AC Milan are the most successful team in UEFA Super Cup history, having won it four times.
By Pete Sanderson
AC Milan are no strangers to the UEFA Super Cup.
Indeed, having appeared in the first official edition in 1973/74, 2003 saw them become the first side to compete for it on six occasions. Their 1-0 victory against FC Porto in Monaco on 29 August that year saw them become Super Cup holders for a record fourth time.
Despite such a record, Milan's first foray into the competition in that inaugural season as UEFA Cup Winners' Cup holders saw them beaten 6-1 on aggregate by AFC Ajax. Incidentally, the Dutch club are actually the next most successful team in Super Cup history, having lifted the trophy three times.
In 1973/74, the Italians in fact won the first leg 1-0 at the San Siro stadium thanks to Luciano Chiarugui's strike. But Ajax, the European Champion Clubs' Cup holders, had already taken an unofficial version of the Super Cup the previous year and became the first official winners of the competition as goals from Jan Mulder, Piet Keizer, Johan Neeskens, Johnny Rep, Gerrie Mühren and Arie Haan - the last four in the final 19 minutes - swung the tie.
Sixteen years later, it was a different story as European champions Milan expunged memories of that defeat as they took on FC Barcelona. In the first leg in Spain, Marco van Basten put Milan ahead with a 44th-minute penalty, but the match was levelled by Guillermo Amor. However, in the return, Alberico Evani's goal after 55 minutes proved enough to secure Milan's triumph.
The next year, and Milan became the first - and only - side to retain the trophy. That season already had one first, as Milan faced UC Sampdoria in an all-Italian affair.
Genoa was the venue for the first leg, and although Olexiy Mikhailichenko gave Sampdoria a lead just after the half-hour, Evani equalised within four minutes. That 1-1 first-leg draw, as the previous year, was a good omen, as in the second leg Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard struck either side of half time to earn Milan another Super Cup.
However, Milan's return to the competition in 1993/94, in another all-Italian match against Parma AC, went less well. Milan - playing because the team that beat them in the UEFA Champions League final, Olympique de Marseille, had been banned because of a bribery scandal - were away for the first leg, and seemed set for overall victory when Jean-Pierre Papin scored the only goal.
But at the San Siro, Roberto Sensini's 23rd-minute goal for Parma forced extra time, and five minutes into that period, Massimo Crippa struck the visitors' winner.
Still, Milan were back the next year as Champions League winners in their own right, and took on Arsenal FC. After a 0-0 draw at Highbury, Milan were determined that lightning would not strike twice at the San Siro, and goals from Zvonimir Boban and Daniele Massaro secured a record third victory.
Home of the trophy
It is ironic that Milan have become the most successful team in the Super Cup given that the trophy was actually designed and crafted in silver at the Bertoni workshop located in Milan.