Former Milan director Massimiliano Mirabelli reiterated he had a deal with Cristiano Ronaldo and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Yonghong Li’s exit was “absurd.”
The ex-director of sport under the Yonghong Li era, which ended with default on a loan and passage of the club to US hedge fund Elliott Management, spoke to TeleLombardia about his experiences.
“I confirm what I said, that there was the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo. We weren’t kidding ourselves: I can assure you that if the current owners had been in charge at the time, at this precise moment Cristiano Ronaldo would be wearing the Milan jersey. I can mathematically guarantee it.
“He didn’t mind not playing in the Champions League. He told us: ‘I’ve never won the Europa League, so I’ll win that too.’
“I sat down with his agent and my part of the deal was finished, everything had been defined, including the salary and the price of the transfer. I had no fear of anything going wrong, because when Silvio Berlusconi sold Milan to the Chinese group, he told us of a great man, with great lawyers and great banks behind him. Berlusconi said they would be able to do for Milan what he no longer could.
“All the players we signed were paid for. We also had Aubameyang and he wanted us. The regret is that we had a deal with him and Borussia Dortmund, but his father got in the way.
“When I was negotiating for Aubameyang, Vincenzo Montella’s first choice was Nikola Kalinic and I had to follow the instructions of my Coach. Before leaving, we spoke to Alvaro Morata, Ciro Immobile, Karim Benzema and started the negotiations with Gonzalo Higuain, getting him to speak to Gennaro Gattuso.
“With Andre Silva, we knew this was an important player and we’d have to wait for him, because he was from Portugal and arriving in an important club. In a few years, he’ll be one of the best in the world. If Sevilla buy him, Milan will still make a €15m profit.”
Ultimately, Yonghong Li defaulted on the loan from Elliott Management for just €10m.
“We were always a little tense when waiting for the payments to come in, but they always arrived. They arrived the last day, but they arrived,” continued Mirabelli.
“I don’t know what happened with Yonghong Li, but we always paid the bills, we never left an IOU. The craziest part was the few hours just before finding out if Elliott had received the money or not. It’s incredible, as we had these huge groups prepared to purchase Milan for millions, but the absurd thing is he lost everything when he had the chance to make a profit.”