Lazio President Claudio Lotito has revealed how he saved the club in 2004. “They turned over €84m and had debts of €550m.”
Lazio were close to bankruptcy at the end of the Sergio Cragnotti era, despite their Scudetto success in 2000, as they posted colossal losses.
Lotito bought the Aquile in 2004 yet, while stabiising them, has since become renowned for his frugal ways.
However, he argued at a press conference: “When I entered the world of football, Lazio turned over €84m and had debts of €550m.
“The club was effectively bankrupt. I assumed the burden of €1.7bn in debts and some people considered me mad.
“For me, however, it was a challenge. We must stop the thinking that a football club can be supported by a single patron, who puts in their own money.
“This is a public company, listed on the stock exchange, and it has the obligation to carry balance sheets that show profit or that we’ve broken even. After Juve, we have won the most silverware this decade.
“I invest nothing in Lazio, if not my brain. This has allowed us to get certain results. I created an innovative system, I implemented some basic rules and Lazio today have property assets of €200m and a squad worth €600m.”
Serie A is in the midst of yet another racism storm after its anti-discrimination initiative of three monkeys attracted worldwide condemnation for a lack of sensitivity.
“The spirit was not to emphasise the racist aspect, but it was received that way. The monkey was seen as a racist act because it approaches human beings.
“We wanted to take a look at the monkey problem to say: ‘Man cannot be considered a monkey, but a human being.’”