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The Archive

January 2006

Coppa Italia: Palermo 3:0 AC Milan - match report
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Gonzalez 10, 49 (P), Caracciolo 18 (P)

A revitalised Palermo are through to the semi-finals of the Italian Cup after a convincing 3-0 win over Milan on Tuesday night. The home side collected their first triumph over the San Siro outfit for 26 years in a debut that new boss Giuseppe Papadopulo is unlikely to forget.

Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini was looking for a reaction from his boys following the dismissal of Luigi Del Neri and he certainly got that in the first 45 minutes.

New man Papadopulo shelved Del Neri’s trademark 4-4-2 tactics in favour of a more flexible 4-3-2-1, with Mariano Gonzalez and David Di Michele excellently supporting lone-striker Andrea Caracciolo.

Milan responded with a more cautious 4-4-1-1 with Kaka playing just behind Alberto Gilardino, the Rossoneri goal hero from the first leg. Yet it took the Rosanero just 18 minutes to turn the tie around with Gonzalez and Caracciolo netting for the home side.

It could have been so different though had Kaka taken his chance for the away side in the eighth minute. A misplaced Grosso clearance fell kindly to the Brazilian, but his effort was stopped on the line by Andujar. It proved to be a costly error for the Italian giants.

Just two minutes later, Palermo took the lead in some style. Gonzalez let rip from 30 yards out and his curling effort flew over Zeljko Kalac, who was a few metres off his line, and into the top corner.

Worse was to follow when the poorly protected Milan defence was ripped open by a Gonzalez pass. His perfectly weighted assist fell to the feet of Caracciolo who flicked the ball over the diving Kalac to make it 2-0 on the night, 2-1 on aggregate.

Palermo should then have made it three when Di Michele broke the offside trap, but his decision to try to chip the ball over Kalac in a one-on-one situation was disastrous as the ball finished wide of the far post.

That scare seemed to wake Milan up a little even if their response was limited to a Marcos Cafu goal which was rightly disallowed for offside, before the Brazilian then saw his low angled drive saved by the Argentine ‘keeper.

Neither Coach made any changes at the break and little changed once the game restarted as Palermo quickly took a firm grip on qualification with a third goal. A lack of communication between Dario Simic and goalkeeper Kalac allowed Gonzalez to sneak in between them to ripple the net for the second time this evening.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti opted to throw on Pippo Inzaghi, Andrea Pirlo and Serginho, but his side seemed to wave the white flag. So much so that both Simone Barone and Di Michele threatened to make a bad night even worse for the away side with dangerous efforts.

Palermo, whose ‘keeper Andujar denied Seedorf and Kaka a consolation goal in minute 88, go through to the last four – for only the third time in their history – thanks to a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Felipe linked with Milan move
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Udinese defender Felipe has again been linked with a move to Milan at the end of the season, following the latest revelations from his agent.

With the Rossoneri looking to rejuvenate their ageing back line and find cover for the pending retirement of Billy Costacurta and the departure of Jaap Stam to Ajax, the 21-year-old Brazilian has long been perceived as the best long-term solution for the creaky Milan defence.

Despite his tender years, the starlet has become a mainstay in the Udinese defence over the last two seasons and his fine displays for the Zebrette continue to impress suitors, with the Press having also linked Felipe to a possible Roma move.

However, while agent Mino Raiola has denied that Felipe will be reunited with his former Coach Luciano Spalletti in Rome, he has suggested that a move to Milan is a strong likelihood.

"I did say in an interview that Felipe would like to one day play for Spalletti again," said Raiola. "But I never spoke about Roma.

"In June discussions are likely to resume between Udinese and Milan, who tried to sign him in January and rate him very highly," he continued. "I don’t think talks have taken place with Roma, however."

Meanwhile, in other transfer news, Livorno have signed defender Stefano Argilli from Serie B side Modena.

Fellow Second Division club, Mantova, have netted Empoli attacker Mirco Gasparetto on loan for the rest of the season.

Milan settle for second
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini has admitted that Milan have given up on the title race and have now restricted their League ambitions to a second-place finish.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men had high hopes of challenging Juventus for the Scudetto at the start of the season.

Indeed, when they beat Juve 3-1 in late October the Rossoneri were just two points behind the Italian champions.

Two months on, though, and Milan are a full 12 points behind their Turin rivals and, according to Ambrosini after Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Sampdoria, out of championship contention.

"This year there is one side that is dominating – Juve – and another that is more or less on a par with us – Inter," he said.

"Unfortunately, we have to think about them, as they are our nearest challengers, before worrying about the bigger picture."

The picture as it stands displays Milan in third place, four points behind their local rivals and just three ahead of Fiorentina.

The combative Ambrosini knows that his side now need to show a great deal of character to silence the critics and secure automatic Champions League qualification at the end of the campaign.

"Unfortunately, we are being criticised every day, but that’s because everyone is used to Milan’s high standards of results and the football we play," he added.

"From our point of view we must be calm enough to assess the current situation. It’s not a question of our team formation as we can play in a number of ways at any time against any team."

Milan’s more immediate attention will be focused on the Italian Cup quarter-final second-leg match against Palermo this evening.

The Rossoneri take a slender 1-0 win to the Renzo Barbera where Palermo await to play their first match under Coach Giuseppe Papadopulo.

Palermo look set to field a first-choice side while Milan are expected to rest, among others, Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi, Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso and Dida.

Palermo (probable): Lupatelli, Zaccardo, Barzagli, Biava, Gonzalez, Mutarelli, Corini, Barone, Grosso, Caracciolo, Di Michele.

Milan (probable): Kalac, Simic, Nesta, Stam, Kaladze, Cafu, Vogel, Seedorf, Jankulovski, Kaka, Gilardino

Ancelotti issues Dida warning
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has defended under-fire goalkeeper Nelson Dida for his recent mistakes, but added that the time has come to improve his game. "No more errors," said the Milan boss.

Dida’s form has slumped since the end of last season, with the critics increasingly starting to point the finger at his goalkeeping for Milan’s disappointing League campaign.

The Brazilian was once again at fault on Saturday as he let in a relatively straightforward shot by Andrea Gasbarroni, which cost his side two points and probably the title race as a result.

However, Ancelotti moved to dispel any suggestions that his South American shot-stopper was in danger of being dropped.

"Dida’s place is not at risk," said the Milan Coach. "He has the full backing of everybody.

"We feel that his recent mistakes are just episodes and not the result of any technical deficiency on his part."

Some sections of the Press have opined that the Brazil international has never been the same player since being struck by a firework during last season’s Champions League semi-final against Inter, but Ancelotti refutes this theory.

"I don’t think his current form can be linked to that incident because too much time has passed since," he said.

"Nobody is immune to mistakes and he has saved us in many matches, so it is important to weigh these things up."

Carletto moved to add, however, that his patience is not unlimited and, although he has turned down the option to recall Christian Abbiati from his loan spell at Juventus, he did issue a stark reminder to his charge that the errors must be ironed out of his game.

"No more mistakes, Dida," he declared. "I hope he rediscovers his form for our sake and his own."

Ajax announce Stam deal
30.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ajax have announced that Milan defender Jaap Stam will move to Amsterdam at the end of this season.

The Dutchman had made it clear over the last few months that he would be making his way back to his homeland, but today’s confirmation from both official club websites puts the final word on the matter.

The 33-year-old will complete the transfer in July, ending two years in the Rossoneri jersey.

Stam has been in Serie A since 2001, when he made a surprise switch to Lazio after a bitter split with Manchester United.

His career had begun in Holland with Zwolle, Cambuur, PSV Eindhoven and Willem II. So far this season he has made 23 appearances in all competitions and scored one goal.

With Marcos Cafu, Alessandro Costacurta and Paolo Maldini also in their late thirties, Milan will be looking to revolutionise their defence over the summer.

In other transfer news, Torino have signed Arezzo top scorer Elvis Abbruscato on a loan spell with the option to make the move permanent at the end of the season. The striker is valued at £3m and the six-month loan will cost Toro around £700,000.

“I invite all the Granata fans to come and meet me at the training ground on Tuesday,” said the 25-year-old who has scored 10 goals in 26 Serie B appearances this term. “I am jumping for joy at the start of this new adventure and hope it will be a long and happy one for me and the supporters.”

Inter look set to sell Santiago Solari to Espanyol after the Argentine failed to settle in Serie A, according to the Spanish Press.

The 29-year-old winger was signed on a free transfer from Real Madrid in the summer, but has made just 13 appearances in all competitions for the Nerazzurri.

His most notorious contribution to the campaign has been an incredible miss in front of an open goal in their 1-0 Champions League win over Glasgow Rangers.

Milan quash Abbiati rumour
30.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have backed under-fire goalkeeper Nelson Dida by ruling out the immediate return of Christian Abbiati from Juventus.

Whispers had started to circulate that the Rossoneri could ask the Italian champions to release the shot-stopper six months earlier than previously agreed.

However, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has insisted that such an option is not even being considered.

"Abbiati does belong to Milan, but he will stay on loan at Juventus until June," the club official underlined.

"We have great faith in Dida. He has made a few mistakes but that happens to everyone. Dida is still the great ‘keeper that he has always been.

"Will he be rested for a while? I don’t pick the team, Carlo Ancelotti does."

The Brazilian is not enjoying his best season at the San Siro after an error-fuelled campaign to date.

A howler cost his side a goal in the recent 4-3 win over Parma, while he was again at fault on Saturday as he allowed an Andrea Gasbarroni shot to sneak past him in the 1-1 draw with Sampdoria.

However, teammate Andrea Pirlo has looked to defend his colleague during this very delicate time.

"These footballs take an unthinkable route in the air," he said. "Dida couldn’t do anything because he didn’t know how it was going to arrive."

The option to bring back Abbiati was a possibility given that he has now been relegated to the Juve bench following the return from injury of Gigi Buffon.

Ancelotti stands by Dida
29.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has publicly confirmed his faith in Dida after another howler cost Milan dearly against Sampdoria.

“He didn’t evaluate the trajectory of the ball very well, but Dida has our unconditional faith,” assured the Coach.

The Brazilian goalkeeper completely misjudged Andrea Gasbarroni’s shot in the 1-1 draw, allowing it to go in off his shoulder when he was trying to smother it with his chest.

“We started well, but didn’t make the most of our pace and possession because there were too many mistakes and wayward passes,” added Ancelotti after Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty had given Milan the lead.

“The team got back on track in the second half, but we were unable to get the winning goal.”

Sampdoria were unlucky not to be ahead at half-time, as they struck the woodwork twice with Sergio Volpi and Marcello Castellini.

“After Shevchenko’s penalty, we refused to let our heads drop,” explained Castellini. “We did well to get back into the game and could’ve won it. My new position on the right wasn’t a total novelty, as I played regularly there for Parma under Cesare Prandelli. The Coach asked us to keep the defence high and maintain pressure on Clarence Seedorf and Kaka.”

Walter Novellino insisted it was the individual performances that proved decisive at the San Siro, where Milan’s run of 10 consecutive home wins was terminated.

“I have to thank the players for the character and determination they showed today,” said the Blucerchiati boss.

Novellino is famous for improving his team’s output in the second half of the campaign and insists he’s on track for a UEFA Cup spot.

“I don’t think we’re lagging behind last season’s tally, as we have had a lot more injuries this time around. There’s a long way to go and a place in Europe is within our reach if we can recover some of our men.”

AC Milan 1:1 Sampdoria - match report
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko pen 13 (M), Gasbarroni 35 (S)

Sampdoria have put another spanner in the works for Milan after holding them to a 1-1 draw at San Siro.

The Rossoneri's first defeat of the season was 2-1 at Marassi in Week 3, so they were out for revenge and needed a win to stay in the Scudetto race. They were also chasing their 11th consecutive home victory and welcomed back Jaap Stam and Marcos Cafu from injury, even if the Brazilian was not ready to start. Sampdoria had Fabio Bazzani in the side, though ex-Milan midfielder Sam Dalla Bona was suspended.

There were doubts over whether this game would go ahead due to heavy snowfall in the Milan area, but the covers over the San Siro pitch and a change in the weather safeguarded the football. Dida had to undergo a late fitness test after suffering a back problem during the warm-up, but he was able to start.

Instead, it was Sampdoria who were forced into a substitution after less than five minutes, as Bazzani's knee injury flared up again and he made way for ex-Rossoneri striker Vitali Kutuzov.

Pippo Inzaghi sprung the offside trap and turned Andrea Pirlo's searching pass round the post with a diving header. Francesco Antonioli passed his clearance straight to Clarence Seedorf, but Sergio Volpi was able to clear the danger.

Referee Massimo De Santis pointed to the spot after 12 minutes when Volpi clattered into the back of Inzaghi as he tried to get on to Serginho's deflected cross. It was certainly a clumsy challenge that brought down the forward and Andriy Shevchenko stepped up to sidefoot his penalty into the net.

Aimo Diana's timid effort was comfortably held, while at the other end Serginho combined with a delightful Seedorf backheel and Antonioli smothered the cross before it could reach Inzaghi.

Kutuzov had a great chance when he broke the offside trap, but Jaap Stam flung himself at the ball to charge down his shot from eight yards.

Sampdoria were furious on the half-hour mark when Andrea Gasbarroni fell in the penalty area, but the linesman flagged for simulation. Gennaro Gattuso slipped and stuck out an arm, seeming to trip the winger, but the decision went in the Milan man's favour.

Gasbarroni took revenge a couple of minutes later by scoring Sampdoria's equaliser. The former Under-21 international unleashed a powerful snapshot from distance that took a slight deflection off Nesta's shin to push the ball just past Dida. Nonetheless, the ball didn't seem to move too much through the air, so it should be put down as a howler from the Brazilian goalkeeper. This was the first goal Milan had conceded after three consecutive clean sheets in all competition.

Dida almost let in another goal soon after, as he was completely motionless when Volpi's free kick slammed the upright to his left.

Incredibly, Sampdoria hit the woodwork for a second time a handful of seconds later. Marcello Castellini rose to nod a corner kick on to the other upright.

Milan were struggling badly towards the end of the first half and another Castellini effort whistled just wide of the target.

Samp continued to impress after the restart and Dida found it tough to get a deflected Palombo effort under control. The home side couldn't find a way through and introduced Alberto Gilardino in place of Inzaghi.

Within moments of coming on, Gila had threatened on an Antonioli fumble from Stam's cross, then Shevchenko's volley was just wide of the near post.

Antonioli was decisive soon after when he was at full stretch to parry a fierce Shevchenko strike from the edge of the box.

The former Milan goalkeeper certainly felt Kaka's missile a minute later, as it nearly pushed him back into the net through sheer force. Gilardino also nodded over the bar as suddenly Sampdoria were under siege.

Pirlo drilled over the bar and Ancelotti introduced Cafu, who has been out of action for a couple of months due to injury and compassionate leave.

At the other end, Zenoni horribly wasted a counter-attack by aiming his cross at Dida rather than both Flachi and Diana in the middle.

Serginho's daisy-cutter whistled past the near post on Kaka's assist, but Seedorf went even closer with a screamer from almost 40 metres that slammed the base of the upright to Antonioli's left.

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho (Jankulovski 85); Gattuso (Cafu 75), Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà; Shevchenko, Inzaghi (Gilardino 65)

Sampdoria: Antonioli; Castellini, Pavan, Sala, Pisano; Diana, Volpi, Palombo, Gasbarroni (Zenoni 69); Bazzani (Kutuzov 5) (Foti 89), Flachi

Ref: De Santis

Ancelotti sets Stam on Samp
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is ready to welcome Marcos Cafu and Jaap Stam back for Milan’s risky encounter with Sampdoria this evening.

“Both of them are in the squad, but it remains to be seen whether Cafu will play from the start, as we need to test out Stam’s fitness levels first,” explained the Coach. “As for Paolo Maldini, he is working hard and slowly recovering from his injury. I can say for certain he’ll be playing again before February 20.”

Following Marcio Amoroso’s debut in the 1-0 Coppa Italia win over Palermo midweek, the Rossoneri are spoilt for choice on who to field upfront.

“Pippo Inzaghi could be given one of the places, as he and Andriy Shevchenko rested for the Coppa, even if Alberto Gilardino played very well on Wednesday and is on form.”

Milan cannot afford another slip-up and have reason to fear Sampdoria, as the 2-1 result at Marassi in Week 3 was their first defeat of the season.

“Samp are a quality side, something we were unfortunately able to gauge first hand,” noted Ancelotti ahead of tonight’s match. “They have had some ups and downs, but perhaps gave their best performances away from home, because it suits their counter-attacking mentality.”

However, Milan’s confidence was boosted by a comfortable 3-0 victory at Siena last Sunday and they seem to have turned a corner after their slump.

“We want to improve even more and find greater consistency. Recently we have been more organised, as the four defenders are covering the spaces well and overall the team has really focused.”

With cracks beginning to show in the Juventus armour, can the Rossoneri push their way back into the Scudetto race?

“When you’re 10 points adrift, a slight hiccup is not enough to recover that gap,” sighed the Coach. “It is important for us to keep on their tail so that we can be ready for the crucial moment of this campaign.”

Kaka: "I'm a Milan man for life"
27.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian star Kaka has pledged to stay with Milan for the rest of his career, but admits Carlo Ancelotti has changed his management style.

“I want to stay with the Rossoneri for my whole life,” smiled the creative midfielder. “This is the top club in the world, so to go anywhere else would be a step backwards. I don’t ever want to leave.”

The former Sao Paulo star arrived for under £5m in 2003 and made an immediate impact on Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 86 games.

The 23-year-old is in the mood for settling down at the moment, having married his sweetheart Caroline during the Christmas break.

However, Kaka points out that Coach Ancelotti has made changes this season, especially after the 1-0 defeat at Roma in Week 19.

“In all my time at this club, I had never seen Ancelotti so angry before. He was right to do it, because we needed a Coach who was tougher and more determined. He can read the situation very well and once again I must praise our tactician.”

Saturday’s clash with Sampdoria could be postponed due to snowstorms that have been covering most of the peninsula over the past 24 hours.

“We are monitoring the situation,” explained Lega Calcio President Adriano Galliani. “The worst problems at the moment are in Milan, but by Saturday the snow should’ve stopped.”

Milan mull over Gavrancic
27.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have turned their attentions to Dynamo Kiev defender Goran Gavrancic, according to reports in Italy.

The towering Serbia and Montenegrin has impressed Rossoneri scouts this term, where he is enjoying his third successful season with the Ukraine club since joining from Red Star Belgrade, and has been identified as a strong contender to fill the gaps in Milan’s leaky defence.

Although the Italian giants continue to claim that they do not need rearguard recruits and that the side need to focus on improving their defending as a team, it is clear that age and form are beginning to betray the likes of Paolo Maldini, Billy Costacurta and Jaap Stam.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani insisted again yesterday that there would be no defenders coming to Milanello in January, and that Jaap Stam had not, as reported, asked to leave this month.

However, with Andriy Shevchenko also having given a glowing recommendation of the 27-year-old plying his trade at his former club, Gavrancic is definitely interesting the outfit, who would also be able to buy him at an appealing price.

It is thought that £2.75m would be sufficient to lure the imposing centre-back to the San Siro side.

The Rossoneri are now weighing up whether to bid for the player now or wait until the summer, when they run the risk of a strong World Cup showing from Gavrancic increasing his market value.

The player is already being tracked by the Premiership trio of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Milan block Stam exit
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have denied reports suggesting that Jaap Stam is looking for a January return to Holland.

Whispers in the peninsula this week claimed that the Dutchman wanted to head back to his homeland immediately, rather than wait until the summer.

However, the Rossoneri have today underlined that the former Manchester United and Lazio man is going nowhere.

"It is not true that he wants to go back to the Netherlands," Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani noted.

"I don’t know who started this rumour. We’ll talk about it again at the end of the current campaign."

The San Siro giants have struggled defensively this term and have subsequently been linked with a host of possible transfer targets.

Nevertheless, Galliani has told fans that he is more than happy with the players already at Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal.

"We already have a host of defenders to choose from," he said after Inter’s Marco Materazzi was the latest to be associated.

"They are called Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Marcos Cafu, Dario Simic and the rest. We have no defensive questions to answer."

Amoroso pleased with debut
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Despite not scoring last night, Marcio Amoroso was pleased with the way his Milan debut went against Palermo.

Amoroso made his first start in the famous red and black shirt under the floodlights of a deserted San Siro, but failed to hit the target in an essentially lacklustre Coppa Italia game that Milan narrowly won 1-0.

However, the 31-year-old striker was pleased with getting through his first 90 minutes in over a month.

"It could have been worse," he said. "After the preparation of the last few days it wasn’t easy to play a full 90 minutes.

"In the second half, tiredness set in a bit but, hopefully, slowly but surely I’ll get fitter."

On a playing level, Amoroso said it was thoroughly enjoyable to play alongside some of the greatest players in the world.

"It was good," said the Brazilian. "Manuel Rui Costa and Alberto Gilardino are great players."

"I settled quickly into playing with them and into my position on the pitch, which is further forward than where I played for Sao Paulo."

United make Vogel swoop
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manchester United have made an official approach to Milan for their Swiss international Johann Vogel, according to reports in Italy.

The Premiership club have been in the market for a midfielder ever since the departure of Roy Keane to Celtic.

While it was initially thought that Gennaro Gattuso was at the top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s hit list, it has since emerged that Vogel is the player to have caught the Scotsman’s eye.

Ferguson’s side have already splashed out £12m on defensive duo Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic.

Although United chief executive David Gill claimed recently that no more players would be joining in the transfer window, the loss to injury of Paul Scholes and John O’Shea have hit the club hard.

"It is well trawled we are looking for midfield players and it is recognised we need to strengthen that department of the club," said Gill at the weekend. "We will do that and the money will be made available."

Vogel was made Switzerland captain at the tender age of 22 and his distribution and leadership qualities are exactly the criteria United are looking for in an area that has under-performed this season.

The Geneva-born 27-year-old has found first-team appearances limited at the San Siro outfit, having started only three Serie A matches for the Rossoneri since joining from PSV Eindhoven in the summer.

The Rossoneri, who have been linked with a move for Ajax’s Wesley Sneijder, are expected to be willing to listen to offers for Vogel, who is in his first year of a three-year-contract.

We were lucky, admits Ancelotti
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti admitted that Milan were lucky to scrape a 1-0 win over Palermo in their Italian Cup quarter-final at the San Siro last night. "Perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result," he admitted afterwards.

The game seemed to be heading for a goalless draw until Alberto Gilardino finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about with just four minutes left on the clock.

On a freezing cold night in front of a small crowd little had happened to warm the hearts of the few Rossoneri fans who had shown up.

Ancelotti left out Marcos Cafu and played Manchester United target Johann Vogel in the centre of midfield, while Marcio Amoroso was given his Milan debut.

Palermo, meanwhile, fielded a below strength side that was missing Eugenio Corini, Massimo Mutarelli and Paul Codrea as well as Kewalley Conteh, Michele Ferri and Leandro Rinaudo.

The visitors held their own, however, and restricted Ancelotti’s men to a single Gilardino header in the first half that was well saved by Mariano Andujar.

The second half was largely uneventful until Gilardino pounced on a fine run down the left and cross from Kaka to steal a late winner.

"The 1-0 is a good result for us to take into the second leg," said Ancelotti. "We were facing an organised side that play good football and sometimes there are moments in the course of a season when things don’t quite go for you.

"We struggled tonight in an even match and perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result," he continued. "We’re obviously pleased to get away with a win, though."

Amoroso failed to make much of an impression on the game, but his Coach was pleased the Brazilian signing came through the full 90 minutes.

"He played the whole match because we didn’t expect Manuel Rui Costa to go off injured," he said. "However, he played okay – he has quality although he is not quite up to speed with the others yet."

Rosanero boss Luigi Del Neri was obviously disappointed at the late setback yet insisted his side played well.

"We played honourably," said the under-fire tactician. "The result still gives us hope for the return leg and I’m calm and happy with my side."

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 1:0 Palermo - match report
25.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Gilardino 86 (M)

Marcio Amoroso made an unimpressive debut, but Milan beat Palermo in the dying moments of the Coppa Italia quarter-final with Alberto Gilardino’s goal.

Amoroso made his Rossoneri debut alongside Alberto Gilardino, while Palermo fielded Denis Godeas in a partnership with fellow January arrival Denis Godeas.

This was a turning point for both teams, who have struggled in Serie A of late and needed a morale-boosting win to keep them in the running for some silverware.

Mariano Gonzalez had a promising early chance closed down at the last moment by 39-year-old defender Alessandro Costacurta, then Di Michele scuffed Fabio Grosso’s cross to waste a good opportunity.

Andujar flew to push both a Marek Jankulovski free kick and a splendid Manuel Rui Costa effort round the post. But Palermo continued to put pressure on and Giuseppe Biava’s header was over the bar before Kakha Kaladze flung himself at a Godeas strike.

Gilardino had perhaps the best chance on the stroke of half-time, but aimed a weak free header straight at the goalkeeper. The ex-Parma star wasted another opportunity after the break, while Biava just failed to push a Godeas pass into the net from close range.

Palermo were handed a perfect chance to take the lead 10 minutes from time when Zeljko Kalac’s dismal clearance reached Andrea Caracciolo, but his first touch also let him down and the goalkeeper’s blushes were spared.

The deadlock was eventually broken with just four minutes left on the clock and, at the end of a very even game, Milan came away with the goal. Gilardino made up for his earlier errors by tapping in after a splendid move from substitute Kaka.

Palermo are now forced to win at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in the second leg on January 31.

UEFA shelve Milan-Marseille inquest
25.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

UEFA have refused to open an inquest into the 1993 Champions League Final despite allegations by a Marseille player that they used doping to beat Milan.

The scandal erupted at the weekend when French newspaper L’Equipe published extracts from the upcoming autobiography of former Marseille midfielder Jean-Jacques Eydelie.

“The only time I agreed to take a doping product was the 1993 Champions League Final,” he claimed in the book that will come out on March 1.

“In all the clubs I played in, I saw some doping going on, except for Bastia, but this was the only time I accepted. We all took injections and I felt different during the game, as my physique responded unusually under strain. The only player who refused to take part was Rudi Voller.”

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani and the French FA had publicly called for an inquest that, if the allegations were proved, could’ve assigned the trophy to the side that lost 1-0 that day in 1993 or cleared Marseille’s name.

“I hope that justice will finally be done,” added Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi. “There were more than a few questions marks over that game and the Marseille players were unusually vivacious. When they left the field, it was as if they weren’t tired at all. Now we know that they weren’t. I hope Milan can add another fully deserved trophy to their cabinet along with the six they already have.”

However, this evening UEFA director general Lars-Christer Olsson announced that no inquest would be conducted.

Meanwhile, former Marseille and Lazio striker Alen Boksic has come out against his ex-teammate.

“These are ludicrous claims,” he told Sportske Novosti. “We prepared brilliantly for that Final and studied Milan in every detail, which is why we arrived in Munich convinced we could win. I took some injections, but they were purely analgesics that allowed me to play after an injury. It was all under the eye of the doctors and physiotherapists.”

Milan enter Torres scramble
25.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have joined the race to sign Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres after the striker was made available for transfer yesterday.

Although the Italian giants only netted Marcio Amoroso this month, the 31-year-old is seen as a short-term solution to the departure of Christian Vieri and has only signed until the end of next season.

Torres, meanwhile, has been the subject of concerted interest from the Rossoneri for several seasons but, along with other interested clubs, have always had any approaches for the Spain international rebuffed on the basis that he was not for sale.

But one of the most sought-after strikers in European football was made available for transfer by the Madrid club on Tuesday, whose President Enrique Cerezo surprised Spain with his live television announcement. "We will consider any bid for the striker so long as it is an interesting one," he said.

The Spanish club are not enjoying the best of financial health and their change of heart regarding their home-grown superstar would appear to suggest that they will be prepared to sell to the highest bidder.

This means that Milan will face stiff competition from Real Madrid, Arsenal and, most notably Chelsea, whose owner Roman Abramovich is reported to have already tabled an offer in the region of £34m for the 22-year-old in the past.

Torres, meanwhile, is said to have a preference for Italian football and Milan’s advantage is that they enjoy excellent relations with the Spanish club.

Milan in Sneijder talks
25.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are considering making a bid for Ajax midfielder Wesley Sneijder, according to reports in Italy.

General director Ariedo Braida flew to Amsterdam on Tuesday to begin talks with the Dutch club about the possibility of bringing the 21-year-old to the San Siro in the summer.

Sneijder, despite his young age, has become a mainstay in both the Ajax and the Holland national team, where he has been preferred to Clarence Seedorf by national Coach Marco Van Basten.

A product of the famous Ajax football academy, the diminutive youngster is strong on the ball, a good dribbler and crosser of the ball, is two-footed and also has an eye for goal, as his two in the Champions League this season have already demonstrated.

Any move for the Utrecht-born set-piece specialist would not come cheap, however, as Sneijder is contracted to the Dutch giants until 2009.

Amoroso set for Milan debut
24.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcio Amoroso is set to make his debut for Milan when they take on Palermo in the Italian Cup on Wednesday night.

Amoroso, who signed from Sao Paulo earlier this month as a replacement for Christian Vieri, will take his Rossoneri bow alongside either Alberto Gilardino or Filippo Inzaghi.

"Amoroso is a great talent," said Coach Carlo Ancelotti today. "He has a very high goals per game ratio.

"He needs to get a few games under his belt to get match fit, although he hasn’t quite got 90 minutes in him yet."

The former Udinese and Parma striker will be joined by compatriot Marcos Cafu, who returns to the side after a lengthy lay-off, while Johan Vogel and Marek Jankulovski are also expected to feature.

"For Palermo this will be a big game psychologically," added Ancelotti." They will be playing at the San Siro against Milan and it will be an excellent chance to try to win against the odds.

"From our point of view, at this stage of the season every match is still very important, even a competition which is often disregarded," he continued.

"The side is in good shape and wants to do well even in this tournament."

Gilardino named Player of The Year for 2004/2005
24.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Alberto Gilardino has this evening been named as Player of the Year for the 2004-05 season.

Gilardino was handed the honour on Monday night at the annual AIC – Italian Players’ Association – Oscars ceremony.

The Italian’s scoring exploits at Parma saw him win the votes of his fellow professionals as he was crowned overall Player of the Year, as well as Italian Player of the Year.

Champions Juventus dominated in the other categories, with four Bianconeri employees being handed trophies.

Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro, fresh from his brace in the 2-1 win over Empoli, was named as the Best Defender of last season.

Gigi Buffon again won the ‘keeper award, Fabio Capello topped the Coach section after winning the Scudetto at his first attempt and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the top foreigner.

There was also glory for a Fiorentina player as Giampaolo Pazzini, an Under-21 international, secured the Best Youngster prize.

Pierluigi Collina, who has now retired, was voted as the Best Referee during his last season as a whistle blower.

Player of the Year: Alberto Gilardino (Milan)
Italian Player of the Year: Alberto Gilardino (Milan)
Best Defender: Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus)
Best Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Best Youngster: Giampaolo Pazzini (Fiorentina)
Best Foreigner: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus)
Best Coach: Fabio Capello (Juventus)

Siena 0:3 AC Milan - post-match comments
23.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luigi De Canio: “There was nothing we could’ve done, as you can’t afford to make mistakes against sides like Milan. We did well in the first half to close down spaces, but were unlucky when Enrico Chiesa hit the woodwork. There’s a long way to go before we can be safe from relegation.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “I saw a determined team for the entire match and we considered this to be a crucial encounter after our recent problems away from home. It’s a major step forward for us, as the players have realised the situation and work to improve on it. We managed to keep our balance and the difference in result is evident.”

Siena 0:3 AC Milan - match report
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Kaka 12, 84 (M), Shevchenko 69 (M)

A Kaka brace settled Milan's nerves away from home and kept up the pace set by the top two.

Siena's win here last season effectively put an end to Milan's Scudetto hopes and they were in a similar position again. The Rossoneri's 1-0 victory over Ascoli midweek may have boosted their position in the table, but that performance did nothing to increase their confidence. New signing Marcio Amoroso was on the bench, though Marcos Cafu and Paolo Maldini were still out.

Pippo Inzaghi scored the winner on Wednesday and retained his starting place, as an early effort tested goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

The Rossoneri were dominating the early stages and finally broke through with Kaka. Jaap Stam's towering header held up a corner kick for the Brazilian to sidefoot home from six yards.

Siena fought back and Dida was at full stretch to fingertip an Enrico Chiesa half-volley out of the bottom corner of the net and Stam beat Igor Tudor to the loose ball.

Daniele Portanova kept the scoreline down with a crucial goalline clearance on Andriy Shevchenko's scuffed finish from close range.

There was bad news for the already injury-hit Milan defence, as Stam limped off and was replaced by Dario Simic.

A second goalline clearance saved Siena again, as Mirante got a hand to Shevchenko's counter-attack and slowed it down enough for Paolo Negro to get back.

Siena had a great start to the second half, as within 17 seconds Chiesa had latched on to a poor Kakha Kaladze clearance and slammed the base of the upright with Dida beaten.

Inzaghi wasted a good chance created by Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo's long-range effort was a little too arrogant.

Antonio Mirante kept Siena in the game with an incredible reaction save on Pippo Inzaghi's diving header from point-blank range on Serginho's cross. The goalkeeper also rushed off his line to close down the former Juventus star.

However, Mirante's error soon after handed Milan their second of the afternoon. He fumbled a Serginho cross and Shevchenko pounced on the loose ball from six yards.

Pirlo wasted another good opportunity for the visitors after Mirante and Shevchenko errors.

Kaka made the final result 3-0 by running on to Sheva's through ball and sliding an angled finish past Mirante for his brace.

Siena: Mirante; Negro (Falsini 74), Tudor, Portanova, Gastaldello (Guzman 74); Foglio, Paro, D'Aversa, Molinaro; Chiesa (Esposito 89), Bogdani

Milan: Dida; Stam (Simic 25), Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà (Jankulovski 87); Shevchenko, Inzaghi (Gilardino 76)

Ref: Morganti

Ancelotti wants angry Milan
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti warned he is furious at Milan’s recent performances and wants to see the team pour that anger into beating Siena.

“If a side is the reflection of its Coach, then I expect to see a very angry Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi,” said the tactician. “Juventus are a long way away and we can only close that gap by trying to improve our own results.”

Their dismal away form – including five defeats – is the key to the Rossoneri’s 10-point difference from the leaders and they face another tough task in Tuscany.

“Siena represents an important test for us to see if those slight improvements we saw against Ascoli on Wednesday really are part of a constant change for the better. I hope we’ll see the same aggression that we showed in the 3-0 win away to Livorno before Christmas.”

Ancelotti tried to analyse the reasons behind Milan’s stuttering start to this season in both Serie A and the Champions League.

“The truth is that our team is constructed on quality, so when that falters for whatever reason, we don’t have the physical strength to get us out of a tight spot. It’s a question of characteristics. Our away defeats are not coincidental, as we have often taken the lead and not been organised enough to keep hold of it.”

Marcos Cafu, Massimo Ambrosini and Paolo Maldini remain sidelined, but Marcio Amoroso will be on the bench for the first time since joining from Sao Paolo this month.

“Alberto Gilardino has a calf problem, but has resumed training,” explained Ancelotti. “Andrea Pirlo had a slight sprain and is a doubt. Cafu will be back next week, whereas Maldini is improving.”

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac, Fiori, Costacurta, Kaladze, Nesta, Jankulovski, Simic, Stam, Marzoratti, Gattuso, Kaka', Pirlo, Seedorf, Serginho, Vogel, Gilardino, Inzaghi, Shevchenko, Amoroso

Marseille doping scandal rocks Milan
21.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are ready to demand the 1993 Champions League trophy after a Marseille star claimed the team was on drugs for the Final.

The Rossoneri lost the match in Munich 1-0 to a goal from Basil Boli, as their opponents became the first French team ever to lift the trophy. It was a shock, as Fabio Capello’s side had a 100 per cent record until that point with 10 consecutive victories.

Now former Marseille midfielder Jean-Jacques Edelie has revealed in his autobiography that the game was not all it seemed to be.

“The only time I agreed to take a doping product was the 1993 Champions League Final,” he confessed in the book that will come out on March 1.

“In all the clubs I played in, I saw some doping going on, except for Bastia, but this was the only time I accepted. We all took a series of injections and I felt different during the game, as my physique responded differently under strain. The only player who refused to take part was Rudi Voller (pictured).”

The news is a particular shock to Milan, as among the Marseille stars were future Serie A heroes Didier Deschamps and Marcel Desailly.

It’s not the first time that the French club has been embroiled in controversy, as it emerged they had fixed their title-clinching League game against ASOA Valence-Clime so that they could concentrate on the European Final. The side was stripped of Le Championnat, relegated and barred from defending this trophy.

Milan have asked their lawyers to look into the situation and many of the players who lost that day are hoping to be awarded the title with a 13-year delay.

“I am shocked and find this news disturbing,” Daniele Massaro told the Corriere dello Sport. “If these allegations are proved, then it would be right to take the trophy away from Marseille and return it to Milan. The whole thing is simply incredible.”

Roberto Donadoni, who is now Coach of Serie A side Livorno, aimed his scorn at the club hierarchy.

“I don’t know what the future of that cup holds, but one thing is certain: if it's proved that all the players were on something, then the directors must’ve had a hand in it. I remain stunned by the fact that professionals in this sport can go to any lengths in order to win.”

Vice-President Adriano Galliani called for UEFA to take action over these allegations.

“Our lawyer is looking into the situation and we believe that UEFA cannot help but begin an inquest when confronted with these statements. Of course, if Marseille really were on drugs against us that night, then I think it’s right for the trophy to be assigned to Milan. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

Jankulovski trusts in Scudetto
21.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marek Jankulovski still believes that Milan can close down the 10-point gap and win the Scudetto.

“I don’t see why we shouldn’t still aim for the title,” said the wide man. “After all, if Inter can believe in it, then so should the side just two points behind them. There’s a long way to go and many results up for grabs, but the important thing is to focus on our own games until the final whistle.”

Leaders Juventus have only lost one Serie A tie this season, falling 3-1 against Milan, and Jankulovski insists the difference between the two sides is not so great as the table would suggest.

“Juve are doing very well right now, but when Milan are on top form, we are certainly on a par with them.”

As Coach Carlo Ancelotti conceded earlier this week, the problem is that they have lost five matches already, whereas the Bianconeri have dropped just seven points in total.

“We have made more mistakes up until now, but before the end of the season Juventus could fall into the same traps,” added Jankulovski. “We have to improve our away form and hope to replicate our performance at Livorno when we travel to Siena this Sunday.”

The Czech international had a rare starting spot in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Ascoli and is finally ready to begin his Milan career in earnest after a fractured ankle hampered his progress.

“I was happy to play after such a long time our injured, but after six months I think I’ve settled in now,” said the man who joined from Udinese in the summer. “I hope that 2006 goes better for me than last year and that I can bring more to the table. I feel ready to take on more responsibility and prove myself to the club.”

Jankulovski could have more space than expected over the next month, as Massimo Ambrosini has been diagnosed with a left thigh strain.

Dida’s defiant title bid
19.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida has refused to give up on the championship race despite their current standing in the table.

Things looked decidedly bleak for the Rossoneri last weekend when their defeat to Roma consigned the Rossoneri to third place and opened up a 12-point chasm between themselves and Juventus.

However, a subsequent win over Ascoli and Juve’s draw with Chievo has reduced their arrears to 10 points and the South American shot-stopper insists that his side are still hopeful of reeling the leaders in.

"We haven’t given up on the Scudetto," he claimed. "Juventus may be 10 points ahead but we’ve only just started the second half of the season. There are still a lot of points to play for."

Milan beat Ascoli on Wednesday night courtesy of a fourth-minute Filippo Inzaghi goal and there was a rare clean sheet for Dida – only his sixth of the League campaign.

"Against Ascoli we showed a great improvement from our match against Roma," added the Brazil No 1.

"Now we’re hoping to keep going like this and will do our best to stay in contention until the very end of the season."

AC Milan 1:0 Ascoli - match report
18.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Inzaghi 4 (M)

An early Pippo Inzaghi goal gave Milan the points, but this performance will have done nothing for their confidence.

This was their first top flight meeting at the San Siro in 14 years and a crossroads for the Rossoneri, who had fallen 12 points adrift of leaders Juventus at the weekend following a 1-0 loss at Roma. Ascoli held Milan to a 1-1 draw in the season opener and hoped to repeat that shock result.

Pippo Inzaghi was given a rare start and wasted a glorious opportunity after just three minutes, firing over after a defensive error.

He made up for his error 60 seconds later, however, as the striker gathered a Dida clearance, ran all the way from the half-way line and tricked Daniele Adani before sliding an angled drive in at the near post.

There was bad news for the Rossoneri, who lost Massimo Ambrosini to injury and replaced him with Gennaro Gattuso. Andrea Pirlo's long-range attempt skimmed the crossbar and an ambitious Alberto Gilardino flick was wide.

Milan struggled to create chances against an organised Ascoli side, but they nearly doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Clarence Seedorf's chipped cross found Inzaghi's diving header from eight yards and Coppola did well to push it off target.

The home side had a promising opportunity straight after the restart with Gilardino's acrobatic volley smothered by Coppola.

Carlo Ancelotti's men were disappointing and booed by the San Siro crowd, so Kaka was introduced to bring some more creativity and pace to the side.

Foggia's effort was not far off the woodwork and a fine team move between Rui Costa and Kaka was wasted by a scuffed Inzaghi finish from close range.

Rui Costa also scuffed his shot from a promising position and Quagliarella's counter-attack was smothered by Dida.

Milan: Dida; Simic, Stam, Nesta, Jankulovski (Serginho 82); Rui Costa, Ambrosini (Gattuso 42), Pirlo, Seedorf (Kaka 65); Inzaghi, Gilardino

Ascoli: Coppola; Comotto, Domizzi, Adani (Paci 46), Tosto (Fini 75); Cariello (Foggia 46), Biso, Parola, Del Grosso; Quagliarella, Bjelanovic

Ref: Rocchi

Rijkaard linked to Milan job
18.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are lining up a swoop for Barcelona Coach Frank Rijkaard, according to reports in the Spanish Press.

‘Il Mundo Deportivo’ today claims that the Rossoneri have lost patience with Carlo Ancelotti, who has failed to win a trophy since 2004.

Milan have won all their home games in the League this season, but have disappointed away from home and only narrowly qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

For a side that closed the gap on Juventus to two points after beating the Bianconeri 3-1 in late October, their form in recent weeks has been inconsistent and with the San Siro outfit now 12 points behind Juve, the critics feel that the buck should stop with Carletto.

However, club owner Silvio Berlusconi – who in the past has expressed admiration for Holland boss and former Milan favourite Marco Van Basten – insisted last night that there was no plan to get rid of his third-placed side’s tactician.

"These rumours are totally without foundation," he told Rai Uno’s ‘UnoMattina’ programme.

Rijkaard is another former Rossoneri star, famed for scoring the only goal in his side’s 1990 Champions League Final win over Benfica, and is now in charge of arguably the best side in Europe.

The Dutchman guided Barça to their first League championship in six years last season, a side who boast the World Footballer of the Year in Ronaldinho and are currently leading the Primera Liga by seven points, having extended their run of straight wins to 17 matches on Sunday.

Berlusconi backs boss Ancelotti
18.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has denied rumours that Coach Carlo Ancelotti was in danger of being fired. "It’s totally unfounded," he said.

Ancelotti has come under criticism for his tactical deficiencies during matches this term, such as the 1-0 defeat to Roma at the weekend.

As reported by Football Italia yesterday, the Coach himself admitted that his side have been lacking in character and consistency at times this season and insisted that, when on song, they are the best side in Serie A.

These admissions have, for many however, confirmed that rather than blaming the side for their poor performances, it is their Coach who should carry the can.

Berlusconi, though, moved to publicly reassure his side’s tactician that he still has faith in his ability to bring the best out of the Rossoneri on a regular basis.

"These rumours are totally without foundation," he told Rai Uno’s ‘UnoMattina’ programme.

Berlusconi’s backing comes just hours after Vice-President Adriano Galliani took the same step.

"Ancelotti’s position is very safe," the official stated ahead of tonight’s San Siro clash against Ascoli. "He will remain with us until at least June 30, 2007."

Ancelotti admits character flaw
17.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has conceded that his Milan side have lacked in character this season. "Our team has its limitations when it comes to determination," he confessed.

Milan all but threw in their Scudetto towels at the weekend after slumping to their fifth away defeat of the season to Roma and Ancelotti today brought into question the character of his outfit.

"Our team has its limitations when it comes to determination and rigour, which aren’t always consistent," he explained. "A great side needs to have these characteristics and, although we have them, we don’t always show it.

"When we are at our best, Milan are unbeatable and there is no better side," he added. "But the squad is working hard and this gives me confidence for the future."

Carletto’s candid assessment holds true when their performances this season are cross-examined. At home they have won every game they have played, while somehow they have contrived to obtain just five League wins away from the San Siro.

Milan have indeed played some spell-binding football, scoring at least three goals on no fewer than 12 occasions this term.

Their 3-1 victory over this season’s runaway League leaders Juventus also bears out Ancelotti’s theory that the Rossoneri are unbeatable on their day.

Unfortunately, though, their day doesn’t come along as often as it should, particularly away from home, and this cannot be attributed to a lack of quality.

Indeed, the Milan Coach has himself come under a great deal of criticism for not reacting quickly enough from a tactical point of view in Rome – and we all know what happened last May in Istanbul.

"When things don’t go to plan we must all find a solution," he declared. "That involves me and it involves the players. These problems can happen in management - they arose earlier this season and we dealt with them very well."

The Rossoneri will be grateful that at least they have a home game on Wednesday as Ascoli – conquerors of Empoli at the weekend – travel to the San Siro.

"We always do well at home," pointed out Ancelotti. "We play with the sort of consistency that is lacking on our travels. But we’ll need to watch out against Ascoli.

"They have had a good first half of the season – they are very organised," he continued. "We will have the usual problems we have against this sort of side, but we have a duty to find our way again and to do so with strength and conviction."

Maldini named in UEFA XI
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Four Serie A footballers have been named in UEFA’s Team of the Year for 2005, including Milan legend Paolo Maldini.

Maldini, who is the highest-capped player in Serie A with 579 appearances, has been playing top-flight football for 20 years with the Rossoneri but still made it into the select XI as voted by visitors to UEFA’s official website.

The 37-year-old veteran, who has been sorely missed by his club in recent weeks due to injury, guided his side to the Champions League Final in May.

He scored as early as the first minute in Istanbul as the Italians stormed to a 3-0 lead - which was then famously squandered as Liverpool made one of the greatest comebacks in the history of European football.

Maldini’s teammate Andriy Shevchenko also made the exclusive XI for his contribution to Milan’s cause.

The striker, who was European Footballer of the Year in 2004, scored 17 goals for his club last season and has continued to plunder goals this term, with 10 to his name already.

The San Siro outfit’s other full-back Marcos Cafu was recognised too, as his impressive defending and age-defying runs down the right earned the 35-year-old his place in the side.

Italian football’s other representative was Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved, whose energetic performances inspired the Bianconeri to last season’s title win.

The team that was voted for by over 1.5m football fans around the world was as follows:

Petr Cech (Chelsea); Marcos Cafu (Milan), Paolo Maldini (Milan), John Terry (Chelsea), Carles Puyol (Barcelona); Luis Garcia (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Pavel Nedved (Juventus); Ronaldinho (Barcelona); Andriy Shevchenko (Milan), Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona).

Coach of the Year: Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

Milan 'kiss goodbye' to title
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have all but given up on their hopes of winning the title this year after their defeat to Roma on Sunday night.

"We’ve probably kissed goodbye to the Scudetto," conceded Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

Juventus’ win over Reggina earlier on in the day had stretched the Bianconeri’s lead over Carlo Ancelotti’s men to 12 points and Milan’s disappointing failure to avoid a fifth away defeat leaves them dangerously adrift in third place.

Galliani added that the result means there is no justification in making any further forays into the transfer market this month, as any short-term fixes will be futile in saving this season.

"The defeat at the Olimpico means we have probably kissed goodbye to the Scudetto," said Galliani afterwards. "At this point there’s no point in talking about further purchases."

The Milan director also refused to point the finger at the side’s defence, suggesting that perhaps Ancelotti was slow in reacting to the tactical development of the match.

"It’s pointless just blaming the defence," added the chief. "We certainly need to ask ourselves why we are going so well at home, where we have won nine out of nine, while away from home, where we have lost five out of 10, we don’t play as well."

Ancelotti will now need to ensure that his side’s poor away record doesn’t sabotage the minimum requirement of a fourth-place finish at the end of the season, with Fiorentina level on points with the San Siro outfit and Livorno closing in just five points behind.

AS Roma 1:0 AC Milan - match report
15.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Mancini 82 (R)

Amantino Mancini returned from a long injury lay-off and scored the winner for Roma, perhaps killing off Milan's Scudetto hopes with a 12-point gap opening up from Juventus.

Fireworks were expected in the capital, as the Rossoneri had witnessed 14 goals in their last two games between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, scoring freely and giving their opponents that same opportunity. With Marcos Cafu and Paolo Maldini still injured, Jaap Stam returned to start at right-back in a classic 4-4-2. Although Roma have only one striker at their disposal, the system with Francesco Totti upfront has been working well of late.

Alessandro Nesta closed down a dangerous Totti situation within the opening seconds, while Doni was ready for Andriy Shevchenko's strike.

The first real scoring opportunity was created by Daniele De Rossi's error. He passed the ball straight to Clarence Seedorf, whose lob was fingertipped over the bar by an acrobatic Doni intervention.

The Rossoneri also went close when Serginho's cross was inches away from both Alberto Gilardino and Shevchenko.

Roma tried to carve up the defence with their midfielders making intelligent runs, but Nesta, Kakha Kaladze and Stam were attentive on Alberto Aquilani and Simone Perrotta.

Rodrigo Taddei fell under a Nesta nudge just inside the area, but penalty appeals were waved away, and Perrotta drilled off target from the edge of the box.

Totti's cutback was heading for Aquilani before a desperate defensive intervention cleared for a corner, as the home side was pushing forward in numbers.

Leandro Cufre' and Philippe Mexes came together in a pincer movement to close down Gilardino.

Into the second half, Milan switched to their favoured rhombus-shaped midfield and immediately seemed more effective. Seedorf skipped past Totti in a touched on corner kick and Gennaro Gattuso scuffed the finish wide.

A Seedorf piledriver swung past the upright from distance, but Nesta was booked for bringing down Totti in a promising counter-attack situation.

The Roma captain's influence was growing and he set up a good chance for Perrotta before testing Dida with a powerful yet central free kick.

Totti's low cross squirmed off Dida's fingertips and Stam had to clear for a corner with Perrotta hovering nearby.

Chivu and Totti harassed Nesta out of the ball, but Aquilani blasted well wide.

At the other end, Chivu slipped and Shevchenko was caught by surprise, so by the time he unleashed his shot, Cufre' had got back to close him down.

Luciano Spalletti threw on Amantino Mancini after a long injury lay-off to spice up their attack. Within seconds he had a great chance, but hesitated and fired straight at a defender.

Roma created a wonderful scoring opportunity on 75 minutes when Totti combined with Chivu, but a perfectly-timed defensive intervention closed down the move at the last moment, as the Romanian opted to cross instead of going for goal.

Milan poured forward on the counter-attack and Kaka was dispossessed when he should've passed to Shevchenko.

Totti, Taddei and Mancini combined a series of passes for a wonderful team move, but Serginho cut them off on the edge of the area.

The two teams were spreading out on the field and Roma eventually struck with another counter-attack. Substitute Amantino Mancini's low drive took a decisive deflection off Stam and left Dida stranded.

Milan hit back with an effort from substitute Pippo Inzaghi and Doni holding Massimo Ambrosini's central header.

The game had sprung to life in the closing 20 minutes and Damiano Tommasi sprinted into the box, Dida sticking out a foot at the near post to prevent a second goal.

Inzaghi took on two defenders and his shot squeezed past the upright, but the Rossoneri couldn't find a way through and slide back down to third place.

Roma: Doni; Panucci, Mexes, Chivu, Cufrè; De Rossi, Aquilani (Mancini 71); Tommasi, Perrotta, Taddei (Rosi 88); Totti

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho; Kakà, Gattuso (Ambrosini 65), Pirlo (Rui Costa 80), Seedorf; Shevchenko, Gilardino (Inzaghi 82)

Ref: Rosetti

Ancelotti expects goals galore
15.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have seen 14 goals in their last two games, but Carlo Ancelotti warns it’s a risky tactic to use against Roma.

“The team is scoring a lot and this is without doubt a positive aspect of our form, but we cannot think that we’ll always need four goals to win a game,” said the Coach.

Their last two encounters between Serie A and the Coppa Italia have ended with a 4-3 scoreline, narrowly beating Parma and Brescia in thoroughly entertaining ties.

With a stellar attack and a defence in tatters without Paolo Maldini and Marcos Cafu, can they keep up this crazy rhythm against Roma this evening?

“Milan are on form going into this game. We want to avoid some of the errors from our previous matches while maintaining our prolific nature upfront. I think we have worked to solve most of our problems at the back, especially from set-pieces. Despite the absence of some key players, this defence is reliable.”

Ancelotti has experimented with a series of tactics since taking over the team and is set to change again at the Stadio Olimpico.

“We could play with a 4-4-2 that has Kaka, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko in attacking roles,” explained the former Roma midfielder.

“Kaka and Seedorf’s positions will depend on how Roma set themselves out, but there will be no ‘cage’ for Francesco Totti. We aim to win games by controlling the overall play, not by limiting one individual. Having said that, Totti is a champion and we can expect the unexpected from him.”

Milan traditionally do well in this tie and have won 26 times, drawn 24 and lost just 20 in the capital. Last season saw an ill-tempered 2-0 victory for the visitors with both Christian Panucci and Totti sent off.

“I imagine Roma will try to hit us with through balls and quick runs through the middle, especially as we have conceded a lot of goals like that recently.”

Amoroso 'leapt' at Milan chance
14.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcio Amoroso admits he did not hesitate when the call from Milan came, while Adriano Galliani reveals why he picked the Brazilian.

“He scored against us for Udinese, for Parma and for Borussia Dortmund. This is why we signed Marcio Amoroso,” smiled Vice-President Galliani as the new striker was shown off to the Press this afternoon.

“He was top scorer in Italy, Germany and Brazil. Not many strikers can boast a similar curriculum and his characteristics can balance out our attack.”

The search for a forward to replace Christian Vieri, who was sold to Monaco after complaining of a lack of first team football, took only a few days before Amoroso’s arrival.

“This is a unique opportunity for me,” grinned the Brazilian. “I hope to repay the Coach and club’s faith in me. I have just won the World Club Championship with Sao Paolo and want to keep on winning with Milan.”

The 31-year-old is already a familiar face to Serie A after his time at Udinese and Parma, including a Capocannoniere crown, but he left for Germany five years ago.

“I have matured a great deal since the last time I was in Italy and my objective now is to be of use to this squad and prove I’m ready to play. I know there are extraordinary forwards like Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi here, but I turned down chances to stay in Brazil or go to Japan when I heard the call from Milan. I didn’t hesitate to accept.”

Now that the front line has been reinforced, Galliani was asked to comment on claims the Rossoneri were looking to bolster their disappointing defence this month.

“We think that there is nobody available on the January market who can improve on our back line,” explained the transfer guru. “We are interested in Cristian Chivu, but have never negotiated with Roma for him. As for Christian Abbiati, he is a Milan player and will return here once his loan spell with Juventus is up.”

Juve-Milan date set
13.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Scudetto showdown between Juventus and Milan will be played on the evening of Sunday March 12, as the fixtures up to Week 29 are drawn up.

So far the Rossoneri have been the only Serie A side to defeat the League leaders this season and will have the opportunity to make it two for two when they meet again at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

Cafu makes Milan pledge
13.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcos Cafu is disappointed to be missing Sunday’s trip to old club Roma and assures he is in no hurry to leave Milan.

“It is a great shame I won’t be able to play at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend,” said the right-back.

“A game like that really is an event that gives you strong emotions, but I won’t even be fit for the bench. I’ve been out for a long time due to a variety of reasons, but I have been training without pain over the past few days and will be back soon.”

The Brazilian has made just 10 Serie A appearances this season and his extended stay in South America over the Christmas break to be with his father during an illness prompted reports he was looking for a January move back to his homeland.

“I think people should read my original comments again very carefully,” warned the World Cup winner.

“I said that I would like to see out my career in Sao Paolo the city where I was born and not at Sao Paolo the football club. I haven’t made a decision yet, as I have a contract until June 30 2007. I could return to Brazil, I could hang up my boots or I could sign the one-year extension that is already drawn up for me at Milan headquarters.”

Nonetheless, there has been talk of who will replace 35-year-old Cafu in the increasingly shaky Rossoneri defence.

“I saw Lugano play in the World Club Championship and he is technically very gifted. Cris is also up to the standard required by Milan.”

The Brazilian contingent at the San Siro has swelled over the January transfer window with the arrival of Marcio Amoroso to replace Monaco-bound Christian Vieri.

“Amoroso is a player who can do very well here,” said Cafu. “He is a great striker and I hope he can settle into our squad as quickly as possible, though he has different characteristics to Vieri. Bobo made his choice and that must be respected.”

Duo ponder Simunic pact
13.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Sampdoria are considering a deal that will take Hertha Berlin defender Josip Simunic to Italy this January.

In the agreement, the stopper will join the Marassi outfit until the end of the season before joining Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the summer.

The Rossoneri and Samp are both in need of rearguard reinforcements after conceding 21 and 25 goals respectively so far this season.

However, with Samp’s need arguably the greater of the two sides, a compromise deal is being considered for the imposing 6ft 5in Croatia international.

The agreement would see the giant stopper join the Genovese outfit with Milan reserving the right to take up an option on him in June, whereupon the Blucerchiati can set about acquiring players who are currently out of their financial reach, such as Lecce’s Lorenzo Stovini.

The money for Stovini would come from Simunic’s transfer to the San Siro, for which Milan are said to be prepared to pay cash in addition to permitting the permanent release of on-loan midfielder Sam Della Bona.

The reason Milan are reportedly prepared to wait for Simunic is because they are also said to be interested in Doria’s Aimo Diana and are keen on keeping the Blucerchiati sweet, before convincing them to part with the Italy international - possibly for cash in addition to the exchange of Dario Simic.

Should Walter Novellino fail to prise his 27-year-old target from the German capital, the other players he has identified to bolster his defence in the short term are Empoli’s Stefano Lucchini, Lecce’s Tiziano Polenghi and Brescia’s Costa Rican star Gilberto Martinez.

OFFICIAL: Amoroso to Milan
13.1 || webmaster

Source: ACMilan.com

MILAN – AC Milan have reached an agreement with player Marcio Dos Santos Amoroso, who has signed a contract with the team until June 30, 2007.

Amoroso eyes Selecao return
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcio Amoroso expressed his delight at returning to Italian football today and revealed his intention to revive his Brazil career. "I want to win a place in the World Cup squad," he said.

Amoroso was all smiles after agreeing a one-and-a-half year deal with the Rossoneri that will earn him £1.7m a season.

The 31-year-old striker pledged to succeed where Christian Vieri has failed in his fight for a first-team place in Carlo Ancelotti’s side, despite the intense competition for places at the San Siro.

"I did well at Sao Paulo and I know that Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino are great champions," he said. "But in football everything is possible – even catching Juve – and I want to win a place in the World Cup squad."

The former Borussia Dortmund marksman recalled good times during his last stay in Italy - where he had spells at Udinese and Parma - and was very excited at the prospect of joining a club of Milan’s stature.

"In recent times, I have had my ups and downs but I am delighted to return to Italy to play for a side like Milan," he added.

"I think the World Club Championship, which was seen throughout the world, was decisive - I hope I can play in another one with Milan.

"I am happy because I was very settled both as a man and a player when I was last in Italy," he continued. "I hope to do as well for Milan as I did for Sao Paulo."

The move will be finalised as soon as the South American - who has scored 12 goals in 22 appearances for the Brazilian side this season - successfully passes a medical, which is scheduled for later today.

Milan admit Amoroso arrival
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have admitted that they are on the verge of signing Marcio Amoroso. "If he passes a medical he will sign," said Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

That admission came after last night's Coppa Italia match at Brescia as Milan produced their second straight 4-3 win, after achieving the same feat over Parma at the weekend, and are clearly not finding goals hard to come by at present.

However, with Christian Vieri now departed for foreign shores, Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti has just three big name strikers in his squad and Galliani moved to confirm that a fourth was on the way.

"If Amoroso passes a medical tomorrow he will sign," said the Milan chief, before revealing his concern at his side’s inability to keep goals out at present. "If we conceded a few goals less we would be happier."

Ancelotti also gave a good reaction to the Brazilian hitman who he admitted having no idea was arriving two days ago.

"He’s a great striker," he said. "He proved that in Italy and he can make another great contribution for Milan."

Carletto decided to use the Brescia match to run the rule over Filippo Inzaghi, who played the first half alongside Andriy Shevchenko and the second with Alberto Gilardino.

Although Superpippo did score in the first half it was Manuel Rui Costa who did his selection chances no harm at all with two goals and two assists against the Serie B side.

The former Parma and Juve Coach was pleased with both the Portuguese midfielder’s performance and that of Inzaghi, but not quite so happy with the sort of defending that prompted President Silvio Berlusconi to suggest recently that Milan would also be attempting to find a new player to stiffen up the back four this month.

"I saw a positive reaction, we got though to the next round and now we can concentrate on the League," he said. "It certainly isn’t good to ship three goals a game, but it seems that is what it takes for us at the moment.

"Rui Costa played excellently and so did Inzaghi," added the Rossoneri Coach. "We are at a good stage in our preparation and we just need to keep getting results."

Brescia Coach Rolando Maran said his side initially struggled to cope with the icy conditions before finding their feet and their poise.

"The important thing was not to get thrashed," he said. "I saw some good signs for our League campaign. We tried to show that we were up to the task although it was always going to be hard to go through.

"I played some players who haven’t featured much and some youngsters," added Maran.

"The ice on the pitch resulted in some unforced errors and we were made to pay for a poor first half-hour – but we will learn from that in future games.

"Next up is Catania, who have won seven out of eight matches," continued the Rondinelle tactician. "It won’t be easy but we will try to get points from them."

Coppa Italia: Brescia 3:4 (4:7) AC Milan - match report
11.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Seedorf 17 (M), Inzaghi 33 (M), Del Nero 38 (B), Rui Costa 48, pen 88 (M), Di Biagio pen 61 (B), Hamsik 71 (B)

Manuel Rui Costa’s brace proved decisive in Milan’s second consecutive 4-3 victory, this time over Brescia in the Coppa Italia.

The Rossoneri could rest on a 3-1 first leg result, although that away goal left Brescia some hope of getting back into the tie against a side that has been struggling at the back.

Milan took the lead with their first real scoring opportunity after 15 minutes, as a splendid Manuel Rui Costa backheel set Clarence Seedorf running and the Dutchman drilled in from the edge of the box.

Pippo Inzaghi doubled their tally soon after with another Rui Costa assist, this time chesting down the ball and half-volleying past Federico Agliardi.

Brescia got themselves back into the game before the break when Mannini’s effort came off the upright and into the path of Simone Del Nero. Mannini would’ve drawn level had it not been for a fine Zeljko Kalac save.

Milan seemed to put the game beyond reach after the restart with Rui Costa getting his own name on the scoresheet with a fine solo effort, skipping past Marius Stankevicius and unleashing a powerful shot from 13 metres.

But, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men have shown many times over the past few years, they are never beyond reach. Kalac brought down Stankevicius and ex-Inter star Gigi Di Biagio converted the resulting penalty.

Agliardi rushed off his line to close down Inzaghi and Brescia made the scoreline 3-3 with a Hamsik low drive.

It remained an extremely entertaining game and Turato charged Rui Costa’s shot down from close range, while Inzaghi’s lob was pushed over the bar.

Milan played out a 4-3 win over Parma at the weekend and repeated the feat in the final minutes with a Rui Costa penalty for Agliardi’s foul on Inzaghi.

The San Siro giants qualify for the quarter-finals 4-7 on aggregate and will take on Palermo at the end of this month.

Amoroso set for Milan
11.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcio Amoroso looks set to become Christian Vieri’s replacement as he flies in to agree terms with Milan today.

The Brazilian striker’s agent denied two days ago that any contact had been made by the Rossoneri, but since then developments have gathered pace and the Sao Paulo striker is now set for a return to Serie A.

Before leaving for Italy, the 31-year-old centre-forward admitted that he was looking forward to one last crack at the big time with the Italian giants. "This is my big chance," he told reporters in Brazil.

Amoroso rejected a three-year offer from his Brazilian employers to take up a one-and-a-half year deal with Carlo Ancelotti’s men and - provided he passes a medical today - will join immediately.

Amoroso enjoyed three successful years at Udinese between 1996 and 1999, where his 22 goals in 33 matches during his final season persuaded Parma to come in for him.

Two less prolific years at the Ennio Tardini resulted in a move to Borussia Dortmund, where the South American hitman rediscovered his scoring touch with 18 goals in his first term in Germany.

Injury plagued his final year in the Bundesliga and Amoroso joined Malaga for a season before returning to his homeland with Sao Paulo in the summer, where his goals contributed to his side winning the Copa Libertadores and the FIFA World Club Championship in December.

Cafu: I never wanted to quit Milan
10.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcos Cafu has returned to Milan after an extended stay in Brazil and assures he never even considered leaving the club.

“I am very happy to be back and can’t wipe the smile off my face,” said the full-back who had been on compassionate leave after the Christmas break.

“My Father is feeling much better now and has been allowed home, even if his treatment is continuing. This was the best way to start 2006 after a difficult end to last year.”

The rumour mill was in full swing during Cafu’s absence, with many reports suggesting his family problems would push him to seek a permanent move to Brazil for Sao Paulo.

“Despite not knowing the reasons behind my absence, some people thought it opportune to write stories about me walking out on Milan,” he told the official club website.

“The only reason I was in Brazil was to be with my father and a quick call to either the Rossoneri or Sao Paulo would’ve clarified that. In truth, it was a week in which the team wasn’t training, so the Press needed something to write about.”

Cafu has been out of action for a couple of months with a recurring ankle problem and his absence has been sorely felt in a defence that leaked goals during Sunday’s spectacular 4-3 win over Parma.

“We just need to find consistency in Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia. I am trying to get back to match fitness and will see how I progress in training during the week.”

Cafu may be back at the Milanello training ground, but Christian Vieri has left for Monaco.

“We have made a real coup on the transfer market,” noted Monaco Coach Francesco Guidolin. “I am confident he’ll deliver the goods. Vieri is a great player who is eager to earn his spot in the World Cup squad and has everything necessary to achieve that.”

The Italian international lasted just six months at the San Siro, but found himself pushed on to the bench by Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Filippo Inzaghi.

“Vieri gave up on a lot of money by coming here,” explained Guidolin. “He could easily have sat on the sidelines and picked up his pay cheques, but instead he wanted a challenge and to prove himself. He is the player we were missing.”

Vieri upset with Milan "defeat"
10.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri is disappointed at his failure to make his mark at Milan, according to former teammate Gennaro Gattuso. "It is a defeat for him," he said today.

As far as Gattuso is concerned this is a dark day for all concerned with Milan. The combative midfielder, who is good friends with Vieri, said that even the player himself was sad about having to leave Italy.

"I spoke to him just now and he’s very disappointed," said Gattuso. "For Vieri it is a defeat, but he wants to feel like a first-team player, he wants to still feel alive and so he has made the move for his own good."

Rino also warned his Italy teammate that he’d best be prepared for the comedown of a capacity San Siro compared to an empty Stade Louis II. "I told him to watch out," he joked. "With 1500 spectators in the stands he might fall asleep."

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani also expressed his regret at the departure.

Although Vieri only scored twice in his six-month spell with the Italian giants, Galliani insisted that he was sad to see the back of the striker, who was a surprise summer signing from city rivals Inter, and had no regrets about bringing him across town last July.

"If I had to make the choice again, I would absolutely make the same decision," he said following the announcement that a deal had been struck with Monaco.

"Remember that in July Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi were both injured, Alberto Gilardino hadn’t yet arrived and we were in talks with Chelsea over trying to keep Hernan Crespo.

"So, at that time, we didn’t have any strikers and I am still convinced that Vieri could have been a big hit here," he added. "He told me that he liked it here but he wanted to play more.

"Christian wants to play in the World Cup and his chances are a bit more limited here," he continued. "At Milan nobody is guaranteed a first-team place – not even Marco Van Basten – but I am sad to see him go."

Club President Silvio Berslusconi was also disappointed Vieri opted against fighting for a place at the San Siro.

"I wanted him to stay because he said he had a few more rounds to shoot off yet," said Berlusconi. "He has a great determination to succeed, to be called up to the national side and I always felt that he could rediscover his full splendour at Milan.

"The situation is a bit complicated at our club because fortunately Inzaghi is back on form and having four strikers squeezed out Vieri," added the Italian Premier.

"If he’s gone to Monaco it’s because they have guaranteed him a first-team place and strengthened his World Cup prospects."

Even Inter chief Massimo Moratti wished his former charge all the best on his French adventure.

"If he does well I’ll be very happy. Monaco could well have made the right choice," he said - before refuting harbouring any vindictive feelings towards a player who left for his side’s arch-rivals. "No, there are more important things to worry about every day than that sort of thing."

Milan admit defensive desire
10.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan President Silvio Berslusconi has hinted that the Rossoneri are in the market for a defender as well as a striker.

While Milan are in the hunt to find a replacement for Christian Vieiri, who is undergoing a medical at Monaco this morning, Berlusconi revealed last night that – contrary to the words of Vice-President Adriano Galliani yesterday – the San Siro side are also readying themselves to move for a defender this month.

With Paolo Maldini out injured, Coach Carlo Ancelotti has been forced to resort to 39-year-old Alessandro Costacurta in recent games. With Milan shipping goals almost as often as they are scoring them at the other end it seems that a rearguard reinforcement will be on its way this month.

“I have spoken with Galliani and as far as the defence goes there is the possibility we will make the move to buy a player,” he revealed on TV programme ‘Processo di Biscardi’ last night.

But the situation is clouded by confusion after Galliani had said the complete opposite yesterday: “We are not going to buy any defenders, we are fine as we are.”

A number of defenders have been linked to Milan, with Juventus’s Jonathan Zebina, Udinese’s Felipe, Roma’s Cristian Chivu and Hertha Berlin’s Josip Simunic the players most prominently linked with a move to the San Siro.

OFFICIAL: Vieri off to Monaco
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri has ended his Milan stint after just six months by signing for Monaco, the Italian club have confirmed.

An agreement between all three parties has been reached on Monday and the player will tomorrow complete the switch.

Vieri will now have his medical with the Ligue 1 club on Tuesday morning before putting pen to paper on a deal which should expire in 2007.

The Italian international, who will partner Marco Di Vaio in Francesco Guidolin’s side, requested a move amid fears he would miss out on a World Cup spot.

The 33-year-old only joined Milan in the summer from Inter on a free transfer, but has scored just one League goal in eight appearances.

It’s believed that Vieri has accepted a cut in wages to secure the move to the French First Division outfit.

Milan have already confirmed that they will sign a new attacker once the much-travelled striker packs his bags.

No details of a fee have been released.

Abbiati set for Milan return
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have told Juventus to forget about their hopes of keeping Christian Abbiati at the club once his loan stint comes to an end.

Reports have suggested that Juve wanted to secure Abbiati on a permanent basis after an excellent six months at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

However, the Rossoneri have insisted that Abbiati will return to the San Siro when his contract at Juve expires in the summer.

"Abbiati’s situation is very clear," stated Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Monday. "He is on loan at Juventus until June, but he is still a Milan player."

The reigning champions netted Abbiati as a personal favour from Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.

The Italian Prime Minister offered the ‘keeper once Gigi Buffon was ruled out for six months after damaging his shoulder in a pre-season friendly between the two sides.

Although Abbiati did initially make a few mistakes, he’s been a major reason why the Old Lady are currently nine points clear at the top of the table.

Abbiati, who now faces competition from a fit-again Buffon, had become something of a forgotten figure in Italian football after the exceptional form of Nelson Dida.

Nevertheless, Abbiati may regain the No 1 shirt for the Rossoneri next term after some decidedly shaky performances from the Brazilian of late.

Dida, who is set to start in goal for the Selecao in the World Cup, made a costly mistake last night which gave Parma the lead – even if Milan won the game 4-3.

Amoroso not joining Milan, says agent
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian striker Marcio Amoroso’s agent has dismissed the stories linking his client with an imminent move to Milan.

Amoroso has been paired with the Rossoneri given that Christian Vieri is just a medical away from completing a move to Monaco.

However, Nivaldo Balbo has categorically denied the rumours suggesting that the player was set to leave the new World Club champions.

"There are no negotiations with Milan for my client," Balbo told Brazilian national newspaper Globo on Monday.

"All this began with a conversation which I had with an Italian journalist who told me that Amoroso had the ideal characteristics to replace Vieri.

"However, I then responded with the news that Amoroso is on the verge of extending his contract at Sao Paulo."

Serie A fans know Amoroso well after he appeared in the peninsula with the likes of Udinese and Parma.

In fact, the South American ended the 1998-99 campaign as the League’s top scorer with 22 goals in 33 games for the Stadio Friuli boys.

No case for Milan's defence
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have announced that they will not be signing any new defenders in the January transfer window.

While Andriy Shevchenko and Alberto Gilardino have formed an extraordinary goalscoring partnership at the forefront of Milan’s attack this season their defensive problems have been their Achilles heel this season.

The Rossoneri have conceded 21 goals this term, making theirs only the seventh-best defence in Serie A. Last night’s 4-3 win over Parma was a prime example of the sort of lacklustre defending that has undermined their League campaign this term.

Leading 3-1 at the break, Carlo Ancelotti’s men simply switched off when the visitors had the ball in their half and only their abilty to outscore their opponents eventually assured them a nervy three points.

However, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani insisted today that no rearguard reinforcements would be forthcoming this month.

“We are not going to buy any defenders,” he added. “We are fine as we are. I have no criticism of the Coach or the players. We have got 40 points from 18 matches, we are doing better than this stage last year.

“Unfortunately, there is a side ahead of us that is moving at an incredible pace,” he added. “If Juve carry on like this, there’s not a lot we can do.”

Milan are likely to be moving in the transfer market for a striker, however, should Christian Vieri make his expected move to Monaco this week.

The Rossoneri are reported to be interested in recruiting one of Marcio Amoroso of Sao Paulo or Fiorentina’s Valeri Bojinov as their fourth-string striker.

Milan agree Vieri sale
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri is set for a move to Monaco this week provided he agrees personal terms with the club, according to Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani. "We have reached a deal with Monaco," he admitted today.

Despite only joining the Rossoneri in the summer, Vieri has struggled to win the intense competition for places with Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Filippo Inzaghi, making only three starts and scoring just once for his new club.

To compound his misery, Vieri suffered injury during his last call-up to the Italy side and lost the opportunity to impress Coach Marcello Lippi, who had kept faith in the 32-year-old despite his lack of match practice.

The former Inter marksman is now desperate for games in order to further his prospects of playing in what will almost certainly be his last World Cup tournament.

A move to Monaco - where he would play alongside compatriot Marco Di Vaio and under fellow Italian Francesco Guidolin - represents his best chance of realising his international dream.

"We have reached an agreement with Monaco," admitted Galliani, following talks with Monaco representatives after his side’s 4-3 win over Parma last night. "Now it is just up to the player to agree personal terms with the Monagasques."

It is unclear how much Monaco have agreed to pay for the player, but provided the centre-forward agrees to leave the move is likely to be completed in the next two or three days.

"If Bobo leaves we will think about getting another striker," added the Milan chief. "We will certainly not be doing a swap deal with Monaco. Javier Chevanton doesn’t interest us and neither does Mirko Vucinic of Lecce."

Fiorentina’s Valeri Bojinov and former Parma and Udinese striker Marcio Amoruso are the latest to be linked with a move to the San Siro in the event of Vieri’s probable departure.

For his part, Lippi is in favour of Vieri moving to France and refuted suggestions that being abroad would hinder his chances of selection.

"He needs to play," said Lippi. "Following his progress abroad would be the last of my problems. Apart form anything else, Monaco is very close.

"I am always happy when a footballer is playing," continued the Azzurri boss. "This is a special year and if you’re not playing at all it’s right to move to another side.

"I would be as happy for Vieri as I am for Antonio Cassano – and playing at Monaco, Real Madrid or Palermo doesn’t make much difference to me."

Ancelotti slams Milan complacency
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Both Carlo Ancelotti and Mario Beretta were left harbouring regrets after Milan’s pyrotechnic 4-3 victory at the San Siro.

“We played a terrible second half,” confessed the Rossoneri Coach after his team had been leading 3-1. “Right from the restart we played with complacency and a lack of drive. I honestly cannot explain what happened.”

The giants had gone behind to Paolo Cannavaro’s goal thanks to a Dida howler, but fought back to lead 3-1 by the break. Every time they seemed to put the result beyond doubt, a defensive error would allow the Gialloblu back into the game.

“We must learn from this match and meditate on it. There are positive aspects to it as well, because scoring four goals is not to be sniffed at, but the second half performance needs to make us think.”

Parma can be satisfied with giving Milan a scare, but have real regrets at losing out by such a narrow margin.

“At the end we really believed we could do it, as every ball was crucial,” explained Coach Mario Beretta. “We were too timid in the first half, even after we had taken the lead. I was hoping the opener would boost our morale, but instead we sat back and I had to change tactics. I am nonetheless happy to have seen such enthusiasm and desire towards the end.”

Beretta was dismissed in the final stages when he furiously shouted at the referee for giving a free kick against Vincenzo Grella.

“I was angry because Grella had won back the ball cleanly in a promising position and we could’ve gone on the counter-attack, but that free kick broke the tempo up.”

Marco Marchionni was the hero with a brace at the San Siro, further fuelling reports he is of interest to Inter, Juventus and Liverpool.

“I want to stay at Parma until the end of the season, because this club still needs help to avoid the drop,” said the winger. “I wouldn’t be against going abroad, as the Premiership and La Liga are both interesting tournaments, though I am also happy to remain in Italy. I must focus on Parma for now and today we showed we are on the right road.”

AC Milan 4:3 Parma - match report
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: P Cannavaro 24 (P), Cardone og 27 (M), Gilardino 29 (M), Kaka 37 (M), Marchionni 70, 85 (P), Shevchenko 81 (M)

Parma gave Milan quite a scare at the San Siro, but Alberto Gilardino scored against his old club in a bizarre 4-3 result.

Alberto Gilardino came face to face with his former teammates for the first time since his £17m summer move, but Pippo Inzaghi and Coach Carlo Ancelotti were also Parma Old Boys. Paolo Maldini and Marcos Cafu were still sidelined by injury, so Kakha Kaladze was again drafted in to the centre. The Gialloblu debuted new goalkeeper Matteo Guardalben following his loan switch from Palermo, but Domenico Morfeo sat out the last of his four-match ban.

The Rossoneri went close early on when Andriy Shevchenko tried to redirect a scuffed Dario Simic effort from six yards, but he could only fire it over the bar.

Clarence Seedorf chested down and ballooned high from the edge of the box in a promising opportunity.

However, Parma had the best chance of the opening 15 minutes with Marco Marchionni taking advantage of a deflected pass and forcing Dida into a reaction save at full stretch from point-blank range.

Gilardino's glancing header on a Serginho cross was just wide of the far post, but Parma were rather more accurate and took advantage of a terrible Dida error.

A corner kick was floated in and the goalkeeper incredibly dropped the ball for Paolo Cannavaro to tap in from six yards. It was a gift from the Brazilian to the Gialloblu.

Parma returned the favour 120 seconds later, as Kaka's low cross for Gilardino was accidentally pushed into his own net by captain Giuseppe Cardone.

The Rossoneri got back on track with a well-worked goal to turn the game around completely within five minutes of going behind. Shevchenko charged forward on the counter-attack and crossed for Gilardino's cushioned free header against his former club.

Shevchenko had his first shot charged down, but Kaka rifled in the follow-up from the edge of the box, striking the ball with the inside of his right foot, to give Milan a two-goal cushion.

After the break, another Gilardino glancing header on Pirlo's cross was just wide, but at the other end Cardone's diving effort also went close.

Coach Mario Beretta threw on Daniele Bonera - in his first appearance for three months - and young midfielder Dessena. It was one-way traffic and Milan thought they'd grabbed a fourth with Shevchenko, but the offside flag had already gone up for Serginho's position.

Moments later, Parma got themselves back into the game with a surprise goal. Marco Marchionni found space through the centre on Dessena's pass and placed a low drive past Dida.

Manuel Rui Costa replaced Kaka and within seconds had set up a great chance for Shevchenko, but his free header was over the bar.

Rui Costa also created an opportunity for Serginho, but the cross to Shevchenko unmarked in the centre was woeful.

Substitute Rui Costa was spreading passes around and eventually got his assist for Milan's fourth goal. The Portuguese veteran battled past a Matteo Contini challenge and cut in for Shevchenko's cool finish at the near post.

However, just as the Rossoneri seemed to be secure, another defensive distraction let in Marchionni to make it 4-3! Dida got a hand to his shot, but it was too powerful to be stopped from point-blank range.

Mark Bresciano's free kick was smothered by Dida in a tense finale and Corradi had a penalty appeal waved away for a clash with Alessandro Nesta. Soon after, a furious Parma Coach Beretta was sent off for dissent.

Milan: Dida; Simic, Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho (Costacurta 86); Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà (Rui Costa 73); Shevchenko, Gilardino (Ambrosini 75)

Parma: Guardalben; Cardone, Couto, P Cannavaro (Bonera 59), Contini (Dedic 86); Grella, Bolano (Dessena 59), Simplicio; Marchionni, Bresciano; Corradi

Ref: Mazzoleni

Corradi to replace Vieri?
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri is set to leave Milan over the next week, possibly for Spurs, and it’s claimed Parma’s Bernardo Corradi has been earmarked to replace him.

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani confirmed that Vieri was looking for a January transfer and that the situation would be clarified sooner rather than later.

“Vieri is very happy at Milan, but in a World Cup year he would like to play more regularly,” explained Galliani. “He is torn and I understand his situation. In any case, this is an issue that will be decided over the next two to three days and will not drag on beyond that.”

The striker has not been called up for tonight's match with Parma due to a bout of flu.

If Vieri has been linked with Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Newcastle United, then Carlo Ancelotti is left with the task of replacing him.

There are two main options put forward by the Italian Press and both go through the club they will face tonight – Parma.

Corradi is the number one choice, as he is of similar build and playing style to Vieri, while there is a good transfer rapport between the two sides after this summer’s Alberto Gilardino deal.

The former Chievo, Inter and Lazio centre-forward was signed from Valencia as a replacement for Gila and could now follow him to the San Siro on loan.

The other alternative would be a former Parma player who would relish a return to Serie A. Marcio Amoroso was a star for Udinese and the Stadio Tardini side before making the move to Borussia Dortmund in 2001.

Spanish outfit Malaga currently owns the Brazilian, but his contract is up at the end of the season and he is on a loan spell in his homeland.

“Marcio would like to remain at Sao Paolo, but he certainly would not turn down an offer from Milan,” explained the 31-year-old’s agent Nivaldo Baldo.

Beretta sees San Siro upset
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Beretta believes Parma can cause an upset at the San Siro this evening when they take on Milan.

“It’s not a given that we will lose this game like lambs to the slaughter,” warned the Coach ahead of tonight’s showdown.

“We know the difficulties that lie ahead in a match like this, but we must go out there to play our style of football. I don’t like to hear those who say we’re done for in that situation. The odds might be against us, but they are not 100 per cent in Milan’s favour.”

Alberto Gilardino will be the centre of attention as he takes on his former teammates for the first time since his £17m move in the summer, especially as the striker has already stated he will celebrate if he scores.

“If scoring a goal gives someone satisfaction, then it is only right he should celebrate,” added Beretta. “It certainly shouldn’t be interpreted as a slight against his old fans. If you stop players celebrating goals then it takes away some of the joy of this sport.”

Gilardino won’t be the only Rossoneri star that the Parma Coach must prepare for.

“I think they’ll maintain the same characteristics they have used for the past few years, which are lots of possession and focusing on their quality of passing. We can only try to take advantage of their negative traits and concentrate on our positive ones.”

Mark Bresciano is a minor doubt with a stomach bug, but new goalkeeper Matteo Guardalben should make his debut.

Ancelotti has Scudetto hope
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti thinks the Scudetto race is still wide open and could include Fiorentina.

“Catching Juventus is not an impossible task, but it will depend on our belief and the Bianconeri making a few stumbles,” said the tactician.

Juve’s lead has been cut to eight points from Inter, though he thinks the contenders stretch right down to fourth place.

“Those who are in the chasing pack have to believe in a chance and you never can tell in football. It was a head-to-head battle between us last season, but Inter are solid this year and it will be a far more open race. In fact, Fiorentina have the advantage of no midweek Champions League games, so they could make their presence felt.”

Milan must beat Parma if they are to maintain this slender hope and are considering a switch to a more reliable 4-4-2 system with Clarence Seedorf and Kaka on the flanks.

Marcos Cafu and Paolo Maldini are still out injured, while Christian Vieri has not been called up due to a bout of flu. It’s rumoured this is purely a diplomatic excuse, as Vice-President Adriano Galliani has confirmed Vieri wants a move abroad to play more first team football.

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac; Costacurta, Kaladze, Nesta, Jankulovski, Serginho, Simic, Stam; Ambrosini, Gattuso, Kakà, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Vogel; Gilardino, Shevchenko, Inzaghi

Milan 'release' unhappy Vieri
7.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan transfer chief Adriano Galliani admits that Christian Vieri has requested a move to play first team football, which could take him to Spain or England.

“Vieri is very happy at Milan, but in a World Cup year he would like to play more regularly,” explained the Vice-President.

“He is torn and I understand his situation. In any case, this is an issue that will be decided over the next two to three days and will not drag on beyond that.”

The Italian international has barely made a mark since joining the Rossoneri in a shock free transfer from rivals Inter in the summer.

Locked out by the form of Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and the newly recovered Pippo Inzaghi, he has been mainly relegated to the bench.

A January transfer now looks likely and an overseas option is top of his list. While a return to Atletico Madrid, where he was top scorer with 24 goals in as many games in 1997, has been suggested, the most recent reports highlight a move to Tottenham.

“He is 33 years old and this will probably be his last World Cup, so he feels that he must safeguard that experience by playing more first team football,” added Galliani. “These are all perfectly understandable considerations.”

Other Premiership options for the centre-forward include Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester City, though The Guardian claims that White Hart Lane is the key to his loan deal.

“I will only say that if Vieri does stay, then he’ll focus all his attention on doing well with Milan. All he needs is a little patience and a brace of goals to get the critics off his back, but any eventuality will be dealt with in a climate of friendship and understanding.”

Coach Carlo Ancelotti also hinted that a departure – albeit an amicable one – was on the cards.

“Nobody here has any intention of dumping Vieri,” assured the tactician. “I would be happy if he stayed, even if I cannot give any guarantees on more first team football.”

Gilardino won’t hide goal joy
6.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Alberto Gilardino says he will celebrate if he scores against former club Parma on Sunday.

The Italian faces his old side for the first time since his £17.2m summer switch, but he’s set to archive any sentimental feelings towards them.

Despite scoring 46 goals in two seasons for the Tardini outfit, Gilardino is aiming to net past the club who made him famous.

"I will always have affection for Parma, the team and the town, where I exploded on to the footballing scene," he said.

"But now I am at Milan and if I score then I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t celebrate it. My job is to score goals and my reaction will be spontaneous."

The Rossoneri start the year in third place, nine points behind leaders Juventus, yet Gila still believes the Italian giants can lift Lo Scudetto.

"We think we can catch Juve as we definitely do not feel inferior in any way to the Bianconeri," he underlined.

"Milan have a great squad who can rely on great human and technical qualities. Nothing is impossible from now until the end of the campaign."

Gilardino was inevitably also asked to comment on Antonio Cassano’s transfer to Real Madrid this week.

"I’m happy for him, he will certainly do well at Madrid," he added. "It is certainly better that he went there rather than joining Inter where he would have been of use to Roberto Mancini."

Sao Paulo confirm Cafu desire
6.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sao Paulo are willing to allow Milan’s Marcos Cafu to fulfil his dream of ending his career at the Brazilian club.

The right-back did recently reveal that he wanted to join the outfit before he quits the game and a summer switch is now on the cards.

"I have recently spoken to Cafu who expressed his desire to finish his playing days with us after the World Cup," President Marcelo Portugal Gouvea is quoted as saying.

Cafu has actually been linked with an immediate switch given that he’s still in his homeland where he is aiding his ill father.

But the 35-year-old international insists he still hasn’t played his last game for the Italian giants.

"I’m here with the agreement of my club due to my family problems," the former Roma full-back stated. "I’ll be back as soon as that becomes possible."

While Cafu seems destined to join the current world club champions, star defender Diego Lugano isn’t going in the other direction according to Gouvea.

"There has been no official offer," added the Brazilian chief. "If they want him then all they have to do is send Leonardo over here. However, we want him for the Coppa Libertadores."

The Uruguayan central defender, said to be the best stopper in the Brazilian League at the moment, has been linked with Milan for the last two months.

Lugano, also wanted by Sevilla, has been associated given the probable departures of Cafu, Jaap Stam and Billy Costacurta at the end of the season.

Gattuso blocks Vieri exit
6.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso is convinced that teammate Christian Vieri isn’t considering his future at Milan.

The attacker has been linked with a January exit over the last few days, but Gattuso has quickly shot down claims that his great friend is on his way out.

"There is no problem with Christian," Gattuso told Milan Channel. "He wants to continue his football here.

"He is very tranquil right now. If something wasn’t right then he would have made that known. Instead, he hasn’t manifested any problem."

Vieri has seriously under-performed since his controversial free transfer from city rivals Inter in the summer.

He’s scored just one goal in eight League games and has received widespread criticism for his lack of form – something Gattuso believes is unjust.

"They are targeting him in an offensive manner and on a personal level," added the former Rangers man. "I’m talking about certain awards which have been handed to him."

Gattuso was referring to the Bidone d’Oro – the Golden Bin ‘award’ – which was given to him by a radio station for the worst player of 2005.

Alberto Gilardino, whose form is partly responsible for the time Vieri has spent on the bench, has also backed his more experienced colleague to come through this dark time.

"He seems calm to me," stated Gila. "Like me, he knew that there would be competition for places when he joined in the summer.

"He’s working very hard in training and I’m sure that he will be rewarded for all of his efforts in the end."

Ancelotti tells Vieri to stay
5.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti has urged unsettled striker Christian Vieri to remain with the Italian giants.

The forward has been linked with a move to Spain following his difficulties in the Rossoneri shirt since his summer arrival from Inter.

Vieri has scored just one goal in eight League games and is understandably concerned that a lack of action may cost him his place at the World Cup Finals.

Atletico Madrid, Real Betis and Espanyol have been linked but Ancelotti wants the 33-year-old to snub a January exit.

"I would be happy if he stayed," the tactician told Sky Italia. "However, a lot depends on his needs and his wishes need to be respected, especially in World Cup year."

Vieri was brought in following Hernan Crespo’s return to Chelsea, but has failed to fill the hole left by the Argentine.

"Hernan did very well between January and May last year, Vieri could do the same," continued Ancelotti.

Vieri, who was once the world’s most expensive player following his £32m move to Inter from Lazio, has also been linked with Spurs, Newcastle and Liverpool.

Vieri has sat on the bench for most of this season as Ancelotti has favoured an Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko partnership.

Cafu mystery for Milan
4.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports that Marcos Cafu’s delayed return from Brazil could push him to leave Milan this month, while Clarence Seedorf warns there’s no room for error.

Full-back Cafu has been on compassionate leave after the Christmas break to be with his father through illness, which is said to be one of the reasons why he is looking for a return to his home club San Paolo.

That move was set to take place in the summer, but it’s now claimed he could walk out on the Rossoneri within the next couple of weeks.

Already struggling with recurring injuries to Paolo Maldini, Jaap Stam and Dario Simic, Milan must therefore reinforce their defence during the January transfer window.

The number one target right now is Lazio’s Italian international Massimo Oddo, but there could also be an ‘exchange’ with Cafu’s beloved San Paolo.

The Brazilian club has his natural replacement in a Milan jersey, Lugano, and might be able to tempt them into releasing Cafu early by handing over the younger version. Other options include Hertha Berlin man Simunic and Lyon star Cris.

Meanwhile, Seedorf has been talking up the troops ahead of Sunday night’s clash with Parma at San Siro.

“We must take our performance in the 3-0 win at Livorno as a starting point and maintain that level,” noted the Dutchman. “The Christmas break did us good, but we all know that we can’t afford any more slip-ups in Serie A this season.”

Carlo Ancelotti allowed a longer holiday than most for his players and Seedorf insists it has recharged their batteries.

“We must focus on every trophy available and we have the squad to achieve those targets. Since we returned from the break, I have seen a very different spirit in the locker room. We all want to do our best, starting with Parma and then Brescia in the Coppa Italia.”

Maldini hails revitalised Milan
4.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini has recovered from his injury and believes Milan have rediscovered their defensive solidity in 2006.

“We all have a real desire to get back on track in Serie A so we can prepare better for the Champions League,” noted the captain who has been struggling with a recurring knee problem.

The Rossoneri had been stuttering badly in the Scudetto race, but the 3-0 win away to Livorno before the Christmas break – and the 11-day holiday –recharged their batteries.

“That victory at the Stadio Picchi was very important and we want to notch together another string of wins. We were very attentive, allowed our opponents few chances and above all made the most of the counter-attack, which we had often struggled with.”

That tie saw Coach Carlo Ancelotti switch to a new tactical system after conceding 18 goals in their previous 16 games.

“When we were in defence, the team moved to a 4-4-2, but in possession everyone moved according to their own characteristics. The change was in our defensive approach, finding balance by adjusting our position by just a couple of metres.”

Kaka returned to the Milanello training ground after his wedding to Caroline and 37-year-old Maldini had words of advice for the newlyweds.

“This is an important step in the life of a man and even more so for a footballer. Having a woman alongside you gives a sense of security in the tough times. For a Brazilian youngster in such a different climate as Milan, it’s particularly reassuring to have a wife by your side.”

Vieri going nowhere, insist Milan
4.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have categorically ruled out the January departure of Christian Vieri. "He’s staying here," said transfer chief Ariedo Braida.

The club’s director general made the statement after more reports of a Vieri exit emerged in the media on Tuesday.

Vieri, as reported by Football Italia, was already associated with a New Year switch yesterday with clubs in England and Spain keen.

The Italian striker awoke to more speculation today after he was paired with a return to Atletico Madrid.

The much-travelled attacker already appeared for the Spanish outfit during the 1997-98 season when he scored a remarkable 24 goals in 24 games.

Whispers claimed that Milan would release Vieri to Atletico in return for first option on young starlet Fernando Torres.

However, Braida has underlined that the 33-year-old will remain despite a lack of action so far at the San Siro.

"Nobody has asked us for Vieri," Braida stated. "He wants to stay with us and we share that desire. Vieri is staying at Milan."

The summer arrival from Inter was apparently assessing his options given that a lack of first team opportunities at Milan may cost him his World Cup place.

Milan eye Fernando Torres
3.1 || webmaster

Source: SportingLife.com

AC Milan could make a shock swoop for Arsenal transfer target Fernando Torres.

The Spanish international striker, the hero of Atletico Madrid, has been the hottest property in Spain for a couple of years now.

Chelsea have been linked with a move for him in the past, and now Arsenal are reportedly desperate to take him to Highbury.

But now a move to Serie A is a possibility according to Spanish daily Marca.

The paper says the Rossoneri have confirmed their interest in "El Nino", and could try to land him during the January transfer window.

Any Milan move for Torres could see Christian Vieri return to Atletico.

Vieiri, who moved to AC from rivals Inter in the summer, spent a highly successful season at the Vicente Calderon in the late 1990s.

Vieri ponders New Year switch
2.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Christian Vieri is considering a January move with clubs in England and Spain keen on the forgotten striker.

The Italian is said to be assessing his options given his lack of use at the San Siro since his summer arrival.

Vieri joined the Rossoneri for nothing from rivals Inter but has failed to make the desired impact so far.

With boss Carlo Ancelotti seemingly favouring an Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko partnership, Vieri has rarely featured so far.

With just one goal in eight League appearances, Vieri is hungry for first team football in World Cup year.

The 33-year-old is therefore thinking of a change in an effort to not miss out on his last chance of winning a major trophy with the Azzurri.

So where could he go? The Premiership and La Liga are the most likely destinations if he does leave the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Spurs have been associated in the past, even if Newcastle could make a move given the three-month absence of the injured Michael Owen.

Other options for the much-travelled attacker, who has also played for Atletico Madrid, include Real Betis and Espanyol in Spain.

Milan set sights on Oddo
2.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Oddo is in pole position to join Milan given the likelihood that both Jaap Stam and Marcos Cafu will leave in the summer.

Stam is set for a return to his homeland at the end of the season, while Cafu admitted on Saturday that he wants to end his career with Sao Paulo.

Their departures will leave the Italian giants short of options in the right-back role which has opened the door for Lazio man Oddo.

The Italian international has been associated with the Rossoneri for some time and he could finally return to the San Siro for the 2006-07 campaign.

The 29-year-old, who began his career in the Milan youth system, is starting to impress again and could be made available for as little as £4m.

Oddo, who has scored twice in 15 games this term, is similar in style to Cafu as both like to attack as much as possible.

Nevertheless, Milan have a number of other options who are being considered at this moment in time.

Lecce defender Marco Cassetti is on their short-list, as is Reggina’s Italian international Giandomenico Mesto.

However, Oddo remains the favourite to arrive and he could touchdown in Milan with a Biancocelesti teammate.

Swiss international Valon Behrami, who is now totally owned by the capital outfit following their recent deal with Genoa, is also liked by the northern outfit.

Behrami, still just 20, has enjoyed a splendid first season in Serie A but is currently sidelined with an ankle problem.





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