AC Milan last won the Scudetto in 2010-11, their first in seven years, but since then Rossoneri haven't looked anything like the team that won the UEFA Champions League in 2007.
The team, who beat Liverpool 2-1 in Athens, included the likes of captain Paolo Maldini, Kaka, Filippo Inzaghi, Massimo Ambrosini and Dida etc. is considered by some to be one, if not, the best AC Milan side ever.
Milan is known as the fashion capital of Italy, but the club who have won 18 Serie A titles haven't graced either Serie A or Europe with the quality of what you would expect. Their football this season is nothing like when you stroll down the streets of the magnificent city of Milan where every boutique is elegantly aligned with designer labels.
Milan might still be in the competition they last won six years ago, but they are in imminent danger of not qualifying for any European competition at all next season. They currently sit 11th in Serie A seven points behind fierce city rivals Inter, in 5th, who occupy the last European spot. But more worryingly is the fact they are 22 points behind Napoli who sit in 3rd in the final Champions League qualifying position.
After tonight's easy 3-0 victory over struggling Cheivo (Kaka's 300th appearance for the club, scoring twice) they have played one more game than Parma (in 6th) above them.
The struggle this season has seen the Italian giants sack head coach Massimiliano Allegri after a 4-3 defeat to Serie A newcomers Sassuolo (the second time this season, including pre-season) and replace him with former player Clarence Seedorf. The former Dutch international enjoyed a glistening 10 year career with the club that included winning the Champions League in 2005 and the Scudetto in 2011.
The first point of examination needs to be the previous manager's tenure. In defence of Massimiliano Allegri he did take AC into this season's Champions League, after finishing 3rd, as well as having a successful four-year spell with the club; they were eliminated 5-1 without a whimper by Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
But this season AC's league form has been a sorry state of affairs. When he was sacked on 13th January the club were hovering in mid-table, playing unattractive and ineffective football, going nowhere in achieving President Silvio Berlusconi's minimum aim of qualifying for Europe.
The appointment of fans' favourite Seedorf has promoted the club on a mini-revival taking 20 points from the last possible 33 on offer. His style of play has changed the Rossoneri into a more confident outfit playing a 4-2-2-1-1 formation with new loan-signing Adel Taarabt finally starting to look like the player who was named the 2010-11 Championship Player of The Year and subsequently named in the Championship team of the season.
Another notable factor in Milan's decline has been the lack of depth in the squad. When the likes of talismanic Mario Balotelli and 'the next big thing' Stephan El Shaarawy have been out injured the replacements haven't possessed the ability to have a considerable impact on games. £10 million man Alessandro Matri (loaned out to Fiorentina after only being signed from Juventus in the Summer) and Giampaolo Pazzini simply haven't had the desired impact Milan have needed them to have.
The responsibility to make sure there is sufficient depth in the playing squad is down to the manager, the sacking of Allegri seems totally justified to me.
A lack of presence from experienced players have this season left AC in serious trouble of not qualifying for Europe next season.
The form of Philippe Mexes has seen the veteran central-defender in and out of the starting 11 in favour of new loan-signing Adil Rami who finally joined from cash-scrapped Valencia in January. French international Rami's spell has so far been an effective one and the hope is he can somehow replicate the stunning 24-year playing career of former captain Paolo Maldini.
In truth AC Milan's back-four is the reason for their terrible season so far. Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, now 36, replaced the legend that was Dida, but frankly he has seen better days and a replacement is needed for next season.
Promising youngsters like Niang, Saponara, Cristante, Poli, Vergara and Gabriel are being cast-out in favour of older more experienced players such as Bonera, Mexes, Essien, Muntari, Robinho and Birsa etc. Milan need to offload a lot of these 'more experienced players' in the summer and invest and rely more on youth.
The departures of players not have not been sufficiently replaced has also contributed to Milan's downfall. The influential Kevin Prince Boateng was sold to FC. Schalke, Mathieu Flamini left on a free transfer to return to Arsenal and the most notable of the trio Massimo Ambrosini's departed to Fiorentina. Ambrosini creating a legacy making 344 appearances scoring 29 goals over a prestigious 18 year career for the Rossoneri.
The players who have been brought in to replace those individuals Nigel De Jong (who infamously kung-fu kicked Xavi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final but wasn't sent off by referee Howard Webb) and journeyman Michael Essien, no offence, can't replace Massimo Ambrosini.
The return of 'the prodigal son' Kaka and Keisuke Honda, both on free transfers, without a doubt have made up for the departure of Kevin Prince Boateng though.
Touted as having all the fire-power needed to win Serie A and maybe even the Champions League in Balotelli, Kaka, Honda and the soon to return El Shaarawy, it won't matter when a 'Serie B style defence' is present.
When someone (possibly Carlos Puyol) can replicate Paolo Maldini's leadership skills AC Milan will conquer again.
They are expected at the start of the season to at least qualify for next season's Champions League, but at the moment they are even struggling to qualify for the much debated Europa League. Despite this I still think AC Milan will finish 5th this season, if not Kaka could be on the move.