AC Milan and Puma collaborated to reveal the new away kit for the 2022-23 season, which was inspired by Rossoneri’s seven Champions League triumphs.
The kit, which was inspired by the 1984-85 season, will be worn by the men’s, women’s, and youth teams in their respective divisions.
CBS Sports spoke with AC Milan honorary vice-president Franco Baresi, who was captain of the Rossoneri during the 1984-85 season. Baresi went down memory lane and discussed a variety of issues, including the history of the sport and his thoughts on the current Milan squad.
“I remember very clearly that season when Nils Liedholm returned after five years,” Baresi told CBS Sports. It was a watershed event in the game and in our way of thinking. We started playing zone defence, and that turned out to be our good fortune. We were the first in Serie A soccer to accomplish it, so there was a lot of enthusiasm.”
Liedholm is widely regarded as one of the finest managers of the twentieth century, and Baresi referred to him as a “leader” for his faith in young players. Liedholm granted a 16-year-old defender named Paolo Maldini his senior debut minutes in January 1985, “another intuition of Liedholm,” according to Baresi.
“Maldini instantly established that he had qualities,” Baresi stated. “He played the second half against Udinese. [and] went on to become one of our club’s finest players.”
Much has changed since the 1980s, and Baresi admits that “now the function of the defender developed” for the sake of the game.
“Today, the defenders initiate the attacking activity by playing the ball from behind. It increased the overall quality of the game, “Baresi said. “Tomori Fikayo? He took everyone by surprise. When he came, he quickly revealed himself. He was really successful at imposing himself with his presence at our club and also demonstrating how good he is in one-on-one situations with strikers. He’s one of the team’s best players.”
Rafael Leao, Sandro Tonali, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all praised by Baresi for their title run last season, which ended an 11-year Scudetto drought.
“I believe Sandro is a really modest young player. Maybe he had some challenges at first, but he worked hard, and now he has the appropriate mentality and accepts the club’s principles. Sandro had an amazing season, not just because of his playing style but also because of his mentality off the field. I believe he has the potential to become a future point of reference. It’s always encouraging to see a team like AC Milan sign young Italian players. They set a good example for others, they understand the club’s principles, and it’s enjoyable for supporters to cheer on these players”, Baresi remarked.
“Rafael Leao has grown and improved significantly. He was more consistent on the field last season. Everyone knows his skills, and he has shown them, but I believe he can do even more, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is important not just when he plays but even when he does not because he instils confidence and bravery in the entire squad. Even if he is no longer that youthful if he plays, he can benefit the entire team.”
When it comes to the coach, AC Milan icon Franco Baresi says Stefano Pioli, who joined the club from Fiorentina in 2019, was very crucial in pulling the dressing room together in the most difficult periods, notably during the pandemic.
Over his first three seasons as coach, Pioli had a 56.62 win % and a +102 goal difference, culminating in a title at the end of this season. Those are his greatest Serie A managerial stats to date. Although it took a while, Pioli eventually led Milan to the summit. They will now compete in the Champions League for the second consecutive season, hoping to get past the stage for the first time since 2014.
“I think he has something like Carlo Ancelotti in terms of calm and relationships with his players. We are coming off a fantastic season in which we won the Scudetto. We will be returning to Champions League soccer with more confidence, and our goal is to better our performances outside of Italy”, Baresi added.
“This year, World Cup is coming in the middle of the season. We need to be prepared for that, both for the players who will compete and for those who will stay here and train,” he further stated.
Baresi, one of our generation’s finest sweepers/central defenders, is well aware of the rising interest in soccer in the United States. He represented Italy in the 1994 FIFA World Cup final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. They eventually fell short, losing to Brazil in a penalty shootout that featured a failed shot by Baresi. Despite the disappointing outcome, he recalls the competition fondly.
Baresi remarked that even if he missed the penalty, it’s a wonderful memory for him. “The soccer business in the United States is expanding rapidly, while AC Milan’s brand is well-known around the world – both for the brand and for the club’s history. Also, he saw a lot of Italian players who are currently playing in the MLS. This is a positive indicator.
“Casper Stylsvig, AC Milan’s chief revenue officer, and Marco Mueller, Puma’s senior head of product line management team sports apparel, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the new kit. It paid homage to the club’s past success while also pointing ahead to what was to come for the club after winning the Italian title”, he added.
“AC Milan is a club that looks to the future whilst never forgetting its history and traditions. That is why we are especially happy to introduce the new jersey today. It combines AC Milan’s historical legacy with its modern spirit and beautiful elegance, resulting in a one-of-a-kind product that we are confident will connect strongly with our over 500 million supporters worldwide, “said Stylsvig. “It’s a shirt steeped in meaning, with the white kit signifying the club’s amazing achievement in Europe and the seven stripes representing the club’s iconic aspect of who we are.”
Mueller described the all-white appearance for AC Milan away jerseys. It was an iconic look for AC Milan away kits that have been a hallmark of recent trophy-winning seasons.”
“Because AC Milan is rooted in history, we took inspiration from the 1984-85 season away outfit. We wanted to breathe new life into that kit while still honouring classic all-white kits from the past,” according to Mueller.
The new away kit reflects AC Milan and Puma’s strategic approach, with the two companies embracing Milan’s style, fashion, and culture to offer performance and off-pitch trendy items that tap into the unique Milanese flair. A direction that emerges from the campaign’s official photography, which incorporates local Milanese talents and AC Milan teams as part of a smart and beautiful outfit.
The new jersey is available in two styles. The official jersey is built with ULTRAWEAVE performance fabric and dryCELL sweat-wicking technology, making it the lightest and most comfortable PUMA has ever produced. The replica version is constructed of 100 per cent recycled polyester. It has dryCELL sweat-wicking technology to keep you dry and comfortable for the whole 90 minutes – no matter the time, pitch, or location. As a move toward a brighter future, both the real and replica jerseys are produced with 100 per cent recyclable materials, except the trimmings and embellishments.
The 2022-23 AC Milan away kit will be available on July 28 through Puma shops, Puma.com, the AC Milan store inside the AC Milan Stadium, acmilan.com/shop, and other merchants around the world.