Silvio Berlusconi has told fans of AC Milan that the group acquiring his majority stake in the club has the “resources and the will” to make the Rossoneri one of the world’s best teams once again.
Chinese consortium Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing has agreed to purchase Berlusconi’s 93.93 per cent stake in the San Siro club, and the group has committed to investing €350million in the team over the next three seasons.
Berlusconi, who saved Milan from bankruptcy when he acquired the club in February 1986, delivered five European Cups among 28 trophies during his 30 years in charge and he posted an emotional farewell message to the team’s supporters on Facebook.
He said: “Thirty years ago I bought Milan as an act of love. I’m selling for an act of even greater love: I’m entrusting the team to a group which has the necessary resources and the will to invest to bring Milan back to competing with the big international clubs.
“Naturally, I’m moved and saddened, but also calm in my belief that I have once again acted for the good of Milan, and I’ll continue to be their most ardent fan.
“These 30 years will remain in my heart, with great memories which can’t be equalled. I was privileged to lead the team I love until it became the most successful club in the world.”
Milan have won eight Serie A titles with Berlusconi at the helm in an era that saw great Italian players like Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta write their names into the club’s history.
Berlusconi and vice president Adriano Galliani developed a reputation for bringing the best players from around the world to San Siro, including Marco van Basten, Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka, but the club has gone five years without winning the title and has finished outside the top three in Serie A for three consecutive seasons.
“Memories and thanks go to the great players, coaches and directors who have succeeded here,” Berlusconi continued. “Many of them will go down in football legend, having helped to write extraordinary victories in Italy, Europe and worldwide.
“Above all though, I’ll never forget the participation and the affection of the fans: the passion of millions of people for the Rossoneri colours was instrumental in making this special team unlike any other, stronger than any other, stronger than injustice, stronger than bad luck.
“I’ll be in the stands with them to cheer, and perhaps to suffer, but I’m sure we’ll soon be celebrating great new Milan successes together, honouring our great tradition.
“A big hug – and a Rossonero one – to each of you.”