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Malaysian prince denies AC Milan takeover bid

The Crown Prince of Johor has denied launching a bid to buy AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi.

Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, a member of the royal family of the Malaysian state and chairman of the Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) club, was quoted in an interview with The Straits Times as saying he would be keen on a takeover at San Siro.

However, the 31-year-old has since issued a statement via JDT’s Facebook page to clarify that owning Milan, a club he has supported since he was young, is simply “one of his dreams”.

He also insisted he does not possess the wealth to make a takeover possible and would be hesitant to take charge of Milan during an era of Serie A dominance enjoyed by Juventus.

“Recently I’ve been interviewed by the Straits Times Singapore regarding my accomplishments with JDT and other goals in life in general,” he said. 

“I was also asked if I have any interest in buying a foreign club. My exact answer was yes. If I have to pick a club, it would have to be Milan. That’s one of my dreams. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it. It’s just a club that I’ve adored since I was young. That’s all.

“So to answer any speculations, the answer is No. I’m not buying Milan. I don’t have money to buy Milan. I’m not rich like other Malaysian businessmen. I’m just a young man with a dream and big ambitions that’s all.

“My club JDT can’t even beat Kedah and other Malaysian teams. I’m not going to take Milan having to go head on with Juventus and other Italian giants. I simply dare not. My club is only JDT. A small club with big ambitions.”

In his interview, Tunku Ismail had said: “I’m planning to buy AC Milan but we’ll see how it goes. I love Milan, I have always loved Italian clubs since I was young.

“In doing research and discussion [stage] but we’ll see how it goes, I think the target is always JDT but if I can buy a club in Europe it’ll be AC Milan.”

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi said last week that he is looking to sell the club, but only to “stable and secure hands”.

Negotiations with Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol have failed to progress in recent months, and Italian finance broker Salvatore Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, said this month that an unnamed Chinese consortium had “big ambitions and  is very, very interested in the club”.

Mon 25 Apr, 2016
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