A.C. Milan - Fall From Grace

AC Milan - Football Club - Logo - Crest - Badge - 400 pixels wideThe seven-time European champions are not playing in either the Champions League or the Europa League this season. AC Milan are the second most successful team in the continent after Real Madrid, but the team has seen a lot of struggle in the last few years.

The Italian giants were once a European powerhouse and were spoken of in the same breath as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The same team is currently seventh in the Italian league after 16 games played.

Milan's parent company, Fininvest, incurred losses earlier this decade. Hence, a lot of cost cutting took place at the San Siro, which resulted in a major exodus of big name players. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and many other stars moved on to different clubs in Europe. The offloading of these high earners angered a lot of Milan faithful, but they could do nothing but hope for a brighter future.

The 2013-14 season was a disaster, as the club failed to qualify for the European competitions.

A feeling of nostalgia takes control over a neutral football fan, whenever there is a discussion of the great Milan teams of the past. There was a time when Milan was one of the most feared teams in Italy and Europe. Milan of the 1990s is still remembered as one of the greatest teams ever. They collected five Italian Serie A titles and a Champions League trophy in the last decade of the twentieth century. The key players for the club at that time include Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Baresi, Maldini, Gullit and Desailly. The foundation of the team was laid by one of the greatest coaches to ever grace the game: Arrigo Sacchi. He introduced and implemented the pressing game, which has reaped benefits for many teams since then. Fabio Capello followed Sacchi and he too didn't disappoint.

The first decade of this century was also good for the Italian giants. They didn't win as many Serie A titles, but they lifted two Champions League trophies in 2003 and 2007. The present Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, was the coach of Milan from 2001 to 2009. Ancelotti accumulated the best players on the planet and made some remarkable teams over the decade. From the likes of Shevchenko and Ronaldo to Pirlo and Ronaldinho, there wasn't a shortage of world class talent in Milan. At one point in time, Milan had several extremely capable free kick takers including Ronaldinho, David Beckham and Pirlo.

Kaka, Seedorf, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Dida… the list of legendary AC Milan players is quite long. Along with the flair players in the front and intelligent players in the midfield, the club had the meanest and most stable back line in the world. The likes of Nesta, Maldini and Cafu were at the heart of Milan's defense.

Hence, it is very hard for many to see such a great team diminished to what it is today. Now, they are a team which mostly consists of free agents, bargain bucket players, prospects and misfits. Yet, they aren't very far away from the Champions League spot. The competition is quite fierce in Serie A this season as there is only a three point gap between the third-placed Lazio and the eighth-placed Fiorentina. AC Milan can return to the European competition next season if they could get a good run of form.

It is reported that the club will be open for business in the January transfer window. There are big rumors of a swap deal between the La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and AC Milan, which would see Alessio Cerci make a move to San Siro and Fernando Torres return back to his boyhood club.


What will happen to AC Milan over the coming years?

Things are presently not looking good at the San Siro, but let's see how it all plays out.

It would be nice to have the Rossoneri back among the elite!