On the afternoon of July 18, 1986, a helicopter burst through the clouds of the rainy sky of Milan to the beat of the Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner. The artifact landed in the old Arena di Milano and the stars of the team that the fashion entrepreneur in Italy had bought a few months ago, the owner of a fledgling media empire called Mediaset, came out one by one. A club that had recently gone bankrupt and had sadly suffered in Serie B. It was so bad that its previous president, Giussy Farina, rented Milanello to celebrate weddings and christenings. That afternoon, however, the team’s fortunes and the history of the team changed forever. calcium. Maybe the one from Italy too.
The news today is that AC Milan is back after a decade at UVI. The team has been gravitating to the top of the rankings for two seasons – yesterday they beat Atalanta 2-3 and remains second in the table – and secretly dreams of their first scudetto since 2011, when a glorious cycle ended and it changed ownership again. But don’t be fooled. There is not a single day that a Milanello employee does not make a nostalgic joke about old Silvio, who has turned 85. Il Cavaliere celebrated it with his son, his 31-year-old girlfriend (the same as his presidency at the club) and a cake that reproduced that volcano in his village in Sardinia, which erupted at the climax of the orgies he was celebrating. (One of them was immortalized on the cover of this newspaper). And it is true that all that universe may now seem like a joke. But he was not seen from the field of play.
Berlusconi, whom his doctor defines as an immortal being, is the Rosetta stone that allows him to decipher almost all the phenomena of modern Italy. Also the synthesis of the relevance that soccer occupies in the public life of the country. The owner of Mediaset was prime minister thanks to his service record as president of AC Milan. In 1986 he bought it from the Farina family for 20,000 million lire (10 million euros), won five Champions League – of the seven he has – and built legendary and countercultural teams in the Italy of the catenaccio, where trainers like Sacchi were Martians. If he had been capable of that, voters thought, how could he not put the seventh world economy back into orbit. Thus created the cocktail perfect between politics, football and television. A serum capable of hypnotizing fans and detractors and in which the borders between those universes disappeared. Forza Italia coined the name of a football slogan in 1994 and its detractors could no longer even shout it again when the Nazionale was playing.
Beyond the moral and political judgment – and the cases that he still has to face by instigation of the prostitution of minors, if it were not for the fact that he enters and leaves the hospital to avoid testifying – Berlusconi was a visionary. At the end of the eighties he sensed that the European Cup was dying. The old gambler challenged UEFA long before the Botafumeiro trio of apprentices: a gamble that led to the current Champions League. It is tempting to think that the credit was money or political power. But then it would have to be equated today with millionaire club-states. In his first 10 years of presidency, Berlusconi played five Champions or European Cup finals, of which he took home three. He won eight international trophies: in addition three European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups. The PSG of the sheikhs has achieved in 10 years a Champions League final and zero international titles.
Milan’s failures led to a chronic decline for the team and its president. And Berlusconi, already closer to Geppetto than to playboy that one day she thought she was, she lost the desire to go down to the locker room to tell skirt jokes. Too many scandals, thousands of political problems and countless legal challenges. Nobody in the family wanted to take care of the club anymore. But the final trick was missing, which consisted of placing the club to a Chinese businessman for 740 million (including his debts). Nobody got to know who it was. La Gazzetta dello sportIn fact, he went to China to ring the doorbell of his house, but did not find anyone. The guy, coincidentally, had already paid practically all the money and then disappeared. The shadow of bleaching, like so many other times, flew over the operation. But there it ended. And today Berlusconi has bought the Monza, where he never brought his players by helicopter. But he has promised to make him the new Milan. And you should never underestimate immortality.
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