Furlani on summer investments, Ibra’s powers and the future of Pioli: “Decidedly positive”

By Isak Möller -

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport at great length, Giorgio Furlani shared his thoughts on the future of AC Milan, the rumours suggesting a big-player sale is on the cards and the recent investigation into the Rossoneri’s ownership. 

It has been a rather strange season for Milan, currently sitting in second place and having made the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Yet, there is great disappointment among the fans and to an extent, probably the management as well.

In his long interview with Gazzetta dello Sport (see photo below), Milan CEO Giorgio Furlani spoke about the future and the upcoming summer transfer window. He made it clear that the Rossoneri will make targeted investments to perfect the team, suggesting that there will be some money involved.

You’re not a Milan fan by family tradition…

“My children are not granted this freedom, only Milan exists. Fond memories? Two above all, Weah’s solo run against Verona and Van Basten’s four goals against Gothenburg. Among the all-time champions, I put Savicevic and Papin, as well as the usual Van Basten and Baresi.”

As a Milan fan and CEO of the club, how do you cure the suffering of Inter’s probable second star?

“Obviously, we would have liked to win it first, we aim to do so next year. We’re not that far away after all: we’ve pulled the neck out of the water of a club that risked bankruptcy due to the Chinese ownership. Now we have to continue along the growth path to be permanently on par with the best in Europe.”

Can you do it in just one season?

“The goal was and always remains to win. We are still second. In the league, we have one point less than the Scudetto season and ten more than a year ago after the same amount of games. It means that we have improved the team, that we have a stronger starting base with good rotations.

“The new signings have brought 40 goals and rotation is no longer a problem. Last year we had to revolutionize the squad, this year not, we will have to perfect it. We will have the advantage of continuity to aim to win the league and move forward in Europe.”

So, calendar in hand: how long will it take Milan to win the next Champions League?

«If you ask Cardinale, he will tell you as soon as possible. He is in love with the club and he is the most determined. If you ask me what I want to improve on, it’s easy: winning. A year ago, we reached the Champions League semi-final, it hadn’t happened since 2007. This year we stopped in the group stage and it’s also a question of luck or bad luck in the draw.

“And then there is the Europa League, which we have never won: it is an important objective. I don’t know how long it will take, but I repeat: We brought the club back to the top of Serie A, also thanks to the leadership of president Scaroni. Today all the resources generated are reinvested to build an increasingly stronger team capable of fighting to win.”

Where do you think you can generate new revenue from?

“Certainly from the stadium. To be truly and consistently competitive in Europe, you have to keep up with other clubs., Without a stadium that is suitable for 2024, and not 1960, you are effectively operating incompletely. The San Donato project is the one we found most attractive, let’s continue along this path.

“Mayor Sala and WeBuild proposed the idea of a renovation project for San Siro, the details of which we do not know. We listened to the various options, but the main road remains San Donato. Times? Hypothesis 2028-2029, but I won’t go too far.”

The finish line isn’t just around the corner. So, in the meantime, how can you get back up?

“The sporting results have helped us fuel the economic ones and vice versa, after seventeen years we have a positive balance sheet. Revenues grew by 60% thanks also to the contribution of RedBird and Cardinale’s thirty-year experience in sport: Gerry cares a lot about results.

“Cardinale is the first to underline that there is no financial performance without sporting performance. He is an owner who participates in the life of the club on a daily basis, we talk every day and several times a day. Before going to sleep I ask myself: ‘Did I tell him everything about what happened today?’. Gerry is always on point, in contact with our entire work team, he wants his project to be an all-round success.”

On the investigation into the club’s ownership…

“We have zero fear of it, Milan’s owner has been RedBird since August 2022. Elliott has granted a vendor loan which is one of the many possible ways to conclude an operation of this magnitude. There is nothing hidden, everything is very transparent, and the facts are easily verifiable. It is right that the authorities do their duty, we remain fully cooperative.”

The papers say that the search for a minority shareholder is true. Are Milan opening the doors to a new shareholder?

“Given that the vendor loan, which is talked about a lot, expires in the second half of 2025, there is nothing imminent. There are no ongoing negotiations. In any case, control of Milan is and will remain with RedBird.”

There is a new man in the club and it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic: has he really taken command?

“On a formal level, Zlatan has no powers to decide anything, but our approach is not ‘formalistic’. There is a group that operates and decides in full collegiality. My relationship with Ibra is fantastic and I’m lucky to have him close to me. We are complementary, he is a man of the pitch, I’m a director. I cannot speak to Maignan in his language, Ibra can.”

Do you get the role as a cold numbers man?

“I care about Milan, I really care. I repeat, the conditions in which the club found itself have accentuated strong attention, responsibility and aversion in me. When I was offered the opportunity to be part of the company, I asked myself one question: ‘On my deathbed, will I regret doing this or not?’ I answered no. For me it’s not a question of career, there is only Milan: the club to which I’m linked today and forever. I’m not looking for the limelight in football, I will never go to any other club.”

In summary: will Ibra choose the players on the market and will you define the contractual aspect?

“Let’s not forget Moncada: Geoffrey is number one. Ibra himself is the first to turn to Geoff to exchange opinions on the players’ profiles. I don’t decide on the technical choice, but on the aspects connected and related to the investment: if you have €100m, you don’t pay €80m for a single player.”

Are you ready to spend €50m on the attacker?

“In football, we make the big mistake of thinking that the price corresponds to the value, but this is almost never the case. The footballer market is the most inefficient there is. We want to aim for value, which does not necessarily match the cost of the player. We have to find Pulisic, Loftus types… The budget itself depends on many factors: on how we finish the season and on the exit market.”

Will the new No.9 still team up with Leao or will you listen to any “crazy” offers?

«Rafa has a release clause of €175m but before that, he has the desire to stay at Milan. He’s fine here, he should be the one asking to leave but he really doesn’t want to. Long live Leao at Milan.”

Is the same true for Theo and Maignan?

“They have contracts until June 2026. There is talk of selling or buying but often, it is the players who decide their respective futures. Theo and Mike are two champions, we hope they stay with us for as long as possible and make a difference again.”

Like Pioli?

“Our season has been good so far, but just like last year, there was another team that went beyond expectations. Yesterday Napoli, today Inter. Pioli has a decidedly positive history at Milan, he brought the team back to the Champions League and won the Scudetto.

“He is often criticized but he has achieved important results. No one from the club has ever spoken about the bench being at risk. Now it would be ungenerous to evaluate him based on his future path in the Europa League or the outcome of the derby, however important it is.”

Do you also see a U23 team in the future, perhaps with Camarda as the protagonist?

“The reflections on the second team have been there for five-six years now, but the regulatory context remains complicated. Camarda is a boy who grew up in our youth sector, he has just turned 16 and we would like him to always remain with us and score many goals in the future with this shirt.

“He is a Rossoneri fan like me, I’m convinced that he wants to remain in an important sporting project. I want to point out that certain figures that have come out regarding hypothetical requests made are absolutely not correct, they are even offensive to the agents, to the boy and his family.”

Of course, the investigation into the ownership was never any worry for the club, as we were among the first to report on our Substack. On the other hand, this summer will say a lot about RedBird’s project for the club, and whether the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make a big difference.

Tags AC Milan Giorgio Furlani


  1. Good to know the moneyball/trading stuff was not only to clear the debt but it’s a long-term policy. Now we will have a stadium/casino/food court with 50% of VIP lounges and 20€ beers to experience top 4 in a weak Serie A and UCL early exits.

  2. We’re about the same age and Papin, while ok/good, is not the first that come to mind as a kid…the hoops he’ll take to avoid naming ‘the legend’ lol 🤣🤣🤣
    Is this that whole French legends at Milan thing again or? And I barely remembered Baresi lol
    This interview asks more questions than it provides, esp about Ibra

    1. It’s not supposed to answer questions. May be an interview ‘on paper’, but I can guarantee you this is a PR piece. Usually whenever you see an interview with an executive, it is a PR piece. It’s a large revenue channel for the media.

      The statements made were – 1) we are moving with the stadium in San Donato, 2) we are not concerned with the investigation, 3) we are not selling Leao this summer, but we can’t guarantee Maignan/Theo will stay, 4) media to leave Camarda alone

      1. Agree 100%. Also trying to get some legitimacy about being a longtime fan. He’s one of us. Funny how Milan has been a propaganda tool for decades now. At least with Berlusconi the team was winning trophies.

      2. Oh yea I’m in agreement. Might have open up more questions than anything is what I’m saying. As a PR move, I wouldn’t have said Ibra doesn’t have power though. It sort of flies in the face of the recent Gerry interview

  3. Papin one of all the champions of Milan? He had 2 injury ravaged seasons with Milan playing 40 games in total.

    That’s almost as Moncada saying Milan had many French champions in the past.

          1. Why do you constantly pick out the part that’s least relevant to the point and sidetrack the issue? His point was relative to Milan not overall so it checks out. Papin could be a legend otherwise but for Milan…..

  4. Every time Furlani, Cardinale or Moncada speak, some people in the comments section get mad, big mad.
    I think they should speak more often.

    1. Music to my ears. I wish they would say a 173rd time that we’re ambitious and building a stadium. Probably next week.

      1. Anytime there’s a Cardinale, Furlani or Moncada interview someone in the comments section gets really mad that ppl comment on the interview and/or calls out the bs 🤣🤣🤣

  5. Many things to commend, many of them subjective (showing though his personality) and few objective. Let’s focus on objective – taking them wrong is simply dangerous.
    A proper football analyst would inform him that, compared to last season (so far) we are less good but way luckier/in-form (one of the 2 and/or a combination). Modern data are clear: less xG, more xGA, less xPTS.
    If you claim to be “data-driven” management in 2024, you cannot say that “we are improved”. In fact you have to be mildly concerned why we have worse numbers (even without CL) compared to last year (which was worse than the year before).

    P.S. Yes, there are good explanations why we are “worse” than last year. The dangerous point is to believe we are “better” because we collected more points.

  6. I have a sneaking suspicion Pioli isn’t going anywhere next season.

    Milan won’t change coaches just for the sake of change. Pioli seems to be keeping the club in line with RedBird’s objectives and provides continuity. players continue to improve under him. He has the club in 2nd and in EL still.

    Pioli isn’t the coach to get our club to Top Tier for sure. But he has gotten un from F to B, and can probably get us to B+/A- level at best. But to truly get to next level we will need an upgrade. My guess is, that can only happen if there’s a viable option for such a coach, like Klopp or something.

    Conte doesn’t fit the RdBird philosophy and is destructive, despite his winning mentality. He’ll get your the scudetto but set the club back 5 years as a result.

    Motta will likely stay on for another season at Bologna to see it’s progress through, especially if he secures CL qualification.

    DeZerbi and Sarri aren’t viable options, neither is Italiano.

    1. That’s debatable. I understand your point but I’m not sure that Pioli has reached his ceiling. He wasn’t exactly helped by the recruitment, either under the previous management or this one. Pioli built a Scudetto-winning team from scratch with young and unknown players, developed them into starters and stars, but every year he has to say goodbye to key players and integrate new guys to develop. Despite losing Kessié and (kind of) Zlatan last year, and getting Vranckx and Origi, he still went to UCL semi finals. This season, the midfield was shuffled and there were many injuries also. I would like to see what he can do with more regularity. Seems like the next mercato will be just a few touch so we’ll able to judge him next season. For now his record is on par with Capello or Ancelotti, that’s impressive considering where he started and what he had to deal with over the past years.

      1. Agree with you on Pioli, but I think you are a bit harsh on the management. Like them or not, they also have to make ends meet financially speaking. The last mercato I think was overall positive in hindsight, and you probably agree with that as you mention we need ‘just a few touches’. We have to remember that in new times the Financials are completely different. Do you think Silvio won money from AC Milan? He was a simbol of the mafia, spending his money on what he loves. That can’t happen now.

      2. Pioli is limited tactically. You can tell having watched him enough in the last 5 years. He is good at developing players. But I don’t see him elevating Milan into a super team. He does get a lot of flack unfairly, for sure.

        I just can’t help but feel that we need a next level coach for a never level Milan. Having said this though, I would actually like to see him stay here next season to see if he can elevate this team further since players will have had a season under their belts playing together.

        Of course Mercato maneuvers will play a big role in that too.

        1. Honest question, is it the coach or we need next level players? We don’t have a Benz, Vini, Haaland, Lewy etc
          Who’s this guaranteed next level coach we can realistically hire? Can’t be Motta, he’s a gamble. Conte? Is he really better than Pioli? Who else is going to guarantee we elevate this team

        2. I’ve thought the same

          “Pioli is limited tactically” Quite a few times recently I feel like that too about Pioli, like he’s not able to make changes to the team to make them less predictable or to make adjustments mid-game but then I remember all the bad losses we had with Ancelotti, or Capello, or Sacchi, or Allegri, or Zaccheroni, etc and how the team played with Giampaolo. How did Arsenal cope after Wenger left? I say we keep Pioli one more year.

          “We need a next level coach”. Unfortunately we cannot afford a next level coach, we’d have to grow them. How many Milan fans would have hired Xabi Alonso before Leverkusen, or De Zerbi before Brighton?
          All the coaches with success and some innovative ideas are poached by PL teams eventually.

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