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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 6, 2009

Berlusconi: Transfer fees must return to normal

Football needs to rediscover normality after the vast transfer fees shelled out by Spain's Real Madrid, AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has said.

The Serie A side began pre-season training on Monday without playmaker Kaka, who was sold to the Spanish club for £56m and was then joined by Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo for a world record £80m.

Milan fans, angry the Rossoneri have only brought in youngsters and defender Thiago Silva for the new season, were planning protests at training but Berlusconi was unapologetic.

"Soccer should return to normality," the Italian prime minister told Gazzetta dello Sport. "We should not buy at any cost."

Foreign players in Spain benefit from advantageous tax laws but rather than signal a change of the rules in Italy, Berlusconi could only congratulate Real.

"If Madrid have these possibilities, good for them. We are fine, because they gave us €67m so I can't attack them too much," he joked.

Milan are interested in Real's Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano and Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor but Berlusconi said the side was good enough anyway despite only finishing third in Serie A last term.

"No one in Italy from a technical point of view has a squad as strong as ours... not even champions Inter," he added.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has left Milan for Chelsea and media reports say he wants to take striker Alexandre Pato and midfielder Andrea Pirlo with him.

Berlusconi reiterated he wanted to keep the pair and backed new rookie coach Leonardo as "the man to open a new cycle".

He also again denied he would consider selling the club.

"The truth is Milan remains an affair of the heart, I will not sell for any figure," he said.

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