Over the past few seasons, AC Milan have gone from champions to has-beens. They built up a team and sold it away, leaving just the bare bones. In came mediocrity—players who would never play for Milan in the days of their Champions League glory.
And there really was no plan. CEO Adriano Galliani spent money to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a cast of champions, only to let them go a couple of years later. The team did not anticipate the cost of high wages, and they did not care for the future.
Paolo Maldini said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport last month (h/t Football Italia) that he saw the start of this long decline in 2007, back when they won the Champions League. They did nothing to rebuild. Instead, they bought Ronaldinho and Ibrahimovic, borrowed David Beckham, and Milan looked healthy enough with these bandages on them.
They sacrificed long-term health for short-term gain. At one point, per the Swiss Ramble, they had a wage bill upwards of €200 million—the highest of any Milan team ever. They won the Scudetto in 2011, but who really cares now?
Let’s look back five years and examine the mistakes made. Starting from 2009, here are the players they should not have bought—or sold.