Berlusconi: Scudetto expensive but worth it

ROME - AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi said winning the club's first scudetto for seven years had been expensive but worth it and promised the team would challenge for the Champions League next season.

Milan's triumph ends five seasons of dominance by their city rivals Inter Milan and follows Berlusconi loosening the purse strings having reined back transfer spending during the global economic crisis.

"Finally, this scudetto has arrived, we have done so much for it and we have pulled it off," he told Italian television after Saturday's 0-0 draw at AS Roma sealed the Serie A title with two matches left.

"The whole group deserves the credit for winning the scudetto, which is also the result of making the right choices.

"We have found a coach in Massimiliano Allegri who has quickly adapted to the Milan style and the new signings such as (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Kevin-Prince) Boateng and (Mark) van Bommel have been decisive.

"Remember that the squad is well-equipped and it allowed us to weather difficult moments in the season when we were hit by injuries."

He added: "Obviously, all this has cost a lot. To win in football, you need to spend money and make the right choices, especially in the European field, but we are in a good position to be able to do well in Europe as well.

"Milan will continue to be one of the top contenders," added the Italian prime minister.

Critics feel Europe could still be a bridge too far for Milan, who were eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur in the last 16 of this season's Champions League.

A poor performance by Italian sides this term saw only Inter Milan reach the quarter-finals where they were thumped 7-3 on aggregate by Schalke 04.

Allegri, who had never coached a big club before joining Milan last June having plied his trade in the lower divisions until three years ago, said Milan needed to continue improving.

"To win in my first season is very satisfying," he said. "I want to thank the president for giving me such a strong squad.

"For the future, we need to improve an already strong squad and the president has said he will give us a present and we're all happy."


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