Gerry Cardinale has been the owner of AC Milan for 500 days. In that span, a lot has changed for the club and the future is indeed promising for the Rossoneri, who registered a profit for the first time since 2006 last season.
On May 21 2022, as highlighted by Gazzetta dello Sport (see featured image), Cardinale reached an agreement with Elliott Management. Back then, few knew about RedBird and the American businessman, but that has obviously changed.
In his time at Milan, Cardinale has almost lived two lives. The first was his first year, in which he rarely made an appearance, staying out of the way and observing the Rossoneri’s methods.
The second, currently still active, started in the summer when he decided to part ways with Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara. Since then, he has been very present and has become a great point of reference for the club.
Just as Cardinale has changed, so has AC Milan. Innovation is the word that RedBird like to use when describing their work with the club, bringing a new way of playing football to Italy. A lot of focus has been put on the commercial side of things, as seen by various partnerships (Yankees, Off White, New Era, Main Street Advisors and more).
Cardinale has described Milan as a ‘sleeping giant’, eager to make the most of such a big brand worldwide. Financial sustainability has also been a key factor, always wanting the club to compete at the very top but without risking the balance sheet with expensive signings.
Giorgio Furlani and Geoffrey Moncada, key men of this new direction, sold Sandro Tonali in the face of Newcastle’s great offer and rebuilt the team, with the (hyper-debated) data revolution. Zelus, an analytics company, and “Mr. Moneyball” Billy Beane give their opinion on the players to sign and the club also has analysts, which isn’t too common in Italy.
The perfect example is Tijjani Reijnders: promoted by the data, €20m transfer fee, and a low salary. Ideal not just to help Milan perform on the pitch, but also with a view to the future and a potential resell.
For Cardinale, the journey has just begun but a lot has already been done in the first 500 days.