AC Milan have surprised all critics this season (and, let’s face it, most Rossoneri fans). They’re currently sitting top of Serie A with rivals Internazionale just behind.
And now the team is getting some ‘official’ recognition, with football analysts Gracenote declaring Milan as the ‘most improved team in Europe’ in their recently published Euro Club Index.
The Rossoneri have catapulted to the top of Italian football in mesmerising fashion, rising from 47th in the index rankings back in January 2020 to their current position of 20th. The team beat out Serie A counterparts like AS Roma and Napoli while edging some of the cash-rich clubs in England, including Everton and 2016 champs Leicester City.
AC Milan have improved more than any other team in Europe over the last 12 months.
Milan have improved their Euro Club Index by 531 points from 2732 to 3263.
— Euro Club Index (@EuroClubIndex) January 5, 2021
Revived interest in the Rossoneri
The hardcore support of AC Milan never left the club. And it’s been a painful few years, that’s for sure. Since the club last won the title in 2010-11 (led by none other than Zlatan himself, a sign of things to come?), Milan fans have had to endure league rival Juventus walking away with the league nine times in a row.
And the Rossoneri? An absolute low point came in the 2014-15 season, with a 10th place finish as a result of a dire campaign. While players like Nigel de Jong and Riccardo Montolivo were certainly decent, Pirlo and Gullit they are not.
But things are finally looking up. Before their recent loss to Juventus, AC Milan was the only team in Europe’s top-flight yet to lose a match. The last-minute win over Inzaghi’s Lazio was particularly impressive.
Football fans everywhere are noticing that AC Milan are on the brink of bringing back the glory years. Their popularity is reaching fever pitch, and with advertising companies trying to get a piece of Zlatan whenever they can, the club even launched a dedicated channel on Twitch while the television subscriptions are on the upswing.
The rise of the legendary European football clubs such AC Milan is making European football leagues reach even niche markets in the Middle East and Asia, with ArabianBetting reporting a spectacular rise in European football match betting. As a result, websites now tend to cover everything from English Premier League, La Liga, to Serie A, and more even to their geographically removed audiences.
Conclusion: AC Milan are back.
Catalyst = The return of Zlatan
When Zlatan Ibrahimović announced his return to AC Milan at 38 years old, the haters had a field day. Common hater comment: “He’s too old Sure, he can still do it in the MLS, but there’s no way he’ll make it in Serie A.”
Where are the haters now? The only thing that has stopped the Lion of Milan is injury, with the star striker sidelined with a thigh strain. Before the unfortunate sidelining, Zlatan was sitting pretty at the pinnacle of the top scorers’ chart, with 10 goals. He’s still fourth on the list at the time of writing, despite playing in half the matches.
And even though the team has continued winning without him, there’s no doubt that Zlatan is the catalyst of most of the good stuff happening in Milan this season. Agent Mino Raiola, love him or hate him, is right when he says that Zlatan has resuscitated the club.
Can AC Milan win the league?
It’s the question that most AC Milan fans dare not ask: can the club finally win the league after a decade without silverware? It’s certainly possible. Juventus are not the powerhouse they once were, with Pirlo taking his first steps as a club manager this season. And Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t getting any younger.
There’s a power vacuum in Serie A this season. If there’s one year that a club other than Juve can clinch the title, it’s this year. At the moment, it looks like it’s a good old-fashioned tussle between the Milan rivals, while Roma has also had a decent start to the campaign.
AC Milan is still top by a single point. It’s all in our hands right now, so we just need to play our cards right for the rest of the season. On the flip side, the club has had their unbeaten run. Will the wheels start to get a little unsteady after the recent Juventus defeat?
Who knows. But there’s one truth that makes this discussion so rewarding: AC Milan is back in the title race. Even being in title contention, being part of the conversation, once again a force to be reckoned with, that’s as impressive as anything.
Not that we don’t want more. Zlatan, give us Serie A. And then retire a legend.