Milan (AFP) – AC Milan will begin their Serie A title defence with the visit of Udinese after the 2022/23 season’s fixture list was announced on Friday.
Stefano Pioli’s side then face Atalanta, Bologna and Sassuolo before hosting the first Milan derby of the season in early September.
Milan took the Scudetto from Inter on the final day of last season’s enthralling title race and will likely be doing battle with their local rivals — who are set to bring back Romelu Lukaku — for the title in a campaign which starts earlier than usual.
The opening round of fixtures are on August 13, due to the World Cup which kicks off in Qatar in November, and finishes on June 4 next year.
The first week of the season will be held around when Italian families traditionally set off to the seaside, lakes or mountains on holiday to escape the intense summer heat.
The league will break from November 13 to make space for the World Cup but unlike the Premier League will not return in December, with the action starting up again on January 4.
Inter start with a trip to Serie B champions Lecce, one of only three teams from Italy’s southern regions, before facing Spezia, Lazio and promoted Cremonese before their first local derby of the season.
Should the season go down to the wire as it did in May, there are some big matches in the final few weeks which could have an impact on the destination of the title.
– Berlusconi back –
Juventus, hotly-tipped to sign free agent Paul Pogba, host Milan in the penultimate round of fixtures, when Inter await rivals Atalanta at the San Siro.
The week before Inter travel south to Napoli, who were well in the title race last season until they fell away in the final weeks of the campaign.
Milan fans will welcome back former owner Silvio Berlusconi in late October when promoted Monza visit the San Siro during the 11th round of fixtures.
Alongside right-hand man Adriano Galliani, former Italian prime minister and media mogul Berlusconi took Monza into the Italian top flight for the first time in their history via the Serie B play-offs, four years after buying the club.
Monza will host Torino and Udinese and travel to Napoli in an intriguing start for the ambitious club, who signed former Italy defender Andrea Ranocchia this month and are close to taking highly-rated goalkeeper Alessio Cragno from relegated Cagliari.
Berlusconi and Galliani won 29 trophies with Milan between 1986 and 2016 — including five of seven European Cups — when the club was sold to Chinese investors led by Li Yonghong.
Li was then forced to hand Milan over to American investment fund Elliott two years later after failing to repay debts taken out to acquire the club.
Milan announced earlier this month that they would be sold to another US fund RedBird over the summer.