Kamal El Ghorayeb
Many mark the date of May 23, 2007 as the end of AC Milan’s role in the football world. It marks the last time AC Milan, one of football’s most historic teams, won the UEFA Champions League.
Tens years later, it seems as though the club is finally making its way back into the spotlight.
To those who passionately follow the game, whether they are fans of the team or not, the second coming of AC Milan is definitely something to be celebrated.
Founded on December 13, 1899 by English expats Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kiplin, the club went on to assemble a historic trophy cabinet comprising of 30 titles. Seven of these titles came from the UEFA Champions League. Eighteen titles came from the Serie A, and five titles came from the Coppa Italia.
The team was also home to Paolo Maldini, arguably the best defender in the history of football, among many other legends such as Andrea Pirlo, Ricardo Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko, and others.
AC Milan is also a founding member of the European Club Association (ECA), a committee that represents the interests of European football clubs.
AC Milan has always been heavily dependent on its more experienced players, yet this tactic was also the cause of its downfall. For example, their 2007 Champions League winning squad had an average age of 31 years while also fielding a 38-year-old Paolo Maldini in their starting lineup.
Their decline began shortly after this game with many of their players either retiring or regressing skill-wise due to their age. They then went on to sell their best player, Kaka, in 2009 to curb some financial difficulties and their poor activity in the transfer market.
Milan’s decline had reached new lows when their image became that of a relatively easy team to play against in the Champions League knockout stages. They eventually failed to qualify for the European competition all together from 2014 until this very day.
Despite the difficult times, things seem to be changing for the better. Milan has recently been the subject of a massive financial takeover. The takeover, led by Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol, is an effort to restore the club to its rightful position as one of football’s leading teams.
The summer transfer window of 2017 saw the club sign a staggering 10 players, most notably defensive superstar Leonardo Bonucci and the up-and-coming striker Andre Silv.
Additionally, a whole host of quality players are filling almost every position. Milan fans would be wise to curb their enthusiasm as football fans are all too familiar with what could happen when too many players are signed at once and put into the starting 11 – Real Madrid’s Galacticos anyone?
Nevertheless, this is not a note for pessimism as the club has won its opening two league games versus Cagliari and Crotone with scores of 2-1 and 3-0, respectively.
The team is expected to end the season with a Champions League qualification while setting up a squad that can last a decade. Rome was not built in a day, and this Italian project is no different.