in an interview last year, citing the league in Spain where he once played. “I’m not telling lies.”

Suning’s soccer bets were badly timed. The Chinese government began to worry that big conglomerates were borrowing too heavily, threatening the country’s financial system. One year after the Inter Milan deal, Chinese state media criticized Suning for its “irrational” acquisition.

Then the pandemic hit. Even as Inter Milan won on the field, it lost gate receipts from its San Siro stadium, one of the largest in Europe. Some sponsors walked away because their own financial pressures. The club lost about $120 million last year, one of the biggest losses reported by a European soccer club.

Back in China, Suning was slammed by e-commerce as well as the coronavirus. Its troubles accelerated in the autumn when it chose not to demand repayment of a $3 billion investment in Evergrande, a property developer and China’s most indebted company.

Suning’s burden is set to get heavier. This year, it must make $1.2 billion in bond payments. The company declined to comment.

Suning began to take drastic steps. Last year it abandoned its broadcasting deal with the Premier League.

On Twitter, Eder said the comments had been taken from a private, online chat without his permission. His agent did not respond to requests for comment.

To save itself, Suning took a step that could complicate Inter Milan’s fortunes. On March 1, it sold $2.3 billion worth of its shares to affiliates of the government of the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The deal gave Chinese authorities a say in Inter Milan’s fate.

Greater financial pressure looms for Inter Milan. It must pay out a $360 million bond next year. A minority investor in Hong Kong, Lion Rock Capital, which acquired a 31 percent stake in Inter in 2019, could exercise an option that would require Suning to buy its stake for as much as $215 million, according to one of the people close to the club.

Inter Milan officials are looking for financing, a new partner or a sale of the team at a valuation of about $1.1 billion, the person said.

The club until recently was in exclusive talks with BC Partners, the British private equity firm, but they were unable to agree on price, said people with knowledge of the talks.

Without fresh capital, Inter Milan could lose players. If it can’t pay salaries or transfer fees for departing players, European soccer rules say it could be banished from top competitions.

“We are concerned but we are not frightened yet about this situation — we are just waiting for the news,” said Manuel Corti, a member of an Inter Milan supporters club based in London.

“Being Inter fans,” he said, “we are never sure of anything until the last minute.”

Alexandra Stevenson reported from Hong Kong, and Tariq Panja from London. Cao Li contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

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