This past Wednesday ,Milan President and majority owner Silvio Berlusconi celebrated his 80th birthday. While Berlusconi has certainly garnered a lot of criticism for his actions in both his personal and professional life, his imprint on Milan, Italian football, and the sport as a whole simply cannot be underestimated.
Berlusconi rescued Milan from bankruptcy in 1986, and instantly bankrolled what would become one of the greatest teams in the history of football. Pricey purchases such as Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, and Ruud Gullit combined with the appointment of the then unknown Arrigo Sacchi gave rise to the greatest teams in Milan history, and arguably the greatest team in the history of football, the 1989-1990 squad.
Berlusconi was instrumental in the building of Milan's golden era, and extended it by hand picking primavera coach Fabio Capello to replace Sacchi. Don Fabio went on to win 4 Scudetti and one European title. After a few lean years, Berlusconi once again pushed the right button to bring Milan back to the top with the hiring of Carlo Ancelotti.
Under Ancelotti Milan would make three Champions League finals, winning two of them. While Milan haven't tasted continental success since 2007, Berlusconi spent heavily in the summer of 2010 bringing in the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho in order to ensure Milan's last major trophy, the 2010-2011 Scudetto.
In total, Milan have won an astounding 8 Scudetti and 5 European Championships under Berlusconi's ownership.
While Berlusconi certainly gets his fair share of legitimate criticism, on his 80th birthday it's important to recognize the role that he played in building Milan into a global superpower. Happy 80th Silvio, just don't get any second thoughts about selling the club now!