Berlusconi looks to inspire Milan
ESPN FC: Crucial clash at San Siro
AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi paid his first visit to the club's Milanello training ground since preseason on Tuesday to show the team his support on the eve of their biggest game of the season.
The Rossoneri need at least a draw against Ajax at the San Siro on Wednesday night to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Defeat would see them drop into the Europa League and, with 22 points already separating them from Serie A leaders Juventus, it would signify a new low in what has thus far been a disappointing season for their high standards.
Berlusconi therefore decided to show his face for 90 minutes, in which he spoke to every one of his squad members.
"I hope I've started to make them feel like they are Milan," he told reporters as he left the complex. "I gave them my support and I hope, if I'm able to be present more often, like in the first 10 years of my presidency, it will have some kind of positive effect."
Berlusconi arrived by helicopter, accompanied by his daughter and joint general manager Barbara Berlusconi. He summoned the players into the news conference room where he gave them words of encouragement ahead of Wednesday's clash.
"I hugged them one by one and of course I tried to convey the memory of what was and still is the great Milan -- the team that has won more international trophies than anybody else in the world," Berlusconi added.
Gennaro Gattuso was part of that glorious history, winning the Champions League twice with Milan while also lifting the European Super Cup on two occasions and the World Club Cup once. He therefore knows all about games like Wednesday night's, and he had a warning for his former club.
"They've got to watch out because every game in the Champions League is difficult," he told Italy's Sky Sport. "In the Champions League, there's no such thing as a weak team. Milan are going to have to be careful, but they have every chance of doing well. They have two results out of three available to them."