Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has criticised the sales of Inter and AC Milan to Chinese investors, describing the situation as the ‘death of Italian football’.
China are looking to expand their presence in global football and two high-profile deals were concluded in Italy this summer, with Electronics retailer Suning purchasing a 70% stake in Inter Milan whilst cross city rivals AC Milan signed a preliminary agreement in August to sell to Chinese investors.
The two San Siro sides have struggled in recent years to compete domestically and have regularly been absent from European competitions, which may explain their willingness to sell to investors from abroad, but 38-year-old Buffon was highly critical of the deal when speaking to Corriere Dello Sport yesterday.
“It is the defeat of Italian football. Of Italy as a country, of the traditions, of everything. But we have what we deserve, we are fickle, without a rooted sense of belonging and history has always demonstrated that.”
“We ask for Italian identity, but if, after 30 years, the Italian experiences a difficult moment, with five years in 10th place, then we don’t accept it.”
AC Milan missed out on European involvement for the third consecutive year and have not won Serie A for five years, whilst Inter’s last domestic success came in 2010 when Jose Mourinho led the club to a treble- which was incidentally the last time an Italian side won a major European competition.
Juventus have since reached the final but were defeated by Barcelona in 2015, with Italian football’s demise in the past decade since the match-fixing scandal of the mid-2000’s being clear for all to see.
Italian football is way behind the Premier League in terms of attractiveness and revenue, whilst it’s also fallen behind the German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga- whereas ten years ago, some of the world’s best players were plying their trade in the Serie A.