Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Rivals suggest political motives for Milan signing Balotelli

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 30 - Silvio Berlusconi's political
rivals have suggested electoral motives could be behind the
ex-premier's soccer club AC Milan signing Italy forward Mario
Balotelli in the January transfer window.
Berlusconi is leading the centre right's campaign for next
month's Italian election, although he has said he will not
become Italian premier for a fourth time if the coalition wins
and would like to be economy minister.
His alliance is trailing Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left
coalition in the polls, but the gap has been narrowed
significantly in recent weeks following a media blitz by the
76-year-old billionaire.
Former Milan mayor Gabriele Albertini, who is standing for
outgoing Premier Mario Monti's centrist reform platform in
elections to become governor of Lombardy next month, said the
move was like ancient Roman leaders offering "bread and
circuses" to appease the public.
Bersani reacted with irony.
"While I was in Padua visiting disabled people and prison
inmates yesterday, Berlusconi was negotiating for Balotelli,"
the head of the main centre-left Democratic Party said Wednesday
"So I announce that I'm in negotiations to bring (Barcelona
and Argentina forward) Leo Messi to Bettola," he added,
referring to his small home town in the northern region of
Emilia-Romagna.
The chairman of Inter Milan, the club who Balotelli first
played for at the senior level, said Berlusconi had "thousands
of reasons" for the move.
Balotelli, 22, is set to arrive in Milan on Wednesday to
have a medical and sign a contract that runs until 2017.
Milan will pay a transfer fee of around 20 million euros to
English champions City plus performance-related bonuses.
The talented, temperamental striker reportedly agreed for
his annual salary to be cut from 5.5 million euros to four
million to make the move possible.
His arrival follows an apparent change of heart from
Berlusconi, who earlier this month described the player as a
rotten apple.

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