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Milan have captured young Brazilian forward Lucas Roggia on loan from Internacional.
Roggia, who has an Italian passport and is signed with Mino Raiola, played against the Rossoneri in the pre-season Audi Cup in Munich.
He is understood to have joined the San Siro outfit from Brazilian outfit Internacional on a year-long loan deal.
The striker’s club, who reportedly initially thought he would be joining Brescia today, are understood to be keen for the 21-year-old to gain experience of European football before then returning to South America.
Arrigo Sacchi has lightly attacked Milan, revealed which Coach he recommended to both the Rossoneri and Real Madrid and where Italy are falling short on youth development.
Current technical coordinator with the Italian FA, Sacchi had the opportunity to speak to the media at FIGC’s national training centre at Coverciano, and began with a wry dig at his old team Milan.
The Rossoneri defeated their Sardinian visitors 3-0 in a low-tempo affair on Sunday night to move back to within a point of League leaders Juventus. Despite the ease with which the result was achieved, the San Siro side’s pace of play did not go unnoticed by the club’s former Coach.
“I saw Milan last night and I had doubts that some of the players were not my age,” commented the 65-year-old, who revolutionised how Il Diavolo played its football in the late 1980s.
“With all my affection for the Rossoneri, when I see them I am reminded of a phrase Valdano says: ‘I always hope to see lots of Italian football matches, because they do so few interesting things, that they then see a replay, and for the rest of the game can do no more.’”
However, Sacchi also made it clear he was not criticising Coach Massimiliano Allegri, even if he then suggested that he won’t win the League this year.
“Allegri is a great Coach, he has a squad that is perhaps the most complex, but with many individuals, where Juventus are less complex but have fewer individuals.
“The Bianconeri are going to win the Scudetto because they have an advantage, to not participate in Europe, and there is a big push by all that are there. Juve are playing a continuous, international style of game, with good players but few who are excellent.”
The former national team Coach, who took Italy to the 1994 World Cup final in between two spells with Milan, is now responsible for overseeing the national team’s youth development from Under-16 to Under-21 level.
The 4-4-2 tactician took the opportunity in front of the assembled media to reflect on where he still thinks Italy can improve in supporting its youth.
“FIGC is giving us a big hand on the youth development, but perhaps we could do more, particularly from an economic point of view. No doubt we are behind in terms of investment.
“Suffice to say, Real Madrid invests €40-45m in its youth sector, Barcelona €50-55m, whilst Milan and Inter, who invest the most in Italy, only spend about €14-15m. This fact prevents us from evolving as we should do.”
Sacchi also passed comment on Pescara Coach Zdenek Zeman, who he revealed he holds in high regard.
“Zeman is still a good Coach, one of the best, not only at national level either. He was one of the three Coaches I recommended to Milan after the first time I left Milan and again I said the same thing about Zeman when I left Real Madrid.
“There is a harmony to his game, it seems almost like a utopia, and this is down to the strength of his ideas.
“If he had an orchestra, the tune would be Pescara.”
Reja: Klose better than Ibrahimovic 30.1 ||webmaster
Ahead of visiting Milan to the Olimpico this midweek, Lazio Coach Edy Reja reveals his belief that Miroslav Klose is a better striker than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Polish-born German international Klose has so far scored 12 League goals since arriving in Italy on a free transfer this summer. Meanwhile, counterpart Ibrahimovic comes into Wednesday night's clash three goals ahead of the 33-year-old in the scoring charts.
However, Reja reflected on the duo’s strengths and declared that the one he works with on a daily basis is the better player.
“They are two different champions,” the 65-year-old Coach told Lazio Style. “The Swede is more spectacular and individualistic, Miro is more practical and prefers the collective.
“He drops back and helps out the team, it is rewarding for him. I did not think he had this fight, but he plays a fundamental part in build-up play as well as in finishing moves.
“Klose works a bit more on the collective strategies of the team and then in the final quarter of the pitch is invincible. He is a smart player, even when looking at where to shoot.”
Galliani 'can't predict next 24 hours' 30.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri says it was crucial for Milan to stay within a point of Juventus and insists he has no regrets about letting Andrea Pirlo go.
“At this moment the table has stretched out a ban, so it was important for us to win tonight,” he said of the 3-0 victory against Cagliari.
“We’re still close to Juve and have broken away from the chasing pack, as both Udinese and Inter lost this weekend.
“We played a good game, even if it was a struggle up until Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal. After that, it was much simpler.”
The Rossoneri are struggling with an injury crisis in midfield that has deteriorated with news Alexander Merkel will be out for eight weeks.
“Do we need to buy another midfielder? No, I wouldn’t say that. I’m not worried because tonight Urby Emanuelson played well and his form is improving. He played with the ‘wrong’ foot, because despite the fact Antonio Nocerino is right-footed, he gives his best on the left flank.”
Some are claiming this just shows Milan were wrong to let Pirlo’s contract expire in the summer, especially as he is doing such sterling work for leaders Juventus.
“Last season I had already decided that the tactics would change. Pirlo is a champion and is having a great campaign, but the split was a mutual decision and also good for us economically.
“It’s true that teams win with champions, but some continue to win even after selling them.”
AC Milan lose Merkel for two months 30.1 ||webmaster
Milan comfortably swept Cagliari aside 3-0 thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Nocerino and a rare Massimo Ambrosini strike.
The Rossoneri felt the pressure to win this tie and avoid Juventus running away at the top of the table, but a growing injury crisis ruled out Thiago Silva, Luca Antonini, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Alberto Aquilani, Alexander Merkel, Gennaro Gattuso, Mario Yepes, Antonio Cassano and Mathieu Flamini. At least confidence was boosted by a midweek Coppa Italia quarter-final victory over Lazio. Massimiliano Allegri’s former club were missing Nene, Sebastian Eriksson and Lorenzo Ariaudo, but gave Mauricio Pinilla his debut just days after moving from Palermo.
Milan were unbeaten in their last 18 meetings with Cagliari, home and away, since a 1-0 loss in October 1998. Victor Ibarbo flashed a ball across the six-yard box with Pinilla too late to tap in, while Robinho threaded through for Antonio Nocerino’s shot charged down.
It was a very sluggish start to the match, as Cagliari focused on the counter-attack and the Rossoneri seemed uninspired. Djamel Mesbah fired just over the bar from a tricky angle, while Michael Agazzi smothered a Mark Van Bommel volley.
Only a moment of magic could break the deadlock and Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided it by curling a fantastic free kick into the near top corner where Agazzi could not reach, as it brushed the inside of the upright.
Ibra turned provider for the second goal, chesting down a long Philippe Mexes pass for Nocerino’s left-foot screamer on the volley from the edge of the box, flying into the near bottom corner.
Davide Astori had a good chance for the visitors, but nodded over from a corner.
After the break Agazzi flew to palm another fierce Nocerino effort round the post, while substitute Thiago Ribeiro’s strike was deflected out for a corner.
Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench and with practically his first touch volleyed a Clarence Seedorf free kick inches past the base of the near stick. Agazzi beat away an Emanuelson effort.
Massimo Ambrosini came off the bench and scored a rare goal, passing it into the net from just inside the area from Emanuelson’s roll across.
Ibarbo sprinted past Mesbah at the byline and his shot whizzed over, just clipping the bar. Ibrahimovic made way for Pippo Inzaghi, who is reportedly leaving Milan during the transfer window.
Agazzi beat away a Van Bommel snapshot, while SuperPippo had a good chance that ricocheted off his thigh.
Maxi Lopez reveals “it was my choice to wait for Milan and I’d do it all again, because playing here has always been my dream.”
The ex-Catania striker was left in limbo for the better part of a month and spent days locked in a hotel room waiting for the transfer to be completed.
It almost fell apart at the last minute, as the Rossoneri went close to securing Carlos Tevez from Manchester City instead.
“It was my choice to wait for Milan and I think anyone would do the same,” the Argentine told Milan Channel.
“I’d do it all again, because playing here has always been my dream. I made this choice with my heart. Of course, everyone has their own dreams and opinions.
“I always trained hard at Catania and continued to train even in the last few days, albeit in a different way. I’d love to step on to the field tomorrow and am ready, so we’ll see what the Coach says.”
However, Massimiliano Allegri has hinted Maxi Lopez will not be in the squad for Sunday night’s encounter with Cagliari, as he still hasn’t started training with Milan.
Massimiliano Allegri prepares to face his former club Cagliari and is confident “Maxi Lopez can do well at Milan.”
The last few days have been chaotic in the Rossoneri camp, as a last-ditch bid to sign Carlos Tevez from Manchester City fell through, so they picked up Lopez on loan from Catania.
“Maxi Lopez is a very physically and technically gifted striker, so he can do very well at Milan. Over the next few days he’ll undergo a series of medicals and we’ll see when he can start training with us,” said the Coach in his press conference.
Allegri put the derby defeat behind him by beating Novara in Serie A, then Lazio in Thursday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final.
“The lads put in a good game against Lazio, aside from a few early defensive errors. We created many chances and this bodes well for the future.
“Cagliari are a side who play great football and tend to really raise their game when facing the big clubs.”
Allegri admitted to problems amid an injury crisis that has ruled out Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Alexandre Pato, Alexander Merkel, Mathieu Flamini, Gennaro Gattuso, Mario Yepes and Antonio Cassano.
“Tomorrow we should have Christian Abbiati, but Djamel Mesbah is still in doubt, as he hadn’t played in a while. We’ve got problems, but someone will play, that’s for sure!
“Stephan El Shaarawy is putting in some important performances, so he just needs to relax, play and grow. He’ll probably start from the bench tomorrow, but is becoming a precious element.”
Inzaghi replacing Cisse at Lazio? 28.1 ||webmaster
There are shock reports in Italy that Lazio could hand Djibril Cissè over to QPR so they can bring in veteran Pippo Inzaghi from Milan.
The Biancocelesti signed Cissè over the summer, but the midweek Coppa Italia goal was his first since September.
Even though the longest drought of his professional career has ended, the Frenchman is still considered a flop at the Olimpico.
There are growing rumours that Cissè will be heading to the Premier League for Queens Park Rangers.
The most surprising aspect of the story comes from the Gazzetta dello Sport this morning, who claim Lazio’s replacement for Cissè is going to be Inzaghi.
The 37-year-old hitman has barely set foot on the field for Milan this season and has hinted he could walk away mid-season in order to play more regularly.
Parma and Novara have been mentioned as possible destinations, but Lazio would give Inzaghi the chance to continue his goal-scoring exploits in Europe. He'd also be the second Inzaghi for the club, as younger brother Simone used to play for the Biancocelesti.
AC Milan miss Merkel for six weeks? 28.1 ||webmaster
Maxi Lopez is delighted after finally completing his move to Milan and has promised to repay the club’s faith in him.
Lopez joined late on Friday evening after Vice-President Adriano Galliani was unsuccessful in negotiating a deal for the Rossoneri’s first transfer target, Carlos Tevez.
Signing the forward from Catania on an initial six-month loan believed to cost €500,000, the San Siro side have the option to make the deal permanent in the summer for a further €8.5m.
“I’m very happy,” Lopez told Milan Channel after the move was confirmed.
“After everything that has happened, I finally got to join this great team.
“I want to salute all the fans of this great club. I hope that I can return the fans’ affection with my efforts on the pitch.”
His agent, Andrea D’Amico, also spoke about the move and the nervous circumstances that surrounded it.
“It is a chance that he deserves. We knew that everything was on the condition of the Tevez deal, but we accepted the risk because the Milan train passes only once in one’s career and you have to gamble.
“The final minutes were frantic. At 18:55 Tevez was a Milan player, then what happened, happened and the word of Galliani goes without saying and he filed the Maxi’s contract at Milan.
“He cannot wait to make himself available, as he said, he’ll ‘eat the grass from the field’.”
Galliani: 'I thought Tevez would join us' 27.1 ||webmaster
Adriano Galliani has revealed how close Milan were to reaching an agreement with Manchester City over Carlos Tevez.
The Rossoneri Vice-President was in negotiations with Manchester City’s chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak until early on Friday evening in an attempt to break the deadlock over Tevez’ future.
The Premier League side were keen for full payment up front on their want-away striker, but Milan, who have been pursuing the forward for several weeks now, were pushing for an initial loan deal.
Where early reports indicated that Galliani had been successful in twisting Al Mubarak’s arm today, it subsequently emerged that City rejected the offer, prompting the Italian side to instead take up their option on plan B, Catania’s Maxi Lopez.
Speaking to Milan Channel after the news was confirmed, Galliani reflected on the day’s events and what the future may hold.
“At 18:30 I was convinced that Tevez would join us,” the 67-year-old mused. “We were very close.
“The day today was still very important because we have solved some misunderstandings born in recent days with City. Relations with the English club are much improved, but…patience…life goes on.
“Will Tevez stay at City? I don’t know what will happen in these last few days of the transfer window. The market will reopen in four months - we’ll see.
“Tevez was ready to fly to Italy. It’s a shame. I would like to publicly thank him for waiting. We will talk to City again in June.”
Galliani was equally keen to talk about new arrival Lopez.
“I chose to respect and honour the words promised to Maxi. We had a deadline of 19:00 today and since we did not reach an agreement with City we have filed the contract with Maxi instead.
“He waited for us. He is an important player who will be very useful for us and who we can use in the Champions League.
“We will only sign him for now. He has a lot of desire.”
After a late twist that saw Manchester City reject Milan’s latest attempts to sign Carlos Tevez, the Italians have now signed Maxi Lopez.
Late on Friday reports emerged that suggested Adriano Galliani had succeeded in convincing City to hand over the Rossoneri’s primary target on loan.
However, it has now been confirmed that this proposal was in fact rejected by the club’s chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, affirming Kia Joorabchian’s earlier claims that Tevez would not be leaving City this month.
Subsequently, Milan have now completed a deal to sign Catania’s Maxi Lopez, officially registering a contract with the Italian League this evening. Lopez joins on an initial six-month loan deal that carries an option in the summer to make his move permanent.
Milan’s deadline for a decision on Carlos Tevez and Maxi Lopez looks set to be extended, as negotiations for the Manchester City striker gradually progress.
The Rossoneri originally declared earlier this week that by Friday, 19:00 CET a choice between the two Argentine strikers the club are interested in would have been made and registration handed to the League for whichever player they had agreed a deal with.
However, as La Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting, that deadline looks to have passed without a conclusive decision being made.
This is understood to be because Adriano Galliani is still in negotiations with Manchester City’s chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and it is thought that the English side have slightly relinquished ground.
Specifically, reports are suggesting Al Mubarak has opened the door to Tevez joining Milan initially on loan, after Galliani raised the final price the Rossoneri would then pay for the 27-year-old in the summer.
The news comes a matter of hours after Tevez’ advisor Kia Joorabchian claimed that his client was unlikely to move this month.
Catania forward Lopez and his agent are understood to have also held further talks with the club today. Lopez is set to join the San Siro side on loan should Galliani be unsuccessful in signing Tevez.
As Maxi Lopez was spotted in the stands, Adriano Galliani confirms the 19:00 CET Friday deadline for Carlos Tevez. “Both want Milan at any cost.”
The club has made it clear that either Catania striker Lopez or Manchester City’s want-away Tevez will be signed over the January transfer window.
“By tomorrow at 19:00 CET, we will deposit a contract with the Lega,” declared the Vice-President on Milan Channel after tonight's 3-1 Coppa Italia victory against Lazio.
“A clue? I’ll tell you our new striker will be from Argentina and his surname ends with a ‘z’...
“Maxi Lopez is a marvellous lad and I don’t know what to say, as the next 24 hours are an enigma for me too.
“It is a new thing for us, locking down a player for several days, but whatever happens Maxi will be a Milan player in July. It is his dream to come and play for us.”
Galliani has made it clear that Tevez is the first choice, but Manchester City are still standing firm on refusing a loan move.
“Both Tevez and Lopez care very much about Milan and want to come here at any cost, so that is pleasing. Catania were very understanding about the situation, more so than other clubs, but we’ll only talk about that when this is all over.”
Massimiliano Allegri praised Djamel Mesbah and Stephan El Shaarawy, but has bad news for Milan’s Alexander Merkel.
The Rossoneri beat Lazio 3-1 at San Siro to set up a Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus.
“There were several chances in the first half and Marco Amelia did well to keep Lazio at bay,” said the Coach.
“My team did well and we really wanted to reach the semi-final. Hopefully we can keep going and reach the Final, too.”
Allegri reshuffled his squad for the Coppa tie, as Mesbah was given his first start in a Milan jersey.
“Mesbah had a good game and defended in a very orderly fashion. El Shaarawy is improving with every match, while Merkel also played well. It’s just a shame Merkel picked up that injury and it will be evaluated over the next few days.”
German youngster Merkel was brought in to help calm the injury crisis in midfield, but limped off this evening with a sprained left knee.
Catania striker Maxi Lopez was spotted in the stands for this game, fuelling reports he’ll complete his transfer within 24 hours.
“As Adriano Galliani said, we will sign either Carlos Tevez or Maxi Lopez.”
Coppa Italia: AC Milan 3:1 Lazio - goals 26.1 ||webmaster
Coppa Italia: AC Milan 3:1 Lazio - match report 26.1 ||webmaster
Milan fought back from a Djibril Cissè volley to beat Lazio 3-1 and set up an exciting Coppa Italia semi-final with Juventus.
An injury crisis ruled out Christian Abbiati, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso, Antonio Cassano and Mathieu Flamini, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva were rested. Stephan El Shaarawy and Alexander Merkel got rare chances to shine, while Djamel Mesbah had his first start since last week’s move from Lecce. Lazio switched to a new three-man defence, as Stefan Radu, Stefano Mauri, Libor Kozak, Emiliano Alfaro, Lorik Cana and Cristian Brocchi were injured.
Djibril Cissè had not scored since the opening round of the Serie A season in this stadium, a 2-2 September draw with Milan, and clearly he is inspired by this fixture. Within five minutes he had given Lazio the lead with a fine volley on the Alvaro Gonzalez cross from the right, ending the longest goal drought of his career, but was given acres of space through the middle of the Milan defence.
Senad Lulic burst between Merkel and Ignazio Abate for his shot to bounce off Marco Amelia’s chest.
However, the Rossoneri equalised when Merkel nodded Abate’s cross into the air, but it dropped beautifully for an unstoppable Robinho volley under the bar.
Milan suddenly turned the game around completely moments later, going from 0-1 to 2-1 in under three minutes. El Shaarawy was instrumental with a delightful backheel flick to send the pass between two defenders, as Clarence Seedorf kept his cool to drive a powerful finish over Federico Marchetti.
It should’ve been 2-2 at the 22nd minute, but Amelia somehow got down in time to fingertip a Gonzalez free header off the line. Robinho pounced on a defensive error to go round Marchetti, but had narrowed the angle too much and only hit the side-netting. The Brazilian was also halted in a promising move by a very tight offside decision.
Cissè had plenty of space again, but this time the volley was well wide of the target. Amelia flew to palm a splendid Hernanes free kick out of the far top corner, then Cissè turned the corner on to the side-netting. At the other end, Merkel just failed to make contact with Seedorf’s pass over the top.
Cristian Ledesma came on for the second half to shelve the three-man defence and El Shaarawy lost a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Abdoullay Konko. Seedorf shook off one challenge, but was well tackled in the box before he could pull the trigger.
Andre Dias was remarkably lucky not to get sent off and give away a penalty when he was caught on camera punching Mark Van Bommel in the back of the head as a corner was whipped in. Neither the referee nor assistant saw the incident, so video evidence could well be used against Dias.
El Shaarawy volleyed over from just inside the area and substitute Miroslav Klose’s header was off target. Merkel sprained his knee, so made way for Ibrahimovic. Amelia pushed a Cissè screamer out from under the bar and El Shaarawy held off two defenders only to prod the finish just wide of the upright.
Lazio pushed forward in the closing stages, but this just left space for Ibrahimovic to spring the offside trap from Urby Emanuelson’s through ball and pass it round Marchetti in a one-on-one. Replays suggest the Swede might’ve been just offside.
AC Milan: Amelia; Abate, Mexes, Bonera, Mesbah; Merkel (Ibrahimovic 69), Van Bommel, Nocerino; Seedorf (Emanuelson 74);Robinho (Calvano 89), El Shaarawy
Siena’s vice-President Valentina Mezzaroma dreams of further Coppa Italia success and of bringing Filippo Inzaghi to Tuscany.
Mezzaroma was speaking after watching her club defeat Chievo 1-0 to reach the semi-final of the Coppa Italia this week.
Napoli now stand between the team and the competition final and having held Walter Mazzarri’s men to a 1-1 draw at the San Paolo in the League last weekend, Mezzaroma believes her side are not phased by this latest Cup challenge.
“We are playing almost every three days,” she declared on Radio Sport. “On Sunday we face Fiorentina, then we are at home to Catania then we are in Turin to face Antonio Conte. It will be a fire in February.
“However, the satisfaction of reaching the Coppa Italia semi-final is really beyond all limits, it is a historic achievement. Last Sunday Napoli did not scare us. We deserved to win and they only scored in the 86th minute.
“I repeat, I do not expect them to make us afraid in our stadium.
“It is an honour to get to play for this target because it is something you would never imagine. Thinking about Europe, it would be a thrill to experience, but we cannot forget that our League campaign is about survival.
“We do not want to reconsider Serie B because it has been a tough year with sacrifices.”
Mezzaroma reflected on choosing Coach Giuseppe Sannino this summer. The 54-year-old had impressed at Varese, but arrived in Tuscany as a novice to Serie A.
“Sannino was a good choice, given we came from a great leader in Conte, who is showing his worth to Juventus.
“I think we bet on another winning horse, a man with great humility, who is stern, but that is greatly accepted in the dressing room. All we need now is a little more up front and a little malice.
“Now there is also the transfer market and Perinetti and my brother are in it. Their ambition is great and as you know, all the surprises come on the last day.
“I really want Inzaghi. I love him because he always finds the net. He is one of our hypotheses, I hope he’ll arrive.”
Filippo Inzaghi has revealed his and Alessandro Del Piero’s secret to extending their respective careers into their late 30s .
Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport this week, 38-year-old Milan striker Inzaghi, who could be in action on Thursday in his team’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against Lazio, reflected on the praise 37-year-old Del Piero has received this week.
The Juventus forward scored his first goal at his club’s stadium this week in Juve’s quarter-final 3-0 win over Roma.
“I was happy for him. Ale, like me, lives football with great passion and professionalism. He deserves everything he gets.”
Del Piero’s strike drew him level with Inzaghi on 287 career strikes. The duo find themselves now both four goals behind Roberto Baggio’s 291 haul.
“We will do everything to catch Baggio,” admitted former Atalanta man Inzaghi. “Our secret? We are never satisfied. Now we train so much and play little, but we will still not give up. We always have new objectives.”
Should Milan overcome Lazio tonight then they will face Del Piero’s Juventus in the semi-finals.
“It would be nice to meet in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. Time passes, but we’re still people and the affection for the prize is all the more beautiful.”
AC Milan: 'Tevez decision on Friday' 25.1 ||webmaster
Edy Reja prepares Lazio for the Coppa Italia quarter-final with Milan, but warns Djibril Cissè “is not focused” due to his goal drought.
“I will field the best possible Lazio line-up in Milan,” assured the Coach. “Every competition is important and we must always push for 100 per cent. If the players who started on Sunday are in good shape, then they will start tomorrow.
“We’ve got to aim to win every single game, even in the Coppa Italia, where we tend to have a good tradition.”
It is a swift return to San Siro, where the Biancocelesti were beaten 2-1 at the weekend.
“I cannot complain about our performance, as the Nerazzurri didn’t get near the ball before they scored. Then there were the incidents we all know about with the referee. If we keep playing like that, then the results will come your way eventually.
“Maybe we are still not mentally ready to win the head-to-head games. We’ll see in the second half of the season if we can improve on that.”
Cissè has more experience than most of the Lazio squad, but has not scored since September in a 2-2 draw here with Milan.
“I am a bit upset for him, as I’d like Cissè to find his form. He is in any case convinced he can still give an important contribution. I hope he breaks his drought as soon as possible, because he is not focused due to the pressure of feeling he has to score.”
Lazio have brought in Emiliano Alfaro over the January transfer window and are not finished yet with negotiations for CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda.
“The club knows what my requests are. I never name names, but I am interested only in players with certain characteristics.”
AC Milan will tell Maxi Lopez tomorrow 25.1 ||webmaster
Manchester City have warned Milan that they are “not an option” for Carlos Tevez unless the £30m price-tag is met, despite their “misplaced sense of confidence.”
Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani confirmed they are still in negotiations for Tevez, but are only willing to take the want-away Argentine on loan.
“As things stand AC Milan isn't an option for Carlos Tevez,” Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak told The National.
“Mr Galliani and his advisers have developed a misplaced sense of confidence from their premature discussions with Carlos and his advisers.
“If they want to be a consideration in this transfer window they would do better to stop congratulating one another and begin to look at how they would meet our terms.”
Manchester City are making a stand against the player, who has been AWOL in Argentina since November 7. His wages have been frozen as of the end of November and he was fined six weeks’ wages for gross misconduct.
“Carlos remains a player with contractual obligations to Manchester City for the next two-and-a-half seasons,” said Khaldoon.
“Unless we receive an offer that we deem appropriate, the terms of his contract will be enforced. Inter Milan and Paris St Germain approached discussions with us in good faith and it is always a positive experience to deal with people with a professional approach.”
This final broadside at Milan – who very publicly agreed terms with Tevez’s agent over the Christmas break – is further evidence the move is not going to happen.
It is good news for Maxi Lopez, as the Catania striker is holed up in a Milan hotel waiting for news. He will be signed if the Rossoneri fail to capture Tevez.
Antonio Nocerino has made his wishes for 2012: “I want to win the Scudetto with Milan, then play Euro 2012 for Italy.”
The midfielder was signed in the final minutes of the summer transfer market for just €500,000 from Palermo, but has become one of the key players at San Siro.
“I want to win the Scudetto with Milan, then play Euro 2012 for Italy. Up until now I have always been called by Cesare Prandelli, so I hope to earn my place at the European Championships,” said the midfielder.
“If I don’t, then it’ll feel like going to Rome and not seeing The Pope.”
Before that, Milan continue to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto, sitting just one point behind the Winter Champions.
“It’s not true that Juve are hungrier than we are. I am starved, just like my teammates who have won it all, but try to give their best every time anyway.
“I don’t know if I am of Milan quality, but I am never satisfied and won’t get big-headed. I hope to be at least 1 per cent of the quality shown by the champions I play alongside.”
The finer points to Milan’s proposed move for Catania’s Argentine striker Maxi Lopez have emerged, even if the transfer is still far from certain to go through.
According to reports circulating this morning and now repeated by Sky Sport Italia this afternoon, Catania and Milan have an agreement in place for a six-month loan deal for the forward.
Lopez will move to San Siro until the end of the season for a cost of €500,000, with the option in place for the Rossoneri to buy the forward outright in the summer for €8.5m.
The 27-year-old is thought likely to earn in the region of €700,000 in wages for the period up to June, and then €1.5m a season on a reported three-year contract.
However, where the terms are said to be agreed and finalised, the player has reportedly yet to complete his medical examinations or sign anything as he waits for Il Diavolo to reach a final decision on the move.
As Adriano Galliani admitted on Monday evening, the club are still interested in pursuing Carlos Tevez, but need Manchester City to relent on their position in negotiations.
Lopez’ agent has intimated that any deal for his client is likely to be concluded over the next few days. The Argentine is reportedly holed up in a hotel in Milan waiting for confirmation from the club either way.
Italy’s annual Oscar del Calcio awards have been held this evening, with Milan dominating the proceedings.
There were nine categories awarded in the 15th edition of Serie A’s annual Player of the Year awards held in Milan, with the winners chosen from a confirmed list of nominees announced in December. The winner of Best Player then goes to one of the winners of Best Italian and Best Foreign Player.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scooped the Best Foreign Player and Best Player of 2011 awards, whilst Massimiliano Allegri was chosen as the year’s Best Coach.
Thiago Silva was handed the Best Defender prize whilst Stephan El Shaarawy, also now at Milan, was awarded the Best Serie B Player of 2011. The Rossoneri also had the most players in the Team of the Year.
Samir Handanovic picked up the Best Goalkeeper award to avoid a Diavolo clean sweep, whilst Udinese were awarded Best Club and Nicola Rizzoli Best Referee.
Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Del Piero picked up lifetime achievement awards whilst Fabio Capello was given a special Critics Award.
Oscar del Calcio winners
Best Coach: Massimiliano Allegri
Runners up: Francesco Guidolin, Walter Mazzarri
Best Goalkeeper: Samir Handanovic
Runners up: Christian Abbiati, Morgan De Sanctis
Best Defender: Thiago Silva
Runners up: Andrea Barzagli, Mehdi Benatia
Best Foreigner: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Runners up: Edinson Cavani, Samuel Eto’o
Best Referee: Nicola Rizzoli
Runners up: Paolo Tagliavento, Paolo Valeri
Best Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Best Club: Udinese
Most Points: Milan (80)
Highest Goalscorer: Edinson Cavani (28)
Team of the Year: Handanovic; Maggio, Thiago Silva, Nesta (tied with Ranocchia), Armero; Hamsik, Boateng, Motta (tied with Marchisio); Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Di Natale
Galliani: Tevez words are good news 23.1 ||webmaster
Adriano Galliani has again reiterated Milan’s desire to sign Carlos Tevez and made clear that it is a case of signing either him or Maxi Lopez, not both.
Catania earlier today confirmed that a deal with the Rossoneri was all but complete for the Rossoneri to sign their Argentine forward, with Lopez even pictured today meeting Milan’s sporting director Ariedo Braida.
However, as the Sicilian-based player’s agent later confirmed, any deal is dependent on one for Tevez not going through.
In speaking to the Press on Monday, Galliani took the opportunity to again encourage Manchester City to lower their asking price, in light of Tevez’ reported declaration that he wants ‘only Milan’.
“His words are good news,” reflected Galliani. “The closing of the deal, however, depends neither on us nor on him, but on City. The will of Milan and the player are clear, but not enough.
“In principle too, both cannot join. In fact, I would say that it is not possible. A striker will come, he will be Argentinean and his name will end with a ‘z’.”
The Milan Vice-President was also asked of the theory that Alexandre Pato will follow Ricky Kaka in turning down a January move only to leave the following summer.
“No, Pato has a long contract and he is a great champion. He will remain here.”
Meanwhile, Lopez, when stopped by reporters in Milan on Monday evening, confirmed no deal for his transfer has been agreed yet, but that ‘in a day or two’ it could be.
Maxi Lopez is still a Tevez alternative 23.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri concedes Urby Emanuelson is better as a full-back and notes Milan “are favourites for the Scudetto along with Juventus.”
The Rossoneri may not be Winter Champions, but they have reached the half-way stage of the season just one point behind the Bianconeri after their 3-0 victory in Novara.
“We were forced to get the three points today in order to reach 40 points, which was the target we had set ourselves despite a tough start to the campaign,” said the Coach.
“Juventus are for the moment keeping up an impressive pace and are still unbeaten. We are the favourites for the Scudetto along with Juventus, even if one shouldn’t forget teams doing well like Udinese, Roma and Inter.”
It was still goalless at the break with Novara before Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench, moving under-fire Emanuelson from trequartista to left-back.
“It is not easy for him to play ‘in the hole,’ seeing as he has mainly been out wide in his career. He did decidedly better as a full-back today, but Emanuelson remains a very important player in whatever his position. I think the criticism of this player has been gratuitous.
“El Shaarawy has improved a great deal over the last two months, especially in physical terms. Before he played in a different role, as he just needed a little time to get used to the new situation.”
Serie A: Novara 0:3 AC Milan - goals 22.1 ||webmaster
Serie A: Novara 0:3 AC Milan - match report 22.1 ||webmaster
Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a brace around Robinho’s tap-in, as Milan cruised to a 3-0 victory in Novara.
The Rossoneri were desperate to get back on track after the derby defeat ended their run of 10 wins and 12 draws, not to mention lost their chances of becoming Winter Champions. They also played Novara midweek and were forced into extra time to beat them 2-1 for a place in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, so confidence was very low.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alessandro Nesta were suspended, while the injury crisis ruled out Christian Abbiati, Alexandre Pato, Gennaro Gattuso, Alberto Aquilani, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mathieu Flamini, Mario Yepes and Antonio Cassano. Novara had Massimo Paci and Paolo Hernan Dellafiore out on bans, plus Carlalberto Ludi, Alex Pinardi and Andrea Lisuzzo sidelined.
After 12 minutes Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fierce free kick from the D was beaten away by Samir Ujkani, but Robinho horribly missed the follow-up from a yard, flashing his shot across the face of goal.
Another Ibrahimovic free kick caused huge problems for Ujkani, who saw it bounce off his chest and out for a corner. From the resulting set play, Thiago Silva had a free header from six yards, but a desperate goalline clearance by Andrea Caracciolo saved Novara.
Ibra forced another unorthodox save from Ujkani, who struggled to parry a snapshot from the edge of the box.
It was turning into a siege on the Novara goal, as Antonio Nocerino spun round to skim the far post with a well-taken strike. Another goalline clearance kept out Philippe Mexes’ angled drive.
Stephan El Shaarawy came on for the second half, moving Emanuelson to left-back, but Novara had a great chance straight away with Caracciolo on the counter seeing his shot fingertipped inches past the back stick.
The ‘Little Pharaoh’ also threatened with his header off target, but Milan finally found a way through the Novara brick wall on 57 minutes.
Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap on a smart Massimo Ambrosini chipped pass over the top and kept his cool for a stop and flick past the on-rushing Ujkani from six yards.
El Shaarawy should’ve made it 2-0, as he skipped away from his marker and the goalkeeper, but the angle was too narrow and he only hit the side-netting.
Milan did double their lead moments later, as Nocerino pulled back for El Shaarawy’s shot, which turned into an assist for Robinho to come sliding in at the back post. However, Novara were furious, as Nocerino appeared to handle in the build-up.
Ibrahimovic put the final nail in Novara’s coffin when Ujkani flapped an El Shaarawy cross and the Swede pounced, sneakily flicking it back into an empty net with his back to goal.
Carlos Tevez “only wants Milan,” confirmed his agent, but the Rossoneri are ready to snatch Maxi Lopez off Fulham just in case Manchester City hold out.
The latest chapter in the Tevez saga developed this week when the want-away striker effectively turned down a €37m move to Paris Saint-Germain.
“Tevez only wants Milan,” representative Kia Joorabchian said. “We are waiting to find out what Manchester City’s intentions are, but we have already told PSG what they needed to know.
“As for Inter, we never spoke to them, so they are not a viable alternative. In fact, if Carlo Ancelotti hadn’t been at PSG, I wouldn’t even have flown in for talks.”
This forces Manchester City to reconsider Milan’s proposal of a loan with option to buy at the end of the season.
However, City are increasingly frustrated at Tevez’s tactics, as for months now he has been ‘on strike’ in South America. It’s possible they will hold on to the Argentine just to ensure he doesn’t get his way.
Aware of this, the Rossoneri are scrambling towards Plan B, namely Maxi Lopez of Catania.
The hitman has agreed terms with Fulham for a €1.5m loan plus €9m buy-out clause and a four-year contract worth €1.2m per season.
Maxi made it clear he’d prefer San Siro and is continuing to stall, giving Milan a chance to come back in with an offer. He’d also have the advantage of being able to play in the Champions League.
In other news, there are reports Antonio Cassano is recovering quicker than expected from his heart surgery and could well return to the field at the beginning of April.
Tesser's Novara to worry AC Milan 21.1 ||webmaster
Attilio Tesser already made life difficult for Milan once this week and hopes Novara can do it again tomorrow. “We mustn’t get pegged back.”
The two teams faced off in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 at San Siro on Wednesday night, beaten 2-1 only after extra time.
“We need a performance at the height of our potential,” said the Coach ahead of the home match.
“The important thing is that Novara do attack Milan and are always ready to go on the counter. We mustn’t get pegged back.
“The Rossoneri have such technique that we must be wary not to allow them too much possession, or we won’t be able to get the ball.”
Novara are propping up the Serie A table and have an injury crisis that has ruled out Carlalberto Ludi, Andrea Lisuzzo and Ivan Radovanovic, plus the suspended Massimo Paci and Paolo Hernan Dellafiore.
“Either Simone Pesce or Daniel Jensen will replace Radovanovic, while in attack we’ll field Giuseppe Mascara and Andrea Caracciolo.”
Carlos Tevez’s agent confirms “talks are continuing with other interested clubs,” while Leonardo warns PSG “won’t go crazy” to sign him.
The Manchester City striker reportedly rejected a €37m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain late last night, as he wants to push through the Milan move.
“We are simply half-way through negotiations with PSG,” agent Kia Joorabchian told Le Parisien newspaper.
“I don’t want to give details, but we are still a long way off reaching an agreement. After all, we are continuing talks with the other interested clubs. Do I mean Inter and Milan? I don’t need to confirm what is written in the newspapers.
“All I can say is that if Carlo Ancelotti weren’t the Coach of PSG, then we wouldn’t even be in Paris talking about it. I consider him to be one of the best managers in the world, perhaps even the best.”
However, Milan remain the preferred destination for Tevez and Paris Saint-Germain director general Leonardo is aware of that.
“It is a complex negotiation process, but we are not prepared to go crazy in order to sign him,” Leonardo told French television.
“We know that taking the player means making sacrifices, but if we don’t achieve a deal then there’s no problem. The team remains competitive and that’s the important thing.
“We have to protect the club, which means buying only players who believe in our project and are truly interested in coming here.”
Massimiliano Allegri tells Milan they “have no choice but to win” away to Novara after their derby defeat.
If Juventus win against Atalanta this evening, then their status as Winter champions will be secure, but the Rossoneri want to keep up the Scudetto pace.
“Tomorrow, more than on any other occasion, we have no choice but to win and it matters little whether we play well,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
Milan already played Novara on Wednesday night in the Coppa Italia and were forced into extra time before eventually winning 2-1.
“After Wednesday’s victory it is now also necessary to bring home the three points in Serie A. I am sure Novara will put in the performance of a lifetime.
“We had the opportunity to go top of the table with a win over Inter, but had a far tougher test than Juventus against Cagliari.”
That 1-0 defeat to their local rivals ended a run of 10 victories and two draws in the League. Now the Rossoneri have a massive injury crisis on their hands.
“We hope Alexandre Pato and Kevin-Prince Boateng won’t be out of action for too long, while Mathieu Flamini is also recovering well,” continued Allegri.
“We could see Robinho, Stephan El Shaarawy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic together, but ‘The Little Pharaoh’ will certainly feel the strain of Wednesday’s Coppa game. He can play as both a second striker and outside left, but at the moment I see him better in the former role.”
The Coach stated that Luca Antonini is more likely to start than new signing Djamel Mesbah, while he defended Urby Emanuelson from post-derby criticism.
“The way I see it Emanuelson is doing well as a trequartista. To be at the top he is still missing a goal and for a few more tricks to go his way.”
Naturally, Allegri was asked about the latest developments in the Carlos Tevez saga.
“I know people are going to talk about this until the end of the transfer window, but as I have said many times before it’s an issue for the club and not for me.”
AC Milan injury crisis intensifies 21.1 ||webmaster
Djamel Mesbah has revealed his delight in joining title-chasing Milan from relegation-threatened Lecce this January transfer window.
The Algerian international completed a move from the Salentini earlier this week, signing a contract until June 2016.
After his first day of training at his club, the 27-year-old versatile left-sided player reflected on the move with Milan Channel.
“I am pleased and proud to have signed with Milan. I arrive with great humility and desire to grow. Arriving at Milanello was impressive, my new teammates have all been very kind to me on my first day too.
“I hope to fit quickly so as to make myself immediately available to the Coach.
“I’ve scored a few goals in my career, especially when playing wide in midfield. In Lecce, I have been working mainly as a defender, but I also like to play in the opponents’ half.”
Milan benchwarmer Taye Taiwo hints he could be leaving during the January transfer window. “A move abroad is certainly the most likely.”
The full-back arrived in the summer on a free transfer from Olympique Marseille, but has managed only eight appearances in all competition.
“Yes, it is possible that Taiwo will leave and we are looking for a solution,” agent Fabio Parisi told MilanNews.it today.
“There could be some developments today and we’ll see what happens. A move abroad is certainly the most likely.
“I can categorically rule out any interest from Genoa, as they simply did not request him. In January we often see associations between clubs and players that are in reality unfounded.
“The lad is certainly disappointed at the way things are going. He arrived with a great deal of enthusiasm, but was unable to express himself to his full potential. Now we will seek what is best for the player.”
Carlo Ancelotti has stated his belief that Inter and Milan target Carlos Tevez now wants to play for his Paris Saint-Germain team.
Tevez saw a move to Milan collapse last week after Alexandre Pato pulled out of a reported €35m switch to the Parisian side.
With both parties having lost out on their first-choice transfers, PSG had an initial €29m bid for Tevez accepted on Tuesday with it believed that the player and his representatives will work out a contract in the coming days.
Speaking at a Press conference today, former Milan Coach Ancelotti, who took over at the Ligue 1 side at the turn of the year, intimated that he believes an agreement will be reached, in spite of continued reports that Tevez is not keen on playing in the French League.
“I think that if we talk to Tevez we will find that he wants to come here. He wants a change of situation, he is not playing with Manchester City.
“He is a great player and I think that within two weeks he can return to his best condition.”
Milan were punished for a docile second half performance and taken into extra time by Novara before eventually winning their Coppa Italia clash.
Both sides went into the Last 16 clash in need of a good performance after respective disappointing League defeats at the weekend.
Massimiliano Allegri rang the changes after his team’s derby defeat, notably bringing in the likes of Philippe Mexes, Massimo Ambrosini, Stephan El Shaarawy and Filippo Inzaghi for starts. Alexander Merkel was also handed a first-team chance after his midweek loan return from Genoa.
Similarly, Attilio Tesser made seven changes to his line-up after their Week 18 defeat to Cesena.
Milan carved open the first opportunity of the tie after seven minutes. El Shaarawy’s quick release of the ball in the penalty area found Inzaghi, but his clever turn was followed by a tame shot.
The Rossoneri dominated possession in the early stages and it was Inzaghi who again popped up for their next two chances.
Whilst Novara’s goalkeeper Alberto Fontana was quick off his line to prevent the veteran springing the offside trap, the striker guiltily missed a headed effort at the far post moments later.
Soon after that Simone Pesce tested Marco Amelia’s alertness with a stinging effort that forced a corner.
El Shaarawy demonstrated his potential with a well-taken strike, taking possession outside the area on the left to cut in an unleash an outward curling effort low and past Fontana.
Granoche almost equalised immediately, latching on with a toe-poke to try to finish a clever passing move through Milan’s defence, but the effort was straight at Amelia.
With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, El Shaarawy almost doubled his tally on the night after latching on to a long pass down field that caught Novara’s high line of defence out. However, his cut inside and high effort was tipped over by Fontana.
A quieter second half was peppered by roving runs through Novara’s defence by both El Shaarawy and Urby Emanuelson, but on each occasion to no distinct end product. Indeed, the second 45 was characterised by the home team’s comfort in possession matched with a wastefulness in the final third.
Emanuelson forced a routine save from Fontana midway through the period after neat work down the right from substitute Alexandre Pato.
At the other end, Michel Morganella’s dangerous cross forced an improvised and careful clearance behind by Mexes.
Some skill in the middle of the pitch by El Shaarawy, followed by a run down the pitch with the ball from Robinho lifted the atmosphere heading towards the closing stages, before Pato’s subsequent effort on goal thundered over the bar by some distance.
From nothing, Radovanovic equalised with two minutes to go when his low 30-yard free-kick found its way through the Milan wall and easily past a rooted Amelia.
In his side’s immediate attacking at the other end, Luca Antonini received a nasty blow to the head from Jeda’s boot after the Novara player’s acrobatic attempt to clear a cross on the edge of the penalty area. Pato shot wide from the resulting free-kick.
Radovanovic and Robinho picked up yellow cards for clashing after the Brazilian’s challenge on the midfielder. Milan returned to dominating possession in extra time having dropped off towards the end of the original 90. Ignazio Abate’s cross was met with a close-range half-volley from Pato for the team’s first clear-cut chance, but Fontana’s outstretched hand proved enough to keep the scores level.
Minutes later though, Pato did get the better of the ‘keeper, flicking it over his run off his line to then casually volley it into an empty net. Pato, who narrowly beat the offside trap, had been put through one-on-one from Robinho’s slide-rule pass.
Robinho then almost made it three, controlling a loose ball in the box, only to see his volley shave the outside of Fontana’s right post. Pato then almost got a second with an acrobatic bicycle kick just before the end of the first half of extra time, controlling an El Shaarawy cross before swivelling on the spot and lashing just wide.
Bonera did well to block a late, point-blank effort from Jeda that would have forced the tie into penalties. It came during the final few minutes when Milan were playing with 10 men. Having used all three substitutions, Pato’s withdrawal for what looked like a slight hamstring injury left the team a man down.
Massimiliano Allegri has dismissed fears that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato cannot play together and promised an instant reaction to the derby defeat.
Ibra and Pato started for the Rossoneri in the weekend’s 1-0 reverse to rivals Inter, in a game that proved to be a frustrating evening for both forwards.
Even as Ibrahimovic is second in the Capocannoniere charts with 12 strikes to his name, Pato’s run of one goal in 10 League appearances has Allegri taking questions on the duo’s compatibility.
“There is no problem between Ibrahimovic and Pato. It is only a matter of the best fit and an understanding between them will grow as they play together,” Allegri declared to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The boos Pato received in the derby have not affected him. Yesterday and today it is clear, I think Pato just needs to find the goal for his confidence.”
Allegri also promised that the Rossoneri will show a reaction to Week 18’s derby defeat in the midweek Coppa Italia tie.
“The defeat against Inter does not change the approach of Milan. We have absorbed it and tomorrow the challenge of the Coppa Italia with Novara allows us to turn things around very quickly.
“If we had drawn and Juventus had won then it would have been worse, but Milan is not afraid of direct confrontation. Perhaps in the return legs we will win all five of them.
“We came from 10 wins and two draws, conceding few goals. Sunday was a bad game, we paid for a mistake, but Milan remain on course and we aim to finish the first half of the league fixtures with 40 points.”
Milan duo Kevin Prince Boateng and Alessandro Nesta will sit out the Rossoneri’s next League match after being handed one-game suspensions.
The energetic midfielder and experienced centre-back were both booked in their side’s 1-0 home defeat to city rivals Inter on Sunday evening. Having accumulated yellow cards, it has been confirmed that both will now be forced to miss the Week 19 fixture with Novara.
Il Diavolo’s Piedmont opponents will also have two men suspended for that fixture in the form of Paolo Dellafiore and Massimo Paci, who both also accumulated bookings this weekend.
Other suspensions for Week 19 include Genoa’s Marco Rossi, Bologna’s Archimede Morleo and Nicolo Cherubin, Atalanta’s Stefano Lucchini and Carlos Carmona, Siena’s Alessandro Gazzi and Luca Rossettini, Lecce’s Guillermo Giacomazzi and Inter’s Thiago Motta.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic concedes Milan “didn’t put in a great performance, but Inter focused only on defending themselves.”
The Rossoneri had 67 per cent of the possession in Sunday night’s clash, but were still beaten 1-0 by a Diego Milito strike.
“We didn’t put in a great performance, especially as we were unable to get many shots on target,” he told Swedish newspaper Sportbladet.
“We always had the ball at our feet, but struggled to become dangerous with it. In any case, I got the feeling Inter stepped on to the field looking only to defend themselves. They sat and waited for our mistake to punish us. It worked.
“I didn’t get much service and at one stage decided to stay more within the penalty area. We lost, but are still five points ahead of Inter in the table.
“I do not consider the derby to be a decisive match, as there are so many more to come. The key was that Inter defended and Milan didn’t play their best game in attack. You can’t perform at 100 per cent all the time.”
The result ended their 12-round unbeaten Serie A run.
Massimiliano Allegri was left to rue poor finishing, but felt “Milan played and Inter defended with 10 men behind the ball.”
The Rossoneri ended the game with 67 per cent possession, but were beaten 1-0 by a Diego Milito strike.
“I don’t think this changes anything. This weekend the two joint leaders managed a point between them, so little really changed. What did happen is that we lost the derby and Inter are back in the Scudetto race,” said the Coach.
“If you look at the game, Inter just waited to strike on the counter-attack and played with 10 men behind the ball, so it wasn’t easy for us to find space. We had to score early or face a brick wall.
“Milito did very well, as he only had a tiny corridor to get the ball in and he placed it perfectly. We could’ve scored many times, but instead were caught on the counter-attack. Ignazio Abate also made a similar mistake two years ago against Milito and I could see in his face that he was heartbroken.
“Inter are a very physical side who defend better in tight spaces. Perhaps I could’ve put Robinho on straight after the break, but we were playing well and Pato’s pace was important in the one-on-one against Lucio and Walter Samuel. “We had a few chances to equalise, but weren’t sharp enough and the goalkeeper performed some fine saves. Ultimately Milan played and Inter defended.”
Allegri admits the lead-up to this clash was not the best for Milan, as on Thursday Alexandre Pato rejected a €35m transfer to PSG, destroying the bid for Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.
“It was a chaotic week, an unnecessarily chaotic one. Up until a few hours ago we were top of the table, yet the media painted it as if Milan had a thousand and one problems. The Rossoneri will continue to fight for the Scudetto till the end.
“It was a decision made by the club and Pato. I never said I wanted to send Pato away, especially as we had already lost Antonio Cassano, so Tevez was meant to replace Cassano.
“Is it over for Tevez? I don’t know, you’d have to ask the club.
“Now I have to put together the few midfielders I have left for the next game.”
Gattuso: 'Tevez can still join AC Milan' 15.1 ||webmaster
Diego Milito has given Inter the Derby della Madonnina victory and put them right back in the Scudetto race!
The derby is always a huge game and rarely more than on this occasion. The Rossoneri needed a result to keep up with leaders Juventus, while the Nerazzurri could burst back into the Scudetto race with a victory. Both were on fine form, Milan unbeaten in 12 Serie A games and Inter with five wins on the bounce. Alexandre Pato was thrown into the starting XI just days after he rejected a move to PSG, while Kevin-Prince Boateng went deeper to make way for Urby Emanuelson as Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso, Antonio Cassano, Mathieu Flamini and Taye Taiwo were out. Inter missed Dejan Stankovic and Africa Cup of Nations man Sulley Muntari, while Wesley Sneijder was back on the bench for the first time since November 2.
Thiago Motta nodded in after five minutes, but the goal was flagged offside for his two teammates Walter Samuel and Lucio.
Julio Cesar smothered a Zlatan Ibrahimovic snapshot at the near post, while Boateng’s deflected volley was followed up over the bar by Pato. The Inter goalkeeper was somewhat nervous on a Yuto Nagatomo backpass and fumbled a corner off Thiago Silva’s head.
A corner found Boateng unmarked only to balloon over the bar, but Alessandro Nesta had to intercept a smart one-two from Douglas Maicon in the box. At the other end, Samuel did the same as Pato pulled back for Emanuelson.
Ibrahimovic attempted an audacious scorpion flick with his back leg that landed on the roof of the net.
Inter had a great chance on 40 minutes, as Nagatomo’s cross found Ricky Alvarez unmarked, but the young Argentine hesitated and aimed a weak effort at the on-rushing Christian Abbiati’s legs from six yards.
Milan went even closer when Mark Van Bommel passed it on to the crossbar from the edge of the box, then as the move continued Julio Cesar turned Emanuelson’s volley off the line.
Inter broke the deadlock after the restart. Ignazio Abate’s slip allowed Javier Zanetti’s cross-field pass to reach Diego Milito, whose precise angled drive went in off the far post. El Principe found the net for the third game on the trot.
Nagatomo’s screamer from 30 metres took a deflection to whizz just past the upright, while Julio Cesar flapped an Ibra chipped pass off the head of Pato.
Robinho replaced Gianluca Zambrotta for a trident attack, moving Emanuelson to full-back, while Cristian Chivu came on for Alvarez. Sneijder also made his comeback after two and a half months.
Ibra’s pull-back was turned back across by Antonio Nocerino, but Pato’s first touch was heavy and allowed Julio Cesar to smother from point-blank range.
Clarence Seedorf also came off the bench and his blockbuster from distance that Julio Cesar flew to palm away. Robinho then burst through the Inter defence only to fire straight at the goalkeeper at the near post.
The final stages were a siege on the Nerazzurri area, but Ranieri’s men held firm.
Adriano Galliani praised rivals Inter ahead of tonight’s huge Milan derby and said Massimiliano Allegri “deserved his contract renewal.”
The joint Serie A leaders are unbeaten in 12, while the Nerazzurri have won five on the trot, so the pressure is on at San Siro.
“We are going to play an incredibly important game against a very strong side. Inter have a wonderful squad,” Vice-President Galliani told Milan Channel.
In the last few days the Rossoneri have extended Coach Allegri’s contract to June 2014, as it was set to expire this summer.
“I remember saying a long time ago that Allegri was the right fit for Milan. He deserved his contract renewal for all the great work he did, winning the Scudetto in his first season. Of course there were negotiations about money, because everyone is in a financial crisis, then we reached an agreement.”
Some star names will be forced to watch the derby from the stands, as Antonio Cassano is recovering from a minor stroke and Gennaro Gattuso is still struggling with an eye condition.
“I spoke to Antonio earlier and we hope he can return as soon as possible. As for Gattuso, he will overcome this latest setback.”
Milan have bad news ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Inter, as Thiago Silva and Clarence Seedorf are major injury doubts.
The Rossoneri are already without Alberto Aquilani and Gennaro Gattuso for the match tomorrow evening.
Although reports from the club medical staff suggest they are optimistic Thiago Silva will be fit in time, he is struggling with a muscular problem.
The Brazilian defender did not take part in the final training session due to a thigh twinge and was already having problems on Friday.
Meanwhile, Seedorf is suffering from flu symptoms and is also a doubt for the big game. Taye Taiwo has not been called up due to the same illness.
Antonio Cassano was along with the squad for their run-out at San Siro this afternoon and amused teammates by continually asking to join in the game between ranks.
Cassano was given the all-clear this week to start personalised training as he continues his recovery from a minor stroke caused by a congenital heart defect. Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Mexes, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Boateng, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, Van Bommel, El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Inzaghi, Pato, Robinho
Massimiliano Allegri sees the derby as a chance to end Inter’s Scudetto hopes, reveals what really happened with Alexandre Pato and proposes the trident attack.
It has been a chaotic few days for Milan, who on Thursday abandoned negotiations with Carlos Tevez after Pato turned down a €35m move to Paris Saint-Germain.
“This week has been rather eventful,” confessed the Coach who also signed a contract extension to June 2014.
“We continued our work in a relaxed manner despite the many reports swirling round the team. I never said that I wanted to sell Pato. It was simply a transfer operation to replace Antonio Cassano. It’s also not true that I have a cold rapport with Pato. With him and the other players I have a perfectly professional relationship.
“It is only normal that he’ll be on the bench sometimes, as everyone is. It’s impossible to play every single game and nobody ever doubted his quality. Will Tevez arrive anyway? I don’t know, I’m just focused on the derby. As for my contract, that was never a problem, it was just an issue of timing.”
Allegri has won all the Milan derbies since coming to San Siro and hopes to continue that record against a revived Inter coming off five consecutive victories.
“I think after the change of management from Gian Piero Gasperini to Claudio Ranieri that Inter changed their style of football. They are in good shape and have found a balance to their team.
“The derby is always a tense affair and one that requires great concentration. We are not too far away from them in the table, so must try to win at all costs. After all, a victory would mean cutting down their chances of fighting for the Scudetto, so it is an important crossroads.”
Alberto Aquilani is out for a month and Gennaro Gattuso suffered a relapse of his eye condition, so Allegri must again reshuffle the midfield.
“Kevin-Prince Boateng did well there against Atalanta, while Urby Emanuelson is an option for the trequartista role. In fact, I could also field Pato, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic together.”
Claudio Ranieri notes Inter “are in favourable form” going into the Milan derby on Sunday night, “but it’s always a game apart from the others.”
The Nerazzurri have won five consecutive Serie A matches and a win tomorrow evening could put them right back in the Scudetto race.
“It’s always a game apart from the others, outside the context of the League, and particularly emotional for fans and players,” said the Coach preparing for his first Derby della Madonnina.
“Milan are up there, unbeaten in 12 rounds. We respect them a great deal, but will aim to beat them. We’ve prepared for this match, are in favourable form and Inter are ready.”
Julio Cesar is in the squad despite a back problem, while Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan also return.
“I don’t know how many minutes Sneijder has in his legs, as he hasn’t played since November. I am very pleased to see him back, along with Cristian Chivu and Forlan. It’s a shame about Dejan Stankovic, as he was training very well, but today felt pain in the tendon.
“I am certainly not going to complain at having a large squad to choose from, as a Coach only begins to have problems when he is forced into decisions.”
Ranieri had some very specific warnings for the Nerazzurri with regards to tactics and approach.
“We always tend to concede at the first counter-attack, so we have been warned. Milan know more than anyone how to hurt teams on the counter.
“Is the derby a crossroads? As we already said against Juventus, Napoli and Udinese, the three points are the important thing. We lost three head-to-heads this season and it seemed as if we’d never be able to get back into the race.
“If we win, then Milan will lose precious points and start to believe we’re back. If we lose then we stay where we are with another 20 matches to climb back up.”
The Inter boss concluded by wishing Milan Coach Massimiliano Allegri well after signing a contract extension.
“It wasn’t easy for him to come in to a big club without much experience. He worked and earned the respect of everyone. I am very happy he renewed his contract.”
Cosmi: 'Mesbah will join AC Milan' 14.1 ||webmaster
Antonio Cassano has been assessed and passed fit to recommence his playing career with Milan and begin training again from tomorrow.
The 29-year-old has been out of action since the end of October after suffering a mild stroke that doctors found was the result of a minor heart condition. Since undergoing surgery, the former Bari and Roma man has been on a specialised routine of mild exercise - generally walking - and tests to assess his recovery.
After the latest round of examinations held at Milanello this week, it has been confirmed through a Press release on Friday evening that doctors have now given Cassano the green light to begin ‘progressive individual athletic’ training from tomorrow.
Ibrahimovic: AC Milan ready for derby 13.1 ||webmaster
Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke of the anticipation that he feels ahead of the weekend’s Derby della Madonnina and the respect he feels for his teammates.
The 30-year-old began a lengthy interview with Milan Channel by revealing what it feels like heading into the Milan derby from a player’s perspective. The Rossoneri’s current top-scorer has already experienced the occasion playing for both teams.
“When we approach the derby there is always so much tension, all the newspapers talk about it, prestige is at stake for both clubs. It’s a great game and even more a challenge. The whole world watches and it is great to be able to play. It is also important for the Scudetto.
“The players are thinking about the game of course. What happens outside and with transfers is a thing for the directors, we read the newspapers and know everything, but we think only of Sunday’s game.
“We need to focus only on our game and not think about what Juventus are doing either. We are all prepared and waiting for the derby.”
The tall Swede offered his views on three teammates who have endured different fortunes during this season.
“When I see Thiago Silva I see me, but as a defender. There is no defender in the world more complete than him.
“Although I have had strong defenders as teammates, such as Thuram, Pique, Cannavaro and Puyol, I think that Thiago is on another level.
“Abate has grown so much in my opinion. When I arrived I didn’t know him. Now I know if he is not on the field. He is a great person and has become an important player for the team.
“He has to be given the chance to play for the national team. For a player this is the best thing that can happen, it is a great honour to play for your country. If he continues then he will become a starter for the Azzurri.
“Robinho has missed a few goals, but I have gone wrong, even Pato and Inzaghi have also gone wrong. there are times when the ball doesn’t go in, but the important thing is that the opportunity is created.”
Ibra also reflected on the Rossoneri’s long-term absentees.
“Cassano came to Milanello two days ago to do some testing, he is always close to the team, even if he is not here every day he is always close. He is a great player who we all love.
“I know that Rino Gattuso is still enduring some problems and I’m sorry because he is a great person, a great player for the team and he serves on the pitch and off it, because he is a great leader.
“For me especially it is important that he is okay first as a person and then as a footballer.”
Adriano Galliani has confirmed Alexandre “Pato decided to stay, so we have given up on Carlos Tevez. He won’t be coming to Milan.”
The Vice-President was in London for final negotiations with Manchester City and was all set to use the €35m from Pato’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain in order to prise away the Argentine.
However, late this afternoon Pato turned down the PSG transfer, so Galliani flew back to Milan this evening.
“Pato decided to stay, so we have given up on Tevez. He won’t be coming to Milan,” Galliani told Sky Sport Italia at the Linate Airport.
“The two transfer operations were linked and all of them had various clauses. I believe in fate and remember that when Gianluca Vialli said no, then we brought in Marco Van Basten. If Pato wants to remain, then we hope he will do well with Milan.
“We have the utmost faith in the strikers at our disposal, also trusting in Antonio Cassano’s swift return, as he will become our big new signing.”
Cassano is expected to be out until the end of the season after surgery on a congenital heart defect.
“Will Tevez go to Inter? I have considered this as a possibility, but prefer to keep it to myself. I am in any case very happy that Pato has made this decision.
“I do know what is happening with Tevez, but don’t want to comment right now. Will we call Manchester City again? We’ll see.”
Now that Alexandre Pato’s refusal to join PSG has scuppered the Carlos Tevez move, Milan are running back to Maxi Lopez.
It has been a whirlwind day for the Rossoneri, who had apparently agreed to sell Pato to Paris Saint-Germain for €35m, raising the funds to buy Tevez from Manchester City. Pato’s refusal to leave San Siro terminated the negotiations.
Instead, Milan are going back to their original plan to replace Antonio Cassano during his recovery from heart surgery.
Maxi Lopez had been the first target and a deal was reached with Catania in December, but their option expired when waiting to go heavily after Tevez.
Now it’s reported Maxi Lopez is back on top of the wish-list and the swoop could be completed within hours for a loan with option to buy worth €7m.
The Argentine brings Serie A experience and, unlike Tevez, he is eligible for the Champions League.
A report in France is claiming that Milan striker Alexandre Pato has agreed to a transfer to Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain.
The Parisian side have reportedly been in negotiations to reunite the Brazilian forward with former Rossoneri Coaches Carlo Ancelotti and Leonardo in the French capital since the end of December. Such action came after Pato revealed his discontentment at Milan under current Coach Massimiliano Allegri.
French news agency AFP are now running the line that talks are in their final stages, that the player has agreed personal terms and that the transfer will be completed tomorrow, just days before the Milan derby.
It is understood that PSG will pay Milan €35m and that Pato will join on a three-and-a-half-year deal with an annual wage in the region of €6-7m. Pato’s agent will reportedly fly out to Paris tomorrow to sign off on the deal and complete the formalities.
The news broke in the same hour that Inter President Massimo Moratti admitted defeat to Milan in trying to sign Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez. That transfer and Pato’s are thought linked by the Rossoneri’s reported requirement to raise funds to be able to afford to bring in the Argentine striker.
The 22-year-old Pato has scored 51 goals in 111 League appearances for the San Siro side since making his debut in January 2008. Leonardo, who is PSG’s director of sport, played an instrumental role in originally bringing the player to Italy.
News of his reported departure comes within hours of Coach Allegri’s claims that he believed Pato would be staying with the Serie A defending champions.
Moratti: Tevez will join AC Milan 12.1 ||webmaster
Massimo Moratti insists Inter’s interest in Carlos Tevez is for the potential the move may represent, not for the opportunity to rile neighbours Milan.
The Rossoneri were thought in December to be in prime contention to secure the want-away Argentine striker’s services from Manchester City.
However, where Adriano Galliani has already held discussions with the player and his agent and reportedly come to an agreement, Inter’s Marco Branca has equally achieved the same with officials at the English club.
Outside his offices in Milan today, President Moratti was quizzed by journalists about the club’s motives for disrupting the plans of their San Siro rivals.
“Tevez? If we do something it is not in jest but because we think it will be a good move,” he made clear.
“We received information on how things stood and that there was room to act, we’ll see if we can do it or not.
“There are still 20 days left. Am I optimistic about a deal for Tevez? It’s not a matter of being optimistic, we’ll just see how things are.”
The comments come as Inter prepare to face Milan in the derby this coming weekend.
“It is an important week, I was glad to see the team do well on Saturday because it gives us greater confidence in the coming days.”
Amelia of interest to Spartak Moscow 9.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri admits it was crucial for Milan to begin 2012 on the right foot, but won’t discuss Carlos Tevez.
“It was an entertaining and physical game. Atalanta could’ve caused us problems on the counter and that proved to be the case, but my lads adapted very well in midfield,” he said of their 2-0 victory in Bergamo.
“The team fought hard and made a very difficult test seem simple. It was important to win coming back from the winter break and we achieved that.
“I am happy with Alexandre Pato’s performance, as he earned a penalty and created several chances, having also hit the woodwork. I like Kevin-Prince Boateng in midfield and began using him there when he first arrived.
“Next up is the derby with Inter and we hope to make it four wins in a row.”
The last few weeks have been dominated by talk about Tevez and the offer to Manchester City, but Allegri is tight-lipped.
“I am not accustomed to discussing players belonging to other teams. It is only normal to admire Tevez, as he is a champion anyone would like to train. At the moment he is at Manchester City, so I’d have nothing to say to him.”
Stefano Colantuono believes the “non-existent penalty proved decisive” in Atalanta’s defeat to Milan.
The Orobici were beaten 2-0 on home turf by a Zlatan Ibrahimovic spot-kick, awarded for Thomas Manfredini’s tackle on Alexandre Pato, and a Kevin-Prince Boateng strike.
“The non-existent penalty proved decisive,” insisted the Coach. “If anything, it was a foul on Manfredini. He had the advantage and Pato barged into him with his hip. I think the images speak very clearly. You can see Pato change direction mid-run.
“It’s obviously disappointing, as we had prepared this game very well and it was other than that incident a balanced encounter.
“It remains a positive performance, as we work hard and create good football. We were facing champions like Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva who are without rivals in Serie A. The penalty changed the game.
“Ibra did cause a lot of problems by peeling off outside the box, allowing players like Antonio Nocerino, Pato and Boateng to burst in behind him. He is an incredible player.”
There was a large banner before the game from the Atalanta fans aimed at ex-captain Cristiano Doni. He had until recently insisted he was innocent in the betting scandal, but confessed to police he had some minor involvement ‘for the good of Atalanta.’
The club was docked six points because of the scandal and the banner read: ‘Judas. We are and always will be behind clean football. Doni, as far as we’re concerned you are finished.’
Serie A: Atalanta 0:2 AC Milan - goals 8.1 ||webmaster
Serie A: Atalanta 0:2 AC Milan - match report 8.1 ||webmaster
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one and created another for Kevin-Prince Boateng as Milan ended Atalanta’s unbeaten home record.
This was a Lombardy derby and a very difficult test for the Rossoneri, as Atalanta would be in sixth place without their six-point penalty. That betting scandal reared its head again over the Christmas break with ex-captain Cristiano Doni’s arrest, so the team wanted to wipe away those off the field issues. Milan had to completely revamp their midfield, as Massimo Ambrosini was suspended with Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano, Mario Yepes, Ignazio Abate were injured. Therefore Kevin-Prince Boateng went into a deeper midfield role with Urby Emanuelson as trequartista.
Thomas Manfredini just about did enough to stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic tapping in from close range, while German Denis fired over the bar and Simone Padoin blasted off target from an improbable angle.
There was controversy when Manfredini went diving in through the back of Alexandre Pato and Atalanta were furious, insisting the Brazilian had taken a step backwards. The referee awarded a penalty, which Ibrahimovic converted as a daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner.
Atalanta tried to fight back, but struggled to create chances, as Federico Peluso’s pass for Padoin was a touch too heavy.
Milan came so close to doubling their lead after the restart, but Pato nodded Emanuelson’s cross on to the woodwork from six yards!
Moments later, Luca Cigarini unleashed a blockbuster from distance that almost propelled Christian Abbiati back into his own net. Ibra went on the counter from that Atalanta corner, but lost it at the last second.
Atalanta also hit the frame of the goal, as a corner got a glancing touch off Simone Tiribocchi and found Denis at the back post, but he only prodded it on to the upright from less than a yard!
The Orobici were pouring forward with remarkable determination, but this left gaps at the back and Manfredini flung himself at Ibrahimovic’s shot like a human shield to force the corner.
The Rossoneri made it 2-0 with Boateng, though much of the credit goes to Ibrahimovic. The Swede chested down a long ball, got to the by-line and pulled back for Boateng to blast in off the underside of the crossbar.
Ibrahimovic was on a roll now, as he nutmegged Ferri to test Andrea Consigli at the near post, while Antonio Nocerino failed to finish off Robinho’s assist.
Stefano Colantuono warns Atalanta “need a perfect performance, but we can do it” to beat Milan in today’s derby.
The Rossoneri make a short trip from Milan to Bergamo in order to play at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia.
“We are determined and ready to go into a great challenge,” said the Coach. “We need a perfect performance, but we can do it. We cannot afford to get anything wrong.
“The way to beat Milan is by keeping concentrated and also of course hoping for some errors from our opponents.
“I expect to see a united Atalanta, capable of holding out under pressure and showing more grit than anyone else. Of course everyone can see Milan have better players compared to Atalanta, but that doesn’t mean everything in football.”
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani confirmed “Carlos Tevez accepted our proposal. Now it’s up to Manchester City.”
The Rossoneri transfer chief flew back from Brazil this afternoon, where he had been in negotiations with Tevez and agent Kia Joorabchian.
“Tevez accepted our proposal and is in agreement with us. Now it’s up to Manchester City whether they want to accept it or not,” Galliani told Sky Sport Italia at the airport.
He also commented on the reports that Paris Saint-Germain are ready to pay €45m to take Alexandre Pato.
“There are absolutely no negotiations. Pato is our player.”
It is rumoured that Milan used this trip to Brazil in order to formulate a proposal that City would find more suitable, having previously rejected the offer to take Tevez on loan with an option to buy for €24m.
As Inter are now in the race along with PSG, the Rossoneri are changing their approach slightly.
It’s believed they are sending a formal offer to make the buy-out clause mandatory if Tevez plays at least 50 per cent of the remaining matches this season.
It is similar to the deal already in place with Liverpool, where Alberto Aquilani is on loan with a clause securing his buy-out if he makes a certain number of appearances.
Allegri juggles Pato, Tevez and injuries 7.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri “really hopes” Alexandre Pato stays and ignores Carlos Tevez questions, as Milan have an injury crisis against Atalanta.
The Rossoneri returned from their winter training camp in Dubai, but continue to have their attention dominated by transfer gossip.
“I really hope Pato stays at Milan, as he’d be a precious ‘new’ January signing, seeing as in the first half of the season he had so many injuries,” said the Coach.
“There is no problem between us and I hope he doesn’t leave. Of course there are always going to be rumours in the media, but we have to work hard and try to ignore it all.
“That also goes for Tevez, as I have not spoken to Adriano Galliani about the transfer market. For now Tevez is a Manchester City player and I do not talk about players from other teams. If he arrives, then I’ll think about him, but for now he’s not even remotely in my thoughts.”
Allegri has other issues to contend with, as Massimo Ambrosini is suspended, while Alberto Aquilani joined Ignazio Abate, Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini on the treatment table for Sunday’s Lombardy derby against Atalanta.
“I only have Mark Van Bommel, Antonio Nocerino and Kevin-Prince Boateng for midfield. I can use either Robinho or Urby Emanuelson in the trequartista role. As for the full-backs, I could play both Daniele Bonera and Gianluca Zambrotta, but I have to evaluate the situation.
“It is going to be a tough game against an Atalanta side who so far have picked up 26 points, the same as Inter. Playing in Bergamo is never easy and this team reflects the characteristics of Coach Stefano Colantuono.”
Aquilani injury worry for AC Milan 7.1 ||webmaster
Milan have a midfield emergency on their hands against Atalanta, as Alberto Aquilani picked up an ankle injury.
The former Liverpool and Juventus man had the problem during yesterday’s training session and is thought to be out of Sunday’s trip to Bergamo.
As Massimo Ambrosini is suspended and Gennaro Gattuso still unable to play in a competitive match, this means Kevin-Prince Boateng could be pulled back into a deeper role with Antonio Nocerino, Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson.
This too is a risk, as Boateng is not 100 per cent fit. However, the Ghanaian and Alessandro Nesta took part in the full training session.
Inter infuriate AC Milan over Tevez 7.1 ||webmaster
Kevin Prince Boateng has preached caution ahead of Milan's trip to Atalanta, suggesting it is more of a challenge than Week 18’s derby with Inter.
In an interview with Milan’s official television Channel, Boateng urged his Rossoneri colleagues to focus only on this weekend’s challenge with Stefano Colantuono’s men, in light of they capability to upset proceedings.
Il Diavolo face Inter in the first Milan derby of the season next weekend, but this weekend travel to Bergamo to face an Atalanta side that but for a six-point penalty over the summer, would be level on points with their fellow Nerazzurri.
“The match against Atalanta will be more difficult than the derby,” suggested the attacking midfielder. “They defend very well against us and play a defensive game, so it will be more difficult.”
Recently retired from international duty with adopted country Ghana, Boateng outlined his ambitions for the season, as the Black Stars prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations without him.
“For me it is important to win the League title. I train at Milanello every day for the Scudetto. Then, we will see if we can challenge for the Champions League.
There are reports Milan are preparing a new “creative” offer for Carlos Tevez after Inter met with Manchester City.
The Gazzetta dello Sport claims Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani had lunch with agent Kia Joorabchian today in Brazil and by this evening they will present a “creative” proposal to City directors.
Milan had been adamant they would only take the striker on loan, but may well be seeking other alternatives to tempt them into the move.
It’s rumoured this would represent a similar deal to the one that has taken Alberto Aquilani from Liverpool to Milan.
Essentially, it is a loan with obligatory buy-out clause if he plays 50 per cent of the official games from here to the end of the season.
The Gazzetta also claims Tevez joined in with Galliani and his agent in a video conference call with City.
"I am confident that soon Milan and City will reach an agreement," Koorabchian is quoted as saying.
The San Siro giants have stepped up their attempts to sign Tevez after news Inter sent director Marco Branca to England for negotiations with Manchester City representative Brian Marwood today.
Filippo Inzaghi has again intimated his willingness to remain in Milan and fight for a place in Massimiliano Allegri’s plans.
The veteran striker has struggled with fitness this season, has missed long periods of training and subsequently fallen off the radar at Milanello. Allegri did not include Inzaghi in his Champions League squad earlier this season and is unlikely to again should Carlos Tevez arrive.
Nevertheless, Inzaghi is keen to remain a fixture at the club, despite reports linking several clubs as interested in a January move.
“I love this shirt too much to consider leaving.
“I do not need promises to play, I know what I have to do - work. I’m fine and I want to play here.”
The 38-year-old played a part in the Rossoneri’s 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday afternoon.
Gennaro Gattuso expressed his joy and relief at playing his first game since September. “It’s not easy when you’re seeing triple or even quadruple.”
The midfielder has been out of action for four months after he was diagnosed with a rare eye condition, the paralysis of the optic nerve, which affected his vision.
“It was tough staying off the field for that long. Now I just need to improve my fitness and my position on the pitch,” he said after making his comeback in Milan’s 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
“The most difficult thing in all these months was facing the everyday challenges. It’s not easy to get up in the morning when you’re seeing triple or even quadruple.
“My family and friends gave me the reassurance to carry on and were always close. Milan are like my family. I’ve done good and less good things in my career, but the club has always helped me out.”
This friendly match in Dubai also represented ex-Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s debut on the PSG bench.
“Ancelotti is the perfect friend and always chooses the best cities to work in, like London and Paris. Maybe the next will be Moscow! I hugged him, but didn’t crush his ribs, as I’m not in good shape...”
Alexandre Pato scored the winning goal and has been heavily linked with a €45m move to Paris Saint-Germain.
“Pato has to stay,” continued Gattuso on Milan Channel. “The club and Coach said it, so I’m confirming the message. He is a player with such a strong goal average and people always expect something more because he’s capable of it.
“In order to retain the Scudetto we have to rediscover that solidity that we occasionally lacked.”
Friendly: AC Milan 1:0 PSG - highlights 4.1 ||webmaster
Friendly: AC Milan 1:0 PSG - match report 4.1 ||webmaster
Gennaro Gattuso is set to resume his Milan playing career this week as reports indicate he is in line for a start against Paris Saint-Germain.
Gattuso has been training with his teammates since mid-November but has not played since the opening round of League fixtures at the start of September.
Coming off after just 19 minutes against Lazio with blurred vision, the World Cup-winning midfielder has since had to undergo treatment for a rare eye condition.
However, he has been given the all-clear to make a return to action and confirmed to reporters that he will appear on Wednesday. The Rossoneri face Carlo Ancelotti’s new team PSG as part of both clubs’ mid-season training retreats in Dubai.
“I will play against PSG, but it won’t be for a long time. I have to take it slowly in the beginning, step by step.”
Meanwhile, Massimiliano Allegri commented that he will likely try to give the No 8 at least 45 minutes of game-time.
Massimiliano Allegri has declared that Milan do not fear Juventus going forward in the League, as Serie A resumes with the two level on points.
Speaking in Dubai during the Rossoneri’s winter training retreat that includes a friendly against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, Allegri revealed that he and his players are resilient in the face of Juve’s title challenge.
“Juventus are going very well. I believe they are the only unbeaten team in Italy, but we aware of our own strength and are ready to fight to win back the title again.
“In the first five League games we collected only five points, while they were almost never wrong. Now that we have wiped out the [points] disadvantage we will see what will happen from January 8 onwards.
“Do not forget the injuries we had at the start of the season, we have incurred a certain preparation given the significant commitment required in Beijing against Inter. That was the first trophy of the season and we wanted to win it.
“Without doubt, Juventus has had the advantage of not playing Europe, but we have others ourselves - we’ve known each other for a year and a half, we’ve been together in this time and know what to do every day, then our new arrivals have been perfectly integrated.
“In this period, now, there is increased self-esteem.”
The Coach finished with a lighthearted reflection when prompted about comparisons between his first season with Milan and Antonio Conte’s with Juventus.
“Is Conte the new Allegri? I hope not…I won….I hope that he does a good job, but finishes second.”
Allegri also again commented on Alexandre Pato’s situation at the club. Pato’s comments late last month initiated strong rumours of a fall-out with Allegri and an imminent departure out of San Siro.
“Pato’s declarations? I think they are just an outburst. Here in Dubai he has been laid back, in the best way and just with the desire to train well.
“My way of being is this. I try to talk to him as much as possible, as with others. There was a time when Pato was injured and he could not always be with the group and this has perhaps left him feeling a little sidelined.
“When he always played he was happy. I hope he stays here at Milan because he is an important player for us.”
Carlo Ancelotti admits it will be strange to face Milan on Wednesday for his debut as Paris Saint-Germain Coach.
Ancelotti, who recently signed a deal to replace Antonio Kombouarè on the French club’s bench, has now begun work with the his new side during their winter training camp in Dubai.
Part of these mid-season preparations for the table-topping Ligue 1 side see them take on Milan in a friendly on Wednesday afternoon UK time. Ancelotti spent five years as a player and eight years as Coach with the San Siro side.
“Milan are a team I know very well,” reflected the 52-year-old in a Press conference in Dubai today. “It will be a great test to improve ourselves.
“It will be strange to meet Milan. I’ll be emotional, because I have good memories with everyone there. We hope for a good game.”
Vucinic: Juventus - AC Milan for title 2.1 ||webmaster