If a manager is to be defined by the best team they ever coached, then few in history can match Arrigo Sacchi.
In four seasons at the helm of AC Milan, between 1987 and 1991, Sacchi led his team to only one Serie A title – and that in his first year in charge, when he also claimed an Italian Super Cup. It is for the team’s exploits in Europe, however, that Sacchi is most revered. Back-to-back European Cup wins in 1989 and 1990 (below), followed by European Super Cup victories on each occasion, represent the product of a communion between world-class footballers and the work of a visionary, non-conformist and revolutionary coach.
Sacchi arrived in Milan to no great fanfare. He had spent all of his 14-year coaching career to that point operating in the lower reaches of Italian football, but he had led Parma to the Serie C1 title in 1986 – and in the following season his team fell only three points short of an immediate promotion to Serie A.
Along the way, however, Sacchi masterminded not one but two Coppa Italia wins over mighty AC Milan, with a style of play that captured the attention of Silvio Berlusconi. The Rossoneri’s majority shareholder acted quickly, appointing Sacchi as a replacement for the young caretaker manager Fabio Capello in time for the start of the 1987-88 season.