AC Milan president Yonghong Li has dismissed claims that he faces bankruptcy in China and condemned Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera for accusing him of destabilising the club.
Earlier this week it was reported that Li had been forced to declare bankruptcy, but he has refuted the reports.
“I have seen that … some media have irresponsibly reported fake news that has damaged the club, my companies, my family and myself,” he said in a statement on Milan’s official website.
“From the day I bought AC Milan, I have faced difficulties and have been under unprecedented pressure.
“Following these irresponsible news reports, I would like to calm down the environment around the club and the team.
“We do not understand the purpose of these allegations, but they have now reached the point where the club is severely damaged by them and so are my companies and my family.
“I want therefore to take the opportunity to explain — hoping this will be the last time — that the situation concerning my assets is safe and sound and that both the club and my companies are steadily working.”
Li said he hoped “attention can be focused on what we all care about, as in the management of and the improvements of the team, and that we all keep supporting coach Rino Gattuso.”
His statement added: “I have deeply felt every emotion and feeling. We can handle such a big pressure because we are convinced we can reach new heights and reward all the AC Milan fans throughout the world.
“Thanks to everyone’s commitment, the team is now enjoying a positive run. Thanks to coach Gattuso’s and our players’ efforts, I see the team is improving in every aspect.
“Thank you all. Lastly, on my wife’s and my behalf, I want to wish you a happy new year, good health and success at work.”
Milan have picked up 16 points from the last 18 possible to move to within eight points of the top four.
They travel to third-placed Roma at the weekend knowing a win would reduce the arrears on the Giallorossi to six points and get them back into the hunt for Champions League qualification.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.