Wednesday, September 14, 2016

When Calcio Ruled the Football World-A Personal Journey-Part 11 (19912/93)

In the summer of 1992, AC Milan was the greatest team on the planet. They had just won the Scudetto by going through an entire season undefeated.
The ambitious Mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s squad was about to enter the revamped Champions League that he himself had clamored for some time.
This meant extra matches (along with extra revenue) and to achieve these goals, reinforcements in player personnel were needed to add to an already magnificent squad.
In addition, starting this season (1992/93), Serie A Teams were authorized to sign as many foreigners as they liked, but only three could be present on the teamsheet on matchdays (We shall get to the problems that this created, but before let’s discuss the Calciomercato).
That summer, Italian clubs went on a spending spree of unprecedented proportions (in the excess of £200 Million) on mostly foreign talent, to make a competitive League even more abundant with quality.
It was a summer that Robert Baggio’s transfer record of 1990 was broken a number of times.
Needless to say, AC Milan were the biggest spenders in a summer that Milan bought enough quality International level players to have two full teams of International players.
Milan already contained the likes of Baresi, Costacurta, Maldini, Albertini, Massaro, as well as the Dutch trio of Gullit, van Basten and Rijkaard.
Milan registered the return of on-loan Croatian midfielder Zvonimir Boban from Bari.
Brilliant Yugoslavian midfielder Dejan Savicevic arrived from Red Star Belgrade.
The sixth Foreigner was the excellent (and reigning Ballon d’Or) French striker Jean-Pierre Papin from Olympique Marseille, whose transfer fee would be one of the highest that summer.
The Italian signings were just as impressive, International midfielders Stefano Eranio and Fernando De Napoli arrived from Genoa and Napoli respectively.
To complete the transfers, Berlusconi broke the World Record transfer fee to sign Torino’s young International Midfielder Gianluigi Lentini.
While Lentini’s potential was beyond dispute, many were baffled at the fee for a player of his standing. Some suspected that the fee rose because rivals Juventus were also in the running to sign him.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 3, Issue 11, November 1992 (2)
(AC Milan’s Gianluigi Lentini)

All these signings made Milan the favorites for the title before a single ball had been kicked.
The other rivals were not far behind in their expenditures. The Agnelli clan at Juventus made a record signing of their own. After eight years at Sampdoria, they finally signed Gianluca Vialli (after many attempts in the past) for a fee just less than Lentini’s, making him the World’s second largest transfer.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(Yugoslavia and AC Milan’s Dejan Savicevic)

Brazilian defender Julio Cesar and German defender Jurgen Kohler stayed on board, while Kohler’s compatriot Stefan Reuter returned to the Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund.
Germany’s Andreas Moeller arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Englishman David Platt arrived after Bari’s relegation to join a squad that was more of his standing.
Juve’s veteran Manager Giovanni Trapattoni welcomed an Italian contingent that contained a few new and future Internationals.

Photo From: Soccer International, March 1993
(England and Juventus’ David Platt)

Dino Baggio returned after his one season loan at Internazionale Milano (as part of the agreement from previous year to release Trapattoni from his contract).
Defender Moreno Torricelli arrived from Caratese and striker Fabrizio Ravanelli arrived from Reggiana.
Former Cremonese goalkeeper Michelangelo Rampulla arrived to provide cover for the new number one Angelo Peruzzi.
Italian defender Marco De Marchi also returned from his one season loan at AS Roma. Attempts were made to sign Pietro Vierchowod from Sampdoria that were unfruitful.
The departures at Juventus included key defender Luigi De Agostini and more importantly ‘Italia ‘90’ hero Salvatore Schillaci.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1993
(Salvatore Schillaci at Internazionale Milano)

They both joined the new Internazionale Milano that was now managed by the former Genoa (and the 1985 title winning Verona) boss Osvaldo Bagnoli.
The German trio of Jurgen Klinsmann, Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthaus was now broken up. The first two had joined AS Monaco and Real Zaragoza, while Matthaus would not be far behind. A few weeks into the new season he rejoined Bayern Munich.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 916 (Number 42), October 14-20, 1992
(Osvaldo Bagnoli)

This left Inter’s new foreign German signing Matthias Sammer (from Stuttgart) alone.
Sammer was joined at Inter by the foreign trio of Lazio’s Uruguayan striker Ruben Sosa, Macedonian striker Darko Pancev (from Red Star Belgrade) and Foggia’s Russian midfielder Igor Shalimov.
At Napoli, Manager Claudio Ranieri strengthened from Napoli’s strong showing the previous season, signed Cagliari’s excellent Uruguayan striker Daniel Fonseca, along with Sweden Captain and midfielder Jonas Thern and Torino’s Roberto Policano.
Brazilian striker Careca still remained, but his compatriot Alemao joined Atalanta. French sweeper Laurent Blanc was also sold shortly after the start of the season to French club Nimes.
Uruguay and former Genoa striker Carlos Aguilera joined Torino, along with Napoli striker Andrea Silenzi and Uruguay’s Marcelo Saralegui. Torino sold the disappointing Spanish midfielder Rafael Martin Vazquez to Olympique Marseille.
Genoa, now managed by Bruno Giorgio, welcomed former Juventus number one Stefano Tacconi, along with Dutchman John van’t Schip from Ajax and finally brought back the Russian Igor Dobrovolsky (who had been on loan from a couple of seasons).
Fiorentina signed Denmark’s Brian Laudrup along with his friend the controversial German midfielder Stefan Effenberg (both from Bayern Munich).
Striker Francesco Baiano joined them after a prolific season at Foggia, to be Argentinean Gabriel Batistuta’s strike partner.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 916 (Number 42), October 14-20, 1992
(Germany and Fiorentina’s Stefan Effenberg)

Photo From: World Soccer, August 1992
(Brian Laudrup and Fiorentina President Mario Cecchi Gori)

Swedish Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson returned to the Serie A (after three years at Benfica) to take charge of Sampdoria after Vujadin Boskov had departed to take charge of AS Roma.
In addition to Vialli, Brazilian veteran Cerezo (to Sao Paulo) and the long serving Italian Fausto Pari (to Napoli) had also left. In came, Yugoslavian midfielder Vladimir Jugovic (from Red Star Belgrade) and English defender Des Walker (from Nottingham Forest).
As part of the Vialli deal, Juventus ceded Mauro Bertarelli, Eugenio Corini, Nicola Zanini and Michele Serena to Samp. An unknown young Italian striker named Enrico Chiesa also joined them from C1 side Chieti.
The ambitious Parma signed Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla (from Atletico Nacional Medellin), Argentina’s Sergio Berti (from River Plate),  Gabriele Pin (from Lazio) and defender Salvatore Matrecano (from Foggia).
At AS Roma, German striker Rudi Voeller departed after five seasons, as did long serving defender Sebastiano Nela (he joined Napoli). In addition to a new Manager in Boskov, Roma enrolled Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia from Atalanta and Yugoslavia midfielder Sinisa Mihajlovic from Red Star Belgrade.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 48, January 1993
(Argentina and AS Roma’s Claudio Caniggia)

Newly promoted Brescia decided on a Romanian contingent for its foreigners. Romanian Manager Mircea Lucescu welcomed Superstar Gheorge Hagi (from Real Madrid) to join up compatriots Ioan Sabau (from Feyenoord) and Florin Raducioiu (from Verona).

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 916 (Number 42), October 14-20, 1992
(Romania and Brescia’s Gheorge Hagi)

Belgian striker Luis Oliveira joined Cagliari (from Anderlecht) to link up with Uruguay pair of Enzo Francescolli and Jose Herrera.
South American trio of Uruguay defender Paolo Montero (from PeƱarol Montevideo), Argentina’s Leo Rodriguez (from Toulon) and Colombia’s Ivan Valenciano (Junior Barranquilla) (along with Alemao) Joined an Atalanta side managed by Marcello Lippi, who also welcomed Italian striker Maurizio Ganz (from Brescia).
Other new foreign signings included Hungary’s Lajos Detari (loaned from Bologna), Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri (from Velez Sarsfield) and Argentina striker Sergio Zarate (at Ancona).
AS Monaco defensive duo of Senegalese Roger Mendy and Danish John Sivebaek joined Pescara, in addition to Yugoslavia’s Blaz Sloskovic and striker Stefano Borgonovo.
Other new signings included Costa Rican Hernan Medford at Foggia, as well as the Polish duo of Piotr Czachowski and Marek Kozminski at Udinese.
Udinese’s Argentinean pair Roberto Sensini and Abel Balbo earned a well-deserved return to the Serie A after languishing two seasons in the Serie B with the side from Friuli.
But the most ambitious transfer policy (apart from that of Milan) belonged to Lazio. Lazio President Sergio Cragnotti was very keen for Lazio to be a player in the Serie A and it was from this season onwards that they became a challenger in the League.
Lazio had signed England star Paul Gascoigne more than a year earlier, but he was out of action (and in England) while he was recuperating for an entire season. He would mark his return that season.

Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 3, Issue 11, November 1992
(England and Lazio’s Paul Gascoigne)

A side that already contained the German duo of Thomas Doll and Karl-Heinz Riedle made many more quality signings.
Dutch midfielder Aron Winter from Ajax and little known Brazilian Djair Brito joined their foreign contingent.

Photo From: World Soccer, October 1992
(Holland and Lazio’s Aron Winter)

The Italian signings included Diego Fuser (fed up at not commanding a regular spot at AC Milan), long serving former Torino Libero Roberto Cravero and newly capped former Foggia striker Giuseppe Signori.
Brescia defender Luca Luzardi and Cremonese trio of Mauro Bonomi, Giuseppe Favalli and Dario Marcolin completed Lazio’s signings.
Of course there was one potential signing (actually a return) that was still in the air. Diego Maradona was about to complete his suspension sentence and was still legally bound to Napoli. Maradona was opposed to return to Italy and in the months leading to the start of the season, his future destination (or possible return to Napoli) had to be sorted out. In the end he was transferred to Spain’s Sevilla and this was the end of Maradona’s association with Italian Football.
Now to the matters on the field, the season started on September 6th, 1992.
While all these signings discussed seemed mouth watering, problems were brimming down the surface that some had foreseen.
For AC Milan’s first few couple of matches French striker Jean-Pierre Papin was substituted. He immediately complained that he had not come to Milan to play 45 minutes here and there. But at least he was playing; Gullit, Savicevic and Boban were restricted to the stands.
From early on it was apparent that Rijkaard and van Basten were set as starters and Gullit, Papin, Boban and Savicevic had to fight for the third foreigner spot.
Despite continuously winning matches, this seemed a continuous problem that could potentially derail them.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(Holland and AC Milan’s Frank Rijkaard)

It seemed that initially there were supposed to be only four foreigners at Milam. Boban was supposed to have been part of Papin’s transfer package and join Olympique Marseille, but he refused and chose to make it in Milan. In addition, Dejan Savicevic had been programmed to join Milan in 1993, but the escalation of the Civil War in Yugoslavia necessitated his transfer one year ahead of schedule.
AS Roma Manager Vujadin Boskov described the foreign player problems at Milan as a ‘time bomb’. He noted that a player like Savicevic would not stand for life in the stands. Savicevic had even requested a written guarantee for a spot and had claimed that he had signed only because he believed Gullit was leaving. Gullit and Rijkaard had also declared prior to the start of the season that they would not sit on the bench.
Gullit even mentioned of leaving and joining the Japanese League if the situation was not resolved.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(Holland and AC Milan’s Ruud Gullit)

Others such as German striker Rudi Voeller (now at OM) and Diego Maradona were also critical of these foreign player policies.
Maradona believed that Milan were not strengthening themselves, but were only weakening the opposition.
Even Milan’s Italian contingent (many of whom Full Internationals) were victims of this new policy of ‘Turn-Over’ and Rotation.
Players such as Eranio, Evani, Donadoni, De Napoli and Marco Simone saw their playing time limited and were often confined to the bench.
As far as Milan Manager Fabio Capello, it was very clear. Those who were the most in form and who could offer the most would play. He believed with the excessive number of matches in the season, there would be room for everyone.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(AC Milan Manager Fabio Capello)

Even though Milan appeared to have the biggest selection headaches regarding foreigners, other teams had similar problems as well. David Platt was often sidelined at Juventus, as were Darko Pancev and Sammer at Inter.
Despite these issues, Milan kept on winning as usual with Marco van Basten justifying his presence and in the form of his life.
Ruud Gullit finally made his first appearance of the season on Matchday 5 (October 4th, 1992).
Fiorentina hosted Milan in what appeared to be a balanced match; however, Milan destroyed Fiorentina at Florence with a whopping score of (7-3) with Gullit chipping in with two goals. Such was Milan’s dominance that they were already League leaders with a game in hand.

Photo From: World Soccer, January 1993
(Argentina and Fiorentina’s Gabriel Batistuta, November 22, 1992, Brescia 1-Fiorentina 1)

That Matchday also had another significance, 58 goals were scored that day. This broke a record dating back to February 1931. It was becoming clear that goals were being scored in abundance in the League once known for its defensive realism. Many believed that new backpass rule instituted that season encouraged a flowing game (the goalkeeper could not handle a backpass but only use his foot). Others believed Arrigo Sacchi’s influence during his days at Milan had generated a new philosophy of attacking play in the League.
On Matchday 7 (October 25th), while Milan was continuing with its imperial ways by defeating Parma away (2-0), the first table topping clash took place at San Siro with Inter taking on Juventus.
Both sides had been somewhat struggling from the starting gates, but Inter was dominant against a struggling Juventus side (3-1 win). This loss would be endemic of Juventus’ season that struggled especially defensively.

Photo From: Soccer International, March 1993
(Igor Shalimov and Roberto Baggio, October 25, 1992, Internazzionale Milano 3-Juventus 1)

The following week (Matchday 8, November 1st), Milan dropped its first point of the season after a goalless draw with Torino, but their advance was so great with the rest of the League that it did not seem to matter.
It was around this time, that when Juventus’ Gianluca Vialli was asked who could stop Milan, his reply was ‘The Police’.
Matchday 9 (November 8th), AC Milan displayed another performance of soccer brilliance by destroying Napoli (5-1) at San Paolo. Marco van Basten scored four goals that day. The unstoppable Dutchman scored another four goals weeks later in a Champions League match vs. IFK Gothenburg, which prompted his Manager Fabio Capello to declare him as the best player in the World.
These performances earned van Basten the Ballon d’Or (his personal Third) at the end of the year. Milan were simply unstoppable at this point, the Scudetto was a certainty, the only question was whether they would go through a season undefeated (again!) and also win the Coppa Italia and the Champions League along the way. At this juncture these seemed realistic possibilities, such was their dominance.
On the same Matchday, Juventus’ Roberto Baggio also scored four goals of his won in a win over Udinese (5-1).
Napoli’s humiliating home loss over Milan would be fatal for its Manager Claudio Ranieri who resigned two days later. While his new signing Fonseca had been a success, the team’s results had been disastrous and had suffered as much as five League defeats so early in the season and were flirting with relegation. Ranieri, along with Genoa’s Bruno Giorgio, were the first Managers to lose their jobs in the season.
Former Juventus Manager Luigi Maifredi was appointed as Giorgio’s replacement at Genoa.
Ranieri’s replacement at Napoli was somewhat of a surprise. 1987 Title winning Manager Ottavio Bianchi was re-appointed by Club President Corrado Ferlaino to salvage something from a poor season.
Of course, one must remember Bianchi had left in 1989 after a long feud with Maradona, not to mention senior players like Bruno Giordano and Salvatore Bagni who had instigated a mutiny against him in 1988.
In the November Midseason transfer window, more foreigners joined the Serie A. Dutch and Ajax winger Bryan Roy joined Zdenek Zeman’s Foggia. Dorin Mateut joined his compatriots to increase the Romanian colony at Brescia, while Czechoslovakia Milos Glonek joined Ancona to replace Oscar Ruggeri who departed to Mexico.
Brazilian midfielder Carlos Dunga joined Pescara after being unable to hold a regular spot at Fiorentina.
Inter would sign Italian midfielder Antonio Manicone from Udinese with Stefano Desideri going in the opposite direction. Manicone would adapt so well that German midfielder Matthias Sammer would be benched.
The future Ballon d’Or would leave in a few weeks and rejoin the Bundesliga by signing with the ambitious Borussia Dortmund.
On Matchday 10 (November 22nd), the Milan derby took place at San Siro. The tie match (1-1) seemed to satisfy both sides. The match did have a negative effect on Milan’s then starting goalkeeper. Francesco Antonioli was at fault for Milan’s equalizer. An injury the following week would elevate Sebastiano Rossi as starter and he would not relinquish it.

Photo From: World Soccer, January 1993
(Marco van Basten and Giuseppe Bergomi, November 22, 1992, AC Milan 1-Internazionale Milano 1)

In that Round (Matchday 11, November 29th), Juventus’ home defeat vs. Milan (0-1) through a Marco Simone goal all but ended Juventus’ title challenge.
Sebastiano Rossi after replacing Antonioli saved Gianluca Vialli’s penalty kick in the last minute to stop Juventus’ last hopes in every way.
Inter Manager Osvaldo Bagnoli all but gave up on the title race after the result.
The inconsistent Juventus were also having problems with Roberto Baggio, who publicly felt under appreciated by the Juve management.
Both Juve and Inter lost further ground the following weeks.

Photo From: World Soccer, January 1993
(Gianluca Vialli and Gianluigi Lentini, Antonio Conte is on the left, November 29, 1992, Juventus 0-AC Milan 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(Gianluigi Lentini and Dino Baggio, November 29, 1992, Juventus 0-AC Milan 1)

On Matchday 12 (December 6th) Inter lost at Ancona (0-3) and Juventus at Firenze (Fiorentina winning 2-0).
The following week (Matchday 13, December 13th), Lazio defeated Inter (3-1) and Foggia defeated Juventus (2-1).
It was when van Basten was at his absolute best that his season (..and career) more or less ended. On December 18th, after being told of his Ballon d’Or award, he had surgery on his ankle and would be sidelined for months.
AC Milan kept on winning with Papin now established as the starting striker and starting to score more regularly with van Basten’s long term injury.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 12, 1993
(France and AC Milan’s Jean-Pierre Papin)

Before the Christmas break, Milan played and won their postponed match vs. Sampdoria to open up an eight-point lead.
By the new year (1993), it was business as usual at the top with Milan.
However, Inter were starting to become a better unit under Bagnoli and picking up wins.
Confusion and instability still reigned at Juventus with Trapattoni declaring that he would experiment with Vialli as a midfielder.
Lazio had also much improved with the new signings. Aron Winter had adapted well to the Serie A and Diego Fuser’s form would earn him a National Team call-up during the season.
The most surprising addition of Lazio had been Giuseppe Signori, who was scoring goals on regular basis. He would go on to become the top goalscorer that season in the Serie A (26 goals). A feat that he would repeat two more times in the following three seasons.

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 916 (Number 42), October 14-20, 1992
(Lazio’s Giuseppe Signori)

The new year (Matchday 4, January 3rd) saw the end of Gigi Radice’s time at Fiorentina under acrimonious circumstances. After Fiorentina’s home loss vs. Atalanta (0-1) he was verbally confronted in the dressing by Vittorio (son of Mario) Cecchi Gori for his use of zonal tactics. The argument became so heated that it could have gotten physical. His replacement was a Television Commentator, Aldo Agroppi. (Keep in mind for the end of the season that Fiorentina were fourth at the time of his firing).
There was also the strange case of Fiorentina’s away uniform. Some fans had noticed that the outlines of the design resembled a Nazi Swastika. Of course it was computer error and not intentional, but nevertheless on December 1st, Fiorentina changed the design.

Photo From: World Soccer, February 1993
(Fabrizio Di Mauro with Fiorentina’s controversial away jesrey)

By the halfway stage of the season (Matchday 17, January 24th), Milan lead Inter by eight points and running away with the title.
For Inter, Uruguayan striker Ruben Sosa would take center stage and be the key component in Inter’s comeback in this second half of the season, where they would narrow the gap at the top.
Inter would get better news (for the following season that is), when it was announced that Ajax’s Dutch duo of Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk would be joining them the following season.
Bergkamp’s signing was a coup, as Inter, AC Milan and Juventus had been in a three-way race to acquire his signature.
On March 1st, Genoa fired its Manager yet again by replacing Gigi Maifredi with Claudio Maselli.
By Matchday 22 (March 7th), Milan had opened up an eleven-point lead over its city rivals after a win vs. Fiorentina (2-0, both goals from Savicevic) and Inter’s tie at Atalanta (1-1).
That day also marked the Serie A debut of Napoli defender Fabio Cannavaro. The Future Italy Captain appeared in his team’s loss at Turin (Juventus 4-Napoli 3).
The month of March was devastating for AS Roma. On March 17th, an arrest warrant was issued for Roma President Giuseppe Ciarrapico. He had been implicated in the ‘Tangentopoli’ corruption scandal. He surrendered to the authorities on March 22nd.
The day before on Matchday 24 (March 21st), AS Roma’s Argentinean striker Claudio Caniggia’s random Drugs Test revealed traces of Cocaine (AS Roma 1-Napoli 1).
On April 6th, the Italian Federation (FIGC) would confirm the results and two days later, Caniggia would be suspended and on April 22nd, he would be banned from playing for 13 months.

Photo From: World Soccer, May 1993
(AS Roma President Giuseppe Ciarrapico and Argetina’s Claudio Caniggia)

On this very Matchday 24 (March 21st) Juventus reached its nadir with a home loss vs. Inter (0-2). Juve had lost many matches in the season, especially in the previous weeks against the likes of Atalanta and Brescia. Their season all but over they would go on and concentrate for the UEFA Cup for the spring.
The win had more a positive psychological effect on Inter, since they won at a rival’s home. They would continue to pressure Milan.
The most significant event that day was Milan’s loss at home to Parma (1-0). This ended their unbeaten streak that stretched back to the end of the 1990/91 season (with Arrigo Sacchi still in charge).
Parma’s goalscorer, the Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla had also been one of the surprises of the season. Parma as well would improve in this second half of the season (finishing third) and would establish themselves as one of the new powers of the Serie A.
In the following weeks, Milan would manage to only tie matches, while Inter would continue to pick up wins.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 51, April 1993
(Colombia and Parma’s Faustino Asprilla)

The table-topping clash of the season took place on April 10th (Matchday 27).
Despite still leading by seven points, Inter appeared to be more confident having won many matches on the trot with Sosa in scintillating form.
The match was seen as Inter’s last chance and the (1-1) score, appeared to have ended their last hopes.
The following week (Matchday 28, April 18th), the title race became more interesting and open once again as Milan lost at home for the second time (1-3 Juventus). Juventus was slowly regaining form with Baggio now playing excellent football.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 52, May 1993
(Juventus’ Roberto Baggio)

Milan’s loss coupled with Inter’s away win at Brescia (1-3) reduced the gap at the top to 5 points. Milan appeared to be a wounded beast there for the taking and Inter, given their form, believed they might still have a chance.
It wasn’t that Milan had lost many matches (only two at that juncture) but had managed so many tied matches in this second half of the season, while Inter were picking up full points.
On Matchday 29 (April 25th), Milan once again managed to tie (scoreless at Udinese), while Inter defeated Ancona (3-0). The gap was now 4 points with five matches to go.
On Matchday 30 (May 9th), Milan got a glimmer of hope with the return of van Basten, missing since November. He scored on his return at Ancona (3-1). Milan were desperately in need to have him play a number of matches, so that he would be fit for the Champions League Final in late May.
In the following two matches, both Milano squads could only muster tied matches and the gap still remained at four points.
The title deciding round turned out to be the pen-ultimate one. Milan once again could only manage a tie (1-1) vs. already relegated Brescia.

Photo From: World Soccer, August 1993
(Ruud Gullit, May 30, 1993, AC Milan 1-Brescia 1)

Photo From: World Soccer, August 1993
(AC Milan squad, May 30, 1993, AC Milan 1-Brescia 1)

However, Inter’ s loss at the now-powerful Parma (0-2) handed Milan the title.
Parma would go on and triumph at Europe, winning the Cup Winners Cup. This was first European title for a team that was in the Serie B just three years prior.
This would be a springboard for further success and trophies in the coming seasons for Nevio Scala’s side.
The Final Matchday (June 6th) saw Fiorentina get relegated to the Serie B, for the first time since 1938, despite winning (6-2) vs. Foggia. They were at one point fourth in the Table and had spent on players and were realistically hopeful of European qualification.
However, after Radice’s firing, they had slowly slid down the table with Aldo Agroppi and then former youth coach Luciano Chiarugi (who had taken charge in May) unable to stop the rot.
They were joined in the Serie B with Pescara, Ancona and Udinese.
Inter were joined at the UEFA Cup with Parma, Lazio, Juventus and Cagliari.
Cagliari’s veteran Manager was rewarded with the vacant spot at AS Roma for the following season. Vujadin Boskov left his post in a new Roma (On May 21st, Pietro Mezzaroma and Franco Sensi bought controlling interest in the team).
Juventus’ improvement in the springtime earned them the UEFA Cup title (by defeating Borussia Dortmund) and were somewhat able to save a poor season and end on a positive note.
Torino won the Coppa Italia by defeating AS Roma at the end of the season (3-0, 2-5).
Milan deservedly won its second successive Scudetto (the first team to do so since Juventus in 1982) but they just barely crossed the finishing line and celebrations were not as exuberant as the previous season. Their lead over their competitors had been so dominant that the race had been a foregone conclusion despite Inter’s late surge.
The extent of injuries took its toll on Milan and they were clearly off the boil in the second half of the season. Were it not for their massive lead in the first half of the season, it is possible that they may have not won the title.
Their loss in form must have been a contributing factor in losing the Champions League Final vs. Olympique Marseille in May.
Unbeknown to Marco van Basten, he was playing his final match as a professional in that Final (He would retire outright two years from then).
At the end of the season, both Gullit and Rijkaard called time on their Milan careers (…for Gullit temporary). Rijkaard (despite attempts by Capello to change his mind) wanted to wind down his career at his first love Ajax. Gullit, fed up with the foreign player situation, joined Sampdoria (along with Juventus’ Englishman David Platt, who had similar problems).
Long serving AC Milan winger Alberigo Evani also joined Gullit at Sampdoria in the hopes of getting more playing time for National Team consideration.
Italian striker Aldo Serena retired after a career that saw play for many teams (sometimes more than one spell at each location). He had spent his last two seasons at AC Milan but had hardly featured.
Belgian midfielder Enzo Scifo also left Italy for good after two positive seasons at Torino. He rejoined the French League by signing for AS Monaco.
His displays at Torino redeemed his solitary disastrous season at Inter (1987/88).
Brazilian striker Careca would also end his time in Italy after six seasons by joining the Japanese League. His compatriot Dunga also left Italy after six seasons to join Bundesliga’s VfB Stuttgart.
Fulvio Collovati, one of the veterans of the 1982 World Cup win also retired from playing at the end of that season. He had spent his last few seasons at Genoa.
An era at Milan had ended with the departures of Gullit and Rijkaard. A new Milan was to be prepared for the following season without its Historic Dutch trio. While, city neighbors’ were perhaps starting a new Dutch Dynasty of their own. Juventus also fancied their chances after their late improvement and Roberto Baggio finally showing the form that had made Juve spent a then World Record on him in 1990. Parma and Lazio were playing with the big boys now and had become genuine challengers on and off the field. The Seven Sisters (Sette Sorelle) was in its early stages now with their ascension.

However, until proof to the contrary, the ‘Rossoneri’ were the center of Italian (and World) Football (1993/94 season, to be continued…..)

Photo From: (Magazine Source unknown) / Contribution From a blog viewer
(AC Milan squad, 1992/93)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you again, a wonderful read, and I am excited to read about the 93/94 seasons.