Former Milan director Marco Fassone admits to regrets over the Rossoneri experience with Yonghong Li. ‘We should’ve focused on quality more than quantity.’
He was CEO of the Rossoneri from April 2017 to July 2018, covering the period that Yonghong Li owned the club, but the President defaulted on a loan repayment and Elliott Management repossessed the side.
“Let’s just say that the experience could’ve ended differently,” Fassone told Calciomercato.com.
“It’s logical that the new owners will want to bring in people they trust, but getting fired an hour after learning from the CAS that we’d won our appeal to get into Europe was painful.
“My opinion is that we could’ve avoided the situation and worked out an agreement without going to court. In many years of career, I have needed to fire employees, but I always preferred to avoid legal action and I feel it would’ve been more opportune then too.
“Yonghong Li left because he realised that he was unable to repay the loan to Elliott, which was due in October. It was still springtime and his search for investors was in vain, so in July he didn’t pay the €32m instalment and Milan went to Elliott.
“We had a three-year project at Milan, with the objective of immediately getting third or fourth place. We invested heavily in the transfer market to reinforce the squad in every area. The second summer would’ve allowed us to adjust things that needed changing and the third to integrate the squad.
“With hindsight, it would’ve been better to focus more on quality than quantity. We had a very strong defence, but Andrea Conti got injured immediately.”
Despite finishing outside the Champions League places, Fassone insists “it’s not true” to say the results were poor.
“We had an excellent second half of the season with Gennaro Gattuso, who replaced Vincenzo Montella, and his points average would’ve had us in third. On top of that, we couldn’t sign any reinforcements in January, having spent €200m over the summer.
“Although we spent €200m, we did also raise €60m by selling players who weren’t exactly the crown jewels of our team. Objectively, I think we would’ve achieved our targets over three years.
“It’s often tough in the first year, as after all in 2010 Juventus finished seventh when Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici took over.”
Fassone also had an experience at Inter in 2013-15, but walked away after disagreements with CEO Michael Bolingbroke.
“He was the CEO, I was the director general, but the club wasn’t big enough for the both of us, as it were. We had tried to divide up our duties, so I focused on the team and he the business side, but it just didn’t work.”
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