One of Europe’s historically richest clubs – AC Milan – is a shadow of what they used to be. We take a look back at their fall as they look to rise back from the ashes.
25 May 2005 – AC Milan were leading 3-0 in the Champions League final at Istanbul. Somehow, though, they bottled it and lost the cushion to an equalizer from Xabi Alonso in the 60th minute. Milan then went on to lose the penalty shootout as Liverpool sealed their fifth Champions League title.
23 May 2007 – It was a replica fixture in Champions League for both the finalists in Athens. Inzaghi scored a brace in the final as Milan sealed their seventh major European title.
14 May 2011- Milan won the Scudetto after thrashing Cagliari 4-1, and IFF awarded the trophy to Milan in front of a full capacity crowd.
These three nights are the epitome of what AC Milan are about – or at least to what Milan fans are used. However, AC Milan fans now watch their team fail in a top 4 battle in Serie A.
Once Europe’s biggest giant, AC Milan are no more the club they used to be. The club lack financial expenditure and that has caused in a huge gap in talent.
San Siro has empty seats than ever. The global reach has massively declined. As a whole, the club’s stature as a top football club is in demise.
The decline is not a sudden phenomenon, though. Several factors come to play in the fall of Italian football’s former Giants.
It started off with Italian financial crisis. AC Milan’s famous owner, Silvio Berlusconi is not the man he once used to be.
The massive exodus of talent began with AC Milan’s own, Kaka. There are very few players who wouldn’t be happy to join Real Madrid. However, Kaka is an elect few who wasn’t swayed away. Real Madrid wanted the Brazilian- but he loved Milan. Milan was his footballing home, and he wanted to stay.
However, Milan board pulled the cord and welcomed the money that was on offer.
Exodus of talent continued
The trend continued as far as Milan go. The sale of star players created a huge rift in the quality of the players in the new squad.
Milan’s title winning team in 2011 consisted of Andrea Pirlo (32), Christian Abbiati (33), Gennaro Gattuso (33), Massimo Ambrosini (34), Mark van Bommel (34), Alessandro Nesta (35), Clarence Seedorf (35), Pippo Inzaghi (37) who played a major role in their title clinch.
Maybe when Silvio Berlusconi agreed to Financial Fair Play, he didn’t add into account the massive inflation in television and match day income at Spain or England.
Meanwhile, they sold their younger star players – Thiago Silva and Zlatan – to PSG. The French club hired Milan’s former manager- Carlo Ancelotti.
AC Milan’s decline resonates to the fall of the league as a whole. Serie A is nowhere the standard it used to be, with Juventus the only club dominating the ranks in Europe.
The fan attendance is in worst terms for years, and the corruption scandal in Italian football has hit the league dismally.
AC Milan has tried several remedies to their problems. The club has hired six managers after sacking Allegri in 2014. For some reason, European clubs never seem to realize that instability is seldom a solution.
As of today, AC Milan currently stands seventh – ten points below a Champions League qualification place. However, there are signs of improvement under their new manager, Vincenzo Montella.
The ownership is more stable as well. Silvio Berlusconi sold the club to a Chinese group, Jilin Yongda. The former Italian prime minister now serves as an honorary president of the club.
Future certainly holds more promising signs than it has in last three years. However, if AC Milan is to rise to Europe’s best once again, they will need to opt for the method that works. As history has been the witness, stability is a key to building a successful team.