We've got a guide full of information about the best places to shop for AC Milan items online - shirts, jerseys, training tops, jackets etc., with shopping sites ranked based on the quality they offer to an AC Milan fan. Go read it now at our AC Milan shopping page!
AC MILAN BLOG
Read our AC Milan blog for the best AC Milan related commentary, rants, articles and more.
AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani assures Mario Balotelli will not be fined after he was spotted out late clubbing, but “we hope he’ll recover in time for Lazio.”
The former Manchester City striker is training on a personalised schedule this week after picking up a knock to the knee during the 1-1 draw with Inter.
“The doctors tell me Balotelli picked up a knock, probably when he collided with Samir Handanovic in the second half. We hope he’ll recover in time for Lazio on Saturday evening,” Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Derby della Madonnina did not go as SuperMario hoped, as he failed to find the net and was fined for making a vulgar gesture towards the Inter supporters.
“I didn’t see it,” insisted Galliani. “I read that there was a gravely offensive gesture, but I haven’t spoken to him.
“As for the night out clubbing, all the players go out after a game. I cannot bar them from going dancing after a match, otherwise every club in Milan would close!”
Agent Mino Raiola claimed the reason for Balotelli’s below-par performance against Inter was he had a high temperature.
“None of us knew about it, not even the Coach or the medical staff. I guess we’ll nominate Raiola as our new chief medic,” smiled Galliani.
Milan won the first leg 2-0 against Barcelona, but Andres Iniesta insists “hand in the fire” that the Blaugrana will reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
“Iniesta is an extraordinary player. Of course he’s not going to say that Milan will qualify. If he loses his hand in the fire, we’d still sign him next season, as he’s a great player.”
Barcelona will eliminate AC Milan, says Iniesta 27.2 ||webmaster
Andres Iniesta has insisted that struggling Barcelona will bounce back to knock Milan out of the Champions League.
The Spanish giants lost the first leg of their last 16 tie against the Diavolo 2-0 and were defeated at home by Real Madrid last night in the Copa del Rey.
“We have not done things right to win, that’s for sure,” the international midfielder began at today’s Press conference.
“Whether the players are tired or it is the system, the game against Milan will be like a Cup Final and we must come out from the start as if our lives depend on it.
“I’m confident we can knock them out.
“It is not that we cannot play, it is that we are trying and other circumstances beyond us are in play, like our opponents. It’s a matter of moments, feelings.
“In these two specific games, which were important, the opponent has won. We lacked a little bit extra, but not a precise thing.
“When a team does not work it is a matter of everything. From back to front and front to back. There are opponents who play differently and you have to adapt.
“When we are in a good dynamic, we create more chances. In these two games we missed that. We must recover the ABCs of football because that is what has led us to become the team that we are today.”
Asked about the impact of Coach’s Tito Vilanova’s continued absence as he battles with illness, Iniesta said: “It would be a lie if I said that it did not hurt us, it is natural and logical that not having the figure of our head Coach is not easy.
“These are difficult situations and to the team the figure of the Coach is important. I know that there is all this technology and the Coach has done his best with it to remain in contact.
“His health is the priority though and we trust the coaching staff that are here. We hope that when Tito comes back we still have our comfortable League lead and are still alive in the Champions League.”
Hernanes believes Saturday’s Milan-Lazio showdown “will be decisive” in the race for a Champions League spot.
This weekend’s results took the Biancocelesti back into third place on their own, two points clear of the Rossoneri.
“Last night we had an important result that boosts confidence and revives spirits for this final part of the season,” said Hernanes after a 2-0 win over Pescara.
“After five rounds without a win, we were rewarded for our efforts and remain in the Champions League places, which are our ultimate objective.
“At the weekend we have another very important game, one that will be decisive. There are only two months left this season, so from now on every match will be decisive and can define our path in this campaign.”
Inter have been fined €50,000 after some of their supporters were found guilty of chanting racist abuse at Mario Balotelli.
The Milan striker was targeted by a section of the Nerazzurri fans during the Derby della Madonnina.
And the Beneamata have been charged by the League for 'racial discrimination'.
An official statement released today read: “In the 11th, 15th and 16th minutes of the first half and the 19th minute of the second half, there were shouts and choruses heard that constitute racial discrimination.
“In the 30th minute of the first half and 44th minute of the second half similar choruses were directed at another opposition player.
“In the 12th minute of the first half and the 37th minute of the second half four banners were shown insulting a player and supporters of the opposition.”
AC Milan looking at Ogbonna and Lodi 26.2 ||webmaster
Mattia De Sciglio hopes his Milan side can overcome their derby disappointment and beat Lazio this Saturday.
The Rossoneri missed a host of chances as they drew 1-1 with Inter last weekend, but the 20-year-old is confident that they can forget about those two dropped points and go on a run that will secure them a Champions League place – starting against the capital club.
“I could not fully enjoy the derby because we stopped playing after the first half,” he told the club's official website.
“When we wasted the opportunities we had, then the opposition are always likely to get back in the game.
“In the dressing room afterwards everyone was disappointed by the result.
“There are teams like Lazio and Fiorentina that will fight with Milan for third place. There are a lot of games to go, but we have to remain focused and try to get as many points as possible.
“Now we play Lazio – and we have to win because it's a game against a direct rival.
“However, if we play like we have done in the last few games, then I'm confident we can bring home the victory.”
Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Milan’s performance, but warned “we have to take our chances better.”
The Rossoneri dominated the first half and were 1-0 up through Stephan El Shaarawy, but Samir Handanovic’s heroics kept Inter in the game until Ezequiel Schelotto secured a 1-1 result.
“I am not angry. I’m happy with what the team did, an excellent first half with many scoring opportunities,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
“Despite dropping a little in intensity after the break, we allowed little and Christian Abbiati made one good save.
“We should’ve controlled possession better to make Inter run after us, as we ended up doing things that we shouldn’t in a game like this.
“In the first half Inter couldn’t get near us and we should’ve been better with them being tired after the break, but we didn’t.”
Schelotto had a free header and this was the 13th header that Milan have conceded this season in Serie A.
“Schelotto did well and it was good Yuto Nagatomo cross. We need to score goals when we get the opportunities, because we cannot expect to have the game in hand for the entire 90 minutes. We have to take our chances better.
“I think the team remains in good shape and this was an ‘away’ game against Inter. It’s a shame, as we should’ve won, but then we beat Udinese at the 92nd minute when we deserved a draw, so that is football.
“When a match is hanging by a thread, you have to kill it off. Possession is crucial when you are in control of a game, but we gave the ball away too many times tonight.
“I complimented the lads after the game, as they put in a good performance and the pressure to win was on Inter as the ‘home’ side, not us.”
Allegri was asked why his teams traditionally have very poor starts to the season, as Milan were in crisis by Week 7.
“Unfortunately, that is something me and my staff are reflecting on, as it is a consistent trend with us. Maybe it takes a little time for us to settle, especially this season when we had made so many changes. I hope next term the team will be more prepared to get good results straight away.”
Allegri has been linked with the Roma job, but this week President Silvio Berlusconi pledged to renew his contract with a pay rise.
“I am very happy at Milan and was pleased with the President’s words, though I already knew he had faith in me. He proved that by not firing me after seven rounds! We are in good shape at the moment and hope to continue.”
Serie A: Internazionale 1:1 AC Milan - match report 24.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan dominated the first half, but Mario Balotelli was twice denied by Samir Handanovic, so Ezequiel Schelotto came off the bench to give Inter a 1-1 draw in the Derby della Madonnina.
There were so many layers to this showdown, as it was about city pride, the head-to-head for third place and figures like Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano facing their past. The Rossoneri were beaming after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Barcelona, while Andrea Stramaccioni was under pressure following a 4-1 defeat to Fiorentina.
Alvaro Pereira was suspended for Inter, joining the injured Diego Milito, Matias Silvestre, Walter Samuel, Gaby Mudingayi, Joel Obi and Luca Castellazzi. Andrea Ranocchia had been ruled out, but made a lightning fast recovery after spraining his knee against Cluj on Thursday. Milan missed Robinho, Mathieu Flamini, Daniele Bonera and Nigel De Jong. Mario Balotelli, Sulley Muntari and Antonio Cassano faced their former teammates.
Javier Zanetti wore a special armband wishing Milito a speedy recovery after knee ligament surgery. Inter fans in the Curva Nord released a statement, flyers and posters warning racist abuse against Balotelli would not be tolerated – though they were welcome to jeer. The Inter choreography in the stands read: ‘You make my heart flutter… You take my breath away…’ Milan’s Curva Sud read: ‘Red like the fire… Black like your fear.’
Mattia De Sciglio had the first real chance after six minutes, running on to a Stephan El Shaarawy flick to drill just wide of the near post. Philippe Mexes was crucial in closing down Rodrigo Palacio for a corner as he tried to pull the trigger. De Sciglio skipped past Fredy Guarin to whip in a cross, but Balotelli tried to take a touch and wasted from six yards.
Palacio found space down the left from a long ball over the top, but his angled drive was so far off target it went out for a throw-in.
Milan broke the deadlock with El Shaarawy’s first goal in a month after Cassano gave the ball away in midfield. He sprung the offside trap on a smart Kevin-Prince Boateng through ball and smashed the finish under the bar at the near post with the outside of his boot. It was a wonderful finish.
Ranocchia’s decisive challenge blocked off El Shaarawy getting a second moments later, but Samir Handanovic needed an amazing save to deny Balotelli on 27 minutes. He somehow got a hand to the bullet header from a corner as it was going under the bar, then was fortunate the ball bounced off the line back into his hands.
De Sciglio was tearing Inter apart down their left flank and his cross found Balotelli at full stretch, but again Handanovic performed a fine save on his volley.
Balotelli hit one free kick at the wall, then the second stung Handanovic’s palms at the base of the far post.
After the restart, Boateng’s diving header from a Riccardo Montolivo free kick whistled wide. Inter were more aggressive and had a fantastic chance when Guarin’s volley from six yards forced a stunning one-handed save from Christian Abbiati, turning it on to the inside of the post.
Handanovic dived to intercept an Antonio Nocerino pass across for Balotelli, who accidentally clipped him on the head with his shin-pad. Nocerino had a good scoring opportunity only to horribly shin his volley off target.
Ezequiel Schelotto came off the bench and immediately got an equaliser, his glancing header from a Yuto Nagatomo cross down the left slotting into the near bottom corner, as two Inter players were left unmarked in the box. The Italian-Argentine was so moved by his goal that he burst into tears.
Muntari drilled a screamer just wide of the upright, but the Nerazzurri’s tails were now up and they seemed stronger in the closing stages.
From a corner, El Shaarawy’s chest and volley was charged down by Schelotto, then Cambiasso intercepted the loose ball before it could reach M’Baye Niang. Handanovic was at full stretch to parry a Niang angled drive, while Abbiati flapped away a dangerous Cassano cross.
Massimo Ambrosini is ready for his 20th Derby della Madonnina and reveals the difference between Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano.
Both Italy strikers will face their former clubs this evening at San Siro.
“I had a good rapport with Cassano, but it was obvious he wasn’t happy. Therefore he needed to find something to justify changing club,” Ambrosini told the Corriere dello Sport.
“Balotelli is quieter and still young enough to be naive, whereas Cassano is more dramatic. Mario is accustomed to being in the spotlight, but he’ll have to be particularly good at handling the pressure this time. He seems pretty relaxed.”
This will be Ambrosini’s 20th Milan Derby and he looked both back and forward.
“The 2003 Champions League Derby in the semi-final was the most wonderful, although the tension was unbelievable. It’s lucky we played both legs in six days, otherwise we might’ve collapsed.
“This game will be an important test in terms of our mentality. We must see if we’re good enough to turn enthusiasm into strength.
“The victory over Barcelona gave us great enthusiasm, but can also be dangerous, as sometimes it is better to go into a Derby as the underdogs with something to prove.”
It could in theory also be Ambrosini’s final Derby della Madonnina.
“I scored my first Serie A goal against Inter when I was playing for Vicenza. I’d pay good money to get a goal tonight! It would be like coming full circle.
“I’d like to continue playing, but we know the club is looking to renewal and bringing in youth, so we’ll see. If I were to leave Milan, I certainly would not join another Italian club.”
Ambro also made a pledge in case of a Milan victory against Inter.
“Sulley Muntari has taken control of the stereo in the locker room and is constantly pelting us with R’n’B music. Seeing as I don’t like it, if we win the Derby I’ll knock it all down and turn on Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run at full volume.”
Guarin: 'We're not afraid of AC Milan' 24.2 ||webmaster
Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin points out his team are “not afraid of Milan” even after their differing recent results.
Over the last week, the Nerazzurri have lost 4-1 at Fiorentina and the Rossoneri beat Barcelona 2-0.
“We are not afraid of Milan, even if they played very well against the best team in the world,” the creative midfielder told La Stampa.
“Serie A is different to the Champions League, plus when it’s the Derby anything can happen. We are footballers and know how certain things work. Predictions are pointless and above all do not affect us.
“We all have to give something more with Diego Milito’s absence, as he is also crucial on a tactical level. I don’t mind who scores as long as the team wins. Having said that, of course I’d love to net in the Derby.”
Mario Balotelli is facing his former club, but so is Inter striker Antonio Cassano.
“Cassano is unique and such an extrovert. That filters through into the way he sees football and thinks up extraordinary passes.
“As for myself, this isn’t my best season, but I have time to develop and give 100 per cent.”
Stankovic: 'Anyone can win the derby' 23.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi claims he only called Mario Balotelli “a rotten apple” because he didn’t want to drive Manchester City’s price up.
The patron hit the headlines during January when he publicly stated that Balotelli was not the kind of person who would be welcome in the Rossoneri locker room.
“It was a strategy, advised by Adriano Galliani, to ensure the price-tag did not go up,” insisted Berlusconi in today’s Press conference.
“Today I spoke highly of Bojan Krkic and Galliani kicked me under the table! He’s right to keep an eye on these things.”
Inter’s organised ultras movement has released statements, flyers and posters urging their fans not to aim racist abuse at Balotelli during the Derby.
“It would be absurd and uncivilised, especially as Balotelli is an Italian. We should also change the laws to help people gain citizenship when they live and work here legally.
“I hope that Balotelli can continue to be the lad of simple pleasures that he is now. Off the field he is calm and relaxed, while he is a perfect professional in training and the locker room. I also like that our three strikers all have the same hairstyle, it’s their distinctive symbol.”
Berlusconi, whose PdL party is running for office during this weekend’s elections, also commented on various other players in the Milan squad.
“I have a lot of respect for Robinho. He has this aspiration to go back to Brazil, but we will try to keep hold of him.
“I really like Riccardo Montolivo, as I believe he is the Andrea Pirlo of today and tomorrow. He also plays well to help out the defence and is a lovely guy with an important presence in the locker room.
“Can we win the Scudetto? Let’s be prudent and remember our target is to build a competitive squad that can last for several years.
“We decided to use the same tactical system in every level of the youth academy and the team. In Europe only Ajax and Barcelona do that, so we put ourselves in line with this philosophy.”
Massimiliano Allegri held a joint Press conference with President Silvio Berlusconi ahead of Milan’s showdown with Inter.
“The rapport with the President has always been exceptional, as I think he is the President with the most trophies in the world,” said Coach Allegri.
“As I have always accepted his advice, he always accepted my explanations and we ultimately do agree on many things.
“The President talks about respect now, but the real show of respect was when he decided not to make a change of Coach after eight rounds.”
Berlusconi flew in with his private helicopter to the Milanello training ground this afternoon and hogged much of the limelight from Allegri after a 2-0 Champions League win over Barcelona.
“The credit for Wednesday’s game goes to the players, but tomorrow is a different game, both for Serie A and the city,” continued the Coach.
“It will be different in tactical and technical terms too. Inter will be eager to make up for recent problems. We must remember that up until a few weeks ago they had a 13-point advantage over us, so it’s going to be tough.
“Inter have absentees, but also a big squad with a lot of quality, so we have to respect them. The Derby is a special game that is separate from the rest of the season and we know that we’ve got to emerge with a positive result.”
Robinho and Mathieu Flamini are still unavailable, but Giampaolo Pazzini and Kevin Constant were named in the squad despite carrying knocks.
“We will evaluate Constant and Pazzini tomorrow morning, as they still have a few problems. M’Baye Niang left training early, but there’s nothing to worry about.”
Berlusconi 'always respected Allegri' 23.2 ||webmaster
Andrea Stramaccioni has promised Inter will face the Milan Derby “with no fear. You think they are the favourites, whereas I see a balanced game.”
The Rossoneri are the favourites on current form in Serie A and the Champions League, while they can also count on Mario Balotelli.
“It will be a great game, we can’t wait to play it and do well,” said Coach Stramaccioni in his Press conference.
“The team is still in the process of tactical evolution and let’s not forget this is a new side. We have 15 new players and must try to find the right balance. We got some great results with the three-man defence, then some uncertainties set in. Losing Diego Milito also forced us to change in attack.
“Antonio Cassano? For the good of Inter I will pick the best formation possible to win. That’s not to say Cassano won’t play, it’s just that I have to consider everyone’s situation, not just those who would be facing their former clubs.
“You think Milan are the favourites, whereas I see a balanced game. It was important to get a good performance against Cluj after the Fiorentina defeat, where we got everything wrong, as in Romania we found the right path again.
“The support of the fans will be crucial and they were close to us even when we lost against the club at the bottom of the table. I am convinced they’ll drag us forward to the end, being our 12th man.”
Injuries and bans make Stramaccioni’s job tricky, as Alvaro Pereira is suspended, while Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Andrea Ranocchia, Matias Silvestre, Luca Castellazzi and Gaby Mudingayi are out.
“We do have a problem in defence, as we have at most three centre-backs available,” confessed the Coach.
“We want to play this game anyway and none of my players will step on to the field with fear. In fact, I think we’ll go out there with hunger for victory.
“It is very exciting for me to go into a Milan Derby. The choreography, the history and enthusiasm of the fans are all amazing and you cannot wait to get into these games. Last season Douglas Maicon’s goal was unforgettable. We hope to make more great memories tomorrow.
“Balotelli is a strong player, but there are many champions at Milan. M’Baye Niang is a very talented young player, while Kevin-Prince Boateng can be decisive on his day. We have more experience, but whatever happens both sides will stay in the fight for a Champions League spot.
“These are two huge teams in a city that lives for football. We hope to provide a spectacle, as always.”
Materazzi: 'Balotelli is the best' 23.2 ||webmaster
Marco Materazzi praises good friend Mario Balotelli, reveals Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s row with Jose Mourinho and why Milan could win the Champions League.
All eyes will be on Super Mario for tomorrow night’s Derby della Madonnina, as the striker takes on his former Inter teammates.
Balo caused numerous problems in the Nerazzurri locker room and Materazzi famously pinned him to the wall after he threw the jersey to the ground, but the two remain firm friends.
“My friend Mario has always been a Milanista, so it’s no surprise he is there now. Milan was his dream,” Matrix told La Repubblica newspaper.
“Do you know how many times I had to chop up his Rossoneri socks in the locker room? His Mum bought them for him and he would wear them in training, so I’d sneakily cut holes in. He laughed like crazy.
“We send each other hundreds of text messages per day, so yes, we’re still good friends. I want to say I am really proud of him. Of course I won’t stop our friendship just because he went to Milan.
“Do I need to give him advice on how to behave? Look, Mario never hurt anyone, he’s a really good person. He simply likes enjoying himself and is still a big kid.
“The other night at San Siro I saw him dancing in the stands with Robinho. That is Mario, he lives life like someone who grew up in the streets and I love him for it. He has fun in a healthy way, not like those who act up, get drunk or ruin themselves physically.”
Balotelli left Inter for Manchester City in August 2010 after lifting the Treble with Mourinho and Materazzi.
“Milan are the favourites in the Derby with Mario and that is fine for us Interisti,” continued Materazzi.
“I’ve never seen such a talented player at 17, when he made his debut with us. He is ruthless in front of goal and we won the 2008 Scudetto thanks to him. I will always thank him, as an Interista, because he took us to trophies.
“With their victory over Barcelona, Milan definitively became aware of their strength. They taught Barça a football lesson with grit, hard work and the collective. They didn’t have the champions we did when we eliminated Barcelona in 2010.
“However, don’t give Inter up for dead yet. My former teammates have seven lives, it is in their DNA. I expect a passionate welcome for Mario. As long as it doesn’t get dragged down into racism, everything is fair.”
Materazzi also remains very close to Mourinho and the Real Madrid manager is rumoured to be heading for PSG.
“If that happens, I don’t know what will become of Ibrahimovic. They did not leave each other on good terms.
“Ibra dumped us during a pre-season training camp in Los Angeles to join Barcelona. He told Cristian Chivu: ‘You won’t even win the Scudetto without me.’ Mourinho confronted him and said: ‘I want you to know that we’ll win everything without you.’ That was exactly what happened.
“In fact, I now have a concern that Milan will win the Champions League. It already happened at Barcelona and Inter, as when Ibra leaves, that team then lifts the trophy...”
Materazzi now runs a sportswear store in Milan, lives in Perugia and is planning a return to football.
“I’m studying to be a Coach and if all goes well next summer I’ll start spreading trouble... It feels a bit like we’re reliving the 2006 World Cup, as in my class are Pippo Inzaghi, Fabio Cannavaro, Fabio Grosso, Massimo Oddo and Gianluca Zambrotta.
“Could I be the Coach of Inter one day? The club remains in my heart and our paths could cross again, but it’s not mandatory. Whenever I return there to say hello, I get a King’s welcome, so I must’ve left some good memories.”
Abate: 'No Milan derby favourites' 23.2 ||webmaster
Riccardo Montolivo gives his Derby della Madonnina prediction. “Milan will win 1-0 with a Stephan El Shaarawy goal.”
The midfielder sat down with La Gazzetta dello Sport to prepare for tomorrow night’s epic battle with Inter. Click here for a match preview.
“I expect a confirmation of all the good work we did against Barcelona, otherwise it will all have been pointless,” he said after that 2-0 Champions League triumph.
“If I could take a player away from Inter, then it would be Samir Handanovic. I predict Milan will win 1-0 with an El Shaarawy goal, so the papers will stop writing that he’s depressed because Mario Balotelli always scores...”
The Rossoneri are the favourites going into the game and surged ahead of Inter in the standings despite a dismal start to the season.
“It was tough at the beginning and I really didn’t like it that people painted us as some sort of disaster area,” continued Montolivo. “Ultimately the results justified criticism, just as today they justify praise.
“We just have to continue like this and avoid falling into the trap of arrogance and complacency after beating Barcelona.”
Inter ultras: 'No Balotelli racism' 23.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio has insisted that the Rossoneri will draw inspiration from their win over Barcelona when they face Inter this weekend.
The Diavolo play their city rivals in the Derby della Madonnina this Sunday, and the 20-year-old has admitted that the Champions League win over the Spanish side gives them confidence going into the League clash.
“The Derby is a great game,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “It's the sort of match that every kid dreams of playing in.
“We know that it won't be an easy match, but if we play like we did on Wednesday, we will do well.
“The win over Barca gave us a great morale boost, and has shown that the initial blip we had at the start of the season, was just that.
“Inter are not having the best of times at the moment, but you can never make predictions for the Derby. They will have a great desire to win.”
The 20-year-old also commented on the impact Mario Balotelli has had on the side, as well as the rumours that Marco Verratti could sign from Paris Saint-Germain.
“Balotelli is a quiet lad. He has exceptional quality and has helped us enormously in the games he has played in.
“Verratti? I would love it if he joined,” De Sciglio concluded.
AC Milan and Man Utd tracking Verratti 23.2 ||webmaster
Philippe Mexes has warned Milan not to rest on their laurels after beating Barcelona. “Remember what happened with Arsenal…”
The Rossoneri earned a fantastic 2-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie last night.
“It is very satisfying, even if we know there is the second leg to play,” Mexes told Radio RMC.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet, but it was good not to concede on home turf. We applied all the advice the Coach gave us and tactically Milan played very well.
“However, despite it all, we must not get ahead of ourselves. We haven’t qualified for the next round, nor won the Champions League. Even if we beat Barcelona, we haven’t actually done anything exceptional.
“Remember what happened with Arsenal last season, as we won 4-0 at home and then lost the second leg 3-0 with Robin Van Persie wasting a great chance at the end.”
Mexes had been particularly singled out for criticism after last season’s games against Barcelona, but impressed in keeping Leo Messi and Andres Iniesta quiet.
“I had no reason for ‘revenge’ in this match. Everyone makes mistakes and I hope not to make any more in future.”
The French defender is one of the few veterans left in a very young Milan squad.
“This team is rediscovering itself. Although the start of the season was decisively tricky, we gained confidence in ourselves. With the courage and passion of the young players, we can annoy many teams.”
Champions League: AC Milan 2:0 Barcelona - goals/highlights 21.2 ||webmaster
Ibrahimovic to the rescue for AC Milan - Barca 21.2 ||webmaster
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on hand to ensure that he and his PSG teammates’ enjoyment of Milan-Barcelona was not interrupted by a dodgy television.
At the initiative of Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi, the expensively-assembled Paris Saint-Germain squad went out for a meal on Wednesday evening to watch the Last 16 clash between Milan and Barca.
However, during the game, a technical issue saw the television picture at the restaurant affected, threatening the enjoyment of all who were watching.
That was until the Sweden international took command, as RMC Sport report today.
“There was concern during the match,” the restaurant's owner ‘Carlos’ explained to the French publication.
“At one point, the box was not sending the right signal. Zlatan took the remote control and showed what had to be done so as to watch the game properly.
Adriano Galliani has urged supporters to remember what President Silvio Berlusconi has done for Milan after the 2-0 win against Barcelona.
“All the fans should know who they have to thank,” the Vice-President stated after the memorable Champions League triumph against the Spanish giants.
“We have to dedicate this win to President Berlusconi as it’s the 27th anniversary of his acquisition of the club.
“President Berlusconi brought this club to the top of the world. The fans shouldn’t forget this – even when we lose to Sampdoria at home and not only when we win against Barcelona…”
Barca, despite playing at San Siro, were favourites to dispose of a Rossoneri side that started the season poorly.
“If I think of where we were after eight games played this season,” Galliani added. “Football is beautiful as you never know what can happen, but not even the most optimistic fan would have imagined this.
“Tonight’s game was extraordinary and will stay in our memories for a long time.
“We were a bit timid up front in the first half but the goal helped us. Then there was, once again, this characteristic that we’ve shown this season of playing better in the second half.”
Galliani also praised boss Massimiliano Allegri, a man whose job was on the line earlier on in the campaign.
“We did very well and I have to say that, in my opinion, our Coach was very, very good. We played a perfect match – it was a great game, played with great determination and character.”
AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati admits he didn’t have to sweat against Barcelona, not really making a save.
“I was sweaty with tension! These games are always unpredictable, but we are all happy to have achieved a great victory against a huge team,” he said of the 2-0 Champions League triumph.
“We made it very difficult for Barcelona, as we could’ve also scored in the first half. We prepared well for this game and the Coach told us exactly what to do. I compliment my teammates, as even the strikers came back to help out and put Barcelona under pressure.
“We were all very concentrated and didn’t allow Barça any opportunities, then did well to go on the counter,” Abbiati told Mediaset.
“We knew Barcelona would keep possession, so adapted to that and focused on blocking off their through passes.
“They are very good at pushing up the midfielders, so that was what we were worried about. They don’t generally shoot from distance, though we forced them into it towards the end.
“At the Camp Nou it’s going to be another battle.”
Massimiliano Allegri praised his players for beating Barcelona 2-0 and revealed it was “a victory I believed in and nobody else did.”
Barcelona hadn’t lost a Champions League game by two clear goals since April 2010, which was also at San Siro when they fell 3-1 to Jose Mourinho’s Inter.
“The lads played well in defensive terms and didn’t let them near our penalty area. We knew Barcelona kept possession for about 65 per cent of the time, but we had five or six very favourable situations where we got the final pass wrong,” Allegri told Mediaset.
“They didn’t lose heart, even when Barcelona kept possession like that. My players all deserved this evening, as did the club and the President.
“Now we have to think about the Derby, which is another important test we must overcome. We can put this result aside now, knowing the second leg will be very difficult and we must try to get another goal with a little more sharpness. We could’ve scored a third tonight, though it might’ve been excessive.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Ali Muntari scored the goals, but Christian Abbiati barely touched the ball.
“The players did well in intercepting passes and staying tight. We limited Leo Messi and above all did very well to stop the balls that they tend to put behind the midfielders.
“At the moment this result is not enough to qualify us, so we hope to get a positive result at the Camp Nou too.
“We’re not facing a different Barcelona in Spain, as this is their approach and they always play the same way. We used the ball well, though every now and then we make life difficult for ourselves and that is something we must improve on.
“In order to win these games, you need everyone to sacrifice themselves and work hard. We kept Barcelona out of our penalty area and they didn’t have a single real shot on goal.
“The players deserved this victory without question. Perhaps we were lucky with the ricochet on the first goal, but these things happen during a game.”
The Rossoneri now turn their attention towards taking on Inter in the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday night.
“We need to stay relaxed. We won an important game against Barcelona, which I believed in and nobody else did. We have three days to recharge our batteries and prepare for the Derby, I see my team in good shape.”
AC Milan were clinical to wait for the right moment, as they beat Barcelona 2-0 with goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari.
The Rossoneri could not count on the cup-tied Mario Balotelli or injured Robinho, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Nocerino, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini and Nigel De Jong. Stephan El Shaarawy and Giampaolo Pazzini shook off knocks to start with Boateng in a flexible 4-3-3 system. Barcelona only missed David Villa and Adriano, as Xavi Hernandez returned from a two-match absence.
This was the third year running that the two giants faced off in the Champions League, but Barca were unbeaten against Milan in seven matches. Coach Tito Vilanova is undergoing cancer treatment, so assistant manager Jordi Roura was on the bench for the Blaugrana.
Muntari volleyed over from distance, then Leo Messi shrugged off Philippe Mexes with a moment of magic only for his shot to be charged down. From that corner, Massimo Ambrosini shinned his clearance out again, but a promising counter-attack was ruined when Muntari got the pass wrong for El Shaarawy.
The Little Pharaoh did spring the offside trap, but his touch let him down so Carles Puyol was able to clear. From that corner, Boateng’s sweeping finish was inches past the back post with nobody ready to get the final touch.
Mexes went into the book for a foul on Messi, while Giampaolo Pazzini would’ve been clear on goal if the El Shaarawy through ball had been more accurate. Moments later El Shaarawy at full stretch just failed to get his toe to a Boateng assist across the face of goal.
Barca continued to keep possession, but at a snail’s pace and making little impact on Milan, who waited for the odd counter-attack.
Ignazio Abate flew down the right and his cross for El Shaarawy was well captured by Victor Valdes.
After the restart Dani Alves shoved over El Shaarawy for a free kick. It was touched on for Riccardo Montolivo, whose shot was charged down and Boateng smashed the follow-up in from the edge of the box. The ball did strike Cristian Zapata on the hand, but it ricocheted on to him from point-blank range and could not be considered intentional.
Milan’s tails were up and Boateng’s pass for El Shaarawy was intercepted, so ex-Udinese starlet Alexis Sanchez replaced a quiet Cesc Fabregas.
A Messi free kick was blasted well over the bar, but Pazzini was down in agony after a nasty clash of heads with Puyol. He recovered to test Victor Valdes with an acrobatic attempt with his back to goal, but was then replaced by M’Baye Niang.
Andres Iniesta unleashed a screamer from distance, but it whistled wide of the far post. Xavi also curled a free kick over the bar, as Barcelona continued to not trouble Christian Abbiati.
Milan doubled their lead with a well-worked goal. Niang was sent down the right, turned and crossed for El Shaarawy, who flicked it on again to the left where Muntari was unmarked to thump a volley into the ground across Victor Valdes.
Kevin Constant did brilliantly to cut off Pedro’s dangerous run in the box, but there was a big scare from a corner when Puyol was allowed a free header wide.
It could’ve been 3-0 in stoppages when Messi lost the ball to spark a counter, but Bakaye Traore’s finish was charged down.
Barcelona President Sandro Rosell is worried about facing Milan, admires Stephan El Shaarawy and revealed that Mario Balotelli “tried to join us many times.”
Tonight the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie will be played at San Siro, kicking off at 19.45 GMT.
“I am not at all relaxed ahead of this evening, as playing against Milan is always difficult,” Rosell told Sky Sport Italia.
“The Rossoneri have an important history, while we have an excellent rapport with their directors. I think nothing will be decided tonight, as it will all go down to the Camp Nou game.”
Balotelli is cup-tied after featuring in this tournament with Manchester City, so cannot take part in the game.
“I don’t know if his absence is a good thing for us, as it depends on who takes his place,” continued Rosell.
“Balotelli tried to join us many times at Barcelona and I don’t know if he’d play well against a team he tried to join for many years. I compliment Milan on having signed him.”
The Barcelona President did not specify when these approaches were made, whether during his time at Inter or Manchester City.
El Shaarawy is expected to start after shaking off a knee problem and has been linked with Europe’s top clubs.
“I couldn’t say if Barcelona liked him, but on a personal level I certainly do. However, that does not mean we want to sign him, because negotiating with Adriano Galliani and Umberto Gandini is very complicated.”
Mexes needs to perform against Barcelona 20.2 ||webmaster
Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura insists “you cannot talk about favourites in a tie like this” against Milan.
Coach Tito Vilanova is still absent while he undergoes treatment for cancer, so Roura will be on the bench at San Siro tomorrow and held the Press conference.
“Are Barcelona favourites? You know the way I see it,” he grimaced.
“Milan are a great team and it is not easy to play against them. The qualification will be decided in Barcelona. You cannot talk about favourites in a tie like this.
“In recent games we have been conceding goals, but fortunately we always scored a few more. We have tried to resolve certain situations in defence, as you can’t always fight back to win.
“Everyone wants to get through to the quarter-finals, but we know it won’t be easy. The Champions League is missed by Barcelona and the players are happier when they can face big clubs.”
The Blaugrana also faced Milan last season, but stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Antonio Cassano have gone.
“We studied the team, though it is different to last year. It is always wonderful to come here, as San Siro is a marvellous stadium. Milan remain one of the big European clubs and it is always frightening to face them.”
Bojan Krkic is one of the new faces and he grew up in the Barcelona youth academy, but is currently on loan to Milan.
“We will not talk for the moment about his return. Right now he is a Milan player,” added Roura.
Xavi: 'AC Milan always trouble Barcelona' 20.2 ||webmaster
Riccardo Montolivo has admitted that he cannot wait to face Barcelona in the Champions League tomorrow.
Milan play the Blaugrana at San Siro in the last 16 of the competition on Wednesday, and the 28-year-old midfielder has conceded that he is excited at the prospect of pitting his wits against the best in Europe.
“We are aware of the difficulties that we will face,” he told a Press conference. “But we cannot wait to take to the pitch.
“We are excited to measure ourselves against an opponent of the highest calibre.
“I know it's going to be tough, but if we stay focused and sacrifice ourselves, who knows what will happen.”
AC Milan have a chance, says Allegri 19.2 ||webmaster
Barcelona director Andoni Zubizarreta is expecting a “complicated” game when his side face Milan on Wednesday night.
San Siro will host the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie and, although Barca are favourites, the former Spanish international respects the Diavolo.
“In the knockout stages there are no favourites,” Zubizarreta commented. “Milan are a great team with a great history and they know how to compete in these games. The tie will be complicated, for sure.
“It is another thing if they have or not the players who are well known or not so well known, but those who wear that shirt will know what the great occasions are and will be prepared for these knock-outs.
“At Milan they know us, but we also know them. Big clubs know how to compete and pick up the results. They are not affected by the pressure.
“Will we hold back for the return leg? We have a style of play, which is to attack and dominate the ball.
“Then the game will tell us what to do, it should be read, but we always try to find the opponents’ goal.”
Zubizarreta last week flew out to America to discuss management strategies with ill Coach Tito Vilanova.
“It was very good, Tito is well, he is recovering very well. We need to be cautious, but we are walking and waiting every day and soon he will be here.
“He is aware of everything that concerns the team, he is more informed than we are, because he has a lot of time,” Zubizarreta smiled.
“He can analyse everything almost instantly, with the difficulty of distance, of course.”
AC Milan chief regrets Pirlo exit 19.2 ||webmaster
Gennaro Gattuso believes Milan have a chance against Barcelona in the Champions League, although he admits Lionel Messi is from another world.
The two teams will meet in the first leg of their last 16 clash this week and the Spanish giants will be favourites to progress.
“In football you never know,” the Sion midfielder, who left the Diavolo in the summer, told Mundo Deportivo. “Football is not a logic that is written down, football is played.
“In principle, Barca are much stronger, but last year Nocerino made it 1-1 on the scoreboard…Football is strange.
“Is Messi the best ever? Yes, and I hate to say that for Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also an incredible player. But Messi is from another planet.
“A player who scores 90 goals in a year cannot be real. He is from the PlayStation. And when I see Messi he seems to play with the other players. He is faster, has more class and scores when he wants to.”
Milan are at the start of a new era after lowering the average age and the cost of their squad in recent times.
“Today there is much difference between Milan and Barcelona,” he added. “They are the best team in the world, the team to beat.
“They have completed a dramatic transformation and now everyone wants to copy their football and their work with their youth team. Everything began with Cruyff and is now taking off.
“Are Milan taking the same direction? Yes it is the path to follow when there is no money, as in the case of Milan.
“But the youth set-up is not done in a day. It takes time. And patience. As they had in Barcelona.
“I remember in 2000 when we won at Camp Nou with goals from Coco and Bierhoff, their fans complained that the team was not competitive and Real Madrid won the titles.
“Now the tune has changed. This is what can happen to Milan. After 25 years of success, they must wait two or three to return to the top.”
The Wednesday fixture will be a significant tie for Bojan, who is currently on loan at the Rossoneri from Barcelona.
“He has played some good matches, but the modern game has a problem – no-one respects what you have done, you always have to prove yourself.
“He has talent and he needs to be patient, as must the fans.”
Adriano Galliani is waiting on Stephan El Shaarawy and warns Milan will show “no psychological weakness” against Barcelona.
The Rossoneri temporarily climbed into third place in Serie A after Friday’s 2-1 win over Parma, but all eyes are on Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 tie.
“Destiny means we have met Barcelona six times in two seasons, but we have no psychological weakness towards them,” assured Vice-President Galliani.
El Shaarawy missed the Parma game with a knee problem and requires a fitness test ahead of next week’s European challenge.
“We hope that El Shaarawy can recover in time for the match. It is fortunate we signed Mario Balotelli in January, as Giampaolo Pazzini has been injured and El Shaarawy is trying to recover from a knee inflammation.”
However, Balotelli cannot play against Barcelona, as he has already featured in the Champions League for Manchester City this season.
“Balotelli inspires the other players, sort of like the ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic effect.’ He gives strength and his performances have a collateral effect on the others. His goals are proof we didn’t just buy him for his media impact.”
SuperMario has now scored four goals in his three Serie A games for Milan.
Adriano Galliani insists “Milan will be ready for the Scudetto next season” and looks ahead to Barcelona after last night’s 2-1 win over Parma took them into third place.
The Rossoneri have revamped their squad and brought in Mario Balotelli in January, who has now scored four goals in his three Serie A games for the club.
“You can tell the difference. We cannot go back and fix the past, but we are managing an extraordinary run and can now be in third place for at least two or three days,” said general manager Galliani.
They had a disastrous start to the campaign, but notched up a sixth consecutive victory to temporarily catch Lazio in third place.
“I don’t remember Mario having such a delicate boot with his free kicks over the wall. I mainly recall him thumping frightening strikes.”
Balotelli almost didn’t take the decisive free kick, as M’Baye Niang had to be pushed away by teammates.
“It was good teamwork and it was right that Balotelli take the free kick. At last we found someone who can take good free kicks!
“We’re managing an amazing run-up, as in 2013 we have played seven games, winning five and drawing two. Very good.
“We have been using many young players and above all many Italians in the line-up recently. Next season the team will substantially be this one and we will be ready straight away to win the Scudetto.”
Milan now go forward to face Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday evening, but Balotelli is cup-tied.
“We will have Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephan El Shaarawy, so a good strike force. The confidence in taking on Barcelona comes from the games we played against them last year,” said Galliani.
They have met four times in the last two seasons of the Champions League, but the Rossoneri haven’t beaten Barça since October 2004.
“We were practically qualified at one point in the second leg, then there were some individual errors. It’s not the best luck to draw Barcelona again, but we saw last year that everyone was waiting for the Real Madrid-Barça Final and instead we ended up with Chelsea-Bayern Munich.
“San Siro will be sold out and it’s going to be wonderful to be there.”
Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 Parma - goals/highlights 16.2 ||webmaster
An own goal from Gabriel Paletta and a second half free-kick from Mario Balotelli gave Milan a 2-1 win over Parma.
The Rossoneri were looking for the three points that would take them, momentarily, back into the Champions League places. And they did so with a front-three of M’Baye Niang, Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Roberto Donadoni’s side meanwhile were looking for their first win in five Serie A games and started with former San Siro pairing Djamel Mesbah and Jonathan Biabiany.
It was a frenetic opening few minutes, with Balotelli and Paletta having half-chances at either end. But it was the away team who were creating the most dangerous opportunities. Biabiany’s pace down the left-hand side was causing Kevin Constant all sorts of problems, but the clear-cut openings just weren’t forthcoming.
The Rossoneri attacking triumvirate almost connected perfectly late on in the half, as Balotelli’s through-ball found Boateng, but the Ghana international’s pull-back for Niang just had too much on it for the young French forward to tap in.
Opportunities may have been few and far between, but that didn’t matter for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, as an own goal gave them the lead with five minutes of the half remaining. Boateng’s cross was poked in by Paletta from close-range under the body of the helpless Nicola Pavarini.
After the break, the hosts came out firing on all cylinders, but were once again unable to convert the few chances they were creating.
Sulley Muntari’s touch let him down early on in the half inside the area, but it was Boateng who wasted the best opportunity. The former Portsmouth man latched on to a Balotelli cross, but could only fire wide of the post from eight yards out.
For the third time this season though, Balotelli was there to bail the San Siro side out of trouble. With 12 minutes remaining, the Italy international curled a 20 yards free kick around the wall and past the goalkeeper to double the Diavolo’s lead.
That wasn't the end of the action however, as with virtually the last kick of the game Nicola Sansone prodded home from close-range to make the final score Milan 2-1 Parma.
Roberto Donadoni prepares to face his former – and some would suggest future – club tomorrow and warns Parma that “Milan are more than Mario Balotelli.”
The Ducali Coach spent most of his playing career in Rossoneri colours and has been repeatedly tipped to be Massimiliano Allegri’s successor.
“I don’t know how many times I have returned here as an opponent, I swear I haven’t kept count. San Siro was my home as a player, but a few years have passed since then. I fondly recall the welcome I got from the Milan fans last time I was here and that made me even more proud to have worn the Rossoneri jersey.
“I expect Milan will want to continue their positive streak, while we must try to give a sense of consistency to our most recent performance,” said Donadoni in his Press conference.
“It is nice to go to San Siro aware we are facing a great team, but also aware we can prove our worth. I do not expect Milan to already have their minds on Barcelona and we certainly must not expect them to give us any gifts.
“After that first impact with the stadium and the atmosphere, we must concentrate and remember this is a very important game for us too. Going to San Siro with the attitude we are the inferior team would be a terrible mistake. We must instead focus on showing our best qualities and force Milan to play in an extraordinary way.”
Donadoni was asked whether he will prepare a tactical cage for Balotelli, who has scored three goals in two games for Milan.
“If you stop Balotelli, then someone else will be ready to take advantage of the space. Milan are more than just Balotelli. Thinking of just stopping one player is limiting for what our potential really is, because we must make our opponents worry about us too.”
Pescara playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero could be the subject of summer bids from Milan and Inter, according to reports.
Gazzetta dello Sport have revealed that the Nerazzurri are keen on brining the 20-year-old to San Siro at the end of the season.
But their city neighbours are also interested in his signature, and could make a bid of around €8m to secure a move.
Quintero has been linked with a host European giants since he was named Player of the Tournament at the South America Under-20 Championships in January, with Manchester United reportedly also interested.
Fabregas: 'Have to be 100 per cent to beat AC Milan' 14.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan’s Bojan Krkic insists revenge will not be on his mind when he faces former club Barcelona in the Champions League.
The two teams will meet in the last 16 of the competition next week and the forward is keen to make an impact.
“I have wanted to play and score against Barca,” the 22-year-old told RAC1. “But not out of anger or bitterness, which I do not have, but in order to help my teammates.
“Would it be a point of vindication? Yeah, but for the importance of the game.”
Bojan left Barcelona in 2011 for Roma on a two-year loan, before joining Milan at the end of last season.
“To not play in the 2011 Champions League Final at Wembley really hurt me and I did not get a chance,” he added.
“It is difficult for anyone to perform if you do not have continuity and you do not feel important.
“At Barca I was important in key moments at an historic club, but I did not play competitively and for tactical decisions.
“Despite everything I am proud of my time at the club, and I showed that I can play at a very high level. Will I go back? It is my home, but in football wishes do not count.”
At the moment it is unclear whether Milan will exercise their right to sign the player outright at the end of the campaign.
“I need to be a regular starter to be owned by Milan or any other team,” he explained. “That is why next year I hope that I will be owned by a team that is committed to me, in order for me to be important.”
Bojan has scored just three goals in 16 Serie A games this season.
AC Milan starlet M’Baye Niang reveals “Adriano Galliani made me understand I had to change” in order to become a regular.
Niang was signed in the summer and hit the headlines when he was kicked out of the France Under-21 team when he and a few teammates snuck out of their training camp to go partying in Paris.
“I am getting more starts, but I am not an automatic first choice pick. I have to work every day because Robinho is better than me and I must always earn my place,” the 18-year-old told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“In France the mentality is different than in Italy, as here you need more professional behaviour. I am asked to focus only on football and to be more careful in every aspect of my life.”
Niang continued his ‘bad boy’ reputation when he was caught driving without a licence.
“For example, in Italy they are very strict on diet, which is fundamental to avoid injuries. Galliani got angry with me after some incidents and he made me understand I had to change.
“Milan is my big chance and I cannot waste it all because of nightclubs, cars and other distractions. I need to make the most of this opportunity to become an important player for Milan.”
Niang is yet to score his first Serie A goal, but insists he's saving it for a special occasion. "Hopefully it'll arrive in the Milan Derby."
Adriano Galliani says he’s delighted by Milan’s efforts in Serie A this season after their summer of mass changes.
The Diavolo waved goodbye to a host of their veteran players, as well as opting to sell Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain to create a younger and cheaper squad.
Although the Rossoneri had a problematic start to the campaign, they are now just three points behind third-placed Lazio following a results revival.
“I think we’re having a great season,” the Vice-President stated on Wednesday afternoon.
“Things could have gone a whole lot worse after completely changing the squad with 12 new players. Instead, I’m proud with what the club are doing.
“The two defeats at the start of the season against Atalanta and Sampdoria weighed us down. But if you look at the results of the last 16 games we’ve totalled 34 points which means we’d be top ahead of Juventus.”
Milan lost five of their first eight League games, but they’ve only lost one of their last 12 in the top-flight despite a lack of experience in their side.
“I look at the positives,” Galliani noted. “We’re a young team and we finished the Cagliari game with one player born in ’94, two in 1992 and two from 1990.”
Milan lowered the average age of their side even further in January with the capture of Mario Balotelli, but there are doubts about his partnership with Stephan El Shaarawy.
“There is no incompatibility. One is a central striker and one a wide attacker.
“El Shaarawy needs to catch his breath, as is only normal. Balotelli, meanwhile, is a star and it is to everyone’s advantage that he is now back in Italy.”
Galliani was also asked about Juventus’ Champions League exploits in Scotland on Tuesday evening.
“Juventus did well in the Champions League against Celtic. I think they can get to the Final. A repeat of the one against us in Manchester? Let’s hope so, seeing as it will be in England (Wembley)…
“We have to just think about Barcelona though as they are the strongest in the world.”
El Shaarawy at AC Milan until 2018 13.2 ||webmaster
Inter have been fined €15,000 for racist chants against Mario Balotelli, while Sampdoria Coach Delio Rossi received a two-match ban for an insulting gesture towards Roma.
The Lega Serie A announced its disciplinary action today after Serie A Week 24 and Inter President Massimo Moratti had already expressed his dismay at racist chants from supporters aimed at Balotelli, who has joined their arch-rivals Milan.
Juventus and Napoli were also fined €15,000 for racist chants and the use of laser pens from the stands respectively.
Sampdoria Coach Rossi was sent off during a 3-1 win over Roma on Sunday for making a lewd and offensive gesture towards the opposition players. He has been handed a two-match touchline ban.
Zaccardo 'excited' by potential debut 12.2 ||webmaster
New AC Milan signing Cristian Zaccardo has insisted that he would have no problems with making his debut for the club against former team Parma.
The 31-year-old defender joined the Rossoneri from the Crociati in the January window, but has claimed that he would not be worried about playing his first game for Massimiliano Allegri's men this Friday.
“It would be exciting to start against Parma,” he told Milan Channel. “But the important thing is to play games – it doesn't matter whether that's against Parma or anyone else.
“If I do start on Friday it will certainly be a good occasion for me personally.”
Zaza agent: AC Milan move unlikely 12.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri is reportedly at the top of Roma’s wish-list as they search for a new tactician.
Although the Rossoneri have repeatedly insisted that the Coach will remain until his contract expire in June 2014, Allegri’s future is still unclear.
According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma’s directors are thinking about making him an offer ahead of 2013-14.
The Giallorossi are looking for a new tactician given that Aurelio Andreazzoli is only seen as a caretaker until the end of the campaign.
Roma have had their coaching problems over the last two seasons. Luis Enrique quit in the summer after just one year in the capital, while Zdenek Zeman was recently sacked following the loss to Cagliari.
Allegri, 45, won the Scudetto with Milan in his first season at San Siro in 2010-11. His only previous top-flight stint came with Cagliari.
Mario Balotelli converted another late penalty to earn Milan a 1-1 draw away to Cagliari.
Absolute chaos surrounded this fixture, as it was moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin on Wednesday after the Is Arenas failed security checks, switched back following an emergency appeal on Friday and on Saturday the authorities lost their own legal action to have it played behind closed doors.
The Sardinians had other issues to contend with, as Radja Nainggolan and Danilo Avelar sat out bans with Nene injured, so 18-year-old Nicola Murru started in defence. Riccardo Montolivo was suspended for Milan, joining the sidelined Giampaolo Pazzini, Daniele Bonera, Kevin Constant and Nigel De Jong.
Mario Balotelli bagged a decisive brace on his Rossoneri debut last week and was again thrown into the starting XI. Milan had won their last three visits to Cagliari and were undefeated here since October 1998.
Michael Agazzi turned a Massimo Ambrosini snapshot over the bar, but Ignazio Abate had to sprint back to the rescue on Victor Ibarbo after a double Philippe Mexes-Cristian Zapata error.
Luca Rossettini’s crucial intervention prevented Mbaye Niang’s cross from reaching a diving Sulley Muntari header from six yards.
Ibarbo had a promising counter-attack, but wasted it by firing well over, while Agazzi got down to smother a Balotelli daisy-cutter of a free kick. The Cagliari goalkeeper rushed to grab the loose ball from a Rossettini deflection before Stephan El Shaarawy could get there.
It was Cagliari who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time. Daniele Conti chipped in a free kick and Ibarbo got between two defenders to flick it past Christian Abbiati with the last header of the first half.
Balotelli hit a fierce free kick from 25 metres, but Agazzi held it well, while another set piece hit the wall. Conti threatened a second for the Sardinians, his screamer skimming the crossbar from distance.
Kevin-Prince Boateng replaced El Shaarawy and Bojan Krkic came on for Ambrosini in a bid to shake things up for Milan.
Boateng drilled off target from distance and Abbiati got down to smother an Albin Ekdal header.
Milan were awarded a penalty 10 minutes from time, as Agazzi parried a shot with his foot and as it went into the air, Davide Astori clearly wrestled Balotelli to the ground. It was his second yellow card and SuperMario stepped up and coolly converted to retain his 100 per cent career record from the spot.
Balotelli nearly turned the game around as Milan poured forward, but his header from point-blank range was straight at Agazzi.
Balotelli did have the ball in the net in stoppages with an acrobatic overhead kick, but it was disallowed because the cross had gone out of play before Robinho nodded it back from the by-line. Agazzi did brilliantly to get down and deny a low Bojan drive, then Balotelli was offside on the follow-up.
Cagliari Coach Ivo Pulga has thanked Milan for being “admirably sporting” about the chaotic decision to play at the Is Arenas.
The fixture was moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin on Wednesday after the Is Arenas failed security checks, then Cagliari won an emergency appeal to play in their own venue and the authorities lost another legal action to have it played behind closed doors.
“I hope it will prove to be a festival of football,” said Coach Pulga. “If we are playing in Sardinia, it is thanks to the admirably sporting Milan attitude and the fans who made their voices heard.
“The Rossoneri have a formidable and very young front line, but they are to be feared in every area of the pitch. It will be complicated to take them on.
“Massimiliano Allegri is an excellent Coach, but the players are the ones who are on the field and the fact he has a past at Cagliari will not influence anything.”
Radja Nainggolan and Danilo Avelar are suspended, while Nene is injured, so Pulga confirmed 18-year-old “Nicola Murru should play on the right. As for the attack, I’ll choose at the last minute.”
Massimiliano Allegri is enjoying the renewed enthusiasm around Milan ahead of their Cagliari trip and admits “Mario Balotelli is destined to be on the front pages.”
The Rossoneri’s fixture was moved from the Is Arenas to Turin and back again this week, but there are reports the local authorities are staging a counter-appeal to have it played behind closed doors.
“During this week we focused only on our training. We are facing a good team with excellent individual talents, regardless of the venue,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“I like this atmosphere of enthusiasm, as the lads have done so much since Week 9 onwards. I told them that the difficult moment comes now, as if you are a sprinter then it takes a lot to drop from 10 seconds to 9.99.
“Now we are there, the pressure is on not to drop points, knowing we started with a handicap. Cagliari are a good side in attack, midfield and defence with players like Davide Astori and Daniele Conti. Radja Nainggolan is out, but Albin Ekdal and Daniele Dessena are solid.”
Balotelli started last week after Giampaolo Pazzini pulled out in the warm-up and ended up scoring both goals in the 2-1 win over Udinese.
“Mario is destined to be on the front pages, as he suffers from an over-the-top media pressure and everything he does is blown up out of proportion. He has the qualities to act as an assist-man and it’s only natural he has to improve his fitness levels, as he has barely played for three months.”
There are reports that after using the 4-3-3 system, Allegri could adopt the so-called ‘4-2-fantasia’ with Bojan Krkic behind Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy and M’Baye Niang.
“It is an alternative I have and there are games in which that system can be used. Bojan plays very well behind a centre-forward.
“At the back Kevin Constant and Philippe Mexes have recovered, but Ignazio Abate has played a lot recently, so it’s probable Mattia De Sciglio will start tomorrow.”
Cagliari - AC Milan in new legal fight? 9.2 ||webmaster
There are reports that Cagliari-Milan might be behind closed doors or called off after the local authorities staged an emergency counter-appeal.
The game is due to kick off at 14.00 GMT on Sunday at the Is Arenas, as it had been moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin due to fears over public safety and then returned to the original venue by an emergency ruling of the TAR Tribunal on Friday.
However, according to the latest reports, the local authorities who ordered the closure in the first place are staging their own emergency appeal.
The Prefect maintains public safety cannot be guaranteed at the Is Arenas in its current state.
It is now possible the game could be played behind closed doors or even abandoned completely.
Ahead of Italy’s friendly with Holland, Dutch legend Marco Van Basten comments on Mario Balotelli, Wesley Sneijder, Maarten Stekelenburg and admits he’d love to be Coach of Milan.
Tomorrow evening the two nations face off in an international friendly in Amsterdam and Van Basten is expected in the stadium.
“I am working to one day become a Coach in Italy,” the current Heerenveen boss told Sky Sport Italia.
“Where would I like to be Coach? At Milan, where I have friends and know the whole environment. However, Italian football needs to sort some things out, as only Juventus have a modern stadium.
“In my day San Siro was always full and it was wonderful, while many fans also travelled around the country to watch us play. So many problems accumulated, like the betting scandal, poor referees and old stadiums.”
Van Basten also cast his eye over the recent problems Dutch players have had in Serie A, as Inter sold Sneijder to Galatasaray and Roma continue to bench Stekelenburg.
“I don’t understand how Roma can leave out Stekelenburg when he is the best goalkeeper in Holland. As for Sneijder, Inter clearly wanted to get rid of him and I don’t know why...”
Milan signed Balotelli from Manchester City and he is set to lead Italy’s attack against the Netherlands tomorrow evening.
“I would gladly coach Balotelli. Maybe if he comes to Heerenveen!”
Stephan El Shaarawy hopes to forge a winning partnership for club and country with Mario Balotelli.
The 20-year-old forward will start up front for Italy on Wednesday against Netherlands, and has admitted that he wants to have the same relationship on the field as he does off the field with the former Manchester City man.
“I have never felt pressure playing for Italy,” he told a Press conference. “Partly because of the Coach and partly because of my teammates.
“I am happy that Balotelli has debuted for Milan and did really well. Allegri had to change the system to get the best out of both us – and I think we repaid his trust.
“I hope to become a major player alongside Mario – we are doing well, but we must continue together and work hard.
“Mario and I have a relationship that goes beyond football – we have a beautiful friendship.
“It is also a good thing that we are both of mixed ethnicity. It does not matter that I have foreign name, the only important thing is that I was born in Italy and want to do well for the national team.”
Prandelli praises Balotelli and El Shaarawy 5.2 ||webmaster
Cagliari may have to play their game against Milan this Sunday at a neutral venue, after there were yet more safety concerns regarding the Is Arenas.
The recently-built stadium has been the subject of a long-standing battle between the club and the city council.
The Rossoblu's match against Juventus in December had to be played in Parma because of safety concerns.
And it seems that this weekend's match-up with the Rossoneri could also be moved away from the stadium.
A brief statement from the 'Provincial Supervision Committee' read today: “At present there are concerns over public safety for the match between Cagliari and Milan on Sunday 15.”
However, the Isloani's communication director, Ivan Paone, claimed on their official Facebook page that, “at the moment nothing official has been announced. We are waiting for the findings of the Committee – and only then can we respond.”
Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 Udinese - goals/highlights 4.2 ||webmaster
AC Milan confirm Allegri for 2013 - 2014 4.2 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri is pleased with Mario Balotelli’s debut brace, but admits Udinese were hard done by. “It wasn’t a penalty.”
The Coach spoke to the media after their 2-1 victory, secured with the last kick of the game with a spot-kick after Thomas Heurtaux appeared to get the ball in a tackle on Stephan El Shaarawy.
“We were lucky when it came to the referee’s decision. I am pretty honest when it comes to evaluating incidents and I will say that the Udinese player gets the ball. It’s certainly not a penalty that you can give.
“It is a shame, as Udinese played well and so had we. The team played an excellent first half and Udinese were non-existent during that period, while in the second we were lazy and paid the price.
“We are young and must improve, because we can’t keep risking dropped points after dominating like this. In the second half we lowered the tempo and had too many individual moves. After the equaliser we started playing again, but we shouldn’t get ourselves into these situations.”
Balotelli was originally meant to be on the bench, but went into the starting XI when Giampaolo Pazzini picked up a thigh problem in the warm-up.
“He played very well and has some exceptional qualities, but then we all knew that. I was also fortunate, as he wasn’t meant to start. He has to improve, seeing as he is only 22.”
Milan had a disastrous start to the season, but are now level in fourth place with Inter.
“The tournament is still long and I know it is difficult to finish third, especially when we were 10 points behind.”
Allegri was asked about reports linking him with the Roma bench for next season after Zdenek Zeman was sacked.
“I am happy to stay here. After all the criticism that was aimed at me, we are ready to start a new era.”
Mario Balotelli scored a brace, including a hugely controversial penalty with the last kick of the game, to beat Udinese 2-1 on his Milan debut.
The fans were celebrating in the streets this week when Balotelli arrived from Manchester City for €20m. He was meant to start from the bench, but was promoted after Giampaolo Pazzini had a muscular problem in the warm-up. Philippe Mexes, Mattia De Sciglio and Nigel De Jong were injured, while Christian Abbiati and Kevin-Prince Boateng suffered from flu symptoms. Udinese missed Zeljko Brkic and Emmanuel Badu, but moved to a four-man defence.
Incredibly, within 35 seconds of his debut, SuperMario had burst past two players and his angled drive clipped the outside of the far post!
Balotelli then slipped a smart reverse pass through for Mbaye Niang, whose angled drive forced a desperate save with Daniele Padelli’s outstretched foot. The move continued, but the flag was up.
Luis Muriel went on the counter and should’ve rolled it across for Gianpiero Pinzi, but instead went for goal with a weak finish.
Stephan El Shaarawy’s looping header landed on the roof of the net, but the script was set and it had to be Balotelli who broke the deadlock.
El Shaarawy got to the by-line down the left and pulled back for Balotelli to control and smash an angled drive that bounced off the ground past Padelli. SuperMario grinned and saluted the San Siro crowd.
It was so nearly 2-0 when Balotelli unleashed an absolute screamer from distance that Padelli flew to flap out from the far top corner.
Padelli was at full stretch to intercept a dangerous Balotelli cross for Niang, then Mathieu Flamini just failed to get on the end of another El Shaarawy assist.
After the restart El Shaarawy curled over and was set up by Balotelli for another effort that was saved. Udinese finally threatened with Andrea Lazzari’s cross-field pass that Antonio Di Natale volleyed over as it came off his shin when he came sliding in at the back post.
It was a warning and moments later the Friulani equalised. Di Natale flicked on with his head in the centre-circle to spark a counter-attack and Luis Muriel rolled across for Pinzi to fire in with a deflection off Cristian Zapata.
Balotelli’s shot was held after he turned between a crowd of players, then Riccardo Montolivo tripped when trying to clear and was fortunate Gabriel Silva chipped over the empty net. Max Allegri opted for a very attacking move, introducing Bojan Krkic for midfielder Antonio Nocerino.
Balotelli at full stretch could only volley a deflected Niang cross over, as Thomas Heurtaux got a crucial touch. Niang fired wide after exchanging passes with El Shaarawy, but the French teen had a fantastic opportunity on 77 minutes when his scorching volley from the edge of the box smacked against the crossbar. It’s possible Dusan Basta got a glancing touch to turn it out of the net.
Bojan also skimmed the woodwork and Balotelli had timid penalty appeals for a Maurizio Domizzi push, but Alexander Merkel hesitated and failed to make the most of a defensive error just moments after coming off the bench.
Padelli got down well to push a Balotelli free kick round the base of the far post, but Basta blasted off target on a dangerous counter-attack. Montolivo’s daisy-cutter whizzed wide in the final minutes.
It seemed to be coming to a close when at the 92nd minute El Shaarawy burst into the box and Heurtaux appeared to make a clean tackle, but the referee pointed to the spot.
Naturally, Balotelli stepped up to take it with the final kick of the game and scored, side-footing it to send Padelli the wrong way and confirming his career status of never having missed a penalty.
Agent Mino Raiola reveals Mario Balotelli “has never been so happy” after joining Milan and that Zlatan Ibrahimovic “wants a return to Italy.”
The representative was instrumental in bringing Balotelli to San Siro from Manchester City for €20m plus bonuses.
“Mario is happy to be at Milan. I’ve never seen him so happy in his career and I think he can bring Italy back to the front of European football,” Raiola told Calcissimo.com.
“We were not surprised by the joyful crowds who greeted him, as Mario is much loved... It’s not true that he left Manchester due to a row with Roberto Mancini. As Sir Alex Ferguson said, these things happen inside a squad.”
Raiola also represents PSG star Ibrahimovic, who was sold by Milan this summer in a double deal with Thiago Silva.
Earlier this week, the agent had already hinted that the Swede could make a comeback to one of his former clubs, Juventus, Inter or Milan.
“In life anything can happen and his return to Italy is possible. Italy is his home, as he played here for many years, becoming an extraordinary champion loved by all.
“Let us not forget he also has an Italian agent who taught him to love this country... Italian blood also runs through his veins by now.”
Udinese Coach Francesco Guidolin complimented Milan for their transformation and said Mario Balotelli “has the potential to become a top player.”
The former Manchester City striker could well make his debut against Udinese tomorrow evening.
“First of all, I want to compliment Massimiliano Allegri for forging a team that is very different to last year, packed with youngsters and still battling for the top spots,” said Guidolin in his Press conference.
“He also launched talents like Mattia De Sciglio, Mbaye Niang and Stephan El Shaarawy into the first team. He has done really very well.
“Balotelli has the potential to become a top player. It is important for Italian football that we recovered a talent like him. Obviously he will generate a lot of enthusiasm, but we mustn’t forget players like Giampaolo Pazzini who can also make their mark.”
There are reports Milan will use a trident attack, so Udinese could change their traditional 3-5-1-1 system.
“Will we adopt a four-man defence? It is something we have tested before, so it would not be a novelty. We are ready to change and adapt to any situation, so we’ll see what happens. I also have Mehdi Benatia available again after the African Cup of Nations.
“It’s true that Milan are a very strong side, but we will try to learn from our mistakes and be 100 per cent concentrated to stay in the game. It’s the only way we can trouble them.”
There has been a change of referee for tomorrow night’s match, as Davide Massa has pulled out to make way for Paolo Valeri.
VIDEO: Ezekiel Henty goal for AC Milan Primavera 2.2 ||webmaster
Allegri: 'Balotelli debut against Udinese' 2.2 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri confirms Mario Balotelli “is ready to play” and could start his Milan debut against Udinese tomorrow evening.
The former Manchester City striker already scored his first goal for the club during a friendly on Thursday.
“He joined the squad on Thursday, is in good shape physically and I will decide today whether he’ll start or be on the bench. It is not just a tactical choice, but also dictated by the situation,” said Coach Allegri in his Press conference.
“Mario can consecrate his status definitively as a star at Milan. In other teams he played less than he expected to. In my view he can be paired with Giampaolo Pazzini, who has done well so far this season.
“Balotelli’s arrival is important for the club in media terms. He has brought a strong wave of enthusiasm, although we must remain detached from that. Things are going better, we must concentrate on tomorrow’s game which will allow us to stay in the race for a Champions League spot.
“I think it’s good to maintain a healthy competition for places between the players. I have to put players in the right roles, so this is why I sometimes have to leave out those who would deserve to play.”
Udinese have tended to cause problems for Milan in recent years, while this has always been a high-scoring fixture.
“They are very talented and in good form. They beat Inter, while Antonio Di Natale and Luis Muriel are very dangerous. In midfield we must watch out for Andrea Lazzari, who has the right characteristics to send the strikers on goal.”