Former CEO Adriano Galliani has revealed that bringing Frank Rijkaard to AC Milan was the most difficult transfer operation he completed during his over 30-year spell.
Galliani was interviewed by MilanNews at the event for the new book by Gianluca di Marzio ‘Almanac of the 2021-22 transfer market’ and gave some thoughts on his old club, where he oversaw the most decorated period in the Rossoneri’s history.
He shed some light on what he claims to be the toughest signing that he made while in charge of the mercato, revealing it to be Rijkaard’s arrival in 1988. When Johan Cruyff was head coach of Ajax the midfielder Rijkaard stormed off the training field and vowed never to play under him again so he was signed by Sporting CP.
However, they were too late in signing him meaning he was ineligible to play in any competition so they loaned him to Real Zaragoza, but he was then bought by Milan a year after his move to Portugal.
“We all understood that he was a very strong player, but he had a difficult situation to solve: he was on loan to Sporting, owned by Ajax who had transferred the rights to a American owner. All the European clubs had withdrawn because they could not find the solution. The most difficult negotiation? Rijkaard,” he said.
He also spoke to Sky (via MilanNews) about when he signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic on an initial loan from Barcelona back in 2010.
“I always remember being in Barcelona for quite a while to bring him to Milan. The 2011 Scudetto, the almost 2012 Scudetto, and you know why I call it ‘almost Scudetto’…
“At my house, after the season, I promised him that he would not leave. I promised him that he would not go away. But then with Mino with a glass of champagne… I understood that he will leave. It was the first time that Ibra did not want to leave a club.”