The first headquarters were established at the ‘Fiaschetteria Toscana’ in Via Berchet in Milan, back in 1899. From that moment on, the glorious history of Milan started as the club wrote its name in football’s record books becoming one of the most famous and successful teams in the world, especially over the last 15 years.
Rossoneri’s history is studded with the legendary names of those men who have made a major contribution to the club’s development: presidents, coaches or players. The first president was a British expatriate, Alfred Edwards, who oversaw the club’s first winning of the national championship – only two years after its foundation. The president with the highest number of trophies won is Silvio Berlusconi who has taken Milan to the pinnacle of the world since taking control in 1986. Extremely prestigious wins, obtained in every part of the world prove the unparalleled strength and organization of a great group.
A top club stands out thanks to its the strategies and to its leaders, among whom the coaches play a decisive role; the story of AC Milan’s successes is also linked to its coaches. The greatest Italian bosses trained the teams, from Gipo Viani, Nereo Rocco and Nils Liedholm, the masters of the Sixties, from whom Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello took the reins, basing their tactical and strategic philosophy on a modern, brilliant and spectacular football.
In the years of Berlusconi’s management, Sacchi and Capello won and triumphed, giving wonderful emotions. With Sacchi, Milan won in four national championships, two European Cups, two European Super Cups and two consecutive Intercontinental Cups;with Capello, four championships, a European Super Cup and a European Cup, in five seasons. In the most recent years, Alberto Zaccheroni kept the rich tradition going as he led the team to the win of a national championship in his first year before Fatih Terim took over for a short time and then passed the reins on to Carlo Ancelotti: a very welcomed return of one of the “invincibles” in Rossoneri’s big family. In 2009/10 season, Leonardotook over from the top-winner Mister Ancelotti, for one year, after 13 years spent in Milan’s family, first as a player, then as a manager.
After Leonardo, Massimiliano Allegri led an all-star team in 2010/2011 season, thanks also to the new signings: Ibrahimovic, Robinho in August 2010 and Cassano, Van Bommel and Emanuelson in January 2011. With these champions reinforcing the squad, Allegri and Milan won the 18th Scudetto title and the 6th Italian Super Cup.
After two and a half seasons which included a Serie A runners-up spot and a third-place finish, Massimiliano Allegri was replaced by Clarence Seedorf as AC Milan coach in January 2014, with the former midfielder leading the team until the end of 2013/14 season to the sixth place of the ranking.
Filippo Inzaghi, who had already written his name in AC Milan’s history as a player and then as coach of the youth team, takes charge of the first team for 2014/15 season. Season 2015/2016 starts under the management of Sinisa Mihajlovic – who leads the team to Coppa Italia final – and ends with Cristian Brocchi, promoted from AC Milan’s Primavera.
Vincenzo Montella is AC Milan’s s coach for season 2016/2017 and the Rossoneri win the Supercoppa Italiana against Juventus, in Doha. From 27 November 2017 the new coach is Gennaro Gattuso, promoted from Milan’s Primavera. Gattuso has had an outstanding and winning career with Milan as a player (1999-2012).
On December 16, 1899, Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club was officially established, but the first “public” début of Milan’s dates back to Monday, December 18 in an article on La Gazzetta dello Sport. The original headquarters were initially in the Fiaschetteria Toscana in Via Berchet in Milan and President Alfred Ormonde Edwards enrolled the team in the Italian Football Federation the following January.
The team played just one game during the first season, against Torino, and despite a defeat, AC Milan lifted the first Trophy, the ‘King’s Medal’, presented by King Umberto I.
In 1900/01, Milan won the first national championship and the second King’s Medal, which they won again the following season. Over the years, Kiplin’s team had widespread success and Milan became the most popular team in the Lombardy region, winning the prestigious ‘Palla Dapples’ for three seasons in a row (1904/05 – 1905/06 – 1906/07) and the team won the national championship for the second time in 1905/06 and the third the following year.
The leading player was Louis Van Hege, a great goal-scorer with an extraordinary average of 1.1 goals per game. In the 1914/15 season, the Championship was halted before the end of the year due to the outbreak of World War I, and it resumed in 1919. After several changes in the management structure, Pietro Pirelli was appointed as new President. He held this role for almost twenty years, during which time San Siro Stadium was inaugurated.
The 1920s are a period of consolidation for the Rossoneri with the team not making a major breakthrough on the pitch.
The club changes its name from Milan F.C. to Milan Associazione Sportiva, and following a number of changes in the top management, Umberto Trabattoni becomes president in 1940. It is a position he will hold until 1954. The team goes through a period of highs and lows but usually finishes the season in mid-table and rarely ends up in one of the top four positions.
World War II stops football until 1946-47 season when the championship resumes with each team playing each other just once. Milan manages to finish fourth behind the great Torino, Juventus and Modena. Over the next two seasons, there is a sort of rebirth as the team finishes in second and third place, with Torino crowned champion on both occasions.
The arrival of Gunnar Nordhal marked the beginning of a new era for the Rossoneri that had been considered an also-rans team for too many years. Apart from Nordhal, who was the league’s top-scorer with 35 goals in 1949/50 season, two other Swedes joined the team: Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren. All three, along with goalkeeper Buffon, were the reinforcements the squad needed.
Milan won its fourth championship in 1950/51 season and crowned a historical year by adding the Latin Cup.
Successes kept coming and Nordahl was the league’s leading goal-scorer for three consecutive seasons, 1952/53, 1953/54 and 1954/55. In his last season, the captain fittingly led the Rossoneri to another win.
In 1954, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, nicknamed “Pepe”, was bought from Penarol and became one of the leading players in the team for the years to come.
In 1955/56 season Milan took part in the first edition of the European Cup where they were defeated by eventual winners Real Madrid in the semi-finals but did lift the Latin Cup for the second time when they after winning 3-1 against Athletic Bilbao in the final.
With the arrival of new coach Gipo Viani to take charge of the team, Milan won the national championship in 1956/57 season, but the real surprise of the season was striker Gastone Bean, who scored 17 goals. A year later, the squad became even more competitive when José Altafini joined the team: the Brazilian won over the fans with his skills and speed, and together with the “old” captain Liedholm, Cesare Maldini and “Pepe” Schiaffino, the unforgettable playmaker in midfield, Milan won the championship at the end of an exciting head-to-head with Fiorentina.
Schiaffino, one of the few players who deserves the title of true champion, played his final season in a Milan side that failed to set the season alight, but at least the Rossoneri won vs rivals Inter 5-3 in the spring derby, with Altafini scoring four goals.
While the previous years had been marked by foreign players (Gre-No-Li, Schiaffino-Altafini) leading the way, between 1960 and 1970, Italian players took over as protagonists in the club’s history and came to prominence and gained at an international level. Players such as Trapattoni, Trebbi, Alfieri and Noletti came from Rome 1960 Olympic side along with a young boy named Gianni Rivera who played his first game for the club when he was only 17 against Alessandria, his previous team, in a 5-3 win for Milan. The Rossoneri were in the title race right down to the wire but two defeats in the last two games, against Bari and Fiorentina, gave them only a runners-up spot.
When Nils Liedholm left, ‘Paròn’ Nereo Rocco arrived as the new coach to herald a new era, marked by success both domestic and international. The first trophy was the championship in 1961-62 season, but the most exciting and memorable success was the first European Cup. The final against Benfica, played at Wembley Stadium on May 22, 1963, was a fascinating match: Milan raised the cup after defeating the Portuguese side 2-1 (Altafini scored twice for Milan and Eusebio scored for Benfica). The iconic image of captain Cesare Maldini raising the cup together with Nereo Rocco is still fixed in all Milan’s supporters’ minds.
Milan was unable to repeat such success in the Intercontinental Cup losing the decisive match 1-0 at the Maracanà Stadium against Santos. At the end of the season, president Andrea Rizzoli left the club after nine years of great successes including four league titles, one Latin Cup and the prestigious European Cup. He is remembered not only for his sporting achievements but also for establishing the training centre of Milanello which will become an important asset through the years.
After a number of disappointing seasons during which the team played well below its potential, Milan returned at the top of the table in 1967-68 season, winning the ninth championship and the prestige of the club grew further with the victory of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, the first in Milan’s history. The win of the championship meant the return to the European Cup the following season and the “Rivera-Prati partnership” turned on the style in the final at the Bernabeu stadium where Milan defeated the Dutch side Ajax, which included a young Johan Cruijff, 4-1. Milan goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini had already earned the nickname ‘The Black Spider’ following his exploits in keeping Manchester United at bay in the semi-final. Milan was also finally crowned World Champion after the 3-0 win at the San Siro was followed by a 2-0 defeat at the Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires against Estudiantes. Thanks to his class and style, Gianni Rivera earned the Golden Ball for the European Footballer of the Year in 1969, earning this wonderful tribute: ‘in a barren world of football, Rivera is the only one to possess a sense of poetry.’
One of the darkest periods of Milan’s history that left the club with little to celebrate. The only bright spot came when the team was bestowed the honour of wearing ‘the Star‘ on their jerseys after winning its 10th championship, in 1979. The team also lifted Coppa Italia on three occasions along with one European Cup Winners’ Cup.
With the Italian champions coached by Nils Liedholm, there was the début of a young player who would go on to captain the side and become one of the world’s best defenders: Franco Baresi. The great Franco played his first competitive game for Milan on April 23, 1978, in a 2-1 victory vs Verona.
These years also saw numerous coaches coming and going and the retirement of the legendary midfield general Gianni Rivera who moved on to take a position as the club’s vice-president.
The first eight years of the 1980s saw a decline in the previous high standards, with the team playing two seasons in Serie B. However, it was not all bad news as Paolo Maldini stepped onto the football stage when he made his debut on January 20, 1985, in a 1-1 draw at Udinese. Paolo, of course, would follow Baresi’s footsteps and captain the side to success both at home and abroad.
After achieving success in previous seasons, Nils Liedholm was reinstated as coach. However, results did not improve in either the league or in international competitions. The club had arrived at a point where a major overhaul was required and on March 24, 1986, Silvio Berlusconi was named Milan’s 21st president.
The new president decided to radically reinforce the team and moved into the transfer market. In 1986/87 season, the likes of Roberto Donadoni, Dario Bonetti, Giuseppe Galderisi, Daniele Massaro and Giovanni Galli were signed to join English stars Mark Hateley and Ray Wilkins. The new footballers took time to gel but Milan managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup thanks to a playoff win over Sampdoria, with Massaro scoring the only goal of the game in extra-time.
1978/89 season saw the arrival of Arrigo Sacchi. The new coach was an exponent of the zone-to-zone total football, along with pressure and speed on opponents when they had ball possession. Along with the arrival of Dutch stars Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit, the team would enter a new and exciting era that would change football both in Italy and throughout the world. Youth team player Alessandro Costacurta was also promoted to the first-team squad and Milan got down to turning the season into one of those incredible moments. Despite some adverse off-field penalties, including losing a match 2-0 against Roma, the team fought back and went head-to-head with Diego Maradona’s Napoli at the top of the table. A 3-2 win at Napoli’s San Paolo stadium on May 18, 1988, gave Milan its 11th league win and the first of Berlusconi’s era.
The Dutch pair Gullit and Van Basten was joined by fellow-countryman, Frank Rijkaard to form another new trio from the same country like Gunnar Nordhal, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren – the ‘Gre-No-Li’ – back in the 1950s. From that point on, it was success after success. In 1988/89 season, Milan ruled Europe, lifting the European Cup after knocking out Vitosha, Red Star Belgrade, Werder Bremen and then Real Madrid in the semi-finals to reach the final against Steaua Bucarest. Over 100,000 spectators filled Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium to watch Milan run out 4-0 winners. With Sacchi in charge, the team won one national championship, two European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, two European Super Cups and one Italian League Super Cup.
Former Milan midfielder Fabio Capello replaced Sacchi at the beginning of 1992/93 season but the team continued to dominate both at home and abroad, winning four championships (three in a row), three Italian League Super Cups, one UCL (won in the unforgettable final against favourite Barcelona) and one European Super Cup.
The period between 1986 and 1996 was undoubtedly the most prolific period, both in terms of trophies won and for the excellent performances and exciting style of play. Aka: “The Immortals” and “The Invincibles”, Milan took the game to new heights but the late ’90s were not as positive as the beginning of the decade. Various coaches took alternatively the stage (Tabarez, then Sacchi and Capello again) but with the arrival of Alberto Zaccheroni in 1999, Milan won its 16th league title in the same season when the team was celebrating its 100 years
The rest of Milan’s history takes us up until the present period, with Carlo Ancelotti taking over from Fatih Terim, and coincides with the team winning UEFA Champions League in 2003 defeating Italian rivals Juventus in the final. Milan also lifted Coppa Italia and the European Super Cup.
In 2003/2004 the team won its 17th championship and started the following season by winning the Italian League Super Cup on August 21. However, 2004/05 season left a bitter aftertaste, and despite some excellent performances, the team was unable to reach the heights of the previous season.
2006/2007 season instead excellent in terms of effort, courage and success on the pitch. Milan was given little chance following the penalisation handed out by sports’ judges at the kick-off of the season but the players and coaching staff ‘rolled up their sleeves’ and turned events around in an amazing way. The players were called back early from their summer holidays, with some of them having just won the World Cup. The squad gathered in Milanello, united and determined, and they qualified for UCL group stage thanks to a two-legged win over Red Star Belgrade in the preliminary round. Milan also started well in the league but paid for the lack of pre-season training as the year wore on. However, some warm-weather training in Malta during the winter break revamped the team. Carlo Ancelotti’s players were in excellent shape going into the final stages of the season, as they hit their objectives: the fourth place in the league and the Champions League. With fourth place secured, the final in Athens confirmed the team’s strength of character as it overcame the unfairness, envy and misfortune it was forced to endure.
One of the last trophies conquered is the European Supercup won on 31st August 2007 in Montecarlo in the final played against Seville: a match played without enthusiasm due to the premature death of the Andalusian player Antonio Puerta. However, another important appointment is scheduled for the Rossoneri in 2007/2008 season: the difficult trip to Japan to win the FIFA Club World Cup, the most prestigious intercontinental trophy a Club can long for. Milan left Italy to Yokohama ready to face this nth challenge with one more incentive: winning the trophy would mean becoming the most successful Club in the world with the highest number of international trophies conquered and therefore beating Argentine Boca Juniors. After winning the semi-final against Urawa Red Diamonds, Ancelotti’s men started concentrated and determined the final tie against Boca. The “world derby” was staged: Rossoneri’s performance was almost perfect, very spectacular and the final result, 4-2, crowned Milan as the most successful Club in the world. The city of Milan and all Milan’s fans celebrated together with the players this prestigious goal achieved thanks to the strength of a fantastic group capable of offering very special moments.
Over the last few seasons the Rossoneri, four-times semi-finalists in the top European competition in five years, have certainly reaffirmed themselves as key players in the national and international scenarios, and are prepared for new achievements supported by the enthusiasm of their numerous fans In Italy and abroad, and by over one hundred years of thrills and successes.