Blog Written by Ahmed Bdair (@Ahmedmbdair)
30 years ago he arrived magnanimously on a helicopter, promising to bring the club he supported as a child back to the upper echelons of European football, and to bring new found glory far beyond any supporter’s wildest dreams. Under his ownership, Milan was brought back to the very top of Europe’s elite.
Now back to reality, and it isn’t pleasant whatsoever; Milan have been trophy-less for 5 seasons (the longest drought in 30 years), out of the Champions League for 3 years, and just got pipped to the final Europa League spot by Sassuolo (a team which had finished 16th in Serie B just 5 years ago), and to make matters worse Silvio is taking the entire world on one hell of a ride.
To put things into context, the media spent most of last year’s offseason telling us that a minority stake of the club would be sold to a certain Mr. Bee, a man who was allegedly leading a consortium that wanted to invest in the club. Yet after months of speculation it all came to nothing, and now speculation about a majority stake in the club being sold is back, just with an even more concrete source, Berlusconi himself.
Now trust me when I say, this has been by far the most irritating time of my life as a football fan (and I’ve watched a Muntari and Essien midfield pairing). Just two weeks ago, reports came out that Berlusconi had finally let go, that he had agreed to sell the club. Elation, joy, delight, were all feelings that were quickly crushed with reports coming out later that week that he had in fact decided against selling the club, and that he would ‘build a new Italian contingent at Milan’. That sounds great right? These would be players who would theoretically understand more than anyone the size of the club, players who would bleed for the shirt. Wrong, because we have heard this before and very recently actually. These very quotes were previously followed by the sale of Bryan Cristante, the former Primavera captain, and Ricardo Saponara, the supposed new Kaka, to Benfica and Empoli respectively.
Now of course I will be reminded that Cristante hasn’t exactly proved himself since moving to Benfica, but just focus on Saponara for a second. This is a man who was signed from Empoli when they were in Serie B as the next great trequartista. He was going to be the man to bring back the beloved (only by Berlusconi) 4-3-1-2 formation. We were also led to believe that the club had re-signed the original Kaka to mentor the new one but instead Saponara was shunned to the side, we didn’t play a 4-3-1-2, finished in 10th place and then sold Saponara back to Empoli where he just finished this past season with five goals and 11 assists. These kind of errors have become all too familiar and cannot continue anymore.
Berlusconi is currently in the hospital, after suffering some heart problems and will undergo surgery next week. I wish him the best (can’t say the same about other fans though), but it’s time for him to simply revert to his original aim, to return Milan to the top. He knows he cannot do it financially and ultimately the ball is in his court, let’s just all hope he makes the right decision and sells the club to proper investors.
Berlusconi issued a statement on his Facebook page today. Here is an excerpt: “I wish to thank all those who have sent me displays of affection and cards, they really moved me. I will not forget the words of friends, politicians, employees of a working life of many supporters who have made me feel their closeness with extraordinary warmth.”