Saturday November 24 2012
Berlusconi on Pato, Pep and Van Basten

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi touched on many subjects during his visit, including Pep Guardiola, Marco Van Basten and Alexandre Pato.

The patron flew in with his private helicopter to the training ground in order to motivate the squad ahead of Sunday’s game with Juventus.

He commented on Pato’s demands to play more regularly or seek a transfer elsewhere in January.

“It is right to limit his appearances until he achieves full fitness, but we guarantee he has the utmost respect, appreciation, affection and warmth at Milan,” replied Berlusconi on Milan Channel.

“Pato is and was our greatest jewel at age 22 with the possibility of a decade in front of him as Milan’s club symbol.

“His football and skills are not under question, but there were a series of many – too many – injuries. Now he has emerged from this negative streak, but still needs to recover full fitness and faith in himself. He shouldn’t be exposed to intense participation in the games when he is still in this condition. If he picked up another injury, his confidence would hit rock bottom.

“Pato is a problem because all these incidents have left people with baited breath whenever he takes to the field. I imagine he too is wondering whether his body will hold up. Pato is absolutely not on the market. He is coming off a series of bad injuries and has not proved he is fully recovered yet.”

Berlusconi was asked whether there will be new signings in January, especially as Milan have qualified for the Champions League knockouts.

“We will try to keep our books in order, as with this economic crisis in Europe we really cannot afford outlandish expenditures. The idea is to reconstruct a young team within a time-period of no less than three years that can lead to a new era of success. Don’t forget the team of champions was built with one big signing per year.”

President Berlusconi confirmed the long-standing rumours that Milan are trying to sign ex-Barcelona manager Guardiola for next season as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri.

“We spoke about Guardiola to Allegri too. Faced with a possibility like this, everyone puts the effort in. We know there are some English clubs who are determined to make him theirs, but we are in the running. We have a clear idea of the situation, as it’ll be difficult to get him.”

Earlier today, Berlusconi had told journalists that Manchester City were “in pole position” for Guardiola.

Another of the options for the Rossoneri bench is Van Basten, who will be in the stands for tomorrow night’s Milan-Juventus match.

“Tomorrow I will gladly hug Marco again. We have always kept in touch and I always send him birthday greetings. We have often met up and over the years we had also thought about him as our Coach.

“As for Juve, in football we must forget about problems in the past, focusing only on the present and the future. In order to have a great Milan in Italy, Europe and the World, we must begin again from youth. For example, Stephan El Shaarawy is a breath of fresh air.”