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  • AC MILAN

    Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly referred to as AC Milan and as simply Milan in Italy, is an Italian professional football club based in Milan, Lombardy. The club was founded in 1899 and has since spent most of its history in the top flight of Italian football.

    Milan has won 18 officially recognized international titles, tied with Boca Juniors as having the most in the world. The club have won what is today known as the UEFA Champions League on seven occasions; only Real Madrid have won it more times (9). As far as Italian competitions are concerned, Milan is the second most successful club with 17 league titles; only Juventus have won more (27). AC Milan have won four world titles, more than any other club in the world. They have won 3 times the Intercontinental Cup, and 1 time the FIFA Club World Cup.

    Other important titles which Milan have won includes the European Super Cup five times, and the Cup Winners' Cup twice; however, they have never reached the UEFA Cup final (only two semi-finals). In Italy, they have won the Coppa Italia five times, as well as five Italian Super Cups. AC Milan is also one of the G-14ís founding members, a group that represented eighteen of the largest and most prestigious European football clubs before its disbandment.

    Their home games are played at San Siro, also known as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The ground, which is shared with rivals Internazionale, is the largest in Italian football, with total capacity of 80,018.

    Milan defend a corner The club was founded as a cricket club in 1899 by British expatriates Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin, who came from the British city of Nottingham. In honor of its origins, the club has retained the English spelling of its city's name, instead of changing it to the Italian Milano (though it was forced to do it during the fascist regime, like Genoa and Inter); it should be noted that the Italian pronunciation is actually MEE-lan, coming from the local dialect. AC Milan won their first Italian championship title in 1901, and then again in 1906 and 1907.

    In 1908 the club experienced a split caused by internal disagreements over the signing of foreign players, which led to the forming of another Milan-based team, F.C. Internazionale Milano. Following these events, AC Milan did not manage to win a single domestic title until 1950-51. In 1963 they ensured their first continental title, winning European Cup beating S.L. Benfica in the final. This success was repeated in 1969, and followed by an Intercontinental Cup title the same year. Following retirement of Gianni Rivera, Milan started a declining period, during which they were involved in the 1980 Totonero scandal and were relegated to Serie B as punishment, for their first time in history. The scandal was centred on a betting syndicate paying players and officials to fix the outcome of matches. AC Milan quickly returned back to Serie A, but returned to Serie B only one year later as they ended in the relegation zone their 1981-82 Serie A campaign.

    In 1986, entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi acquired the club, and immediately invested a lot of money in the team, appointing rising coach Arrigo Sacchi at the helm of the rossoneri and signing a Dutch trio of Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. This was the beginning of the most successful time in the club's history, as AC Milan won seven domestic titles, five UEFA Champions League trophies, and three Intercontinental Cups.

    More recently, Milan were involved in the 2006 Serie A scandal where five teams were accused of fixing matches by selecting favourable referees. Milan were initially punished with a 15 point deduction and consequently did not qualify for the Champions League. An appeal saw their penalty reduced to 8 points and allowed to retain their 2006-07 Champions League participation, where they won the competition.

     Paolo Maldini presently holds both records for number of total and Serie A appearances for Milan with a total of 1000 games played in total, and 600 in the Serie A (as of May 14, 2007, not including playoff matches), the latter being also an all-time Serie A record. [13]

    Milan's all time top goalscorer is a Swede, Gunnar Nordahl who, in 268 games, managed to score 221 goals.[14] Andriy Shevchenko is in second place with 173 goals in 298 games for the club, and is the highest scoring present squad member, followed by Filippo Inzaghi, who has scored 101 goals in 220 games.

    The club hold the unique record of having gone a whole season without losing a game during the 1991-92 season. In total, that unbeaten streak lasted 58 games, starting with a 0-0 draw with Parma on May 26, 1991 and ironically ending with a 1-0 loss at home to Parma on March 21, 1993. This unbeaten streak is a Serie A record and is the 3rd longest unbeaten run in top flight European football. It comes in behind Steaua Bucharest's record of 104 unbeaten games and Glasgow Celtic who went 68 games unbeaten.

    Currently, AC Milan along with Boca Juniors of Argentina have the most FIFA recognised international club titles in the world. Milan is also the number two team in Europe in line with UEFA Co-Efficient ranking system. This allows Milan to be in the number one spot for all European draws, which allows Milan to avoid other highly rated European teams in UEFA competitions.

    Colours and badge

    Milan's third kit during the 07-08 Season
    Throughout the entire history of the club, they have been represented by the colours red and black. The colours were chosen to represent the players' fiery ardour (red) and the opponents' fear to challenge the team (black). Due to Milan's striped red and black shirts, they have gained the nickname rossoneri. White shorts and black socks are worn as part of the home kit.
    Milan's away strip has always been completely white. The latter is considered by both the fans and the club as their "lucky" strip in Champions League finals, due to the fact that Milan won six finals out of eight in an all white strip (losing only to Ajax in 1995 and Liverpool in 2005), while they only won one out of three in their home strip. The third kit changes yearly and is black with red trim for the current season, but it is rarely used.
    For many years, Milan's badge was just that of the flag of Milan; which was originally the flag of Saint Ambrose. Another nickname derived from the club's colours is "the Devil". An image of a red devil was used as AC Milan's logo at one point with a Golden Star for Sport Excellence located next to it; the star was awarded to the club when they won 10 league titles. Currently, the badge represents the club colours and the flag of the Comune di Milano, with the acronym ACM at the top and the foundation year (1899) at the bottom
     

    Stadium

    Curva Sud of the San Siro prior to matchFor more details on this topic, see San Siro.
    The team's current stadium is the 80,018 seat San Siro, officially known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza after the former player who represented both Milan and Internazionale. The name San Siro is taken from the district where it's located. The stadium is shared with Inter, the other major football club in Milan. The stadium is well known for its fantastic atmosphere due to the closeness of the stands to the pitch. There is the frequent use of flares by the fans w2hich often cause trouble.

    On December 19, 2005, AC Milan vice-president and executive director Adriano Galliani announced that the team is seriously working to move out from San Siro. He said that Milan's new stadium will be largely based on the Veltins-Arena and following the standards of football stadiums in the United States, Germany and Spain. It will likely be a stadium for football purposes only (with no athletics track). The new stadium is supposed to be named after a sponsor. It remains to see if this plan will proceed or if this is just a ploy to force the owners (Comune di Milano) to sell the stadium to Milan for a nominal fee so as to proceed with extensive renovations. Rumours have also surfaced of Inter's intention to also build a new stadium which may also affect this decision.

    Supporters and rivalries
    Milan is one of the most supported football clubs in Italy, according to an August 2007 research by Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Historically, Milan was supported by the city's working-class and trade unionists, a section of whom were migrants from Southern Italy. On the other hand, crosstown rivals Internazionale were mainly supported by the more prosperous and typically Milanese middle-class.

    Milan banner saying "Inter, the true comedy since 1908," with a caricature of DanteOne of the oldest ultras groups in all of Italian football, Fossa dei Leoni, originated in Milan. Currently the main ultras group is Brigate Rossonere and has been since the mid-1970s. Politically, Milan ultras have never had any particular preference, but the media have traditionally associated them with the left-wing, until recent times under Berlusconi's presidency where they are considered somewhat right-wing

    Genoa fans consider Milan a hated rival after Genoa fan Vincenzo Spagnolo was tragically stabbed to death by a Milan supporter in January 1995. Milan's main rivalry, though, is with intracity neighbor Inter; both clubs meet in the widely-anticipated Derby della Madonnina twice every Serie A season. The name of the derby refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose statue atop the Milan Cathedral is one of the city's main attractions. The match usually creates a lively atmosphere, with numerous (often humorous or offensive) banners unfolded before the match. Flares are commonly present, but they also led to the abandonment of the second leg of the 2004-05 Champions League quarterfinal matchup between Milan and Inter on April 12, 2005, after a flare thrown from the crowd by an Inter supporter struck Milan keeper Dida on the shoulder

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