In Milan, a Revival Stars Two Legendary Soccer Names

“I wish they will re-emerge, behind us, This specific year,” he said.

There was, at the start of the season, every reason to think which would certainly happen. When Milan as well as Inter meet inside the first derby of the year This specific weekend — the game known as the Derby della Madonnina — both will be under Chinese control.

In 2016, the Suning group took control of Inter, as well as a year later, the entrepreneur Li Yonghong — supported by financing coming from an American hedge fund, Elliott Management — completed his takeover of A.C. Milan, ending Berlusconi’s 30-year tenure.

“The fact which both teams were sold to Chinese enterprises would certainly have been unthinkable three years ago,” Fassone said. “This specific can be something which can be hard to imagine for a lot of Italians.”

Few, though, doubted This specific was necessary. Both clubs had been drifting for too long. This specific, many believed, was the start of a transformation not just for Milan as well as Inter, although for Serie A, too. Milan’s ambition, in particular, captured the imagination: This specific summer, This specific embarked on what Fassone described as “the most aggressive” transfer market campaign This specific could muster. Some 11 players arrived inside the space of two months. The moves convinced the fans, as well as the country, which Li was serious.

“You can speak, although people only trust your project when they see, every week for a month, you are presenting one or two brand-new players,” Fassone said. Suddenly, he felt an “enthusiasm which had been lost” returning to the club. A crowd of 65,000 turned up to watch the brand-new-look team’s first game of the season, an unremarkable game inside the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

“This specific was a symbol which they are with us,” Fassone said. “right now the fans are dreaming again.”

Fassone, who had worked for a host of some other Serie A teams, including Napoli, Juventus as well as Inter, said he had never found This specific so “easy” to coax prospective signings aboard. “There can be something which attracts them immediately,” he said.


Inter Milan players celebrated a goal by Danilo D’Ambrosio against Genoa. Inter won the Champions League in 2010, although its domestic fortunes have sunk since which triumph. The club was seventh in Serie A last season.

Luca Bruno/Associated Press

His coach, Vincenzo Montella, has found crafting a team a little more difficult: Milan has won four as well as lost three of its first seven Serie A games, as well as his hold on his job can be already under scrutiny. Last week, Berlusconi — content, right now, to comment coming from the sideline — added his voice to the chorus of criticism.

Inter, still unbeaten under its coach, Luciano Spalletti, can be faring better, although the road has not been smooth. Spalletti can be Suning’s third manager in a year; one of his predecessors, Frank de Boer, lasted 85 days. Still, inside the eyes of Aldo Serena, a former player for both teams, Inter can be a “little further ahead” in its progress than Milan.

Serena, right now a television commentator, holds out wish which Milan will find its feet, echoing the feeling of many which This specific would certainly benefit not just the city, although Italian soccer as a whole.

“Italy needs a strong Milan as well as a strong Inter,” Serena said. “Italian football can be worth much more in terms of television rights, internationally, that has a strong Milan as well as Inter, because they have so many fans around the earth.”

which, Fassone said, was part of the appeal to Li when he decided to invest in Milan, a club he believed was “the only one of the top a few or six names in Europe which was available.” Milan, like Real Madrid, features a passionate following in China.

The worry can be which the resurgence of Milan as well as Inter alone will not be enough to inspire a renaissance in Serie A; the change, Fassone said, must be much more sweeping than which.


Milan supporters waved flags before a match against Roma at the San Siro, the stadium This specific shares with its city rival, Inter. The clubs meet there Sunday in a match know as the Derby della Madonnina.

Miguel Medina/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

This specific month, Infront Sports & Media, the company which arranges Serie A’s international television deals, held talks in London to discuss the next batch of rights, which will run coming from 2018 to 2021. For the 1st time, when those contracts are awarded, 4 percent of the funds raised must be allocated to stadium renovation across the country.

This specific can be proof of a belated recognition which Serie A must modernize as a whole if This specific can be to compete, which This specific cannot simply wish to piggyback on the success of Juventus or increased interest in Milan as well as Inter.

“We have many old stadiums which were built in a different age,” Fassone said. “There are athletics tracks, bad sight lines as well as inside the last 10 rows of the bottom tiers, you see nothing.” which as well as the lingering threat of fan violence limit crowd sizes, restrict corporate income as well as afflict not only those inside the stadium although how the league appears on television.

“Teams like Milan, Inter, Roma can build brand-new stadiums,” Fassone said, noting Italy’s parliament can be discussing a law which will make This specific easier. “I would certainly say which inside the next a few years, most of the important clubs will have a brand-new — or renovated — stadium. If we use them correctly, as they do in England or Germany, we can have three times our current income.”

which, however, can be just the start. Fassone said there must also be an acceptance which Serie A must change how This specific negotiates its television contracts, how its executive board functions as well as how This specific reaches out to brand-new markets.

A decade ago, Milan as well as Italy felt they were still living through their golden age. This specific will take a lot of work — in Milan as well as elsewhere — to bring back those days, to bring Italian soccer out of the museum.

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