Berlusconi takes morale high-ground over Leonardo

AFP, Sunday 3 Apr 2011

AC Milan president and Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sprang to the defence of his former coach Leonardo after the Brazilian received a hot reception at the San Siro

Inter Milan coach Leonardo of Brazil(phot: AP)

Inter Milan coach Leonardo was roundly jeered by Milan fans at Saturday night's derby, won by 3-0 by Milan, for his supposed treachery in switching city colours this season.

A huge banner was unveiled at one end of the stadium depicting Leonardo as the historical Judas Iscariot in a parody of the famous Last Supper frescoe painted by Leonardo Da Vinci and housed in the city's Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

But Berlusconi, who is involved in defence trials against accusations of fraud, corruption and paying for sex with underage prostitutes, insisted that he is a better man than the club's fans and defended his former coach.

He even took no offence at claims Leonardo had described him as a narcissist.

"He's right, I am a narcissist," he said on Sunday. "You can't talk about unfaithfulness," added the 75-year-old, who is accused of hosting orgies with underage prostitutes at one of his Milan homes and whose last wife Veronica Lario left him over his playboy antics.

"It's the professionalism of football and you can't use this term to describe a player, an official or a coach who moves from one team to another," he said.

And when asked why the fans didn't see things from his point of view, the under fire Prime Minister added: "Not everyone is as good a person as me."

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