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Mario Balotelli completed the first set of medical tests and dined with Milan directors, mobbed by over 1,000 fans.
The striker flew in yesterday afternoon to complete his €20m transfer from Manchester City. Click here for video of his first interview.
He was greeted by supporters at the airport and in Busto Arsizio where he underwent his medical. The remaining tests will be performed todayand it is reported his presentation will be at San Siro so fans can take part.
SuperMario arrived at the Da Giannino restaurant in Milan at 21.20 GMT, though over 1,000 fans had already gathered outside the noted nightspot with flags and banners.
Balotelli’s former Inter employers will not be pleased to hear he jumped when fans performed the traditional chant: ‘He who doesn’t jump is Nerazzurro.’
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani does much of his business at this restaurant and traditionally dines here with new signings.
Balotelli’s family are also present with Rossoneri directors to welcome the Italian international.
VIDEO: First Balotelli interview as AC Milan player 30.1 ||webmaster
Galliani: 'Balotelli a dream come true' 30.1 ||webmaster
Mario Balotelli has landed in Italy to complete his move to Milan. “It’s a dream come true and he has been in our hearts for some time,” said Adriano Galliani.
The striker will now undergo a medical and sign the four-and-a-half-year contract to complete a transfer from Manchester City thought to be worth €20m plus a further €3m in performance-related bonuses.
“I certainly don’t need to present Mario Balotelli to you,” smiled Vice-President Galliani on Milan Channel after landing at Malpensa Airport.
“It is a dream come true and one that we all wanted, starting from President Silvio Berlusconi on the front line.
“With Mario’s arrival we strengthen our squad a great deal. We worked hard on this and Mario has been in our hearts for some time, so we finally managed to get him.”
Despite starting his Serie A career at Inter, Balotelli has confessed he is a Milan supporter.
He was meant to wear the Number 9 jersey left open by Alexandre Pato, but the rules bar a number from being used twice in one season, so Balotelli sticks with 45.
VIDEO: El Shaarawy freestyle with Nike boot 30.1 ||webmaster
AC Milan director Barbara Berlusconi thinks that the club have proved a point by signing Mario Balotelli from Manchester City.
After being criticised in the summer for waving goodbye to a host of veteran stars, as well as selling Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain, they’ve now completed a €20m deal for the Italian international.
“This transfer has demonstrated that Milan can still invest substantial amounts in top players,” Barbara Berlusconi, the daughter of owner Silvio, told the club’s website.
“Our club has, in the last year or so, completely re-organised costing and investments,” she continued.
“It was about rationalisation, and various sacrifices were needed, not just in terms of player salaries but also about re-positioning the brand.
“Milan were the first club to choose to organise their accounts and balance the books.
“Thanks to this strong decision, we can only stand to benefit with our stars of the future, and still also be able to make some important acquisitions.”
Balotelli is set to touch down in Milan later today.
Mario Balotelli is officially a Milan player after agreeing a four-and-a-half-year contract, completing his move from Manchester City for €20m plus bonuses.
The news was confirmed on Milan Channel, the official club television channel, and he will have his medical on Wednesday.
“Mario arrives tomorrow!!!” read a statement on Milan Channel. “There is an agreement between the two clubs.
“Tomorrow he’ll undergo a medical and after that Mario will sign a contract with Milan until June 30 2017.”
Up until a couple of weeks ago, the price-tag set by City had been €37m, but Milan managed to negotiate it down to €20m to be paid over a six-year period, plus another €3m in performance-related bonuses.
Balotelli himself was crucial in the negotiations, as the lifelong Rossoneri supporter reportedly agreed to cut his wages from €6m net to just €4m.
Italian sources suggest he has already left the Manchester City training camp ahead of tonight's game with QPR and will be in Milan this evening.
Balotelli to Milan a matter of hours? 29.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri commented on Milan’s transfer strategy and why he picks Mbaye Niang ahead of Robinho.
Stephan El Shaarawy scored his first goal in four rounds to secure a 1-0 victory away to Atalanta.
“The team is doing fairly well and this was a good victory in a difficult arena,” said the Coach.
“Atalanta caused us a few problems, but we did well for over an hour and only ran a few risks at the end. We’re a little more organised in the middle and can move the ball better in attack, which means when we play quickly we can do damage.
“The only thing we lacked today was a cool head in front of goal. Now we will work to prepare for the game with Udinese. I am relaxed and wait to see where we’ll be at the end of February, then of course where we are at the end of May. We are growing and cannot say how much this side can improve.”
Milan signed Cristian Zaccardo from Parma this week and are still trying to sign Mario Balotelli and Ricky Kaka.
“The defence is doing better at the moment because the whole team is working to help them. We have kept two consecutive clean sheets on our travels, but at home we conceded two avoidable goals.
“We are building a team of young players with good quality. Zaccardo is a World Cup winner and came here with great hunger to play for us. Even if he is 31, he is the exception that proves the rule.
“I don’t know if Robinho will still be here next season, so for the moment I am choosing Mbaye Niang because he gives me more guarantees.
“Balotelli? I won’t think about him because he is a Manchester City player. If he arrives here, then I’ll consider how to approach him. Obviously, I wouldn't say no... We are setting up a good, disciplined group and that is important in a difficult League like Serie A.”
Allegri was also asked about Juventus raging against the referee after a 1-1 draw with Genoa.
“I didn’t see the second half, as I wasn’t feeling well and fell asleep. At this moment Juve are favourites for the Scudetto. In any case, if you don’t believe the referees are in good faith, then there’s no point having them there.”
Real Madrid: 'Still negotiating over Kaka' 27.1 ||webmaster
Stephan El Shaarawy broke his four-match goal drought to give Milan a 1-0 victory away to 10-man Atalanta.
The Rossoneri were out for revenge after a 1-0 home defeat earlier this season. Massimo Ambrosini, Urby Emanuelson, Nigel De Jong and Didac Vila were injured, while Atalanta missed Daniele Capelli, Stefano Lucchini, Giampaolo Bellini, Guido Marilungo and the suspended Lugi Giorgi.
Christian Abbiati flapped at a dangerous Giacomo Bonaventura cross heading to German Denis, then pushed another assist off the foot of Facundo Parra from six yards. Stephan El Shaarawy’s counter-attack was cut short by Davide Brivio and Atalanta lost Ferri to injury.
El Shaarawy broke his four-match goal drought by gathering an Mbaye Niang through ball and spinning round substitute Cristian Raimondi to place the angled drive across the goalkeeper.
Facundo Parra failed to make the most of a defensive error by blasting into the stands, then Denis completely mis-kicked a Bonaventura ball across the six-yard box.
Abbiati was called into action as Parra pulled back for Denis, while a Pazzini overhead kick was off target.
It was an increasingly tense match with arguments breaking out all over the field. Brivio paid the price, as he received a second yellow card for barging into the back of Pazzini.
Michele Canini charged down a Niang effort, as 10-man Atalanta kept up the pressure without making much of a dent.
Milan thought they had finished off the game when Mathieu Flamini went clear, but Andrea Consigli performed a crucial save at the near post.
Atalanta Coach Stefano Colantuono was also sent off for dissent, while Carlos Carmona was booked for an obvious dive. It was an incredibly tense and ill-tempered match with scuffles and arguments breaking out every few minutes.
Stefano Colantuono already beat Milan once this season and hopes Atalanta can make it a remarkable double.
The Oroboci came out 1-0 winners at San Siro and now welcome the giants to the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia. Click here for a match preview.
“We are facing a great side like Milan who have gone through a period of renewal after their sales,” said the Coach.
“They signed some interesting young talents and, mixed with the core Rossoneri veterans, make up the right combination.
“Milan always fight for the top spots and are accustomed to battling for an important result at all times.”
Atalanta have stuttered lately and found it particularly difficult to score goals, so brought in Igor Budan this week.
I am convinced Budan can give us a hand, though he doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs yet. I’d like German Denis to be more of a fixture in the penalty area. I told him not to seek the goal like an obsession, because sooner or later it will come.”
AC Milan push EUR 20 mil. Balotelli bid 27.1 ||webmaster
Italian newspapers claim that Milan have offered €20m for Mario Balotelli and his agent is in Manchester to discuss the deal with City.
Adriano Galliani had already hinted at a bid on Saturday, but reports are emerging that the Rossoneri tabled an offer worth €20m.
It would be payable in six instalments, therefore spreading the cost over several years so as not to put too big a dent in Milan’s coffers.
La Gazzetta dello Sport claims a deal is in the works and that agent Mino Raiola has already flown out to England for talks with Manchester City.
Time is running out to secure a transfer, as the January window closes next Thursday.
The push for Balotelli comes after Galliani confirmed Milan were giving up on Kaka and Didier Drogba.
FIFA agent and Milan collaborator Ernesto Bronzetti further fuelled the reports by telling Italian media “I think by January 31 Balotelli will be at San Siro. It’s only a matter of €5m difference between the clubs.”
AC Milan 'offer EUR 20 mil. for Balotelli' 26.1 ||webmaster
AC Milan will hand Francesco Acerbi back to Genoa in exchange for co-ownership of Kevin Constant, it has been announced.
Both players moved to San Siro over the summer, though defender Acerbi was in a co-ownership deal and Constant on loan with option to buy for €8m.
La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest a lengthy meeting between President Enrico Preziosi and Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Friday finalised the deal.
The official Milan website confirmed the news that their half of Acerbi is sold back to Genoa and they now own 50 per cent of Constant's contract.
Acerbi will return to Genoa with a valuation of €4m, paying for half of Constant’s contract to Milan.
“In all honesty, when the news of my transfer to Milan arrived, I didn’t think I would have so many opportunities to play,” Constant told Tuttosport.
“I knew Coach Massimiliano Allegri respected me, so I worked my socks off to prove I had qualities worthy of Milan.
“I arrived on loan, but I want to stay at Milan. My agent said the clubs discussed it and at the moment they are thinking about buying me out. I am happy, but would prefer to be with the Rossoneri 100 per cent rather than co-owned.”
Constant also spoke about the growing problem of racism in football stadiums, especially as Milan walked off during a friendly with Pro Patria.
“Since I have been here, I’ve never heard racist insults from the stands, not even when I played in Verona which is thought by many to be a racist city. I didn’t see it that way.
“I’ve lived in Italy for three years with my family and never had problems. In my view what happened at Pro Patria was a serious incident, but an isolated one. I don’t think it will happen again.”
Allegri: 'AC Milan can't throw games away' 26.1 ||webmaster
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has admitted that a return to Milan would be good for Kaka.
The Brazilian playmaker has been linked with a move back to the Rossoneri over the past few weeks, however vice-President Adriano Galliani has conceded that an initial deal was called off due to 'fiscal reasons'.
The Portuguese Coach though, thinks that the 30-year-old would be happier with a return to San Siro.
“First of all I want Kaka to be happy,” he told a Press conference. “I think Milan would be a good solution for him.
“For now though, he remains a Madrid player.”
The former Inter tactician then revealed that he could himself make a move back to Italy in the summer, potentially to the Nerazzurri.
“I still want to have another 20 years in football,” he added. “And during that time anything could happen.
The annual Football Money League report, published by Deloitte, shows that Milan are still Italian football’s top earners.
Real Madrid are the game’s biggest cash generating force after they amassed revenue in excess of €500m in 2011-12. Barcelona are second, with Manchester United third.
Milan are eighth in the list, having dropped a place from the season before, despite a yearly increase in revenue from €234.8m to €256.9m.
Juventus, thanks to income of €194.5m last season, are tenth in the standings having benefitted from winning Serie A and moving into their own arena.
Inter have fallen four places to 12th, Napoli are up five to 15th while Roma have dropped four spots to 19th.
Top 20: 1 Real Madrid €512.6m, 2 Barcelona €483m, 3 Man Utd €395.9m, 4 Bayern Munich €368.4m, 5 Chelsea €322.6m, 6 Arsenal €290.3m, 7 Man City €285.6m, 8 Milan €256.9m, 9 Liverpool €233.2m, 10 Juventus €195.4m, 11 Borussia Dortmund €189.1m, 12 Inter €185.9m, 13 Spurs €178.2m, 14 Schalke €174.5m, 15 Napoli €148.4m, 16 Marseille €135.7m, 17 Lyon €131.9m, 18 Hamburg €121.1m, 19 Roma €115.9m, 20 Newcastle €115.3m.
Ignazio Abate’s agent has told Zenit he is available “if they raise their offer, considering Milan are looking for cash to take Mario Balotelli.”
It was known that the Russian side had made a proposal for the full-back, who is wanted by Coach Luciano Spalletti.
“We thank Zenit and Spalletti for their interest, but the lad will remain in Italy with Milan,” agent Claudio Pasqualin told Personal Press.
“If Zenit raise their offer, then maybe something will change, considering Milan are looking for cash to take Mario Balotelli.”
It had already been reported that the Rossoneri were ready to sell Abate and Robinho in the January transfer window to raise funds for the Manchester City striker, but this is the first time it has been confirmed by an agent close to the club.
Brazil blame AC Milan for Pato injuries 23.1 ||webmaster
AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri says he would welcome the proposed January arrival of Didier Drogba.
The Ivory Coast international is again being linked with the Rossoneri after reports that he’s asked to quit Shanghai Shenhua this month.
“I think these types of transfers are complicated,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. “But Vice-President Adriano Galliani knows how to conclude them if there is the chance to do that.
“It is clear that when we speak about players of this calibre then they would increase the technical level of the team.
“But the squad is doing well anyway and the boys are growing.”
The Diavolo have had a problematic campaign to date as they initially struggled following the mass exodus of talent in the summer.
“We have to have an excellent second half of the season, that is our objective,” the tactician added. “We need to get some consistency to our results, even if that is not easy.
“We have improved since the start of the season. Now we are getting closer to the Champions League and the derby, and we have to get as many points as possible in order to stay in contact with the top of the table.”
The Diavolo are currently sixth in the standings, nine points behind third and the last remaining Champions League spots.
Massimiliano Allegri hopes the transfer stories aren’t distracting Milan after they “risked throwing it away at the end” against Bologna.
The Rossoneri were leading 2-0 with a Giampaolo Pazzini brace, but the Philippe Mexes own goal kept the 2-1 result in the balance.
“The club thinks about the transfer market and I am in sync with them, but obviously I am not the one who is in control of these matters,” said the Coach.
“Today the team played well, above all in terms of technique after we raised the intensity level. Clearly we’ve got to finish off games, instead we risked throwing it away at the end.
“We can only grow by playing and learning. We’ve got to improve, as we cannot dominate a match to this degree only to risk compromising it with moments of naiveté. It would’ve been tough to swallow a draw this afternoon.”
Milan hope to remain in the race for a Champions League spot, as Lazio, Napoli and Fiorentina all dropped points this weekend.
“There are many teams in this race and we will try our best, but unfortunately when making so many changes to a squad you must expect this sort of situation.
“Many clubs have been left out of the Champions League in recent years, so it could be our turn, but we are targeting more long-term prospects.
“Our objective is to end the season on an upward swing.”
AC Milan 'will jump for Balotelli if...' 20.1 ||webmaster
Adriano Galliani confirms there are developments for Kaka and Milan “will jump for Mario Balotelli" if the price-tag drops.
The Vice-President spoke to Sky Sport Italia ahead of today’s Serie A game with Bologna at San Siro.
“We are trying for Kaka. It is an issue of numbers. I don’t want to get into particulars right now, but we have to make a sacrifice, as do Real Madrid and Kaka.
“In a day or two we’ll know whether the move can go through or not. It is a difficult solution to find, because there is a big anomaly in the difference between the Italian and Spanish fiscal rules.
“Of all the players who left Milan, nobody had the emotional effect of Kaka, not even Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Thiago Silva. There are thousands of Rossoneri fans who are orphans of Kaka since 2009, including me.”
Galliani was also asked about Balotelli amid reports the €37m price set by Manchester City has dropped to €28m.
“It depends on them. I am waiting, they are there and if the price drops then we will jump for Balotelli. Otherwise, we will stay in Milan. They are his legitimate employers, so we wait, observe and see what happens.
“How much does it have to drop? We don’t know. Paying in instalments is an option, but you still have to pay.”
Giampaolo Pazzini’s brace was ultimately enough to give Milan three points, though a Philippe Mexes own goal gave Bologna late hope.
The Rossoneri were under pressure to pick up all three points, though Mario Yepes, Massimo Ambrosini and Nigel De Jong were sidelined with fitness concerns for Robinho and Daniele Bonera too. Giampaolo Pazzini returned from suspension to lead the trident with Mbaye Niang and Stephan El Shaarawy. Bologna also played at San Siro on Tuesday night, taking Inter to the last seconds of extra time before capitulating 3-2 in the Coppa Italia quarter-final. Cesare Natali, Robert Acquafresca and Henry Gimenez missed out on this trip.
This has been a tight fixture recently, as in the last six editions there was never more than a one-goal gap between them.
El Shaarawy went on a solo run down the left to test Federico Agliardi’s reflexes at the near post and a long-range Kevin-Prince Boateng strike was charged down.
Niang flashed a shot across the face of goal with nobody ready to take advantage. Christian Abbiati got down to palm a Riverola daisy-cutter round the post on the half-hour.
Agliardi flew to palm a dangerous Pazzini glancing header off the line, while Kevin Constant’s first touch was heavy on a Niang assist.
After the break Philippe Mexes hit a scissor-kick against the body of Daniele Portanova from a corner, then Pazzini at full stretch failed to get on the end of another good Niang cross from the right.
Pazzini missed again from five yards after Ignazio Abate sprinted to the by-line and pulled back, but the striker felt the pressure of Portanova and Agliardi to completely mis-kick.
A corner came to El Shaarawy and his fierce shot stung Agliardi’s palms, as it was rapidly turning into a siege.
The pressure paid off when Pazzini turned Antonsson and saw his shot take a huge deflection off the prone Bologna man’s foot to loop over a helpless goalkeeper.
Pazzini netted his second with a lovely bit of skill, flicking the ball up in the air to turn round and volley under the bar.
Milan seemed to be home and dry, but left the door open when Cristian Pasquato’s header down from a set piece was accidentally prodded over the line by a clumsy Mexes intervention.
That gave Bologna hope and the final minutes were tense at San Siro as the Rossoblu poured forward.
There are reports Manchester City have lowered Mario Balotelli’s asking price to €28m, while Milan are working out a payment plan for Kaka.
“Balotelli? We can talk about it if that price drops. Up until last night it was staying firm at €37m and at these conditions it is impossible,” said Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Saturday.
Today La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Manchester City got the message, so are willing to reduce the price-tag to €28m – approximately £23.5m.
It is also suggested that the Premier League club accepted a plan to spread the payment in six instalments, so allowing Milan to still balance the books.
Meanwhile, Galliani is still in negotiations with Real Madrid to bring back Kaka and there could be developments here too.
It is reported that Milan consulted with an economic expert in Spain to find a loophole in the tax laws, allowing the Italians to take on Kaka’s contract during a loan period without paying extra on his wages.
Kaka will still have to agree to halve his wages, but the difference will be between the net and gross sum Milan are to pay up.
Galliani has complained for many years that Spanish clubs have the advantage in the transfer market because their tax laws allow for much larger net wages.
Serie A: AC Milan vs. Bologna - match preview 20.1 ||webmaster
Having played 120 minutes on Wednesday evening, Bologna are at a disadvantage as they return to San Siro to play Milan.
At least that's what defender Fredrik Sorensen thinks ahead of the game, admitting that it may be a problem on Saturday evening - not that it will stop them from trying.
"We're disappointed with the Coppa Italia loss, but we'll now turn that disappointment into anger and put it back on to the pitch when we play Milan," he revealed, while at the same time claiming responsibility for Andrea Ranocchia's late extra-time winner.
One plus is the return amongst the goals of Alberto Gilardino last week, who scored a couple in his side's 4-0 win over Chievo.
"Alberto was in need of these goals and as a striker he lives to score, but he has always remained a key reference point for the team," assured Coach Stefano Pioli after the game. "I don't think the team has failed to give him chances - he must create his own opportunities."
The player himself, however, was more interested in the forthcoming fixtures than his own personal tally, claiming that "the games with Milan and Roma will tell us a lot about who we are."
The post-Coppa Italia fatigue is something that Milan had to deal with last week, with Stephan El Shaarawy noticeably under-par.
"El Shaarawy was a bit flat, but he has played a lot of games," said Coach Max Allegri in defence of the performance.
In truth the team as a whole were a bit flat, but it has not deterred them from aiming high - specifically reaching third place and Champions League qualification.
"We can recover the position in the League, compared to last year, because there is more balance. There are more teams that are difficult to play and against whom it is difficult to win," the Coach continued. "In this championship no-one will go on long winning streaks, so we must believe."
Captain for a large part of last week's match, Riccardo Montolivo, is thinking along the same lines, with a belief that third is in reach.
"We must stay focused on the goal until we are mathematically out of it. We must continue on this path against Bologna, where we have to win," he said, according to Bwin football.
With regular captain Massimo Ambrosini out with injury, Montolivo could well take the armband again on Saturday. Mario Yepes joins the skipper on the injured list.
Bologna miss Sliti Taider - a victim of the Coppa Italia tie in midweek, Cesare Natali and Robert Acquafresca.
Keep an eye on: Manolo Gabbiadini (Bologna) - Having taken a while to get started, he now has four goals in his last six games - his total for the season so far. Playing off to the left recently, he is starting to adapt to a regular place in the team.
Form guide: Milan (W W L W D) Bologna (D W L L W)
Last season: Milan 1-1 Bologna
Bwin odds: 1.50 Milan 4.00 Draw 7.75 Bologna
Stat fact: Giampaolo Pazzini has been booked four times in 10 games against Bologna - only against Inter has he received more in his career.
Milan (probable): Abbiati; De Sciglio, Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Boateng, Montolivo, Nocerino; Bojan, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan are “only negotiating for Kaka, so there will be no Mario Balotelli or David Beckham” as he prepares to face giant-killers Bologna.
The reports today on negotiations with Balotelli gained traction in The Sun newspaper, but Allegri took his Press conference to make a statement.
“There are talks in progress for Kaka, an important negotiation process if this great return should occur. I agree with the club and Adriano Galliani on everything, so there has never been my position opposed to that of the club. There is an exchange of ideas, certainly, but it’s not true that I don’t want Kaka.
“Beckham? I know Beckham, he is a great guy and a player of real class. However, you can’t wipe out his birth certificate and Milan have chosen to focus on youth hopefully with support from an important champion like Kaka.
“Balotelli? We are only negotiating for Kaka. In attack we have Giampaolo Pazzini, Bojan Krkic and M’Baye Niang, while we also have experienced players who bring a sense of security.”
Allegri confirmed that Riccardo Montolivo will play in front of the defence, while Pazzini will return to the starting XI with centre-backs Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata.
“Stephan El Shaarawy has not scored for a few games, but he is only 20 years old and mustn’t see the goal as an obsession.”
The Coach has a contract until June 2014, but President Silvio Berlusconi hinted that Allegri’s position next season will depend on results.
“I have a contract with Milan, all the rest is just talk. I have an excellent rapport with Berlusconi, so when I hear these questions I am not worried. I am concentrated only on Milan.”
AC Milan striker M'Baye Niang has claimed that he is not 'the next Mario Balotelli' and admits he is happy at San Siro.
The 18-year-old joined the Rossoneri last summer from Caen, but believes he made the right decision to join Massimiliano Allegri's side, as well as dismissing comparisons between himself and the Manchester City forward.
“I am not the Balotelli of Milan,” he told Sport Mediaset. “It is way too early to say that.
“Mario is a great player, but I am still very young – I've only played four games for Milan.
“I am happy with the choice I made. The Rossoneri are a great club with a history of winning many titles.”
The France Under-21 international then commented on the impact Stephan El Shaarawy has made this season, and also his own ambitions in Italy.
“Stephan is a good man. Even after scoring 14 goals, it has not all gone to his head. Hopefully he can do even better in the second half of the season.
“My personal objective is to play more, but I just want the team to reach third place.”
Real Madrid attacking midfielder Kaka has opened the door for a possible return to former club Milan.
Although Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani yesterday insisted that bringing the Brazilian back to the club was impossible because of his wage demands, the player himself thinks a deal could be done.
Kaka was in Italy’s fashion capital last night where he dined with Milan forward Robinho. He was then cornered by a Sky Sport Italia journalist.
“I had two days off so I decided to come and see Robinho,” the 30-year-old noted. “He’s a great friend and a great player, someone who can still give a lot to the club.
“A future for me at Milan? I have a contract at Real Madrid, but the present situation is not good for me or Real.
“I’m at the club's disposal, but the two sides have to come to an agreement. I’m still very thankful to Milan, I love this city and I left many friends here.”
The South American also intimated that he would be ready to lower his wages in order to complete a San Siro return.
“I’m open to any solution and I’ve already told this to Real Madrid.”
Kaka spent six years at Milan before he was sold to the Spanish giants in 2009 for close to €70m.
Galliani: 'Beckham and Kaka impossible' 17.1 ||webmaster
AC Milan will not be punished for abandoning a friendly with Pro Patria after racist abuse towards Kevin-Prince Boateng, decided the Disciplinary Commission today.
The incident hit the headlines when Boateng stormed off just 26 minutes into a midweek friendly in Busto Arsizio, an industrial town between Varese and Milan.
The rest of the team followed and, as the rules on what to do in these situations are unclear, some called for the player to be penalised.
This afternoon the Disciplinary Commission stated that “in the current rules no regulation allows for a team to interrupt a match and abandon the pitch if not in accordance with the decisions of the referee.
“However, the essential values that inform the sport and civilised society mean we cannot discipline a gesture of solidarity towards a man who was victim to crass insults exclusively targeted at the colour of his skin.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has repeatedly claimed that walking off the field in the presence of racist abuse “is not the answer.”
AC Milan talk Destro, Santon and Astori 15.1 ||webmaster
Matteo Roggi, agent of Pescara goalkeeper Mattia Perin, has admitted that whoever wants to sign the youngster will have to spend €20m.
The Delfini shot-stopper has been touted as one of the most promising keepers in European football, and his representative has revealed that a hefty price-tag has been placed on the youngster on-loan from Genoa.
“I think Perin will renew with Genoa,” he told Radio Toscana. “His contract there expires in 2015, but I personally hope Fiorentina give him a call.
“Nothing has been discussed with Milan. If something had been said, I would say so.
“Really, the only clubs that can be excluded from signing him are Inter, Roma and Juventus.
“If teams do want to sign him, they will have to spend about €20m to get him.”
'Emanuelson not happy at AC Milan' 15.1 ||webmaster
Riccardo Montolivo is still targeting a third-place finish with Milan despite being held at Sampdoria on Sunday.
The Diavolo are now nine points away from the Champions League zone, but the summer signing insists that continues to be the aim this term.
“Although we are a little distant, I hope to contribute in getting us up to third,” the Bosman capture from Fiorentina noted after the 0-0 draw last night.
“We are still hoping to get up there and that has to be the case while that objective is still possible mathematically.”
The Diavolo were looking to collect a sixth win from their last seven League games, but their preparations for Sunday night were hampered by the midweek extra-time efforts against Juventus in the Coppa Italia.
“There have been a few games very close to each other and it is only normal to start feeling some tiredness,” the Italian international concluded.
Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan “did not throw away points” in their Sampdoria stalemate.
“We did not throw away points, as don’t forget we were facing a side that was capable of beating Juventus last week,” he said after a 0-0 Marassi draw.
“In the first half they pressed us more, then my players started to push and we should’ve done better in the final third.
“We kept a clean sheet and that is important. We moved the ball around fairly well, but had to pick up the pace and do it quicker.”
The Coach was asked about his trident attack of Stephan El Shaarawy, Bojan Krkic and Mbaye Niang, who are all 20 years old.
“We had four kids on the field today,” he said referring also to defender Mattia De Sciglio.
“Niang had a good game, so did De Sciglio. El Shaarawy has played many matches and is very generous, so he was bound to feel tired eventually. Bojan showed some good things tonight.
“These games are often decided by incidents and we could’ve made more of them. I will not say the young trident was a failure. We do need to eliminate certain individual and superficial errors, but the team is growing.
“We are more organised and suffer less under pressure, as we saw against a good Sampdoria.
“If we can become more defensively solid, then that will also allow us to organise our attacking moves better.”
Serie A: Sampdoria 0:0 AC Milan - match report 13.1 ||webmaster
Sampdoria and Milan both had good chances, but were unable to break the deadlock at Marassi.
The Blucerchiati caused the shock of the season when they fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 away to Juventus despite playing with 10 men for an hour. Gaetano Berardi was sent off in Turin and therefore suspended for this game, while Enzo Maresca, Maxi Lopez and Nicola Pozzi were injured.
Milan were knocked out of the Coppa Italia in extra time by Juventus on Wednesday. Giampaolo Pazzini was banned against his former club, while Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Sulley Muntari, Luca Antonini, Djamel Mesbah and Nigel De Jong were on the treatment table.
The Rossoneri’s last victory at Marassi was six years ago, but they used a trident attack with a combined age of 60.
Christian Abbiati had his palms stung after five minutes by Lorenzo De Silvestri, then the goalkeeper flew to flap an Andrea Poli off target. Abbiati was again forced to push a fierce Eder free kick out from under the bar, as Samp had a very aggressive start.
Daniele Gastaldello couldn’t keep his free header down from a corner to the back post. Milal finally had their first chance after 21 minutes with Riccardo Montolivo’s effort charged down.
Massimo Ambrosini’s muscular problems flared up again, so he had to make way for Mathieu Flamini.
Sergio Romero fumbled another Montolivo snapshot from distance, but nobody was ready to follow it up. A Bojan Krkic solo run came to nothing with a wayward finish.
Within 40 seconds of the restart, Niang had burst down the right and his cross-shot was flapped away by Romero. From that corner, there were Milan appeals for a De Silvestri handling offence, but it seemed to be ball-to-hand.
Marcelo Estigarribia’s strike from distance took a deflection off Cristian Zapata, looping wide with Abbiati stranded.
On the hour mark Milan had a fantastic opportunity. Niang pulled across the face of goal, Bojan flicked it on for Boateng and Romero scrambled back desperately to clear off the line.
Samp immediately went on the counter and Abbiati was at full stretch to fingertip an angled Estigarribia drive round the post.
Moments later Mauro Icardi was sent clear on goal, but fired wide of an open net as Abbiati came tearing out. De Silvestri flashed a shot across the face of goal. Robinho made his comeback after the failed transfer to Santos, replacing a surprisingly sluggish El Shaarawy.
Flamini tried to pounce on a Fernando Tissone error, but his opponent got back to deflect the finish wide. From that corner, Romero smothered the Philippe Mexes header.
Boateng fired high and wide in stoppages from a promising position, then was caught offside from a well-worked free kick.
Sampdoria: Romero; Gastaldello, Palombo, Costa; De Silvestri, Obiang, Kristicic (Mustafi 87), Poli (Tissone 78), Estigarribia (Soriano 70); Icardi, Eder
AC Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, Ambrosini (Flamini 26), Boateng; Niang, Bojan (Nocerino 87), El Shaarawy (Robinho 67)
Serie A: Sampdoria vs. AC Milan - lineups 13.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri is not concerned by Milan’s latest downturn in form and Coppa Italia exit, but demands improvements against Sampdoria tomorrow night.
The Rossoneri scraped past Siena 2-1 last week and were knocked out of the Coppa quarter-finals by Juventus in extra time on Wednesday.
“We are disappointed to be out of the Coppa Italia, but in Turin we again saw a team growing in terms of performance,” insisted the Coach in his Press conference. “We must above all improve on set plays.”
While Milan lost at the Juventus Stadium, last Sunday Sampdoria fought back to win 2-1 despite playing with 10 men for an hour.
“Sampdoria are in great physical shape and winning away to Juventus when a man down is absolutely not an easy task. They have two great strikers and are very organised, as Angelo Palombo at centre-back has brought more technique.
“I still saw a step forward from Milan on Wednesday in terms of pace and passing. The players are getting more confident and working as a unit. I was happy with what the lads did, though of course disappointed with the result.
“Tomorrow we need a better performance than Wednesday, especially as Samp have had all week to prepare for this game.”
Allegri remains under fire after President Silvio Berlusconi refused to confirm whether he’d still be on the Milan bench next season, even though his contract runs until 2014.
“I have an excellent rapport with the club, though clearly a Coach is always tied to results. This season the task was to get the best out of young players.
“Seeing Mattia De Sciglio, Stephan El Shaarawy, Riccardo Montolivo, Kevin Constant and also Kevin-Prince Boateng improve gives us optimism for the rest of the season.”
Boateng met with his agents, Allegri and Vice-President Adriano Galliani at the Milan HQ this week, though the Coach denied a transfer was discussed.
“He was very relaxed. Robinho only joined the full training schedule yesterday, so it’ll be difficult to see him playing tomorrow.”
The Rossoneri remain in seventh place, a full seven points adrift of the Champions League qualifying spots.
“Third place is neither a miracle nor a huge achievement. Our duty is to always give our best. It’s not easy to catch up six teams, but at the same time people thought we’d thrown everything away after our defeat to Roma, yet we’re only two points behind them thanks to a game they were awarded by the authorities.”
Allegri was referring to the 3-0 win in Cagliari that was handed to the Giallorossi after problems with the Is Arenas saw the game called off.
Arsenal are said to be targeting versatile Milan man Urby Emanuelson for the January transfer window.
The 26-year-old Dutchman has started only eight Serie A games this season and his position in the team is unclear, as he has played in a trident attack, as a trequartista, in midfield or as a left-back.
According to reports from England, Arsene Wenger is eager to sign Emanuelson this month to reinforce his squad.
Emanuelson arrived from Ajax in January 2011, but is often used as a stop-gap solution by Coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Rossi sets Sampdoria sights on AC Milan 12.1 ||webmaster
Delio Rossi’s Sampdoria are fresh from a shock victory over Juventus and now hopes to cause another upset against Milan. “We’re sticking to a 3-5-2, just as we did in Turin.”
The Blucerchiati caused one of the most surprising results of the season when they fought back with 10 men to conquer the Juventus Stadium.
“On Sunday we’re sticking to a 3-5-2, just as we did in Turin against Juventus,” declared Rossi in his Press conference. Click here for a match preview.
“I think we have set out our path, though we’re still trying things out and I might have to make a few variations due to the characteristics of the players at my disposal.
“I had hoped the team would play the way they did against Juve. I told them that when you’re playing with 10 men, you have to keep moving or it becomes really difficult.”
Argentine 20-year-old Mauro Icardi bagged a brace in Turin and is attracting attention from some top clubs.
“Icardi is a real talent, but I don’t think he’s going to get big-headed. He’s just started his professional career, it’d be the end if he already got a massive ego! He seems very relaxed and I think he’s got the right mindset to work well.”
Sampdoria welcome Milan on Sunday evening and Coach Rossi was asked how he will approach this latest giant.
“I don’t think Milan will be tired after their Coppa Italia quarter-final, as they are a team accustomed to playing every three days.
“How do you stop Stephan El Shaarawy? When playing against teams like this, you cannot just focus on one element. If we stop El Shaarawy, then we mustn’t forget about Robinho or Bojan Krkic.”
Sampdoria already beat Milan 1-0 at San Siro this season, when Ciro Ferrara was on the Blucerchiati bench.
AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has answered transfer questions about Didier Drogba, Kevin Prince Boateng, Francesco Lodi, Cristian Zaccardo, Luca Antonini and Ignazio Abate.
Cornered by journalists as he arrived at the Lega Calcio offices, Galliani discussed his outfit’s market intentions.
“I don’t think there will be any major signings this month,” he stated. “Drogba to Milan or Juventus? There will be no Italy for Drogba.”
On suggestions that Galatasaray had made an offer for Boateng, he responded: “There has been no bid for him. If one would have arrived then we would have said no. No one has asked us for Luca Antonini either.
“Lodi? We asked Catania for him, but they rejected us.
“Signing Cristian Zaccardo from Parma was a possibility, but that is not the case anymore. We’ve turned down Zenit’s offer for Abate, we won’t sell him.”
The official was also asked about the future of current Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri. “He has a contract until 2014. But, as is always the case, a Coach’s future is subject to results.”
Genoa cool Perin - AC Milan rumours 11.1 ||webmaster
Juventus will face Lazio in the Coppa Italia Semi-Final after Mirko Vucinic secured a 2-1 victory over Milan in extra time.
There was a last-minute change to the line-ups, as Andrea Pirlo was rested in favour of Under-21 international Luca Marrone. Claudio Marchisio, Simone Pepe, Giorgio Chiellini, Nicklas Bendtner and the suspended Fabio Quagliarella missed out.
Milan used Urby Emanuelson in a trident attack and were without Robinho, Christian Abbiati, Djamel Mesbah, Mario Yepes, Kevin Constant, Daniele Bonera, Cristian Zapata, Sulley Muntari and Nigel De Jong.
The first chance arrived after three minutes, as Marco Storari fingertipped a Massimo Ambrosini strike out from under the bar.
They had the more aggressive start and took the lead moments later. Giampaolo Pazzini’s dummy let a Kevin-Prince Boateng pull-back from the by-line through for Stephan El Shaarawy to fire into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Juve went very close to an equaliser, as Alessandro Matri’s header whistled just wide with Marco Amelia rooted to the spot.
Sebastian Giovinco did draw the Bianconeri level when he curled a trademark free kick over the wall and into the near top corner, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.
Philippe Mexes was perhaps fortunate to only get a yellow card for his extremely late, high and cynical challenge on Giovinco on the touchline. Antonio Conte was absolutely furious and had to be calmed down.
A long-range Arturo Vidal effort was accidentally charged down by teammate Matri. Boateng was booked for tripping Emanuele Giaccherini from behind to stop a counter-attack and Amelia fingertipped the resulting Giovinco free kick out from under the bar.
Giovinco should’ve made it 2-1 when he took advantage of Francesco Acerbi’s defensive error to go clear, but blasted wide with only Amelia to beat.
Leonardo Bonucci threw himself at the feet of El Shaarawy to block after Storari’s misplaced clearance. From that corner, Storari grabbed the ball and was then barged over by Mexes, who ran a huge risk of a second yellow card.
Giovinco wasted another chance after the restart when he hit a weak shot at Amelia after a lucky ricochet set him up. Storari also smothered a Boateng solo effort, and Amelia intercepted a Stephan Lichtsteiner pull-back in the six-yard box.
Lichtsteiner was clear on goal and lining up his shot when El Shaarawy sprinted back to defend with a crucial tackle.
Pirlo was introduced for the final stages, but M’Baye Niang went close as he rose to nod a Mattia De Sciglio cross just wide of the far post.
Giaccherini’s shot was deflected off target and Massimo Ambrosini went off with cramp. In stoppages Leonardo Bonucci tripped Bojan for a free kick in the D, but it was touched on for Riccardo Montolivo and charged down, so this Quarter-Final went to extra time.
Juventus took the lead for the first time of the evening with a classic counter-attack. Vucinic allowed a Giaccherini through ball to reach Paolo De Ceglie and the pass back was prodded past the on-rushing Amelia by the Montenegro international.
Storari parried a Montolivo snapshot, then blocked El Shaarawy’s follow-up. Amelia also had to be alert, smothering at the feet of Giaccherini after trapping a cross-field De Ceglie pass.
Niang sprinted past Andrea Barzagli, but his finish was a weak effort into the arms of Storari.
Juve also wasted a golden opportunity, as Vucinic drew two defenders away and rolled into the centre for an unmarked Mauricio Isla, but Amelia performed a crucial one-handed save.
At the 118th minute Niang hit a volley sweetly, but central and it smacked Storari in the chest without the Juve goalkeeper seeming to know much about it.
Moments later Storari was at full stretch to deny another Niang angled drive, then Martin Caceres charged down El Shaarawy’s follow-up.
Police will have the final say on whether to stop football matches in Italy due to racist chanting, as new guidelines were drawn up today.
The debate has been raging since Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during a friendly between Milan and Pro Patria due to persistent racist chants from a small group of local fans.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter insisted stopping games “is not the answer,” but the FIGC has pushed ahead with guidelines to suspend play if there is reiterated racist abuse.
Today the Osservatorio – the group that organises safety and security measures around sporting events – released suggestions on how to deal with the problem.
The referee should tell the Fourth Official, who will then inform the official representing the Osservatorio in the stadium. He is “the only person responsible for the decision on whether to suspend the game.”
The players can make the referee aware of racist abuse, but the decision must still go through the officials.
Before taking such drastic action as to halt the game, the current procedure remains – the referee can order a message over the tannoy system warning that further racist abuse will result in the match being suspended.
The Osservatorio pointed out after today’s meeting that “there has been a further drop in the number of violent incidents, while manifestations of racism and intolerance, which are to be contrasted strongly, are episodic and always limited to a restricted group.”
Pro Patria, the lower League side whose fans insulted Boateng last week, will have to play their next match behind closed doors as punishment.
Ancelotti: 'Juventus favourites, but I cheer with AC Milan' 9.1 ||webmaster
FIGC President Giancarlo Abete has broken away from UEFA and FIFA by insisting “we are prepared to suspend games” due to racist abuse.
Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during a friendly between Milan and Pro Patria last week, prompting praise from most quarters, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter insisted it was “wrong to run away” from the insults.
The Italian Federation has declared its intention to stand by Boateng and any other players who find themselves in the same situation.
“We must not worry about fixture lists or difficulty in organising a re-match. That is not the problem,” said FIGC President Abete after a meeting with the Chief of Police.
“The problem is taking away from the stadiums those people who don’t belong there, because they pollute the civilised coming together for a sporting event.
“If necessary, we are prepared to suspend games on a temporary or permanent basis to fight racist abuse.
“The sporting world strongly supports sending these people away from the stadiums with stronger bans and more capability to expel from the arenas those who do not have the right to stay in a sporting venue.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that one of the Pro Patria fans charged with hurling racist insults at Boateng is a councillor in nearby Corbetta.
Riccardo Grittini is a 21-year-old who is responsible for Sport and Youth Politics. He has now been banned from attending any sporting event for five years and resigned from his post.
He was voted in as part of the Lega Nord, the anti-immigration party that has declared its intention to separate the richer northern territories from the poorer south of Italy.
Pro Patria, the club whose friendly was abandoned when Boateng and Milan walked off, have been ordered to play a game behind closed doors.
Berlusconi: 'Results decide for Allegri' 9.1 ||webmaster
Pro Patria, the lower league club whose supporters prompted Kevin-Prince Boateng to walk off due to racist abuse (see video below), will play a game behind closed doors.
The incident occurred during a midweek friendly between Milan and Pro Patria at their tiny stadium in Busto Arsizio, an industrial town between Varese and Milan.
Boateng walked off in protest at reiterated racist insults from a small section of the fans and captain Massimo Ambrosini took the rest of the team off too, abandoning the game.
It has now been confirmed that the Federation’s Disciplinary Committee punished Pro Patria for the incident by forcing them to play their next Lega Pro home game behind closed doors.
The ruling also states that if racist abuse is heard again at their matches, there will be even harsher punishment.
The note from the Disciplinary Committee suggested “the behaviour of the Pro Patria supporters appeared to be particularly serious as it was a clear manifestation of racist discrimination during a friendly game, so there was no sporting tension or spirit of competition.
“These are not to be considered justification of course, but can be seen as attenuating circumstances when working out punishment.
“This sanction for incidents of this nature is not only punishment, but also a preventative measure to avoid a repeat incident. In the current season, Pro Patria had already been fined €5,000 for incidents of this nature and has proved to be inefficient.”
Robinho is again left out of the Milan squad to face Juventus in the Coppa Italia Quarter-Final on Wednesday.
The Brazilian striker is not 100 per cent fit after his training schedule was affected by the failed negotiations for a move to Santos.
Philippe Mexes returns after he missed Sunday’s 2-1 win over Siena with suspension.
Christian Abbiati, Kevin Constant, Mario Yepes, Djamel Mesbah, Daniele Bonera, Cristian Zapata, Sulley Muntari and Nigel De Jong are injured.
The Coppa Italia Quarter-Final kicks off at the Juventus Stadium at 19.45 GMT on Wednesday.
Milan squad for Juventus: Amelia, Coppola, Gabriel, Abate, Acerbi, Antonini, De Sciglio, Mexes, Ambrosini, Boateng, Carmona, Emanuelson, Flamini, Montolivo, Nocerino, Traorè, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini
Allegri clings to AC Milan contract 8.1 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri, speaking on the eve of the Coppa Italia tie at Juventus, insists he’ll stay as Milan boss until 2014.
The tactician’s future was again placed into doubt last night after President Silvio Berlusconi refused to confirm him for 2013-14.
“I intend to respect my contract which expires in 2014 and give my best so that this side can express itself to the maximum,” he stated. “I have nothing to say about the President’s statements.”
Turning to Wednesday’s last eight Cup tie in Turin, Allegri expected a tight affair – especially in the early exchanges, and is under no illusions about the difficult task ahead for the men in the Adidas football kits.
“It will be a competitive game of great intensity, where both sides will show their defensive strength. We’ll have to repeat the performance we gave at the weekend in the championship versus Siena.
“Winning always matters to us, but I look to be a realist. We are working hard to improve, but I can’t expect my side to dominate a game for 90 minutes.
“The semi-final is an objective, but it will be hard as we are going to play on one of the most difficult grounds that there are. It’s a shame that this is only a quarter-final tie.
“Juventus are the strongest and most solid team in Serie A. They collected 44 points in the first half of the season, there is not too much more to say. It is excessive to look for negatives in this Juventus.”
Allegri is limited by injuries, especially at the back, while he also has other selection issues to resolve further forward.
“Mario Yepes, Daniele Bonera and Cristian Zapata are out. Philippe Mexes will return, while I’ll have to evaluate Kevin Constant.
“Giampaolo Pazzini is suspended for the weekend, so he’ll play in attack. I need to understand whether to play Bojan from the start or not.”
Allegri was understandably questioned on the January transfer market, but refused to go into too much detail about specific players.
“We had a three-hour meeting yesterday,” he added. “We evaluated a number of transfers, both sales and signings. We’ll decide together with the club about which roads to go down.
“Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli a bad apple? He’s certainly an asset for Italian football. The mistakes he has made should be used so he doesn’t make errors in the future.
“Davide Santon? He belongs to Newcastle and it is not right to talk about players at other clubs. I just train the players that my club gives me.”
AC Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi says he would never sanction the signing of Mario Balotelli, while he hinted at a summer exit for boss Massimiliano Allegri.
Italy and Manchester City ace Balotelli is constantly being linked with a future with the Diavolo, but Berlusconi is adamant that the enigma will not arrive at San Siro.
“The human aspect is very important at Milan,” the former Italian Prime Minister told Antenna 3 in an interview.
“If you place a bad apple in the dressing room then it can infect all of the others. Balotelli is someone who I would never accept in the Milan squad.”
Rumours of a Balotelli switch intensified last week after his altercation with City boss Roberto Mancini coincided with Alexandre Pato’s sale to Corinthians.
“Pato has promised me that he will return in a year and a half,” the Diavolo official continued. “A series of injuries created a certain distance between himself and the establishment at Milanello.
“The agreement is that he goes there, stays for 18 months and then returns to Milan. That is what he told me when we embraced for the last time at Arcore.”
Berlusconi was also asked about the future of boss Allegri, a tactician whose contract at Milanello won’t expire until June 2014.
“A President must always tell the truth,” he said when asked whether Allegri would stay for 2013-14. “Therefore, let’s go to the next question…”
Berlusconi’s dream tactician for the future is available former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
“The chances of him arriving are very low,” he admitted. “I’ve always wanted to take him to Milan because Barcelona have played the best football over these years.”
The Italian giants have opted to start a new era at the club after opting to wave goodbye to a host of veteran players in the summer, as well as selling the likes of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain.
“We are focusing on youth,” he added. “We have three youngsters on our radar, one plays in Italy and the other two are abroad – but we don’t know whether we can sign them in January.
“A bid for Inter’s Wesley Sneijder? How old is he? 28? Well then, he’s not part of Milan’s plans.”
Antonini and Mesbah to Galatasaray? 7.1 ||webmaster
Scorers: Bojan 67 (M), Pazzini pen 81 (M), Paolucci 87 (S)
Bojan Krkic and a Giampaolo Pazzini penalty gave Milan a very hard-fought victory over Siena.
The Rossoneri ended 2012 with a heavy defeat to Roma and the pressure was on after Alexandre Pato’s €15m move to Corinthians. Robinho missed this game after negotiations with Santos broke down, while Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Cristian Zapata, Djamel Mesbah and Nigel De Jong had injuries. Adding the suspended Philippe Mexes, the crisis in defence meant Mattia De Sciglio had to play as centre-back. Siena were looking for their first result under new Coach Beppe Iachini, but top scorer Emanuele Calaiò sat out a ban and Marcelo Larrondo was unavailable.
The Rossoneri came out before kick-off with special anti-racism jerseys after Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during a midweek friendly against lower league side Pro Patria due to abuse from the stands.
Kevin Constant’s cross-shot was flapped over the bar, while Stephan El Shaarawy dribbled between two defenders to force another save out of Gianluca Pegolo from point-blank range.
Giampaolo Pazzini couldn’t get on the end of an El Shaarawy assist or an Antonio Nocerino cross. Milan seemed thoroughly uninspired apart from El Shaarawy, whose right-foot curler skimmed the base of the upright.
Instead, Siena had a great scoring opportunity in the second half when Christian Abbiati had to stick up a hand to palm Alessandro Rosina’s effort away from point-blank range.
El Shaarawy really should’ve scored on 59 minutes, but his header from a Boateng cross flashed all the way across the face of goal.
Milan finally found a way through with substitute Bojan Krkic. Siena gave away possession to spark a counter and Boateng curled the cross on to Bojan’s head at the near post, the Spaniard glancing it past the goalkeeper.
Bojan tried to complete his brace, but the strike shaved a coat of paint off the base of the upright.
Pazzini was awarded a penalty for a nudge from behind by Felipe and he insisted on taking the kick himself, firing confidently under the bar.
It wasn’t over yet, as substitute Michele Paolucci timed his header brilliantly to get one back for Siena on Angelo’s cross.
Milan: Abbiati; Abate, De Sciglio, Acerbi, Constant (Antonini 63); Montolivo, Ambrosini, Nocerino (Bojan 58); Boateng; Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Massimiliano Allegri tried to focus Milan on Siena, but instead had to reassure “Robinho and Ignazio Abate are staying with us.”
The Rossoneri are at the centre of numerous transfer stories this week after Alexandre Pato was sold to Corinthians for €15m, but talks with Santos for Robinho collapsed last night.
“Robinho wanted to go back to Brazil last summer,” revealed the Coach in his Press conference.
“Now he has to find the right state of mind and physical condition, seeing as he hadn’t trained in three weeks.
“Last night the negotiations broke down, so he is and remains a Milan player. As far as I’m concerned, he will stay until June.”
There were also reports that Zenit made a €10m offer for full-back Abate.
“Abate is a Milan player and is very happy to remain at Milan. I am not even going to consider his exit.
“Selling Pato is not a defeat for us, nor a victory. Milan lost an important player who always did score goals, but unfortunately had numerous injuries. He has the quality to recover and I hope he can find his fitness.”
Didier Drogba’s agents have suggested there are negotiations with Milan and Juventus for a return to Europe, but Allegri is not convinced.
“Considering our business model, Drogba will not arrive, because we have to focus on youth. The Ivory Coast international does not fit in with the ideas set out by President Silvio Berlusconi.
“Mario Balotelli? He is a Manchester City player. He just has to concentrate on himself, otherwise he can throw away his career.”
The last few days were also extremely tense after a friendly with Pro Patria was abandoned due to racist chanting against Kevin-Prince Boateng. The Ghanaian told German newspaper Bild today he is reconsidering his future in Italy.
“I didn’t see him particularly upset today. Perhaps he was letting off steam in the bitterness of the moment, but I think it’s all calmed down now. I don’t think he wants to leave Milan, as nobody likes leaving this club.
“In stadiums we ought to focus only on the sporting event. We should take down the barriers, as we are in 2013 and have to progress. It means taking important decisions and setting an example for youth.”
Milan ended 2012 with a heavy 4-2 defeat to Roma and need to get back on track on Sunday afternoon by welcoming Siena.
“Despite that defeat, we have amassed many points recently. Now we have to start again, but it won’t be easy against a Siena side that defends very well. The first game after a break is always very dangerous, especially if transfer rumours are distracting the players.
“Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephan El Shaarawy will start tomorrow, but I haven’t yet decided who will be behind them.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng is so shaken by the racist insults he received during a friendly that he confessed “I’ll meet my agent next week and see if there’s still a point to playing in Italy.”
The Milan midfielder earned praise from around Italy and the world when walking off during a friendly game with lower league side Pro Patria. See below for video. Several ‘fans’ were arrested and today another five have been charged with hurling racist insults.
“This isn’t something you can just shake off,” Boateng told German newspaper Bild.
“I’ll sleep on it for the next three nights. I’ll meet my agent Roger Wittmann next week and see if there’s still a point to playing in Italy.”
The Ghanaian who was born and raised in Germany confirmed he was “proud” of his teammates for walking off the pitch with him.
The game in Busto Arsizio, an industrial town between Varese and Milan, lasted only 26 minutes. The referee had already stopped play twice due to racist insults from a small group of supporters and the Pro Patria players had pleaded for them to stop.
“I heard the first monkey noises after five minutes,” continued Boateng. “At first I didn’t think anything of it, then it happened again and I told the referee if this continued I would leave the field.
“He tried to calm me down, but when the chants resumed I thought enough is enough, I can’t continue playing like this.
“It is easy to turn a blind eye and much harder to take action, but I would’ve done the same thing even if it was a Champions League game against Real Madrid. I’d do it all again, always.
“I was angry, sad, shocked and it’s a disgrace this sort of thing still happens in 2013. It’s not just about Italy, but the whole world. I wanted to send a strong signal because this sort of thing cannot exist. We’ve got to open our eyes.
“Racism has no place in football.”
Drogba agent:: 'AC Milan and Juventus talks' 5.1 ||webmaster
Having sold Alexandre Pato to Corinthians, Milan are now intensifying negotiations to sell Robinho. “If he wants to join Santos, he has to give something up.”
The striker has made it clear he wants a return to Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup and is wanted by Santos, Flamengo, Fluminense and reportedly now also Atletico Mineiro.
Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani held a meeting with Santos officials on Friday night, though the €7m is still well below their €10m asking price.
The gap could be bridged by including an option on 19-year-old Felipe Anderson as part of the deal.
“The transfer fee and wage demands are really very high,” Santos President Muricy Ramalho told Globoesporte.
“Robinho wants to return and that helps us a little. Considering this desire exists, we hold on to our optimism. Negotiations have not collapsed completely, but they are very complicated.
“If he wants to join Santos, he has to give something up.”
Would Balotelli and El Shaarawy work well together? 5.1 ||webmaster
After some speculation that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli could return to Italy and join the forces of AC Milan, questions have been posed if this would be a smart move to pair him up with 20 year old forward Stephan El Shaarawy.
The latter is of Egyptian descent but has been called up to play for the Italian national team and scored his first goal in November 2012 in a friendly against France. El Shaarawy ended the year 2012 as top scorer in the Serie A and promises a great deal of goals yet to come.
The 2010 European Golden Boy Mario Balotelli, originally from Ghana is also a naturalized Italian, and part of the Italian national team. Balotelli has a bit more fame to his name having been one of the main focuses of the English media since his move to Manchester. His antics both on and off the pitch have led to his presence being a regularity in the newspapers.
El Shaarawy definitely has a keen eye for goal and has very good positioning on the pitch. He has somewhat of a trademark move of lobbing his defender before running around and beating him in an attack. He looks to pass quite often when there is an open man but also likes to finish off attacks with a precise shot towards the goal. El Shaarawy has noticeable composure in front of the goal which explains the repetition of his name on AC Milan’s score sheets.
Balotelli is definitely a player with natural skill and unspeakable talent. He is pumped up with agility, pace, strength, power and technique, really all the things one looks for in a fantastic striker. He does have one downside though, and that would be his attitude and level of maturity. Of course, he is a young player and has to have fun in his youth but there is a certain level of responsibility that comes with being a highly paid professional athlete. This is just something Balotelli will have to overcome in order to be taken more seriously on the football pitch.
Regarding Mario’s transfer to AC Milan, it is a large possibility, especially considering Balotelli’s latest controversial dispute with his club Manchester City. Along with this incident, there is also the known fact of Balotelli’s love for AC Milan. The striker, who used to play for fierce rivals Internazionale, had once showed up to an interview wearing the football kit of AC Milan, causing all sorts of havoc and fuss in the media.
Should the deal go through, there are a number of benefits that the decision could bring:
1. El Shaarawy for one, is extremely versatile and adapts to basically any offensive position, and with Balotelli’s strength, the latter can draw defenders towards him and leave El Shaarawy easily open and free in front of goal.
2. Both are very young players with more than a decade of football left inside them, so playing together could help them form a long lasting striking partnership which would also be used in the Italian national team.
3. Since El Shaarawy is more of a wing forward, AC Milan are currently lacking a proper centre forward, with Alexandre Pato out injured. This, of course, is Mario Balotelli’s true position, so it should be no problem for the young City based striker to adapt.
4. Balotelli moving to AC Milan could help out some players show their true potential in the squad. This includes Riccardo Montolivo, who would have more passing options in the final third of the pitch.
It could prove to be a great decision with fantastic results, and of course, it could be a flop like some cases in football where two players just do not get along as expected. It is all left to be seen, should the transfer even go through.
Column written by Vladimir Nikolic.
Robinho-Santos still on, but difficult 4.1 ||webmaster
Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli, M’Baye Niang, Patrick Vieira and Rio Ferdinand praised Kevin-Prince Boateng and Milan for walking off amid racist chanting. “Finally! We are all tired of this.”
The Ghanaian kicked the ball into the stands just 26 minutes into today’s friendly against Pro Patria and walked away with his teammates after repeated racist chanting from a small section of supporters.
“Finally!” declared Italy manager Prandelli on TG1. “A great team, a great Coach and a great man. Massimiliano Allegri understood the problem. We are all tired of this. We are all fed up.
“Italy must grow up and this is the first step. Milan were fantastic, as all together we can probably manage to ruin the plans of these few people...”
Boateng was not the only player insulted in today’s game in Busto Arsizio, a small industrial town between Varese and Milan, as Sulley Ali Muntari and M’Baye Niang were also playing.
“We are ready to do this again in Serie A or the Champions League, even if we are playing against Barcelona or Real Madrid,” declared Niang.
“Our captain Massimo Ambrosini did the right thing by taking the team off the field. I’d never seen anything like this in France.”
Around the world football stars are flocking to congratulate Boateng and Milan on their reaction to the racist chanting.
“It was brave of Kevin Prince Boateng to do what he did today, and it was the right thing. We need to stand up and stand together. Well done,” wrote ex-Milan midfielder Vieira on Twitter.
“Now is the time for the football authorities to stand up and do something. We need to see real actions that will have a genuine influence.
“AC Milan are an example to all. It's a strong and bold statement to make by the Club and players.”
England defender Ferdinand also took to Twitter to discuss the incident.
“If the stories about KPB walking off the pitch with teammates after being racially abused are true, fair play to him...well done.”
The Italian Players’ Association and FIGC publicly supported Kevin-Prince Boateng after he abandoned a friendly match due to racist chanting, but the Busto Arsizio Mayor incredibly blamed the Ghanaian.
The Milan midfielder interrupted today’s game with Lega Pro Second Division team Pro Patria by kicking the ball into the stands and walking off, followed by his teammates.
“It was a good signal to send out,” said Italian Players’ Association (AIC) President Damiano Tommasi.
“The ideal is not to suspend games, though, but rather be able to kick out those responsible for these incidents.”
Barbara Berlusconi, who is the daughter of President Silvio Berlusconi and on the Milan Board of Directors, also weighed in.
“We need zero tolerance for these incidents and games ought to be suspended even in Serie A. It is a shocking incident and it was right to leave the field. We can’t always pretend we don’t see or hear these things.”
Federation President Giancarlo Abete also released a statement on the official FIGC website.
“Any sanction or punishment could not cancel out the disgust for a shocking and intolerable incident. The Federation has already begun an investigation to discover who is responsible and collaborate with the Police to punish the racists who ruined a friendly game.
“We show full solidarity to the players who were victims of the racist chants and to Milan who refused to finish the game, a decision that was shared by the referee – who had already suspended play twice – and the authorities in the stadium.
“We must react strongly and without the protection of silence to isolate those delinquents who transformed a friendly match into a disgusting situation that offends all of Italian football.
“Today’s incident confirms once more we must not lower our guard against racial discrimination and racist undertows of society, calling together all the healthy elements of football to fight them.”
However, one lone voice refusing to condemn the racist chants was the Mayor of Busto Arsizio, an industrial town between Varese and Milan.
“It was above all the fault of a bunch of idiots, maybe even of a bunch of professionals who didn’t know how to do their jobs properly – by which I mean the referee and some players,” declared Mayor Gigi Farioli.
“If these professionals had been able to do their jobs, then it wouldn’t have ruined a festival of football that at that point could no longer continue.
“Boateng kicked the ball at 200km/h at a fan and we all know that a reaction foul from a professional player is punished more severely than any other foul. In any other stadium in Italy, he would’ve been sent off.
“But if this had been at the Bernabeu or at San Siro, Boateng would not have had such an improper reaction.”
Farioli was elected with support from the Lega Nord (an anti-immigration party that wants to separate the north of Italy from the poorer south) and the Popolo della Liberta (Milan President Berlusconi’s centre-right party).
AC Milan: 'Racism infests stadiums' 3.1 ||webmaster
AC Milan released a statement on their official website after Kevin-Prince Boateng suspended a friendly with Pro Patria due to the racism “that infests our stadiums.”
This was meant to be a typical midweek run-out against a Lega Pro Second Division club in Busto Arsizio, Varese, but the game was abandoned when Boateng became frustrated with racist chanting from a small section of the crowd.
The Ghanaian kicked the ball into the stands, removed his jersey and walked off, followed by his Milan teammates. This gesture has earned praise and declarations of solidarity from all over the world as well as within Italian football.
“Busto Arsizio is a civilised town,” wrote Milan on their official website. “Nobody can argue against that. Milan will return gladly and with heads held high.
“But the racist chanting from those tiny, tiny people today could not go unpunished. They are condemned by the shame they must feel when, caused by a few, many are robbed of a relaxing afternoon of sport.
“In the stands of the Stadio Speroni in Busto Arsizio there were sports fans, their families and their children. There were good people representing sport, the pure and healthy spectators who wanted to sit next to others and enjoy a great friendly match.
“These people were the first to disassociate themselves from the tiny, tiny group in the stadium that made the continuation of this game impossible.
“At a certain point, Milan said enough. Those who share the colour of the heart of Boateng, Sulley Muntari and Mbaye Niang couldn’t take it anymore and decided it was time to teach a lesson to those fools.
“They were standing up with their ignorance, but it was as if they were under our feet. ‘Let everyone learn from this experience,’ said Coach Massimiliano Allegri. ‘We will return,’ promised captain Massimo Ambrosini.
“That will be the case, but only if Italian football definitively isolates those tiny, tiny people who infest our stadiums.”
AC Milan youngster Mattia De Sciglio is “happy with what I’ve done so far” and looking forward to an even stronger 2013.
The 20-year-old full-back has come up through the ranks to represent his hometown club and is tipped by many to be the next Paolo Maldini.
“I am happy with what I’ve done so far,” he told Milan Channel. “At the start of the season I had set myself the target of playing a series of games, but I never expected to have played so many by the Christmas break.
“Playing consistently is important for any player, especially a youngster. For 2013 my objective is to remain concentrated and continue working this way.”
De Sciglio could be losing two teammates this month, as Alexandre Pato is on the verge of joining Corinthians and Robinho is in talks with Santos.
“It’d be a shame if even one of them were to leave, as they are players of great quality,” continued De Sciglio.
“We must try to climb up the table as quickly as possible to reach the top spots, trying not to drop points the way we did early in the season.”