Former AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi says he has no reason to doubt the Serie A club’s new owners, in spite a New York Times report which raised concerns over Li Yonghong’s finances.
In an article which claimed that UEFA have “mounting concern about AC Milan’s murky finances,” the New York Times questioned Milan’s new owner and their investigations could not find where the Chinese had got the funds from to buy the Rossoneri last April.
A $354 million loan from Elliott Management helped Li Yonghong and his consortium acquire Milan, but that will soon need paying back and, with the prospect of the club missing out on the riches of the Champions League next season, it has been claimed that they could be on the road to ruin.
Berlusconi doubts that, however, and insists that Li Yonghong is an honourable gentleman who keeps his promises.
“When we sold Milan, Fininvest [an Italian holding company controlled by the Berlusconi family] placed their trust in advisors, legal bureaus and international banks,” he tweeted. “The Chinese buyers always respected their obligations punctually and a fund as important as Elliott felt that they could guarantee them a significant loan.”
Berlusconi is more concerned about the future of Italian football than he is of his ex-club, who he believes are in safe hands. The same cannot be said for the Italy national team, which remains without a coach after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked last week.
Berlusconi believes one man in particular can restore the Azzurri to a leading position in world football, and that man is Carlo Ancelotti.
“Ancelotti is such a good coach and I like him so much that I think he would be suited to any job,” Berlusconi tweeted. “There’s no magic recipe for Italian football. It’s going to take a long, patient job to rebuild it, starting from the grassroots and youth development.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.