5 Reasons Why AC Milan Will Win the 2014 Champions League

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5 Reasons Why AC Milan Will Win the 2014 Champions League

Photo Courtesy of @ChampionsLeague Twitter

The Champions League is the congregation of Europe's best clubs on Europe's biggest stage. It's a competition where the elite battle for supremacy and struggling teams can define a season.

AC Milan must define their season.

The prestigious Italian giants have been much maligned this season, limping to seven wins in 22 games. A current tenth-place standing tells the whole story of this underachieving side.

Despite being a supremely talented group, AC Milan has not won a trophy since Massimiliano Allegri's first year with the club when they won the club's first Serie A title since 2004. The manager's reign came to an end partway through January, and he was soon replaced by club legend Clarence Seedorf.

Since the appointment Milan have won two and drawn one in the Serie A, and lost 2-1 to Udinese in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. Regardless of the cup stall, the Rossoneri are showing signs of improvement and the ability to rally around their new boss. The return of Stephen El Shaarawy from injury will also be a major boost to the club's quality.

On Feb. 19, the Milano side will host La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in what will be a stunning matchup. Atleti have been in scintillating form this season, surprising many by competing with and topping Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

AC Milan come into this tie with a 2-3-1 record in the Group Stage while Atletico Madrid boast a 5-1-0 mark. This may look to spell disaster for the Italian side, but they should not be counted out just yet. Here are five reasons why.

Emilio Gonzales is a Soccer and College Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Emilio_G184 and add him to your network on Google

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5. Active in January Transfer Window

Photo Courtesy of acmilan Instagram

Milan were not quiet in January. The free transfers of Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow and Michael Essien from Chelsea add great depth to the side while securing Adil Rami on loan from Valencia will shore up a suspect back line. The most surprising addition was Adel Taarabt, a technical attacking midfielder taken on loan from Queens Park Rangers.

Unfortunately, Honda's former club participated in the Champions League Group Stage this season thus he will be unable to participate for Milan. Fortunately, Taarabt will be able to provide cover for the Japanese international.

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4. Atletico Madrid's Success

Photo Courtesy of @ChampionsLeague Twitter

Atletico Madrid have played superbly so far this season. The Madrid side are currently first in La Liga and, depending on their Copa Del Rey tie with Real Madrid, could sport a very congested fixture list. This, along with an injury to David Villa, could see lack of rest become a factor when these two sides meet.

After all, knockout ties require a different mentality than does the attrition that comes with a long season.

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3. Clarence Seedorf

Photo Courtesy of @ChampionsLeague Twitter

Player. Legend. Manager. Clarence Seedorf has returned to AC Milan, not as a midfielder, but as the boss. Having been a regular for the Rossoneri from 2002-2012, Seedorf left for Botafogo on good terms and ended his playing career at the right time.

The Dutch international played 432 games with Milan, scoring 62 goals in the process. He won a boatload of trophies with Milan including two Serie A titles, two Champions League titles and one Coppa Italia.

All those involved with AC Milan will hope that Clarence Seedorf will be the man to bring glory back to the San Siro.

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2. Experience

Photo Courtesy of @ChampionsLeague Twitter

AC Milan boast players full of Champions League experience. Kaka, Robinho, Philippe Mexes, Sully Muntari and many others have accrued plenty of caps with the club in European competition and will be key in the big matches.

What other clubs, including Atletico Madrid, lack is Champions League experience. Manchester City of years past can attest to the fact that domestic success does not always translate to European glory.

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1. It's The Only Way Back

Photo Courtesy of @ChampionsLeague Twitter

After 22 games played, Milan sit tenth in the Serie A. Their 29 points are 15 short of Napoli who sit in third and the Champions League qualifying spot. It is not impossible, but Napoli has been playing well and only a miracle would see the southern Italian side fall below Milan.

Realistically, only a Champions League title will be able to bring them back to the tournament next season. Much like Chelsea in 2012, AC Milan could displace the third-ranked team in Serie A at the end of the season despite a low ranking themselves.

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