Sacchi questions Milan’s lack of Italian players: “If I were a fan, I wouldn’t be happy”

By Oliver Fisher -

Arrigo Sacchi has revealed that he would not be best pleased if he were an AC Milan fan because they are set to field a line-up with no Italians in the first game of the season.

Milan are heading into their season opener against Bologna likely to field an XI that is made up entirely of foreign players, something that happened for the first time a few months ago in the 1-1 home draw against Salernitana.

However, it is worth noting that this is largely because club captain Davide Calabria is not at 100% and is recovering from a muscle problem he sustained in preseason. Aside from him, though, there is not much of an Azzurri influence.

Sacchi spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about Milan and Inter’s contrasting situations, given the Nerazzurri have a strong Italian core while the Rossoneri have gone more international.

“Milan wholly foreign and Inter, on the other hand, half Italian. Looking at the probable formations for the first game of the season, I was reflecting on this rather curious aspect which is also evidence of a clear tendency of the two clubs,” he began.

“Inter have a made in Italy defensive block, and two out of three midfielders, Barella and Frattesi, are also from our home. In addition there is Dimarco who goes up and down on the left wing. A signal that must be taken into consideration because it most likely derives from a request from the coach.

“Simone Inzaghi, a coach who is improving season after season but has yet to make the definitive leap in quality to reach a level that can be defined as European, intends to focus not only on the game, but also on the sense of belonging, on Italian pride in good part of the group.”

“Character is fundamental when building a team: there must be the right men to convey the coach’s ideas. When I was at Milan, the first year we had two foreigners and the second three: situations that certainly can’t be compared to those of today.

“But I have to say that, despite Gullit and Van Basten being two champions, the Italian backbone, formed by the Baresis, the Ancelottis, the Tassottis, the Maldinis and the Donadonis was fundamental in giving life to that wonderful team.

“It’s up to Inzaghi to direct the group towards this goal, also by leveraging the nucleus of Italians who make it up. The discussion regarding Milan is completely different. Apart from Calabria, who however I don’t know if he will be the starter, there isn’t an Italian in the Rossoneri’s basic formation.

“I’m really curious to see how so many cultures can get along. I am convinced of one thing: when foreigners arrive in our league, except in rare cases, they need at least a year to settle in.

“They come from countries where, in most cases, more attacking football is practiced, so they have to adapt to new needs, training methods, teammates and even lifestyle change.

“It’s not easy for a boy who comes from Spain, France, Holland or England to wear the Milan shirt, take the field in front of the San Siro crowd and immediately give away wonders.

“In choosing to have a team made up of foreigners I see a philosophical indication of the club. After having shown courage by sending away Maldini and Massara, who had so many merits in the Scudetto season, the managers are now betting on a Milan that is the child of globalisation.

“If I were a fan, I wouldn’t be happy: I believe that some Italians would also be important in making people understand the history and style of a more than 100-year-old club.

“But, if they succeed in the enterprise, and if they will immediately have positive results in terms of play and points, all that remains is to bow down.

“However, if the Rossoneri want to play in a 4-3-3 formation, whether they are Italian or foreign, they need to get it into their heads that the two wingers must return to the defensive phase, otherwise they will have a lot of trouble.”

Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi


    1. Its the way he said that he personally didn’t like this situation at Milan now. He is a fan. But he also an Italian too…

  1. 100% agree, ACM should always have a core of Italian players. And yes, they are plenty of good, affordable Italian players out there.

    We could also use Colombo and/or Bartesaghi rather than buying a lottery ticket abroad.

      1. Exactly. All those people who say why we are not buying italian players need to name a better winger than Chuk, a better midfielder than Reijnders or even RLC at the same prize tag. It tbh doesn’t mean a thing to non italian fans. Just look at Real Madrid how many spainish players they have in their core.

        1. There are 2 Italians that I’d have in Milan atm. That’s scalvini who would cost a smoll fortune and rici (because Milan needs a dm) and for him it’s a question what torino would ask for. Probably 20-30M.
          There are others but they play for rival clubs and getting them would be a big big challenge

      2. Easy.
        Fratessi, Scamacca, Zaniolo, Scalvini, Retegui, Rovella, Luca Pellegrini, Asllani.
        Or as I mentioned Colombo and/or Bartesaghi from our own ranks.

        Before you start: I am well aware, that any of the above mentioned would mean a change in previouse purchases. Of course and goes without saying.

        Finally. If you disregard Italian players so much, there is a club called INTERNATIONALE, go support them.

        1. You’re living in a dream world naming those.
          I honestly thought you would name good affordable players.
          But these are either pricey af or just plain not good. Or even both.

          You’re here telling me to go support inter since I disregard Italian players but inter has more Italian starters than Milan. Maybe you should go support inter if you love Italian players so much.
          They have a few good ones there.

          1. please mention the pricey italians and the not good italians? betting on 1 or 2 italians for the teams is not so bad.. you dare to say some of them are not good even when they haven’t play for Milan yet? mister, who are you?? are you pep guardiola? or ancelloti?

            take luka romero and reijnders for example.. they are good players after we saw them play for Milan.. but are you brave enough to say that they are good players before they join Milan?

        2. Affordable and good enough, Retegui, Rovella.
          Affordable, if we prioritised differently and good enough, Fratessi, Scamacca, Zaniolo, Scalvini.

          But you just won’t admit it.

    1. In the period Sacchi is talking about, Italian NT was at the top, with superstars even on the bench. Nowadays, unfortunately, this is not the case.

      1. Italy won the Euro 21
        And Italian teams have been doing better in Europe with Inter, Roma and Fiorentina all making it to the finals of their respective UEFA competitions

  2. How many Spanish players are in the Real Madrid starting line up? Carvajal. That’s it.
    How many English players in ManCity starting line up?
    Grealish, Stones. That’s it.
    How about Liverpool? Trent.
    Barcelona, ManUtd, Arsenal, Chelsea etc same thing.
    Outside of Bayern all the other big clubs around Europe are 90% foreign players.
    Get on with the times old man.
    Who would Sacchi be without Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit?
    What did he ever won without those 3?
    His biggest accomplishment was the 94 WC final with Italy that was achieved on the back of Roberto Baggio, a player he didn’t get along with.

        1. You do realize the teams of the late 80s (which are arguably some of the greatest ever) had all Italian players except the 3 Flying Dutchman?

          Sacchi is stating there are 0 Italian players in our lineup.

          People like you will throw a hissy fit telling people they are not fans if they criticize the likes of Pioli and Krunic, but then talk crazy about one of the greatest managers of all time.

          Wild logic….

          1. What did he achieve outside of Milan without the 3 world class foreign players? What?
            No one cares about your obsession with Krunic and Pioli, or if you are a fan or not.
            Outside of the 4 years at Milan he has nothing.
            Look at Capello and Ancelotti. Won everywhere they went.

          2. Different times. Back in those days there were several top Italian players, many among the best in their positions in the world. Nowadays, not so much unfortunately.

          3. Sacchi’s Milan teams, majority Italian.

            Capello’s Milan teams, majority Italian.

            Ancelotti’s Milan teams, majority Italian.

          4. Because the rules were that you can only line up 3 foreign players at that time. If they could have they would have fielded more foreign players back then too.
            Times have changed. That’s why I gave the example of other big clubs in Europe with 90% of foreign players in the starting lineup.
            As long people like Sacchi are around the Italian football, Italy will continue to struggle and fall behind the other NT and leagues because instead of adapting to the time, they are too busy whining, complaining and talking about the past, history and tradition.

          5. This summer, Italy were runner-ups in U20 World Cup and winners in U19 Euros.

            In 2021, we won the Euros and beat Wales, Turkey, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Spain and England

            By comparison, Argentina won the WC against the following teams: Saudi (L), Mexico, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, Croatia and France

            I would argue Italy had the harder tournament. Now, I understand we didn’t even qualify, but we also went years without losing a competitive match and Jorginho missed two PKs against the Swiss, who directly advanced over us.

            My point is the talent is there, there’s no reason to have 0 Italian players. And Sacchi is one of the greatest coaches ever, wake up.

          6. Your first paragraph is dead on. Exactly this. The team was built with Italian players and then had some top class foreign talent. That. That combo, is AC Milan and what its always been until recently and were so far away from that it feels strange now.

    1. Go to bed teenager.
      Like him or not, Sacchi was the coach behind one the greatest teams in the history of football, back when I felt in love with ACM and not INTERNATIONALE.

      The core of the team was Italian. Sacchi and Italy was btw one bloody penalty from wining WC1994, but poor Ill Divin Codino.

      We are fans, not spectators.

      1. I have always said AC Milan is a team that has a strong Italian core and world class foreigners. The balance is beautiful and what makes Milan, Milan. It is hard to see us go so far away from this and it definitely kills a lot of the passion and bond for me with the team. It has been a very difficult few years to watch. Hopefully it changes in the future but I’m not optimistic about it.

      2. Best players in Milan history are foreign players.
        Even the founder of Milan wasn’t Italian.
        Would you have fallen in love back then with that Milan if there were no Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit?
        What was Milan at that time winning prior to their arrival?
        Milan continue to win after Sacchi left again led by foreign players.
        Did Sacchi win anything once he left Milan and Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit? Nope.
        Did Rijkaard , Gullit and Van Basten won without Sacchi? Yep.
        Not just with Milan but with the Holland NT as well.
        If he didn’t have those 3 foreign players, no one would talk about Sacchi today.
        Oh and I did watch the 94 WC.
        Italy was awful, barely got out of the group and then in knock out stages it was all about one man, Roberto Baggio. A player who Sacchi was suffocating.
        Don’t like the new Milan, you and Sacchi don’t have to watch it.
        Watch old games and talk about the past

        1. Ahh yes Rivera Maldini Baresi Pirlo we’re not Italian I forgot. And Sacchi was not a good coach. Thank you for educating all of us….

          1. Ha ha ha.
            You came up with 4 Italian names.
            Now try naming the best Milan players that led Milan to trophies in just the last 30 years.
            Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard.
            Boban, Savicecic, Desailly.
            Weah, Bierhoff
            Sheva, Kaka, Seedorf, Rui Costa.
            Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho even Ronaldinho.
            In the past the Swedish trio Gre – No – LI.
            Sweeden’s Nordhall is Milan all time leading goal scorer followed by the great Andriy Shevchenko who is Ukrainian.
            Even today’s Milan best Players are Theo, Leao, Maignan.
            Game changers at Milan has always been foreign players.

          2. Ok genius let’s see, Sacchi’s team, some of the greatest ever, had 8 players in the starting lineup that were Italian. Use your Wikipedia like the 17 year old you are and look it up yourself.

            Now, let’s look at our last Champions League winning team in 2007 (which you don’t remember because you were still a toddler) Nesta, Maldini, Oddo, Gattusso, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Ambrosini. 7 starters were Italian.

            Why did I list the 4 names above? Because they are arguably the most influential and best players through the eras and they’re Italian. I could go on a tangent myself and start listing random Italians who played for Milan but what’s the point? And do me a favor, don’t ever put Pato and Robinho in the same company as my four haha

          3. The point that you are missing is that the names I listed are not some random names, but the actual best players on the team at the time they played in for Milan.
            You named 4 italian players, and 2 of them are defenders.
            Milan best players on the team in all of the modern era, since Berlusconi, have always been foreign players.
            And like I told you above, at Sacchi’s time teams were forced to field at least 8 domestic players, they had no choice, otherwise Berlusconi would have signed more foreigners. Every serie A team was mostly Italian, as every Spanish, German, French or English team were mostly with players from their domestic country. Those were the rules. Today’s rules are different and that dinosaur still doesn’t get it.
            Plus most of the Italian players nowadays are booty Cheeks. So why would Milan go out of their way to spend on an average Italian players when they can sign a foreigner who is better and cheaper

          4. Maldini is the GOAT, he was the BEST player on those teams. You really are fried. And Italian players are “booty cheeks” wtf go back to sleep

          5. Maldini was never the best player on any of the Milqn teams he played. Never!
            Imagine calling a defensive full back the best player on a team that also have Van Basten, Savicecic, Weah, Shevchenko, Kaka etc in the squad. Most of them Ballon D’or winners

        2. “Ha ha ha.
          You came up with 4 Italian names.”

          Gianni Rivera
          Cesare Maldini
          Pierino Prati
          Paolo Maldini
          Alessandro Costacurta
          Franco Baresi
          Mauro Tassotti
          Sebastiano Rossi
          Roberto Donadoni
          Carlo Ancelotti
          Demetrio Albertini
          Angelo Colombo
          Stefano Eranio
          Roberto Baggio
          Alessandro Nesta
          Andrea Pirlo
          Gennaro Gattuso
          Massimo Ambrosini
          Filippo Inzaghi
          Gianluca Zambrotta
          Christian Abbiati
          Daniele Massaro
          Marco Simone
          Fillipo Galli
          Giovanni Galli
          Angelo Sormani
          Angelo Anquilletti
          Pietro Paolo Virdis
          Gianluigi Lentini(unfortunately he had a car crash)
          the list goes on

          Get lost kiddo

        3. Maldini… defensive fullback
          Did you even watch Maldini play?
          He was great at both defense and attack.

          Savicevic(whom you praised) said that Maldini was incredibly talented and that he saw him do unbelievable things in training, things that he would never do in a real match because he was a professional and did what his managers asked of him.

          You are just clueless.

    2. WC 1994 he only lost to Brazil in PKs and Baggio was playig injured too
      You zoomers are too young to remember that Brazil was the greatest footballing nation in the world back then and synonymous
      Italy got even lucky that Brazil didnt play a young Ronaldo in the final who Baresi and Maldini would have been unprepared for

      In Euro 96 he only lost and tied to the eventual finalists

      So what if he didnt get along with Baggio?
      Lippi didnt either, he sold Baggio to Milan and then Jube won CL the next season without him

      1. So you basically saying that Sacchi didn’t win anything without Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit.
        Thanks for your input, real fan.
        He retired in his 40s and only success was the time at Milan led by those 3 great players.
        Zlatan just about retired from playing at the same age as the great Sacchi retired from coaching.

        1. Maldini was never a top player on any of his teams, Sacchi was never a good coach, Italian players are “booty cheeks,” any other genius knowledge you would like to drop on us today?

        2. Kid stfu already.
          Sacchi never said he would have won without Dutch trio. He just said there should be Italians on the team.
          If he were against foreigners he wouldnt have asked Berlusconi to sign them. He specifically asked Berlusconi to buy Rijkaard who was a defender and turned him into a midfielder ffs.

    3. @Z.. my friend.. you just officially proved yourself ignorant AF to pretty much everyone who follows SempreMilan with the last 3 lines. Kindly Refrain from calling yourself a Milan fan because you not only know nothing about Milan, you bascially are downright trolling.
      if you are a milan fan, make the effort to at least know the history of the club you support.
      Time to try commenting from a different name now buddy lol

  3. People should realize, that there periods a country diesnt produce enough talents, thus Milan cannot rely on Italian players for now. I would to love to see barella or veattii at milan, but can Milan afford them ? Thus we ve to look for cheaper alternative.

    1. This is wrong in recent years.
      Italian players have increased in quality lately.
      Inter had 4 Italian players starting in CL Final.
      Roma had 4 Italian players starting in EL Final.
      Fiorentina had 5 Italian players starting in Conference Final.

      Its only Milan who is pretty much phasing out Italian players completely.
      Only Italian player in our lineup is Calabria who is terrible and is mostly there for the lists.

  4. They are too expensive, what can Milan do?

    Fratessi for example would’ve been nice but if we went in a bidding war we would be overpaying wages and fee (35m+ and wages way more than what Rejinders and Musash is earning)

    Italian players will come through our system or maybe next year we’ll buy some now that we’ve finally got a deep squad.

  5. Retegui – One that was a steal and desperately needed but overlooked. Signed by Genoa for 12 millions.

    Cher N’dour – PSG got for free.

    Gnonto – pricetag of 20 millions, Leeds got relegated.

    Parisi – a steal for 10 millions.

    Ricci – 20-30 millions and could be further negotiated since Torino showed interest in Messias, Pobega.

    Rovella – Lazio got on loan with obligation for 17 millions.

    Fratessi – Inter got on loan with obligation for 25 millions.

    1. Good post, Inter and Lazio, who finished above us, will have the majority of their starting lineups this year with Italian players.

    2. In addition

      Even Scamacca was a good price looking at the current striker market

      Veratti is rumored to be going for a reasonable fee.


      Orsolini (as depth)

      Pellegrini as depth

      Etc etc

      Plenty out there. Milan hates italians these days. It’s sad

    3. Is this for or against Ted?
      I’m indifferent btw. If there aren’t Italian talent then there’s no need to force the issue until they get another golden or silver generation. It is what it is at this point imo.

  6. There are few good italian talents that milan try to sign like frattesi but very difficult,the latter decide to sign for inter,right now there is no good italian players unlike before, unless u want to turn your team to average mid-table team or you cough out more than 150 millions to sign players like chiesa,barela and few others that are in italian national team which will be very difficult,there is no much good italian players unlike the time of pirlo,cannavaro and others,italian players of nowadays are mediocre except few like tonali,chiesa,barela etc,the reason why italy can’t qualify for world cup.

  7. Two of Inter’s Italians are ex-Milan players and that is what I find frustrating. So much wasted talent. It’s absolutely infuriating.

    A lack of Italians is the product of a lack of any kind of plan. We’ve been through hundreds of players in the last 10-15 years – another 8 out and 8 in if we’re just dealing with the first team. It’s the same again for the Primavera and it’s the same every year. It was the same under Maldini. It is the same with this new mob. They just cannot let things settle.

    Winning the title didn’t even stop the never ending conveyor belt. If these signings don’t work out or the season doesn’t go as planned or does go as planned – there’ll be more change in January and then next summer all spurred on by the media and the fans.

    Look back at the videos of some of our Primavera players. They were some of the best of their generation. And nothing? Absolutely nothing to show for it?

    1. True. But what most people forget is, Football has changed a lot. The Money from missing out on something like the Champions League is something most clubs can’t afford to do anymore. They need guarantees and if they can’t have that they need to minimise the damage. Foreign spending power makes it very hard as well.. For example, Frattessi, good player in Sassuolo, can he handle the pressure of a big club?.. we don’t know.. I hope he can. Ok.. let’s say Italian teams want to buy him, then De Zerbi Brighton calls, guess what?.. Price has gone up!.. Foreign spending power has been inserted. If Frattessi is open to moving abroad, Then hard for a club like Milan to get him. Ok,You spend more than you would have wanted to on the player?.. what if it doesn’t work out?.. you don’t have the resources to bring out more money to rectify the damage or maybe you do, but then you lose financial sustainability. My point is that unfortunately the money in football doesn’t help to take a chance on youngsters. Most of the players Milan signed have all been on the Big stage, Champions league, Europa, International. It’s just one of the unfortunate realities now. Maybe This young players could try go abroad as well.. but that’s not as easy as I am suggesting as well

      1. Agree with both you and MH. It’s the two sides of the coin that both make similar sense. Even when I think back to the Sacchi/Capello ere and the 00s Milan which were the ones I like the most, the foreigners were the ones that first come to mind in the Dutch trio and Kaka. Not taking away anything from the Italians who formed the basis of the team. I guess back then it was sortmof expected whereas now you have to put some thought into it

        1. Milan’s recipe of good old traditional Italian defenders and mostly foreign attack is what led to success.
          Now we got guys like Tomori on defense who are terrible and the only Italian defensive player we have is Calabria who has been awful for years but somehow never gets sold just like Krunic.

          We sold our only good Italian player Tonali to buy a bunch of Africans and Pulisic and Reijnders.
          Reinjders is the only one who has impressed so far.

        2. first hes like, ‘the style of football is all wrong change everything’…so Pioli obliges. Now hes back with another issue without providing any credit for the first…I liked his positional ideals but he certain has a lot of requests…

  8. It’s not about value. There’s always going to be a better value player out there. It’s about history and this club is not milan without italians. Sorry.

  9. We you people argue each other for something that you people can’t change..?? Let it be… We think about that in the future. For now…think about Bologna and other games after that…

    1. Simple and easy talk. Please mr sacchi if we are winning and dominating Italians league comeback and take inter…

  10. He is absolutely right.
    Even Inter is more Italian than us and we used to make fun of Inter for not having Italian players in their starting XI.

    Absolutely pathetic.

    1. Yes AC Milan.
      Do you know what the AC stands for ?
      Associazione Calcio.
      And do you know what Milan is? Milan(or Milano) is an Italian city.

      Hate customers like you so much.

    2. We, the fans, care. You, spectators and followers, might not care. And we fans don’t care about you, cause you will prove on to the next club in a season or two.

      AC Milan is an Italian club

  11. Any club should take a certain pride in delivering players for their NT.
    The growth decree is bad for Italian players, imo.
    Paying a player, like Donnarumma, what he wants, is economically indefensible when a player like Mike cost so much less.
    Additionally, Italy is lacking b-teams to bridge the gap between primavera and Serie A.

    1. I dont know why you even brought up Dollarumma.
      He was a typical Raiola player, only mistake we made was letting him go for free instead of selling him for 100 millions.

      Tonali otoh wasnt a greedy player and we sold him for 70m and reinvested the money all of foreign players and not a single Italian player.

  12. The truth am not ltalian myself, but l hate watching AC Milan with this foreign players most are times, and this players most of them are not good nor better than the ltalians there, l always asked myself maybe thats is why lnter always win against us this days because they have much ltalians than us, who knows what the names means to them than this foreign milan. So am with the great sacchi on this we need more ltalians liks Tonali who knows what the name mean to them, not those foreign players who are after the money then, forza milan❤️

  13. Kids questioning Sachi as a manager 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    He is the man who revolutionised modern attacking football.

    Ask the top managers, they will say what Sachi is!

    He is right, having no Italian player in team will make the club un Italian for the fans. Current Milan is only globalised but only 65,000 Milanese watch the every match in San Siro not the everyone in the world except some bigmatches.

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