AC Milan Football Club: The Complete Guide

Arguably the original soccer team of Milan, Italy, AC Milan are a formidable force on the pitch and have a plethora of accolades to prove it.

Considered the third most successful club in the top flight of the Italian soccer leagues, and one of the wealthiest teams on the planet, their impact on the modern game is deep, far-reaching, and continuous.

Let’s take a look at what makes one of the best soccer teams in the world tick and how they got where they are today.

Basic Facts

  • Country: Italy
  • City: Milan
  • Founded: 1899
  • Home Ground: San Siro – 1926 – present-day (shared by Inter Milan), Campo di Viale Lombardia – 1920 – 26
  • Nicknames: Rossoneri, Diavolo

Home Grounds

AC Milan has only had two home grounds in its entire history as a soccer club. The first is known as Campo di Viale Lombardia, where they resided for 6 years before moving onto the second in 1926, the grounds within the San Siro stadium.

The San Siro is situated in the San Siro district of Milan,  Piazzale Angelo Moratti 20151. Measuring 105 meters by 68 meters, the pitch is considered the perfect pro-level size, and the turf is crafted from hybrid grass.

GrassMaster hybrid grass is created by inserting 20 million polypropylene blade inserts into the earth. The inserts travel 7.1 inches into the ground and provide anchorage for the roots of the natural grass that grows alongside it, amounting to an incredibly resilient turf capable of handling the punishing schedule of two top-tier soccer teams.

Main Trophies

Milan’s first major European accolade was the 63 European Cup, swiftly followed by the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1968. The very next year, AC Milan got their hands on yet another European Cup, then reclaimed the UEFA Winners’ Cup in 1973.

They then won two European cups back to back in 1989 and 1990, and three years later, picked up their first Champions League title. They then went on to win this coveted trophy another two times, once in 2003, and once in 2007.

Milan has also won the European Super Cup a grand total of five times (89, 90, 94, 03, and 07), three Intercontinental Cups (69, 89, 90), and one FIFA Club World Cup in 2007. 

However, if you think their records playing internationally are impressive, take a look at their domestic honors.

Milan has snagged the Serie A league title a whopping 18 times, just one behind rivals and stadium mates, Inter Milan, and the two times they suffered relegation (80-81 and 82-83), they won the Serie B title too.

But that’s not all. They’ve also claimed the Coppa Italia Cup five times (1966-67, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1976-77, 2002-03), and the Supercoppa Italiana Cup an impressive seven times (88, 92, 93, 94, 04, 2011, 2016).

Club History

Despite becoming one of the premier Italian soccer teams, AC Milan was actually founded by two English expatriates, Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin, in 1899. This is why the modern team is referred to as the anglicized Milan, rather than the Italian, Milano.

The club started out as a multidisciplinary institution covering both soccer and cricket, hence their original name, The Milan Football and Cricket Club.

It didn’t take long for Milan to start making a name for themselves, winning their first Italian title in 1901, then two more on the trot in 06 and 07, but little did they know that the following year, they were to experience a truly seismic change.

Have you ever wondered why Milan has two soccer teams? Well, it’s because, in 1908, a fierce argument broke out within the Milan Football and Cricket Club — the stimulus of the feud? Whether to accept non-Italians into the squad.

You’d think that an Italian team founded by two Englishmen would be open to accepting other nationalities into their institution, but surprisingly, the side that would eventually become AC Milan only wanted to accept Italian players.

The other half of the club, who thought they should accept players based purely on ability, broke free and formed what we now call Inter Milan.

This schism hit Milan hard, and they were unable to claim another domestic title until the 50-51 Serie A season, ironically, utilizing three Swedish, attacking players in their primary squad.

From there, Milan went from strength to strength, securing a number of domestic and European titles, as well as their first Intercontinental Cup, but with key player Gianni Rivera on the brink of retirement, Milan’s luck was about to dry up.

It wasn’t just poor performances that marred AC’s formidable record up until then, but outright scandal. Alongside twelve other teams from the Serie A and B, Milan were caught red-handed participating in the Totenero match-fixing of 1980.

As punishment, Milan were for the first time relegated to the Serie B; however, they placed first that season and earned their way back into the top-flight league.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of Milan’s troubles, for they only lasted a season in the Serie A before being relegated back down to the Serie B for the second and last time.

In the mid-80s, AC Milan had stabilized their performance in the league but now faced financial insecurities. It took vast investments from entrepreneur and soon-to-be Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, to save the team from going under.

With the club back on its feet, newly-appointed manager, Arrigo Sacchi, was able to lead the club to their first Serie A victory in 9 years, and followed it up with their first European Cup win in two decades, beating Steaua Bucarești for the privilege. They then managed to hold onto the European Cup the following year.

Despite his huge success at the club, Sacchi decided to leave Milan in 91 and was replaced by former AC player, Fabio Capello, who led the team to three consecutive Serie A victories in 1992, 93, and 94. 1994 was also the year of their historic 4-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League final, adding yet another major cup to their trophy cabinet.

Before moving on to Real Madrid, Capello led his side to one more Serie A victory in 1996, but in his absence, Milan experienced a performative lull before returning to form and claiming their 16th championship title.

With Carlo Encolotti at the helm, Milan enjoyed another period of prosperity, winning their sixth European Cup against Juventus, and another Scudetto in 2004.

The next big year for Milan was 2007 in which they won their seventh European title against Liverpool and then the FIFA Club World Cup, but these astounding highs were to be met with guttural lows as the team once again found themselves at the epicenter of a financial scandal.

AC officials and managers were exonerated, but evidence suggested that club president, Adriano Galliani, had ties to misdeeds, and thus, the team had 15 points deducted from their Serie A tally, and they were banned from 2006-07 Champions League. It wouldn’t be until the 2010-11 season that they won their 18th Serie A title.

In 2018, Milan were finally recovering, at least in a performative sense, qualifying for the Europa League, but after failing to adhere to Financial Fair Play regulations, were banned from the tournament. The ban continued to the 2019-20 Europa League.

Now managed by Stefano Pioli, the team is on the mend and performing well.

Club Timeline

  • 1899 – Milan Football and Cricket Club founded.
  • 1901 – 1st Serie A title.
  • 1906 – 2nd Serie A title.
  • 1907 – 3rd Serie A title.
  • 1908 – Schism amounting to the formation of Inter Milan.
  • 1919 – Change of name to Milan Football Club.
  • 1920 – Moved into Campo di Viale Lombardia.
  • 1926 – Moved into the San Siro.
  • 1939 – Club forced to use “Milano” instead of “Milan” by fascist government.
  • 1945 – Name reverted to the English, “Milan”.
  • 1951 – 4th Serie A title.
  • 1955 – 5th Serie A title.
  • 1957 – 6th Serie A title.
  • 1959 – 7th Serie A title.
  • 1962 – 8th Serie A title.
  • 1963 – 1st European Cup.
  • 1967 – 1st Coppa Italia.
  • 1968 – 1st European Winners’ Cup and 9th Serie A title.
  • 1969 – 2nd European Cup and 1st Intercontinental Cup.
  • 1972 – 2nd Coppa Italia.
  • 1973 – 2nd European Winners’ Cup and 3rd Coppa Italia.
  • 1977 – 4th Coppa Italia.
  • 1979 – 10th Serie A title.
  • 1980 – Totonero Scandal – relegated to Serie B as punishment.
  • 1981 – 1st Serie B title, recovering their place in the Serie A.
  • 1982 – Relegated to the Serie B.
  • 1983 – 2nd Serie B title.
  • 1986 – Financial troubles solved by Berlusconi.
  • 1988 – 1st Supercoppa Italiana and 11th Serie A title.
  • 1989 – 1st European Super Cup, 3rd European Cup, and 2nd Intercontinental Cup.
  • 1990 – 4th European Cup, 2nd European Super Cup, and 3rd Intercontinental Cup.
  • 1992 – 12th Serie A title and 2nd Supercoppa Italiana.
  • 1993 – 13th Serie A title and 3rd Supercoppa Italiana.
  • 1994 – 14th Serie A title, 4th Supercoppa Italiana, 5th European Cup, and 3rd European Super Cup.
  • 1996 – 15th Serie A title.
  • 1999 – 16th Serie A title.
  • 2003 – 5th Coppa Italia, 6th European Cup, and 4th European Super Cup.
  • 2004 – 17th Serie A title and 5th Supercoppa Italiana
  • 2006 – Calciopoli Scandal. Banned from 06-07 Champions League.
  • 2007 – 7th European Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
  • 2011 – 18th Serie A title and 6th Supercoppa Italiana.
  • 2016 – 7th Supercoppa Italiana.
  • 2017 – Banned from 2018-19 Europa League for failing to adhere to Financial Fair Play regulations.
  • 2018 – Europa League ban overturned after appeal.
  • 2019 – Banned from 2019-20 Europa League for failing to adhere to Financial Fair Play regulations.

Club Net Worth

  • Team Value: $559,000,000
  • Revenue: $165,000,000
  • Operating Income: $92,000,000
  • Debt/Value: 3%


AC Milan play at the beloved San Siro stadium in the San Siro district of Milan, Italy. The official title of the San Siro is the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, named for the iconic Italian player of the late 20s, 30s, and 40s; however, as Meazza has a deeper association with Inter than AC Milan, supporters generally stick to calling it the San Siro.

The San Siro is rated as a category 4 stadium by UEFA, meaning it’s suitable for high-profile tournaments and games, and thanks to extensions in the early 30s and mid-50s, it can seat just over 80,000 people.

Initial construction of the San Siro commenced in 1925 and took roughly a year to finish. The first game played was a rivalry showdown between the two Milan teams.

There are plans to demolish the current San Siro in order to build an even grander stadium in the same spot, but the project has been slowed by a number of factors.


The Majority owner of AC Milan is an aggressive investment and vulture fund company known as Elliot Management. Controlling shares fell into Elliot management’s lap after Chinese businessman, Li Yonghong, failed to keep up on loan repayments for his controlling stake in the club.

Yonghong had been the majority owner of AC Milan ever since Former Italian Prime Minister, Berlusconi, decided to move on from the club just after three decades of ownership.

The Elliot Corporation has come under a lot of scrutiny from fans and officials alike for their distant style of ownership.

Best Players

A plethora of world-class players have worn the Rossoneri over the course of AC Milan’s storied history, but none are so renowned and beloved as defender Paolo Maldini.

Maldini joined the club at just 17, and remained there for the rest of his long career, retiring at the ripe old age of 41. He won 21 major titles over his 25-year tenure at the club and has played more games for them than any other player in history.

Following close behind Maldini is fellow Italian defender and natural sweeper, Franco Baresi. He and Maldini formed one of the strongest defenses in soccer history throughout the 80s and 90s.

And you can’t talk about AC Milan legends without mentioning Gianni Rivera, the midfield marvel and AC captain of 13 years. Then, of course, there’s Gunnar Nordahl, one-third of the attacking Swedish trio that sculpted the side’s success in the 50s.

Other notable players of bygone days include Dutch striker Marco Van Basten; center back, Alessandro Costacurta; striker, Andriy Shevchenko; and attacking midfielder, Kaka.

These days, AC’s best striker is the Swedish tour de force, Zlatan Ibrohimović. He has scored 570 goals in his career so far, 84 of which have been for AC Milan.

The star of Milan’s midfield line is Ivorian, Franck Kessié, a player cherished for his penalty-taking abilities, and in defense, AC Milan’s top asset is Englishmen Fakayo Tomori.

All Time Top Scorer

The all-time top scorer for AC Milan is Swedish striker, Gunnar Nordahl, who managed to rack up a total of 221 goals. The only other player that gets anywhere near Gunnar’s record is Shevchenko with a grand total of 175 goals scored.


Defender, Alessio Romagnoli, an elegant player with a great aptitude for unloading the ball, has been AC Milan’s captain since 2018, but with his future at the club unclear, it seems fellow defender, Simon Kjær is next in line to don the armband.


1st Goalkeeper:

  • Ciprian Tătărușanu
    • Nationality: Romanian

Sub Goalkeepers:

  • Mike Maignan
    • Nationality: French
  • Alessandro Plizzari
    • Nationality: Italian 


  • Fodé Ballo-Touré
    • Position: Left Back
    • Nationality: French
  • Davide Calabria
    • Position: Full Back
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Andrea Conti
    • Position: Right Back
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Matteo Gabbia
    • Position: Center Back
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Theo Hernández
    • Position: Left Back
    • Nationality: French
  • Pierre Kalulu
    • Position: Right Back
    • Nationality: French
  • Simon Kjær
    • Position: Center Back
    • Nationality: Danish
  • Alessio Romagnoli
    • Position: Center Back
    • Nationality: Italian
  • Fikayo Tomori
    • Position: Center Back
    • Nationality: English/Nigerian


  • Ismaël Bennacer
    • Position: Defensive Mid
    • Nationality: Algerian
    • Goals: 1
  • Samuel Castillejo
    • Position: Right Winger
    • Nationality: Spanish
    • Goals: 10
  • Brahim Díaz (on loan)
    • Position: Attacking Mid
    • Nationality: Spanish
    • Goals: 7
  • Franck Kessié
    • Position: Center Mid
    • Nationality: Ivorian
    • Goals: 30
  • Rade Krunić
    • Position: Center Mid
    • Nationality: Bosnian
    • Goals: 2
  • Tommaso Pobega
    • Position: Center Mid
    • Nationality: Italian
    • Goals: 0
  • Alexis Saelemaekers
    • Position: Right Winger
    • Nationality: Belgian
    • Goals: 4
  • Sandro Tonali (on loan)
    • Position: Defensive Mid
    • Nationality: Italian
    • Goals: 0


  • Olivier Giroud
    • Nationality: French
    • Goals: 0
  • Zlatan Ibrohimović
    • Nationality: Swedish
    • Goals: 84 (split over two stints with the club)
  • Rafael Leão
    • Nationality: Portuguese
    • Goals: 13
  • Daniel Maldini
    • Nationality: Italian
    • Goals: 0
  • Ante Rebić
    • Nationality: Croatian
    • Goals: 23


Stefano Pioli has been AC Milan’s manager and head coach since October 9th, 2019. After leading the team through a 10-game winning streak, his contract was extended by two years.


Goalkeeping Coaches:

  • Luigi Turci, Emiliano Betti, and Dida

Technical Coaches:

  • Daniele Bonera and Davide Lucarelli

Athletic Coaches:

  • Roberto Peressutti and Matteo Osti

Assistant Coach

AC Milan’s assistant manager and coach is former Italian defender, Geacomo Murelli, a player renowned for his steadfast marking. 

Home Kit

AC Milan’s current home kit doesn’t deviate too far from tradition. It features the classic red and black stripe design, but with a thickened central black section. They usually play in black shorts and socks but have been known to wear white in the past.

Away Kit

AC Milan’s current away kit is a simple off-white design with singular red stripes at the shoulders and around the ends of the sleeves.

The Infamous ovoid shield on the heart of every AC Milan player takes inspiration from Milan’s flag of Saint Ambrose, represented by the red cross on a white background to the right of the oval.

The left side of the logo presents the team colors, red (representing their ferocity) and black (representing the fear of their opponents).

Above the central motif are the letters “ACM”, and below, the number “1899” written in a strong sans-serif typeface. The design is finished with a thin black border, a thicker red border, and one last thin black border. 

Club Academy

AC Milan have founded a number of national and international soccer academies aimed not just at developing individual players, but enriching the sporting culture of the area.

The building blocks of their training methods and general ethos are passion, excellence, sophistication, and teamwork. They’re currently offering two forms of academy experience: a Junior Camp and The Milan X-Perience, the latter of which is the most comprehensive AC Milan training experience in the world.

League Titles

Serie A – 18 Wins

  • 1901, 1906, 1907, 1950-51, 1954-55, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1961-62, 1967-68, 1978-79, 1987-88, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04, 2010-11.

Serie B – 2 Wins

  • 1980-81 and 1982-83

Other Titles


  • Coppa Italia – 5 Wins
    • 1966-67, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1976-77, 2002-03.
  • Supercoppa Italiana – 7 Wins
    • 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2011, 2016.


  • European League/Champions League – 7 Wins
    • 1962-63, 1968-69, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1993-94, 2002-03, 2006-07.
  • European Cup Winners – 2 Wins
    • 1967-68 and 1972-73.
  • European Super Cup – 5 Wins
    • 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007


  • Intercontinental Cup – 3 Wins
    • 1969, 1989, 1990.
  • FIFA Club World Cup
    • 2007

Fun Facts

  • AC Milan has won more titles than any other Italian club besides Juventus, which is why the two teams are such furious rivals.
  • Milan won the Serie A title on the centenary anniversary of the club.
  • AC Milan was founded by English expatriates, who then played in the first team themselves.
  • AC Milan has only been relegated to the Serie B on two occasions, the first of which was punishment for involvement in match-fixing.