10 Greatest AC Milan players of all time

10 Greatest AC Milan players

For a number of decades now, AC Milan have been one of Italy and Europe’s dominant forces, winning a myriad of titles domestically including 18 league titles and 7 Champions Leagues. 

The club’s past is littered with successes and memorable players donning the red and black over the years such as Marco van Basten, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko, the club is widely recognized as one of Europe’s elite.

The 10 men in this list are the 10 greatest players to ever wear the red and black.

10. George Weah

The 25th President of Liberia is also heralded as the great African footballer of the 20th century. He was already a household name in European footballer by the time he joined AC Milan due to his success at Paris Saint-Germain where he won the French cup in 1993 and 1995 and the French league in 1994. He was also the highest goalscorer in the 1994/95 Champions League campaign with seven goals. But Weah attained his legendary status due to his time at the Rossoneri.

Known as ‘King George’ amongst his fans, Weah won Serie A in his first season at AC Milan and won another Scudetto three years later. He won a hoard of individual honours as well and was one of the greatest ambassadors of African football in Europe at one of the biggest clubs.

AC Milan honours.

Serie A1995/96 and 1998/99

9. Andrea Pirlo

One of the greatest midfielders to grace the pitch, the Italian maestro left a considerable impact on AC Milan before he moved to Juventus where he produced more magic. He was neither very physical nor had much space but Pirlo made up for his physical deficiencies with sheer technical supremacy over the opposition.

He is silken touch, his vision and the ability to find the defence piercing pass from deep made him one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A. 2004, 2011
  • Coppa Italia. 2003
  • Supercoppa Italiana. 2004
  • UEFA Champions League. 2003, 2007
  • UEFA Super Cup. 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup. 2007

8. Alessandro Nesta

Nesta had a storied career already before he moved to AC Milan in 2002. He started his career at Serie A giants Lazio and won Serie, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup at the Stadio Olimpico.

AC Milan splashed out more than €30m in 2002 to snare the defender away from Lazio and the Italian more than justified the outlay on him by spending a decade at the San Siro. He won two Serie As, two Champions League titles, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup amongst various other honours during his decade-long time at the San Siro. He was considered one of the greatest defenders of his generation.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A (two) . 2004, 2011
  • Coppa Italia (one) . 2003
  • Supercoppa Italiana (two) . 2004, 2011
  • UEFA Champions League (two) . 2003, 2007
  • UEFA Super Cup (two) . 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup (one) . 2007

7. Ruud Gullit

One half of the famous Dutch trio of Gullit, Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, Gullit was a supremely talented footballer and a character on the pitch. AC Milan paid a world-record fee to sign him from PSV Eindhoven in 1987.

In his first season at the club, AC Milan won Serie A for the first time in nine years under Arrigo Sacchi. He went on to win multiple Scudettos and the European Cup and was one of the architects of AC Milan’s success under Sacchi and in the early years of Fabio Capello.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A. 1988, 1992, 1993
  • Supercoppa Italiana. 1988, 1992, 1994
  • European Cup. 1989, 1990
  • UEFA Super Cup. 1989, 1990
  • Intercontinental Cup. 1989, 1990

6. Andriy Shevchenko

Shevchenko is also one of the players the club splashed out a world record fee in 1999 to snare him away from Dynamo Kyiv. He went on to become the club’s second-highest goalscorer with 172 goals and more than justified his billing at the San Siro.

He became the highest goalscorer in Serie A in his first season and won the Serie A and the Champions League amongst various other honours during his time at AC Milan.

His move to Chelsea in 2006 broke many hearts but he was not the same player in London and was past his peak. The striker gave the best years of his career to AC Milan and is considered as one of the best forwards to don the Rossoneri colours.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A. 2003–04
  • Coppa Italia. 2003
  • Supercoppa Italiana. 2004
  • UEFA Champions League. 2003
  • UEFA Super Cup. 2003

5. Marco van Basten

The Dutch hitman is heralded as one of the best forwards of his generation and by 29 he retired from the game due to persistent injury problems. In a relatively short career, he won almost everything that someone could have won.

He was the head of Milan’s attack and probably the best striker in the world during his time at the San Siro. He won in Italy, Europe and even won the European Championship with the Netherlands.

Van Basten was part of the AC Milan team as the greatest team in football history but his shortened career always leaves us with the feeling of what might have been.

AC Milan honours.

  • European Cup.1989, 1990
  • Intercontinental Cup.1989, 1990
  • European Supercup.1989, 1990
  • Serie A.1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93
  • Supercoppa Italiana.1988, 1992, 1993

4. Kaka

For a brief period of time in the early 2000s, before Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi hit their stride, Kaka was the best player in the world. A World Cup champion with Brazil already when AC Milan snapped him up from Sao Paulo in 2003 for a fee of around €8.5m.

He was already making waves in Brazilian football and was tipped as the next best thing for the Selecao. The attacking midfielder’s game to the next level and he won Serie A in his first season at AC Milan. He went on to play a starring role in AC Milan’s road to the Champions League trophy in 2007.

Kaka eventually left the club for Real Madrid in 2009 but injuries meant his best years were spent at the San Siro.

Four years later he returned to AC Milan on a free transfer and while he struggled to relive the old magic, it was nice to see him in the Rossoneri colours again for one final time.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A. 2003–04
  • Supercoppa Italiana. 2004
  • UEFA Champions League. 2006–07
  • UEFA Super Cup. 2003, 2007
  • FIFA Club World Cup. 2007
  • Trofeo Luigi Berlusconi. 2005, 2007(January), 2007(August), 2008
  • TIM Trophy. 2006, 2008

3. Gunnar Nordahl

While discussing the greatest players to grace the game, the relative unknown Swede’s name is unlikely to crop up in many discussions. However, he was absolutely a beast of a forward and is still AC Milan’s all-time top scorer.

He spent eight years at AC Milan, scoring an astonishing 210 times in 257 appearances with a ridiculous strike rate of 0.817 goals per game.

The Swede’s record looks even more brilliant when his whole career is taken into account. He netted 422 goals in 504 appearances land him at an even more unbelievable strike rate of 0.837 goals per game.

AC Milan honours.

  • Italian Serie A. 1950–1951, 1953–1954
  • Italian Cup (four)
  • Coppa Latina (two)

2. Franco Baresi

Franco Baresi is likely to remain one of the greatest mistakes Inter Milan made in judging a player. The younger sibling of then Inter assistant manager Giuseppe Baresi, Franco was cut from their academy when he was young and he successfully tried out with AC Milan.

He went on to spend two decades, made 719 appearances and became one of the greatest defenders in AC Milan’s history. For some, he was the greatest centre-back to ever play the game.

AC Milan honours.

  • UEFA Champions league. 1989, 1990, 1994.
  • Intercontinental Cup. 1989, 1990.
  • European Super Cup. 1989, 1990,1994.Italian
  • Serie A.1978–1979, 1987–1988, 1991–1992, 1992–1993, 1993–1994, 1995–1996.
  • Serie B. 1981, 1983
  • Italian Super Cup. 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994.
  • Mitropa Cup. 1982

1. Paolo Maldini

Il Capitano… as if there was a doubt about who is the greatest player in AC Milan’s history.

The Rossoneri colours run in the Maldini family with Paolo’s father Cesare also considered as an AC Milan legend. He also went on to manage the Rossoneri for a brief period as well and late saw his son become a modern great at the San Siro.

Paolo was only 16 when he made his debut for AC Milan and spent two-and-a-half decades at the club, winning possibly everything that was there to win.

His younger son, Daniel, made his debut for AC Milan last year and Paolo is now the technical director at the San Siro.

AC Milan honours.

  • Serie A. 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
  • Coppa Italia. 2002–03
  • Supercoppa Italiana.1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004
  • European Cup/Champions League. 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94, 2002–03, 2006–07
  • UEFA Super Cup. 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007
  • Intercontinental Cup.1989, 1990
  • FIFA Club World Cup. 2007

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