My Team & I: AC Milan

By Michelangelo Gamberini

Twitter: @mkidj


To answer this question, I would have to tell you about my family and my childhood. My mother’s sister lives in Varese, a town not far from Milan. Her son and my older cousin was to blame for making me a Milanista – according to my uncle who is an Interista. My father was not a dedicated fan and he left it up to me to choose.

Interestingly, in the last 80s and in the 90s, information on soccer was not so readily available and I never saw newspapers around because my father wasn’t really a sports fanatic. I much preferred playing football with my friends in the clay pitches behind the church than reading sports news or following my particular team. I just collected stickers of Milan players that my friends had given to me. However, I remember smiling as others congratulated me on Sacchi’s and Capello’s wins and that’s when I knew I had made the right choice.

Years passed and as I grew up, tactical discussions grew to be more and more interesting. All teenagers had a copy of “La Rosa” in hand and I too found it to be rather interesting. As one would expect, I began to love Milan a little bit more each year until I was a firm Rossonero in 1998/1999. Zaccheroni won me over.

I know some consider it appalling that I wasn’t a fan from early on but that’s my story. My biggest regret is that I wasn’t paying attention when Weah won the Ballon d’or or when he scored that unbelievable “box to box” goal in the San Siro against Hellas Verona during the 1996/1997 season. But I’ve done my homework, I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning about the most successful club.


In my opinion it’s easy to say “My favorite player is Weah or Rivera”. It’s a good answer to the question “Who?”. If you ask “Why?” I can reply: Weah was strong, an all round athlete, Ballon d’or winner and so on. Rivera was a true captain and a gentlemen.

However, nothing matches up to the sensation I felt when Schevchenko was fighting Batistuta for the Serie A Top Scorer trophy until the final match day. Each matchday, I bit all my nails off! At Old Trafford when he put down the ball in the box and shifted his gaze a couple of times from Buffon to the referee, I was shaking. I screamed and jumped every time he scored in a match. When our great number 7 signed for the Blues, I was sad for some time.

Shevchenko was probably the first player who allowed me to dream. When he arrived, he was this shy stranger but he made history with my team.


April, 23 2003. In my parents’ bedroom. I’m focusing on the time – 89:50. Other numers and letters, 89:59 ACM 2 AJA 2 ET 3’.

I was thinking…it looks like another knockout round in CL.

I picked up the remote control and glanced quickly at the pitch… 90:00 Zlatan lost the ball. Brocchi to Nesta to Costacurta and then Maldini crosses into the box. Ambrosini heads the ball to Inzaghi and then comes the lob and he’s screaming. I am left speechless. My eyes flooded with tears and I could hear my mum in the distance telling me to stop screaming.

Can you just imagine all that I was feeling? I still tremble when I think back to that moment.


I’m addicted to merchandise and I own a lot of AC Milan kits. My favorite one is definitely the AC Milan Centenario jersey – the unlucky thin striped shirt. It was made to look like, and was in fact made in honour of the first kit worn by the club in 1899. I just thought it to be unlucky because, if I remember accurately, Milan lost the highest number of matches whilst donning those shirts.

By the way, can you imagine the stunned faces of those grandchildren when their granfathers showed them the original jersey?

Grandpa: “I shared those moments!”

Grandsons: “oooh”.

Another shirt I like to remember is the 2000-2001 one. The first jersey that had the Champions League Trophy patch – the blue badge, on the left arm. This patch is reserved for teams who won three Champions League trophies in a row or at least five of the ‘big eared’ cups.


I have decided to focus entirely on actual soccer matches because a fan feels his strongest emotions during matches. Player transfers or club troubles may also be sad but rational behaviour disappeares entirely during an actual football match and a real fan experiences all the emotions on his own. It is also worth noting that during my 10 years as a Milan fan, I haven’t experienced anything negative off the pitch.

I do remember a few disappointing Champions League moments. The first one is Milan against Deportivo La Coruña. After a 4-1 win in San Siro, AC Milan had to go to Riazor Stadium in La Coruña for what had now seemed like a mere formality. But Deportivo put on a tremedous show finishing the match 4-0 to make it 5-4 on aggregate. Milan were knocked out.

That the infamous night in Istanbul at Ataturk Olympic Stadium was perhaps an even worse memory. A match already won by a 3-0 score line was completely given away to Liverpool. As we all know, they drew level to make it 3-3 before then winning 6-5 on penalties. Essentially the Rossoneri had awarded Liverpool their 5th Champions League trophy which meant a Champions League trophy patch.


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