Milan champions 2021-22: Djokovic's first Wimbledon title, the launch of Game of Thrones – how the world looked when Rossoneri last reigned

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

Milan are top dogs in Italy for the first time in 11 years after holding off fierce rivals Inter to finish top of Serie A.

The Rossoneri finished the season with six wins in a row, and no defeat in 16, culminating in a 3-0 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday.

After falling just short in Stefano Pioli's first campaign at the helm when finishing second, Milan can finally celebrate a first Scudetto since 2010-11.

While it may only have been a little over a decade since Milan last reigned, a lot has changed both in a sporting and non-sporting sense.

Here, Stats Perform looks at how the world looked around the time of the club's most recent triumph in 2011.

 

First of many for Djokovic, McIlroy makes his mark

Novak Djokovic is favourite to win Wimbledon for a seventh time next month, though he was yet to claim his first crown at SW19 when Milan last lifted the Scudetto.

The Serbian went on to add the US Open to the Australian Open he also won that year, overtaking Rafael Nadal to become world number one in the process.

Tiger Woods was the highest-earning sportsman that year – some things never change – yet it was Rory McIlroy's name on everyone's lips after taking the world of golf by storm.

McIlroy carded a 69 in the final round to break the US Open scoring record with a 268 as he became the youngest winner of the tournament since Bobby Jones in 1923.

A number of major sporting events took place that year, with New Zealand beating France in the Rugby World Cup final and Japan triumphing in the women's football equivalent.

India saw off Sri Lanka to celebrate Cricket World Cup success on home soil, meanwhile, and Netherlands beat Cuba in the Baseball World Cup.

Deposed leaders fall

In the world of politics, hundreds were killed and thousands more injured during violent clashes in Egypt to protest against government corruption and poverty.

Fidel Castro resigned as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba after serving in the party for 45 years. He died in 2016 at the age of 90.

A 10-year search for Osama bin Laden came to an end when the al-Qaeda founder was killed by special forces in Pakistan.

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed during the civil war, leading to widespread ramifications.

A year of world-shifting events culminated in the United States withdrawing its last troops from Iraq, eight years after the war had begun.


Winter is (almost) coming

Television has come a long way over the past decade, not least in terms of the countless streaming services and wide array of boxsets to appease anyone and everyone.

Back when Massimo Ambrosini lifted the Scudetto in 2011, arguably the most popular series of all time, Game of Thrones, was still midway through airing its first season.

Suits, Homeland and The Killing also premiered that year, while over in Italy, 48-year-old painter Fabrizio Vendramin (us neither) won the second season of Italia's Got Talent.

Beyond painters, erm, painting to an audience of millions, the big TV talking point that year was Charlie Sheen being fired from Two and a Half Men for "self-destructive conduct".

Relight My Fire

The importance of certain technology, not least smartphones, has only grown in the past 11 years.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, played a huge part in that up until his untimely death at the age of 56 in October 2011 after battling pancreatic cancer.

One of the standout product launches of the year was Amazon's Kindle Fire, which undoubtedly helped chairman Jeff Bezos on his way to becoming the world's richest man.

Whether Milan's current crop can stand the test of time, unlike the Kindle, remains to be seen.

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    Stefano Pioli vowed to never forget the Milan supporters after signing off from his Rossoneri tenure with a disappointing 3-3 draw with Salernitana on Saturday.

    Pioli has the fourth-most Serie A wins of any Milan manager (108), behind Carlo Ancelotti (163), Nereo Rocco (120) and Fabio Capello (110).

    Yet the Italian leaves after a five-year spell in Milan, having suffered a frustrating season and finishing second behind city rivals Inter.

    "We lost together, we suffered together, we won and rejoiced together... You have an energy that we tried to put on the field," Pioli said as he thanked the fans during his speech on the pitch after the game.

    "You put a fire in my heart and it will always remain lit. I will not forget you."

    Pioli led the Rossoneri to their first league title in over a decade in 2022 but they have struggled to challenge since and are 18 points behind Inter, who visit Verona for their final game on Sunday.

    The seven-time European champions bowed out of the Champions League in the group stage earlier this season before getting knocked out of the Europa League by Roma in the quarter-finals.

    "I experienced emotions thanks to our fans that don't happen often in the career of a coach," Pioli added to DAZN.

    "They filled my heart with joy and gratification. I can only be proud of what we did together, to be forever in the history books of such a prestigious club.

    "This experience took me to this moment and I want to keep building, if I get the possibility, something special.

    "I am very demanding with myself, I leave my comfort zone. I know what to ask from the club and players, I know what it takes to raise the level again. That is the joy of this profession.

    "We were the youngest squad to win the Scudetto and I watched these lads become men. I can say that I have the ambition to try to repeat something special."

    As for his future, Pioli hinted that the Premier League could be an option if the opportunity arises.

    "I am studying English, it might be the right time," he continued. "We'll see over the next 10-15 days, which could be decisive, but I don't feel the pressure to choose anything in particular.

    "I realised that I am very resilient and tenacious. This is part of the growth process for a coach.

    "I don't like coaches who talk too much, above all those who are not working now or worked in the past and talk a lot. They've all been through the same things we have, they know judgment could be more balanced."

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    The Brazil international waved goodbye in Turin for one final time against Monza, signing off with a goal in a 2-0 victory at Allianz Stadium.

    Alex Sandro made a record-equalling 327 appearances for Juve, matching Pavel Nedved's record for the most by a foreign player in the club's history.

    Yet the versatile defender will be moving onto new beginnings after Juve ended the season third in Serie A.

    "It was emotional for me, I have never cried so much in my life," he told DAZN, having joined the club in 2015.

    "I am proud of myself and what I achieved. Over the last few days, I told everyone that the trophies and finals were lovely, but what I take away is the bond with the people."

    Paolo Montero was in interim charge once more for the clash with Monza, in which Federico Chiesa was also on target.

    The Juventus caretaker also oversaw a 3-3 draw with Bologna after Massimiliano Allegri was dismissed, and Montero acknowledged he has not changed much in terms of tactics.

    "I honestly did not come here to transform anything, but to collaborate and I am proud to be with these players," Montero told DAZN.

    "Every time they play, I sit in the stands to watch them, so it was an honour to be here with them."

    Montero referenced Chiesa as one of Juve's key players going forward.

    "We evaluated the players in the best shape," Montero added. "Chiesa has the quality to play on the right like at Fiorentina or the left like for Italy.

    "He is a champion with a very positive mentality and is prepared for the Euros this summer.

    "Chiesa makes the difference, I saw that at the stadium. If he continues to play at this tempo, he creates spaces and becomes deadly in one-on-one situations.

    "These players can play wide, central, left or right, the important thing is that they have space to take men on."

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