Official: Pioli names 23-man Milan squad for Champions League group stage

By Isak Möller -

Stefano Pioli has named a 23-man squad for AC Milan’s adventure in the Champions League group stage. Notable exclusions are Yacine Adli and Aster Vranckx, while Alessandro Florenzi is in despite his injury. 

The squad was announced just a few minutes ago by Milan (via Luca Maninetti), which was expected given that the UEFA deadline is midnight. In total, 23 players have been included and six of them are locally or association-trained players.

Goalkeepers: Mike Maignan, Antonio Mirante.

Defenders: Davide Calabria, Alessandro Florenzi, Sergino Dest, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Pierre Kalulu, Matteo Gabbia, Theo Hernandez, Fode Ballo-Toure.

Midfielders: Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali, Tommaso Pobega, Rade Krunic, Charles De Ketelaere, Brahim Diaz, Alexis Saelemaekers.

Attackers: Junior Messias, Rafael Leao, Ante Rebic, Divock Origi, Olivier Giroud.

A team can name a total of 25 players for the competition, but at least eight of them must be either locally trained or association-trained (in italics above). Milan, as you can see in the list above, have six of those and thus were able to name 23 players.

The likes of Yacine Adli, Malick Thiaw and Aster Vranckx have been excluded after initially being in the running. The same can be said for Ciprian Tatarusanu, but his exclusion was more expected given that Antonio Mirante is a association-trained player.

Alessandro Florenzi has been included in spite of his injury and thus took the total up to 23, which makes sense given that he’s basically a ‘free inclusion’. It remains to be seen if he will recover before the group stage has come to an end.


Tags AC Milan Champions League Stefano Pioli


  1. What happens in the case of an injury during the group stage (God forbid) can a player then be added to take that players place?

  2. Not surprised that Adli isn’t on the list since Pioli has barely uses him against lesser competition in serie A.
    Brahim more UCL ready than Adli anyway.
    I understand Ballo Toure is the only back up left back, but Pioli does everything in his power to avoid playing him. Why did he add him to the list it’s baffling, especially when Dest can also cover left back.
    I think it’s a huge mistake leaving Aster Vranckx out, especially with Krunic injured. Krunic might miss half of the group games. And I don’t trust Pobega in serie A, let alone in UCL.
    Hopefully we can manage with this group and get thru. Maybe will get lucky and won’t have to rely on back ups much.
    Bring on Salzburg

    1. Mr. Pioli has put his faith in Pobega & Diaz , we fans are still unconvinced with the former and most have lost faith somewhat in Diaz after last season. I guess this will be a challenge to Adli, Thiaw & Vranckx to push themselves in to the coaches plans and all three have the potential to do so.

    2. @VARDAR ; U’re right why leaving Vranckx out of this weak midfield? only Benacer is guaranteed quality. i don’t even conviced with Tonali’s quality let along pobega.

  3. 9 defenders??? And a sad forward line. Krunic, Sala, Diaz , Messias , Bali toure. How can they say we want to improve when the new players gets left out. We fineshed last cause those players are the definition of garbage.

  4. Unbelievable. Even Tatarusanu should start as nr 10 before Diaz, but he gets picked before Adli.
    I would pay a month’s wage to understand what Pioli sees in him.
    I really thought I saw the last of Diaz when CDK and Adli arrived, but I guess it’s another year of suffering.

  5. How adli can improve when you not giving him much time? He is a good player. Thiaw also vranckx can make different. Why you left them when you want to improve your team in ucl? If you failed, you should get out pioli.

    1. Adli already played in 2 of 4 serie-a match. He also played almost in every pre-season match. He got more playing time than Lazetic, Florenzi, Balo Toure, or Gabbia.

  6. Diaz shouldn’t be in that squad. Vranckx or Adli should have made it. Even Thiaw, since he can play DM could have been chosen ahead of Diaz. Besides Diaz is not Milan owned, so either Adli or Thiaw should have been in. Even Bakayoko is more useful than Diaz at this point, because you can’t afford to overwork Bennacer and Tonali. Krunic is out injured – and he’s not really on the level of Bennacer and Tonali. So, only Pobega is available and he’s just trying to develop chemistry with the team.

    1. There is still the knockout round. Help this motivate Adli to compete against Diaz. I also hope it means Diaz play less in Serie A.

  7. For those saying Florenzi should be left out, he didn’t really impact the non homegrown group. He filled an association player spot which we only have 6 out of the 8 anyways and he was never in the “17” non homegrown players discussion.

    In terms of Adli, I suppose Pioli trusted guys that were getting playing time and knew his system. But tbh I would have picked him over Diaz. And I guess Fode was picked due to seniority too.

    I think Pioli went with seniority for the outfield players so as not to upset the dressing room. The three left out were part of the most recent signings and was a matter of which players got the nod. And Adli unfortunately has two other players in his position whereas Dest is the cover for Calabria (you ideally want Kalulu as CB and not at RB).

    Imo I thought Dest could have been the back up for both full back spots. But Coach knows best or better than any of us non Scudetto winning arm chair analysts😂

    1. I previously said over and over regarding homegrown issue that will result in a lot of players getting excluded in UCL yet most of you don’t care about it. I also already said lot of new additions will be excluded as the players who work hard to earn the UCL pot 1 by winning the scudetto will get prioritozed when possible.

      1. Note that there is a difference in youth player exemption between Serie A and UCL:

        In Serie A, U22 players (born 1 January 2000 or after) can play without being registered.

        In UCL, U21 players (born 1 January 2001 or after) who have been at the club for at least 2 years can be registeted using B list which has infinite slots.

        Maldini’s focus in signing U22 players means Milan can have huge squad for Serie A and Coppa Italia. However, as they are not homegrown, it result in a lot of UCL exclusion.

        So the answer to your question (“Why those guys are brought in for, to bluffing fans that they buying player’s”) is: Milan buy those players to navigate busy Serie A schedule, allowing some players to rest from some Serie A matches so they can focus on UCL matches.

  8. Don’t freak out, folks. It means that the players not listed will play more in Serie A since we do need to rotate or else we’ll collect too many injuries. Yes, the CL is more important, but I do want the 20th Scudetto so that we collect another star, ahead of Inter. So I’m not upset at Pioli leaving out some players that people above would like to see listed. They’ll be available for Serie A.

  9. Thiaw, Vranckc, and Adli should be in while Balo-Toure, Krunic, and Saelemaekers should be out. Dest can play in Balo-Toure’s position better. Krunic is currently injured and he’s just an average player any ways. Saelemaekers is nothing compared to Adli.

  10. Choices were made for slots 16-17 – Balo and Diaz vs. Adli and Vranckx. We have too many foreign players for 17 slots. Yelnats24 have been posting about the numbers before and received flak and ridicule for it. Don’t be surprised with what happened now. Let’s enjoy Adli and Vranckx in the league.

    1. Right, I even claimed that when Maldini approach the new CB and DM for transfer, he will be honest by telling them they won’t be registered for UCL (at least for group stage). Of course I also got ridiculed for it.

  11. It is shame decision to see Adli and Thiaw left out from UCL.Does any one tell me the Defference B/W this year and the last one.
    It means Pioli see Normal to stay the Bottom of the Group.
    Even it is out mind to include Diaz being both Garbage and loan.
    Iy is Acmilan Prestige to Adli out of the starting lineups let alone to exclude.
    What bad image and less game growth to include Kjear whom if did not get injured last season we would not have won the Serie A.
    Adli,Thiaw and Aster exclusion will Regratable Decision.
    Why did we bring Adli,Thiaw and Aster ,While having Diaz,Krunic,and Kjear if don’t need UCL Progress.

    1. Kjaer leadership last season , krunic & brahim contribute scudetto last season. They deserved respect. While adili,aster,thiaw are just youngster unproven in big club, they can play more on serie A & coppa

    1. For what? We are not light in FW position. Most of the negative comments are about DM/AM position, Belotti is useless for it.

      1. He is Italian. Free spot to become the 24th man. Considering how bad our medical team is we will be lack of forwards just in a couple of months. Did you forget previous seasons when we had no CF at all.

  12. Well I’m already afraid of this squad in the champions league matches because of the type of group we find ourselves and because also in the serie a this squad hasn’t been convincing any way do I’m not really expecting anything tangible in the champions league from Milan this season until the new owners starts to fund the club properly next transfer window

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