Downfall of an Empire – What went wrong for AC Milan?

Go back a few years in history and there was a team feared by the biggest footballing teams. A team that was very much like the present day Barcelona. Dominating and powerful that some of their players went down into the football history forever. Such was the power of the Milan side that had reached three Champions League finals in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and won two of them. They would have made it three out of three if it wasn’t for Steven Gerrard and the inspiration he gave Liverpool in that historic final at Istanbul in 2005.

AC Milan - Italian football club

AC Milan – Italian football club

Milan was a team that boasted the names of one of the greatest defenders in football – Paolo Maldini. Servant of the Rossoneri for 24 years, five time European Winner and a 7 time Serie A winner. Maldini was the backbone of a Milan side that dominated football. During the last decade when Milan won those two Champions League there were names like Kaka, Cafu, Dida, Gattuso, Nesta, Shevchenko, Crespo, Inzhagi, Pirlo and many more on the Milan team sheet.

After the 2009 season Maldid hung up his boots to see the curtains dawn on one of the most elaborated and celebrated careers in football. Milan lost its spine along with his retirement. Milan were still financially strong and made one of the best defensive signings by bringing in the highly rated Brazilian Thiago Silva as a replacement for Maldini. Milan lost their best player the Footballer of the year – the amazing playmaker Kaka to Spanish giants Real Madrid. It was a fair deal and Milan made 50m out of it.

The following season was not upto their standards they finished third and 12 points behind fellow city rivals Internazionale. Milan bounced back from that by winning the Serie A next year. They had taken the prolific goal scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on loan from Barcelona. Ibrahimovic was a key figure on their road to league glory and they signed him from Barcelona on a permanent deal.

Milan made their next big mistake by agreeing to sell veteran Andrea Pirlo to Juventus. Pirlo who had played for Milan for 10 years could only manage 17 appearances for Milan in his last season and scored just once. Juventus welcomed Pirlo’s signing with open hands and it was a signing that took Juventus to an unbeaten League win over Milan. Milan would have regretted letting another key player go. One would think they would have learned by now.

Milan exited the Champions League last season after losing to Barcelona. After the season Milan decided to offload a lot of veteran players. What was more surprising than that was Miland sold two of their best players to Paris Saint Germain. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva left the club for a huge amount of 55m. Silva had signed a new deal with Milan days before his departure. The move shocked many Milan fans. They expected Milan to make some new signings as a replacement for all the outgoing players.

Milan released veterans – Allesandro Nesta, Filippo Inzaghi, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Mark Van Bommel, Clarence Seedorf and some other less known players. Milan did not retain the services of Albero Aquilani from Liverpool despite the option to buy him after the loan deal. They also made and exchange with Inter by swapping Cassano for Pazzini.

Milan’s major transfer in was Nigel De Jong from Manchester City on deadline day. They also managed to take ex Barcelona player Bojan on loan from Roma. It was a confusing scenario for fans and pundits alike as they had generated so much money through the sale of players and bought in so very few players as replacement.

Milan began their current season with a loss against Sampdoria in the league. This has so far been Milan’s worst start to a season in a long time. So far they have lost 5 out of their 10 games in the league and won 3. They also lost their Derby match with Inter and it was their home advantage. They are now 15th in the table.  Their Champions League campaign has also been faulty with a win, a draw and a loss. They do not have an easy group as both Malaga and Zenit are tough opponents.

Milan’s only bright aspect so far has been the development of 19 year old striker Stephen El Sharaawy. El Sharaawy saved Milan from another loss after going down by two goals to Palermo on tuesday. El Sharaawy scored the equalizer for Milan.

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has slammed the tactics of coach Massimiliano Allegri. It is reported that Milan are now trying to bring in the man who was responsible for Istanbukl 2005 – Rafa Benitez as a replacement for Allegri should he be fired. It is sad to see a club of such high standards dip so low. Hopefully Milan will find their way back soon, just like how their City rivals Inter did after losing their way last season.

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