The 2018 purchase of the Monza football team seemed like another whim of the old man Silvio Berlusconi. The controversial tycoon and histrionic former Italian prime minister had sold Milan. He was also in decline for his political adventures. But Berlusconi picked up the gauntlet and achieved what many had taken as a prank mission: to raise the bar. Monzathen a small Italian club in Serie C (the third category of Italian ‘calcium’), in Serie A.
A feat he achieved when Monza beat Pisa 4-3 on Sunday in the play-off final. An unprecedented victory in the centennial history of this Italian team, founded in 1912. “A historic result,” Berlusconi commented euphorically.
He himself celebrated the victory from the stadium of Pisa, which he attended accompanied by his girlfriend, 32 years old, Marta Fascina, deputy of Force Italy, party also founded by him. “We have fought for a long year,” he said from there, noting that in “110 years of history” the Monza had never reached that result. “It’s wonderful, for us and for the team,” he added.
Pure Berlusconi style
Morality is pure Berlusconi style. A mix between Grandpa Berlusconi’s (Milan, 1936) ability to surround himself with business experts and his ability to easily open his own. Although it barely paid 2.7 million for Monza, it has had to invest a total of 71.7 million so far, as recently explained by Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian economy newspaper.
Not surprisingly. Because, in fact, the dizzying growth of the team has been accompanied by the red numbers of the Monza from the first day it was bought by Fininvest, the conglomerate owned by Berlusconi’s family. A situation that has worsened with the pandemic, so much so that the deficit of Monza reached 26 million euros in 2020 and 31 million euros in 2021.
Galliani, his faithful squire
Berlusconi cared little. With the help of his faithful Adriano Galliani, his former dolphin at Milan and now CEO of Monza, and by the coach Giovanni Stroppa, a former Milan player, the Italian businessman has not stopped investing in the small team in recent years. In addition, he drew attention – once again – for his eccentricities, such as asking his players to be well-groomed, without tattoos or earrings.
It worked. The Italian and international media ran rivers of ink to describe the adventures of the Monza, although in truth the story was a mirage. So much so that figures like acquaintances finally appeared in the locker rooms of the Monza Kevin Prince Boateng i Mario Balotelli, both very tattooed. The two eccentric strikers did not last long and packed their bags last summer, when Monza began their final acceleration towards Serie A.