So who are AC Milan, Shamrock Rovers' Europa League opponents?

Mon, Sep 14 2020

San Siro Credit: Macdara Ferris (ETPhotos)

The Hoops have won their last four encounters against their Dublin rivals who wear red and black but Thursday's task in Tallaght in the Europa League is a massive challenge against the Rossoneiri from Milan. 

Who are AC Milan?

A true giant of both Italian and European football, AC Milan are one of the most famous names in the game. They sit second in the all-time list of Serie A winners. AC Milan and their city rivals Internazionale have won 18 titles behind Juventus on 36. Milan were the last side to win the Serie A title before Juve’s recent dominance in Italy.

Both Milan and Shamrock Rovers were formed in 1899. Milan secured their first Scudetto title in 1901.

While they have won one more league title than Rovers, the Hoops have the much greater success in domestic cup action. Rovers won their 25th FAI Cup last year but it is 17 years since Milan last won the Coppa Italia – just the fifth time they have lifted that trophy.

Milan play in one of the great cathedrals of world football. The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza or San Siro was the venue for two World Cups in 1934 and 1990. The current capacity of the stadium is 75,000.

They are managed by Stefano Pioli who won the European Cup and Serie A title when playing for Juventus. His managerial career has spanned 17 seasons including spells at Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina before taking over at the San Siro last year.

European pedigree 

Milan sit second in the all-time list of European Cup winners having lifted the famous trophy seven times in their history – most recently in 2007 when the Italian side would go onto win the FIFA World Club Cup. They also won the European Cup Winners Cup twice.

This is their first European tie for two seasons having had to sit out last year due to financial fair play irregularities. A strong second half to the season saw them secure a place in the Europa League Second Qualifying Round by finishing sixth in Serie A. 

Who will League of Ireland fans recognise?

There is one player that all the cameras will be focussed on come Thursday and that is Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahmovic. His return to Milan last season following a spell with Los Angeles Galaxy helped propel the Italian side into Europe. He scored ten goals in 18 games. He has an incredible palmarés having won titles in the Netherlands (Ajax), Italy (Juventus, Internazionale and Milan), Spain (Barcelona) and France (PSG). He scored 62 goals for Sweden across 116 international appearances.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is another name that people will recognise. Similar to Gavin Bazunu at Rovers, Donnarumma made his league debut as a 16-year-old for Milan and his international debut a year later made him the youngest ‘keeper ever to be capped by Italy.

Danish international Simon Kjaer was a summer signing from Sevilla. Spanish under-21 international Brahim Diaz, who is on loan from Real Madrid, is named in Pioli’s 21 man squad but there is no place for Daniel Maldini, the son of Paolo Maldini who is the club’s technical director. Makini was quoted over the weekend, saying that they are concerned about taking on the Hoops in this one-legged tie.

"It's a game that scares us a lot,” said 45-year-old Paolo Maldini. “"It (Rovers) is a team that is doing well - first in their league. We play away from home in a straight match. We are rightly concerned".