Tuesday, November 20, 2018

AC Milan All-Time Greatest Team for Italian players

Gianni Rivera, the Maldini's and Baresi

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
AC Milan All-Time Team Under Silvio Berlusconi
AC Milan Brazilian Best XI
AC Milan All-Time Foreign Player Team
AC Milan

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

Nicknamed "I Rossoneri", AC Milan is the second most successful club after Real Madrid in Europe.  At the time of writing, they have won the Euorpean Cup/Champions' league 7 times.  They have a strong team in the 1960's, winning the 1963 and 1969.  After many years of failure in the 1970's and early 1980's, Silvio Berlusconi bought the club in 1986. He turned the club into a dynasty.  The Dutch trio of Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard combined with the backbone of the Italian national team to form one of the greatest club sides in history. However, the team was still full Italian players such as Franc Baresi, Paulo Maldini,  Sebastiano Rossi, Mauro Tassotti, etc.  
Di Bartolomei, Baresi, Donadoni and Evani 
GK: Lorenzo Buffon
Lorenzo Buffon was one of the best keepers in the 1950's and early 1960's.  He helped AC Milan to reach the Final of the 1958 European Cup Final.  He also played for Genoa C.F.C. (1959–60), F.C. Internazionale Milano (1960–63), and ACF Fiorentina (1963–64). His cousin is Gianluigi Buffon's Grandfather.  He had 15 caps and went to the 1962 World Cup Finals. He is also remembered for his marriage to the late Italian actress and television personality Edy Campagnoli.
Lorenzo Buffon
GK: Sebastiano Rossi 
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: Fabio Cudicini 
Cudicini played Udinese, Roma, AC Milan and Brescia.  He was remembered for his two stints with AC Milan.  Between 1967 and 1972, he played for AC Milan. He helped Milan to win the 1969 European Cup.  Before Milan, he won the Inter-Cities Fair Cup with Roma.  His son is Carlo Cudicini. He was uncapped because he was playing the same generation with Dino Zoff, Lozenzo Buffon and Enrico Albertosi 

RB: Mauro Tassotti 
After making his Serie A debut with Lazio, he 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 WC in 1994, where Italy came second.

RB: Angelo Anquilletti 
Anquiletti started his career with Solbiatese during the 1964–65 season. He later played with Atalanta. From 1966 to 1977 played for A.C. Milan, where he achieved notable success, forming an impressive defensive unit nicknamed the Maginot Line. He was notably part of their European Cup victory in 1969. He ended his career with Monza. He played twice for Italy in 1969. He was part of Italy's UEFA Euro 1968 squad that won the tournament on home soil. 
Angelo Anquilletti 
RB/SW: Cesare Maldini 
Cesare Maldini spent 12 seasons with AC Milan.  He was the captain of the 1963 European Cup winning team.  He also played for Torino. He also played for Triestina and Torino. He picked up 14 caps for Italy between 1960 and 1963. He went to the 1962 World Cup Finals. After retirement, he became a successful coach. His son is Paolo Maldini.

CB: Alessandro Nesta 
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 earned 78 caps.   He played on the 2006 World Cup 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.

CB: Alessandro Costacurta 
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 
Franco 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. 
Franco Baresi 
CB/LB: Paolo Maldini 
Maldini 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 Italy, 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. He was capped 126 times for Italy.  

CB/LB: Renzo De Vecchi 
De Vecchi was probably the first star player in Italian football.  His nickname was "The Son of God".  He started his career with Milan.  He later moved to Genoa in 1913, winning three Italian League titles with the club. Between 1927 and 1929, he worked as a player-manager for them. He was the youngest ever national team player for Italy, representing Italy at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympic Games.  In total, he had 43 caps for Italy between 1910 and 1925. 

DM/CM: Massimo Ambrosini 
At club level, he is mostly known for his successful time at 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.

DM: Gennaro Gattuso
Gennaro Gattuso was a highly regarded destroyer in his prime. He spent 13 years with AC Milan, forming a famous partnership with Andreas Pirlo. At the club level, he also played for Rangers, Perugia and Sion. He won two Champions' League with the club.  For the Azzurri, he earned 73 caps between 2000 and 2010.  He went to three World Cup Finals, winning the 2006 World Cup Finals, playing along side Pirlo again.
Gennaro Gattuso
CM: Demetrio Albertini 
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. At the end of his career, he played for Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Barcelona. At the international level, 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: Carlo Ancelotti 
Carlo Ancelotti 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 the great AC Milan and became a part of the team that won two European Cup.  He was capped 26 times between 1981 and 1991.  He narrowly missed the World Cup Finals in 1982, but went to the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990.

CM: Andrea Pirlo 
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.  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.  

RW: Pietro Arcari
Pietro Arcari played in the 1930s for A.C. Milan, and Genoa. A prolific goalscorer, known for his speed and ability in the air, he played 256 matches in Serie A, scoring 80 goals. He never played for Italy, but was selected to the 1934 World Cup Finals, where Italy won the Cup on home soil.  He never appeared in any match.  He is one of only four players in Italy's history to become World champion while never being capped

LW: Roberto Donadoni 
Roberto Donadoni was one of Italy's greatest wingers.  He was a vital part of AC 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 World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994. At the end of his career, he played briefly in MLS and Saudi Arabia.
Roberto Donadoni 
FW/RW: Renzo Burini
Burini played for 12 seasons (330 games, 123 goals) in the Italian Serie A for A.C. Milan and S.S. Lazio. He is remembered by Lazio fans for his contribution to winning the first major trophy for the club, the Coppa Italia in 1958. He made his debut for Italy in 1951 against Portugal and scored on his debut. He was a member of the team which took part at the 1948 Summer Olympics.

AM: Gianni Rivera 
Gianni Rivera was Italy's "Golden Boy"of the 1960's and perhaps their best player in his generation.  He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969.  He led AC Milan to win two European Cups in 1963 and 1969. He was capped 63 times, scoring 15 goals, at four World Cup Finals (1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974). Rivera is remembered for scoring the decisive goal in Italy's extra-time win over West Germany in the semi-final of Mexico 1970.
Gianni Rivera 
AM: Roberto Baggio 
Robert Baggio was the icon of the 1990's.  He was the World Player of the Year, the Ballon d'Or winner and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1993.  He led Italy to reach the semifinal at 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy and then, to a second place four years later in the USA.  For club football, he started his career with Fiorentina.  He became the most expensive player in the world when he joined Juventus.  He also played for AC Milan, Bologna, Inter Milan and Brescia.
Roberto Baggio 
ST: Giuseppe Santagostino
Giuseppe Santagostino was born in 1901 in Milan. From 1921 to 1933, he played over 200 games for AC Milan. He ranks eighth in A.C. Milan's all-time goalscorers list. He also scored the first ever goal in the San Siro in a derby against Inter Milan in 1926. He was never capped by Italy. After Milan, he played for Catanzaro and Atalanta.

ST/SS/FW: Pierino Prati
Also known as "Pierino the pest",  Prati is mostly remembered for his successful stint with AC Milan, forming an excellent partnership with Gianni Rivera. He was also notably part of their European Cup victory in 1969, He is the last man to have scored a hat-trick in the Champions League/European Cup Final.  Capped 14 times.  He won the 1968 European Championship on home soil. He also went to the 1970 World Cup.

ST: Aldo Boffi
Aldo Boffi played club football with Seregno, A.C. Milan and Atalanta. During the 1938–39 season, he was joint-capcannonieri (top scorer) in Serie A, along with Ettore Puricelli of Bologna, with 19 goals; he managed the same feat in the 1939–40 and 1941–42 Serie A seasons, with 24 and 22 goals respectively. He was capped twice for Italy.

ST: Filippo Inzaghi 
Inzaghi 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.
Filippo Inzaghi 
Honorable Mention
Carlo Galli, Filippo Galli, Giovanni Galli, Christian Abbiati, Enrico Albertosi, Roberto Rosato, Pietro Lana, Aldo Cevenini, Alberigo Evani, Giovanni Lodetti, Marco Sala, Giuseppe Antonini, Daniele Massaro, Alberto Bigon, Renzo Burini, Carlo Annovazzi, Angelo Sormani and Marco Simeone.

Squad Explanation
-- Twelve players on this team also belonged to my all-time team for AC Milan. That included all three goalkeepers.  Only two of my defenders (both fullbacks) are not on that team.  However, only three attackers (Pirlo, Rivera and Donadoni) came from that team.
-- Mauro Tassotti had a long service to the club. Besides, he was a key part of two great Milan teams. 
-- I needed an offensive midfielder to backup Rivera.  Although Roberto Baggio's career with AC Milan was uneventful, I selected him because he was simply Baggio. Alberto Bigon was my alternative.
-- José Altafini played for Brazil and Juan Alberto Schiaffino for Uruguay before they played for Italy.  I considered them "foreigner".
-- The wide position on the right is a concern. Pietro Arcari was the first player I selected.  I chose one player from the following: Renzo Burini, Carlo Annovazzi, Angelo Sormani and Marco Simeone.
-- Angelo Anquilletti edged out Marco Sala, Filippo Galli and Christian Panucci for the rightback position. Panucci is more famous than Anquilletti, but he only played briefly with Milan.
-- I do not know much about Pietro Lana and Aldo Cevenini.  I went for strikers with the better stats.
-- We have too many midfielders.  I have no space for Romeo Benetti, Giovanni Trapattoni, Omero Tognon, Giovanni Lodetti and Giuseppe Antonini. I opted for the younger players who have more name recognisation.
-- Andreas Pirlo is one of the most underrated players in history.  He was critical to the successes of AC Milan.  His departure to Juventus hurt the team.  Gennaro Gattuso edged out Romeo Benetti.  His partnership with Pirlo might be a factor as well. 
-- I added Roberto Donadoni because I need a winger.  Besides, he was a major contributor to AC Milan's best years. 

I opted for a formation sisimilar to the Christrmas tree formation used by Carlos Ancelotti. 

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