China sale a ‘great opportunity’ for AC Milan, says captain Riccardo Montolivo

Earlier this month it was announced the potential sale to Chinese consortium Sino-Europe Sports had been pushed back until March

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 12:13pm

The proposed sale of Italian Serie A side AC Milan to a Chinese consortium is a “great opportunity” for the club, the team’s injured skipper Riccardo Montolivo said.

The 30-year-old midfielder said Milan had to “adapt” to the modern world, pointing to the foreign ownership of big clubs across Europe.

“I think that it is a great opportunity for AC Milan,” he said before Milan beat Juventus on penalties in the Super Cup in Qatar.

“Of course, it’s sad for us because [present owner, Silvio] Berlusconi is more than a president for us, he’s a father for us, and a father, I think, for all the Milan fans.

“This is the future and we have to adapt, accept this.”

Earlier this month it was announced that the potential sale to Chinese consortium Sino-Europe Sports had been pushed back until March 3 from an earlier deadline of December 13.

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Already, any sale to the Chinese may be yielding commercial benefits for Milan.

Their players arrived at the Al Sadd Stadium, where the game was being played, wearing clothes designed by the Italian fashion house, Diesel.

The company has just signed a three-year agreement to be Milan’s official “off-field” outfitter.

Diesel’s founder Renzo Russo, who was in Doha for the match, said the deal was struck with an eye on China.

“This is the rationale,” said Russo. “It’s a very important reason why we are here today.

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“For Diesel to have a Chinese partner, it’s fantastic, we are very happy about this.”

Montolivo himself did not play in the Super Cup having suffered a knee injury playing for Italy against Spain in October, but he said he hoped to be back on the pitch before the end of the season.

“I will be back, I hope, in the spring. I don’t have a date,” he said. “It’s a long injury, you need five, six months.

“I have to be patient, maybe March, April, I don’t know yet. I hope at the end of the season.”