Famous Five: AC Milan’s Greatest Players
Paolo Maldini –The “Il Capitano”
Need to say more about this man. The towering defender holds the club record for most appearances, with 902 games with the Rossoneri, with his debut away at Udinese in 1985 is the youngest for a Milan player in Serie A.
He won a total of 26 trophies, including seven Scudetti and five European Cups, until his retirement at the age of 41 in 2009.
Paolo was the second-generation Maldini to wear Milan’s colors, after his father Cesare (also a defender) lifted trophies for Nereo Rocco’s side in the 60s. Now, the family tradition continues with his son Daniel lifting his first scudetto in 2022 after playing a minor role for Stefano Pioli at the midfield.
Franco Baresi “The Piscinin”
Before Maldini, his defensive partner is synonymous with loyalty, having spent his entire career with Milan from 1977 to 1997, the last fifteen of which came as the club captain even at their short stint in Serie B.
Baresi holds the record with honors won as the Rossoneri skipper, lifting 16 trophies including three European Cups and five Scudetti.
The man in the middle of the fabled Gre-No-Li trio, the Swedish centre-forward supplied the Rossoneri with needed strikes to bring an end to their lean years, as he won two Scudetti on his seven-season tenure.
Nordahl had a club-record 221 goals in 268 matches, and he was ranked third in all-time Serie A scoring behind Silvio Piola and Francesco Totti.
Gianni Rivera “The Golden Boy”
A workhorse from the midfield, Rivera was the creative and attacking leader from the defensive-minded teams of Nereo Rocco in the 60s and 70s, as he won a dozen trophies in his 20 seasons at the San Siro. That trophy cabinet included three Scudetti, five Coppa Italia and two European Cups.
Rivera was known to be a cup specialist as he was the club leader in goals scored in Coppa Italia with 28. Moreso, he was the first Italian-born player to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1969 on the back of his stellar European Cup final performance against Ajax.
Marco van Basten “The Swan of Utrecht”
He might not have the longevity and career high numbers to back it up, but the Dutchman was one of the most influential footballers to play for the red-and-black.
Acquired from Ajax in the late 80s during the early ownership of Silvio Berlusconi, van Basten raked in the goals and honors as Milan returned to glory, with him they won three Scudetti and a trio of European Cups. With that, he was the lone multiple winners of the Ballon d’Or while at the San Siro, doing so in 1988-89 and 1992.
Injuries hampered his career, and he retired in 1995 at just 30, with his last game played 2 years ago. But van Basten still ranked seventh in the club’s scoring charts.