Dubai: While the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues to command attention, another competition featuring some of the best football teams and players in the world is taking place right here in Dubai.
As part of their preparations for the start of the Serie A season in January 2023, AC Milan will participate in the Dubai Super Cup alongside Arsenal, Liverpool, and Lyon. Therefore, the Rossoneri have a fantastic opportunity to regain some match sharpness by playing two tough matches in Dubai before their showdown against Salernitana on the fourth.
The squad will be in town for ten days so that head coach Stefano Pioli and his players can use the cutting-edge facilities to prepare for the rest of the season.
The club’s president, Paolo Scaroni, said the club’s dedication to the entire Middle Eastern area, particularly the UAE, is highlighted by the fact that this will be AC Milan’s fourth official visit to Dubai this year. “AC Milan is here because we have a lot of fans here and also because Emirates, who has been our shirt sponsor since 2007, is here, so Dubai is essential for us,” said the player.
Even though he is the chairman of one of the largest teams in football, Scaroni claims he is still astonished when fans of the club recognize him here. He says he wants to assist the AC Milan brand in developing in the Middle East. “People in the UAE love football, and here we have a large club following, and we want to share this great passion we feel. I frequently take selfies with strangers, which means they know that I am AC Milan’s chairman.
The mid-season competition is being hosted at Al-Nasr Club’s 15,058-capacity Al Maktoum Stadium, which is five times smaller than the San Siro in terms of capacity but will be smaller when a new arena is built, according to Scaroni. “We never fill San Siro to its 80,000 capacity; the most we can fit there is 75,000. The capacity of the new stadium will thus be close to 70,000 since we want it to be fully utilized and highly effective, so the plan is to lower it slightly.
AC Milan has called San Siro home since 1926, while Inter Milan started using the stadium jointly in 1947. Scaroni acknowledges that the team’s departure from the UEFA category 4-rated stadium will be a sad occasion, but he claims that it cannot be renovated. “With two teams playing there, both of them in the Champions League, there are too many fixtures to take into account, therefore we were unable to renovate the San Siro. The stadium would also need extensive renovations, which would be quite challenging. While San Siro is being rebuilt, there isn’t a nearby stadium with a respectable seating capacity where we could temporarily relocate. That is the reason a new stadium is necessary.
According to Scaroni, the club’s finances, which have been progressively increasing for some years, will benefit much more from the new stadium. After many years of hardship, the club now has a very low level of debt and is making money, which, according to him, is a new development for them. “A modern stadium is necessary for the club’s development and progress. We need to close the gap between Serie A and the top European leagues, starting with the Premier League, where stadium revenues have been a major driver of recent expansion.
The Dubai Super Cup got underway on Thursday with Mikel Arteta’s Premier League team defeating Laurent Blanc’s Ligue 1 team 3-0, but anticipation is building for the defending Serie A champions’ opening encounter against the Gunners on Tuesday, September 13.