Milan wrapped up the title this year, but it doesn’t come close to the achievement of the Milan side of the early 90’s, especially the team of 1991/92, who not only clinched the title but went the whole campaign unbeaten. A massive 58 games was Milan’s unbeaten run, and Fabio Capello’s side truly was one of the greats.
At the start of the ’91 season Capello was brought in by Silvio Berlusconi to replace the legendary Arrigo Sacchi, who had moved on to take charge of the Italian national side. Capello was seen as a ‘company man’, put in by Berlusconi to follow his lead and make no major demands. This was Capello’s first problem as five of the starting 11 were over 29 and it was clear Berlusconi would not be backing him in the transfer market. On day one he addressed the players and made it clear he had faith in them, and reminded them it was Sacchi who wanted them out, not him – ‘I want you to prove to all the naysayers who don’t believe in you that they are wrong. That you do have a future and that we can win together’
The players were instantly behind their new boss and team spirit was high. As for the team itself Capello had inherited Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Guillit and Marco Van Basten, who he referred to as the ‘professori Hollandi’. Sacchi had signed all three pivotal figures in 87/88. With a defence that included Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, and the Dutchmen in midfield assisted by Carlo Ancelotti, on paper it was a force to be reckoned with.
Capello’s side were about to stamp their authority on Italian football, the team racking up 4 league titles in 5 years, and one of their biggest achievements was going the whole of the 91/92 league campaign unbeaten.
However, it was not a classic start to the campaign. Of the first 5 games 3 matches were drawn. Two late van Basten penalties were needed to snatch draws against Fiorentina and Genoa, whilst his first minute penalty beat Cagliari.
Milan soon got into there stride though, winning the next 6 games. From here Milan never looked back, handing out thrashings to Napoli, Ascoli and Foggia before Fiorentina and Genoa briefly slowed their progress with back to back 0-0 draws. Capello’s stern tactics which emphasised solidarity were counterbalanced by Van Basten’s finesse. They pushed on to win the title at a canter, well ahead of Juventus in second.
The season finished with an 8-2 thumping of Foggia, who were one of only two teams to score more than one goal past ‘The Invincibles’. Milan never let more than two goals in and only conceded 9 at home all season. Sebastiano Rossi was the goalkeeper at the time and was undoubtedly helped by playing behind such greats as Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta. Unfortunately for Rossi this strong defensive unit was one of the reasons he got so few international call ups – ex-Milan coach Sacchi obviously felt it was the defence and not the keeper that was key to Milan’s success.
At the other end Van Basten hit 25 league goals to become Capocannoniere again. His nearest team mate in the scoring charts was Daniele Massaro with 9 league goals.
It was a remarkable season for Milan who would go on to win 4 Serie A titles in 5 years. The unbeaten streak of 58 games is a Serie A record and is the 3rd longest unbeaten run in European football, Steaua Bucharest holding the record with 104 games followed by Celtic on 68 games. The run started with a 0-0 draw against Parma on the 26th May 1991 and it was ironically ended by Parma who won at Milan 1-0 on the 21st March 1993 after a goal from Faustino Asprilla.
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