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Thursday Kickoff: Berlusconi in talks to sell AC Milan; Ribery out of Der Klassiker; and more

SilvioBerlusconiACMilan1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

It’s hard to imagine, but AC Milan could be under new ownership in the coming months.

According to reports out of Asia, controversial owner and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is on the verge of selling 75 percent of the club to a Chinese delegation for anywhere from  €1-1.5 billion. As part of the deal, the reports state that Berlusconi’s daughter Barbara Berlusconi will remain as the club’s Chief Executive Officer.

The reports add that while the basic terms of the deal have been agreed, it will still take a few months to iron out the small print on the sale.

The news comes as a shock to fans of Serie A and Milan. Berlusconi, through good times and bad, has owned the club since 1986. Berlusconi, who attracted large amounts of criticism for his conduct while in public office leading Italy, helped lead AC Milan to eight Serie A titles, five UEFA Champions League titles, and three Club World Cup titles, two of them coming during the “Intercontinental Cup” era.

More recently however, Berlusconi has cut funding to the club and as a result, they’ve struggled in league play and missed out on European competition entirely this season.

The slashed funding led to rumors that Berlusconi was close to selling the club. Today’s news could add more substance to those rumors.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

BAYERN LOSE RIBERY FOR WEEKEND MATCH VS. DORTMUND

Bayern Munich’s injury list grew by one on Thursday when it was announced that Franck Ribery will miss this weekend’s highly-anticipated match against Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm confirmed the news in a press conference with local journalists, as Ribery continues to work his way back from an ankle injury suffered in Bayern’s 7-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk on March 11

“It’s bad news,” Lahm said, via the Bundesliga’s official website. “He’s really important for us. We mustn’t complain, we need to look forward. We’ve got a big squad and have to compensate for losses like this.”

Ribery joins teammates David Alaba, Javi Martinez, and Arjen Robben on the sidelines, with centerback Holger Badstuber a doubt for this weekend’s game as he’s working his way back from a hip injury picked up on international duty with Germany.

SAN LORENZO RETURN TO WIN COLUMN IN COPA LIBERTADORES

Defending Copa Libertadores champion San Lorenzo enacted a measure of revenge back home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday evening.

Following their 1-0 defeat at Sao Paulo on March 18, San Lorenzo took down the Brazilian side by a score of 1-0 to stay alive in the race to make the knockout stages. Uruguayan forward Mauro Cauteruccio scored the lone goal of the match in the 71st minute, first chipping a pass to himself over a defender and then racing in on goal and blasting a shot past Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni.

The result leaves Sao Paulo and San Lorenzo tied with six points, three points behind Corinthians, who secured a 4-0 victory over Uruguayan club Danubio.

Peruvian forward Paolo Guerrero scored a hat-trick in the victory and midfielder Jadson scored once and assisted on one of Guerrero’s goals.

QUICK KICKS

Internacional SC left back Fabricio lost his mind during a match on Wednesday, showing his own fans the middle finger, getting sent off for the gesture, and then throwing his shirt down on the field. (REPORT)

Tigres UANL’s Colombian forward Dario Burbano received Mexican citizenship this week, meaning for the Apertura season this fall, he won’t count as a foreigner. (REPORT)

Spanish paper Marca reports that FC Porto full back Danilo, who is set to complete a €31.5 million move to Real Madrid this summer, rejected an even bigger €37 million transfer to Barcelona. (REPORT)

Australian A-League club Perth Glory are being investigated by the Football Federation of Australia for allegedly going around the league salary cap and giving players illegal payments off the books. (REPORT)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could offer Abou Diaby a new contract this summer, despite the Frenchman playing only 67 minutes of first-team soccer this season and 22 games in the last four years due to constant injury woes. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? What do you think of Berlusconi’s decision to sell the club? How do you see AC Milan changing under new management? How do you expect Ribery’s absence to affect Der Klassiker?

Share your thoughts below.

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