Ranking the 10 Best AC Milan Players of all time

AC Milan has given football some of the greatest teams of all time, and here, we learn more about the top 10 best AC Milan players of all time.  

Founded in 1899, AC Milan has spent its entire history in the Italian top-flight except for two seasons. The Rossoneri has been the home to many great players in different decades. Once a threatening force in European and FIFA competitions, few clubs have the same accolades as AC Milan.

Even though the club has taken a backseat due to financial difficulty and structural problems in recent years, they are rapidly improving its position. So, let’s find out the top 10 players.                  

10. Filippo Inzaghi (2001–2012)

Filippo Inzaghi was a prolific goalscorer. (Credit: UEFA)
Filippo Inzaghi was a prolific goalscorer. (Credit: UEFA)

Nicknamed “Superpippo” or “Alta tensione” by fans, Filippo Inzaghi played as a striker for AC Milan from 2001 to 2012. Even though he didn’t have many skills in his pocket, he was an intelligent forward who knew how to take advantage of an opponent’s mistake. With incredible positional sense, fast reaction, and great shooting techniques, he was able to secure goals in crucial matches.

Bagging 126 goals and 34 assists in 300 games, he helped AC Milan secure 2 Champions Leagues, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 3 Italian championships, 1 Italian Cup, 2 Uefa Super Cups and 1 Italian Super Cup.

9. Kaka (2003–2009, 2013–2014)

Kaka of AC Milan celebrates scoring the third goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AC Chievo Verona.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Kaka of AC Milan celebrates scoring the third goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AC Chievo Verona. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Even though Brazilian legend Kaka spent two spells at SC Milan, his first one was more effective and memorable. Primarily operating as an attacking midfielder, Kaka had a fantastic mixture of skills, passing and shooting techniques.

He was capable of taking on opponents in 1v1 situations, and most often, he used to glide past them quickly. Playing 307 matches, Kaka bagged 104 goals and 85 assists. The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner lifted 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Champions League, 1 Italian championship, 1 Italian Super Cup and 1 Uefa Supercup. Kaka is 9th in the top 10 best AC Milan players of all time.       

8. Ruud Gullit (1987–1994)

Ruud Gullit was a versatile player. (Credit: AC Milan)
Ruud Gullit was a versatile player. (Credit: AC Milan)

Nicknamed “the black Tulip”, Ruud Gullit was part of a lethal AC Milan trio that included Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. Under revolutionary manager Arrigo Sacchi, Gullit became one of the most crucial flag bearers of total football. His abilities to win balls, perform successful tackles, and exceptional passing and shooting abilities allowed him to play many roles in his career.

He played in all three areas: forward, midfield and defence whenever required and gave sensational performances. Scoring 56 goals and 40 assists, the 1987 Ballon d’Or winner lifted 2 European Champion Clubs’ Cups, 3 Italian championships, 2 Italian Super Cups, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 2 Uefa Supercup.   

7. Alessandro Costacurta (1986–2007)

Alessandro Costacurta (C) salutes his supporters as he leaves the field at the and of his last match. (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Alessandro Costacurta (C) salutes his supporters as he leaves the field at the end of his last match. (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Alessandro Costacurta has been a one-club man except for one loan spell to Monza. The centre-back was known for his exceptional effort. He was a technically skilful player as well as physically strong. He played mainly as a man-marking centre-back but operated as a full-back, sweeper and even a midfielder whenever required.

Costacurta played 663 matches in the Rossoneri jersey lifting 5 European Cups, 7 Italian champions, 1 Italian cup, 5 Italian Super Cup, 1 Coppa Italia Primavera, 2 Intercontinental Cup and 3 Uefa Supercups. Alessandro Costacurta is 7th in the top 10 best AC Milan players of all time.            

6. Andriy Shevchenko (1999–2006, 2008–2009)

Andriy Shevchenko celebrating his goal. (Credit: Transfermarket)
Andriy Shevchenko celebrating his goal. (Credit: Transfermarket)

Ukrainian legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko was one of the top players in his position during his peak years at AC Milan. He was known for his exceptional composure in front of goal, accurate shooting from both legs, acceleration and decent heading power.

Scoring 175 goals and assisting 45 more in 322 matches, he helped his team win the 1 Champions League, 1 Italian championship, 1 Italian Cup, 1 Italian Super Cup and 1 Uefa Supercup.

5. Gunnar Nordahl (1949–1956)

Gunnar Nordahl shaking hands of the referee. (Credit: Transfermarket)
Gunnar Nordahl shaking hands of the referee. (Credit: Transfermarket)

A sensational striker with exceptional shooting abilities, physical strength and powerful skills, Gunnar Nordahl dominated world football with AC Milan. Scoring 210 goals in 257, he claimed the top scorer of the league award five times during his spell with the Italian club. He helped them win 2 Italian top tier league titles and two Latin Cups. Gunnar Nordahl is 5th in the top 10 best AC Milan players of all time.  

4. Marco Van Basten (1987–1995)   

1994, Italy, Marco van Basten scores for AC Milan. (photo Michael Kooren)

Considered one of the greatest strikers in the sport’s history, Marco Van Basten spent eight glorious years at AC Milan. Coached by the great Arrigo Sacchi, Van Baster was known for his ball control, top-notch heading, and striking abilities.

Scoring 125 goals and providing 49 assists, Van Basten helped AC Milan win 2 European Champion Clubs’ Cups, 3 Italian championships, 2 Italian Super Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups and 2 Uefa Super Cups. Marco Van Basten is 4th in the top 10 best AC Milan players of all time.  

3. Gianni Rivera (1960–1979)

Gianni Rivera was known  as Italy's 'Golden boy'. (Credit: sempremilan.com)
Gianni Rivera was known as Italy’s ‘Golden boy’. (Credit: sempremilan.com)

Known to be a prolific attacking midfielder in his time, Gianni Rivera scored 122 goals in 527 matches. Apart from exceptional ball controlling, passing and positional skills, Rivera had incredible shooting power.

Nicknamed Italy’s “Golden Boy”, Gianni Rivera helped AC Milan secure 2 European Champion Clubs’ Cups, 3x Italian championships, 4 Italian Cups, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 2 Europapokal der Pokalsieger Sieger.

2. Franco Baresi (1977–1997)

Franco Baresi in action for AC Milan. (Credit: goodfon.com)
Franco Baresi in action for AC Milan. (Credit: goodfon.com)

Known to be one of the greatest defenders of all time, Franco Baresi spent all of his career in AC Milan. Franco Baresi was known for his intelligence, technique, sweeping and positional skills. A master in defending, Baresi was nicknamed “Kaiser Franz”, which is a reference to Germany’s legendary sweeper defender Franz Beckenbauer.

Baresi played 532 matches in the Milan shirt helping the team win 3 European Cups (Equivalent to Champions League), 6 Italian championships, 4 Italian Super Cups, 2 Italienischer Zweitligameister, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 1 Mitropa Cup and 3 Uefa Supercups.

1. Paolo Maldini (1998–2015)

Paolo Maldini is consider as one of the greatest players of all time. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Paolo Maldini is considered as one of the greatest players of all time. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

When Milan’s local player Paolo Maldini joined the AC Milan team, many thought he was being favoured because of his father, Cesare Maldini’s legacy. Little did they know that this boy would become one of the greatest defenders of all time, if not the greatest one.

Maldini was known for his athleticism, physicality, aggressive forward runs, dribbling skills and sliding tackles. By making a record 647 appearances for AC Milan, Maldini secured 5 European titles, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 7 Italian championships, 1 Italian Cup, 5 Italian Super Cups, 1 Coppa Italia Primavera, 2 Intercontinental Cup, and 4 Uefa Supercups.

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Written by Surajit Das

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