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
AC Milan All-Time Italian Team
AC Milan All-Time Foreign Player Team
AC Milan Brazilian Best XI

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.

2007 Champions League
GK: Sebastiano Rossi (Italy)  
During a 21-year professional career, Rossi appeared in 346 Serie A games, most notably representing A.C. Milan (12 seasons) with which he won 12 major titles, including the 1994 Champions League.   Rossi held the record for the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history. In an 11-match span, he kept a clean sheet for 929 consecutive minutes.  He was never capped by Italy.

GK: Dida (Brazil)
Didi was mainly 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) Sebastiano Rossi (Italy)  
After making his Serie A debut with Lazio, Mauro Tassotti went on to play with Milan for 17 years. He won 17 major titles with Milan, including five Serie A championships and three UEFA Champions League tournaments, reaching five finals in total.  He was a part of both Arrigo Sacchi's and Fabio Capello's AC Milan.  He also went to the World Cup in 1994, where Italy came second.

RB: Cafu (Brazil
Cafu is the all-time cap record holder for Brazil with 142.  He is the only man to play in three World Cup Finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.  He was the captain of the national team as they won the World Cup in 2002.  With Brazil, he also took part in four editions of the Copa América, winning the title twice, in 1997 and 1999. He played with Sao Paulo, Roma and AC Milan. He was South American Player of the Year in 1994.  

CB: Alessandro Nesta (Italy)
Alessandro Nesta is considered one of the best defender of his generation.  He was the Serie A defender of the Year for 4 times. He started his career with Lazio.  Later, he played with AC Milan where he won two Champions' league.  He also played in MLS.  For Italy, he earned 78 caps.   He played on the 2006 WC winning team, but injured in the third game of the tournament.  He also went to 1998 and 2002 World Cup Finals as well as the European Championship in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
Alessandro Nesta
CB: Alessandro Costacurta (Italy)
Alessandro Costacurta was Baresi's partner at central defense for both club and country. He was a part of 5 Champions' League winning team for AC Milan.  However, he only played 59 times for Italy because largely of injuries. He went to two World Cup Finals (in 1994 and 1998), as well as a European Championship in 1996. With Italy, he managed to reach the 1994 World Cup Final, which was lost against Brazil on penalties.

SW: Franco Baresi (Italy)
Franco Baresi was considered Italy's greatest libero.  He was capped 82 times between 1982 and 1994.  He led the Azzurri to the semifinal of the World Cup in 1990 and then, the Final in 1994.  However, he missed most of the tournament in 1994 through an injury, playing in the Final.  He was a part of the 1982 World Cup winning team, but he did not play a single match.  He was a one club man with AC Milan.  He is their captain for 15 years, where he won three European Cups and 6 Serie A titles. 
Franco Baresi 
CB: Filippo Galli (Italy)
Filippo Galli 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)
Paolo Maldin 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 Italy, he reached the finals of the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, and the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1988, and was elected into the all-star teams for each of these tournaments. 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 World Cup 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 A.C. Milan, where he spent 18 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)
Carlo Ancelotti began his career with Parma, but he made his name with AS Roma where he played between 1979 and 1987. He won the Serie A title in 1982-1983 and 4 Italian Cup's with them.  In 1987, he joined AC Milan and became a part of the team that won two European Cup.  He retired in 1992 with Milan. He was capped 26 times for Italy.  He narrowly missed the World Cup Finals in 1982, but went to the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990.
Carlo Ancelotti 
CM: Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands)
Frank Rijkaard was one of Netherlands' most important player.  Capped 73 times.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany. He notably played for Ajax and AC Milan. He spent 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  He won two European Cup with them. In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory.  That team is also considered one of the greatest club sides ever.

CM: Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
Demetrio Albertini was the deep-lying playmaker of the great AC 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 79 times.  He went to the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96, and Euro 2000. He was voted into the team of tournament at Euro 2000.

CM: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Andrea Pirlo started as an attack midfielder with Inter Milan without success before becoming a regista.  He redefined the regista role in the modern game.  He had 116 caps for Italy.  He won the World Cup in 2006 and took Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.  For his club career, he was known for his career with AC Milan.  He played over 280 matches for them, winning two Champions' League titles.  He switched to Juventus late in his career and played for New York City FC.

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf (Netherlands)
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)
Roberto Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of AC Milan's squad under both Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio 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. Between 1986 and 1996, he earned over 60 caps for Italy.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994, and the European Championship in 1988 and 1996.

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 on the same year.  In 2009, he left Milan for Real Madrid.  At the end of his career, he played for Orlando City in the MLS. For Brazil, he was capped 92 times.  He was a young and seldom used player at the World Cup in 2002.  He was a key player after the World Cup Finals in 2002.
AM: Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro)
Dejan Savicevic 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. His international career was limited due to sanction placed on his country.  He did not play in a major tournaments at the peak of his career.  However, he represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 World Cups.  He had over 50 caps.

AM: Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
Ruud Gullit was the iconic captain of Netherlands 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.  He later played for Chelsea as a sweeper.

FWGeorge Weah (Liberia) 
In terms of individual awards, no African player wins more awards than George Weah.  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)
Andrei Shevchenko 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 started his career with Dynamo Kyiv. 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.  He led Ukraine to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2006.
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  (Netherlands)
Marco Van Basten 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 the European Championship 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament. It was Holland's first victory in a major 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 side that was considered the best ever.  
Marco Van Basten
Honorable Mention
Daniele Massaro (Italy), Clarence Seedorf (Netherlands), Rui Costa (Portugal), Christian Abbiati (Italy), Kakha Kaladze (Georgia), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Alberigo Evani (Italy), Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark), Christian Panucci (Italy), Roberto Baggio (Italy), Oliver Bierhoff (Germany), Zvonimir Boban (Croatia).

Squad Explanation
-- Kaka, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Marcel Desailly, Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Alessandro Nesta, Andrei Shevchenko, Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Donadoni, Dejan Savicevic Mauro Tassotti and Sebastiano Rossi are on my AC Milan All-Time Team.  That is sixteen out of 25 players on that team,
-- Most players have won at least a single European Cup/Champions' League for AC Milan.
-- Silvio Berlusconi was in charge of the club for 31 years.  He took over the club in February, 1986 and sold it in 2017.
-- The rise of the club began in 1987 when Silvio Berlusconi hired Arrigo Sacchi, who was in charge of Parma in the second division. Sacchi was not well-known, but Parma did beat Milan in the Coppa Italia.  The fans did not endorse Silvio Berlusconi's hiring of him in the beginning.
-- In summer of 1987, Carlo Ancelotti, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten joined the club. Alessandro Costacurta also came back from a loan return.  It was Silvio Berlusconi's second summer in charge of the club.  
--  Franco Baresi, Paulo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, Filippo Galli and Mauro Tassotti were playing for AC Milan before Silvio Berlusconi took over.
-- Dida was an easy choice for the second keeper.  Giovanni Galli beat out Christian Abbiati as the third keeper because he won two European Cups.
-- Paulo Maldini has locked down the left back position for two long.  There are not many choices for the backup position.  I put Kakha Kaladze as honourable mention.
-- Filippo Galli spent 15 seasons with AC Milan.  I selected him because of his service to the club.
-- AC Milan has many great midfielders: Carlos Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard, Desailly, Boban, Pirlo and Albertini.  I do not have spaces for Gattuso and Boban. 
-- Massimo Ambrosini also spent 18 years with the club. He was also their captain at one point.  I selected him because of his longevity. 
-- Gennaro Gattuso also spent over a decade with the club, but I went with Clarence Seedorf who was more of a creative force than Gattuso. I already have Desailly and Rijkaard who could cover the midfield defensively.  
-- 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.
-- Dejan Savicevic is probably one of the most underrated players in history.  In the early 1990's, he was among the best player in the world, but he could not play in a World Cup Finals because of the ban on international football for Yugoslavia.  In 1992, Denmark won the European Championship, replacing Yugoslavia in Sweden.  That could have been his crowning moment. Instead, he helped AC Milan to win an European Cup in 1994.  His performance in the Final against Barcelona was about the best ever in European Cup/Champions' League history.  Yugoslavia was unable to participate in the 1994 World Cup Finals.   
-- Roberto Baggio was never a star at the club, but I still placed him on Honorable Mention.  Instead, I took George Weah.
-- Filippo Inzaghi (Italy) scored many goals for the club.  He All time Milan's Top goal scorer in Europe.
-- I did not seriously consider Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva because they played for the club at one of the less successful periods.

The formation is the Christmas tree used by Carlos Ancelotti. The starting lineup is almost the same as the one on my AC Milan All-Time team. Shevchenko and Kaka were added to the starting lineup. Dejan Savicevic could have started instead of Kaka. On Ancelotti's team, Seedorf played on the left, but I put Gullit on the right.  Gullit played on the right side before.  He is versatile enough to play a deeper role. Rijkaard adopted the role of Gattuso.

No comments:

Post a Comment