Silvio Berlusconi turned down the role of Honorary Milan President because he wouldn’t be allowed to give tactical advice to the Coach, revealed his brother.
The sale of the club to Yonghong Li ended a 31-year reign at San Siro, although it took considerably longer than expected when the conglomerate changed and lost funding.
“We knew the closing would happen sooner or later, but in reality you can’t ever consider yourself ready for that moment. Not after 31 years,” former Milan Vice-President Paolo Berlusconi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Silvio is not destroyed by the situation, let’s not exaggerate. He is pained, yes. Milan was always about the heart and not business. It’s his creature. Over the last few months I saw in him at the same time the conviction he had to sell and the disappointment of having to do it.
“The more than conviction grew, so did the disappointment. His heart surgery had an important role in all this, as he sent a video message confirming he’d spend more time with his family.
“He was above all pained at not being able to hand the club over to a Milanese businessman, but nobody came forward with interest and it’s a real shame.
“The first idea had been to sell a minority share, but Mr Bee was evidently the wrong horse to bet on. The industrial project was valid and interesting, but lacked the backing of investors.”
What did Berlusconi make of the repeated delays in the closing with Yonghong Li?
“I’ve never seen a madman ready to invest hundreds of millions without a project or guarantees, so let’s leave the fear to one side. Mr Li lost some associates along the way due to the restrictions from China.
“Now that he has Milan in hand, he can move in a more relaxed manner and without doubt find other partners. I tell the fans not to worry, because unlike Silvio, he is in it for business and that is a guarantee.
“My brother demanded contractual obligations to invest heavily. The presence of the Elliott hedge fund is also reassuring, as if something were to go wrong, they’d guarantee a solution.
“The delays were an embarrassing situation both for (Berlusconi’s holding company) Fininvest and the buyers. But now the road looks to be smooth ahead of us: Li is obligated to invest and the natural next step is to be floated on the Chinese stock exchange.”
There were reports that Silvio Berlusconi could stay on as Honorary President, so why didn’t he accept?
“He did ask if he could have dialogue with the Coach, maybe give some suggestions, but was told that he couldn’t. So he preferred to give it a clean break,” explained Paolo Berlusconi.
“There was a shared vision with Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti, something that in this last decade hasn’t really been there. I didn’t see the same affection.
“There was great respect with Vincenzo Montella, but also different ideas on roles. Above all on Suso. His reasoning was: ‘I am the President who has won more than anyone, so if I suggest something, maybe you should at least try it. Then we’ll see how it goes.’
“He would’ve kept Cristian Brocchi on the bench if it hadn’t been for the Chinese investors saying no. He considered him like a son and saw him as a potential Arrigo Sacchi discovery. He was also very close to Antonio Conte, before the move to Chelsea.
“It’ll take some time for us all to realise Milan is no longer part of the family.”