Europa League teams from Champions League: Milan to join success stories?

AC Milan are among the 2023/24 Europa League teams from the Champions League after they narrowly missed out on UCL qualification.

Milan finished third in a challenging group containing Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle. Despite a strong showing, Stefano Pioli’s side were ‘relegated' to the Europa League due to an inferior goal difference to PSG.

Now, the seven-time Champions League winners face an upcoming Europa League play-off clash against Rennes to preserve their European status this season. Despite their late entrance to the competition, and and some dangerous opposition players potentially awaiting them, the Rossoneri will be considered among the favourites to seal their first-ever Europa League title. 

We look at the Serie A club’s chances and see how they rank compared to previous Europa League teams from the Champions League.

Can Milan lift their first European title since 2007?  – Photo by Icon Sport

Europa League teams from Champions League – Memorable performances

Sevilla (2016 and 2023)

Spanish side Sevilla are the most honoured club in the Europa League’s history. The Andalusian side has won the competition seven times – four more than any other team.

Five of those triumphs have come in the last decade alone. Their most recent victory was against Roma in the 2022/23 final after finishing third in UCL Group G with just one win.

Atletico Madrid (2010 & 2018)

Another successful Spanish side is Atletico Madrid, who have notched three Europa League titles. Los Colchoneros have also proven to be worthy competitors after elimination from the Champions League in recent years.

Two of the club’s three successes have come after relegation from the UCL group stages. Atletico were also the first-ever champions following the Europa League’s re-branding from the UEFA Cup ahead of 2009/10.

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has led his side to two Europa League titles – Photo by Icon Sport

Chelsea (2013)

Chelsea failed to defend their 2011/2012 Champions League title and endured a poor group stage campaign in the 2012/13 season.

Eventual elimination saw the Blues head to Europe’s second-tier competition. However, Rafael Benítez guided the West Londoners to the Europa League title after they defeated fellow UCL demotees Benfica in the final. 

Inter Milan (2020)

Although AC Milan’s fierce city rivals Inter did not go on to win the 2019/20 Europa League, the Serie A side gave a strong showing following Champions League demotion.

Inter cruised to the 2020 Europa League final with comfortable wins over Ludogorets, Getafe, Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk. Yet an enthralling 3-2 defeat in the final to Europa League commanders Sevilla prevented the Nerazzurri from winning their first continental title since 2010.

Manchester United (2021)

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Man United side crashed out of the 2020/21 UCL group stage and proceeded to take the Europa League by storm. 

Big knockout round wins over Real Sociedad (4-0), AC Milan (2-0) and Roma (8-5) led United to a final clash against Villarreal. But the Red Devils could not add a second Europa League trophy to their cabinet after losing to their Spanish opponents on penalties.

Milan will have to utilise a mix of youth and experience to achieve Europa League progression – Photo by Icon Sport

Can Milan join the select group of Europa League champions?

Milan certainly has one of the higher-quality squads in the Europa League compared to their competitors. 

Players like Olivier Giroud, Alessandro Florenzi, Mike Maignan and Simon Kjær have incredible experience at the highest level in Europe. These veterans complement the younger stars of Milan’s squad well, with Christian Pulisic, Rafael Leao and Yunus Musah providing attacking flair and creativity.

Ultimately, Pioli’s side will need to rediscover their early season defensive solidity to mount a serious Europa League challenge though. 

Milan were hard to breach early in the season, keeping six clean sheets in their opening 10 matches, with two also coming in the Champions League. This is in contrast to the side’s recent form. The Rossoneri have shipped nine in their last seven matches and kept just one clean sheet.

Re-instilling such a setup will be especially warranted if Milan wants to progress to the latter stages. Especially as free-flowing Liverpool or Bayer Leverkusen could be waiting to cause an upset.

Alex is a freelance sports writer with experience writing digital news, blogs, features, exlcusive interviews and SEO. He has a keen interest and knowledge of UK and European football, ATP and WTA tennis, cricket and boxing.