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Rossoneri Nation Squads: AC Milan Top XI of African Internationals

Our new series! A look at the best possible starting XI’s of AC Milan players based on their nationalities.

The second edition of the 'Rossoneri Nation Squads’ will feature the best of the African continent. Milan have had a number of incredibly talented African players over the years where some have been legends but others can barely be recalled. Interestingly, I believe Kessie and Bennacer can go on to establish themselves as key players in the resurgence of Milan and have some room carved out for them in the history books. I picked a compact 4-3-3 formation for the African nationals to accommodate the attacking midfielders who lacked pace on the wings and for the presence of three mezzallas. The close call was M'baye Niang vs Adeal Taarabt but despite the years of service from Niang I chose Tarrabt because of his sheer brilliance in just 6 months and his wonder goal against Napoli. The players in the squad managed to win the 1995-96, 1999-00 and 2010-11 Serie A titles and the 2012 Supercoppa.

GK: N/A

RB: Taye Taiwo (2011-12) [8 Appearances] - Nigeria

Taiwo joined Milan after a successful spell with Marseille in France where he won the league title just a season prior to his Milan move. The Nigerian struggled to convince Massimiliano Allegri to give him a shot at the starting spot as was regularly sidelined for Zambrotta, Antonini and Bonera. Taiwo was physically gifted with explosive pace and great stamina but the Milanisti never got the opportunity to see him in action. He was loaned out to QPR after just 6 months.

CB: Mohamed Sarr (2001-05) [3 Appearances] - Senegal

There is not much that can be said of Sarr but there aren't many African defenders who featured for the Rossoneri. The Senegal international played for the Primavera and was a depth player who at 18 was staring up at Maldini, Costacurta and Kaladhze. The youngster managed 3 appearances and a goal in the UEFA Cup against BATE Borisov before spending the next three seasons out on various loans in Turkey and Italy.

CB: Taribo West (1999-00) [4 Appearances] - Nigeria

West was a renowned centre back who joined Milan from Inter in a shock move but was confined to the bench by reported injuries despite his vast talent. Despite only playing four games, he demonstrated his solid defensive ability and even managed to score a thunderous header in a 4-0 win over Udinese. The centre back recently stated that the Mafia forced him to be on the sidelines at Milan and out of the club as they did not want an African replacing any one of the Italia legends Baresi, Maldini and Costacurta.

LB: Djamel Mesbah (2011-13) [14 Appearances] - Algeria

Mesbah was brought into Milan as a depth player from Lecce given his versatility and the exit of Taiwo. The left back struggled to break into the first team for his first season with the club due to injuries and the competition available at LB. His career fizzled out with the club as was swapped for Zaccardo with Parma in 2013 as the club chose to focus on the development of Mattia de Sciglio. He did manage to score one goal for the Rossoneri against Juventus in the Coppa Itali but Milan exited on aggregate.

CM: Franck Kessie (2017-Present) [121 Appearances] - Cote d’Ivoire

Kessie was one of the only acquisitions of the short Chinese era at Milan who has relatively panned out. The Ivorian has been at the heart of the midfield over the past three seasons and barely missed a game until this year when the tactics changed. Kessie has been infuriating with his passing and shooting but he has been an important part of the Milan side that puled up from midtable to earn Europa League places. Moreover, he is just 26 games away from becoming the most capped African for Milan. Kessie has 13 goals and 7 assists in his short time and could go on to be an important player in the club's resurgence.

CM: Ismael Bennacer (2019-Present) [23 Appearances] - Algeria

Bennacer joined Milan as they new breed of low cost-high return players being targeted by Gazidis plan. He joined the club after winning the AFCON and winning the player of the tournament award. Over the season, his influence has grown and has shown glimpses of brilliance to be a top mezzalla. He will likely switch positions next season but is a huge prospect and one of the few bright spots of the season with his commanding displays.

CM: Sulley Muntari (2011-15) [83 Appearances] - Ghana

Muntari will undoutedly be remembered for the decline of Milan but the midfielder was already a Serie A veteran who had lifted a league and cup title at the time. He struggled to have the impact and control that he showed at Inter Milan and Udinese previously partly due to the players around him. He did manage to scored a number of bangers such as his volley against Barcelona and his screamers against Chievo Verona but infamously was denied a goal that could have changed the course of history against Juventus in 2012 where Buffon slyly cheated.

RAM: Kevin Prince Boateng (2010-14, 2015-16) [114 Appearances] - Ghana

Boateng was and enigmatic figure at Milan, his arrival and immediate impact in the Scudetto winning season was undeniable and critical to support the attack. But his incredible performances only lasted while he was surrounded by stars such as Pato, Ibrahimovic and Cassano. In the 2012-13 season and going forward he was inconsistent and predictable. But at his peak with Milan, he ripped through a prime Barcelona squad and scored the winner in the Derby della Madonnina for the 2011 Supercoppa title.

LAM: Adel Taarabt (2014) [16 Appearances] - Morocco

Taarabt is perhaps one of saddest stories in football as the attacker had the potential to be one of the best when he broke out with QPR but somehow his career spiralled out of control. His six month spell at Milan alongside Kaka was a true spark as the Moroccan swerved through Serie A defences and scored stunning curlers to stun teams such as Napoli with his ball control. Milan did not redeem him but he was the main source of entertainment for Milanisti after a period of boring and confused football.

ST: George Weah (1995-00) [147 Appearances] - Liberia

The mighty George Weah is truly a Milan legend. His roar shook the Serie A in his first season as he led Milan to the Scudetto with his pace, dribbling and intense work rate. His famous goal against Hellas Verona in 1996 where he dribbled across the entire pitch and beautifully placed the ball into the bottom left corner will live forever in the minds of the Rossoneri faithful. His 58 goals helped Milan win 2 Scudetti in his 5 years at the San Siro.

Honourable Mention: M'baye Niang for his 12 goals and 8 assists but will never forget him hitting the post when Milan could have got an away goal vs Barcelona in 2013.

Team Strengths: Strong intense midfield presence, Creative attacking who can take on their man and clinical striker.

Team Weaknesses: Non existent defence, slow build up play between the mezzallas and inconsistent attacking midfielders.

Team Rating: 5.5/10 for their time at Milan. 7.5/10 for their career peak.

Poll

Rate the African Milan XI.

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A
    (2 votes)
  • 22%
    B
    (11 votes)
  • 46%
    C
    (23 votes)
  • 14%
    D
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    E
    (6 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now