Gazidis discusses his Milan future and outlines the ‘leadership style’ he brought

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis has said he will discuss his future with the club once the transfer market has come to a close.

Speaking during an interview with La Repubblica (via Milan Eye), Gazidis discussed a range of topics with his future being at the forefront.

His future at the club is currently unclear but he stressed that it will not be discussed with the new ownership until the transfer window has been successfully navigated.

“My future? The right time to discuss it with the new ownership will be after closing. What matters is not my person but the future of the club,” he said.

Gazidis also discussed what he thinks football clubs should be focusing the most on which is not creating profits. Despite that, he is clear about the need to be financially stable too.

“Football clubs are not companies that must produce profits, but social and cultural institutions. Which is why we need to put values at the heart of the way we do business,” Gazidis said.

“We have to keep attention to the economic and financial aspects: the football of the rich owners who every year pour money into the club, spend millions in transfer market campaigns and accumulate debt no longer exists.

“The need for financial means has grown enormously and that model has caused bankruptcies, relegation, dramatic losses of competitiveness of the championships. The issue, for us and for everyone, is to rebuild sporting competitiveness starting from these values.”

Under the guidance of Gazidis and Elliott Management, Milan have managed to drag themselves away from being a severely mismanaged club that was a long way from any sort of success on the pitch. Gazidis focused on the radical decisions that they had to take.

“We [at Milan] inherited a club with disappointing sporting performance and serious financial difficulties. We made radical decisions, rebuilt the club from scratch and brought it back to being competitive, in Italy and soon also in Europe.

“How things are done is even more important than the strategy itself. In Italy I found a very hierarchical and formal approach: the president-owner decides and dictates and the others execute.”

His leadership style…

“I brought a different leadership style: a diverse team, people with different backgrounds that is able to confront with ideas and make common decisions.

“First, the challenge was to reduce the salary pool and improve performance at the same time. We chose to bring young players and grow them within the club. Not expenses, but investments for the future.”

Style of football and transfer strategy…

“We decided to focus on a more physical, aggressive, fast ‘style of football’, inclined to one-on-one.

“That’s why we needed an innovative and goal-focused technical staff, brave and able to withstand pressure: there is no other business whose results are tested and discussed twice a week.

“To identify young players with great growth potential we needed a “top class” scouting and analytics structure: Geoffry Moncada and his team do a fundamental job.”

On Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara…

“I don’t think words are needed to describe the cultural and managerial value that Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara – in particular the combination of the two – have brought to Milan.”

On Stefano Pioli…

“And finally Stefano Pioli: great ability to understand modern football, great human qualities, total focus on work, without lament or controversy.

“Rangnick, Boban and Maldini? I told Pioli: there will be a thousand rumours and speculations, but what happens at the end of the season will depend only on your performances.

“Certainly it was the club’s responsibility to consider possible alternatives, but Pioli listened to me. The results came and his confirmation naturally came as well.

“I have no personal problems with Boban. the principle that the club comes first and foremost is simply true. I hired Maldini not once, but two or three times, including the last renewal on which I gave a favourable opinion about him to the new ownership.”

The new San Siro…

“I am optimistic about the possibility of arriving at the approval of the final project of a modern stadium, capable of welcoming families, women, children and generating new revenues.

“We have to invest to have a new stadium, the money is there. On where and when it will happen we can’t make certain predictions. An all-Milan stadium? I know, it’s the dream of many fans, but you have to deal with the reality of a prohibitive investment for the financial balance of a single club.

“As I said, I remain optimistic about San Siro but of course we also need to have a plan B.”

Ownership change…

“I am the CEO of Milan, we are the subject of this negotiation that belongs only to shareholders. Seller and buyer have said closing is scheduled by September and I don’t see any elements that change that timeline.

“RedBird has great skills in the sports business and a high international reputation. The message they have conveyed to us is the will to continue on the path that our virtuous management has started in recent years.”

Tags AC Milan Ivan Gazidis RedBird Capital


  1. “I brought a different leadership style: a diverse team, people with different backgrounds that is able to confront with ideas and make common decisions.”

    On this, we must admit he was spot-on. The synergy between Pioli, Gazidis and M/M seems to be extremely good. Disagreements usually means coming to a better decision than if each one took his decision alone.

    1. I believe he meant with the “the money is there” that a club owned stadium will bring the club much more money than the current model. But hope I’m wrong and they have the funding already.

  2. If Gazidis leaves when the new owner takes over, we should all be thankful for what he did these 5 years. He made a few mistakes at the beginning, like the Leonardo hire and that whole Ragnick fiasco. But under his leadership Milan got from the brink of bankruptcy and looking embarrassing on the field to financially stable, playing the most attractive football in Italy and Serie A champs.
    He found the club in ruins and will leave it in a very good position, a great base for even bigger success.
    Fans don’t like his stinginess during transfer and renewal negotiations but he knows the clubs financial power or the lack thereof better than anyone.
    Maldini gets the most credit from the media for Milans reversal of fortune, because he is the club legend, but Gazidis, Moncada, Massara and Pioli have had just as much hand in Milans success, if not more than Maldini.

    1. 👆This guys gets it. Milan had a $96m deficit last year. Yet fans calling for big investment here and there, talking about 100m transfer kitty not realizing we really need to sell a couple star players like Leao and NOT replace him just so we get our books in order. What Elliot did was pour in 100m into Milan just to keep it running. Yet everyday….”we just won the Scudetto, we should upgrade the squad”. I’m just happy we’re able to compete without making the club bankrupt

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