CM: Pioli names UCL group stage squad – why Caldara has been picked

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has formally submitted his 23-man squad for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

As reports, there is a surprise inclusion: Mattia Caldara. Despite the obvious attempts to offload him and the fact he has been entirely out of the preseason preparations, he is part of the European squad list.

Caldara returned to Milan after loan spells with Venezia and Spezia over the last couple of seasons, both of whom were relegated while he was there, and he was not expected to stay beyond the summer.

The 29-year-old’s contract expires in June and he is the sixth centre-back in the pecking order, but he is fundamental for the European squad list because he came through an academy in Italy. Why is that important? You can read about the regulations here.

Therefore, he joins Alessandro Florenzi, Marco Sportiello and Antonio Mirante as the four players who came through academies within the country of the club they currently play for.

There are three exclusions of note: Ismael Bennacer who is injured, plus the two summer signings Marco Pellegrino and Luka Romero. Yacine Adli will be there instead, having been left out last year.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Just checking but the rules are confusing. Isn’t Luka eligible anyway having been in an Italian youth team since he was 16 and being under 21?

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