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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Surly Fans Greet Milan Anniversary

ROME -- AC Milan fans have given Silvio Berlusconi a fresh perspective on his club's mighty achievements over the past decade.


On the day the billionaire media mogul completed a triumphant 10 years in charge and with Milan the runaway leader of the Italian league, around 100 fans hurled eggs at the team bus outside the San Siro stadium.


Despite four Serie A titles, three European Cups and two Intercontinental Cups won in less than 10 years, there was a disconcerting silence from the diehard fans in the stands as the Milan players ran out on to the pitch Sunday.


Angry banners were unfurled, lambasting the squad's performance in the 3-0 UEFA Cup defeat by Bordeaux of France, the club's worst loss in Europe since 1978.


"You can lose the derby and the cup but not your dignity," declared one message held aloft by the "ultras."


Normal service was then resumed and Milan went on to overcome third-placed Parma 3-0 to go eight points clear at the top with the title race seemingly over.


The protests, not directed at former prime minister Berlusconi, may seem minor in the light of Milan's continued success but they underscored a lingering sense of unease despite the team's impressive domestic performances.


For the first time in four years, Milan -- Italy's most cosmopolitan team which has fielded 61 players in the last decade with 13 foreigners -- do not have a European club final to look forward to at the end of the season. They won the European Cup in 1989, 1990 and 1994 and were beaten finalists in 1993 and 1995.


Before Berlusconi took over on March 24 1986, the "Rossoneri," or Red-blacks, won the European Cup in 1963 and 1969 with Gianni Rivera and Giovanni Trapattoni.


Many commentators agree that Milan are approaching a watershed after years of glory in the late 1980s.


The future of coach Fabio Capello, who took over when predecessor Arrigo Sacchi was appointed Italy boss, is up in the air with a move expected at the end of the season.


While the attacking line-up has changed beyond recognition over the years, the defensive backbone of the team Sunday remained the same as in pre-Berlusconi days.


Mauro Tassotti, 36, linked up with 32-year-old Filippo Galli, 35-year-old captain Franco Baresi and the "youthful" Paolo Maldini, 27.


Liberian player of the year George Weah is out for a month after breaking his arm in Milan's UEFA Cup quarterfinal defeat by France's unheralded Bordeaux while Italian World Cup star Roberto Baggio is shining only fitfully.


The reaction to the latest defeats prompted followers of clubs for whom success is a UEFA Cup place to question whether the "Milanisti" had become spoiled by success or had merely temporarily taken leave of their senses.


"Can a defeat, even if it's a bad and unacceptable one, really mean the loss of 'dignity' of a team that is winning its fourth title in five years?" asked the Gazzetta dello Sport in an attempt to sound a rare note of realism.