Milan President Silvio Berlusconi insists he has “never” instructed a Coach to play a certain formation.
The Rossoneri patron is well-known for delivering his tactical advice, but in a new biography, ‘My Way’ serialised in Gazzetta dello Sport, the former Prime Minister explains his style.
“Have I ever dictated a formation? No. Have I suggested one? Sure, many times,” Berlusconi reveals.
“I always talk with my Coaches, we discuss formations and each player before every game. Sometimes I don’t agree with the Coach, and in those cases he always wins.
“I’ve never abused my position as President and owner of the club. I never tried to put myself above the Coach.
“After all, he’s responsible for the team’s results. With [Arrigo] Sacchi, for example, we devised the formula for a Milan which would always control the game.
“We came up with a team which always enjoyed playing, that would respect their opponents and therefore knew they’d be applauded by the fans.
“I think that concept is now a key element of Milan’s DNA.”
Legend has it that Berlusconi grew up an Inter fan, but the Diavolo President tells a different story, revealing he bought the club because of his father.
“The true meaning of Milan for me, is that it reminds of my childhood, it reminds me of my father. We’d talk [about Milan] almost every night when he came home from work.
“When he’d ask about school and homework, I’d immediately try to turn the conversation to Milan. At that time it wasn’t a big club, they hadn’t won anything.
“Somehow though, I projected myself onto that team. I identified with the individual players, I daydreamed.
“So when in 1986 I was asked to buy it [the club], I immediately thought of my father and decided. That’s why I bought Milan.”
Berlusconi also explained the reasons behind his presentation of the team after buying them in 1986, which saw the players arrive in helicopters, with ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ playing.
“I was a showman, from television,” Berlusconi recalls.
“I wanted to do something unusual and sensational, something which would make news.
“When I decided to present the team at Arena di Milano, that scene in Apocalypse Now, where the helicopters swoop down from above occurred to me.
“So I came up with the idea of showing off the players, elegant in their new uniform, from helicopters, waving to the crowd, while I made a speech about how proud I felt.”