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 By Ben Gladwell

Silvio Berlusconi: AC Milan must stop being fools if they want to be paid

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has threatened his players that he will stop paying them if they do not save their season by winning the Coppa Italia.

The Rossoneri are set to conclude another disappointing season without qualifying for Europe for a third straight year unless they beat Juventus in the final of the Coppa Italia this weekend.

Ahead of that fixture, Berlusconi paid the team a rare visit at their Milanello training facilities, and he delivered a warning to them.

"We cannot afford to carry on making fools of ourselves," Berlusconi said.

"These people here [turning to point at the camera] are the ones who give us a living because they give us money as sponsors.

"They have just told me now that if you keep playing the way you are, they aren't going to give us any more money. So I won't pay you. In fact, if you want your money you would have to take me to court for it, and do you know how long it takes for a civil action case to be heard in Italy? Eight years."

It is the first time Berlusconi has been seen at Milanello since he fired Sinisa Mihajlovic and hired Cristian Brocchi and he was keen to motivate the players ahead of the weekend's cup final.

"Winning the Coppa Italia would give our season some meaning," he said. "You need to give everything you have got inside you and then some more. A win is extremely important for you and for Milan as it would mean entry into Europe, as well as allowing us to celebrate our 29th trophy in 30 years."

Milan concluded the Serie A campaign in seventh place, four points adrift of sixth-placed Sassuolo and 10 behind their city rivals Inter. If they fail to beat Juve at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, the Europa League berth on offer to the cup winners would go to Sassuolo.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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