Lazio president Claudio Lotito insists he will never will sell the club following the latest reports of foreign investment in Serie A sides.
With city rival Roma already under foreign ownership and Inter owner Massimo Morrati in discussions with Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir over selling the club, Italian football appears to be following the path of many leagues around Europe.
Lotito has pledged to not let Lazio go the same way, though, and insisted he will never relinquish his stake in the Rome club. The 56-year-old Lotito has been owner of Lazio since 2004. Despite fan pressure to change his transfer policy, he is adamant he will remain in charge.
"I put a lot of money into Lazio," Lotito told Il Messaggero. "In 2004, to take 21 percent of the shares, I paid 25 million euros. Then to reach 70 percent I needed another 100 million euros. That’s how I became president of a club that only had 1 million euros.
"How much is Lazio worth now? I never thought about valuing it, as I never considered selling either, and I will never sell Lazio.”
The president was not afraid to hit out at the club's fans who have criticized him, insisting as owner he can do what he likes.
"The people must realize that this is my club, it does not belong to everybody, so I will control it the way I see fit," Lotito said. "There is no such thing as a professional fan.
"Last season many complained that the team was old and lacking in alternatives. I brought down the average age of the squad and signed substitutes up to the task, but the people are unhappy anyway.
"It’s good that we did not sign Burak Yilmaz, as he would’ve caused problems in the locker room, and his agent’s approach was tantamount to extortion.
"Mauro Zarate remains my biggest disappointment. He was also the biggest investment, as I paid 22 million euros for him."
Lazio faces Fiorentina at home on Sunday looking to maintain its unbeaten run at home in Serie A this season.