On November 13th media mogul Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Italy’s Prime Minister, thus paving way for a new generation in Italian politics after dominating politically for the last seventeen years. 

The scandal hit media magnate has been succeeded by Mario Monti- a fellow whom which Berlusconi believes in. These events opened up a new chapter for Italy as well as for Mr Berlusconi.

It is hard to disassociate Berlusconi and politics; nonetheless it is Silvio’s interests away from politics which is now more intriguing, particularly his toy AC Milan. The Italian football club have experienced much success under Il Cavaliere, with twenty-three trophies amassed in twenty-five years under the media tycoon’s ownership.

Indeed, Berlusconi bought the club in 1986, when the red half of Milan was on the verge of bankruptcy, dogged in scandal and languishing in the Italian Serie B. Since then, AC Milan have become somewhat of a nice little earner for the Italian with the club now worth £838 million pounds, the 6th richest football club in the world of football.

The club have become a household name in the world of football, with names such as Marco Van Basten, Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko synonymous with the ‘Milan DNA’. Berlusconi, and his sidekick and uncle fester look-a-like Adriano Galliani, are always quick to point out that Milan are indeed the ‘most successful club’ in world football, accumulating more trophies than any other club- the majority of these coming in the Berlusconi years.

If we take a look at the layout of AC Milan, Silvio has had two stints as AC Milan president. From 1986-2004 and then from 2006 onwards as an ‘honorary’ president. Indeed, due to Berlusconi’s involvement in Italian politics and a ‘clash’ of political and business interests, officially the Italian billionaire could not be AC Milan’s president.

Indeed, the question which now needs to be begged is, will Silvio take over the reins of AC Milan once again officially? Will Berlusconi’s love affair with AC Milan come to an end? What will this much loved (and hated) Italian now do with his free time?

Indeed, the seventy-five year old has just released his fourth album named “This True Love”, but casting his artistic talents to one side, what will happen with him and his baby AC Milan? Berlusconi has hinted at becoming the official president of AC Milan once more, but since he stepped down as PM nothing more has become of these rumours.

Indeed, his potential return to AC Milan has sparked a wave of enthusiasm amongst the AC Milan faithful. It is widely expected that Silvio Berlusconi can now make big investments in the Italian club, thus competing financially with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Italian sports media now believe with the weight of Italy’s economy off of his own shoulders, Mr Berlusconi can now spend (or invest) in AC Milan as it would no longer be seen as ‘unacceptable’ as it may have done previously for his electorate.

Indeed, with Milan drawing ever closer to signing Carlos Tevez in January (on loan with a £18 million option to purchase in July) these predictions may already have some justification in them. One interesting thought was that of Didier Drogba being linked with AC Milan over the last month.

Chelsea’s Ivorian striker had apparently been spotted in Milan and was on the verge of joining the Rossoneri in January up until Berlusconi’s demise from Italian politics on November 13th.

A conspiracy theory has been launched throughout many of Italy’s sports and political channels- those not owned by Silvio Berlusconi- claiming Drogba’s signature for AC Milan was a smokescreen. This smokescreen was something of an empty promise to AC Milan, the Italian people and football fans.

What was attempted-in vain- was that Berlusconi was to gain positive attention in order to hold his grip on power in Italy. Inevitably, Berlusconi failed and the idea of Didier Drogba moving to Milan has been tossed out of the window along with many other misguided and desperate transfer rumours.

Along with football, Berlusconi’s company Fininvest is worth around £6 billion pounds. The company- ran by his eldest daughter Maria- assumes control of a number of companies, thirty-eight to be precise. AC Milan are one of these, along with Mediasat which is Italy’s largest entertainment company with three channels on Italian TV, along with TV channels in France (Canal+) and Spain.

Berlusconi’s position has always being somewhat dubious, he appears to infringe many laws regarding ‘personal’ and ‘public’ interest, there seems extreme biases in his favour along with the idea of heavy propaganda fuelling his position in society,politically and socially. His companies are all family run, which means the Berlusconi name will inevitably dog Italian society at present and in the future.

Inevitabley, regardless if Silvio becomes once more personally involved in AC Milan or assumes the role of ‘honorary’ president AC Milan’s success on and off the field will not be hindered. Indeed, it is possible to foresee heavier investment in his club yet I doubt we will see Silvio hanging up his boots, selling the club and retiring from the limelight in Italy yet.

Remember, he has a football team to run, music to make,  owns many TV and film channels and has (at least) four impending court cases from tax evasion and fraud due to underage ‘bunga-bunga’ sex parties.

Long gone are the days of holidaying with Tony Blair, or associating with Col. Muammar Gadaffi, yet Mr Berlusconi has now opened a new chapter in his life, and probably will never be able to close- or rid himself- of the old one.


                                                                      Stephen Donaldson
 


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