Founded as Milan Cricket and Football Club the team is one of the most successful teams in Italy ever with 17 league titles, with only Inter (18) and Juventus (27) with more. Milan were founded by two Englishmen: Alfred Edwards and Herbert Klipin, thus the english version of the team's name is commonly used (in Italian, the city is called Milano).
Milan CFC had immediate success by winning their first Scudetto in 1901 - ending Genoa's dominance, who had won all competitions since 1898. Hereafter, they also won in 1907 and 1908. Following the latter victory, there was a rather big controversy within the team regarding whether to let foreigners play or not. It ended in the formation of Internazionale, who let foreigners play in their team, hence the name. After these events, Milan did not win a single domestic title until 1951, although they did win the 1918 Federal Cup that was played during World War I. The Federal Cup was never recognized as an official Italian Title though.
They changed their name to Milan Football Club in 1919, while the Fascist regime forced the team to adopt a more Italian name: Associazione Calcio Milano in 1938. After the World War II the team abandoned the name, though only changing Milan back to Milan.
The 1951 Scudetto was led by the Swedish trio Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm. Milan had great success in the 1950s, winning the league in 1955, 1957 and 1959. The success continued in the 1960s, where they proceeded to win trophies on an international scale under the guidance of trainer Nereo Rocco, who invented the catenaccio tactic that was heavily used by Inter during the same period. A Serie A title came again in 1961/62 while they in the next season won their, and Italy's, first European Cup repeating the same success in the 1969 season where they also won their first Intercontinental Cup.
In 1972 they reached the finals of the UEFA Cup but lost to Tottenham Hotspurs. To date, this is the only major trophy Milan has not won that they were eligible to participate in. During the 1970s the team did not achieve big success only winning the Scudetto in 1978/79 which became their tenth in total. The year later though the team was relegated to Serie B by the Italian Football Federation together with Lazio due to their involvement in a betting scandal. They returned to Serie A in 1981, but went straight back to Serie B after their worst season ever in the top flight. The team managed to climb back to Serie A the season after and have stayed there since.
In the 1990s the team had massive success being called 'Gli Immortali' (The Immortals) and 'Gli Invicibili' (The Invincibles). During this period the team had a 58 game streak with no defeats, going through the entire 1991/92 without a loss and winning the Scudetto from 1992-1994. In addition to that they reached three Champions League finals in a similar period, losing to Marseille in 1993, defeating Barcelona in 1994 and losing once more to Ajax in 1995. In 1998 they lost the final of the Coppa Italia to Lazio after a remarkable comeback by Lazio. Milan won the first leg 1-0 and was leading 1-0 at the Olimpico by half-time in the second half but the Biancocelesti came back with three goals, securing the victory. The year after, the club celebrated their 16th Scudetto, pipping Lazio to the title.
The 2000s gave the team a little less success than the decade before, with Milan merely winning the Scudetto in 2003/04 and the Champions League in 2006/07. There was controversy as they initially were not admitted to participate in their successful Champions League campaign as the team was found guilty in the Calciopoli scandal, where the first verdict was -15 points in Serie A and no Champions League. The appeal though, saw that the team achieved a spot in the highest European tournament and only a -8 point reduction in Serie A.
After seeing city rivals Inter winning the Scudetto ever since the Calciopoli scandal, the fans from the other side of the city could finally celebrate a Serie A championship after the 2010/11 season. Today, AC Milan are one of the wealthiest teams in the world, much thanks to President Silvio Berlusconi, who also is the Prime Minister of Italy. With such backing, a second successive Serie A title and an assault on the Champions League is the objective in the 2011/12 season.