembered for his stint with AC Milan, winning the Champions' League in 2003.  He won 111 caps and scored 48 goals for the Ukraine.
Andrei Shevchenko 
ST: Filippo Inzaghi (Italy)
He is one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, fifth in Italy, with 313 goals scored in official matches. He is currently the fourth-highest goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals.  With AC Milan, he won  two UEFA Champions League titles (2003, 2007).  he made his national team debut in 1997.  He went to all major tournaments from 1998 to 2006.  He won the World Cup in 2006, but only played in one match.

ST:  Marco Van Basten  (Holland)
He was probably the second best Dutch player and among the best striker in football's history.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times.  He led Oranje to the victory at Euro 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament.  His goal in the Final is considered one of the best in history of the tournament. He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan, a club team that was considered the best ever.  
Marco Van Basten
Honorable Mention
Daniele Massaro, Clarence Seedorf, Rui Costa, Christian Abbiati, Kakha Kaladze, Gennaro Gattuso, Alberigo Evani, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Christian Panucci, Roberto Baggio, Oliver Bierhoff, Zvonimir Boban.

Squad Explanation
-- Most players have won at least a single European Cup/Champions' League for AC Milan.
-- Giovanni Galli beat out Christian Abbiati as the third keeper.
-- Maldini has locked down the left back position for two long.
-- Filippo Galli spent 15 seasons with AC Milan.  I selected him because of his service to the club.
-- Unlike most of my other selection squad, this team is not loaded with strikers.  I only took Inzaghi, Shevchenko and Van Basten.  My squad was loaded with midfielders.
-- AC Milan has many great midfielders: Ancelotti, Rijkaard, Desailly, Boban, Pirlo and Albertini.  I do not have spaces for Gattuso and Boban. 
-- Ambrosini also spent 18 years with the club. He was also their captain at one point.  I selected him because of his longevity. 
-- Gattuso also spent over a decade with the club, but I went with Seedorf who was more of a creative force than Gattuso. I already have Desailly and Rijkaard who could cover the midfield defensively.  He also spent 10 years with the club. He is ranked 8th in appearance record.
-- Baggio was never a star at the club, but I still placed him on Honorable Mention.  

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