Berlusconi was a person of key significance in Italy. While soccer fans would recognize him as the president of Milan for 31 years, his influence stretches far beyond the sport. The billionaire businessman created Italy’s largest media company, Mediaset, and eventually found his way into Italian politics. He served as Italian Prime Minister on three occasions for a total of nine years. That makes him the longest-serving Prime Minister in Italy since World War II. Also, he was a member of European Parliament over two stints.
However, more people know of Berlusconi for his time in soccer. In 1986, Berlusconi bought AC Milan and became the club’s President. In his time at the helm, Milan won the Scudetto eight times. Milan added a single Coppa Italia. Yet, the true standout for the club was the five European Cups or UEFA Champions League titles. Milan made a further three trips to the Champions League Final that it lost. Under Berlusconi, Milan emerged as not just one of the great Italian clubs, but one of the most dominant in the world.
Berlusconi later said he had to sell his ownership of Milan in 2017 in order to help the club compete at the top level. Still, his impact on the club left a mark. The club expressed its sorrow at the news of Berlusconi’s passing with a social media post.
Silvio Berlusconi had influence beyond AC Milan
After departing Milan, Silvio Berlusconi did not leave the soccer sphere. Eighteen months after leaving the Rossoneri in 2017, Berlusconi purchased AC Monza, then in Serie C, which is the third tier of Italian soccer. In his second season with Monzao, Berlusconi had the club clinch promotion to Serie B. Then, after two years in Serie B, Monza reached Serie A play for the first time.
Monza, too, expressed its emotion at the loss of its President. While Monza and Milan certainly have the biggest connection to Berlusconi, his impact on the world of soccer is immense. For example, Real Madrid released a statement honoring Berlusconi.
Always surrounded by various controversies, Berlusconi’s legacy in Italy is mixed. However, his legacy in soccer, specifically at AC Milan, is one of the most storied in the sport’s history. His 29 trophies in 31 years are an impressive return.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Buzzi
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