Former Italian prime minister and former AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi left us today at the age of 86 in Milan, Italy, due to a chronic myelomonocytic leukemia which he had been suffering from recently.
The announcement came late in the morning from the San Raffaele hospital, where he had been hospitalized since last Friday to undergo some scheduled tests to keep in check his last conditions. Berlusconi was discharged from the hospital at the end of April only after setting up a room at his home in Arcore, equipped with all the instruments necessary for his therapy.
A TRUE ICON Controversial and questionable on many occasions in his public and private life, yet brilliant and ingenious in his decision making: Silvio Berlusconi always left his mark everywhere, dramatically changing the common way of thinking and reimagining the world of politics, communications, and also sports.
He started his path in the world of entrepreneurship in 1968, with the foundation of “Edilnord” group and with his first steps in the real estate market. Then he founded the first Italian private TV channel in 1974, “TeleMilano”, which became in 1976 TV channel Canale 5, the main media of the television broadcasting group “Mediaset”, one of the largest Italian media companies of all time. From there on, Berlusconi committed himself with all his strength to revolutionizing the way of making and understanding the world of industry and communication, always placing himself in first person in his political, economic, and sporting campaigns and making his every gesture and action spectacular.
In 1994 he founded the Italian political party “Forza Italia”, winning in the same year the political elections and becoming Italian Prime Minister. He served as Italian Premier for a total of three mandates during his political career: The first experience that lasted one year (from 1994 to 1995) was then followed by those of 2001-2006 and 2008-2011. In 2003 he was also president of the European Council.
For more than 25 years he profoundly influenced and changed Italian politics, making his name notorious worldwide as one of the most prominent politicians of the last decades, by creating deep bounds and relationships with some of the most influential politicians of his time and by leading Italy into crucial steps of its recent economical, industrial and political history.
A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE Berlusconi became known globally also for his controversial relationship with the Italian judicial system. Over the years, he has been accused of many crimes: from corruption to false accounting in his industrial operations in the SME, Mediaset and Mediatrade judicial processes, from aggravated concussion to child prostitution in the notorious “Ruby process”, just to mention a few of them.
Trials in which he was, for the most part, dismissed or acquitted. The general debate around his actions and his personality has never ended.
HIS MARK IN SPORTS Talking about sports, his impact in the world of football dramatically changed the history of Italian and international football. In 1986 he stepped into the world of football by saving AC Milan from bankruptcy, making the Milanese club one of the most prominent and successful football and sports team of all time during his 31 years of presidency.
Twenty-nine is the number of titles collected in over three decades of his leadership at the club: 8 Scudetti, 1 Italian Cup, 7 Italian Super Cups, 5 Champions Leagues, 5 European Super Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups, and 1 Club World Cup, alongside 7 Golden Balls collected by many football legends that he brought to AC Milan to compete and win.
From Marco Van Basten to Ruud Gullit, from Dejan Savicevic to George Weah, and again Paolo Maldini, Roberto Baggio, Andriy Shevchenko, Kakà and Zlatan Ibrahimovic: These are only a few names of those legends that became immortal under his mandate as AC Milan president. His judge to bring champions under the red and black colours over the years created strong, immortal teams marked in the history of football.
Among his most brilliant intuitions, there was the decision, in 1987, to believe in a young, yet talented coach named Arrigo Sacchi – who became popular as Parma coach after defeating the milanese club in the San Siro Stadium in a Coppa Italia match in 1986 – for the technical guide of Milan. A controversial choice, firmly criticised at the beginning by the press, yet a decision which led Milan in the following four seasons to become one of the most legendary teams in world football. Attacking pressure, total football and attention to the defensive phase (AC Milan conceded only 14 goals in the league in the 1987/1988 season) were among the main characteristics of a series of tactical ideas in which Berlusconi strongly believed from the beginning.
Thanks also to the AC Milan president’s intuition in believing in a promising coach like him, Arrigo Sacchi also managed to coach the Italian National team: His ideas made him one of the most revolutionary coaches in the history of football. Yet another intuition of Silvio Berlusconi, always farsighted in his choices.
AN UNFORGETTABLE PRESIDENT Titles and results achieved over the decades as AC Milan president cannot fully summarise his contribution to Italian and international football. Thanks to him, not only AC Milan, but also the entire Italian football movement entered a new dimension of credibility, prosperity, and unforgettable victories.
Silvio Berlusconi loved Milan, always and unconditionally, putting himself as a supporter first, and only after as president and head of the club: His daily and passionate relationship with the Rossoneri colours and with the Rossoneri public, both in victories and defeats, made him a unique figure in the relationship between president of a football club and his supporters.
His interventions, impactful and never trivial, have inspired Milan in the many victories they have collected, making the “AC Milan style” unique in the world. He became well-known also for his controversial, yet inspiring, interviews, speeches and tactical suggestions to coaches and players, interventions that always showed his true passion for his club and helped his team to succeed.
Thanks to him, the historic city rivalry between AC Milan and Inter Milan has always been characterised by a competitive spirit and mutual respect, never shaped by hatred, earning respect and appreciation even by opposing fans.
AC MONZA: ANOTHER HISTORICAL STEP After leaving AC Milan presidency in 2017, he became president and owner of AC Monza: in six years his leadership brought the Brianza club from the bottom of the Italian third division to a historical 10th place in Serie A, after a struggling battle to achieve a position in the Italian standings to compete in the UEFA Conference League: The 52 points collected by Monza this season, is the second best number of points for a debutant in Serie A (behind Chievo Verona in the 2001-2002 season, when they got 54 points), making his impact once again unforgettable in supporters’ memory.
Credit: AIPS Media