Galliani: ‘I bet on Nesta for continuity – Monza are still here thanks to Berlusconi”


Adriano Galliani says appointing Alessandro Nesta as Monza head coach was an entirely technical choice, while Silvio Berlusconi’s influence still looms large over the club. Galliani was speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport about the changes the club has undergone since Berlusconi’s passing, touching on the changes on the bench this summer, which saw Nesta replace Raffaele Palladino:

From being a pillar of the great Milan to leading Monza: How do you explain the choice of the new coach?

“Romanticism aside, there’s a primary technical reason. We had a shortlist of candidates and made specific evaluations for each: Nesta had the playing style closest to Palladino. Given that we have a team that has been playing a certain way for two years and will maintain its core next season, we wanted to ensure continuity.”

The shortlist included Baroni, Nesta, Pirlo: Was having written pages of Milan’s history together another decisive factor?

“I’ve known Nesta for over ten years; esteem and affection played a role but were secondary. The primary reason, I repeat, was technical. Modesto and Franco, our technical area references, along with our match analysts, did a great job: they presented me with in-depth studies. Choosing at that point was even easier.”

With Nesta for new dreams of glory?

“As a player, he was extraordinary, one of the best defenders in the world: you don’t become a World Champion with the national team and club by chance. And in ten years with him, I never had a problem: behavioral, economic, nothing. If he’s half as good as a coach as he was as a player, we’re set. His history helps in this regard; the prestige he had as a player can be an additional weapon.”

Speaking of history: do you see a possible comparison with any of the great coaches?

“I don’t make comparisons. I’ll just say that I sensed a good atmosphere. He spoke about his great teachers: Zeman, Eriksson, Ancelotti. He’s had his journey through the United States and Serie B, and now here we are. We’ll start on August 9 in the Coppa Italia against Sudtirol, on the 13th we’ll face Milan in the Silvio Berlusconi Trophy: the game of my life.”

It will also be a “preview” of the championship: objectives for your season?

“I don’t like making predictions: I experienced my first championship as a Monza executive and co-owner in 1975-76. In 49 years, I still haven’t figured out how football works. Again, my mentor Berlusconi was right: it has joyful and sorrowful mysteries just like religion. In 31 years at Milan, we believed we had a very strong team and finished ninth, or thought we were weaker and won the Champions League. I have the first ten years of Monza behind me, from 1975-’76 to ’86 when the long history with Berlusconi’s Milan began: we only missed the 2017-18 season due to the club’s sale. This is the seventh championship since returning to Monza: Silvio took the team in Serie C and now we’re in our third consecutive year in Serie A, it’s wonderful. Monza is one of the great things the president did in his life.”

Is the minimum goal to go up to four?

“In our first year in Serie A, I said that after a 110-year chase, we couldn’t return to Serie B after only 12 months. Last year I said that even 24 would be too few. Today I say: we can’t have worked so hard to resist only 36 months… But it must be remembered: Monza was founded in 1912 and conquers Serie A in 2022 with Berlusconi, who first brings the club back to Serie B after 19 years, then to their Serie A debut after 110. And in these two seasons, we’ve beaten Juve, Milan, Inter, and Napoli, the four Italian clubs with the most fans in the world. Something that would have been unthinkable without Silvio.”

Will the company remain with the family?

“There are no ongoing sale negotiations. Theoretically, the club could be sold but to people or groups that keep the red and white flag flying high. This is what the Berlusconi family wants; they know how Silvio’s last great sporting joy was Monza’s promotion to Serie A.”

Do you continue to fight for Serie A with 20 teams?

“Absolutely yes. There’s talk of a crowded calendar, but the championship has had the same format for twenty years; it’s the European cups that have increased commitments. I make one prediction: the top ten teams classified in 2023-2024 will be in the top ten positions at the end of next season too. We are among the other 10: once we finished first in the right-side ranking, once second. Which doesn’t mean not setting more ambitious goals, but it’s also necessary to be realistic: Serie A with 18 teams effectively reduces the group fighting for survival from ten to eight. The others, especially those playing in cups, are more advantaged by revenues from international TV rights: broadcasters invest in European rights, to the detriment of national ones and therefore of teams that only play in the championship.”

Will you face it with some new signings?

“We have 30 players, some will leave. And to bring in someone important, someone else must leave first. Numerically we’re fine, but we’ll try to understand if there will be the right opportunity to improve our qualities. Colpani? I’m not saying whether he’s moving or not. I’ve been doing transfers for 50 years; what doesn’t happen in a month can happen in a minute. I signed Luca Marrone at 20:00 and 45 seconds on the last day of the transfer window, and he was decisive with a goal in the playoff final. Izzo arrived at 19:58 on the last day of negotiations and behaved very well. For Colpani, I can say there’s no ongoing negotiation, but what will happen, I don’t know.”

Disappointed that Palladino left?

“On the contrary, I’m proud. Of him, like Carlos Augusto to Inter or Di Gregorio to Juve. Raffaele chose a team that plays in European cups, and it was a legitimate decision. I courted him and hoped he would stay, but the relationships remain very affectionate. He behaved well with us; he could have left a year ago but instead respected the word given to me and Berlusconi. He didn’t do any disservice to Monza.”


Serie A obsessive.