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The Archive

February 2013

Lazio will be tough, says Ambrosini
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini expects a real test when Milan entertain Lazio on Saturday evening in Serie A.

“We’re going through a delicate period at the moment and the game against Lazio will be tough,” the captain told Milan Channel.

“Saturday’s match is important as there are less and less games left to go. We have to think about winning the head to head games.

“We’ll have to play intelligent football and Saturday’s game will be the most delicate. It’s a tough match to read as they make you play badly and they have dangerous players.”

Milan, held 1-1 by rivals Inter on Sunday, will leapfrog Lazio into third with a win at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza this weekend.

El Shaarawy extends AC Milan deal
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have confirmed that Stephan El Shaarawy has put pen to paper on a new contract at the club until June 2018.

The outfit have released no further details, but it is understood that the fresh terms will see his current €800,000 annual salary increase.

The Italian international, still just 20, was previously contracted to the Diavolo until June 2017.

El Shaarawy, signed from Genoa in 2011, is the club’s top scorer this season thanks to 16 goals in 25 League games so far.

AC Milan want Bojan fee discount
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Spain are suggesting that Milan have begun negotiations with Barcelona regarding the signing of Bojan Krkic.

Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi recently admitted that the Diavolo were looking at taking up their option to sign the player outright.

Now AS is claiming that Vice-President Adriano Galliani discussed the 22-year-old with Barcelona officials on the day of last week’s Champions League encounter.

It’s claimed that Milan are looking to get the €15m fee which was agreed between the two clubs last summer lowered.

Bojan has struggled to make an impact for the Rossoneri given that he has scored just three goals in 18 League games this term.

He’s also failed to scored in five Champions League ties.

Italian trio hunting Amorebieta
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italian giants Juventus, Inter and Milan are reportedly interested in Athletic Bilbao stopper Fernando Amorebieta.

The centre-back, a Venezuelan international, is set to leave his current club after talks over a new five-year deal stalled.

Arsenal are just one Premier League outfit who were said to be chasing him, but stories in Italy are linking him with the big three in Serie A.

Should the 27-year-old head to Turin, he would team up with club colleague Fernando Llorente who has already wrapped up a Bosman transfer to the Old Lady.

Santon too pricey for AC Milan
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan’s interest in Newcastle full-back Davide Santon has cooled, according to the Corriere dello Sport.

Santon, 22, is the kind of promising young player that the Diavolo are now openly targeting on the transfer market.

The Diavolo did make an enquiry for the Italian international in January, but no deal could be done mid-season.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani was expected to renew his club’s interest in the defender at the end of the campaign, but that may not be the case anymore.

Galliani is now looking elsewhere given that he deems Newcastle’s €10m valuation for the former Inter player as excessive.

Gattuso wins player-manager debut
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso won his first match as player-manager of Sion, securing a 2-0 victory away to Lausanne.

The 35-year-old former Milan midfielder was promoted to his new role this week after Victor Munoz was removed from the post.

Gattuso’s debut saw his side earn a 2-0 win in Lausanne, securing their qualification for the Swiss Cup semi-final.

He performed three substitutions from the pitch, including himself four minutes from time.

Galliani: 'No Balotelli fine'
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Prandelli hails regenerated Balotelli
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli says he can now count on a new Mario Balotelli following his switch to Milan.

Balotelli left Manchester City in January for the Diavolo and he’s netted four goals in four games for his new club.

“I’m seeing a great Balotelli,” the former Fiorentina tactician told QS. “He is a player regenerated by the fact that he is close to his family again.”

Not only can Prandelli now keep a closer eye on the striker, he can also see him in action alongside promising Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy.

“As the national team boss, I have to be delighted to see Balotelli and El Shaarawy playing alongside each other,” he added. “They are not incompatible.”

Prandelli was also asked to give his opinion on Friday night’s big Scudetto clash between leaders Juventus and second-placed Napoli.

“It will be a spectacular game between two sides who have improved since last season,” he explained.

“One team is the strongest in the Division who are not distracted by the Champions League, while the other is doing really well.”

Mangala on AC Milan radar
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Italy are suggesting that Porto stopper Elaquim Mangala has caught the attention of Milan.

The centre-back is admired by a number of top European sides following his move from Standard Liege in 2011.

Mangala, just 22, does fit in with the Diavolo’s new direction of signing promising young players with a potentially good future.

Porto value the French Under-21 international at around the €20m figure. Manchester City are also interested in the player.

Balotelli orders statue of himself
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli has commissioned a life-size statue of himself to stand in his Brescia home. “He’ll be immortalised in the pose after a goal.”

The Milan and Italy striker has already become famous for his audacious style choices, including a camouflage Bentley.

“I received the commission, but have never actually met Balotelli, so I am working from photographs,” local artist Livio Scarpella told Il Giornale di Brescia newspaper.

“I presented various sketches, but Mario wanted to be immortalised in the pose after a goal: muscles in evidence and an expression to challenge the opponents.”

This seems to be the pose he adopted after scoring the second goal against Germany in the Euro 2012 semi-final.

“I imagined him as an athlete from ancient times. The statue will be between the classic and pop style, in platinum and coloured bronze with the eyes made of precious stones.”

De Jong targets Wembley
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nigel De Jong admits he’d love to “return for the Champions League Final” with Milan after undergoing surgery.

The former Manchester City midfielder saw his season come to a close back in December when he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

“I am very happy, even if I have been out for nearly three months and there are still a couple to go, but there is progress and I am already walking again,” he told Milan Channel.

“I need to get my muscles back in shape and that could take some time, but I am working hard to return to my previous levels.

“I am psychologically doing alright, as every time I come to the Milanello training camp, I think that I will return for the start of next season, hopefully even for the Champions League Final.

“We’ll see if I manage it, although I honestly doubt I will be back on the field again this season.”

De Jong remains philosophical on the serious injury that blighted his debut Serie A campaign.

“Everything happens for a reason. This is life. I must be concentrated on next season. The team is doing well, as we beat Barcelona and have such a young side.

“It’s a shame we didn’t manage to beat Inter, as we could’ve had three points. We are disappointed to only get a draw, as we knew that we were stronger than Inter.”

Hernanes: 'AC Milan - Lazio is decisive'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Inzaghi promoted at AC Milan?
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are strong reports Pippo Inzaghi will be promoted to Coach of the Milan Primavera team from next season.

The former striker retired only last summer and went straight into work at the Rossoneri youth academy.

At the moment he is at the helm of the Allievi side, who are all under the age of 16.

There are suggestions Inzaghi has done so well that he will be promoted to the Primavera job for 2013-14, which many see as a stepping stone to an ‘inevitable’ position as head Coach of Milan one day.

Current Primavera Coach Aldo Dolcetti will step down to join Massimiliano Allegri’s staff as a conduit between the youth and senior levels of the squad.

Milan’s Primavera team reached the Final of the Viareggio Tournament this week, losing 3-0 to Anderlecht.

Inter fined after Balotelli abuse
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan are looking into the possibility of signing Angelo Ogbonna and Francesco Lodi this summer, according to reports.

Fichajes.com have claimed that the Rossoneri are keenly tracking the progress of the Torino defender and the Catania midfielder, and are likely to make a bid for the pair in the summer.

Both players have been strongly linked with the San Siro in the past and could cost a combined total of around €20m – Ogbonna €12m and Lodi €8m.

The young Italy centre-back has been ravaged by injury this term whilst the Elefanti playmaker has been instrumental in his side's fight for a European place.

AC Milan to offer Cristante new deal
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan teenager Bryan Cristante is set to be offered a new contract by the club after impressing in the Viareggio youth tournament.

The 17-year-old midfielder was named Player of the Tournament despite the Rossoneri losing 3-0 to Anderlecht on Monday.

But the club's hierarchy were so impressed by his performances that they are set to sign the Italy Under-18 international on a long-term deal.

Journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Adriano Galliani and other Diavolo board members will meet with Cristante's agent his afternoon to propose an offer.

De Sciglio wants to bounce back
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Ambrosini will wait for AC Milan
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini is in no rush to sort out his future. “We’ll wait for Milan,” his agent has insisted.

The midfielder is only contracted until June and it is unclear whether the Rossoneri will offer him a new one-year deal.

The 36-year-old says he wants to continue his playing career, but would only remain in Italy if the Diavolo offered him new terms.

“The desire of the player is to wait for Milan to make a decision,” Moreno Roggi told TMW. “That’s what has happened in the last few years.

“A move abroad? There are some possibilities, but nothing concrete. Everything is at a standstill right now, but the MLS is a championship which Massimo is curious about.”

The former Cesena player, signed by the Diavolo in 1995, earns around €1.5m a season at the Stadio Meazza.

Allegri: 'Balotelli unfortunate not to score'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has claimed that Mario Balotelli was 'unfortunate' against Inter yesterday.

The 22-year-old was foiled in his attempt to score against his old club on a number of occasion on Sunday.

And the Rossoneri chief has revealed that the Italy international was desperate to do well.

“Mario is 22 and grew up at Inter, “ he told reporters. “He really wanted to do well yesterday.

“It was just unfortunate that he didn't get on the scoresheet.”

AC Milan and Arsenal to fight for Rami
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan will fight it out with Arsenal for the signing of Valencia centre-back Adil Rami, according to reports in the British Press.

The Daily Express believe that the Premier League club are willing to offer €12m for the France international, which could force the hand of the Rossoneri, who may also make a move in the summer.

Rami has been virtually ever-present for Ernsesto Valverde's men this season, appearing in 22 League games for Valencia.

Zapata wary ahead of Lazio test
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zapata has admitted that Milan's match against Lazio next Saturday is crucial for their Champions League ambitions.

The Biancocelesti currently sit in fifth place, whilst the Rossoneri occupy third but only one point ahead of the capital club.

“We have a week to prepare for the match against Lazio,” he told Milan Channel.

“It is a confrontation with a direct rival so we want to face them at our best.

“We have to win. It will be a great opportunity to take.”

Galliani: Juventus will win Serie A
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani has conceded that the Serie A title this year will go to Juventus.

The Bianconeri currently sit at the top of the table, seven points clear of Napoli in second.

And the Rossoneri administrator has admitted that Antonio Conte's side will win the League, whilst also commenting on the Coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“Absolutely, the championship will go to Juventus. That's what I think,” he told Rai Sport.

“There has never been a question about Allegri's future with Berlusconi. Any other team would probably have got a new Coach.

“But we did not do that and the results are there for everyone to see.”

AC Milan lose Viareggio final
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Belgian giants Anderlecht have won the prestigious Viareggio youth tournament after beating Milan 3-0 on Monday.

A brace from Acheampong and a goal from Jaadi gave Anderlecht the trophy as Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri and Vice-President Adriano Galliani watched from the stands.

The club from Belgium become the first foreign side to take the annual competition since Uruguayan outfit Juventude went home with the Coppa Carnevale seven years ago.

AC Milan consider Bojan signing
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have suggested that they could decide to sign Barcelona-owned Bojan Krkic outright at the end of the season.

“We see a player in Bojan who is very useful for his quality and vision,” President Silvio Berlusconi noted. “I think he can stay with us.”

The 22-year-old is on loan at San Siro after Roma handed him over in the summer half-way through their two-year deal with the Spanish giants.

The forward has struggled to make an impression with the Diavolo this term after netting just three goals in 25 games.

Last week, Bojan claimed that his problems this term are down to the fact that he’s not owned by the Rossoneri.

“I am a victim of being on loan,” he told AS ahead of the 2-0 Champions League win against Barca. “The Milan players who have cost millions to sign are those who should start.

“This is normal. For that reason, for next season my intention is that wherever I am, I will not be there on loan.

“Back to Barca? If it is possible then yes, of course. I left for two years and after the adventure in Rome I am now here. We will see what happens. There are still many things that must happen.”

Gattuso handed FC Sion job
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italian World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso is the new player-Coach of Swiss side FC Sion.

The 35-year-old midfielder, who only joined the club in the summer once his Milan contract expired, has been placed in charge of the squad.

Sion, led by Victor Munoz, lost 4-0 at Thun this weekend – a result which leaves them fourth and nine points adrift of leaders Grasshoppers.

The club today announced that Munoz had not been sacked, but had taken a “step back” to take up a scouting role.

Sion, who only hired Munoz in January, have lost three of their last four games in the Swiss Super League.

Muntari hails mature Balotelli
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan's Sulley Muntari has revealed that Mario Balotelli has grown up since their days together at Inter.

“Balotelli has changed a lot over these years,” the Ghanaian international stated after the 1-1 derby draw.

“He’s more mature and you could see that on Sunday despite the pressure he was under and the difficulty of the moment.

“It’s just a shame he didn’t score. It’s also a shame that we only got a draw. We should have won for ourselves and for our fans.”

Balotelli joined the Diavolo last month from Manchester City, while Muntari put pen to paper for the Rossoneri in January 2012 after a transfer directly from the Beneamata.

“This jersey is already a part of me,” the 28-year-old added. “It’s in my blood…”

Ambrosini unsure of AC Milan future
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini says he understands that he may not be able to continue his playing career with Milan once this season ends.

The midfielder’s contract expires in the summer and it is unclear whether he will be handed a fresh one-year deal.

“I don’t want to retire, I want to keep playing,” the man who will be 36 in May noted. “But I know that the club’s new project is based on youngsters so we’ll have to see what happens.

“If I was to leave Milan then I would not choose to play for another Italian club, that is for sure,” the club captain noted.

The former Italian international was signed by the Diavolo in 1995 after graduating through the Cesena youth ranks.

Ambrosini has been paired with a possible future in America.

Zapata disappointed by derby draw
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zapata has admitted that there is regret in the Milan camp after the 1-1 draw with Inter on Sunday.

The Rossoneri started the game well and took the lead, but Ezequiel Schelotto salvaged a point for the Nerazzurri after the break.

“We’re a bit down in the dressing room as we did well,” the Colombian stopper noted. “To only be a single point ahead of Inter after all the chances we created is a bit disappointing.

“We played very well and it’s a shame we couldn’t get the second goal.

“We dropped our rhythm in the game a little bit in the second half and the Nerazzurri were able to take advantage of that.

“We have to win now against Lazio next week.”

El Shaarawy: 'Should have been 3-0'
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy scored his first Derby della Madonnina goal, but “we should’ve finished the first half 3-0 up.”

He put Milan in front during a dominant first half performance, but Samir Handanovic’s heroics denied a second and Ezequiel Schelotto earned Inter’s 1-1 draw.

“My first goal in the Derby is something to be really proud of, but the important thing today was the victory,” he told Mediaset Premium.

“We should’ve finished it off in the first half, even 3-0 up, but we didn’t and then conceded the draw. We must continue building on those opening 45 minutes.

“We had at least two clear-cut opportunities, but Handanovic was great at parrying the shots. It’s a real shame about the final result.”

It was Mario Balotelli’s first game against his former Inter teammates and he had two very strong chances to score.

“It was a bit of a strange night for him, but we told him to relax. He had some good chances, but he’s calm even if he didn’t manage to score.”

El Shaarawy is still only 20 years old, but has already become a leader at Milan and could get a contract extension soon.

“For now I am focused only on doing well for Milan, as I am truly happy at this club.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan must kill games off'
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: El Shaarawy 21 (M), Schelotto 70 (I)

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.

Inter: Handanovic; Zanetti, Juan Jesus, Ranocchia, Nagatomo (Chivu 77); Gargano, Cambiasso (Schelotto 68), Guarin; Alvarez (Kuzmanovic 74); Cassano, Palacio

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio; Muntari (Ambrosini 89), Montolivo, Nocerino; Boateng (Niang 81), Balotelli, El Shaarawy (Bojan 86)

Ref: Mazzoleni

Serie A: Internazionale vs. AC Milan - lineups
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter: Handanovic; Zanetti, Juan Jesus, Ranocchia, Nagatomo; Gargano, Cambiasso, Alvarez; Guarin; Cassano, Palacio.

Inter bench: Belec, Carrizo, Mbaye, Jonathan, Chivu, Stankovic, Kovacic, Schelotto, Pasa, Benassi, Kuzmanovic, Rocchi.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio; Muntari, Montolivo, Nocerino; Boateng, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.

AC Milan bench: Gabriel, Amelia, Salamon, Zaccardo, Yepes, Ambrosini, Antonini, Bojan, Niang Traoré, Pazzini.

Ranocchia ready for AC Milan
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Ranocchia and Cristian Chivu are available despite picking up injuries, as Inter finally released their squad for tonight’s Inter-Milan clash.

Ranocchia was thought to be out of action after spraining his knee during the final minutes of a 3-0 Europa League victory away to Cluj.

Chivu is also carrying a knock, but both have been named in Andrea Stramaccioni’s squad.

Breaking with tradition, the Coach did not announce his squad until this afternoon, as Ranocchia and Chivu had late fitness tests.

If neither of them are considered fit to start, then Esteban Cambiasso could be moved into a centre-back role, one he has already adopted in Europe.

Alvaro Pereira is suspended, while Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Matias Silvestre, Joel Obi, Luca Castellazzi and Gaby Mudingayi are out of action.

Inter squad for AC Milan: 1 Handanovic, 27 Belec, 30 Carrizo; 7 Schelotto, 23 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu, 38 Pasa, 33 Mbaye, 40 Juan Jesus, 42 Jonathan, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 5 Stankovic, 10 Kovacic, 11 Alvarez, 14 Guarin, 17 Kuzmanovic, 19 Cambiasso, 21 Gargano, 24 Benassi; 8 Palacio, 18 Rocchi, 47 Colombi, 99 Cassano.

Ambrosini: 'Cassano and Balotelli...'
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Dejan Stankovic explains the magic behind the “uncertain” Milan Derby and considers what Mario Balotelli could achieve.

The midfielder is likely to be on the bench for Inter tomorrow evening.

“The Derby is wonderful because it is so uncertain,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“You never know who is going to win, especially at this moment when the two teams are in such different levels of form. This is the right game for us to turn the tide.”

All eyes will be on Balotelli, who faces his former Inter teammates for the first time since leaving in 2010.

“He can improve a great deal, but he probably doesn’t realise quite how much better he could be. More than just Balotelli, I fear all of Milan at this moment of great enthusiasm.”

Stankovic was out of action for nine months following surgery on his Achilles tendon.

“I did think about retiring, but with help from everyone I was able to return.”

Berlusconi: 'Balotelli insult a strategy'
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Allegri: 'We must respect Inter'
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi arrived at the training ground in his helicopter to assure “respect for Massimiliano Allegri even during the tough times.”

The patron has made a habit of flying in to Milanello the day before big games to talk up the troops and take some players aside to individually encourage them.

He had been critical of Coach Allegri during the early months of the campaign, but stood by him and was elated by the 2-0 Champions League victory over Barcelona.

“After the departure of some top players, it was difficult to put together a team that would be competitive from the start,” explained Berlusconi.

“It took us eight rounds to get settled. The media immediately put Allegri’s position in doubt, but the Coach can confirm our rapport has always been friendly.

“We had telephone calls before the games, but always with great reciprocal respect, even during the tough times.

“Milan have recovered unity and there are no elements of worry in the locker room. Without those first eight games, we’d be top of the Serie A table.”

Berlusconi was at Milanello to prepare the side for tomorrow night’s Derby della Madonnina against Inter.

“Tomorrow will be an important game for many different reasons. We hope to continue this positive streak.”

Allegri: 'Balotelli maturity test'
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri warns the Derby della Madonnina will be very different to beating Barcelona and hopes Mario Balotelli doesn’t “fall into the trap of provocation.”

The Rossoneri are the favourites going in after their 2-0 Champions League victory against the Blaugrana.

“Wednesday was a wonderful night and the lads deserved their win that allows us to go to Spain with a slight advantage,” Allegri told Milan Channel.

“Now we must focus on the Derby, an important game where we’ll try to leave our opponents behind us in the table.

“Inter will be eager to make up for recent results, but I hope my players can give us all something to cheer about. It would be a gift for all Rossoneri, from the fans to the President.

“Derbies are traditionally balanced encounters and there are no favourites. In recent years individual incidents have often been decisive.”

Milan showed a defensive masterclass against Barcelona, but will take a more attacking approach against Inter tomorrow evening.

“It will be a completely different game to Barcelona and we must interpret it differently too. I still have a few doubts over my line-up and will make a decision today.

“We will have Antonio Nocerino back, but not Mathieu Flamini or Giampaolo Pazzini.”

Balotelli is cup-tied, so returns after dancing in the stands during the win over Barcelona and faces his former club for the first time since leaving in 2010.

“This will be a test of Balotelli’s maturity and he must do well not to fall into the trap of provocation,” noted Coach Allegri.

“He is a decisive player and must learn how to keep calm.”

Stramaccioni: 'No Inter fear'
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate believes there are “no favourites” in tomorrow’s Milan Derby, while Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli won’t feel the pressure.

The Rossoneri are considered to be in better shape going into the Sunday night clash, especially after beating Barcelona 2-0 in the Champions League.

“There are no favourites between these teams, although admittedly we are in better shape and much more confident than when we last met earlier this season,” declared Milan full-back Abate.

All eyes will be on Balotelli and Cassano, who are facing their former clubs and bound to be jeered by fans.

“I don’t think either of them will feel particular pressure. We are talking about two great champions, after all.”

Pazzini fit to face Inter
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri had said Giampaolo Pazzini wouldn’t recover in time to face Inter, but he is in the Milan squad.

Pazzini limped off during Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League victory over Barcelona with a knee problem.

Earlier today, Coach Allegri told Milan Channel that Antonio Nocerino had recovered, but Pazzini would miss out.

However, the former Inter striker is in the squad for tomorrow night’s Derby della Madonnina.

Also returning are Luca Antonini, Marco Amelia and January signing Bartosz Salamon, but Mathieu Flamini and Robinho remain sidelined.

AC Milan squad for Inter: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, Antonini, De Sciglio, Mexes, Salamon, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Ambrosini, Boateng, Constant, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Traorè, Balotelli, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini.

Montolivo: 'El Shaarawy decides derby'
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

The Inter ultras have released statements, posters and flyers telling their members they can insult Mario Balotelli during the Derby, as long as they avoid racist abuse.

There is tension ahead of Sunday night’s game, as Inter have already been fined for their fans aiming racist chants at ex-Nerazzurri star Balotelli following his move to arch-rivals Milan.

Balotelli is expected to start on Sunday evening and the Curva Nord ultras organisation is in overdrive to ensure things go smoothly.

“Everyone will be sitting there expecting our thuggish behaviour,” read a statement from the Curva Nord.

“We will not give those who are waiting for us any opportunity to open their mouths. They, nor their President, will get themselves good publicity off our backs.

“Jeer him, whistle and feel free to express your dissent, but avoid monkey noises and expressions that reference the colour of his skin.”

There are posters and flyers will be handed out at the entrance to San Siro on Sunday, urging fans to keep their insults to specific targets.

“We must avoid creating a situation where we get painted as this week’s ‘evildoers.’ Any ultras who gets himself punished for Mario Balotelli is spitting himself in the face.

“We are counting on your maturity, people.”

De Sciglio on the derby, Balotelly & Barcelona
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan will have to fight it out with Manchester United for the signature of Italian youngster Marco Verratti.

The 20-year-old Paris Saint-Germain regista has been linked with a move to the Rossoneri after President Silvio Berlusconi admitted that the club are tracking his progress.

But the Daily Express have today claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson is also a fan of the Italy international, and is keen to bring him to Old Trafford.

Verratti has been virtually ever-present for the French side this season, playing 18 League games for the capital club.

He could be available for a fee of around €20m.

Ranocchia will miss derby
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia will miss the Milan Derby on Sunday after damaging ligaments in his right knee.

The Italy international limped off during the Nerazzurri's Europa League win over CFR Cluj on Thursday.

And there were initial reports this morning claiming that the 25-year-old would not be fit for the game with the Rossoneri this weekend.

Those reports have since been confirmed by ANSA, who have insisted Ranocchia will not be fit enough for the Derby della Madonnina.

Andrea Stramaccioni is already without Matias Silvestre, Diego Milito and Joel Obi amongst others.

Mexes worried by AC Milan euphoria
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes has urged his Milan teammates to keep their feet on the ground following their sensational result against Barcelona.

The Rossoneri proved their critics wrong with an impressive 2-0 win over the Spanish giants on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Morale at the club is thus sky high, but the Frenchman has called for calm ahead of this Sunday’s derby against Inter.

“It was satisfying to beat Barcelona, but we still haven’t done anything yet,” the former Roma man told Milan Channel.

“The most difficult thing now will be to cope with the euphoria ahead of the Inter game, a match we want to win after the first game this season.”

Inter won the previous meeting between the two sides 1-0.

“Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano are good players who we’ll need to beware of,” Mexes added. “Whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win.

“Former Inter striker Mario Balotelli? He’s now at Milan and he’ll be a danger for the Nerazzurri.”

AC Milan chief backs boss Allegri
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has silenced the rumours about the future of Massimiliano Allegri.

The latter is being linked with a possible summer move to Roma, but Galliani seems keen to keep a tight grip on the man who is contracted at the club until 2014.

“Allegri’s job was safe when we were losing, so it’s even safer now,” the official noted. “He was the main protagonist behind the win over Barcelona.”

Milan stole the headlines this week with a surprising and competent 2-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League.

“I’m still euphoric,” Galliani added. “I think the win improved the self-confidence of everyone.”

There’s another massive game for the Diavolo this Sunday when they take on city rivals Inter.

“It will be an interesting derby, there is only one point between us and we’re fighting to reach the Champions League.

“We are two sides who are as good as each other. They did better than us at the start of the season, now we have the advantage.”

Milan are third in Serie A, one point above the Beneamata.

Montolivo wins Maldini praise
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini admits that Riccardo Montolivo has proved himself at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

The Italian international joined the Diavolo in the summer on a free transfer from Fiorentina after his Viola deal expired.

“Montolivo has really surprised me,” the former Italian international captain told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He’s been consistent, he has quality and he’s proved that he can adapt to a number of different roles.

“He’s a decisive player, one who can fill the hole that was left when Andrea Pirlo moved on,” Maldini added.

“He has physical strength, he wins back the ball, he has vision – he’s got it all.”

Maldini added that another summer signing had caught his eye as well. “Kevin Constant,” he explained. “He’s quick, he has good technique and has personality.”

Montolivo, 28, has appeared in 29 games for the Diavolo across all competitions this season.

Constant, meanwhile, is a midfielder who has been converted to a full-back by boss Massimiliano Allegri. He’s played in 23 matches.

When the year ends in a 3...
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan or Juventus will reach the Champions League Final this season if a curious statistical trend isn’t broken.

One of the two Italian giants have always reached the finale of the European Cup or Champions League when the year has ended in a three.

Milan lifted the trophy in 1963 thanks to a 2-1 win over Benfica.

Juventus were beaten finalists in 1973 and 1983 when Ajax and then Hamburg defeated them 1-0.

It was the same negative scoreline for the Diavolo a decade later when Marseille were crowned Europe's best.

While Milan and Juventus faced off against each other in the 2003 Old Trafford tie when the Rossoneri won on penalties.

Juventus and Milan will go into the second legs of their current last 16 encounters with an advantage. Juve are 3-0 up against Celtic, while the San Siro giants beat Barcelona 2-0 on Wednesday.

1963 Milan 2-1 Benfica

1973 Ajax 1-0 Juventus

1983 Hamburg 1-0 Juventus

1993 Marseille 1-0 Milan

2003 Milan 0-0 Juventus (Milan won on penalties)

Ranocchia to miss Milan derby?
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are fears Andrea Ranocchia will miss Sunday’s Milan Derby after he limped off during Inter’s 3-0 win against Cluj.

The defender suddenly pulled up and appeared to twist his right knee as he landed on the touchline.

He immediately went to ground and called for medical assistance, not coming back on to the field despite the fact Inter had completed all their substitutions.

“I’m glad we put in a good performance tonight, but we are again unlucky with Ranocchia picking up a knee injury. We absolutely could’ve done without that,” said Coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

Inter are already likely to be without Walter Samuel for the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday evening, while Alvaro Pereira is suspended.

Other absentees are Diego Milito, Gaby Mudingayi, Joel Obi and Luca Castellazzi.

Mexes: 'Remember Arsenal'
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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.

“He is a handyman!”

Xavi: AC Milan had a dream game
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has praised Milan after the Rossoneri defeat the Spanish side 2-0 in the Champions League last night.

Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari gave the San Siro side a 2-0 first-leg lead against the Blaugrana.

And the Spain international has conceded that it will be tough to overcome Massimiliano Allegri's men in the second game.

“We let in two goals that could have been avoided,” he told reporters. “The result is a very bad one, but this team has never given up.

“In the second half we did not play as we normally do, whereas Milan had the game of their dreams.

“We know it's not going to be easy to get through to the next round, but we will try.

“We have to be more united than ever.”

Berlusconi: AC Milan can go even further
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has insisted that the Rossoneri can 'go even further' in Europe and domestically after their win over Barcelona.

The San Siro side defeated the Catalan club 2-0 in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

And the team's chief has hit back at the critics, who dismissed the team at the start of the season.

“Last night, without too much effort, we beat Barcelona – the best team in the world,” he told reporters.

“Today we are third in the League and can go even further.

“A few weeks after the start of the season this team was given up for dead – some even said we'd struggle to survive.

“But those people should have perhaps been a little more cautious with their predictions.”

Bertolacci good enough for AC Milan
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gigi De Canio isn’t surprised by Milan’s interest in Genoa’s Andrea Bertolacci. “He’s destined for a big club.”

The 22-year-old midfielder is liked by the Diavolo and a move at the end of the season could be on for the ex-Roma youngster.

“Bertolacci is a boy who has always been mature as a man and a player,” De Canio, who bossed him at Lecce and Genoa, told TMW on Thursday.

“I don’t think he would have any problems if he did join a big club. If that doesn’t happen now, it will at some point.”

Barcelona reaction to AC Milan defeat
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pedro Rodriguez has questioned the referee in the loss to Milan, while teammates Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta saw faults in Barcelona’s own performance.

The Rossoneri beat Barca 2-0 at San Siro on Wednesday to give them a first leg advantage in their last 16 Champions League tie.

Pedro, however, insists that there was an infringement before Kevin Prince Boateng gave the Diavolo the lead.

“Philippe Mexes pushed me over and Cristian Zapata’s handball, we all thought, was very clear,” he noted.

“The referee did not let us talk to him. Eventually we continued playing and it was not to be…

“It was a bad match for us. They played very compact, they got two goals and now we have to come back.

“We tried to play our style of game as always, but sometimes it is not possible. We are now just thinking of the return leg.

“In the Camp Nou they will play very defensively, we’ll get at them and hopefully have better luck there.”

Dani Alves, meanwhile, called for more fight ahead of the second leg. “We have to be better competitors,” he stated.

“It’s not that we played terribly after the first goal. We didn’t play well in general and that’s largely due to how well our rival played.

“We have to improve. We didn’t react well to the first goal. Nobody gives you results or ties. We must fight and earn them. To continue in this competition you have to do better.”

Teammate Iniesta felt that Barcelona were not at 100 per cent. “I think we lacked freshness, we didn’t create chances and they were well organised on the field,” he reflected.

“There is a second leg to play and we have to believe that we can come back from this. It will be a different story at our own stadium.

“From the very first minute at the Camp Nou, we’ll be going for it.“

Messi goal 'drought' continues
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lionel Messi has still not scored a goal past Italian opposition from open play after Barcelona’s 2-0 loss at Milan on Wednesday.

The Argentine has scored goals for fun in his career, but his statistical record against clubs from the peninsula is surprisingly average.

In nine games against Serie A sides, Messi has scored just three goals – and all of those came from the penalty spot in games against the Rossoneri during 2011-12.

He’s also played in two games against Inter and one against Udinese without rippling the net.

AC Milan dedicate win to President
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Desailly: It was like 1994
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcel Desailly says Milan’s win over Barcelona on Wednesday reminded him of the 1994 Champions League Final victory.

Desailly scored that night as the Rossoneri beat the Spanish giants 4-0, whereas the Diavolo were happy enough with a 2-0 on Wednesday in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

“I have to thank boss Massimiliano Allegri for doing an incredible job, for having that kind of discipline,” the Frenchman told Milan Channel.

“The players showed the Milan character tonight,” he added. “It reminded me of the 4-0 against Barcelona in 1994.

“Tactically and in terms of discipline, the team was perfect with the defence playing high. They pressed players off the ball and they were attentive.”

Desailly was particularly impressed with the performance of Massimo Ambrosini. “He was 17-years-old when he started at Milan and he played a captain’s game tonight.”

It's only half-time, warns Constant
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan full-back Kevin Constant has admitted that Barcelona are still in with a chance of qualifying for the last eight of the Champions League.

Although the Rossoneri will travel to Spain with a 2-0 lead, the summer signing from Genoa has underlined that nobody at the club thinks the job has been done.

“We don’t know if the two goal advantage will be enough, but we’ll go to Barcelona and play with personality as we did last night,” he stated.

“We played as a team and we all fought for every ball,” continued the former Chievo man. “We showed that we’re united.

“I have faith for the match at the Nou Camp.”

Pazzini praises team effort
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Giampaolo Pazzini insists that Milan have proved themselves to be a united side after the 2-0 win over Barcelona.

The Spanish giants arrived at San Siro last night as favourites to progress to the last eight, but they suffered a first leg reverse.

“We’re all delighted,” stated the centre-forward who played given that January signing Mario Balotelli is Cup-tied. “The Coach prepared us well for this game.

“On night’s like tonight, the individual aspect goes to the background. I think you could see that we were a team this evening.

“The fans were fantastic and it was a stupendous evening.”

Milan couldn’t afford to make any mistakes against the Nou Camp outfit and Pazzini insists they didn’t.

“We played a perfect game,” added the summer signing from Inter.

“We did well as we didn’t get impatient and I believe Milan deserved the win. But we know it will be tough in the second leg.”

With the Barcelona tie now archived, Pazzini and his teammates are looking ahead to this weekend’s derby.

“Now we have to get our energy back,” the Italian international added. “We’ll be thinking about Inter from Thursday…”

Iniesta: 'Barcelona not on our game'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andres Iniesta concedes Barcelona were “not on our game” after a 2-0 Champions League defeat away to Milan.

The Blaugrana had ineffective possession at San Siro, but no real scoring opportunities and were beaten by Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Ali Muntari goals.

“We were lacking freshness in terms of ideas. They were well positioned on the field,” Iniesta told UEFA.

“There is a second leg to play and we have to believe that we can come back from this. It will be a different story at our own stadium.

“From the very first minute at the Camp Nou, we’ll be going for it.”

Barcelona’s tempo was remarkably slow and they struggled to make any impact on the Rossoneri defence.

“When you’re not on your game, this happens. It is a poor result,” continued Iniesta.

“This is Milan, it’s the Champions League, so you know anything is possible. We’re looking at a very negative outcome from tonight’s match.”

Montolivo: 'We sterilised Barcelona'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Riccardo Montolivo revealed Milan studied Barcelona carefully and succeeded in their plan to “make their possession sterile.”

The Rossoneri let Barça have the ball, but ensured they rarely got into the final third and struck with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Ali Muntari to win 2-0.

“It went well and we played the game we had to, as we were prepared for them to keep possession and therefore we shut down the spaces to make it sterile,” Montolivo told Mediaset.

“Clearly we had a bit of luck with the ricochet on the first goal, but the second was a wonderful team move.

“It was a great night and we hope for another one in the second leg.”

Barcelona did not have a single genuine shot on target to trouble goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

“Leo Messi wasn’t having a good night, fortunately, but we hope he won’t be at 100 per cent at the Camp Nou either,” continued Montolivo.

“It’ll probably be the same basic approach, just that Barcelona will attack us with more intensity.

“We’ll have to be very careful and try to be dangerous on the counter-attack, as it’s the only way to face a team like Barcelona.”

Muntari: 'My most important goal'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sulley Ali Muntari hailed his Milan teammates and “the most important goal of my career” after a 2-0 victory over Barcelona.

The Ghanaian found the net along with Kevin-Prince Boateng in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16.

“We played as a team, we listened to our Coach, he did a fantastic job in how he sent us on the pitch,” grinned Muntari.

“We were very disciplined and managed to close every angle down so they couldn’t penetrate us. If you play without concentration against them, they harm you and they make you suffer.

“It was the most important goal of my career. It is a good lead, but the Camp Nou is not easy. You can have a 5-0 lead but it is not safe as Barcelona have amazing players.

“We have two goals to our advantage and we will do our best to do well.”

Roura: Barcelona can turn this around'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura admits they had more problems than expected at San Siro, but “we fully believe we can turn this around.”

Milan soaked up pressure for an hour before striking to win 2-0 with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Ali Muntari.

“We struggled to find depth and to reach their goal,” said Roura, standing in for the ill Tito Vilanova.

“Obviously this wasn't our best game. Although we had problems I think that the result is excessive.

“They found a couple of opportunities and scored from them which now makes things tricky for us.

“We all know how difficult it is in this stadium. They have defended with everything behind the ball, very orderly. We struggled to find depth.”

The second leg at the Camp Nou is in a fortnight and Barcelona have to win by three clear goals to qualify for the quarter-final.

“The comeback will be difficult, it is two goals, but we have confidence, for our players, for our stadium. It will be a different story in the second leg. We fully believe we can turn this around.”

Abbiati: 'No sweat...'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Allegri: 'Nobody else believed...'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Pique: 'No Barcelona excuses'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gerard Pique admits Barcelona had “no excuses” for their 2-0 defeat to Milan. “When they scored first, we lost control.”

The midfielder spoke to UEFA after their Champions League Round of 16 first leg loss at San Siro.

“It’s a really bad result,” confessed Pique. “We played badly and cannot make excuses, not for the pitch nor the referee.

“When they scored first, we lost control. This is a difficult place to play and Milan are a club with a big history.

“Obviously we will try to win the second leg, as we must improve and learn from this evening. We will look to respond with one of those magical nights at the Camp Nou.”

Ambrosini: 'It's not over yet'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini warns Milan would be “making a terrible mistake” if they thought the 2-0 victory was enough to eliminate Barcelona.

“It was a game we had to play like this,” he said of the defensive approach at San Siro.

“We were very careful and allowed Barça very little. It is only the first half of the tie, as going there thinking we’ve done something definitive would be a terrible mistake.

“It was a great achievement, but we have to consider the 180 minutes. We’ll enjoy this evening, then think about the Derby.

“Of course if we had lost 3-0 then we’d have less chance of qualifying, so naturally we have a chance.”

The captain had a particular dedication to make after this remarkable 2-0 victory.

“I dedicate the win to all of us for the year we’ve had and our start to the season.”

Champions League: AC Milan 2:0 Barcelona - match report
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Boateng 57 (M), Muntari 81 (M)

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.

Milan 2-0 Barcelona

Scorers: Boateng 57 (M), Muntari 81 (M)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Ambrosini, Montolivo, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini (Niang 75), El Shaarawy (Traore 88)

Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Piqué, Puyol (Mascherano 88), Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas (Sanchez 62); Pedro, Messi, Iniesta

Ref: Thomson (SCO)

Rosell: 'Balotelli tried to join Barcelona'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes will be a key man for Milan in tonight’s Champions League game against Barcelona, says Paolo Rossi.

The 1982 World Cup winner believes that the centre-back, who will be playing alongside Cristian Zapata, needs to be at his very best.

“Mexes is someone with notable qualities, he’s a very talented player,” the former striker told Sky Sport Italia.

“In terms of quality, if he was a bit more consistent in his performances, then there would be few players like him around.

“The problem is that he sometimes gets lost – and he can’t afford to do that in the game against Barcelona.”

The French international, 30, has appeared in four Champions League games for the Diavolo so far this term.

Galliani: AC Milan believe against Barcelona
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has warned Barcelona that “favourites don’t always win” ahead of tonight’s Champions League encounter.

The two teams meet at San Siro in the first leg of their last 16 clash and the Spanish giants are hotly favoured to progress to the quarter-finals.

“It will be a great event, a great game,” Galliani stated. “It is beautiful to be in a position to be a part of this game.

“We’ll be up against the best side in the world. Look at their midfield – it’s the one that Spain won the World Cup and European Championship with.

“I won’t make any prediction as I can’t see into the future, but we believe. Barca are favourites, but the favourites don’t always win.”

Barcelona’s biggest threat will be Lionel Messi, a man who President Silvio Berlusconi wants man-marked this evening.

“Messi is the best player of all time,” continued Galliani. “He is even better than Diego Maradona and Pele.”

Champions League: AC Milan vs. Barcelona - lineups
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Ambrosini, Montolivo, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaarawy.

AC Milan bench: Amelia, Yepes, De Sciglio, Cristante, Traoré, Bojan, Niang.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta.

Barcelona bench: Pinto, Montoya, Mascherano, Song, Thiago Alcantara, Sanchez, Tello.

Bertolacci was an AC Milan fan
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Genoa midfielder Andrea Bertolacci has welcomed links with Italian giants Milan. “I supported them as a child.”

The two clubs have close transfer links and there are suggestions that the 22-year-old is of interest to the Diavolo.

“I grew up in the Roma youth ranks, but I was a fan of the Rossoneri when I was a boy,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I supported them mainly because they had Roberto Baggio and I admired him a lot. I even had a ponytail myself at the time…”

Bertolacci, three goals in 18 League games this term, has started to be used as a trequartista by new Rossoblu boss Davide Ballardini.

“I’m playing in that role now, but I’ve always played in a host of midfield positions,” he continued. “I just give my all for the best of the team.”

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is understood to be a big fan of the youngster. Galliani also has a good working relationship with Alessandro Lucci – the player’s agent.

Niang: 'I am not injured!'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

M’Baye Niang has stirred up controversy by denying Massimiliano Allegri’s claims he is tired and needs a rest.

Today the Milan Coach said in his Press conference that Niang probably wouldn’t start against Barcelona because he needed to rest and recuperate.

“It’s not true what they say in newspapers that I am not playing due to pain or injury,” wrote the striker on Twitter.

“It is simply the Coach’s choice.”

Niang has been playing regularly as part of a trident attack in Serie A recently, but Mario Balotelli is cup-tied and cannot face Barcelona in the Champions League.

Roura: 'Barcelona are not favourites'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez warns tomorrow’s opponents Milan have “historically always made things difficult for us.”

They come face-to-face in the Champions League for the third year running in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.

“We are in a good period of form and have the utmost confidence, but we also know how difficult this is going to be,” Xavi told Sport.es.

“Milan are an Italian team with more Champions League trophies than we have and historically always made things difficult for us.

“We have to compete and prove ourselves on the pitch.”

Nocerino and Flamini to miss Barcelona
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

As feared, Antonio Nocerino and Mathieu Flamini have not recovered in time for Milan’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

The two midfielders left today’s training session early with muscular problems and have not been included in the squad.

Mario Balotelli is cup-tied, but Stephan El Shaarawy returns from a knee tendon injury.

Other absentees include Robinho, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini and Nigel De Jong.

Youth team midfielder Bryan Cristante is brought along to make up the numbers, despite not turning 18 until next month.

Goalkeeper Marco Amelia has reason to celebrate, as daughter Matilde was born today.

Milan squad for Barcelona: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zapata, Ambrosini, Boateng, Constant, Cristante, Montolivo, Muntari, Traorè, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini.

Perin on AC Milan links and childhood idols
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pescara goalkeeper Mattia Perin has claimed that his future will be decided by parent club Genoa.

The 20-year-old has been linked with a move to Milan in the summer, but he has insisted that only the Grifone know where he will be playing next season.

“My registration is with Genoa,” he told Studio Sport. “So they will decide what my future will be.

“I do not know anything about the Milan stories. I imagine they are just rumours.

“It's nice to have such an important club like that being linked with me, but I have so much growing to do as a goalkeeper.”

He also commented on his season so far with the Delfini, as well as his idols as a child.

“The defeat against Cagliari last weekend hurt a lot. It was a major setback in our bid to stay up.

“We have only picked up one point in five games, but we have to stay as a group and believe we can do it.

“As a child I grew up with the rivalry between Toldo and Buffon, but I like to watch everyone and try to learn.

“I always dreamed of playing in Serie A and making the national team.”

Montolivo 'excited' for Barcelona clash
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri is optimistic that his side will have a chance against Barcelona. “The tie will start at 0-0…”

The Spanish giants are hot favourites to dispose of the Diavolo in their last 16 clash of the Champions League.

However, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s San Siro first leg, the Coach insisted that his outfit had to believe in success.

“We won’t be the sacrificial lambs, the game will start at 0-0,” he noted. “It will be down to what happens on the pitch.

“We know that we are facing the strongest side in the world, but, in recent years, we haven’t done badly against them.

“We need to start the game with the conviction that we can qualify. We need to create the conditions to get through this round.

“We need to limit their possession of the ball so that they can’t take advantage of that in the attacking third. They could give us a few opportunities at the back.”

The pre-game talk has been dominated by President Silvio Berlusconi’s suggestion to man-mark danger man Lionel Messi.

“The advice of the President is always well received. After 25 years of Milan, he knows football and he often has genius ideas.

“I, though, work with the squad on a daily basis. I look to do what’s best.

“Messi is a dangerous player, like Iniesta. They are extraordinary players. We’ll have to mark them well so they can’t express their qualities.”

Turning to team matters, Allegri suggested that Stephan El Shaarawy would return to the starting XI after injury.

“El Shaarawy is in good shape and training. I’ll evaluate whether he’ll start tomorrow.

“In defence, the idea is to start with Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexes in the middle, with Kevin Constant and Ignazio Abate on the flanks.

“We could play with a trident in attack, but it all depends on how Barcelona line up.

“I’m sure that our display will be up to standard. If we are fortunate then we could achieve something important. We’ll then return to thinking about Serie A and the derby.”

Verratti agent discusses AC Milan link
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Marco Verratti has quickly shot down links with Milan. “I don’t think he’ll leave Paris Saint-Germain.”

The young Italian international is thought to be high on the wish list of Juventus, but Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi has today confirmed that they like the look of the midfielder.

“If that is the case then he’ll have to talk with Paris Saint-Germain and he has an excellent relationship with PSG director Leonardo,” Donato Di Campli told TMW on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, though, Marco will not be returning to Italy,” the representative continued. “He is a very important player for the Paris club and he has married their project.”

Zubizarreta respects AC Milan threat
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi admits the club should not have let go of Andrea Pirlo – but they have their sights on signing his heir.

Pirlo left the Diavolo in the summer of 2011 on a Bosman after no agreement was reached over a new deal. The playmaker subsequently led new club Juventus to the Scudetto.

“I shouldn’t have left Pirlo go,” the Diavolo chief told Sport Mediaset. “But we now have Riccardo Montolivo.

“With regards to the future, we’re interested in Marco Verratti.”

The latter is a player who many in the Italian game see as a natural successor to Pirlo for the national side. Juventus are also very keen on the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder.

Meanwhile, Berlusconi confirmed that Milan would be playing close attention to Lionel Messi in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Barcelona.

“Sulley Muntari and Mathieu Flamini will play on Messi,” he declared.

The former Italian Primer Minister was also asked about the future of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“He could open a new cycle here at this club, but everything will depend on the results…”

Bojan a victim of loan status
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona-owned Bojan Krkic feels being on loan at Milan is one of the reasons why he struggles for regular action.

The attacker moved to the Rossoneri in the summer after his two-year loan deal at Roma was transferred to the Diavolo.

“I am a victim of being on loan,” he told AS ahead of this week’s Champions League clash against Barca. “The Milan players who have cost millions to sign are those who should start.

“This is normal. For that reason, for next season my intention is that wherever I am, I will not be there on loan.

“Back to Barca? If it is possible then yes, of course. I left for two years and after the adventure in Rome I am now here. We will see what happens. There are still many things that must happen.

“I’ve very happy at Milan. Many of the things I feel positive for. I arrived here in the final stretch of the summer transfer market, but I quickly realised the history of Milan. It’s exciting.

“The veteran players left and the club made a commitment to youth. The idea is that over time the results arrive.”

The 22-year-old was inevitably asked for his thoughts ahead of Wednesday night’s European showdown with his parent club.

“It is a difficult and special game,” he continued. “We'll play against the best team in the world with a team of the most important players in the world.

“Will I celebrate if I score? Yes of course. Although if I score one in the Camp Nou I will see at the time. I do not know how I will react.

“A good result? Winning, obviously, but it would be nice to stay alive. Just, do not lose by more than two goals.”

Bojan has scored just three goals in 24 games in all competition for the Diavolo.

Would Capello man-mark Messi?
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ex-Milan boss Fabio Capello feels it would be risky to man-mark Lionel Messi in this week’s Champions League game against Barcelona.

Rossoneri President Silvio Berlusconi advised boss Massimiliano Allegri to shadow the Argentine wizard in Wednesday’s game, but Capello is cautious.

“Berlusconi likes to coach,” the Russian CT smiled. “The thing is that you need two men on Messi, not one.

“If you do that then they would be devoted only to this task and the problem is that Barcelona have other great players.”

The Spanish giants will start the last 16 tie as favourites and Capello concedes that the Diavolo will need Lady Luck on their side.

“To beat Barcelona, Milan are going to need a little bit of good fortune,” he added.

“There’s too much of a difference at the moment between Barcelona and Milan – and between Barcelona and many other teams.”

Sacchi: Barcelona favourites, but...
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi feels that the Rossoneri will have a chance when they take on Barcelona in the Champions League.

Although the ex-Italian national tactician concedes that the Spanish giants should reach the last eight of the competition, he insists they’ll still have to work for qualification.

“It will be a great match between two teams with great history and a charm,” Sacchi, who worked for Real Madrid as a director, noted.

“Barca are in a fantastic moment, but Milan are experiencing one of their better moments and they are always a tough opponent to deal with.

“Barca are harmonious, modern and attractive - they illuminate every game.

“Xavi Hernandez’ return to fitness is important, as besides being a great player he is the most important, the true leader, for the style of play.

“There is a big difference between Barcelona and Milan, the difference is in favour of Barca,” he added.

“Of course the Catalans are favourites, but in a Champions League game, if you are not 100 per cent focused, you can run into many pitfalls…”

Conte: AC Milan are title contenders
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan can fight for the title this season following their capture of Mario Balotelli, says Juventus boss Antonio Conte.

After a problematic beginning to the campaign, the Rossoneri have started picking up results and the January capture of Balotelli from Manchester City has made them stronger.

“Milan, with Balotelli, can win the Scudetto as soon as this season,” the Panchina d’Oro winner stated. “The Championship is still long.”

The Diavolo have lost only one of their last 13 League games, but they are still 11 points behind leaders Juve.

The San Siro giants are also still in the Champions League and they’ll face Barcelona in the first leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday.

“I hope that Milan go through,” Conte added. “I support all Italian clubs in Europe – especially since we need to start picking up coefficient points.”

Conte also commented on Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi’s suggestion that the Diavolo man-mark Lionel Messi.

“How do you stop Messi? With a gun,” Conte smiled. “Berlusconi? Andrea Agnelli, fortunately, never gives me any suggestions.”

AC Milan duo to extend contracts
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan are set to underline their faith in M’Baye Niang and Mattia De Sciglio by extending their contracts.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Niang has already agreed terms for a renewal which will be signed at the end of the season.

The 18-year-old, no goals in nine League games this term, will see his €300,000 salary rise to €800,000 a campaign.

The Gazzetta adds that versatile full-back De Sciglio will be the next youngster in the squad to be given fresh terms.

The 20-year-old has appeared in 17 Serie A games so far this term. His current deal expires in June 2016 and he’s set to get a two-year extension.

El Shaarawy returns to training
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy has returned to training today ahead of their match against Barcelona on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old striker was rested for Friday's win over Parma with knee tendon damage.

But the Italy international has seemingly got over his injury woes having taken full-part in the Rossoneri's session this morning.

It is still unclear though whether El Shaarawy will be fit enough to start against the Blaugrana.

Preziosi: AC Milan asked about...
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Genoa President Enrico Preziosi has admitted that Milan have shown an interest in one of their players.

The Grifone chief has claimed that Rossoneri vice-President Adriano Galliani has enquired about one squad member, but has refused to reveal who that player is.

“Galliani called me to ask about one of my boys,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “But I cannot tell you who that is.”

There have been rumours that the man in question is Juraj Kucka, but the 64-year-old has refused to confirm the reports, but did admit that the Slovakian international was a world-class player.

“Kucka is a very strong player,” he added. “If he played in Europe, I think he would fit in with ease.

“But he is happy at Genoa.”

Barcelona not Messi-dependant
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona – Milan’s Champions League opponents – are not overly reliant on Lionel Messi, says Pedro Rodriguez.

The Argentine scored in his 14th consecutive League game at the weekend with goals 36 and 37 of the campaign. He now has over 300 goals for the Nou Camp outfit in all competitions.

“No, we’re not dependent on Messi,” the attacker noted. “Clearly he is a key player for his contribution and his goals.

“He always takes the team on his back and if he is not on form then it is noticeable, but the team is very strong and I do not believe that we are Messi dependent.

“Messi is a player with great ambition. These figures are unimaginable. He is getting lots of goals and I hope he continues with this ambition and desire.

“He is a decisive player, the best in the world. It may be that the best is yet to come from Messi. He has exceeded again in getting a new record number of goals.”

Barca are preparing for Wednesday evening’s European Cup showdown at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza against the Diavolo.

“Milan are a team that have always been difficult,” he added. “They are very good and have dangerous players who are just as dangerous as in the previous seasons.

“In the Champions League anything can happen, it’s hard to pick a favourite in these two-legged games.

“We will play like we always do with possession of the ball and try to attack. Goals are important to get away from home and we are going into this one to try and win it.

“True, we have conceded more goals than we thought we would have so far this season. We’re going out for the win as usual, attacking against any team and in every game.

“We have to stay focused and be guarded and mind the defensive play of our game.”

Barcelona name squad for AC Milan
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona squad: Valdes, Pinto, Oier, Alves, Pique, Fabregas, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi, Thiago, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergio, Pedro, Jordi Alba, Montoya, Song, Tello.

Berlusconi wants Messi man-marked
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi believes Barcelona’s Lionel Messi needs to be man-marked in the Champions League this week.

World Player of the Year Messi and Co will arrive at San Siro on Wednesday for the first leg of their last 16 encounter.

“It will be very difficult to beat Barcelona,” the former Italian Prime Minister told RTL 102.5 on Monday morning.

“I still haven’t found the time to talk to boss Massimiliano Allegri, but I won’t tell him what side to pick – I’ve never done that.

“I know the role of the President and that of the Coach – I respect those – but a President has the right to give advice to his Coach.

“On this occasion my suggestion would be that Messi is man-marked.”

Berlusconi, who is no stranger to giving tactical advice to his Coaches, also confirmed that Allegri would remain on the Diavolo bench next season.

“If a President doesn’t agree with a Coach then he fires him, but Allegri is still here and has a contract for another year,” Berlusconi added.

Balotelli move shocked Zanetti
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter captain Javier Zanetti was surprised by Milan’s January capture of his former teammate Mario Balotelli.

“I didn’t expect Balotelli to join Milan,” the former Argentine international said ahead of this weekend’s derby.

“He’s a great player, but we’ll hopefully play a great defensive game against him and his teammates.”

The Italian international joined the Diavolo last month after spending two-and-a-half years in England with Manchester City.

Balotelli, who left Inter in the summer of 2010, has scored four goals in his three League games for the Diavolo.

Gattuso ahead of AC Milan - Barcelona
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

AC Milan will support Balotelli
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi is hoping that new arrival Mario Balotelli will behave off the pitch in the way that he does on it.

“Balotelli has become a phenomenon,” the former Prime Minister told Radio Lombardia when asked about the January signing from Manchester City.

“He’s a star centre-forward, someone who stops the traffic when he walks around the streets of Milan.

“He’s had a fortunate start,” he added of the international forward who has four goals in three Diavolo games so far.

“Let us hope that he continues in such a way and we hope he continues to comport himself in the right way.

“He’s irreproachable in training and in games, but, when he’s provoked outside, then he perhaps sometimes exaggerates.

“We’re staying very close to him with affection and we’re looking to make sure that he doesn’t exaggerate any more.”

Galliani: 'AC Milan stand up to Barcelona'
17.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.

Flamini reveals Fabregas weakness
17.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mathieu Flamini believes Milan can make the most of Barcelona’s “defects” and gives the inside info on Cesc Fabregas.

San Siro hosts the first leg in the Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday and the Rossoneri are inevitably the underdogs.

Flamini can take on his former Arsenal teammate Fabregas and told Milan Channel what to expect.

“Fabregas is a player with many qualities, as he has incredible vision and is also very good in front of goal.

“As for his defects, at times he ‘forgets’ to defend. Barcelona have great individual talents and play wonderful football, so they are among the favourites for the trophy.

“Admittedly, we would’ve preferred to face a different team at this stage, but they will certainly be two fantastic games.

“We will do everything possible to surprise Barcelona.”

Galliani: 'AC Milan Scudetto next season'
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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



Allegri praises Balotelli & Niang
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has praised Mario Balotelli after his match-winning performance for Milan against Parma.

The Italy international scored a late free-kick to give the Rossoneri a 2-1 win against the Crociati at San Siro.

And the Diavolo Coach has singled out the former Manchester City man as well as M'Baye Niang.

“I think the club have made a very good buy with Mario, at a decisive moment in the championship,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“We are making a big comeback now and I am happy with the players.

“Niang worked very hard for the team tonight. He is very young, but has helped out a lot in all areas.”

I'm near top form, admits Balotelli
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has admitted that he is enjoying some of his best form after netting four goals in three games.

The Rossoneri forward scored a free-kick in their 2-1 win over Parma on Friday evening, and has revealed what he said to teammate M'Baye Niang before the strike.

“I had already missed two free-kicks,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “But I said to him that if I missed this one, he could have a go.

“But I am playing at a consistent level and nearing my best form.”

VIDEO: Balotelli goal vs. Parma
15.2 || webmaster



Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 Parma - match report
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Paletta OG 39 (M), Balotelli 78 (M); Sansone 92 (P)

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.

Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Yepes, Zapata, Constant; Nocerino, Montolivo, Muntari; Niang (Traore 88), Balotelli, Boateng (Bojan 65).
Parma: Pavarini; Rosi, Paletta, Coda (Benalouane 68), Mesbah; Marchionni, Valdes, Parolo (Ninis 58); Sansone, Amauri (Belfodil 72), Biabiany.

Serie A: AC Milan vs. Parma - lineups
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Yepes, Zapata, Constant; Nocerino, Montolivo, Muntari; Niang, Balotelli, Boateng.

Parma: Pavarini; Rosi, Paletta, Coda, Mesbah; Marchionni, Valdes, Parolo; Sansone, Amauri, Biabiany.

El Shaarawy sends message to Milito
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy has crossed the city divide and wished Inter striker Diego Milito good luck in his recovery.

The Nerazzurri man's season came to an abrupt end on Thursday after he suffered an agonizing knee injury in the Europa League match against CFR Cluj.

And the 20-year-old Rossoneri goalscorer has insisted that he hopes the Argentina international is back playing soon.

“I want to wish Diego Milito good luck,” he posted on his Facebook page. “I send a big hug.

“You are a true champion and I hope you come back playing soon!”

Perin: Future depends on Genoa
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pescara goalkeeper Mattia Perin has admitted that his future is in the hands of parent-club Genoa.

The 20-year-old shot-stopper is on-loan at the Delfini from the Marassi side until the end of the season.

And the youngster has conceded that he is flattered by rumours of interest from Milan for his signature, but does not want to enter discussions on his future.

“I am glad of the interest from Milan,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “But I am property of Genoa, so my future will depend on them.”

Xavi a doubt for AC Milan clash
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura has admitted that Xavi Hernandez could miss the Champions League clash with Milan.

The Spanish side travel to San Siro to face the Rossoneri next Wednesday in the last 16 of the competition.

But the Blaugrana Coach has conceded that the star midfield may not be fit enough to play.

“Will Xavi play? We are going to have to wait a few days more,” he told a Press conference. “Only then will we know.”

The World Cup-winner has been missing since the start of February with a muscle strain.

AC Milan's message to Milito
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have wished Inter striker Diego Milito a speedy recovery after the Argentine damaged knee ligaments last night.

The forward will be out for the rest of the season and the Diavolo have put city rivalries to one side this morning.

“All of Milan are profoundly saddened by the injury sustained,” a brief note on the club’s website stated.

“We are close to the great champion Diego Milito, an extraordinary opponent of many encounters.

“We hope to soon see him back on the pitch again.”

Donadoni: 'AC Milan more than Balotelli'
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Parma squad for Milan: Bajza, De Angelis, Pavarini; Benalouane, Coda, Lucarelli, Mesbah, Paletta, Rosi; Ampuero, Gobbi, Marchionni, Morrone, Ninis, Parolo, Strasser, Valdes; Amauri, Belfodil, Biabiany, Palladino, Sansone.

AC Milan miss stars for Parma
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

As expected, Stephan El Shaarawy, Robinho and Marco Amelia miss out on tomorrow night’s Serie A match Milan-Parma.

El Shaarawy has been struggling with a knee tendon problem and will be rested ahead of the Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Goalkeeper Amelia is also sidelined along with Daniele Bonera, Robinho, Luca Antonini and Nigel De Jong.

Captain Massimo Ambrosini sits out a ban.

Milan squad for Parma: Abbiati, Gabriel, Petkovic, Abate, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Boateng, Constant, Flamini, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Traoré, Balotelli, Bojan, Niang, Pazzini

Milan sides to fight for Quintero
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Cesc Fabregas has insisted that his Barcelona side will have to be at 100 per cent if they are to beat Milan.

The Blaugrana face Massimiliano Allegri's at San Siro next Wednesday, and the Spain international and has admitted it will not be easy for his team.

“It is certainly going to be tough against Milan,” he told Marca. “We will have to be at 100 per cent if we want to set ourselves up for the second-leg.”

The 25-year-old also remarked on a potential reunion with Rossoneri forward Bojan, who he believes will return to Camp Nou.

“I hope Bojan will return one day. When he was here before he was too young to stand out.

“But I think now he has matured enough to do well at Barcelona.”

Raiola: 'Van Bommel will boss AC Milan'
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Dutch veteran Mark Van Bommel will one day return to Milan as a Coach, agent Mino Raiola has predicted.

The midfielder left San Siro in the summer for a second spell at PSV, but Raiola expects him to be back at Milanello in the near future.

“In three of four years he will be the Milan boss,” the representative commented. “He wants to come back here as a Coach.

“At the end of this season Mark will decide whether to continue playing or stop. He’ll then be a Coach, a great Coach, never mind Jose Mourinho…

“When I started representing him I said that I would do it for free, but that we would then get serious when he became a tactician.”

Van Bommel, who will be 36 in April, joined Milan in January 2011 after terminating his contract with German giants Bayern Munich.

No Barcelona revenge for Bojan
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.

Mourinho on Balotelli move
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli’s January switch to Milan should be no big deal for Inter fans, says former Nerazzurri boss Jose Mourinho.

The latter worked with Balotelli at San Siro before the player was transferred to Manchester City in 2010. He returned to Italy with the Beneamata’s city rivals last month.

“When he was at Inter he had already put a Milan shirt on,” the Real Madrid tactician told Sky Sport Italia. “Therefore he will be happy.

“It is not a problem for us Interisti that Mario is now at Milan, it has no effect,” the Portuguese continued.

“Seeing Javier Zanetti in a Milan shirt would have been the real catastrophe, not Balotelli…”

The Italian international, 22, has scored three goals in his two League games for the Diavolo since his arrival.

Niang: 'I had to change for AC Milan'
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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."

El Shaarawy to miss Parma
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy is likely to miss Friday’s Serie A game with Parma so the Milan man can recover in time to face Barcelona.

The Week 25 match is brought forward to Friday evening so that the Rossoneri can have more time to prepare for their Champions League Round of 16 tie.

El Shaarawy did not take part in a full training session today and is unlikely to be risked.

Mario Balotelli should start, as he is cup-tied and cannot play against Barcelona next week.

Giampaolo Pazzini and Kevin Constant have returned to full training and are available for selection.

AC Milan target Selcuk Inan
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Turkish media claim Milan are preparing a summer offer for Galatasaray captain Selcuk Inan.

The 28-year-old midfielder is well respected in Istanbul and reports suggest he has caught the eye of the Rossoneri.

It is suggested Milan will send scouts to sit in the stands for Galatasaray’s Champions League game with Schalke 04.

Selcuk Inan has a contract with Galatasaray until June 2016.

VIDEO: Viareggio: AC Milan 2:1 Newcastle - goals/highlights
13.2 || webmaster



Galliani proud of AC Milan's season
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Stephan El Shaarawy held talks with Milan on Tuesday to discuss a new improved contract for his client.

The youngster is currently tied to the club until June 2017, but he will soon put pen to paper on a 12-month extension.

As part of that move, Milan will also guarantee him an increase in salary following his goal-packed 2012-13.

The 20-year-old, 15 goals in 24 League games this term, currently nets around €800,000 a campaign at San Siro.

El Shaarawy’s representative will meet with officials again for further talks, but reports suggest that an agreement is imminent.

El Shaarawy discusses new contract
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports Milan are in talks to extend Stephan El Shaarawy’s contract until June 2018.

The Little Pharaoh only joined the club on a permanent basis this summer after a year on a co-ownership deal with Genoa.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, his agent was in the Milan HQ today for at least two hours to discuss the renewal.

A new contract would hold him to the Rossoneri until June 2018.

Inter fined for Balotelli chants
12.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Simone Zaza's agent has claimed that a move to Milan is unlikely, despite reports of interest from the Rossoneri.

Several outlets have insisted that the San Siro are keen to sign the 21-year-old striker, who is currently on-loan at Ascoli from Sampdoria.

But his representative has insisted that it would be hard for his client to oust Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and M'Baye Niang from the first team.

“Zaza certainly likes Milan,” Christian Maifredi told milannews.it. “The fact that the Rossoneri are focusing on all these young players can only be good for Italian football.

“They have three phenomenal strikers, who can be at the club for the next 10 years.

“It would be difficult for Zaza to find a space between those forwards, so I think it would be an unlikely move for him.”

Berlusconi: Things may have to change
12.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has conceded that he could be forced to sell the club to foreign investors.

The 76-year-old, who has been chief of the Rossoneri since 1986, has insisted that he wants to keep the club 'in the family', but may have to seek outside investment.

“Foreign money in Milan? Only if I'm forced to do so,” he told ANSA. “But I want there to be conditions to such a thing.

“I'd love to keep Milan a family thing.

“I still remember when my father took me to the stadium and I did not have to pay for a ticket because I was so small.

“Watching football, seeing my heroes – I began to understand what it meant to the people.

“For me, Milan is in my heart. Over the years we've spent more and more money, perhaps too much.

“But this has allowed Milan to become the most successful team in the world.

“The club is a part of my family. My daughter Barbara is now part of the company, and I'd like to keep it that way.

“However, this does not mean that I'd instantly dismiss the idea of foreign investment.

“If the economic crisis continues, things may have to change.”

Roma will target Allegri
12.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.

Shevchenko to make comeback?
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko could make a shock return to football after retiring last summer at the European Championships.

The veteran forward quit the game in June after the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, but could be on the verge of a comeback if Mitra Kukar F.C team manager Roni Fauzan is to be believed.

The 36-year-old goalscorer has been offered the chance to come out of retirement to play for the Indonesian Super League club, something the board member is keen to make a reality.

“Obviously we are interested in Shevchenko,” he told reporters. “We are in negotiations, but we have to continue to talk about economics.

“We would like to sign him for 10 games. Regarding a salary – I'm sure we can find the money to bring him here.”

El Shaarawy on Balotelli and knee worries
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy has commented on his relationship with Mario Balotelli, insisting that they can work together.

Some areas of the Italian Press have claimed that the Italian pair are too similar to play together at the Rossoneri.

But the former Genoa man has asserted that that is not the case, but did admit that they need time to work together.

“The criticism we are getting seems a bit too much,” he told Milan Channel. “We've only played two games together and we need time to settle.

“I know that we need to improve in some areas of our game, but it is not true that we can't work together.”

The 20-year-old forward also remarked on the knee trouble he has been having this term.

“I have had problems with my knees for two or three seasons now,” he added. “I can handle the problem, but every now and then it causes me annoyance.”

Berlusconi explains Allegri joke
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi has insisted he was joking when he criticised boss Massimiliano Allegri.

The Rossoneri President seemed to cast more doubt on the future of Allegri after he was quoted as saying that the tactician ‘doesn’t understand anything’.

“No, I was just joking with someone who was sitting next to me,” the former Italian Prime Minister told Uno Mattina.

“He was saying a phrase in Veneto after the mention of anybody’s name, then Allegri’s name popped up and I repeated that saying too.

“Then the newspapers did what they usually do…”

Allegri, who won the Scudetto in his first season at Milan, has a contract at the club until the summer of 2014.

Season a marathon, says Flamini
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan are still in the hunt to finish in the top three this season, says midfielder Mathieu Flamini.

The Diavolo dropped points at the weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Cagliari, but the Frenchman insists the campaign is still long.

“The League is a marathon and there are lots of games,” the former Arsenal player commented.

“The climb continues and it’s shame we didn’t get the three points. Now we’ll turn to Parma which is an important match and then, after that, Barcelona.”

Milan only avoided defeat at the Is Arenas on Sunday afternoon thanks to a late Mario Balotelli penalty.

“It’s just as well that we scored,” Flamini added. “It’s a shame because the team really gave everything, we wanted to win this game. We’ve shown that the team has character.”

Milan are fifth, three points behind third-placed Lazio after winning eight of their last 11 Serie A matches.

Allegri: 'A deserved point'
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri believes Milan should be pleased with the “deserved point” away to Cagliari, but refused to comment on President Silvio Berlusconi’s critique.

The Rossoneri went behind to Victor Ibarbo, but snatched a late 1-1 draw thanks to Mario Balotelli’s penalty.

“It was a hard-fought game and in the first half the team held out well, but we conceded that Ibarbo goal right before the break,” said Allegri.

“In the second half we started playing again and after the penalty had chances to win it. Unfortunately we were out of time and weren’t sharp enough.

“We come away from Sardinia with a deserved point against a good Cagliari side.”

For the second game in a row, Balotelli converted a late penalty to give Milan points.

“I never watch spot-kicks… We should’ve been more wide awake on the Ibarbo goal, as we conceded just 40 seconds from half-time.”

This week President Berlusconi reportedly told someone on the election trail that Allegri “doesn’t understand anything,” but the Coach refused to respond.

“I never comment on the President’s words, I never have done and I want to talk about the game.”

Serie A: Cagliari 1:1 AC Milan - match report
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ibarbo 45 (C), Balotelli pen 82 (M)

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: Agazzi; Pisano, Astori, Rossettini, Murru (Ariaudo 70); Dessena, Conti, Ekdal; Thiago Ribeiro (Cossu 56), Sau (Pinilla 76), Ibarbo

AC Milan: Agazzi; Pisano, Astori, Rossettini, Murru (Ariaudo 70); Dessena, Conti, Ekdal; Thiago Ribeiro (Cossu 56), Sau (Pinilla 76), Ibarbo

Ref: Giannoccaro

Sent off: Astori 81 (C)

Serie A: Cagliari vs. AC Milan - lineups
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cagliari: Agazzi; Pisano, Astori, Rossettini, Murro; Dessena, Conti, Ekdal; Thiago Ribeiro, Sau, Ibarbo.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio; Flamini, Ambrosini, Muntari; Niang, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.

Cagliari thank AC Milan for Is Arenas
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Cagliari squad for Milan: Agazzi, Avramov; Ariaudo, Astori, Del Fabro, Murru, Perico, Pisano, Rossettini; Casarini, Conti, Cossu, Dessena, Ekdal, Eriksson; Ibarbo, Nenè, Pinilla, Sau, Thiago Ribeiro

Constant out of Cagliari - AC Milan
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have lost Kevin Constant for tomorrow’s trip to Cagliari after he sprained his ankle during training.

The defender had originally been named in Massimiliano Allegri’s squad, but a statement on the club website confirmed Constant had pulled out.

This is because he suffered a sprain to the left tibia with vast bruising between the muscles. The player will be evaluated over the next few days.

It is a blow for the Rossoneri, who are already without Daniele Bonera, Giampaolo Pazzini, Nigel De Jong and the suspended Riccardo Montolivo.

Revised Milan squad for Cagliari: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, Antonini, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Ambrosini, Boateng, Flamini, Muntari, Nocerino, Traoré, Balotelli, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Robinho

AC Milan squad for Cagliari
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, Antonini, De Sciglio, Mexes, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Ambrosini, Boateng, Constant, Flamini, Muntari, Nocerino, Traoré, Balotelli, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Robinho

Cagliari - AC Milan appeal rejected
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The TAR tribunal has rejected a last-minute legal bid to have Cagliari-Milan played behind closed doors amid security fears.

Sunday afternoon’s fixture had been moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin, then switched back to the Is Arenas on Friday after Cagliari won their appeal.

This morning reports emerged that the local authorities had staged their own emergency appeal to the TAR tribunal to have the game played behind closed doors or called off entirely.

They continue to maintain the Is Arenas is not prepared for such a huge influx of visiting fans, which is why the game with Juventus was moved to the Stadio Tardini in Parma before Christmas.

The stadium, which was constructed over the summer in Quartu Sant’Elena, requires a safety certificate from the local authorities on a game-by-game basis.

Allegri: Balotelli destined for front page
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

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.

De Sciglio: 'Rejected by Inter'
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan starlet Mattia De Sciglio reveals he was very nearly an Inter player, but “they decided against signing me when I was 10.”

The talented right-back is still only 20 and grew up in the Rossoneri youth academy.

“I started out as a child in my local team and have such fond memories of that time,” he told a group of children in Lainate.

“In fact, I’ll reveal something to you. I had a trial run with Inter when I was 10, but they decided against signing me because my physique was too small. Now, I am here.

“It is great to be starting a new era at Milan based on youth. We proved that we were capable of showing our worth and belong in this squad.”

Flamini: Cagliari match 'crucial'
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan midfielder Mathieu Flamini has conceded that Sunday's match against Cagliari will be 'crucial'.

The French international has claimed that the Rossoblu will pose a tough proposition, but did admit that the quality of their own squad should see them through.

“The match with Cagliari could prove crucial,” he told Milan Channel. “We will face a very good team, but we want to play well and take home three points.

“We have so many quality players though. Balotelli's arrival is fantastic – he has so much potential.

“With him up front we hope to win a lot of trophies.”

Cagliari - AC Milan back in Sardinia
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cagliari-Milan will be played at the Is Arenas after the Sardinian club successfully won an appeal to host the tie.

The stadium was previously this week deemed as unfit to stage the game on Sunday on grounds of public safety.

However, the Rossoblu took their case to the TAR courts who have ruled that the arena is capable of hosting the Serie A encounter.

The Lega Serie A yesterday announced that the match would take place at Turin’s Stadio Olimpico.

Cagliari were forced to play Juventus on the neutral ground of Parma just before Christmas for the same reasons.

Nesta inspired AC Milan's Salamon
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

New Milan stopper Bartosz Salamon has admitted to an admiration for club legend Alessandro Nesta.

The Polish youngster, 21, was presented to the media this afternoon following his transfer deadline day switch from Brescia last week.

“I’ve been inspired by Nesta, a player who I have always liked,” stated Salamon. “However, don’t say that I’m similar to him…

“I was a midfielder at the start of my career, but in the last two years I have improved defensively and that’s why I have become a defender.

“I don’t really have an idol. I used to look closely at midfielders, but now I watch defenders.”

Salamon, who will wear the No 14 shirt, has admitted that he was a little surprised to complete his San Siro switch.

“On the evening of January 30, I thought I’d be staying at Brescia,” he explained. “The day after I got a call where I was told to head for Milan’s HQ to sign. It all happened very quickly.”

Nesta left Milan at the end of the last campaign after a decade with the Diavolo.

Bojan heading to Manchester City?
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bojan Krkic could be heading to Manchester City, as Milan do not intend on activating their €14m option to buy him from Barcelona.

The striker arrived on loan from Barça in the summer, having spent last season at Roma.

Milan have an option to buy him for €14m, but appear to have no intention of activating it, as he is struggling for first team football at San Siro.

Barcelona have no room for Bojan either, so the Spanish international is reportedly heading to Manchester City.

He is particularly eager to come to Eastlands because his father is part of the staff at Man City as a talent scout.

Bonera out of Cagliari - AC Milan
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Daniele Bonera is out of Milan’s Serie A match with Cagliari after picking up a thigh injury in today’s friendly.

The defender limped off during the 9-2 victory over Sant’Angelo Lodigiano with “a heavy bruise to his left thigh.

“The player will undergo a series of personalised training sessions before returning to the group and will be evaluated over the next few days.”

This effectively rules Bonera out of Sunday afternoon’s game with Cagliari, which has been moved to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin due to on-going problems with the Is Arenas.

Antonio Nocerino, M’Baye Niang and Robinho bagged braces in the friendly at the Milanello training ground, while De Feo, Sulley Ali Muntari and Bojan Krkic completed the rout.

Berlusconi - Balotelli race row 'embrace'
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan Vice-President Paolo Berlusconi was photographed embracing a smiling Mario Balotelli just days after using a racist word to describe him.

Berlusconi, brother of President and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio, was filmed at a political rally declaring he was off to see “il negretto di famiglia.”

This is an extremely old-fashioned term usually used to refer to a ‘little black boy’ working for a family and hit headlines around the world. See below for video.

It is the latest gaffe from a member of the Berlusconi family, but he insisted it was a term of endearment and merely a joke.

To hammer the point home, today Milan’s official website published a picture of Paolo Berlusconi “embracing” a smiling Balotelli ahead of a friendly against Sant’Angelo Lodigiano.

“I spoke to Balotelli, though in reality there was no need, seeing as he is an intelligent lad,” Berlusconi told Milan Channel.

“He had already understood my phrase was an affectionate one that was turned into a stupid media circus. Let us close this story, as Mario told me there was no need to say anything else.”

Cagliari - AC Milan moved to Turin
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Lega Calcio have announced that Cagliari's match against Milan on Sunday will be played at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin.

The Is Arenas, where the Rossoblu usually play their home matches, has been deemed unsafe by both the League and the city's mayor.

The game therefore has been moved to a neutral venue, which in this case will be Torino's Stadio Olimpico.

The Isolani's match against Juventus before Christmas was played at Stadio Ennio Tardini in Parma because of safety concerns.

AC Milan deny Balotelli police reports
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have denied reports that Mario Balotelli was involved in an incident with local police in the city today.

Stories earlier on Thursday in the Italian Press had suggested that the 22-year-old was pulled over by the authorities, before arguing with police.

But the Rossoneri have quashed those claims, denying that the recently-arrived striker was involved in any incidents.

“Today at Linate airport, local police conducted a routine search on the Audi used by Mario Ballotelli,” a statement on their official website read.

“Contrary to what has been reported by some sources, there was no argument.

“Mario travelled at Milanello as usual to participate in this afternoon's training session.”

Allegri closes Roma door
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has committed his future to Milan despite suggestions of a summer move to Roma.

The Giallorossi are looking for a new tactician after sacking Zdenek Zeman on Saturday after an inconsistent campaign.

“The interest of a great club like Roma is pleasing and it shows an appreciation for my work,” the tactician told the Messaggero.

“I’m honoured, but I’m also happy at Milan.”

The former Cagliari boss, who won the Scudetto in his first season at San Siro, is contracted to the Diavolo until June 2014.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani this week confirmed Allegri for the 2013-14 campaign when questioned on the Giallorossi rumours.

“He’s a good tactician and we’ve always known that,” Galliani noted. “He reminds me of Carlo Ancelotti, for how balanced he is.

“Roma can’t steal Coaches from other clubs. He will still be the Milan boss next season.

“Milan were right to not make a coaching change when things were difficult this season. Other clubs would not have done the same.

“We’re climbing back up the table and fighting for the positions that we always have done. We’re now travelling at our pace from the last two seasons.”

Napoli rejected Salamon offer
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Napoli turned down the chance to sign Bartosz Salamon before the youngster put pen to paper on a Milan deal.

The Pole, who can play in defence or in midfield, joined the Diavolo last month for around €4m from Serie B side Brescia.

However, agent Mino Raiola has today told Radio CRC that he spoke to the Stadio San Paolo outfit about the 21-year-old.

“I offered Salamon to Napoli sporting director Riccardo Bigon, but he turned him down,” the representative noted.

“We have different opinions when it comes to players, but it is right that he does his job and I do mine.”

Zaccardo couldn't snub AC Milan chance
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zaccardo says he expected to end his career at Parma until Milan made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The stopper, who was presented to the media this afternoon, joined the Diavolo during the January transfer window.

“I was happy at Parma and I wasn’t there against my will, but I was then given a chance that I had never been given before,” the 31-year-old commented.

“I thought I would end my career there at Parma, but then Milan came along and I couldn't say no.

“I have put myself on the line, I know that here it will be a lot harder to get a game than at Parma. To come here I sacrificed a year of my contract and I have signed until June 2016.”

Zaccardo, who admitted to being a Milan fan as a kid, could be a valuable addition to boss Massimiliano Allegri given that he has developed into a versatile defender.

“I started my career as a right-back, but over the years I have adapted my game to play in the middle,” he added.

“Everybody wants to play every game. I train hard and I want to be ready for when my time comes.

“I feel very positive, the group of lads are great and the team are very good. I just want to be ready for when the Coach needs me.”

Quintero to leave Serie A?
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Both Milan clubs are being linked with Juan Fernando Quintero, but his agent has suggested his future lies outside of Italy.

Quintero is currently on loan at Pescara, a club who are set to take up their option to sign him outright so that they can then sell him on.

“He is a player who has many admirers in Italy and the big clubs would like him,” representative Riccardo Calleri told TMW.

“However, it would be easier to see him move to a European giant seeing as he is being followed heavily by foreign sides.”

The versatile midfielder, who turned 20 last month, is a Colombian international who has also been paired with Manchester United.

Quintero has one goal in 14 Serie A appearances this season.

He recently helped Colombia win the South American Under-20 Championship.

Van Basten: 'I'd love AC Milan job'
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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!”

Pazzini thigh problem confirmed
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Giampaolo Pazzini is expected to miss this week’s match with Cagliari after the Milan striker underwent tests for a thigh injury.

Pazzini pulled out during the warm-up for the 2-1 win over Udinese on Sunday evening, leaving his spot in the starting XI to Mario Balotelli.

Milan today released a statement confirming he had undergone tests that showed a problem in the right adductor muscle.

“At the end of this week there will be more medical tests on the player.”

This suggests he is highly unlikely to be fit for Sunday’s Serie A game with Cagliari.

Cagliari - AC Milan venue still unsure
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

It is still not clear where Cagliari-Milan will be played on Sunday afternoon, as the club and local Mayor disagree over whether the Is Arenas stadium is ready.

This morning the Mayor of Quartu Sant’Elena spoke to Radio Sportiva to confirm the Is Arenas has not passed security checks for such a big game.

“Some problems have come to light with regards to keeping public order. At the moment, we cannot guarantee safety during the match, but hope it can be played with a limited number of supporters.”

This situation already emerged in December against Juventus, when the game was moved to neutral turf at Parma’s Stadio Tardini.

Cagliari again insist they have performed the necessary work to pass security tests, improving the lay-out of CCTV cameras.

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough or if it’s too late to change the minds of the Lega Serie A.

If the Is Arenas is deemed out of bounds, then the Sunday afternoon kick-off is likely to be played in Trieste.

El Shaarawy: Great friendship with Balotelli
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

Italy national team boss Cesare Prandelli has praised Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy ahead of the Azzurri's match against Netherlands.

The Milan pairing will to start together up front against the Oranje on Wednesday evening, and the 55-year-old Coach has insisted that it is a very modern partnership.

“I do not remember seeing a second striker like El Shaarawy,” he told a Press conference. “Someone who contributes so much to the team defensively.

“Balotelli meanwhile must become our central focus.

“He is not a striker in the old-fashioned sense – but a modern forward who can, and must continue, to score every time he gets a chance.”

Berlusconi: 'Referees owe us a decision'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has claimed that his team's controversial last-minute penalty against Udinese was a long time coming.

The Rossoneri defeated the Zebrette 2-1 on Sunday night thanks to a late Mario Balotelli spot-kick.

But the former Prime Minister has insisted that referees very rarely give his team a decision, whilst also commenting on the new signing from Manchester City.

“The decision was very doubtful,” he told reporters. “But it was a pleasure for all Milan fans to get the decision.

“We have been due a decision this season though.

“Balotelli? I could not sleep after his goals.”

Cagliari - AC Milan moved to neutral venue?
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have insisted that boss Massimiliano Allegri will not be leaving for Roma at the end of the season.

The tactician has been paired with the capital club for 2013-14 after the decision to sack Zdenek Zeman on Saturday.

“Roma can’t steal Coaches from other clubs,” the official noted. “Allegri will still be the Milan boss next season.

“He’s a good tactician and we’ve always known that. He reminds me of Carlo Ancelotti, for how balanced he is.”

Allegri’s job was thought to be on the line in the Autumn after a problematic start to the campaign and Silvio Berlusconi’s open admiration for future Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola.

“The club were right to not make a coaching change,” Galliani continued. “Other clubs would not have done the same.

“We’re climbing back up the table and fighting for the positions that we always have done. We’re now travelling at our pace from the last two seasons.”

The Diavolo have won eight of their last 10 games in Serie A. Their only loss came at Roma in that run, while they were held at Sampdoria.

Allegri’s contract at Milan expires in June 2014.

Galliani welcomes back 'real AC Milan'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has underlined the significance of Mario Balotelli’s capture. “We are back.”

The San Siro giants signed the striker from Manchester City last week and he marked his debut with a brace against Udinese on Sunday.

“We knew that we had signed an immense player,” Galliani told Milan Channel. “Everyone knows that. Balotelli is a great.

“Our first choice attacking trident has a combined age of 60. There will be little to do for us in attack in the future.

“A few days ago a director from a top European club phoned me and said he was happy to see this Milan again. The arrival of Balotelli has given the perception that the real Milan has returned.

“We don't have Lionel Messi, but we have Balotelli. This attack reminds me of Barcelona and we will see the benefit in terms of sponsors because he is only 22 and he has great potential.”

The Diavolo had a problematic start to the season following some high profile departures, but they looked to correct a number of issues last month.

“I had never taken part in such an intense January transfer session,” Galliani added.

“We sold eight players and brought in four. We did a lot and it seems as if we made the right choices. I’m very satisfied.

“We’ve changed the skin of Milan. We’ve understood that an era has come to an end. This is year one of a Milan which will do well.”

Allegri: 'It wasn't a penalty'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

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.”

Balotelli: 'Happy with my debut'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli admits he wasn’t expecting to start, let alone score a brace on his Milan debut. “I’m happy it turned out like that.”

SuperMario was meant to be on the bench, but thrown into the starting XI when Giampaolo Pazzini hurt his thigh in the warm-up, going on to score both goals in a 2-1 win over Udinese.

“I was supposed to be on the bench, but then Pazzo hurt himself so I played instead,” Balotelli told Sky Sport Italia.

“I’m happy it turned out like that, as I put in a good performance. We are strong in attack, even if I haven’t played much and feel my legs are heavy. I must work to improve my fitness levels.

“It is a good start, but now I must continue scoring goals. We created a great deal this evening, but Daniele Padelli performed some good saves.

“We deserved to win and in the end we did it.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 Udinese - match report
3.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Balotelli 25, pen 94 (M), Pinzi 55 (U)

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.

Milan: Amelia; Abate, Zapata, Bonera, Constant; Flamini (Traore 85), Montolivo, Nocerino (Bojan 68); Niang (Robinho 80), Balotelli, El Shaarawy

Udinese: Padelli; Heurteaux, Danilo, Domizzi, Gabriel Silva; Basta, Pinzi (Merkel 80), Allan, Lazzari; Muriel (Pereyra 68); Di Natale

Ref: Valeri

VIDEO: Balotelli's first official goal for AC Milan
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Serie A: AC Milan vs. Udinese - lineups
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Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Amelia; Abate, Zapata, Bonera, Constant; Flamini, Montolivo, Nocerino; Niang, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.

Udinese: Padelli; Heurteaux, Danilo, Domizzi, Gabriel Silva; Basta, Pinzi, Allan, Lazzari; Muriel; Di Natale.

Raiola: 'Balotelli never so happy'
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Source: Football Italia

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.”

Acerbi: 'So glad I left AC Milan'
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Source: Football Italia

Francesco Acerbi has blasted former club Milan after joining Chievo in January. “It was a weight off my shoulders.”

The defender was brought to San Siro over the summer in a co-ownership deal with Genoa, but struggled to make an impact.

He was then sold back to Genoa and immediately loaned out to Chievo.

“I am very happy at Chievo and leaving Milan was a weight off my shoulders,” said the 24-year-old.

“The Rossoneri are a great club, but I had many difficulties. I am more relaxed now, as at Milan I could not give what I wanted to.”

Vilanova to miss AC Milan - Barcelona?
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Source: Football Italia

There are reports Tito Vilanova won’t be on the bench for Barcelona’s Champions League ties with Milan as he continues to receive cancer treatment.

The Coach had another lump removed from his parotid gland last month and rumours in Spain suggest he will be in New York for the next month in a specialist clinic.

Vilanova is continuing to communicate with his management staff in Spain, getting notes on each training session from assistant manager Jordi Roura.

Milan welcome Barcelona to San Siro for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on February 20, then visit the Nou Camp on March 12.

AC Milan squad for Udinese
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Source: Football Italia

Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Petkovic, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Yepes, Zaccardo, Zapata, Ambrosini, Boateng, Constant, Flamini, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Traorè, Balotelli, Bojan, El Shaarawy, Niang, Pazzini, Robinho.

Guidolin: 'Balotelli has potential'
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Source: Football Italia

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
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Allegri: 'Balotelli debut against Udinese'
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Source: Football Italia

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.”

Mancini: 'Balotelli, remember Adriano'
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Source: Football Italia

Roberto Mancini has warned Mario Balotelli not to waste his talent after joining Milan. “Just look at Adriano...”

The Manchester City manager defended SuperMario throughout his spell in England, but opted to accept Milan’s €20m offer in January.

“We wanted to keep him with us for many years, then Milan dived in and things changed,” Mancini told Radio2 in Italy.

“He is happy to have returned to Italy and will form the best strike partnership in Serie A with Stephan El Shaarawy.

“However, Mario must realise that the career of a football player is brief. Just look at Adriano, who was the best and in such a short period of time he disappeared.”

Former Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter Coach Mancini was also asked about his own future.

“In football you never know. I have a long contract with Manchester City, but it is possible I could return to work in Italy.”

Galliani: 'Real wanted EUR 18 mil. for Kaka'
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Source: Football Italia

AC Milan revealed Real Madrid “wanted €18m for Kaka” and released their updated Champions League squad list.

The Rossoneri had been in advanced negotiations for the Brazilian before opting to pay €20m plus performance-related bonuses for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

“The story with Kaka is definitively over,” explained Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“Real Madrid wanted €18m for Kaka, but taking into account his age and the cost of his salary, it was frankly impossible.”

Milan released their Champions League list for the second half of the season, which cannot include Balotelli because he is cup-tied.

Nigel De Jong is included despite the fact he is out for the rest of the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Milan Champions League squad: Abate, Abbiati, Ambrosini, Amelia, Antonini, Boateng, Bonera, Constant, De Jong, De Sciglio, Robinho, El Shaarawy, Flamini, Bojan, Mexes, Montolivo, Muntari, Niang, Nocerino, Pazzini, Traorè, Gabriel, Yepes, Zapata; Cristante, Ganz, Narduzzo, Petagna

VIDEO: Balotelli's official presentation
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Galliani: We really wanted Balotelli
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan vice-President Adriano Galliani has conceded that the negotiations to sign Mario Balotelli were 'hard and difficult'.

The Rossoneri signed the 22-year-old for a fee of around €21m from Manchester City, despite the Premier League club initially asking for around €35m.

But the Diavolo administrator admitted that he was pleased to finally get his man.

“The idea of Balotelli at Milan has been in our minds for a long time,” he told a Press conference.

“We are happy and proud to have finally got him. They were hard and difficult negotiations, as well as being very long.

“It was one of the most complicated negotiations of my career, but we really wanted Mario.

“Last year we had the oldest team, now we have the youngest – that is what we want Milan to be, and Mario is a big part of that.

“I am not concerned about Mario's reputation – the English media are more invasive than the Italian Press.”

Balotelli: An honour to join AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

New Milan signing Mario Balotelli has claimed that it is 'a dream' to join the Rossoneri.

The 22-year-old signed for the San Siro side in a deal worth around €21m from Manchester City.

And the Italy international has conceded that he is delighted to be home, whilst also commenting on his time in England and relationship with President Silvio Berlusconi.

“It is a real honour to be here,” he told a Press conference. “I have always wanted to play for Milan,

“I want to be an important player for this club. Being here really is a dream – however, I'd rather let me football do the talking.

“I would have liked to have joined earlier, but I am here now.

“I also want to thank the City fans – they always supported me, no matter what. I will always remember training with my teammates there, and the matches.

“The rest though, I will not miss. The Premier League is a great League, but I am only thinking of this adventure.

“The President has apologized for calling me a rotten apple,” he added. “But I did not hear anything anyway. I have never voted in any election, and I'm not ashamed of that.

“Anyway, it's a dream to play here. I've wanted this for a long time, and now I just want to play.”

Media stopped Zenit move
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Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate's agent has claimed that his client's move to Zenit St Petersburg didn't happen because of media intrusion.

The 26-year-old Milan defender was on the verge of a move to the Russian club, as was reported widely during January.

But the full-back's representative has revealed that the deal could have gone through were it not for the Press.

“I think the fact that the move was leaked probably stopped it,” Andrea D'Amico told Calciomercato.

“In football, news should only be spread only when a deal is actually completed.”

PSG failed in Balotelli bid
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paris Saint-Germain made an offer to Manchester City for Mario Balotelli during Euro 2012, it has been revealed.

Speaking after Balotelli joined Milan this week, agent Mino Raiola noted that the French club tabled a bid before they signed his former Inter teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the Diavolo.

“During the European Championship, Manchester City rejected an approach from PSG,” Raiola commented.

“Can Balotelli and Ibra play together again? I’m lucky to represent two strong players like them,” the agent continued.

“I hope that they can be part of the same club again at some stage in the future. I love them both and I’d like to see them play together.

“One day maybe…”





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