Vincenzo Montella pleased AC Milan ahead of Inter in Berlusconi's last week
Vincenzo Montella says he is happy to see AC Milan above city rivals Inter Milan in Serie A at the start of a week which should see the end of Silvio Berlusconi's 30-year ownership of the club.
A 4-0 win over Palermo on Sunday saw Milan edge ahead of Inter, who stumbled to a surprise 2-1 defeat at Crotone. The two teams meet in the Derby della Madonnina on Saturday and that is set to be the first meeting between the pair in over three decades without Berlusconi at the helm of Milan.
His sale of the club to a Chinese investment group is due to go through on Thursday at the third time of asking after two previous postponements, and Montella feels his side's rise to sixth above Inter, who sit two points behind in seventh, is something symbolic.
"Should [the sale] happen, I like the idea of Silvio Berlusconi leaving with his AC Milan ahead of Inter in the league," Montella told Milan TV. "[The derby's] going to be a great game, Inter have really strong players and they will show their pride, but I am happy to play against Inter in this decisive week."
While Sunday's win at the San Siro could prove to have been Berlusconi's last as Milan owner, it may also have been the last for Adriano Galliani, the club's general manager and Berlusconi's right-hand man throughout his ownership.
"We are happy: I spoke with the president, and should this be our last match, it will remain in the fans' minds," Galliani told Milan TV. "Everything changes in life. If the club changes ownership it's going to be a radical change, but what the club has achieved under Silvio Berlusconi's presidency can't be forgotten. Should the club change ownership next week, I will watch the derby on TV, from home."
Milan are the nominal guests at the San Siro on Saturday with a lunchtime kickoff for the derby. A win would see them climb above Atalanta into a Europa League qualification berth, which is their target after three seasons without European football.
Their recent struggles contrast with the majority of Berlusconi's reign, in which the club have won a total of 28 trophies, including eight Serie A titles and 5 Champions Leagues.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.