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AC Milan owner Cardinale: Winning trophies every year would be boring

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AC Milan owner Cardinale: Winning trophies every year would be boring

AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale says winning trophies every season would be boring.

Cardinale discussed buying Milan this week at the FT’s Football Business Summit.

He said, “It was a very long 18 months. I said to myself that if I was going to do this at a big European club I wasn’t going to do it with a shotgun blazing, so I took a year to study, look and understand more.

“In my 30-year career, I’ve had the privilege of being around the best American sports owners, in the last five years I’ve had the privilege of being around Liverpool and becoming the owner of Toulouse… It’s been a learning process.

“I knew that at AC Milan it would be more than a learning process. What we have done over the last 18 months is put the pieces in the right place to shape our ‘Investment Thesis’ [investment strategy]

“There are different projects: around Milan, around Serie A. We have to be an ‘agent of change’. What is happening in Italy, but frankly also all over Europe, can be defined as a bit of madness.

“Everyone wants a different result, everyone wants to win. The world has changed, Milan is where it is now, the team with the most Champions Leagues in the world after Real Madrid, thanks to Silvio Berlusconi. The way he managed to do it is no longer a viable path.”

“And I say this, humbly, having experienced my sports career with Steinbrenner [principal owner and managing partner of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees from 1973 until he died in 2010] Steinbrenner was to baseball as Berlusconi was to European football.

“We can no longer win this way. We have to find smarter ways to win. And from an investment point of view, the focus is on winning consistently. The fans and the people are very involved and their rationality disappears: because we are human we all want to win.

“But nobody wants to win more than me. I am enormously aligned with the fans in Italy, but I have a job to do. And my goal is to win consistently. And the value of the whole movement will only continue to grow if the competitiveness is always there.

“We want to win Serie A and the Champions League every year, but the whole thing would lose value. The cornerstone of sport is the unpredictability of the human element. It’s a broader discourse, but what’s happening in sport nowadays is worrying.”

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