Italian defender Matteo Darmian came through the youth program in the Rossoneriand made his debut for the club since a 16-year-old on November 2006.
At age 29, Matteo might have featured a further five occasions in all competitions before continuing in the San Siro in 2010, but it is clear that he still cherishes the decades he spent in the seven-time European champions.
“I climbed up in AC Milan,” stated the right-back, that also played for Padova, Palermo, and Torino before joining the United four decades back. “I spent 10 years at the Academy, so that I climbed up as a player but also as a guy, therefore I am proud of this.
“Once I was young, AC Milan were among the greatest clubs in the Italian league, so it was always best to see them perform.
“I believe they were among the greatest teams in the group, and not simply in [Serie A].”
In addition to the 2004 Scudetto, Milan won two Champions League names while Matteo was about the club’s novels — the first of which came in 2003 when Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat Juventus on penalties in the final at Old Trafford.
“Obviously, it turned into a huge game between Juventus and AC Milan since, as you probably know, there’s a huge competition,” he remembered. “In conclusion, Milan won the cup so that it was great for all of us. It was a fantastic game.”
Victory over Liverpool at the final in Athens four Decades after came following a Kaka-inspired Milan had seen United from the semi-finals.
The Brazilian Ballon D’Or winner was the celebrity of the side — that defeat United 3-0 in the second leg at Italy after we had edged a 3-2 thriller at Old Trafford — but the Rossoneri could call upon some true footballing greats during these dominant years in home and overseas.
“I believe [Andrea] Pirlo is the one which requires more responsibility to perform he always wants the ball and attempts to pass forward,” said Matteo.
“He had an excellent pass. [Gennaro] Gattuso, clearly, was the type of midfielder which everybody wants in their group since he recovered many balls and that he pressed anywhere.
“Then they’d [Clarence] Seedorf and Rui Costa that could make aids for goals, therefore every one the midfielders were rather excellent. ”
It had been two titles in Milan’s dreaded backline that stood out over everybody else for Darmian, however.
“Obviously they had a good deal of good players but I believe Paolo Maldini was and is my idol,” he explained. “He had been a top-class guardian so when I trained, I attempted to take a look at each minute of his coaching session since I think he had been among the greatest defenders in the world.
“[There was] also Alessandro Nesta. They had a good deal of great players — many great defenders, but I believe those two are my heroes.”
Maldini retired in 2009 and Nesta, combined with Gattuso, Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi, departed the team in the summer of 2013, and Milan entered a period of decline, however, they are still very likely to pose a challenging test for the Reds in the Principality Stadium this weekend.
The International Champions Cup tie is the most up-to-date in a long line of fixtures between the groups, going back into the European Cup semi-final of 1958.
The Italians appeared victorious back as well as at the knockout rounds in 1969, 2005 and 2007 before we eventually got one over to the Rossoneri using a thumping 7-2 aggregate win in the Champions League round of 16 at 2010.
“Obviously it is a huge competition because I believe Manchester United and AC Milan are a couple of the largest clubs in the world,” insisted Darmian, who captained the Reds within our favorable against the Italians 12 months past, when asked if he had been aware of our history.
“They struggle for large decorations, therefore Milan is a significant rival.”
As with Manchester United’s pre-season matches, you are able to view us take on AC Milan at Cardiff reside on MUTV.