AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has revealed some of the background on his discussions with Silvio Berlusconi, and spoke of the honour of competing for the trophy in his name.
After returning from the preseason tour of the United States where Milan played Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, the team will take on Monza tomorrow night at the U-Power Stadium in their next domestic friendly.
With each game that comes along the importance increases a bit given that we are now closing in on the first game of the season away from home against Bologna. After that, Milan play Roma, Inter, Juve, Napoli and Lazio in their first 10 games.
On the eve of the Silvio Berlusconi Trophy against Monza, Pioli gave an interview to SportMediaset in which he spoke about the importance of the game both from a preparations point of view but also as an occasion, with MilanNews relaying his comments.
“Certainly Berlusconi was a visionary and therefore everything he brought was successful. He made the history of Milan, he contributed to make it even bigger, to achieve huge successes, it was a person with great charisma,” he said.
You have mentioned before that you had frequest phone calls with him, can you tell us any background?
“The president had very clear ideas, he took advantage of some good matches to call and congratulate us on the match, he asked permission to give some advice.
“The last one? He certainly preferred attacking football, risky football, so lots of advice were to play in the opponent’s half. However, they were really very pleasant phone calls, because you felt a person’s passion for football and the passion for Milan.”
Despite having bought Monza, did he still have Milan in your heart?
“Absolutely. Absolutely, because the last phone call the president received was 15 days before his death and we were talking about Milan, how to play, how to do certain things better, how to reach certain goals. So clearly he had invested a lot and well in Monza, but that he was still a Milan supporter I certainly believe.”
There is an image of him jumping on the day of your Scudetto, what memories do you have?
“He was very happy. As soon as we arrived he gave us lots of compliments and we chatted for a moment, but the wait had been very long because the bus journey had been very beautiful but long… he was happy that Milan had returned to winning ways.”
Monza vs. Milan – his most loved teams – was an idea that came from Adriano Galliani. Is it true that there was a contact, the proposal and did you immediately join this initiative?
“Yes, yes. Director Adriano called me that we were on vacation and when he offered me the Berlusconi Trophy we replied that we are only honoured to participate in this tournament.
“I hope to be able to greet Berlusconi’s family and collaborators as well and to do the match in the best possible way because in any case Berlusconi is such a complete and important part of the history of Milan.”
Is it also a good test?
“Yes, definitely, we have organised four friendlies this week because we need playing time and to get all the players to play, because in two weeks we will be in the league. We face a team that has always played good football, so it will be a good test.”