AX Armani Exchange Milan comes into the 2020-21 season with a glittering new-look roster and lofty goals. Along the way, there will be many exciting stops for Coach Ettore Messina and his charges. Here's a look at five key games on the schedule for Milan this season.
Round 2: ASVEL arrives for the home opener
Milan is perhaps the most intriguing team of all heading into the new season. A series of high profile and, more importantly, high-quality summer arrivals have sparked hopes among fans that this could finally be the year for Coach Ettore Messina's team to mount a serious title challenge. The first chance for Milan supporters to see their team in action in their own arena comes in the home-opener in Round 2 with a visit from LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. If Milan can gain a convincing victory, all that pre-season optimism would just continue to grow.
Round 13: Delaney leads troops into Barcelona
December’s trip to Barcelona will be a special occasion for Malcolm Delaney, Milan's summer signing point guard who left the Catalan capital after a strong season for the local side. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Delaney never had the chance to finish what he started with Barca and he certainly won't feel as though he has anything to prove to the Palau Blaugrana faithful. But the motivation of going up against former teammates is always a big incentive and Delaney will be eager to impress.
Round 14: Fenerbahce is part of a tough road swing
Just four days after Delaney's reunion with his former team, Luigi Datome will be in a similar situation when he travels to take on Fenerbahce for the first time since his summer move away from Istanbul. Datome is sure to receive a grateful welcome from Fenerbahce fans, but from a wider perspective than the individual angle, this could be a key phase of the season for Milan, which faces a brutal run of three consecutive away games against Barcelona, Fenerbahce and then Anadolu Efes Istanbul all in the space of a week.
Round 18: Aiming to end a bad run in Madrid
A new year starts with a major challenge for Milan when it heads to the Spanish capital to face Real Madrid. Coach Messina's team has not won on the road in Madrid this century and hasn’t beaten the Spanish side at all since 2009. A run of 14 consecutive Real victories since then means this is a horrible historic match-up for Milan, which will look for point guard Sergio Rodriguez to turn on the style and help end that abysmal sequence in his former home arena.
Round 29: A homecoming of sorts for Hines in Moscow
After winning two EuroLeague titles during a glittering seven-season spell with CSKA Moscow, Kyle Hines will have been eagerly awaiting his first return to the Russian capital ever since the schedule was announced. The all-decade center will have to wait a long time, until Round 29, by which date he will hope to have his sights firmly set on helping his new Milan team secure a strong position near the top of the standings, but the emotion of his first trip back to face CSKA will be a highlight for all EuroLeague fans to treasure.