AC Milan have seen a major fall from grace. It was only 13 years ago when they were champions of Europe and home to the reigning Ballon d’Or winner in Kaká. Legends bode adieu early on in the decade, and the team has been unable to recover since. Once a mainstay in Champions League, the Rossoneri now struggle to make the Europa League. At times, however, the team had hope and flashes of brilliance. Fans have stuck through thick and thin, so let’s take a look at the Milan team of the decade.
AC Milan Team of the Decade
Gianluigi Donnarumma is the obvious choice in goal. He began his Milan career as a teenager and, now at 21-years-old, he is arguably the team’s top player. He has all the traits of a captain in the making and is constantly the difference between Milan securing three points or at least a draw. Milan must retain him in hopes to return to what they once were.
Luca Antonini is the choice at left-back. Milan was once home to Paolo Maldini, arguably the greatest left-back in football history, but have struggled in that position ever since then. Antonini was by no means a star, but he was a solid fixture in the starting 11 for a couple of seasons, most notably the last Scudetto team in 2010/11.
The right-back position is also a given. Ignazio Abate was the starter for the majority of the decade. Like Antonini, Abate was never a world-beater, but a solid player overall. At his peak, however, he was one of the better right-backs in all of Italy. Furthermore, his love for the club is something that can never be under question.
Alessio Romagnoli is the first choice at centre-back. The Italian is the current captain of the club, and one of the top defenders in Italy. Look for him to start for Milan for several more years to come. His partner in the back is Thiago Silva. The Brazilian, of course, left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 but was arguably the top defender in football in Milan’s Scudetto season. Milan have struggled for talent as a whole lately, and no defender comes close to Silva’s quality in the Milan team of the decade.
Nigel de Jong appeared in 79 Serie A matches for Milan during the decade. The defensive midfielder had longevity during a time of constant turnover and started 76 of those matches. The Dutchman always played with the most heart on the pitch and was clearly the leader on a young, rebuilding squad.
Kevin-Prince Boateng played a plethora of positions for the club, from centre midfielder to attacking midfielder, to even centre forward. Perhaps he wasn’t world-class in some positions, but his versatility can’t be under question. Boateng is a fan favourite at Milan and has racked up a few highlight goals onto his résumé while with the club.
Giacomo Bonaventura takes the last spot in the midfield. He was always seen as Milan’s shining star during their hardest times. Like Boateng, Bonaventura is also versatile and saw plenty of time in the midfield and on the left-wing. Whether pulling the strings from the back, whipping in precise crosses, or scoring clutch goals, Bonaventura will always have a place in the hearts of Milan faithful. Not to mention he scored more than 30 goals for the club.
Robinho features as the left-winger on the Milan team of the decade. He had times of difficulty at the club, but when he was on his game he was a world-class talent. For example, he formed an elite partnership with Zlatan Ibrahimović in the Scudetto season, scoring 14 goals alongside the Swede. Robinho lasted another two years after Milan’s exodus of stars in 2012.
Suso was another player who deserves more respect for his time at the club during this difficult era. The Spaniard became a mainstay in the line-up in 2016, and lasted until this past January. For a few years, he was the only bright side in the attack, and always took the largest share of criticism, a lot of it not deserved. He had a combined 55 goals and assists for Milan, and would surely have more if he was given more help.
Ibrahimović, of course, is the team’s starting striker. He was a major reason Milan won their last Scudetto and made them a close second the year after with 24 league goals. Before returning in January this season, Ibrahimović recorded 56 goals and 25 assists in 85 appearances for Milan. In terms of pure talent, the Swede was Milan’s top player of the decade.