Alibaba founder Jack Ma has scoffed at reports he is on the verge of buying a controlling stake in Italian football giants AC Milan.
Reports had suggested Ma, Asia’s richest man with a net worth of $33.3bn (£22.7bn), was leading a consortium looking to buy a 70 per cent stake in the club currently owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
But the eccentric Alibaba executive chairman appears to have laughed off the idea in a joke post on Chinese social media platform Weibo which made reference to Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming and even boxer Mike Tyson.
“Am I buying AC Milan?” Ma asked. “Is AC Milan the football team from the Italian city Milano?
“I heard that Mike Tyson of the Lakers recently travelled to Milan, but I am not sure if it is AC Milan. Now Yao Ming will get in trouble.”
Despite Ma’s plea to ignorance, he does own a majority stake in Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande who announced a huge $147m (£101m) loss earlier this week.
The e-commerce tycoon would have little problem in funding a deal for the Rossoneri, who have been priced at over €1bn (£780m), nor cover their €250m debt.
Internet entrepreneur Robin Li and industrialist He Xiangjian have been named in the Italian press as other possible investors in the five-time European champions.