Pink, smiling Hello Kitty faces should help Milan fans forget the team’s struggles

OK, so AC Milan is struggling in the league and the fanbase is disillusioned. But take heart: the club’s just announced an “exclusive co-branding project” with Hello Kitty.

What’s next? Juventus signing a stadium naming rights deal with Pokemon?

This presumably makes Hello Kitty the official Japanese cartoon cuteness provider to the Serie A side, who must be hoping that increased sales of branded pencil cases to small girls will boost the transfer budget and help return Milan to their rightful place at the summit of Italian soccer.

But not only is this link-up with the venerable character weird in Milan, the city that defines fashion trends, Hello Kitty doesn’t exactly exude the imperious, domineering vibe once associated with the club when they were the best team in Europe.

Apparently, though, it’s time the club got in touch with its feminine side. “The idea to associate a female soul to a top level male sport came a while ago with AC Milan,” Paolo Cassarini said.

“Together, the two parties will create a new collection which will be launched mid-April at the San Siro,” according to a Milan statement. “Hello Kitty will also be pitch-side for the occasion!”

Can’t wait for the press conference when head coach Filippo Inzaghi stands arm in arm with someone in a costume posing as a giant cat with a pink bow and talks about how much brand synergy there is between Milan and Hello Kitty.

The collaboration adds to Milan’s sponsorship portfolio, which includes some predictable names – Gatorade, sports media companies – and some less obvious partners, like an English cookie maker and Hotpoint washing machines.

But what will the revelation that Kitty is a Rossoneri fan do for her mission of spreading love and friendship to everyone around the world? Surely Inter fans will need to find another adorable cartoon character to decorate their backpacks.

Anyway, once Sanrio started putting her image on bank cards, airplanes and wine bottles, perhaps the innocent charm started to fade. Is there anything this cat won’t do for money?

Hello Kitty was unavailable for comment, because she does not have a mouth.