I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to politics, but I do know I don’t like politicians involved in sports I love. If until now AC Milan were controlled by one controversial figure, Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy, it may get a new cash injection and co-owner in the form of borderline Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin.
For years Berlusconi kept away suitors and potential investors, seeking full control of the club he loves just as much as he loves finding himself with young women in hot tubs across Europe. What can you do, the man is a sucker for mistresses, real or metaphorical ones.
But AC Milan are no longer the rich and all powerful club they used to be. They had to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG this summer, without making any substantial investment in new players. Just Ricardo Montolivo arriving from Fiorentina for free. The rest of the summer has been about old figures like Nesta, Gattuso and Seedorf leaving the club to make one more round for lesser teams before they hang up their football boots for good.
And in comes Putin, and the partially state owned galactic gas empire of Gazprom, the owners of Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia and also sponsors of Red Star Belgrade in Serbia and Schalke 04 in Germany. It is believed that now they want to have a stake in AC Milan, probably a 25% share, worthy of injecting €180 million into the club’s cash flow.
Berlusconi said that by selling Ibra and Silva he has ensured Milan’s financial future for the next four seasons. By making a deal with a close friend like Putin, he may be doing much more in securing the financial future of the club, but wherever you see the all powerful ruler of Russia looming around, there’s always that feeling that something not quite kosher is going down. What? Maybe nothing, but there has to be something a bit off about an energy monopoly starting to take control or a part of more and more clubs around Europe.