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ON and OFF THE FIELD

09.19

2014

Profiles of AC Milan Legends (1) Paolo Maldini

Many football fans around the world associate AC Milan’s squad number “3” with one player’s name. And of course that is the name of Paolo Maldini, a legend among legends who is considered the world’s greatest left-back, owning the Serie A all-time record of 647 appearances.

From his debut at the tender age of 16 for the 1984-85 season, Maldini spent all of his 25-year career playing exclusively for AC Milan until his retirement from the club in 2009. Everyone’s in perfect agreement that the club made the right choice in permanently retiring the number “3” in honor of the bandiera (an icon-like player who played exclusively for the same club).

Paolo Maldini’s football career is all about glory. Out of his many achievements some of the standouts include winning the UEFA Champions (including former European Champion Clubs’ Cups) 5 times, Intercontinental Cup (now known as FIFA Club World Cup) 3 times, 7 Serie A victories and many more titles. He is really a perfect example of AC Milan’s Golden Age.

Maldini’s career synchronizes well with AC Milan’s rise to glory. Although making his debut during a sluggish period for the club, Paolo Maldini, the son of Cesare Maldini who played for Milan in the 1950s and 60s and had even captained the club to a European championship, became a driving force for the victory at the Coppa Italia Primavera with the Milan Youth side during the 1984-85 season. During the following season he switched from left back to the right back position and gained a spot in the starting eleven. He found himself facing growing expectations for playing superbly and was considered a bright ray of hope from fans.

The year 1986 saw the entry of Silvio Berlusconi, now the honorable chairman of the club. The ex-premier and Milanese entrepreneur became the chairman and started to strengthen the team by signing big names using his abundant funds. With this background and the guidance of coach Arrigo Sacchi who introduced the thrilling new “Zone Press” tactics, Maldini was able to develop his abilities to the maximum. At this moment, The Golden Age of AC Milan had arrived.

Maldini retired during the 2008-09 season and the club started its decline. Reasons for this are several, including the end of the longtime reign of coach Carlo Ancelotti, but it is obvious that the loss of the great legend Paolo Maldini that same season was instrumental in causing the club to start to lose a little luster.

But even this legend was not able to obtain a trophy at the World Cup. Taking pride in his 126 caps for the national team since his first match in 1988, he was still unable to grasp a cup in any once-in-four-years event. Maldini was able to collect records for: semifinals (3rd place) in 1990, runners-up in 1994, quarterfinals in 1998, and round 16 in 2002. But he narrowly lost in penalty shootouts during each of the first 3 events mentioned above. He also had to fight back his tears when the team conceded the dramatic golden goal during the extra time of the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup. This resulted in Maldini hanging up his azzurri (popular name for the Italian national team) jersey. How great his disappointment was at that time is not hard to imagine.

But just suppose for a minute that if fortune had smiled a bit on him, or even if the team had lost in a different way, it is not impossible to imagine him having the honor of lifting the cup during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Written by Jun Nakayama

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09.16

2014

AC Milan Gains Second Consecutive Win with Honda’s 2nd Goal of the Season in 5-4 Wild Seesaw Game

Milan had its first away match against Parma on September 14 which kicked off at 20: 45 (local time.) The visitors got their 2nd straight win with a match that ended in 5-4 over Parma.


AC Milan couldn’t field El Shaarawy and new force Fernando Torres was also out of the squad with an injury, and they used the same starting 4-3-3 formation as in the previous match, Menez at one top. Bonaventura’s opening goal was immediately equalized, but Honda headed in a goal (his 2nd in 2 matches) to put Milan in the lead again.

The match turned wild during the second half, both teams receiving red cards, but the away side fought on and managed to close out this 9 goal thriller at the end.

Formation and match data are as follows:

Round 2 Parma vs AC Milan 
(Ennio Tardini Stadium)(Sept.14, 2014)(Referee: Davide Massa)

◆Scorers: 
Parma: Cassano (27’) Felipe (51’) Lucarelli (73’) Own goal (89’)
AC Milan: Bonaventura (25’) Honda (37’) Menez (45’ PK, 79’) de Jong (68’)

◆Substitutions: 
Parma: Palladino (65’ for Ghezzal) Coda (73’ for Jorquera) Bidaoui (79’ for Belfodil) 
AC Milan: Zapata (62’ for Alex) Rami (62’ for Honda) Niang (86’ for Menez)

◆Bookings:
Parma: Felipe (24’ & 77’) Lucarelli (45’) De Ceglie (70’) 
Aqquah (85’)
AC Milan: Bonera (16’ & 58’) de Jong (60’)

◆ Sent Off:
Parma: Felipe (77’)
AC Milan: Bonera (58’)

◆Shots (shots on target)
Parma: 9 (2) AC Milan: 6 (4)

◆Ball Possession (%):
Parma: 55% AC Milan: 45%

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09.02

2014

Honda’s Opener Sets the Pace for AC Milan to Sweep to Victory in League’s First Match

The opening match for the Serie A 2014 - 2015 season saw AC Milan facing Lazio on home ground in San Siro stadium. Kicking off at 18:00 on August 31 (local time), this match showed that new coach Inzaghi is able to bring a lot to the club.

His 4-3-3 formation paid off early on when forward Keisuke Honda scored in the 7th minute. Two more goals gained during the second half sealed a 3-1 victory over Lazio and the home side was off to a great start for the season.

Formation and match data are as follows:

Matchday 1  AC Milan vs Lazio
(San Siro Stadium   Referee: Paolo Tagliavent)

◆Goals:
AC Milan: Honda (7’) Muntari (56’) Menez (64’ PK)
Lazio: Own goal (67’)

◆Substitutions:
AC Milan: Essien (67’ for Muntari) Armero (77’ for Honda)
Niang (82’ for Menez)
Lazio: Djordjevic (59’ for Klose) Anderson (60’ for Keita)
Mauri (73’ for Lulic)

◆Bookings:
AC Milan: de Jong (20’) Diego Lopez (71’)
Lazio: Radu (25’) Lulic (37’) de Vrij (62’)

◆Shots (shots on target)
AC Milan: 6 (4) Lazio: 18 (4)

◆Ball Possession (%):
AC Milan: 46% Lazio: 54%

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Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images for Toyo Tires

08.26

2014

Freestyle Football Performance Sponsored by TOYO TIRES

Participating in the “Cool Off at Aqua Metropolis Osaka” campaign, TOYO TIRES sponsored ALEG-Re, the Japanese champion freestyle football team, performing on August 21 at the riverside Nakanoshima Park, Osaka.

View the dazzling performance from many amazing camera angles, including aerial shots from a radio-controlled helicopter.

07.11

2014

Milanello training center a revelation

While visiting Milan recently, I had the good fortune to be able to visit “Milanello,” AC Milan’s official training center situated in the suburbs of Milan.

The site takes up a sizable 160,000 square meters, and has natural grass pitches as well as artificial turf pitches. There is an indoor gymnasium as well as various training rooms. Another building contains private rooms, dining rooms and rest lounges for players, helping them get the most relaxation and comfort from their off-training hours.

The environment and facilities of Milanello are amazing, and I wasn’t surprised in the least to hear that non-football  sports players from tennis and other sports are glad to be able to make use of the facilities when they are allowed to.

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07.11

2014

Taking the San Siro Stadium tour in Milan

I recently took the San Siro Stadium tour. The stadium is now the home playing ground for both AC Milan and FC Inter football clubs. It is an interesting tour, showing you different aspects of the famous city-owned stadium including the museum where legendary official shirts and various memorabilia of both clubs are on display, a look into the dedicated locker rooms for each team, the press conference passage and all the audience seating areas.

Even though my visit was during the off-season, I couldnt get onto the pitch because a concert was scheduled that night. I was a little disappointed at that, but that aside, I know this tour is a truly great experience no self-respecting AC Milan or FC Inter fan can afford to miss.

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07.03

2014

Exciting to visit Casa Milan!

A Toyo Tires PR manager lately visited the new AC Milan headquarters. The club’s offices are there but fans will really be pleased with the new super football museum as well as the AC Milan gift and merchandise store full of great items that anyone would want. For sure the new headquarters is going to be a magnet for  AC Milan fans all over the world .

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06.12

2014

Inzaghi Scores With AC Milan New Coach Post

The chance to uplift the Serie A team has been given to renowned striker Filippo Inzaghi. The former AC Milan ace striker and current club Under-19 coach is expected to show the form he displayed when playing for Milan during 2001 to 2012, gaining 73 goals.

Hopes are high for Inzaghi to transform the club into a winner for this coming season.