A report by financial news service Bloomberg earlier Thursday claimed Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister, had instructed American finance company Lazard to seek out potential buyers.

However Berlusconi, who has seen Milan win five of their seven Champions League titles under an ownership which began in 1986, said he had no intention of selling the club. "No, no, no," Berlusconi told journalists when asked if he would sell Milan.

Berlusconi's company, Fininvest, released a statement denying there was any truth in the report.

Later, at a book presentation in Milan, Berlusconi added: "I want to reassure all fans of Milan, I have no intention of selling the club."

The report sent a ripple through the Italian sports and business media, especially as a year ago Berlusconi appeared not to rule out the possibility.

"Never say never, because maybe in the future we will be forced (to sell)," he had said at the time.

Thursday's report was given momentum by Milan's current state.

For the second successive season, and following a mass exodus of key players in the summer of 2012, Milan are struggling on the domestic front.

Although they remain Italy's only representative in the Champions League -- they will face Atletico Madrid in a last-16 decider away next week -- Clarence Seedorf's side are 17 points behind Napoli in the third and last Champions League qualifying place.