Galliani expresses immense adoration for Zlatan and previews ‘Berlusconi’s game’

By Oliver Fisher -

The game tonight between Monza and AC Milan at the U-Power Stadium is one which will carry a bit of extra meaning for Adriano Galliani, given his past and his present.

Galliani is a man who has strong links to both Monza who are his boyhood club and the team he is currently the CEO of as well as Milan where he spent over three decades.

Indeed, he is probably best known for being former vice-chairman and CEO of the Rossoneri from 1986 to 2017 which was of course the ‘Silvio Berlusconi era’ and it saw the club transformed into one of Europe’s elite.

During his time with Milan, the club won five Champions League titles and eight Scudetti among countless other achievements, and that means he remains tied to the Diavolo for life, as does the late Berlusconi.

Tonight will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the passing of Berlusconi, and Galliani spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the game.

What effect will Ibrahimovic have at Milan?

“I don’t talk about Zlatan’s new role, I don’t get into dynamics that don’t belong to me. And I don’t want to talk about Ibra the footballer because everyone knows his incredible career.

“I want to talk about the man: a man who couldn’t be more generous. Honest, loyal, always available. An example? If I ask him to record a video greeting for some fan in difficulty who expresses this desire to me, I received it after less than a minute.

“Zlatan is a nice person, I think of his humanity: not a day went by without him visiting Raiola in hospital.”

Your story begins on August 29, 2010, you got off the plane together. What has happened since then?

“In reality it could have happened much earlier, in 2006. Ariedo Braida was negotiating the final details, the contract was ready. Calciopoli intervened: Milan were first relegated and then readmitted to Serie A with a 30-point penalty.

“Despite the penalty we qualified for the Champions League, but it was too late. For the same reasons Ibra was leaving Juventus and in those conditions Inter overtook us. My first big regret.”

All it took was waiting four years…

“Great loves make immense journeys and then return. In 2009 Zlatan went to Barcelona for 70 million and I could never have thought that after a year he would want to leave.

“The credit went to my great friend Mino Raiola who already knew everything: I stayed at Ibra’s house until he, his wife and children got on Silvio Berlusconi’s plane headed to Milan.”

Was it the beginning of a new cycle?

“Together we lived two wonderful years with another title. In the summer of 2012 Ibra wanted to stay at Milan and I comforted him. I told him he would stay, we toasted at my house with a bottle of Dom Pérignon.

“There was also Mino who, as usual, had already understood everything: ‘In two months he will sell you’. It only happened because circumstances didn’t allow anything else.

“He didn’t speak to me for two years, relationships totally broken off. He thought I had cheated on him and he didn’t accept it. He wanted to stay at Milan and it was my second big regret.”

How did you sew it up?

“For the reason I said before. Ibra is a loyal man, transparent even when he gets angry. And his love for Milan was too great. Today we talk, we text, he hasn’t stopped calling me ‘boss’.

“Before the match, he, I and president Scaroni will be together in a room of the stadium: dinner with Monza risotto and ossobuco, we found ourselves halfway on the menu.”

Will you be able to be rivals?

“This is Silvio Berlusconi’s match and Zlatan was close to him, they had a close relationship.”

Is it true you tried to bring Ibra to Monza?

“Very true, as a player or anything else. His love for Milan was stronger.”

Speaking of feelings, do you have a public message for him?

“I tell him I love him. I love Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Period.”

Again: Monza and Milan are the teams of his life. Which emotion dominates?

“I supported Monza as a child and then I came back, it was a karmic bond with Milan. But I repeat, it’s Silvio Berlusconi’s game, there isn’t a day when you don’t think so.

“If I have to make a decision I wonder what he would have done in my place. And he was my life teacher. Monza and Milan are the two teams that he loved intensely.

“Sometimes he would ask me, ‘How did we do?’ and I didn’t understand which of the two he was referring to.

“Since our first meeting, it was November 1, 1979, I have seen his eyes shine many times but twice more than others. On 24 May 1989, Milan’s first victory in the Champions Cup after the 4-0 against Steaua Bucharest.

“The second on 29 May 2022 at 11pm, the moment in which Monza won in Pisa and got into Serie A for the first time.”


Tags AC Milan Adriano Galliani
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