Tonight’s game between Red Bull Salzburg and AC Milan in Austria will pit two clubs against each other with ownerships that have distinct differences but also striking similarities, a report claims.
La Gazzetta dello Sport talks about the battle of Red Bull and RedBird, with the energy drink company having allowed Salzburg to win a series of titles and even reach the knockouts of the Champions League, transforming them into a powerhouse when it comes to producing talent.
For Milan meanwhile they have been flying the US flag for some time now, first with the Elliott Management fund of the Singer family and now with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird. For both clubs, the work and the vision of the ownership are key in where they are now.
The way Red Bull and RedBird have acquired clubs is profoundly different. Cardinale arrived on the scene earlier this year as it became clear Elliott were willing to sell, but they in turn had almost stumbled into ownership given Li Yonghong’s failure to repay loans.
It has been a far smoother transition than what Salzburg had though as Red Bull set their sights on them in 2005 when they were named Austria Salzburg, changing their name and colours (from white and purple to red and white) and launched a brand new brand, also modifying the club crest.
Therefore, tradition has been openly swept away to make way for modernity and branding but RedBird on the contrary saw the the history of the Rossoneri as the starting point on which to rebuild an empire.
There is another difference between Salzburg and Milan: Red Bull have invested monstrous amounts in creating a youth system, while Elliott have spent money but always with the intention of being virtuous.
The two sides have a common vision too such as the heavy trust and reliance in scouting, i.e. in the recruitment and training of talents who can become important for the first team or generate capital gains.
RB Salzburg have seen the likes of Mané, Haaland, Keita, Upamecano, Dabour, Szoboszlai and Adeyemi pass through, while the Rossoneri have recruited and kept Kalulu, Tomori, Theo Hernandez, Maignan, Tonali, Bennacer, Leao and others.
Finally, there is Ralf Rangnick, the man who has shaped the entire European Red Bull project. He could have ended up in charge of doing the same at Milan, but Stefano Pioli and his incredible work ensure he will lead the team tonight.