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From Football Tycoon to Populist Prime Minister: The Extraordinary Life of Silvio Berlusconi

If I hadn’t watched Serie A highlights on a 14-inch TV more than 30 years ago, if I hadn’t read those sensational texts in the “Football” that year, maybe Berlusconi’s death would have been just an ordinary story for me. News of the death of a European politician. Due to professional reasons, I have to pay attention to current affairs and international news every day. It can be seen that under normal circumstances, the death of an Italian politician may not occupy an important corner of the world’s major media.
  However, Silvio Berlusconi is an exception. On June 12, 2023, when the 86-year-old finished his life, there were many media reports with different focuses. Some directly indicated that he was the former Prime Minister of Italy in the title, some people paid attention to his long-term investment in the AC Milan team, and some people paid attention to his new marriage…
san siro dream

  Gullit, Basten, Rijkaard, these are the Dutch “Three Musketeers” left in the history of Italian football.
  Why did three Dutchmen appear in Italy and lead the AC Milan team to kill the Quartet? Even though most of the football leagues in European countries are now full of foreign aid, and even some teams can make up a foreign aid team with 11 players in the starting lineup, no team can count three or a few foreign aid leaders from a common country. Come win consecutive victories for the team.
  In 1986, Berlusconi, an Italian media tycoon who had just turned 50 at the time, bought AC Milan. At that time, AC Milan had just come out of the trough period. Since Serie A resumed the introduction of foreign aid system in 1980, and each team was limited to purchase two foreign aids, AC Milan has signed in year after year, and also introduced the “golden boy” Rossi of Italy. lackluster. After Berlusconi took over the team, he began to transform the team by changing the coach. This is of course considered a brilliant move-compared to taking turns signings, changing coaches is more like a permanent solution. Berlusconi first replaced the Swede Liedholm with the former Milan star Fabio Capello. But the results are still not satisfactory to him. No one expected that the new boss would decisively change coaches in a very short period of time. This time, he did not choose a well-known big-name coach, but chose Arrigo Sacchi, a former shoe store salesman who had never been a professional player for a day, as the coach. Of course, what attracted Berlusconi’s attention must not be Sacchi’s level of leather shoe sales, but that he led Parma from the third division to the second division, and he was able to eliminate AC Milan in the Coppa Italia. Since this opponent has some skills, it is better to attract them for my use. This is Berlusconi’s philosophy.
  Until recently, Sacchi had already achieved success and fame. Looking back on Berlusconi’s genius in choosing a handsome man, he still dare not say that there was no element of gambling. If the later results prove that Bayesian was right in his bet, at least there is an element of doubt in this “right bet”. In the experience of the media tycoon, it is also normal to play cards not according to common sense. After Sacchi took charge of AC Milan, Van Basten was introduced at a sky-high price of 12.5 million US dollars, and then Gullit was recruited to his account. A year later, Rijkaard joined…
  AC Milan in the Dutch “Three Musketeers” era was invincible. Especially after the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Serie A had the style of a “small World Cup”. For example, Inter Milan, which shared the home court with AC Milan, introduced the German “troika”-Mateus, Bremer, Klinsmann. , and AC Milan have a great potential for hegemony. What’s interesting is that even if the German team can win the world championship, in this “Little World Cup” field, the injured are always the German-led Inter Milan. In the European arena, Yugoslavia’s “Three Musketeers” Savicevic, Pantsev, and Prosinecki performed a fantastic victory, defeating AC Milan in the European Champions Cup final. But Berlusconi repeated his old tricks and simply bought Savicevic. From 1991 to 1993, AC Milan remained unbeaten in 58 games. This record is still talked about by Milan fans.
  There are ways to play with money if you have money, and ways to live without money if you have no money. As the second decade of the 21st century dawned, AC Milan appeared to be in poor financial shape. Anyway, Berlusconi did not spend tens of millions of dollars or euros to buy people, but relied on his old man Galliani to ride a bicycle to discuss business from family to family, exempt transfer fees, or replace players to maintain human resources on the field. a balance. The dream of San Siro was handed over to the Chinese as early as 2016-at that time, Berlusconi, who was over seventy years old, sold the team to China Europe Sports. After that, there will be big buyers in Milan again, but they have nothing to do with Bei Shi…
prime minister, always berlusconi

  After the success of investing in professional football, Berlusconi gained a very high exposure rate. Logically speaking, as the owner of AC Milan, he should be hated by AC Milan’s opponents. Even if fans in economically developed regions such as Milan, Turin, and Genoa in the north can tolerate him more, Naples in the south, after Maradona’s departure, cannot enter the ranks of the championship for a while (for people living in southern Italy Say, apart from football, where else has a chance to beat the north?), so even people in Sicily and Sardinia have a hard time accepting Berlusconi and his Milan.
  What people never expected was that in January 1994, Berlusconi formed the “Italian Forza Party”, and two months later he was successfully elected as the 53rd Prime Minister of Italy’s post-war government. As a non-professional politician, why was Berlusconi successful at the time? In my opinion, the reason is that Europe at that time was experiencing the disintegration of the Soviet Union and drastic changes in Eastern Europe. Don’t think that these things have no effect on Italy, which is in southern Europe. Italy can also watch the Yugoslav civil war across the Adriatic Sea. The influx of refugees will inevitably affect the livelihood of the people. This is not to mention that some economic ties between Italy and the Balkans, which may not be known to the world, will be reorganized and changed.
  Facing Italy, which was at the forefront of Eastern Europe, what kind of leader was needed at that time? It seems that everyone, from the private sector to the high-level, hopes to play their cards against common sense. And Berlusconi’s success in Milan is considered by the public to be a representative of not playing cards according to common sense. However, as high as the public expected of him, disappointment came quickly. A few months later, when the calendar turned to 1995, Berlusconi announced his resignation. But so what? After all, in Italy after World War II, changing the prime minister is like changing clothes when the season changes.
  Berlusconi comes in a hurry, goes in a hurry, comes and goes. After more than six years, in May 2001, he actually made a comeback and was re-elected Prime Minister of Italy. This time, Berlusconi, who already has experience in politics, is obviously better prepared. For example, after he resigned as prime minister on April 20, 2005, then Italian President Ciampi immediately hoped that he would re-form a cabinet. Thus, two days later, Berlusconi successfully re-formed the cabinet. In 2008, he was re-elected prime minister. This is a serious record!
  Looking back on this period of time, it can be called the golden period of Berlusconi’s administration. Focusing on promoting a number of government affairs and reforms, he also invested a considerable part of the funds in medical equipment, resources and employment. Even during the international financial crisis in 2008, he claimed that in the face of the financial crisis, countries in the euro zone cannot sit idly by and cannot let any EU country go bankrupt. He also claimed that some banks would be ready to be bought back by the Italian government. Some newspapers directly praised him, interpreting his series of economic policies as Berlusconiism.

  Of course, such flattering words obviously cannot tickle Berlusconi’s itch. He called himself “Napoleon of Italy”, “Christ of politics” and “the best politician in the world”. It seems that no one can surpass Berlusconi when it comes to governing a country, especially a developed Western country. Berlusconi’s biographer Sevegnini interpreted this: “Berlusconi’s strength lies in his ability to understand the weaknesses and temptations of a country.” But Sevegnini also believes that this does not mean that he is good at governing .
  Berlusconi was a forerunner of the populist-style electoral victors that began to emerge around the world in the mid-2000s. In his early years, he was a builder and TV tycoon. After studying the colorful TV industry in the United States, he transformed the boring media and entertainment industry in Italy. After entering the political arena, he is not an ideological leader, but a kind of “follower”. In the mid-1990s, he smelled the wave of polarized thinking in the Western world and immediately used it for himself. Today’s Italian Prime Minister Meloni sees Berlusconi as a political ally and mentor. She believes that Berlusconi won the election three times, served as prime minister four times, and has been in power in Italy for ten years. Even in Italy, the mention of a prime minister has for some time conjured Berlusconi. In other words, today’s Italian society has been deeply imprinted by Berlusconi.
  Just look at how torn apart the Berlusconi phenomenon is – one of the reasons why he came to power in 1994 was that the traditional mainstream political parties in Italy collapsed due to corruption scandals at that time, but his own later scandals and corruption were more serious than his predecessors, but It seems to have little impact on his political status, at least until his death he was a member of the European Parliament, and his party still has the upper hand in politics; he attracts civilian voters, but he is on the Forbes rich list; he flaunts pure religious belief , but relished talking about his messy private life, and opened his mouth to make racist and sexist jokes.
Be the bridegroom again

  To some extent, Berlusconi is considered the bridegroom’s official before his death! After all, on March 19, 2022, he just “married” his 32-year-old bride, Marta Fassina, at Villa Galnetto in Lombardy. The reason why “marriage” is put in quotation marks is because it is said that this wedding is more like a play house, anyway, it does not have legal or religious significance.
  However, for Berlusconi, who is the groom for the third time in public, a set of marriage procedures is very familiar. Wearing a wedding dress, said to Fasina, who was almost his granddaughter in age, “You make me complete, I can’t live without you, it is you who enrich my life”, and sang an Italian serenade for her… … Anyway, how romantic it is. According to Italian media reports, the “wedding” is said to have cost at least 400,000 euros. Among them, the wedding feast was reserved at a star-rated restaurant, and gifts such as ties, scarves and even watches were distributed to the guests. It seems that, except for the older groom and excessive facial plastic surgery, the other links are almost the dream of every girl who wants to get married.
  But for Berlusconi, in addition to the pure dream of “marriage”, there are also various dreams that have been realized in this life. For example, on June 5, 2009, the Spanish newspaper El País published five photos reporting on Bayesian’s nude party.
  Now, because of his death, everything has only become a talking point.