BARBRA BERLUSCONI says a healthy financial structure and focus on youth is the only way forward.
Milan went through a big change this summer as they sold 2 of their best players and waved goodbye to a whole generation of legends. The summer was the 1st stage in the transition of Milan into a healthier club.
Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani insist that slashing costs and investing in young players is what Milan need to do in the next years to return to the top and marketing director Barbara Berlusconi agrees.
“If we give up on champions like Ibrahimovic [it is because] we can discover new ones,” Barbara told L’Equipe. “An example is El Shaarawy. El Shaarawy is a young talent who represents Milan perfectly. El Shaarawy keeps his feet on the ground; that makes it easier for the fans to identify themselves with him.
“Let’s say that we seized a good opportunity with this offer from PSG which was too good to refuse. To lose a player of great quality is always disagreeable, but that’s the way things are. One champion goes and we make another… When I talk about a home-made champion, it doesn’t only mean he comes from our academy. El Shaarawy doesn’t. We bought him when he was quite young and we’ve helped him mature.
“We have the experience to allow his talent to blossom. The general idea is to count on youngsters now, but that doesn’t mean that Milan won’t sign any champions anymore,” continued Barbara. “The objective is to make sure that the players’ wages don’t exceed 50% of our total revenue. Last season it was at 70%.
“Bayern Munich is a good example to follow. They have an excellent revenue, they create profit and they’re always at the top in European football. The road taken by the German is the only viable one. Cutting costs is the only road to take. Football doesn’t like changes, but there’re times when decisions need to be made.
“If Milan envy Psg? We don’t envy anyone. We’re the club with the most titles of any in the world. Today, I only have admiration for clubs like Bayern Munich who have put in place a healthy economic system.
“Selling Milan? In principle, one should not exclude anything but my family does not want to sell the majority of the shares in the club,” said the daughter of Silvio Berlusconi but then added: “At the same time, however, we’re not against the participation of a foreign investor that will help us to increase our revenue, perhaps with the renovation of the stadium or a commercial project in developing countries.”
Galliani likes to say Milan is the leading Italian club in terms of marketing but Barbara took the ‘Sales and Marketing’ reins from Uncle Fester recently and believes more needs to be done in this area for Milan.
“Fewer shirts are being sold in Italy and that’s why we will soon publish a book about all the Milan shirts in our history,” she added. “We’re publishing that book to send a message to the fans: players come and go, but the shirt stays as our emblem forever.” The fans were furious at the club after the sales of Ibra and Thiago Silva and Milan recorded their worst ever season-ticket sales this year since Berlusconi took over.
“The Serie A must be more united, as we often fail to reach an agreement on important issues that would help everyone. The English Premier League is the example to follow. They have clear and strict rules for everyone. Premier League is better at selling their product to foreign countries than Serie A is.
“In Italy we don’t even have a law about the stadiums… Josep Guardiola? It is not my job to talk about the sporting aspects, but if there is an opportunity that will fit our project it’s always welcome. Our objective is to always make Milan capable of aspiring to win titles every year,” concluded the 28-year-old board member.
Barbara is walking in the line of her father, Silvio Berlusconi, and general manager Adriano Galliani: the Milan of the future will be based on young people, that will lead to a healthy financial state – and success.