Ranking the Top 5 Moments from Filippo Inzaghi's Milan Playing Career
Milan legend Filippo Inzaghi will spend the upcoming Serie A season toeing the technical area instead of the offside line.
The choice to appoint Inzaghi as manager followed a stint with the club's younger Primavera squad. The hope is his status as a club icon will reinvigorate both the Rossoneri and the fanbase.
Milan's preseason has been abysmal to date, but hope persists that the goal-poaching maven can impart a brand of football that will navigate the Rossoneri back into league and European contention.
Before the 2014-15 campaign kicks off, let's relive the five best moments of Super Pippo's Milan playing career.
• 2007 FIFA Club World Cup Final
On the heels of Milan's 2007 Champions League-winning run, the club subsequently qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup. After defeating AFC Champions League winners the Urawa Red Diamonds in the semifinals, the Rossoneri faced off against Argentinean giants Boca Juniors in Yokohama.
The former Italian international scored his second of the game in the 71st minute on another feed from Kaka before being subbed off five minutes later.
• Final Game of Career
On May 13, 2012, Inzaghi donned the Milan kit for the final time in a league match against Novara. He ran onto a superb lobbed ball by Clarence Seedorf, chested it down and side-footed the game-winner into the back of the net.
Hysterics ensued at San Siro, and it proved to be the last goal he ever scored. Two months later, Inzaghi announced his retirement and intent to pursue a managerial career.
5. 2007 Champions League Quarterfinals
Milan eked into the 2006-07 Champions League after the infamous match-fixing scandal stripped the club of its Scudetto. Prior to the 30-point deduction, Milan topped the league with 88 points, directly qualifying for the group stage, but wound up having to qualify after their league finish was adjusted from first to third.
The Rossoneri topped Group H, and after needing extra time in the second leg to get past a resilient Celtic side, Carlo Ancelotti's men were slated to face Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals.
In the first leg, Daniel van Buyten scored a brace, including a stoppage time goal that evened the game at two goals apiece and gave Bayern the edge on away goals.
Bayern was unable to contain Milan on their home ground as Seedorf put Milan ahead 1-0 after he opened a shooting lane and fired past a diving Oliver Kahn.
Just four minutes later, Seedorf delivered a beautiful back heel to Inzaghi, who was, as per usual, questionably offsides. Inzaghi turned and struck the ball over Kahn with his first touch.
He proceeded to celebrate in typical fashion, crushing the Bayern supporters' enthusiasm and setting up a semifinal against Manchester United.
4. 2002 Champions League Group G Match vs. Deportivo
Milan finished level on points with La Liga's Deportivo La Coruna in Group G of the 2002-03 Champions League, but were the only team to register a positive goal differential.
When the two group-toppers faced off in Spain, the Diavolo put on a show, knocking four goals past Deportivo, including an Inzaghi hat-trick.
Inzaghi's triple was a microcosm of his skill set: two quintessential poachers' goals and a well-timed run that he polished with a deft piece of finishing.
Milan went on to win the tournament on penalties against none other than Juventus, after defeating eternal rivals Inter in the semis.
3. 30-Goal Season
Nowadays, scoring 30 goals in a season is relatively commonplace, but it still remains an elusive feat in Serie A.
Inzaghi needed 49 matches in both league and European play to clinch his lone 30-goal season, but it was an impressive accomplishment nevertheless.
His 17 league goals in the 2002-03 Serie A were third behind Christian Vieri's 24 and Adrian Mutu's 18, but neither player was able to surpass Pippo's 30-goal haul.
He netted 12 goals in 16 European matches and was the second-highest scorer in the Champions League that season with 10 goals, behind just Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Injuries derailed the latter stages of his career, and although he never again registered more than 18 goals in a season, his reputation as a prolific goal-scorer endures.
2. 2010 Champions League Group G Match vs. Real Madrid
After winning four points from their first three matches, Milan needed a result against Madrid in the return leg at San Siro.
Gonzalo Higuain put Los Blancos ahead 1-0 on the stroke of halftime. After Milan was unable to level the match, in the 60th minute, Massimiliano Allegri made the shrewd decision to replace Ronaldinho with Inzaghi.
Not even 10 minutes after being subbed on, Pippo leveled the match after pouncing on a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross that Iker Casillas failed to hold.
In the 78th minute, Gennaro Gattuso played a ball over the top and Inzaghi, who was in an offside position, settled and slid the ball past an oncoming Casillas.
It was a dubious goal as the striker was clearly offsides. And while Pedro Leon equalized in stoppage time, Inzaghi's two goals in a ten-minute span against the mighty Real Madrid were a testament to his penchant for shining on Europe's biggest stage.
1. 2007 Champions League Final
Could it be anything else?
The 2005 Champions League final remains a bitter memory for all Milanisti as the club's second half collapse against Liverpool is the prime example for the old adage, "It's not over until it's over."
Two years after that dark day in Istanbul, Milan found itself in the finals once again, keen to get revenge over the same Liverpool side.
Inzaghi was picked to lead the line for a Milan side that featured some of the biggest names in the club's recent history, including Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Dida and Paolo Maldini.
Right before the half-time whistle sounded, Andrea Pirlo stood over a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box. He struck the ball around the wall and it hit Inzaghi's chest, redirected and beat Pepe Reina.
In the 84th minute, Kaka played Inzaghi through, beating the Liverpool offside trap. Maintaining his perpetually collected approach, Inzaghi rounded Reina and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Dirk Kuyt pulled one back in the 89th minute, but Pippo's brace earned him man of the match honors in what was the best performance of his Milan career.