A brief history...
On 16 December 1899, Erbert Kilpin founded Milan Football and Cricket Club in the Lombardi capital. Within a few short decades, it would become one of the most prestigious clubs in the world.
As early as 1901, the fledgling outfit lifted its first Italian league title with the historic starting eleven of Hoode, Cignaghi, Torretta, Lees, Kilpin, Valerio, Dubini, Davies, Neville, Allison and Formenti.
In 1919, the club's name was shortened to 'Milan Football Club', before becoming 'Associazione Calcio Milan' (AC Milan) in 1938. Throughout these frequent reincarnations, the club's red-and-black strip remained unchanged. The choice of colours was also down to Erbert Kilpin, who explained at the time: "Let us be like the devil and instil fear in everyone."
But after a remarkable early flurry of success (three titles in seven years), the club had to endure an agonising barren spell lasting 44 years. In 1926, Milan acquired a stunning new home courtesy of the chairman at the time, Pierro Pirelli, who financed the construction of a new stadium, the San Siro, which took thirteen months to build. During the 1960s, the stadium was sold to the local council by AC Milan and renamed the Giuseppe Meazza stadium upon the death of the legendary player for their great rivals and ground-sharers Internazionale. From then on, it was referred to as the San Siro when AC Milan played there and the Giuseppe Meazza when Inter were at home.
In the 1950s, AC Milan started to make an impact on the European scene courtesy of the contributions of some exceptional foreign players. Most notable among these were the Swedish Gren-Nordahl-Liedholm trio, dubbed GRE-NO-LI by the Italian media, the Brazilian José Altafini and the Uruguayan Juan Schiaffino, tormentor of the Brazilians in the 1950 FIFA World Cup Final.
The 1960s was marked by the reign of the legendary Nereo Rocco in the dugout, and Cesare Maldini (father of Paolo), Giovanni Trapattoni, and the elegant Gianni Rivera on the field. This golden era was followed by a lengthy spell in the doldrums due to a serious betting scandal, or 'totonero'.
But since 10 February 1986, the date businessman, television magnate and future Italian president Silvio Berlusconi purchased 90% of the club's shares, AC Milan have risen from the ashes. Long before Chelsea did the same thing in England, Milan turned standard transfer market practice upside down in Italy. "I don't sell, I only buy," declared the new chairman on taking over, and within 10 years, AC Milan had won every major honour in the game. Between 1969 and 2003, the Rossoneri qualified for the Toyota Cup no less than seven times.
A seventh European Cup arrived in the summer of 2007 and it was followed in December of the same year by the club's crowning moment, when the Rossoneri became the first European side to win the FIFA Club World Cup. Their victory in the final over Boca Juniors, revenge for a defeat in TOYOTA Cup in 2003, came after the Italians had eliminated Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-final. Kaka was the team's undoubted star, yet many saw the title as the product of Carlo Ancelotti's side's remarkable experience, with captain Paolo Maldini symbolising a team whose average age was 30.7 years old.