Ranking Milan’s five best players from the ‘Banter Era’ starting in 2012

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have been in a relative rut over the last few years, having not participated in the Champions League since 2014, although that will change next season.

What started with media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi taking over in 1986 and starting a juggernaut – which saw Milan win 5 Champions League titles, 8 Scudetti and 1 Coppa Italia – the cycle came to an when Milan sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to balance the books back in the summer of 2012.

That preceded a period of mid table finishes and trophy-less seasons, but as Milanisti we must hope that the days of not making the top four are over. With that in mind, our writer Rohit Rajeev has assembled a small thread measuring the five best players for Milan during what many describe as the ‘Banter Era’, with consistency, longevity and statistics all considered.

Honourable mentions

Kaka: Milan snatched the return of Kaka back from Real Madrid in what seemed a romantic dream, but he was a talisman for the Rossoneri on the field proving he wasn’t past it. He had 9 goals and 3 assists in 37 games for Milan in a dire 2013-14 season season and is still the last player to score for Milan in the Champions League.

Jeremy Menez: A ‘streets wont forget’ player, Menez was the sole shining light in Milan’s lowest finish in this era back in the 2014-15 season. He amassed 16 goals and 4 assists in 33 league games but was sadly largely injured for the 2015-16 season and was finally let go not long after.

5. Carlos Bacca

This may be a controversial choice, but Carlos Bacca’s record at Milan was very good. He amassed 34 goals and 8 assists in 77 games with 19 goals coming in a single Serie A season, which is still a record yet to be better by any other striker Milan have had since the Colombian.

4. Alessio Romagnoli

As a team famed for its star-filled defensive department, Milan needed a new graft to fill the massive hole left by Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva’s respect exits, and the answer was Alessio Romagnoli. A centre-back who is good at reading situations and can tackle well, Romagnoli has been undoubtedly Milan’s best defender since 2012.

3. Gianluigi Donnarumma

While this may evoke some anger, Gianluigi Donnarumma was a gem produced by a Primavera which had produced previous stalwarts like Maldini and Baresi. Not known for world class goalkeepers, Donnarumma had an extraordinary debut, starting against Sassuolo, with fans and Berlusconi questioning the coach. Even though he proved to be disloyal in the end, the 22-year-old was pivotal in many moments.

2. Suso

A player that has always divided opinion among the fan base, Suso was Milan’s chief creator for three seasons from 2016 to 2019. However, his box of tricks seemed to run out and a move away from Milan ended up being right for both parties.

Despite this, the Spaniard should be remembered for being the main threat during his time at the club – while remembering he arrived for a minuscule fee – as he racked up 24 goals and 36 assists in 153 games.

1. Giacomo Bonaventura

There is no doubt that Jack Bonaventura is the most highly-rated and probably best though of player during Milan’s dark times. Before his struggles with injury, the former Atalanta was Milan’s best midfielder and arguably one of their best wingers too.

He had technique, pace and ability to score making him a real game changer for Milan. In the end it was sad to see him depart at the end of his contract, as his loyalty and love for the club made him a real fan favourite.

🤔 What do you think? Did we get the assessments right? Tell us in the comments below! 👇


READ MORE: What are Milan’s chances of success during the upcoming 2021-22 season?

Tags AC Milan Alessio Romagnoli Carlos Bacca Giacomo Bonaventura Gianluigi Donnarumma kaka Suso

13 Comments

  1. ABDULRAHMAN says:

    Time flies really. I can’t believe Romagnoli has spent so long at Milan already! I remember we got him from Roma for 20M. Though he deserves some respect, but I think he’s been too over confident with that abysmal agent he has. He has to change his agent to achieve his aims, because, I realise he loves Milan and he’s willing to fight for his place.
    Carlos Bacca was so beautiful to watch even though overconfidence ruined him. I remember him saying “the post is too wide for him not to score plenty goals.” LOL. He failed several times trying to score with the Rabona from 6/12yards.
    Menez? He was so good but his attitude sometimes gets the best of him.
    Jack Bona was my favorite! I was so crazy about him! I smile even without him that touching the ball yet. I really missed him…..
    U were right not to mention Mesbah, Konstant and few more! They were terrible!
    I wish I have the chance to play for my beloved team cos, it’s a dream I pray for. Forza AC MILAN!❤️

  2. AcMilan21 says:

    Yes of course, #1 is Jack Bona. I suggest that we should add Jack Bona to Ac Milan’s Hall of Fame. He deserves it.

  3. Stuball78 says:

    News just in! Milan have taken on young talisman ABDULRAHMAN on a season long loan. Forza ABDULRAHMAN! No seriously are you any good on the right wing? We could really use someone there! ❤️

  4. Philip says:

    U are right ,cos I use to tell people that suso is not all mean man in the pitch ,BONAVENTURA is our best player this previous dark season ,almost fail sick for his departure, and he can feel in that hankan more better

  5. Aditya Sailendra says:

    Agree, jack is gem at dark period. Versatile player who always became savior in every match. He last gift from galliani before he quit to monza. Sadly he never call for turnament italy squad. Maybe cz milan struggle at low tier. When depart he cry so do i. He deserve better for glory season.

  6. Ranajaya says:

    It was really Bonaventura. My heart broken when we decided not to prolong his service with us. Kond a cruel.
    He came and stayed during our dark period and deserves to stay to at least tastes our return to CL this season.
    De Jong too is one of my favorite. Always fight wearing the shirt

  7. Vasio says:

    Hands down BONA VENTURAAASSS

  8. ESSIEN INOBONG says:

    I THINK BONAVENTURA IS THE MAN, THOUGH DE JONG AND PROBABLY VAN BOMMEL DESERVE A PLACE TOO. THESE GUYS SHOWED GREAT PASSION FOR OUR DARLING TEAM DURING THE DARKEST PERIOD OF OUR LIFE AS A TEAM.

  9. Geek says:

    Bonaventura remains a player close to my heart. He was always available when we needed him the most. A true Milan Player in all fronts.

    It’s just a pity we give him a new contract, he’s doing fine in fiorentina.

    ❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️🖤❤️

  10. C.O.D says:

    El shaarawy, Balotelli, montolivo, De sciglo(injuries), Nocerino deserved to be mentioned too.

  11. Eldo says:

    Jack Bonaventura and Bacca

  12. King says:

    Come on.. Montolivo!

  13. rossoneri94 says:

    I think the best player during the banter era was for sure Donnaruma, we cant deny it. He was the only player that attracted interest from the best teams in europe during this period. Even though he is not loyal and not a cuoro rossonero, there is no doubt that he was too good for that milan. After that I would say Suso and Bonaventure, these two guys have carried us thru so much bad matches and were the only ones capable of scoring goals and providing assists. As far as it goes for the players that reached the highest level of quality (without taking conistency into consideration) without doubt Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Kaka, Piatek and Menez. These guys were beasts! (for some games lol) The players we should have never sold during this era: Locatelli , Cristante and Cutrone; these could have been the new core of the team but bad management let them go.

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