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Serie A

Berlusconi ready to focus on Milan

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi says he will dedicate more of his time to the Serie A club as their troubled start to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at lowly Livorno on Saturday.

Silvio Berlusconi has stressed that AC Milan will gain financially from the sales
Silvio Berlusconi wants to turn Milan's fortunes around.

• Paul: Balotelli rescues Milan

The Rossoneri are already 22 points adrift of league leaders Juventus while a gap of nine points separates them from the top five and a place in Europe next season. For Massimiliano Allegri's side to play again in the Champions League next season, they need to overturn a 14-point deficit on Napoli, or win Europe's biggest club trophy outright.

For that to even be possible, they must gain at least a draw at home to Ajax on Wednesday night, and Berlusconi says the time has come for him to show his face more frequently.

"Last year, after a disastrous first half of the season, I took more interest and we snatched third place," Berlusconi said at the inauguration of his new political party. "I believe that the team currently needs a bit more attention."

Whether Berlusconi will find that time is another question as he declared his return to politics on Sunday, in spite of a two-year ban on all public duties after being expelled from the Senate.

"I had taken a step back. I wanted to dedicate myself to the three things which mean the most to me: building hospitals for children in the world, the University of liberal thought, which is ready and is beautiful, and AC Milan," he added.

For Allegri, who admits he is in regular contact with his club's president, Berlusconi's planned hands-on approach may be a worrying sign. Berlusconi appeared intent on replacing the Livorno-born coach in the summer only to be talked into keeping him by his vice-president Adriano Galliani.

With Milan currently struggling for the second consecutive season in the run-up to Christmas, the position of the coach is particularly delicate with Allegri unlikely to receive such strong support from Galliani should the idea to change direction come to Berlusconi's mind once again. Wednesday's clash with Ajax is therefore regarded as crucial to Allegri's future.


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