History

The first headquarters were established at the 'Fiaschetteria Toscana' on Via Berchet in Milan, back in 1899. From that moment on the glorious history of Milan was born as the club went on to write its name in football's record books to become, especially over the last 15 years, one of the most famous and successful teams in the world.

The Rossoneri history is studded with legendary names of men who have made a major contribution to the club's development, be they presidents, coaches or players. The first president was a British expatriate, Alfred Edwards, who oversaw the club's first title - a mere two years after its foundation. The president with the most victories is Silvio Berlusconi who has taken Milan to the pinnacle of the world game since taking control in 1986.

A great team needs a great coach and Milan have certainly had their fair share of the richest talent around. The likes of Gipo Viani, Nereo Rocco and Nils Liedholm were the early masters and they were followed by Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello who took tactics and team strategy to a new level, which heralded much of what we can term as the modern approach to the game. Along the way, each and everyone of them also made sure their teams played spectacular football.

The ushering in of the Berlusconi era first saw Sacchi and then Capello win numerous trophies. Sacchi won back to back European Cups with a team considered to have been one of the greatest teams in history, also claiming a Serie A title, two Intercontinental and European Super Cups. Capello followed that with four league titles, one European Cup and one European Super Cup. Alberto Zaccheroni kept the rich tradition going as he led the team to a league title in his first year before Fatih Terim took over for a short time and then passed the reins on to Carlo Ancelotti whose management skills have brought Milan back to top spot in Italy and throughout Europe.

1899/1929

On December 16, 1899 Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club was officially formed, but the first time Milan's name appeared publicly was on Monday, December 18 in an article by the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. 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 their first season, against Torino, and despite a defeat Milan lifted their first Trophy, the 'King's Medal', presented by King Umberto I.

In 1900/01, Milan won their first national title and their second King's Medal, which they went on to win 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 successive seasons (1904/05 - 1905/06 - 1906/07), even though they failed to make in-roads in the Championship: the second title failed to arrive until the 1905/06 season and the third was won the following year.

The leading player was Louis Van Hege, a great goalscorer 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 only started again in 1919. After several changes in the management structure, Pietro Pirelli was appointed as the new President. He held this role for almost twenty years, during which time the San Siro Stadium was inaugurated.

1929/1949

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 places..

World War II puts an end to football until the 1946-47 season when the championship returns with each side playing each other just once. Milan manage to finish fourth behind the great Torino, Juventus and Modena. Over the next two seasons there is something of a rebirth as the team finishes in second and third place, with Torino crowned champions on both occasions.

1949/1955

The arrival of Gunnar Nordhal marked the beginning of a new era for a Rossoneri side that had for too many years been considered also-rans when it came to the league title. Apart from Nordhal, who was the league's top-scorer with 35 goals in the 1949/50 campaign, two other Swedes joined the team: Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren. All three, along with goalkeeper Buffon, were the reinforcements the side needed.

Milan won its fourth title in the 1950/51 season and crowned a historical year by adding the Latin Cup.

Success kept coming and Nordahl was the league's leading goalscorer for three consecutive seasons, 1952/53, 1953/54 and 1954/55. In his last season, the captain fittingly led the Rossoneri to another title.

In 1954, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, nicknamed "Pepe", was bought from Penarol and became one of the leading players in the team for years to come.

1955/1960

The 1955/56 season saw Milan take part in the first edition of the Champions 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 came out 3-1 winners against Athletic Bilbao in the final.

With the arrival of new coach Gipo Viani to take charge of the team, Milan won the league title in the 1956/57 season, but the real surprise of the campaign was striker Gastone Bean, who scored 17 goals. A year later, the side became even more competitive when Josè 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 title 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 out his final season in a Milan side that failed to set the campaign alight, but at least the Rossoneri overcame city rivals Inter 5-3 in the spring derby, with Altafini scoring four goals.

1960/1970

While the previous years had been marked by foreign players (Gre-No-Li, Schiaffino-Altafini) leading the way, between 1960 and 1970, Italian players would not only take over as protagonists in the club's history but come to prominence in the world game and gain fame at an international level. From the Rome 1960 Olympic side arrived players such as Trapattoni, Trebbi, Alfieri and Noletti 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 at home and abroad. The first trophy was the league title in the 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 imprinted in the memory of all Rossoneri supporters.

Milan were unable to repeat their success in the Intercontinental Cup, where Milan lost 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 would become an important asset down through the years.

After a number of disappointing seasons where the team played well below their potential, Milan returned to the top of the table in the 1967-68 season, winning their ninth league title and the prestige of the club grew further with the victory of the European Cup Winners' Cup, the first in Milan's history. Having been crowned champions meant a 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 they defeated 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 were also finally crowned World Champions after a 3-0 win at the San Siro was followed by a 2-0 defeat at the Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires against Estudiantes. The class and style of Gianni Rivera earned the midfield playmaker 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.'

1970/1985

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 were bestowed the honour of wearing 'the Star' on their jerseys after winning a 10th league title, in 1979. The team also lifted the Italian Cup on three occasions along with one European Cup Winners’ Cup.

The Italian champions were coached by Nils Liedholm, who gave a debut to a young player who would go on to captain the side and become one of the best defenders in the world: Franco Baresi. The great Franco played his first competitive game for Milan on April 23, 1978 in a 2-1 victory at Verona.

These years also saw numerous coaches come and go and the retirement of the legendary midfield general Gianni Rivera who moved on to take a position as club 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 go on to follow in Baresi's footsteps and captain the side to success both at home and abroad.

1985/2007

After achieving success in previous seasons, Nils Liedholm was reinstated as coach. However, results did not improve in either the league or in cup 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 made the decision to move into the transfer market. In the 1986/78 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. It would take the new arrivals time to gel but Milan managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup thanks to a play-off win over Sampdoria, with Massaro scoring the only goal of the game in extra-time.

The 1978/89 season saw the arrival of Arrigo Sacchi. The new coach was an exponent of zonal marking, total football, along with pressure and speed on opponents when they had 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 transform the game not only in Italy but 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 due to a sporting arbitration decision, 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 title and the first of the Berlusconi era.

The Dutch pair of Gullit and Van Basten were joined by fellow-countryman, Frank Rijkaard to form another new trio from the same country much as Gunnar Nordhal, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren - the 'Gre-No-Li' - had done back in the 1950s. From that point on, it was success after success. In the 1988/89 season, Milan ruled Europe, lifting the Champions Cup after knocking out Vitocha, Red Star Belgrade, Werder Brema 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 a league title, two Champions Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, two European Super Cups and one Italian League Super Cup.

Former Milan midfielder Fabio Capello replaced Sacchi at the start of the 1992/93 season but the team continued to dominate both at home and abroad, winning four league titles (three consecutively), three Italian League Super Cups, one Champions Cup (won in the unforgettable final against favourites Barcelona) and one European Super Cup.

The period between 1986 and 1996 was without a doubt the most prolific period, not only in terms of the number of trophies won, but in the excellent performances and exciting style of play. "The Immortals" and "The Invincibles", as they were known, took the game to new heights but the late '90s were not as positive as the beginning of the decade had been. The club alternated between a succession of coaches (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 as the club's centenary celebrations.

The period between 1986 and 1996 was without a doubt the most prolific period, not only in terms of the number of trophies won, but in the excellent performances and exciting style of play. "The Immortals" and "The Invincibles", as they were known, took the game to new heights but the late '90s were not as positive as the beginning of the decade had been. The club alternated between a succession of coaches (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 as the club's centenary celebrations.

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 the Champions League in 2003 when they defeated Italian rivals Juventus in the final. Milan also lifted the Italian Cup and the European Super Cup that same year.

The league title returned to the club's Via Turati headquarters at the end of the 2003/04 season for what was the 17th time and the team started the following season by winning the Italian League Super Cup on August 21. However, the 2004/05 season was to leave a bitter taste in the mouth, and despite some excellent performances, the team was unable to attain the heights of the previous campaign. The 2006/2007 season instead was one of excellent work in terms of effort, courage and success on the pitch. Milan were given little chance following the penalisation handed out by the sporting judges at the start of the season but the players and coaching staff 'pulled up their sleeves' to turn 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 at Milanello, united and determined, and they qualified for the group phase of the Champions League thanks to a two-legged win over Red Star Belgrade in the preliminary round. Milan also started well in the league but paid for their lack of pre-season preparation as the year wore on. However, some warm-weather training in Malta during the winter break revitalised the team. Carlo Ancelotti's players were in excellent form going into the final stages of the season, as they centred their objectives on fourth place in the league and the Champions League. With fourth place secured, the final in Athens confirmed the strength of character of the team as it overcame the injustice, envy and misfortune it was forced to endure.

One of the last conquered trophies is the European Supercup won on 31st August 2007 in Montecarlo in the final played against Seville, the Uefa Cup title holder: 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 the 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 motivation: 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: the Rossoneri’s performance was practically perfect, decisively spectacular and the final result, 4-2 for them, 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 of 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 year tradition of emotions and successes.

Following the departure of Leonardo, the Rossoneri were taken over by coach Massimiliano Allegri, who for the 2010/2011 season had an all-star team to rely on thanks to new signings Ibrahimovic and Robinho in August 2010 and Cassano, Van Bommel and Emanuelson in January 2011. With these new faces reinforcing the squad, the coach took Milan to the club's 18th Italian League title and 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 Milan coach in January 2014, with the former Rossoneri midfielder guiding the team to sixth place by the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

Filippo Inzaghi, who had already written his name into Rossoneri history as a player and then coach of the youth team, is preparing to take charge of the first team for the 2014/15 season.

DNA MILAN