Berlusconi denies AC Milan sale rumours

Owner and club president Silvio Berlusconi has brushed off rumours that a deepening crisis has prompted him to consider putting AC Milan up for sale.

Berlusconi denies AC Milan sale rumours
SIlvio Berlusconi said the rumours are "without foundation". Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Seven-time European champions Milan are in danger of failing to qualify for the lucrative Champions League for the second consecutive season if they fail to secure at least a third-place finish in the current campaign.

Currently, Filippo Inzaghi's men sit eighth in Italy's Serie A, 20 points behind leaders and champions Juventus and seven behind third-placed Napoli.

Last weekend's shock 1-0 home defeat to Atalanta led to speculation that former Italian prime minister Berlusconi, who has overseen the most successful period in the club's history, was ready to call it quits. Missing out on the Champions League could cost the Milan giants a potential 50 million euros (£57.8m).

However Berlusconi issued a brief statement on Wednesday saying: "Despite numerous denials, rumours of a possible sale of Milan are circulating again. President Silvio Berlusconi confirms, once again, that they are without foundation."

However, Milan's latest reverse has dented confidence and piled the pressure on ahead of Saturday's trip to high-flying Lazio, who are fifth, two points behind Napoli.

With Napoli, Sampdoria, Lazio, Fiorentina and Genoa all ahead of Milan, and city rivals Inter on their tails, French defender Philippe Mexes admits that reaching their objective of a third-place finish is "becoming hard".

"We have to earn as many points as possible because it is becoming hard," Mexes told the Milan Channel.

"We can't look for excuses, the ball is in our court. We have to get a good result against Lazio, and start playing well to regain confidence.

"We are all in this together and we get out of this together, this is the spirit we must have."

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Romanian billionaire and seven others die in Milan plane crash

A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and son, and all five others aboard.

Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato.
Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato on October 3rd. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1pm headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later into a building in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed.

Italian media identified the other passengers as entrepreneur Filippo Nascimbene, a 33-year-old from Lombardy, with his wife, young son and mother-in-law, who have French nationality.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Flames engulfed the two-storey building, next to the yellow line subway terminus.

“The impact was devastating,” Carlo Cardinali, of the Milan fire brigade, told news agency Ansa.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.