AC Milan’s third qualifying round Europa League clash with Universitatea Craiova at the San Siro is set to attract over 60,000 fans.
Two days before Thursday night’s kick-off 56,000 tickets had already been sold, but fans were not lining up just for Europa League tickets at the club’s Casa Milan headquarters.
Within the first six hours of general sale, 6,000 season tickets for the coming campaign were also sold, taking the current total number of sales — including those who renewed their season tickets from last season — to around 21,000, according to Il Corriere dello Sport.
Last year, a total of 16,450 season tickets were sold in what was the worst sales in the 31 years of Silvio Berlusconi’s ownership, and the lowest point of a decline which commenced in 2012 when both Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were sold to Paris Saint-Germain.
In the 2011-12 season, they sold 31,233 season tickets with 24,670 sold in the subsequent campaign and a year-by-year decline continuing until now.
This summer, Milan have spent over €200 million on 10 new players, including the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu and Ricardo Rodriguez, while the club’s new Chinese owners also underlined their ambitions by tying goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to a new contract.
Milan are bidding to reach the group stage of the Europa League and bring European football back to the San Siro for the first time in three years.
They beat Craiova 1-0 in the away leg last week and will be confident of being part of Friday’s draw for the playoffs, in front of one of the biggest crowds for a Milan home game in recent years.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.