We know them from the days of glory. They are legends and heroes, the ones who made Milan great. And while they are often nowhere near their peak physical fitness or the form we knew them to have, they continue to give of their time and talents. Not just to represent the club they made great, but to give back to others. They fly all over the world to play matches for charity. Their continued generosity is a sign that not all of the class and success has left Milan. AC Milan Glorie are a symbol of the club’s enduring greatness.
|The legendary Milan players who gathered in London to face Arsenal on Saturday|
On Saturday, just before the first team’s friendly match with Bournemouth and also while the other players were out on International duty, Milan Glorie faced Arsenal Legends. Imagine getting to see all of these called up players in one match! They actually lost the game, though, 4-2, with Arsenal Legends benefitting from a hat trick by Kanu and another goal by Pires, while Vieri scored both goals for Milan. But actually no one lost in that game, as all of the profits were given to charity – half to Arsenal’s charity foundation, and half to Fondazione Milan. This time around, Fondazione Milan had decided to give all of the money to the earthquake victims in central Italy.
But Fondazione Milan does so much more than that to help people all over the world. They believe in sport and also in young people, and part of their mission is to stand with young people who suffer due to issues like poverty, violence, disability and discrimination. They believe in empowering and investing in those young people and also in using sport to educate and inspire.
|Many of the Milan Glorie players gathered to celebrate Fondazione Milan's 10th Anniversary 3 years ago|
In fact, today, the European Club Association (ECA) Awards will be held in Geneva, Switzerland. And Milan are on the shortlist and could possibly win the award for the Best Community and Social Responsibility Program for their “Special Soccer Camp.” These camps, as featured on the Fondazione Milan Facebook page, are for children both with and without disabilities, combining them as one, without discrimination. Some of the children with disabilities have autism or other challenges, and these camps give them a rare chance to be included and be treated the same as their peers.
Over its first ten years, Fondazione Milan collected over €8m and took on more than 100 charity projects, including helping people who are homeless, children who are at risk financially, socially, or otherwise, and people who are in need of emergency help, such as the people affected by the recent earthquake. Now that the organization is nearly 13 years old, not only do they raise money, but they depend heavily on people who volunteer their time, too. This includes, but is not limited to, players from the first team, the former players who make up the Milan Glorie, the staff, and more.
|Three past captains still showing class and leadership today by giving of their time and talents via Milan Glorie|
We’ve seen players all the way from Baresi to De Sciglio donate their time, sign jerseys for auctions, and more to raise funds for this great cause. While Inzaghi was coaching, he could always be seen wearing the special red and black bracelets designed and sold to raise money for the Fondazione. But my favorite group of supporters of the Fondazione Milan are the AC Milan Glorie, the retired legends and players. To watch these legends of the game, who gave the Milan crest its very meaning, play again is simply amazing. Sure, the pace is slower and we don’t see quite the same breathtaking moves that we did when they played for the club. But it is still awesome. However what makes it even more amazing is that they are there for charity. Giving back to the children whose parents filled the San Siro to watch them when they were playing professionally. Giving of their time because they know they were given so much. Living legends who are setting the example and raising the bar for today’s players, fans, and more by demonstrating that youth is temporary, but class is permanent. They may represent the last of Milan’s glory days for now, but despite everything going on with the club, they are a true symbol of Milan’s enduring greatness.
This post inspired by the music of John William’s “Call of the Champions”
Our next match is
Milan vs. Udinese
Sunday, September 11 • 15:00 CEST (9am EDT)