Is Silvio Berlusconi's time with AC Milan coming to an end?

Paddy Agnew speaks to Off The Ball about a strange relationship between the former Italian Prime Minister and the club

Silvio Berlusconi

Image: Luca Bruno AP/Press Association Images

AC Milan announced earlier this year that they had been sold to a Chinese investment group for £628 million and that the transition would slowly remove club president Silvio Berlusconi from power.

The takeover has been a gradual one, and on Tuesday's Off The Ball, Paddy Agnew gave an update as to what way the deal was progressing.

"The latest thing he said over the weekend before the referendum vote was that the deal will go through," he said.

"They've already paid up £100 million and they have to pay up another £100 million by the end of January. Mr Berlusconi is very confident the deal will go through even though he said all sorts of things that maybe lead people to think that he doesn't want to let go of the club. I think you can ignore those because he definitively said last week that there's no way he can hold onto the club."

Berlusconi, a former Italian Prime Minister and a towering figure in Italian culture, has been a key character in the club's recent history.

"[The investors] are looking for him to stay on in some shape or form and have the same name continuously associated with the club because - for good or for bad - he's well known worldwide.

"They're not interested in him staying on deciding who's going to play on the right wing or who the goalkeeper is going to be. The people who are taking the club over want to run it their own way."

Agnew also gave an insight as to how AC Milan fans view their president: "We could spend a long time talking about Silvio Berlusconi's political shortcomings. He's exactly not won himself the most politically correct man in the world award too many times.

"But when you see what he's built at Milan, fans have every reason to be grateful to him. He's a genuine Milan fan himself and he was a supporter of the team growing up. He has been interfering owner on occasion, but unlike some such people, he does know quite a bit about football.

"When the club was down on its knees before he bought it when fans were begging him to buy it... that enthusiasm from the fans remain."

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