The Berlusconi Files

In an effort to appease fans and give everyone an idea of where the club is going, yesterday, Silvio Berlusconi went on the Milan Channel to address the public. What he said was largely expected, but I guess it was good to hear it from him. Now the question is: How much of what he said was true? I decided to take history, probability, current dealings of the club, and a healthy dose of speculation and give his words the Milan Obsession Lie Detector Test™. Let’s see how he fared…

"I swear to tell mostly the truth" (with fingers crossed behind my back)

“We must look to the present Milan, which is strong, with a quintet of champions up front which no other club is capable of match: Pato, Robinho, Boateng, whom I see as a striker, El Shaarawy and Cassano”

LIE. To say that Boateng is a striker is just a copout so you don’t have to buy a new striker. He is the closest thing we have to a trequartista, anyway, and isn’t this something the coach decides? Besides, other teams have comparable strike forces, in fact Juve’s strikers are very much like Robinho: they work very hard but just can’t find the back of the net.

"To the fans I say that we have the possibility to create entertaining and efficient football, despite the economic situation."

LIE. This just translates to “I am not going to reinvest the senseless millions I just got from selling our two best players, so we are just going to have to make do with the players we have.”

There was no fair play involved in these transfers.

"We were also thinking about the Financial Fair Play, when we sold Ibra and Thiago. This was the last year where a club could make such an astronomical offer like PSG did. With this sacrifice that we did by selling Ibra and Thiago, our finances will be in order for the next 3-4 years."

TRUE. He was thinking about Financial Fair Play, but only as it pertains to income for Milan and ridding the club of debts it never should have had. He thinks he’s solved Milan’s FFP issues, but by getting rid of these players, he has also significantly dropped the club’s income, meaning that the club’s finances are NOT going to be in order. FFP looks at income vs. expense, and it would have been better to keep the bigger salaries as the income from potential success in the CL and the league as well as merchandise sales and season tickets would have likely closed the gap between income and expense better than this new soup kitchen version of Milan will. Additionally, buying and selling big players is the only business model Milan knows under Berlusconi, and there is nothing in place to prove that the club is prepared to be sustainable otherwise.

"Foreign investors? The doors are open for anyone who want to help our squad."

LIE. BIG FAT LIE. Emirates reportedly offered a €200.000.000 cash injection this spring, either in return for 25% shares of the club or to purchase the San Siro. Reports say Silvio turned it down because he didn’t want to turn over any power or a board position to anyone else, not even to our own sponsors. Why would he let anyone else invest then? This isn’t politics, Berlu, you’re messing with people’s hearts and the reputation of a storied club. Such lies do not create transparency, they create a lack of trust.

"These Milan fans see right through me."

"We will have a squad of 22 players this season. A really big squad makes the players unhappy."

LIE. Translation: “We are too cheap to buy a full squad and keep enough players on the payroll to remain in contention.” This also shows a woeful disregard of the injury problems we have had the past two years, and this summer has proven that we still have the injury bug.

“It means that we have to develop a strong youth system and a network of scouts who are on the hung right across the world. Barcelona did that and we have to follow that path to construct a strong and winning Milan. My Milan started that way under Arrigo Sacchi.

LIE. BIGGEST LIE EVER. What Milan lacks is trust in our youth system. How do we know that we don’t have talents like in the Arrigo Sacchi era? All of our young players are either loaned out or sold, mainly to Serie B clubs. The next Maldini could be at Cremonese or something, which means he won’t ever get a chance to become the next Maldini, growing and developing at one club for his whole career. We have held onto players like Antonini and Bonera from our youth system for some ungodly reason, and we’ve sold players like Matri and Miccoli. The club looks at our youth players like heads of cattle to be auctioned off, while we go off and buy a 19 year-old Brazilian keeper instead of promoting our own Piscitelli, whom we already owned. (And he was called up for a lot of games last season as the 3rd keeper, too.) One only has to look at the “Milan Mercato” box in the sidebar here to see how much faith Milan are putting in our youth. If we thought there was an exodus from the first team, just look at last year’s Primavera players.

Furthermore, we can’t be Barca, because Serie A doesn’t allow B teams. We could be like Udinese, but their model is a fiscally responsible one. And as much as we owe Berlusconi and his family for the cash they’ve injected, if we had been half as responsible as Udinese with that money, we would be unstoppable and have a system of having players of the highest quality for the lowest price that could not only win everything, but could keep the club sustainable even with FFP.

Things are not as rosy as they seem.

"These 2 generations, Galliani and my daughter, need to reach an agreement. And they will reach it perfectly."

TRUE. This might be the scariest statement of all, as he let us peek at the club’s dirty laundry and the differences of thinking on the board. Milan are not a united front, they are divided at the highest level, and it begs the question: Who exactly is driving the bus? There is clearly no agreed upon plan going forward. This is the kind of transparency I would rather not have been shown.

"My family has put €50m into football each year. Today, it's no longer possible for us. We're containing costs".

TRUE. This is the part where we must be truly grateful for. People see things like ‘Berlusconi is valued at €6-7 billion,’ but they don’t realize that his value is assessed by companies and holdings that he owns, not cash in the bank. With the economic downturn, it is likely that his empire is taking a huge hit, too, meaning he could end up being more broke than some of us. Of course €564m fines don’t help, either, especially ones we were told last year “would not impact the club.” (LIE) But if he can’t afford to inject the cash, we should not expect him to. This is also part of FFP, so the club really does need to develop a better business model that is self-sustaining, paritcularly in this tough economic crisis.

Sadly, this is what people know about Italy, not Milan

After pizza and mafia, the most known Italian element is Milan."

WTF? No, sadly Berlusconi, you are more known than Milan. The world knows what a morally corrupt, lying and self-serving excuse for a person you are, thanks to your vice grip on Italian politics and your dirty business dealings and your Bunga Bunga parties. When I first fell in love with Milan and found out you were the owner, I cried. I literally cried. How could someone so corrupt be involved with something so beautiful? I have tried to ignore you as much as possible, but now you are like the alcoholic stepfather who has no more money for booze and now spends his time around home abusing everyone for his sins and just being a horrible person.

Sorry, Berlusconi, but even when you told the truth, you have failed the Milan Obsession Lie Detector Test™, and more importantly, are failing the club. Congratulations, you've achieved the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" status. I am glad to see that the economic crises have caused you to realize that money doesn’t grow on trees, but apparently you need to have your head checked if you think you are doing the right things to move the club forward. Your money was the only thing the club ever benefitted from you being the owner, and without that, you are just a parasite, slowly destroying the club instead. Listen to your daughter, she’s the only one around the club that makes sense anymore.

This post inspired by the music of NIN "Terrible Lie"

Our next friendly is
Milan vs. Club Deportivo Olimpia
Saturday, August 4 • 4:30pm EDT
Gilette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The Berlusconi Files The Berlusconi Files Reviewed by Elaine on 2:47 AM Rating: 5
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