Milan’s Financial State


GUEST ARTICLE on Milan’s finances from Mikael.

We rarely hear about it. We rarely talk about it. But yet finances are the single most important thing for a football club to able to compete at the highest level. If you do not have the money, you do not have the best players. It is as simple as that. However, the topic of football finance is an uncommon topic. Many people want Milan to buy the best players even though the same people do not how the club’s financial state is.

In the following article I will try to give a brief overview of how Milan’s financial state is. And in my opinion, it is very poor. But there is ground for optimism if the right choices are made.

Milan’s new 2012/2013 home kit
Week 36 in Serie A 2011/2012: Results and Standings

But why are Milan’s finances so poor. Let me start by giving an overview of the accounts since 2006:

NB: Expected result after tax 2011: 67,3 million euro!

As the table indicates, in the past 5 years there has been a total loss of nothing less than 186.1 million Euros. Before I look into the cause of the loss I will start by looking into the revenue of the club.

Every year Deloitte publishes their football money league report where the top 20 clubs in football are listed. The figures listed in the table above are based on the annual reports from AC Milan. The club’s financial year follows the actual year whereas the Deloitte report follows the actual football season year. In order to compare Milan’s revenue to other clubs I have decided to use the Deloitte report.

The report establishes three different categories of revenue: Broadcasting, Match Day and Commercial. I will go through the three categories in the following.


“Broadcast revenue includes revenue from both domestic and international competitions.”

As the table indicates Milan have a somewhat reasonable income when it comes to broadcasting. In last season, the club’s revenue in this area was 108 million euro. Even though this is the largest revenue contributor it is actually a quite massive drop from previous years. The year before it was actually an impressive 141.1 million. The drop in this area has a simple explanation as Serie A in the summer of 2010 began to have collective broadcast deals. Before, the clubs were able to negotiate their own TV-deals. Milan along with Juventus and Inter were punished for this change as at it means a decrease in TV income. However, if it is taken into a European context the club was in sixth place regarding broadcasting income. This is not bad at all considering the club was beaten at an early stage in the Champions League. Next year this area should be higher as the club went through to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Out of the 108 million 25.8 million was from the Champions League. As long as Italy has the collective agreement the only possible way to increase broadcasting income will be through Champions League improvement.


Commercial revenue includes sponsorship and merchandising revenues.

Last season commercial revenue beat all records at the club and in Italy in general. Milan’s revenue was no less than 91.8 million Euro. It was a significant increase compared to the previous year where it was 63.4 million Euro. When it became clear that Milan was about to lose a large amount of its Broadcasting income the club decided to focus on the commercial area instead. The club signed a deal with Infront who changed the sponsor strategy of the club with less sponsors but more lucrative deals. This has resulted in the 91.8 million Euro seen last season. In fact Milan was only beaten by four other clubs which is actually quite impressive. However, there is a long way up to the giants at top where Bayern earn an astonishing 178 million Euro. Even though Milan is at the top of the table in commercial revenue there is still a lot of room for improvement. Especially compared to the shirt sponsor deal with Adidas where Milan gets 13 million Euro a year. This may seem as a huge number but is nothing compared to the 30 million of Real, 25 million of Bayern and 24 million of Chelsea. All clubs who also have Adidas as shirt sponsors. Other clubs such as Barca and United get 30 million from Nike while Liverpool also receives 30 million from Warrior Sports. In this light it is not reasonable that Milan only receive 13 million. When looking at the other shirt deal with Emirates it does not get better as Milan receive 12 million each year from the Airline Company. Even though it is the best in Italy it is not near close to the best in Europe where Barca (30), Bayern (25), United (24), Liverpool (24) and Real (20) receive much more than Milan does. There is really room for improvement in this area. However, as the club does have long term deals with both Adidas and Emirates there will not be any sort of improvement in the near future.

Match Day

“Match day revenue is largely derived from gate receipts (including season tickets and memberships)”.

Milan’s match day revenue is where the club is really suffering compared to the elite of Europe. Match day revenue was only 35.6 million last year and – even though it was an increase of 4.3 million- the club has many challenges in these areas. The main reason why Milan does only earn so little on match days is the fact that the club does not own its own stadium. As everybody knows the city of Milan owns San Siro. On top of this, the stadium is in poor condition and does not have the facilities to host sponsors and VIPs etc. For the same reasons the stadium are mostly half full as fans are not presented to the pleasant facilities a modern stadium must have. Therefore the club must have its own stadium in order to improve the revenue and being competitive with the best clubs in Europe. However, the club sadly has not expressed desires of any plans of a new stadium in the near future. Instead Milan and Inter are currently renovating the San Siro in order to make it eligible for the 2016 Champions League final. It should be said that Barbara Berlusconi has expressed her desire to build a self owned stadium for the club. Juventus have already built a new stadium and they will profit greatly from this in the future.

After looking at the income of the club the following will look into the expenses of the club. The numbers used are from the annual reports published by the club.


There is one main reason why Milan is in so big financial difficulties and that is the incredibly high wages the club pays to its players. Last year the clubs wage expenses was no less than 192.8 million Euro. This is an incredibly number considering that the revenue is only 235 million. This means that 88% of the Milan’s income is used on wages. In fact, last year Milan was the club which paid the third highest amount to its players and staff only surpassed by Barcelona and Real:

If you take the revenue into consideration it is just poor management that the club pays so much to its players. Clubs like Real and Barca pay more to their players but their revenue is about twice the amount of Milan’s which means that they can afford to pay the wages they do.

According to the Gazzetta Milan’s players are paid 160 million Euro excluding bonuses:

Player NamePositionAgeYearly wages (€)
Zlatan IbrahimovicForward309,000,000
Mathieu FlaminiMidfielder284,500,000
Gennaro GattusoMidfielder344,000,000
Philippe MexesDefender304,000,000
Alexandre PatoForward224,000,000
Thiago SilvaDefender274,000,000
Mark Van BommelMidfielder353,500,000
Gianluca ZambrottaDefender353,500,000
Massimo AmbrosiniMidfielder343,000,000
Antonio CassanoForward293,000,000
Clarence SeedorfMidfileder363,000,000
Kevin-Prince BoatengMidfielder252,500,000
Alessandro NestaDefender362,500,000
Ignazio AbateDefender252,000,000
Christian AbbiatiGoalkeeper342,000,000
Alberto AquilaniMidfielder272,000,000
Daniele BoneraDefender302,000,000
Urby EmanuelsonMidfielder252,000,000
Taye Taiwo (left in January)Defender271,800,000
Marco AmeliaGoalkeeper301,500,000
Luca AntoniniDefender291,500,000
Antonio NocerinoMidfielder271,500,000
Mario YepesDefender361,000,000
Filippo InzaghiForward38800,000
Stephan El ShaarawyForward19500,000
Flavio RomaGoalkeeper37500,000

This is far too much and means that the club has to slash wages in order to get near a healthy economic shape. Bear in mind that when the Gazzetta is stating Zlatan is earning 9 million Euro it is his net income. It actually costs Milan 18 million Euro to pay Zlatan his 9 million euro annually.


Another important expense for the club is player amortization: This is actually where it can be seen what the club spends on transfer. When football clubs buy players the price of a player does not only affect the accounts the year he was bought. Let me give an example: If Milan were to buy Tevez for 20 million euro on a 4 year contract the 20 million would be divided by the length of the contract (4 years). This means that the transfer is affecting the accounts with 5 million a year for 4 years (20 divided by 4). In Milan’s case this post is not as high as the club is not known for spending big on the transfer market. Simply because cannot afford to spend.


Another concern for Milan is the fact that the club has gigantic dept compared to the revenue the club generates. Last year the dept was 298.8 million Euro. Half of this was bank loans while the other half was other sorts of loans such as factoring etc. This is actually a great problem for the club as it means it cannot afford to borrow the fund necessary to buy the stadium which is so important in order to increase revenue.

With the expected loss of 67 million euro in 2011 it is to be seen whether Berlusconi will cover the loss once again or the club must obtain even more debts.

Financial Fair Play

Many people might ask: Why is it important to understand the club’s finances as Berlusconi have all the money in the world to cover the expenses? Well yes, it is true that Berlusconi always has paid when the club has had losses as it was evident last year where Berlusconi covered a massive loss of 70 million Euro and in 2011 he covered the 67,3 million Euro. However, from this summer on it is no longer possible for Berlusconi to cover these losses as UEFA has introduced its Financial Fair Play which basically means that the club no longer is allowed to receive his money. From this summer on it will no longer be possible for wealthy owner to spend big as the clubs must be able to generate the revenue necessary without help.

There is however a starting phase which allows Berlusconi to cover losses up to a combined 45 million euro over the next three years. But from 2015 the owner must only cover a loss of 30 million euro.

This means that Milan is in danger of being banned from UEFA competitions if they do not comply with the rules.

Some people might say that Berlusconi could just make a massive sponsorship deal with Milan in order to get around the rules. But UEFA has to approve the accounts and if the accounts show that a sponsor deal is above market value it would not be permitted. For instance, Milan’s biggest sponsor is Adidas who pays 13 million euro. If Berlusconi would suddenly give a sponsor deal worth 30 million, UEFA might not allow this as it is well above the market value.

The Future?

As you can imagine Milan faces many challenges in the future as the financial state of the club is very poor compared to the major clubs in Europe. If Milan is to be competitive in Europe the club must be able to increase revenue by building its own stadium as well as getting better sponsorship deals. Furthermore the club has to slash the wages of the players as the club pays to high wages compared to the income. It will be very interesting to see what the club will do in order to meet the demands of FFP in the future. One thing is certain. Milan has a tough climb ahead of them.

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Finally.. this will shut up some people… although as you say in the article, some good choices need to be taken.. Forza Milan Forza Galliani


Shut up! I am not an economist


Milan may need to end some players’ contracts to raise funds for new, cheap, low-waged but rather dood players. I think Milan should end all those 10 players with expiring contracts but Nesta & Gattuso only who I think they will still do gooD … Meanwhile, Gattuso is determined to play for Milan even without wage(free), he is a real Milan player.
May be we need players on bosman like Montolivo, Traore, & co.
And we need to get use of our talented youth like De sciglio, Merkel, Comi, Carmona, Strasser, Valoti & co.


Who am I to judge, but seriously, how on earth can Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Van Bommel and Zambrotta have such a huge salary? It’s pathetic and disgraceful actually. So according to this, we can’t expect to make any big signings and we have to bring more free players, or loan them or just ask Genoa to buy us a player!?!?! I don’t get it. Look at barca and real, they have a huuuuge debth, but they still manage to bring sick players every summer and spend at least 100 million €. This is a sad time for Rossoneri family. I… Read more »


Milan should optimize their youth Academy. We have De Sciglio, merkel, Carmona, Valoti, Kingsley Boateng and many others….. They will become great players if they have more chances to play


in order to build new stadium, maybe we (milanisti all over the world) should make an online payment voluntary contribution. hehehe..


for me i believe we milanist we have alot to do.1)right now we have 10 players who are set to be out of contract review them let some go like serdoof,gattuso,van bommel,& co.reduce our wages drasticaly players above 30 yrs to 50%.(2) let have our own stadium the GREAT SILVIO can use a stadium as special life time gift for the club rather than paying our debt every year look at JUVE now.(3)our sponsorship with adidas and emirate and co should review how can we stand so low with just 13 m why others go above 25,35,40.we are milan we… Read more »


then milan should grve the shoot chance to play in next 1 year they will be something the hole word will be talking about.look at alaba, muriel.M gotze.toni kroos.they were nt bought there were made to be word star.hw can the lyks of mak,matta etc develope wen they are bench players.b


hang on….we have our own stadium it’s inter who don’t cus they are tenants!!! and as for the wage bill, if we can get rid of gattuso, seedorf and some useless top earners it will help


@croatia am with you.why the hell do we always praise galliani and co,this is bad.paying those old men that much is really sick,why wont we be broke and for christ sake no wonder they dont wanna leave.if we ever renew those theifing senators i dont even knw wht i’l do.the deals on kit and shirt shld be renegotiated with immediate i knw hwhy liverpool ditched addidas…


@croatia am with you.why the … do we always praise galliani and co,this is bad.paying those old men that much is really sick,why wont we be broke and for christ sake no wonder they dont wanna leave.if we ever renew those theifing senators i dont even knw wht i’l do.the deals on kit and shirt shld be renegotiated with immediate i knw hwhy liverpool ditched addidas


If this how low we’ve fallen then there’s nothing great about us again am sorry to say


We cannot keep travelling on a locomotive train while others are on a jet speed train.if the best club in Italy is in this dire strait, what hope does other clubs have? With this revelations am not sure gettin our 4th champions league will be Italian clubs are pay for their over reliance on old players while they neglect, ignore and abandon the youths…


Am just so miffed right now.i guess its high time we changed the management.don’t know what to expect if we accidentally snatch the scudetto from juventus . I guess we’ll hear we’re the best in the world isn’t it?baldadash


Build new stadium and play youth player from primavera.

Forza Milan


Slash wages!
Build own Stadium and… Its time for the youth!

Time to promote our Lads.


Building own stadium isn’t an option right now as city of Milano would like to keep their rent income of both clubs from renting the stadium. The least they can do (according to Galliani, they will) is to restore the San Siro – new ground, restaurants etc..


Guess that means another transfer window where we only gonna buy average, cheap players… wuhuuu……


Milan shuld lt go d old player,ambro,gattu,sdof,zambro,yepex,agui,al of diz ar nt guud 4 milan;milan shuld giv ar yth more plyin,we av d seglio merkel elsarawy strezer pato boateng nd co,abut d stadum my suggest is milan shuld buy san siro nd adidas mst add 2 ar spnsorshp amnt,he shuld lyk 30 or 25,4rza milan


the fact is that the salary of some players are really too high and they’re not as good as they must be for such a big club, the best example would be Flamini.
next, the club acts poor in creating a situation by which to receive more revenue. broadcasting, sponsorship, and markets must be considered greatly more than ever.

milan francis

Another why we mustnt send Aquilani back.The stadium can wait.We don’t need strikers(no Baloteli,Tevez,RVP,Higuain etc)these are all pipe dreams. Keep Aquilani,bring in Monty,Traore(don’t really know how good he is)Muntari will stay,keep MVB(to mentor Strasser)Flamini should reduce his wage or leave,Gattusso should repay the club during his time of indisposition(play free)Nesta should stay,the rest should take a bow.If we can’t get a good goalkeeper for a cheap bargain,then Amelio can stay,promote Pisceletti while Roma can leavem We only need 2 creative midfielders(MUST)give merkel more playing and importantly ask him to step it up.Finally a young CDM(song will never come)maybe a Micheal… Read more »


Write good English please! too much abbreviations.


Based on the wage allocation, Flamini has got to go, so does Gattuso or since I’m sure our management wants to keep him, but $2 mil max his salary. Zambrotta’s and Ambrosini’s salaries are too high also


I think the ultimate key is the ownership of stadiums. Italy needs to catch up in this regard. That is an enormous revenue source for a professional team, and even college teams in the US.

I think all of those issues can be dealt with if the clubs are able to own their own stadiums.


I’m not a big fan of numbers, mathematics and so on . . .
makes me sleepy like U know “zzZzzZzz”

this is the greatest article EVER written on this blog,
because every Milan fan knows that the financial state of the club isn’t exactly great, but I didn’t know the details, so thanks ALOT for the article !



Milan should also stop giving wages rise each time we won something, that’s what made the wage bill seems to get bigger each season. Plus stop making panic January buys which bolsters the squad into 30 plus players.. improved the injury situation next season and just get a fixed 25 players(since that’s the numbers allowed to be registered for Champions League) add 4-5 players from Primavera..Milan must gamble a bit with the youngsters, it’s about time.. many top European clubs did that (gambling with youth) and eventually reaping it’s fruits.. (Bayern should be the latest example) Milan have already increased… Read more »


as others have said, it’s quite obvious how to help with this problem

cut the dead weight (ambro, zambrotta, gattuso, seedorf, etc)

and flamini is our second highest paid player? for what?

time to get rid of these guys and replace them with hungry young players


if we want to talk about sponsorship we need to buy someone like CR7 or messi….get rid of ibra….he sucks in europe…..


It seems we’re stuck as am hearing we will renew for gattuso , ambrosini and yepes on their present sponsor will sell with this guys still on our pay tired of all this while not just renew for the remaining senators and make it known to all we are indeed going backwards


Improve and focus more and more on youth, lower substantially the wage bill (10 are out of contract this summer and most must go – 2 senatores could stay to guide the youth), take advantage of any bargain deals (we are doing well here lol) and finally, majorly renovate the stadium to state of the art standards to improve attendance. Another issue is improve the pitch and medical department because when we suffer injuries, we lose money from having to bring in temporary replacements in January and the risk of suffering their loss in a competition.


How much do you think CR7 and Messi worth?


they are worth huge amounts….but in turn…garner a lot of cash….plus trophies…


I remember when peter kenyon left man utd for chelsea we thought all will go bust because he’s transfer guru for them.but man utd as even gone on in leaps and bounds and peter had to leave chelsea after awhile. Needless to say its time for galliani and co to leave because i think they’ve got no more idea how to move the club forward .or pls tell me how juventus could manage to build a brand new stadium inspite and despite all with even been relegated.lets be honest guys all galliani can do is moan and whine about this… Read more »


This isn’t forza Milan guys but galliani and co must leave and i don’t care whose ox is goad. We thank them all for bringing us thus far we need a new captain to stir the Milan ship to safety without losing our competitiveness and appeal…
What else can i say


reading all of this, you gotta give props to galliani for bringing in the players he does for so cheap/free. we really have built a nice squad for very little.. this summer we should see a mass exit of the senior players and i think we could sell a player or 2 and free up some serious money… also wtf flamini’s wage?!?!


The transfer season is very near and they using this article to tell us we shd stop dreaming big b’cos mediocres are coming. How can we get better sponsorship when players like mesbah,antonini,bonera,yepes,ambro and zambro are in our team. They are not marketable.


i konw why flamini get so much money. he was out of contract when he moved to milan, so milan didn’t pay money to arsenal. at that time he would have costed arround 10 million €. so if he would. aquilani gets 2 million €. and flamini 4,5 million €. this 2.5 million € more per year are 10 million €, the money he would have costed. the same goes for mexes and van bommel


Abbiati-abate-nesta-thiago/mexes- antonini-nocerino-MvB-flamini/muntari/aquilani-Boateng-IBRA-Fantantonio for the derby


1. Ibrahimovic 9 million, 2. Flamini 4,5 million. There’s something wrong with their wage policy. Flamini is crap but still 2. highest earner.


I think we should reduce Ibra’s wages. I don’t care how good he is, he isn’t better than Silva, yet he earns more than twice what Silva does, and his agent once said that he wanted to negotiate an increased salary. I mean, seriously? What is he going to use MORE money for? Also, I think that at this point in time, we absolutely have to keep merkel and stra*ser, and promote the best players from our academy (Comi, Roggia, Calvano, Innocenti, Ely), also bring back Davide Di Gennaro, who has been playing great (or so I keep on hearing)… Read more »


Who in his right mind will buy an Antonini,Masbah,Yepes,Ambrosi or a Muntari jersey no one,You bring in Mediocre and now no one want to buy our Replica jerseys Ac Milan management should do better than this


lol, the jerseys won’t bring as much money as you think. there’s no way that jersey sales from one player will bring us more money than we’ll use to sign him and pay his wages, so we’ll be making a loss there.


Hi milan fans this article can indicate us no more big transfer until 2016.the useless players that deserve to leave will help milan to transform:-ambro.gatt.seed.bonera.yepes.inzag.zamb.roma.emanuel.then some players should have to reduce lyk zlatan which is less than important to silva abate prince etc promote primavera talent and bring back some youth players that were loan.


Why isn’t we trying to buy cheap quality players like Vertonghen and Kagawa? Vertonghen is like 10-15 millions and Kagawa can be bought for only 7!!


it is very difficult to own the stadium and then upgrade its size. it requires huge funds and takes long time. the simplest solution to increase revenue is by signing hot prospect players who are nice looking and have great build. this can boost milan commercial income, especially from merchandise sales. if i were galliani, i will send back aquilani to liverpool and offer sebastian coates a good contract. ask tassoti to train coates intensively and ask allegri to play him regularly and see what is the impact. i believe the female fans will increase significantly and most of them… Read more »


Its simply disheartening how people can still come to this blog and hail Mr Galiani for such a poor financial status of the club. This didnt just happen over night as the crack has been on the wall a long time ago with noting done to address the situation. We sold kaka to Real to balance the books. We keep to many old lads that we dont need and pay them high wages. Why cant we borrow a leaf from Juve. Must we go into administration before something is done. I think we need to replace M G in other… Read more »


Wow,lol at some comments. Cristiano will not come,even if we had the money,which we don’t,Messi either. @danronda we have 7 champions league atleast do some research before claiming you a Milan fan. Some of you think getting a sponsorship deal is easy,Milan is not as popular as Real Madrid,let alone Liverpool,you people think that many people outside Italy watch Seri A. I mean,people just watch EPL. As great as Milan is,thats the truth. Another thing Man U are terrible with transfers +-20 mil for Anderson and 40 mil for Berbotov,people dont watch football hey.


I knw SERIE A isnt popular….even pathetic clubs like liverpool has more fans….v need to seriuosly look at broadcast issues…if v want serie a popular


amazing how some fans are blamin galliani for the financial situation! infact hes the reason why we are still in the ucl nd competing for top spot in seria a cuz our finaclian situation is soo poor due to lack of match day revenue nd yet he manages to sign players like ibra, pato, binho, cassano. silva, boateng for bargain prices!
Simple as this, We need our OWN stadium as that wud increase revnue by 100mil or at least 75mil meaning our total revenue wud be somwere in between 2-4the best out of all top clubs!


Great article, thanks! That’s a point I’ve been trying to make for a while now. And believe me, I am not Galliani’s biggest fan (maybe he should read this article before losing his mind on another superstar attacker that the TEAM doesn’t need). The situation in Italy worsens by the day. Aside from Juve, who will soon reach other big european teams thanks to their new stadium, clubs from Serie A will find it even harder to spend big when FF comes. Actually, Milan are doing quite good. We are the most popular team in China if I am not… Read more »


It would also help to be creative in coming up with new ways to gather funds like how a spanish club (I forget exactly which) let supporters have a tiny picture of themselves in the number on players’ jersey and charged about $50 for it. We just got to start thinking outside the box


and now…Bakaye Traore is approaching from Nancy. another way from milan management to lower the expenses on the transfer market. hope he will not end up like Taiwo. (unfortunately, i have not seen how Bakaye Traore plays. about Taiwo, i have said in the begining that he cannot defend well. you can check my comments near the time when he officially joined milan).

so, with the same policy on the transfer market and no breakthrough made by the management, i am in doubt whether milan can improve their financial figures in 2012


One thing for sure: we could’ve kept Pirlo and not renewed Seedorf and used the money saved from Seedorf’s wages to meet Pirlo’s demand 🙁