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How Milan are finally competing for the first Scudetto since 2011

Thu 18 November 2021 | 7:57

It’s been more than a decade since AC Milan were last dining at the top table of Italian football. If fans of the Rossoneri had known their 2010/11 Serie A Scudetto was to be their last for at least 11 years, they would surely have celebrated it harder than ever.

The reality is that few could have predicted their sharp decline.

The 2010s have been in stark contrast to the previous decade, when

AC Milan

twice became European champions in 2003 and 2007 respectively. In 2014/15, the Rossoneri even struggled to clinch a top-half finish, with a tenth-placed season cementing Milan’s fall from grace. In the three seasons after, they were nowhere near qualification for the Champions League spots. 2018-19 saw them push their city rivals close, although they were ineligible to play in Europe due to financial fair play violations.

The irony is that Milan were the fifth biggest spenders in all of Europe throughout the last decade. The likes of Lucas Paqueta and Andre Silva arrived at the San Siro to tremendous fanfare, but were never able to live up to the standards set by former stars like Rui Costa and Kaka. The big spending did not necessarily come with a blueprint for success either, with successive owners attempting to spend the club’s way out of its slump.

The desperate boardroom issues that have acted like a millstone around the Rossoneri’s neck

In the last seven years, the club has had three separate owners, which has contributed to the uncertainty on and off the pitch. Long-time owner, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, relinquished control with Chinese consortium Sino-Europe Sports assuming the helm in August 2016. The issue with the takeover? Some €303m of the €520m needed to complete the acquisition was funded by a loan from US-based hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation. The consortium, led by Li Yonghong, was unable to service its repayments to Elliott Management Corporation. In the summer of 2018, Elliott Management Corporation took the decision to remove Yonghong’s overseas investment vehicle Rossoneri Champion Inv. Lux. as a shareholder. The result is that Elliott Management is now the primary shareholder of the Rossoneri as

covered by Business Wire

at the time.

Eyebrows were raised when former

Inter Milan

boss Stefano Pioli was appointed as manager in 2019 as reported by the

official Milan site

, but under the 56-year-old the Rossoneri have embarked on something of a regeneration. The return of enigmatic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been one of the biggest turning points for the Rossoneri. The veteran continues to shine at Serie A level, having scored over 20 league goals since his signing in 2020. Savvy signings such as Ismael Bennacer, Franck Kessie and Alessio Romagnoli have helped the team gradually build a solid foundation that allows top attacking talent such as Ibrahimovic and fellow front man Ante Rebic to thrive.

Going into the November international break, Milan were joint top with

Napoli

, seven points clear of third-placed bitter rivals Inter. Although Napoli are the bookmakers’ favourites in the Serie A outright betting, the Rossoneri are 5/2 second favourites with Unibet to create a new chapter in the club’s 122-year history. They are also leading the market at 11/10 to finish the Serie A season as the highest ranked team in Lombardy. According to this

Unibet Australia review

, football is one of several leading sports to be live streamed on its website. This includes Serie A, which has become a useful medium for overseas fans of the Rossoneri to keep tabs on their recent resurgence.

Whatever the outcome of the 2021/22 Serie A season, one thing is for sure, AC Milan are back where they belong, competing for domestic honours once again. Champions League qualification for 2022/23 looks highly likely, which will be music to the ears of football traditionalists.


source: SportMob

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