Under a golden period that started under Arrigo Sacchi in 1987 which was continued by Fabio Capello from 1991 Milan had won three league titles and two European Cups prior to the 1993/94 campaign.
With legendary players like Carlo Ancelotti, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Alberigo Evani now moved on and with Marco van Basten enduring a lengthy injury that would go on to end his career. Milan without some of their previous superstars would have to rely on its outstanding defence if it were to retain the Serie A title and go one better in Europe after losing to Marseille in the 2003 Champions Cup final.
With only three foreigners permitted in came Marcel Desailly with Romanian striker Florin Raducioiu and Danish legend Brian Laudrup joining on loan. But with Jean-Pierre Papin already established in attack with the mercurial Croat Zvlonimir Boban in midfield it was France international Desailly that would establish himself as the final foreigner of the usual starting XI.
The season started with a 1-0 win at Lecce and Milan went seven games without conceding largely thanks to a defence that included either Christian Panucci or Mauro Tassotti at right back, Costacurta & Baresi at centre half and the great Paolo Maldini at left back.
In the Champions League they played their first six games without conceding a goal and lost just once in the league (all be it in a classic) against Sampdoria 3-2 with Gullit scoring the winner against his former club.
Having totalled six 0-0 draws in the first half of the league season Milan then won 9 straight games from January to March which all but won them the league before a single goal defeat at Napoli. Milan would draw their last two Champions League group games 0-0 and would stutter in the Scudetto drawing their next four games, two of them of course scoreless.
Having won their group (winning two matches and drawing four games) in the Champions League they were awarded a home semi-final against Monaco who were runners up in their group. A 3-0 win thanks to goals by Desailly, Albertini & Massaro sent Milan in to the final against Barcelona who were firm favourites with the likes of Romario, Stoichkov, Koeman & Guardiola in their team.
Milan lost their final Serie A game of the season 1-0 at Reggiana (ensuring safety for their opponents) and went the season losing just three games winning 19 and drawing 12. It was far from classic attacking football but defensively they were awesome, conceding only 15 in 34 games. They conceded just four in 11 Champions League games before the final.
That final in Athens was supposed to be a classic between two of the world’s best teams, but what happened was a classic performance from a dominant Milan side that oozed class on the day. Arguably the greatest Champions League final performance from a team defensively capable but attackingly elegant.
First Daniele Massaro prodded home before finishing left footed to make it 2-0. In the second half Dejan Savicevic scored a stunning lob before Desailly broke through to score the fourth. All before the hour.
Milan eased off and recorded their third and most famous European Cup victory in six years. It was their 14th Serie A title and one of their most impressive after losing such star assets.
This was certainly not the best team of AC Milan players, but it was certainly one of the best teams as Fabio Capello’s organised outfit proved stern, tough to beat and defensively superior to any other team that has tried those tactics. In attack they were often short, often relying on a single goal with only Daniele Massaro reaching double figures.
This team was built on defence, and in defending their league title they improved on a year earlier to win the Champions League in the most phenomenal fashion that will always be remembered. The Milan way, the Italian way epitomised better than ever before thanks to the success this great side achieved.