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 By Ben Gladwell

Arrigo Sacchi: End of Silvio Berlusconi era at AC Milan 'incredibly sad news'

Gab Marcotti reflects on Berlusconi's accomplishments as the club's president with their recent sale to Chinese investors.
Gab Marcotti evaluates what comes next for AC Milan after their takeover by Chinese businessman Yonghong Li.

Former AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi has told kicker it is "incredibly sad news" that Silvio Berlusconi's ownership of the club has come to an end.

Sacchi, who won Serie A once and the European Cup twice as Milan coach, spoke to the German football magazine after the sale of Milan to Chinese investors was completed last week.

The sale brings to an end Berlusconi's 31-year ownership and Sacchi said: "This is just football business nowadays.

"But for me it was incredibly sad news, this final confirmation that Milan, after 31 years, are no longer linked with the name Berlusconi.

"Not only did it mean the end of just a part of Calcio history, but also a significant part of my life.

"AC Milan for me means family, and since last week we are all orphans."

Sacchi said Berlusconi had overseen a "revolution" in football and was "ahead of his time."

"[It was about] winning, convincing and showing the fans the art of beautiful football," he added.

"Up to the mid-1980s, that was not necessarily the trademark of Italian football, which was all about getting results, no matter how.

"Berlusconi's ideas were at one with my own ideals since an undeserved win for me was never genuine, sustainable success.

"It is certainly no coincidence that Berlusconi's entrance into football saw Serie A sides represented in almost every European cup final for years on end."

He added that the fact that "a lot of the media back then said Milan were the best club side of all time" was "recognition of our work."

Sacchi recalled that he had caught Berlusconi's attention when his Serie B Parma side knocked Milan out of the Coppa Italia in 1987.

"He told me then that he was intrigued and that he was going to follow my progress," Sacchi recalled. "When he offered me the job, I thought he was either crazy or a genius.

"It's true we needed the first few months to adapt to the new system and we weren't successful.

"Berlusconi nevertheless swept all the media's criticism aside and stood up in front of the whole team and said: 'Sacchi is staying, but I don't know if I can say the same for you.'"

He said the new Milan owners "are going to have to spend money and be careful and patient in finding passionate players for the club."

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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