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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 26: Luigi Sala and the Back Three

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

La Storia del Milan - Youtube

Luigi Sala played for AC Milan between 1998 and 2001 as a central defender primarily in a back three. Sala joined the club when numerous experienced defenders had exited and provided some much needed stability and quality in the short term and he played a vital role in Milan's Scudetto victory in 1998/99 where the side only conceded 34 goals, the second lowest tally in the league.

Luigi Sala and Christian Vieri

Sala was an indispensable part of the defence in the 1998/99 season where the defence was centre stage in the run up to the Scudetto victory. Sala was fantastic defensively and his solidity allowed the manager Zaccheroni to operate a 3-4-3 rotating Ayala, Costacurta, Maldini and N'Gotty alongside Sala to allow for flexibility higher up the pitch. Sala was great and brought his athleticism and awareness to the defence's aid as evidenced by the team keeping 10 of their 13 clean sheets in the league when he started. He was particularly a rock against second placed Lazio who finished a point below Milan where he helped keep clean sheets home and away gifting Milan 4 points against the eventual runners up. Although Sala did not manage to hold his place with the arrival of new defenders in the seasons that followed, his contribution to the 1998/99 was a monumental feat that allowed Milan to escape the misery of the years prior where the club was stuck mid table.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 1998–99

Top Highlight

Sala only managed to score a single goal for Milan during his time at the club but it was a significant one. He netted a late equaliser for Milan in a 3-3 draw with Bologna as Milan were falling apart during the 2000/01 season. Sala pounced on a poor clearance from a free kick to smash the ball into the back of the net to save a point. Watch the highlights of the game and his goal here or below.