Juventus president Andrea Agnelli on Thursday asked the club’s shareholders to approve a 300 million euro ($333 million) capital increase to help expand the Italian club’s global ambitions.

Despite losses of 39.9 million euros ($44m) last season, Agnelli asked shareholders for a major investment as part of a five-year plan to keep pace with European rivals such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.

“Today, we ask you, the Shareholders to approve a 300 million capital increase for our 2019/2024 development plan,” Agnelli said at the club’s Allianz Stadium in Turin.

“The objective of this capital increase is the future development in a wide-ranging horizon,” he continued.

“We must imagine this season as a new year zero, with the desire and determination to think big.

“We must be extremely proud of our development and our growth rates, but we must keep with the pace.

“These numbers seem enormous when compared to the Italian reality, but our point of reference is the great European clubs.”

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing in 2018 was central to Juventus’s ambitions to expand their brand globally.

And Agnelli said that he hoped the 34-year-old would lift a sixth Ballon d’Or title this year.

“I hope that Cristiano can win the Ballon d’Or because he deserves it,” said Agnelli.

Despite their domination in Italy, winning the last eight Serie A titles, Juventus have not lifted the Champions League trophy since 1996.

“Juve is the biggest football club in Italy but only one of the big ones in Europe,” he said. 

“If we look at the big names of England, Spain and Germany, their turnover is between 500 million and a billion,” said Agnelli.

The recapitalisation would be part of a five-year development plan from 2019-24.

“The vision of the new plan must be to make Juventus prosper as a global brand, recognized by all stakeholders and future generations as a modern, innovative and iconic brand,” he said. 

Club revenues up to June 30 last were 494.4 million euros, a 20 percent increase on the previous year, Agnelli said.

However, the financial year to June 30 closed in the red with losses of 39.9 million euros, nearly double the 19.2 million euro deficit in 2018.

– Asian development –

After ditching their iconic black and white striped jersey last season, the club also have a new ‘J’ logo, and on the pitch are looking for a new eye-catching style of football under new coach Maurizio Sarri.afp