AC Milan fans received some tough news recently. First, their star midfielder Sandro Tonali was sold to Newcastle, which was disappointing for them. And on top of that, they were still trying to process the sudden sacking of club icon Paolo Maldini. It’s been a difficult time for the fans.
Tonali wasn’t just an important player for Milan, he was also a lifelong fan of the club. Many believe he has the potential to become a future captain, as he had a special connection between the field and the San Siro stands.
He was also a player who had often expressed his desire to become what the Italians refer to as a ‘bandiera’, a symbol of the club, just like Maldini and Franco Baresi did before him.
I would like to stay here for as long as possible. Last winter, he mentioned that if you were to ask him today, he would say that it’s for the rest of his career.
But it’s too soon to make those kinds of promises. As footballers, our lives are influenced by more than just our desires. There are many other factors to consider… It’s not possible to make long-term predictions.
Two years ago, the 23-year-old decided to take a pay cut in order to continue playing for Milan. This decision came after a disappointing first season at the San Siro, where he was on loan from Brescia.
It ended up being a great decision for both him and Milan. He played a crucial role in helping them win their first league title in over ten years in 2022. Additionally, Milan’s impressive performance in the most recent Champions League, where they reached the semi-finals, helped re-establish them as a strong team in Europe.
Despite a tough loss to local rivals Inter in the last match, the atmosphere at Milan is still positive. This is partly due to the news that our talented attacker, Rafael Leao, has signed a contract extension with the club until 2028.
However, Milan’s decision to let go of technical director Maldini and sporting director Frederic Massara, who were responsible for assembling the championship-winning team, has left fans furious and players confused.
That’s a tough pill to swallow.
It’s really disappointing for fans to see Tonali leave, especially after losing Donnarumma and Kessie as free agents in the past. However, Milan will receive a significant amount of money from the transfer, which can be used to strengthen the team. It’s worth mentioning that Brescia will also get a portion of the fee, potentially reaching up to 80 million euros.
It’s another indication that, similar to other established teams in Europe, the seven-time continental champions are unable to match the financial power of the Premier League and a few other elite clubs.
It seems like there might be some symbolism in the fact that Milan lost their star player shortly after the passing of Silvio Berlusconi, the man who played a significant role in making the ‘Rossoneri’ a dominant force in European football.
Berlusconi played a significant role in shaping the state-sponsored teams we see today. His immense wealth transformed a struggling club on the brink of bankruptcy, and he leveraged its success to enhance his political image.
However, that time has already gone by and Milan, without Maldini who was greatly admired by the players, are now at risk of being targeted by wealthier clubs.
Milan, who have brought in Ruben Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea to replace Tonali, are hoping that adopting a Moneyball approach to player recruitment will help level the playing field in a game that Italy’s clubs can’t depend on the generosity of owners or big television rights money.
Last season, Serie A made a little over one billion euros from both domestic and overseas rights. This amount is only a tenth of what the Premier League earned.
Last month, Aurelio De Laurentiis, the owner of Napoli, mentioned that domestic broadcasters are proposing an amount that is less than half of what clubs currently receive. This is in anticipation of the important league TV rights summit scheduled for Monday.