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Home FR Silvio Berlusconi’s success at AC Milan: A catalyst for political energy

Silvio Berlusconi’s success at AC Milan: A catalyst for political energy


The politician and businessman who died on Monday set the stage for his rise to energy by buying the soccer membership when it was faltering and main it to the highest of Europe.

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“I am descending into the sphere.” Silvio Berlusconi, who died on June 12, 2023, was leaving nothing to likelihood when he introduced his entry into politics in January 1994. By selecting a sports activities metaphor, the then president of AC Milan needed to convey that the profitable methods he had utilized within the sporting world may be utilized to politics. In spite of everything, he had taken the soccer membership to the very prime: That yr, the Rossoneri – the group’s nickname – had been about to win their fifth Champions League, the third of the Berlusconi period. What higher metaphor to say he might do the identical for the nation and provides it a spot on the desk of nice nations? Furthermore, by naming his celebration Forza Italia, utilizing the phrase generally used to encourage Italy’s nationwide group, Berlusconi was anticipating future efforts to construct a nation of followers. His political legacy can be rather more polarizing than his soccer one.

As early as 1995, Manuel Vazquez Montalban, a Catalan writer and skilled in soccer and politics, posed the query in Le Monde diplomatique: “Would Silvio Berlusconi have succeeded in presiding over Italy’s authorities with out the assistance of AC Milan soccer membership and its legendary gamers, Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard? (…) After they voted for Berlusconi, younger individuals had been largely selecting the ‘winner’ in enterprise and the strategist of AC Milan’s superb victories.”

By the point he got here to energy, Berlusconi – a local of Milan – was generally known as a media determine and entrepreneur, however Italians recognized him mainly as the person chargeable for Italian soccer’s glamour overseas. He turned president of AC Milan in 1986, taking up when the Lombardy outfit was on the verge of chapter.

In his thoughts, taking part in second fiddle was out of the query. Granted, AC Milan already had a protracted historical past behind it when he took over the reins. However that did not cease the 50-year-old tv and actual property magnate from making his mark by forcing the membership to modernize, thereby radically altering it. He invested billions of lire in infrastructure – Milanello, the coaching heart, turned a marvel of modernity – and recruitment.

He made Franco Baresi the spine of the group and made a flurry of recent signings. Even earlier than the 1995 Bosman ruling, which banned restrictions on participant transfers all through Europe, Berlusconi and his Milan introduced within the Dutch gamers Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. Different figures additionally emerged at the moment: Paolo Maldini, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Donadoni, Alessandro Costacurta and Demetrio Albertini.

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