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Ultimate AC Milan dream team - From Baresi & Maldini to the Dutch trio

3:00 AM EDT 9/12/22
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There have been some absolute legends representing the Rossoneri, but which ones make it into the ultimate Milan XI?

Picking the ultimate AC Milan dream team is not an easy undertaking.

Milan are not just one of the most successful clubs in the world when it comes to silverware, but they have also seen some of the greatest players of all time wear the famous red and black jersey throughout their illustrious history.

In fact, of all the players who wore the Rossoneri shirt, six were awarded the Ballon d'Or, while three were awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year gong.

It's thus almost inevitable that some legends will be left out of this XI as there's simply not enough room to accommodate all these superstars.

But let's take a look at the players who do make the Milan dream team!

  • Sebastiano Rossi Milan

    Sebastiano Rossi | Goalkeeper

    Rossi arrived at Milan in the summer of 1990 at the age of 26 and was initially brought in as Andrea Pazzagli's back-up, but with time, he managed to carve out a space for himself in the first XI.

    Having eventually become a starter in his second season, Rossi became one of the pillars of what was arguably one of the strongest teams in the world at the time.

    Playing behind an iconic defence made up of Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, he was among the strongest Italian goalkeepers of his generation.

    Equipped with a great physique and technical ability, Rossi was an integral part of the Rossoneri's defensive system.

    In twelve years with Milan, he won five Scudetti, three Italian Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, two European Super Cups and one Champions League.

  • Cafù Milan

    Cafù | Right-back

    Marcos Evangelista de Moraes, or more simply Cafu, is one of the best right-backs in the history of the game.

    He arrived at Milan at the age of 33 and for this reason was greeted with skepticism by the Rossoneri fans.

    However, this did not prevent him from immediately establishing himself as an immovable force in the Milan defence.

    Gifted with tremendous speed and stamina, he was one of the most dominant right-backs of his generation, as well as one of Milan's integral players for five seasons.

    He ended his career as a Rossoneri player in 2008 after winning a Scudetto, an Italian Super Cup, two European Super Cups, a Champions League and a Club World Cup.

    These trophies he won with Milan, combined with the other triumphs in a long career, make him one of the most successful players ever.

  • Alessandro Nesta Milan

    Alessandro Nesta | Centre-back

    On August 12, 2002, Silvio Berlusconi categorically ruled out Alessandro Nesta's possible arrival at Milan with these words.

    "Nesta costs too much, it is not compatible with our budget," he stressed.

    Lazio were expecting €45 million for their captain, a figure that they felt was justified for arguably the best central defender in the world.

    When everyone thought that the deal was dead, "secret" negotiations started and a few weeks later, Nesta was a Milan player.

    Fast, relentless, good anticipation, very strong in the air, elegant and capable of starting attacks, Nesta was an extraordinary defender.

    He remained at Milan for 10 years, during which time he won two Scudetti, two Italian Super Cups, one Italian Cup, two European Super Cups, two Champions League and a Club World Cup.

  • Franco Baresi

    Franco Baresi | Centre-back

    Franco Baresi is simply one of the greatest legends in the history of Milan.

    A one-club man, he represented the Rossoneri with distinction during his 20 seasons as a professional, and 15 of them with the captain's band on his arm.

    An absolute leader on and off the pitch, he had immaculate positional sense that allowed him to command his defence like few others have in history.

    Fast, technical, relentless with his interventions and gifted with an excellent vision of the game, he was one of the greatest defenders of all time.

    In fact, he was second in the Ballon d'Or rankings in 1989 (the winner was Marco Van Basten) and is still considered amongst the strongest players to have failed to win what is the most coveted individual recognition in football.

    However, he did win everything with Milan: six Scudetti, four Italian Super Cups, one Mitropa Cup, three Champions League, three European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

    A Milan legend through and through.

  • Paolo Maldini Milan

    Paolo Maldini | Left-back

    Legends don't come much bigger than Paolo Maldini. In fact, Maldini, according to many, was the greatest defender of all time.

    Ambidextrous (he was actually a natural right-footer who learned to play with his left), he was a phenomenal left-back, but in the last phase of his career, he was a world class centre-back as well.

    Son of Cesare Maldini, another Milan legend, he came up through the Rossoneri youth teams and stayed with Milan till the end of his incredible career.

    Relentless and unbeatable in aerial play, he was a player who combined enormous charisma with technical qualities, speed, power and a sense of anticipation.

    With Tassotti, Costacurta and Baresi he formed one of the strongest defensive lines in the world.

    Maldini made 902 appearances for the club and won seven Scudetti, five Italian Super Cups, one Italian Cup, five Champions League, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and a Club World Cup.

  • Frank Rijkaard

    Frank Rijkaard | Defensive midfielder

    Rijkaard formed, along with Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, the legendary 'Dutch Trio' who were also called the 'Three Musketeers'.

    Compared to his two compatriots, Rijkaard was certainly less showy or glamorous, but his skill and tactical intelligence was unrivalled and he was one of the pillars of the best Milan of all time.

    He arrived in Milan in the summer of 1988 and was initially a central defender, but it was as a midfielder that he established his legacy.

    He knew how to command his team, distribute the ball, interrupt opposition moves and restart attacks.

    With Milan, Rijkaard won two Scudetti, two Italian Super Cups, two European Cups, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

  • Gianni Rivera Milan

    Gianni Rivera | Central midfielder

    Together with Baresi and Maldini, Gianni Rivera is right up there in the list of undisputed Milan legends.

    Considered one of the greatest midfielders of his time, he wore the Rossoneri shirt from 1960 to 1979, for a total of 658 appearances in which he scored 164 goals.

    Equipped with terrific technical qualities, extraordinary tactical intelligence and dribbling skills, Rivera was a visionary midfielder who served his teammates with unerring passes and assists.

    He won the Ballon d'Or in 1969 and despite not being a forward, he was the Serie A top scorer in the 1972-73 season with 17 goals, tied with Paolo Pulici and Giuseppe Savoldi.

    He also captained Milan for twelve years and won three Scudetti, four Italian Cups, two European Cups, two Cup Winners' Cups and an Intercontinental Cup with the club.

  • Kaka Milan

    Kakà | Attacking midfielder

    When Carlo Ancelotti saw Kaka for the first time in Milan, he was not impressed.

    However, it only took him a few training sessions to understand that his first impression was wrong.

    "He was monstrous, I immediately told the club that they had taken a champion," Ancelotti commented later.

    Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, or simply Kaka, was a feast for the eyes. With a lethal first touch and smooth dribbling skills, there was an elegance to him that made his style of play practically unique.

    Strong with both feet, he was at his best as an attacking midfielder for Milan. Confident and relentless, watching Kaka play was magical.

    Between 2003 and 2009, he established himself as one of the greatest players on the planet. So much so that in 2007, he won the Ballon d'Or.

    Real Madrid snapped him up in 2009 but he could not replicate his Milan form there and he eventually returned in 2013.

    He was not quite the devastating player of the past, but nevertheless goes down as a Milan great.

    He won a Scudetto, an Italian Super Cup, two European Super Cups, a Champions League and a Club World Cup with Milan.

  • Ruud Gullit Milan

    Ruud Gullit | Attacking midfielder

    A footballing icon of the 1980s and 90s, Gullit was blessed with extraordinary power and skill and was arguably one of the best footballers to ever wear the Milan shirt.

    Gullit's runs with the ball were legendary, with his iconic braids in the wind and so was his ability to perform in big matches and moments.

    He began his career in Netherlands as a versatile player who could play many positions, but then he established himself as an attacking midfielder or support striker.

    Gullit lifted the Ballon d'Or in 1987 and won three Scudetti, three Italian Super Cups, two European Cups, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups with Milan.

  • Andriy Shevchenko Milan

    Andriy Shevchenko | Striker

    After arriving at Milan in the summer of 1999 following an impressive stint at Dinamo Kyiv, Andriy Shevchenko turned into one most complete strikers of his generation.

    Powerful, fast, and blessed with the ability to score long-rangers, he was the kind of player every coach wants to have in their attack.

    Shevchenko was dynamic and a hard worker who ran a lot for his team, all this combined with an excellent nose for goal. In fact, he scored 175 goals in 322 games for the Rossoneri.

    He did extraordinary things with Milan from 1999 to 2006, although his second Milan adventure, attempted after two disappointing years at Chelsea, did not quite workout.

    He won the Ballon d'Or in 2004 and with the club, he won an Italian Cup, a Scudetto, an Italian Super Cup, a European Super Cup and above all a Champions League.

    His decisive penalty in the 2003 Champions League final against Juventus in Manchester still lives on in the minds of the fans.

  • Marco Van Basten Milan

    Marco Van Basten | Striker

    Marco van Basten is universally considered one of the greatest striker of all time. His extraordinary technical qualities, combined with incredible elegance, earned him the nickname the 'Swan of Utrecht'.

    The Dutch forward possessed all the skills a great attacker must have: he was strong on both feet, lethal aerially, acrobatic, a clinical finisher, powerful and had excellent ball control.

    It is no coincidence that, during his time at Milan, he won the Ballon d'Or three times (1988, 1989 and 1992).

    Van Basten was a force of nature and only bad luck curtailed his career and legacy as an injury forced him to retire when he was only 30.

    His scored 125 goals in 201 games for the Rossoneri and won four Scudetti, four Italian Super Cups, three Champions League, three European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

    In 1999, during Milan's centenary celebrations, Van Basten was elected as the Rossoneri's best striker of the century.