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Berlusconi for normalcy in transfers

SOCCER needs to rediscover normality after the vast transfer fees shelled out by Spain's Real Madrid, AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has said.

The Serie A side began pre-season training yesterday without playmaker Kaka, who was sold to the Spanish club for 67 million euros (US$94 million) and was then joined by Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo for a world record US$130 million. Milan fans, angry the Rossoneri have only brought in youngsters and defender Thiago Silva for the new season, were planning protests at training but Berlusconi was unapologetic.

"Soccer should return to normality," the Italian prime minister told Gazzetta dello Sport. "We should not buy at any cost."

Foreign players in Spain benefit from advantageous tax laws but rather than signal a change of the rules in Italy, Berlusconi could only congratulate Real.

"If Madrid have these possibilities, good for them. We are fine, because they gave us 67 million so I can't attack them too much," he joked.

Milan is interested in Real's Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano and Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor but Berlusconi said the side was good enough anyway despite only finishing third in Serie A last term. "No one in Italy from a technical point of view has a squad as strong as ours ... not even champion Inter," he added.

Berlusconi also again denied he would consider selling the club. "The truth is Milan remains an affair of the heart, I will not sell for any figure," he said.


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