GdS: How Milan have changed on and off the field since Cardinale’s arrival a year ago

By Oliver Fisher -

It has been almost one year since Gerry Cardinale and RedBird Capital Partners completed their €1.2bn takeover of AC Milan.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recall how it was back on 31 August 2022 that RedBird announced they had ‘completed the acquisition of Associazione Calcio Milan for 1.2 billion euros’ from Elliott Management after four years of management by the Singer family.

It was somewhat surprising from a timing perspective, considering that Milan had just won the league in the previous season and looked as though they could have benefitted from more stability.

What has changed in 12 months? The management continues to be based on self-sustainability, i.e. the desire to put together the needs of the field – therefore, of sporting success – with financial ones.

Cardinale spoke of Milan as a ‘sleeping giant’ and in order to further accelerate the growth of the club there was the desire to exploit the presence of having so many fans around the world, by combining sporting performance – which obviously remains the cornerstone – with entertainment content.

During the 12 months of Cardinale, Milan evolved in all aspects. In practice, he took over the club when the season had just started, with a victory in the derby against Inter three days after the closing being a very good start.

The Rossoneri were unable to repeat the Scudetto win – which Cardinale had celebrated in Piazza Duomo like a fan – but they were in the final four of the Champions League which represented a big step forward in Europe.

The continuation of the virtuous circle started by Elliott – which has begun to generate important and vital cash flows for the club’s finances – was seen as important.

Milan closed their last accounts on 30 June 2023 with a profit of around €10m, something that hadn’t been seen since 2006. It is worth remembering the record loss of €196m after the 2019-20 season.

Things are always looking forward in terms of turnover, which will exceed €350m after remaining below €240m for years. The sporting results – Scudetto plus fixed participation in the Champions League – have obviously benefited, but additional work was needed.

Cardinale is a businessman with an infinite number of high-level contacts and strategic relationships in the US market, as seen with the various partnerships embarked on to grow the brand around the world.

There were some uncomfortable choices too, like the sacking of Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara which seemed an earthquake at the time – as did the sale of Sandro Tonali – but after nine signings arrived and the squad depth improved, some doubters have become believers.

Finally, we come to the new stadium. In addition to boosting commercial revenues, he has also been pushing for a new Milan-only home, with the most advanced and constructive discussions ongoing with the Council of San Donato at the moment.

Tags AC Milan Gerry Cardinale


  1. The club is getting stronger on and off the pitch. Those who asserted RedBird were only interested in using Milan as a piggy bank have been proven wrong. As has been said by myself and others, sporting and business success are synergistic and you cannot have one without the other. Some folks have been notably absent after our fast start, perhaps they will re-emerge when we inevitably stumble at some point. For me I can’t wait to see how the team keeps evolving.

    1. I am no Cardinale fan. I reacted strongly upon the sacking, especially THE WAY in which Maldini and Massara were sacked. I thought they were treated poorly – and still feel the same. It was then compounded by the sale of Tonali – which was disappointing too. However, I acknowledge that it was an Italian record sale and it was the necessary sacrifice to move forward. The fact that the money was reinvested IMMEDIATELY to several key players alleviate the pain and obviously I am hoping that it works for the club.

      Having said that – it is encouraging that the club is continuing the path of ‘virtuous cycle’ as the site likes to call it. I think every Milan fans agree that it is the way to move forward in the modern era and I don’t recall any (bar probably one random poster here and there) who asked Milan to spend like Chelsea on players such as Mbappe etc. Personally, I thought we had a solid backbone (at least on paper) of a team last season, but something went seriously wrong after that weirdly timed World Cup. I acknowledge that It is probably easier to just lay the whole blame upon M&M and have a mini reset in the midfield sector – so that’s what was done.

      If you asked me how the problems could be fixed, obviously I’d opt for another way, while keeping some sort of ‘identity’ of the club. But, what’s done is done and of course I would be happy to be proven wrong and giving credits to the deserving ones. Even if we are to underperform this season, I wouldn’t be the guy who say “I told you so” etc. They have made the bed and they now have to lay in it – for better or worse. I just hope that the comment section would be less toxic and acknowledge that even though we have different wishes/thoughts on how the team should be run – we’re all still cheering for the same one.

      BTW, personally to me, the jury is still out on Redbird. Most of the heavy lifting were done by Elliott. This window is actually their first in which they actively participate. Of course, I would still hope that they could build the stadium ASAP and get our second star this season. But in the meantime, I probably am still somewhat bitter and rather indifferent to this all. But, they’re doing well thus far. Hopefully it shall continue for the whole duration of their tenure.

  2. This AC Milan team from where I stand will only grow stronger the more,just imagine what will happen when the team had been properly integrated with the 433 system and R Leao becoming his usual by next season this team will be unstoppable at all levels. And am beginning to love the system it’s more balanced than the 4231 at the moment and it would be hard for our opponents to figure because it consists of talented individuals.

  3. There were a bunch haters when Redbird took over Milan. A lot of negative energy towards American ownership and it was toxic.

    I was fully supportive of Cardinale even when he fired Maldini and Massara which he did for good reason as they were holding the team back.

    A lot of people still to this day don’t even understand that. Calling Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek Chelsea rejects etc.

    But don’t forget Chelsea rejected Kevin De Bryune and Mo Salah and they went to Man City and Liverpool and won the Premier League and the Champions League.

    I am here to tell all the haters that the same thing will happen with Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek at Milan in the next 1-2 seasons.

    This is team only needs one proper season together and the next season they will become monsters and challenge for the UCL.

  4. I said it then “Let’s wait and see how the summer goes before we judge them” and was called RedBird a$$ kisser and so on, by MANY users here… And where are we now?



  5. I still don’t believe in Cardinale.
    The sacking of Maldini + selling Tonali was too much.
    Ok some players came. Some good players aswell, but I am not that easily convinced.
    2 die-hard Milanistas were kicked out.

    It could be resolved differently – selling Bennacer or Tomori etc rather than Tonali.
    (good thing is, that Tonali is now playing 3x better than at Milan).

    Also Maldini could get a different role at Milan rather than being sacked..

    However my biggest concern is that Milan will be a feeder club.
    Only time will tell, but I would bet good money that Leao, Mike and Theo will be sold in the comming years. Maybe even Reijnders if he does well…

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