For the former Italian Prime Minister, owner since 2018 of another Serie A club (Monza), AC Milan was an undeniable passion but also a formidable communication tool at the service of his economic affairs and his career. policy.
The love story between Berlusconi and AC Milan is comparable to that between Tapie and OM. During the 31-year reign of the “Cavaliere” (between 1986 and 2017, with a few breaks when he was head of government), the club with the famous red and black striped jersey won 29 trophies, including five Champions Leagues and eight titles. Italian champions.
AC Monza, a football club owned since 2018 by Silvio Berlusconi, and Adriano Galiani, the businessman’s longtime right-hand man and former head of government, paid tribute to the memory of the “Cavaliere”, who died Monday in the age of 86. “Adriano Galliani and all of AC Monza mourn the loss of Silvio Berlusconi,” the Lombard club said in a message on its website. “It’s a void that can never be filled, forever with us. Thank you for everything, President,” he added.
A successful reign
Under his mandate as president, Milan was then a stronghold of world football, under the orders of coaches Arrigo Sacchi, apostle of the beautiful game, or Fabio Capello, winner of the Champions League in 1994 by outclassing Barça in the final (4 -0).
The stars follow one another there when they do not mix there: the Italians Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo, the Dutch Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, but also Jean-Pierre Papin, George Weah, Andreï Shevchenko , Clarence Seedorf, Ronaldinho or Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Gullit, Van Basten, Weah, Shevchenko and Kaka have all won the Ballon d’Or during their time at the club.
Big rivalry with Bernard Tapie
This success had a price. At a time when players had not yet got into the habit of changing their tunic every three years or crossing borders, Silvio Berlusconi was a claimed pioneer of “foot business”, multiplying sparkling transfers, as will the same time Bernard Tapie in Marseille.
The rivalry between OM and Milan also gave rhythm to European football in the early 1990s, culminating in the 1993 Champions League final won by the Phocaeans (1-0).
AC Milan, deeply saddened, mourns the passing of the unforgettable Silvio Berlusconi and warmly embraces his family, collaborators and closest friends.
“Tomorrow we will dream of other goals, we will invent other challenges, we will look for other victories. What are they worth to… pic.twitter.com/CWmYy8xzwi
— AC Milan (@acmilan) June 12, 2023
In the 2000s, Milan won the Champions League twice more, and let slip a third when they were leading 3-0 at half-time against Liverpool in 2005. But Berlusconi’s wealth was no longer enough to attract the best stars while ever more powerful shareholders arrive in Europe, from the United States, Asia or the Gulf.
“His” Milan is gradually retreating and no longer winning anything after 2011, Berlusconi’s last Italian championship title.
The beautiful story, born in 1986 with the acquisition of a club on the verge of bankruptcy, ends in 2017 with the sale to a Chinese businessman for more than 700 million euros.
Weighed down by considerable debts, the club passed the following year into the hands of an American investment fund, Elliott, which itself sold it last summer to another fund, RedBird Capital, for 1 .2 billion euros, after bringing it back to the top (champion 2022).
One last experience in Monza
Leaving Milan, Berlusconi explained that “to be competitive at the highest European and world level, modern football involves investments and resources that a single family can no longer assume”. While remaining, of course, “the first tifoso” of “Diavolo”, the nickname of the rossonero club.
“It’s the team my dad taught me to love when I was a kid,” he also says.
The boss of Fininvest, however, has not finished with the round ball. In 2018, he bought Monza, a team then in the third division, with the idea of taking it to the top flight for the first time. As he had done at AC Milan, he entrusted the management to his usual right arm, Adriano Galliani, a native of Monza.
If you win against one of these great teams, I’ll bring you a hooker bus to the locker room.
Boosted by the businessman’s investments, the challenge was met in four years: Monza, whose stadium is ten minutes from Berlusconi’s villa, in Arcore, has been playing in Serie A since the summer of 2022. After a maintenance easily acquired this season, Berlusconi dreamed out loud of a league title.
Although many in Italy had learned not to pay too much attention to the words of the aging leader. Which, last December, had engaged in a new slippage by promising its players, in the middle of Christmas dinner, to bring them “in the locker room” a “bus of prostitutes” to motivate them. “I told the players: Juventus and AC Milan are coming now. And if you win against one of these big teams, I’ll bring you into the locker room a bus of prostitutes”, promised the sulphurous Italian leader to his players during the end-of-year gala dinner.
“A simple locker room joke”, pleaded the incorrigible Berlusconi in response to the general bronca