MILAN (AP) – A lot has changed for Ivan Gazidis since he moved from London to Milan.
“It’s ridiculous,” Milan’s chief executive said in an interview with The Associated Press. “You feel totally overwhelmed, especially hearing the Milan legends. They are very handsome and elegant ”.
Just like the revived team on the court.
A rare transfer between boards of directors of big clubs in European football saw Gazidis two years ago from an Arsenal in transition at the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign to a MIlan looking to return to the top.
Now, with Arsenal just barely above the relegation zone of the English Premier, Milan is the leader of Serie A, with an eye toward ending a 10-year title drought.
“This team and this city have a style,” Gazidis said from the capital of Italian fashion. “Although the club has been going through bad times in recent years … the club resonates and it just needs a little love and care.”
Even with seven points ahead of a Juventus who have won nine consecutive league titles since Milan’s 18th and last in Serie A, Gazidis doesn’t want to rush.
He knows well that there is a lot left to the season and to the mission of achieving sustained success.
“It’s dangerous to think that we cracked the code – we certainly haven’t,” Gazidis said. “We are in a good moment now, but there will be difficult moments.”
Gazidis was hired at the end of 2018 in the months after US-based investment fund Elliot Management took over a club with € 164 million ($ 190 million then) debts after Chinese owner Li Yonghong missed a deadline to repay part of a loan. Milan’s financial results for the 2018-2019 season had the club posting a loss of 143 million euros ($ 160 million then.
“We inherited a very difficult situation,” Gazidis said.
The 2019-2020 season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent absence of fans from the stadiums, which persists in the current campaign, has severely damaged revenues.
“Obviously that has hit football really hard,” Gazidis said. “It’s scary to think what it would have meant for football if it had hit before financial fair play. I think the impact has not been as drastic as it could have been, but it is drastic.
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