Former Milan CEO Marco Fassone claims Li Yonghong wanted to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, ‘but I convinced him to give up the dream’.
Fassone and Li were ousted over the summer after a year that saw Milan fail to qualify for the Champions League, despite the pair overseeing a €200m recruitment drive, and post losses of €126m, while the Chinese ultimately defaulted on a €303m loan.
However, the ex-Juventus, Inter and Napoli director has now revealed that Li tried to take Ronaldo to San Siro a year before he joined the Old Lady.
“It’s true, Yonghong Li wanted Cristiano Ronaldo at Milan,” he told Il Sole 24 Ore.
“Mr. Li wanted CR7 at the Rossoneri because he believed [Ronaldo] had great strength in the Chinese market.
“The player wanted to leave Madrid. We met in July 2017 with his agent Mendes to check the costs and his availability.
“It was then that I convinced him to give up the dream: Ronaldo was too expensive. I think Milan were led by an excellent board of directors. We made €20m more turnover.
“That €126m debt included €45m extraordinary costs, covered entirely by Elliott and were due to write-downs of players like Kalinic and provisions for myself and the five other directors who left the club.
“I don’t hear from Li anymore, although sometimes I do from his right-hand man [David] Han Li.
“I don’t know where the money came from, but prestigious advisors were involved in the deal so why should I have doubted him?”
“The judge will decide,” he concluded.