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Jul 9, 2013

Berlusconi: Squad is strong enough

AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani has denied reports that Silvio Berlusconi is set to sell the club

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has said the club's squad is already strong enough to win Serie A next season, but did not rule out gifting a big-name signing this summer.

Berlusconi arrived by helicopter on the first day of the Rossoneri’s pre-season preparations on Monday, meeting the players and the coach before emerging for interviews with a broad smile on his face. He is confident that smile will be even broader next May, with a piece of silverware to parade.

“I cannot exclude that there could be the possibility of another new signing to strengthen us, but we are all convinced that we are capable of winning the title the way we are,” he told the club’s Milan Channel television station.

Berlusconi revealed that he does not want to contemplate the sale of the club, saying: “There’s no chance. For me and my family, Milan is a matter of the heart and, if I had to sell all of my assets, Milan would be the very last one.”

Berlusconi also said he had no intention of selling forward Stephan El Shaarawy, who has been linked with an exit but said he wanted to stay after talks with vice-president Adriano Galliani last week.

“El Shaarawy made a very positive impression when he showed such huge dedication to Milan,” Berlusconi added. “He told us that he would not have wanted to play for any club in the world but Milan.”

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is another to have been linked with a summer exit, but clear-the-air talks with Berlusconi and Galliani last month saw the situation resolved.

That was the second time doubts had been raised over Allegri’s future after a difficult first half to last season, but Galliani said the coach deserved credit for the Rossoneri's recovery to finish in third place, qualifying for the play-off round of the Champions League.

“We picked up 45 points in the last 20 games of the season, which is two more than Juve,” the vice-president added. “It’s just a shame that we needed eight games to get settled in, but Allegri then did really well to insert the auto-pilot, and that’s the reason why he is still sat here today.”

The coach, who had been linked with Roma, insisted he never had any doubts over his future, saying: “I’m here because I have a contract with Milan, and Milan have always been my priority. ;

“I’ve read lots of things about me, but I remained serene because I was always convinced I would stay.

“I speak with the president every week, which I always have done. Of course there are differences of opinion from time to time, but that’s normal between an employer and employee.”

The pair appear to disagree on who is favourite for the Scudetto, with Berlusconi letting his heart do the talking and Allegri listening more to his head.

“Juve are still favourites,” he said. “They’ve strengthened with two excellent players [Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez] and we’ve still got to improve to close in further on the Bianconeri - but we have great potential.”

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