Sacchi praises Milan’s ideas and economic strategy: “This is the way to go far”

By Oliver Fisher -

Former Rossoneri coach Arrigo Sacchi has once again commented about the current situation at AC Milan, from Stefano Pioli’s ideas to the Scudetto fight.

Sacchi did his usual weekly interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport to discuss the current state of affairs with regards to Milan who ensured that they stayed top going into the international break and even extended their lead over third-placed Inter to six points.

The theme of this week’s interview was how Milan are winning without spending as big as their rivals, given the report earlier today about how Elliott Management have reduced the wage budget from €150m gross in 2018-19 to about €100m today.

Napoli’s wages are €110m, Inter are around €130m while Juventus stand out above all with €172m gross, meaning Milan are comfortably the least of the current top four, while other league leaders such as Bayern are at €192m, PSG are on €470m, Manchester City are on €258m and finally Real Madrid pay out €401m gross salary.

“Well, ideas are more important than money. I’ll tell you an anecdote. In my first season as a coach at Fusignano, I was missing the free. I went to an executive, whom I considered a teacher of life, the legendary Alfredo Belletti, and I explained the problem to him,” Sacchi said (via

“He said to me: ‘What shirt number does the Libero [sweeper] have?’. ‘The 6’. He went to get the shirt and giving it to me concluded: ‘Now, if you are good, you can build free with work and ideas’. There was no money, so there was no alternative. That year we won the title.

“There should be a rule that tells clubs: you can’t go into debt. To be competitive it is important to have intuition, passion and a spirit of sacrifice. But in Italy we have remained cunning as the main quality.”

Does being cunning count in Italy?

“In my opinion, yes. Here we have to win at any cost, even by making debts, even playing badly, even cheating the opponent. But that’s not fair. In Spain, an environment that I know well, if you win by playing badly, the crowd will boo at you: I felt it on my skin.

“In Italy, however, they applaud you. And believe me, everyone is to blame: presidents, managers, coaches, players, fans and journalists. With this bad situation, however, we do not grow: Milan are good, they have reversed the course and are trying to become an international level team by respecting banal economic rules, which every good family man would apply.”

Is it true that you sold two players who only thought about money?

“I happened to be in Parma. They were two guys who had been with me for five years, but now in their heads there was only their salary, no longer football. We sent them away and there were no negative consequences in terms of results, also because for me the leader has always been the game, not the individual player.”

On signing a blank contract…

“I didn’t want greedy players and I had to prove that I wasn’t greedy either. AC Milan, by choosing young and little known players, has taken a precise direction: the focus is on the game; if one gets bad, another enters and there is no drama; the collective counts, not the individual.

“This is the way to go far, other than spending money to buy this or that champion, who may not even be a champion.”

Tags AC Milan Arrigo Sacchi

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