Russian energy giant Gazprom has officially denied talk that the company is preparing an investment of €180 million in AC Milan.
• Putin linked with Milan
The reports had emerged over the past few days, following rivals Inter Milan's announcement of investment from China's state rail company, and were repeated in Spanish newspaper As on Tuesday morning.
The talk was fuelled by an alleged trip to Russia by Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi for talks with president Vlademir Putin, who has influence over the state-run firm.
Gazprom spokesman Serghei Kuprianov, though, was quick to deny the claims, saying: "The story that Gazprom will be sponsors or co-owners of AC Milan does not correspond with reality."
The talk had been considered entirely possible by Italian media, given Gazprom's existing football connections. The natural gas firm already owns stakes in Zenit St Petersburg, Schalke and Red Star Belgrade as part of its football portfolio.