Juventus
    Juventus
      05.10.2013 17:13 - in: Serie A S

      Milan in the spotlight

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      Juventus.com takes an in-depth look at Sunday night’s opponents Milan

      Club

      The club was founded in 1899 by lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards, two English expatriates who named it “Milan Cricket and Foot-ball Club”. Though it was forced to bear the Italian spelling “Milano” under the Fascist regime, it now retains the English spelling of the city in honour of its Anglo-Saxon origins.

      Milan won its first league championship in 1901, followed by another two in 1906 and 1907. But after Inter broke away to form a separate club a year later, the Rossoneri were unable to taste further Scudetto glory until 1951.

      However, that victory sparked a turn of fortunes that saw them lift three more domestic titles before their 1963 European Cup triumph against Benfica, a success they repeated in 1969 against Ajax.

      The club won a tenth league title in 1979, but then endured a difficult period in which they were relegated twice.

      Silvio Berlusconi bought Milan in 1986 and promptly lifted them from their downward spiral by investing heavily. In the 1987/88 season Arrigo Sacchi’s side returned to the top of Italian football with a Scudetto win, and the following year they held aloft their first European title in two decades with a confident 4-0 demolition of Steaua Bucharest.

      But a greater achievement was yet to come, with a win over Benfica in the final of the following year’s competition making Milan the first and still the only club to have successfully defended the European Cup.

      New manager Fabio Capello led them to three consecutive league championships between 1992 and 1994, and the Rossoneri enjoyed another victorious period under their next boss (and their second longest-serving ever), Carlo Ancelotti.

      Their most recent title came in 2010/11 under current coach Massimiliano Allegri.

      Stadium

      Officially renamed as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in 1980 (although still popularly known as the San Siro as it was time of its inauguration in 1926), Milan’s home ground is shared with Inter and hosts the legendary “Derby della Madonnina” fixture between the two sides.

      The stadium had an original capacity of 35,000, and reached its current peak of 80,018 after numerous renovations culminating in an update for the 1990 World Cup.

      The San Siro has hosted three Champions League finals, the most recent being in 2001, and has also welcomed the Italian rugby team, whose match there against New Zealand in 2009 saw a record 80,000 fans turn out to watch them in action.

      It is also a regular concert venue and has held performances from Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones.

      Current team

      Milan are struck by an injury crisis at the moment and are missing big-name stars Kaka and Mattia De Sciglio amongst a host of other important players.

      Captain Riccardo Montolivo and Stephan El Shaarawy have endured their own injury troubles of late but are likely to be fit for Sunday’s game. The former is a regular in Cesare Prandelli’s midfield for the national side and capable of a great range of passing, while the latter made his Serie A debut just after his 16th birthday and is one of the most talented strikers in the game. Together with Mario Balotelli  he will form one of the most fearsome strike partnerships in Serie A.

      This season is the ex-Inter and Manchester City forward’s first full campaign for the Rossoneri after impressing following his arrival in Januray. Now 23, he is however still prone to disciplinary problems, and it is that aspect of his personality that means he will be missing out at Juventus Stadium due to suspension.

      Transfer activity

      Milan failed to bring in top summer target Keisuke Honda, but they have made up for missing out on the CSKA Moscow attacking midfielder with some promising signings in that department.  

      The recruitment of 23-year-old Andrea Poli on a co-ownership deal adds some youthful energy and creativity to a midfield, as does the arrival of Riccardo Saponara from Empoli. Kaka will no doubt also be giving them some star quality in the number 10 role once he has returned to full fitness.

      The most expensive signing of the summer was Juventus’ own Alessandro Matri, who won two Scudetto titles with the Bianconeri and now joins Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Robinho, Mbaye Niang and Giampaolo Pazzini in Milan’s group of strikers.

      Argentine Matias Silvestre made the short switch across the city from rivals Inter on loan to shore up the defence, having previously played for clubs Catania and Palermo.

      Midfield ball-winner Mathieu Flamini has been taken back to Arsenal by his mentor Arsene Wenger, and veteran Massimo Ambrosini has gone to Fiorentina after 18 years of service.

      But the most notable departure is Kevin-Prince Boateng, the club’s former number 10 who has now returned to the Bundesliga where he began his career to join Schalke.

      Manager

      Milan’s current boss is Massimiliano Allegri, a manager with great tactical  awareness and thought to have the makings of a future Italy coach.

      A midfielder during his playing career, after rising through the lower leagues of Italian football he became the outstanding performer in Pescara’s 1992/93 Serie A campaign.

      Then, following brief managerial spells at Cagliari, Perugia and Napoli amongst other Italian clubs, he became coach of the side where he ended his playing career: Aglianese.

      In 2008, he led Sassuolo to their first ever promotion to Serie B, and his first season at Cagliari saw him receive the “Golden Bench” award for the best managerial performance according to his peers.  

      He joined Milan in June 2010 after being released by Cagliari.

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