With his side's Champions League last-16 clash against Barcelona coming up on Wednesday, AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi had words of tactical advice for 'rossoneri' coach Massimiliano Allegri. Discussing the Italian side's approach to facing the La Liga leaders, Berlusconi commented: "On this occasion my suggestion would be that Lionel Messi be man-marked."
The former Italian prime minister added that the San Siro outfit should follow the methods of legendary tactician Nereo Rocco, the first proponent of the 'catenaccio' system: "He's one of the greats. He introduced an Italian style of play that advocated hitting the opponent on the break with sporadic attacks. We changed the game after him; with [Arrigo] Sacchi Milan controlled the pitch and the game, then the Dutch arrived to form a team that for many was the best there has ever been. Then Barcelona appeared. Milan and Barça are unique examples."
Berlusconi continued: "I would suggest a midfield and defence with a man moving from flank to flank with Messi. I was a coach for years and I won all the tournaments which my sons' teams entered, so I have experience."
Asked if he had met his coach to discuss his tactical ideas, he explained: "I haven't had time to talk to him. I know the role of the president and that of the coach - I respect those. However, if a president doesn't agree with a coach then he fires him. Allegri is still here and has a contract for another year."