Milanello will mark its 50th year anniversary this year. Milanello was built by then Milan President Andrea Rizzoli in 1963, as he felt the need to provide the team with a quiet place to prepare for matches.
Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese has given credit to AC Milan’s training facilities for his own club’s recent successes. The Swiss-educated banker has been taking some of the ideals and methods of the Italian giants according to Corriere della Serra.
“I visited Milanello ten years ago, which then became something of a reference point,” Cortese claimed. “It had great charm, it felt like joining a family. The model for our training facilities is Milanello.”
The 45-year-old was quick to highlight the importance of Southampton’s individual philosophies, which has seen them remain in the Barclays Premier League; finishing 14th in their first season back in the top flight.
“We have become a family,” he continued, “the ‘Southampton Way’ means focusing on quality and being able to be the best in everything we do.
“We don’t want to imitate others, we want others to imitate us,” Cortese concluded.
Southampton have certainly been sending scouts to Italy in recent times, recruiting Gaston Ramirez and Pablo ‘Dani’ Osvaldo from Bologna and AS Roma respectively, but there is more to it than that.
AC Milan have produced famous names from their youth network in the past, including both Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi to name but two. In recent seasons they have begun to show more attention to their youngsters with the promotion of Mattia De Sciglio and Bryan Cristante to the first team. Leading officials have also begun to give the club’s Primavera more media coverage, with a documentary highlighting the teaching of club values and preparing them for first team tactics.
The Saints have developed their own well-known academy in England, with Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Real Madrid’s £85.3 million summer signing Gareth Bale notable graduates. Like Milan, Southampton are looking to fashion themselves into an ‘institution’ and have already succeeded in making James Ward-Prowse and Luke Shaw capable of playing in the starting eleven. This approach could play a vital role in the future of Southampton Football Club.
By Louis Gibberd-Thomas