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The Archive

December 2008

Beckham to San Siro: Forza Milan!
22.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham has saluted the San Siro fans ahead of tonight's Milan-Udinese match. “It's an incredible experience and I look forward to playing.”

The England international was presented to the Press on Saturday and put pen to paper on a contract at 17.00 UK time this afternoon.

A row of children wearing Beckham's No 32 shirt flanked a walkway along the San Siro field as he came out to pick up his own shirt.

Wearing the club's red and black striped scarf, he took the microphone to speak to the supporters and said 'Forza Milan.'

“I prefer to be out there playing instead of just walking. I enjoyed it, it's great to see the children get my shirt again and see the fans. I enjoyed it,” he told Sky Italia television.

“The pressure is exactly the same, playing at Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid are one of the biggest clubs in the world and here now.

“It's an incredible experience, I'm looking forward to playing in a game.

“Everywhere theres going to be pressure and everywhere there's going to be enjoyment, as you can't help enjoy yourself playing for the biggest teams in the world.”

Some have suggested there will be battles between Becks, Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo over who will take the set plays.

“They're all great free kick takers and if I get the chance then I hope I'll score, if not there are other great players who can take the free kicks.”

English players have rarely done well in Serie A, but Beckham feels that was in the past.

“I think a few ears ago that was maybe the case, but now the game has changed in England.

“Foreign players coming over to the Premier League has helped the children, the older children and the men! It has helped the game grow in England and it is now one of the best Leagues in the world.”

Beckham was also asked about the infamous incident when a boot thrown by Sir Alex Ferguson struck him in the face.

“That was just an accident that happened in the locker room, just one those things. Sir Alex Ferguson is by far the best manager I've ever played under, I respect him a great deal as a manager and as a person.”

The midfielder was in the centre circle for only a minute, but the welcome was not as warm as expected.

There were a few jeers and also ironic banners held up by the fans. One read: 'From top of the world to top models. Poor Milan.'

Beckham's move has caused controversy, as he will only be at San Siro until March 9, when he must return to LA Galaxy.

Wife Victoria was in the stands and sat next to her husband and Milan general manager Adriano Galliani during the match.

AC Milan 5:1 Udinese - match report
22.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Pato 4, 18 (M), Kaka 13, 52 (M), Di Natale 17 (U), Seedorf 42 (M)

Milan thrashed sorry Udinese 5-1 in a thrilling encounter with Kaka and Alexandre Pato getting two apiece.

David Beckham was presented to the fans before kick-off on the San Siro pitch, but he won't be eligible until January. The Rossoneri could do with his support now, as they were without Gennaro Gattuso, Mathieu Flamini, Emerson, Marco Borriello, Alessandro Nesta, Daniele Bonera, Philippe Senderos and banned duo Massimo Ambrosini and Gianluca Zambrotta. At least Kaka recovered from a groin problem, but Marek Jankulovski was a makeshift midfielder.

Confidence was low for both sides, as Milan's 4-2 defeat at Juventus effectively ended their Scudetto hopes, while Udinese threw away a 3-0 lead against Lazio to pick up their only point in six games.

Aleksandr Lukovic caused an early scare when he skipped past Luca Antonini and put the ball across the face of goal, but the Rossoneri broke through moments later.

Giuseppe Favalli was sent clear down the left flank and his cross from the byline found Alexandre Pato's cushioned header at the back post. The Brazilian was totally unmarked and the Udinese defence found woefully unprepared.

Less than a minute later Pato duetted with Ronaldinho and only a crucial tackle prevented the two Selecao stars from finishing off the high-speed move.

It was wide open, though, as Gaetano D'Agostino unleashed a blockbuster from 25 metres and Christian Abbiati flew across the face of goal for a stunning one-handed save. He paid the price, as the goalkeeper went face-first into the upright, but was able to continue after treatment.

Simone Pepe wanted a free kick on the edge of the box for a coming together with Paolo Maldini, but was only booked for dissent.

Milan doubled their lead moments later with a classic Brazilian counter-attack. Pato found space down the left when he skipped past his marker, then rolled across with the outside of his right foot for Kaka to tap in from five yards. Kaka went to hug Gennaro Gattuso, who was on the sidelines with his crutches after knee surgery.

Pato set up Kaka for another wonderful team move smothered by Samir Handanovic, but Antonio Di Natale made it 2-1 on 17 minutes. Lukovic went down the left for Fabio Quagliarella, whose disguised pass was smashed in from the edge of the box by Di Natale. It whizzed into the far bottom corner, leaving Abbiati rooted to the spot.

Less than a minute later it was 3-1! Pato got his second of the game, as Antonini knocked down an Andrea Pirlo chipped pass for the Brazilian teenager.

Di Natale and Ronaldinho fired over from tight angles, while Abbiati palmed a Pepe cross-shot out of the top corner. It was so nearly a Pato hat-trick, but Handanovic got a fingertip to Kaka's cross.

Damiano Ferronetti had to intercept another splendid move, as Ronaldinho's backheel was sending Pato clear.

Udinese lost Quagliarella to a bizarre injury, as he got a knock to the side of the head and seemed stunned, repeatedly shaking his right ear. He had to be replaced by Antonio Floro Flores.

The Rossoneri made it 4-1 before the break. Pirlo's free kick smacked against the upright, but Clarence Seedorf was there to slide on to the loose ball from six yards despite Luigi Sala holding on to his shirt.

In stoppages Pato threatened a fifth on the counter from Udinese's corner, but Handanovic managed to block with his body.

After the restart Pato set up Kaka for another Handanovic save, then the goalkeeper smothered another attempt from the 2007 Ballon d'Or. It was just w warm-up, as Kaka unleashed an incredible blockbuster from the edge of the box in at the near top corner, having dummied a shot towards the other post.

Udinese tested Abbiati with a soaring Floro Flores header, but the striker fell badly on to his back and was stretchered off in agony. He tried to stand up, but quickly collapsed in tears. He had already replaced the injured Quagliarella and made way for Alexis Sanchez.

Milan had another great chance as Pato's dummy allowed Kaka's low cross to come through and Pirlo slid on to it inches past the far post. Kaka thought he should've had a penalty when he went shoulder to shoulder with a defender and fell in the box.

Pato received a standing ovation when replaced by Andriy Shevchenko, but Abbiati flew to push a D'Agostino free kick out from under the bar and Sanchez's flick with the outside of his boot was charged down.

Kaka curled past the far post and 18-year-old Strasser received his Serie A debut in midfield and was promptly booked for a tackle from behind.
Milan: Abbiati; Antonini (Darmian 75), Maldini, Kaladze (Strasser 81), Favalli; Seedorf, Pirlo, Jankulovski; Kaka, Ronaldinho; Pato (Shevchenko 71)

Udinese: Handanovic; Ferronetti, Sala, Domizzi, Lukovic; Inler, D'Agostino, Isla; Pepe (Pasquale 81), Quagliarella (Floro Flores 39) (Sanchez 65), Di Natale

Ref: Saccani

Ancelotti has Kaka and Beckham
20.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is relieved to have Kaka back in the side to face Udinese and welcomes David Beckham to Milan.

“Those certain of playing tomorrow are Christian Abbiati, Paolo Maldini, Marek Jankulovski, Luca Antonini, Kakha Kaladze, Giuseppe Favalli, Alexandre Pato, Ronaldinho and Kaka.

“We will not have Mathieu Flamini, while today we must evaluate the fitness of Andrea Pirlo, Emerson and Clarence Seedorf.”

There had been reports Kaka could be out of action for two to three months with a hernia, but he was in training today and is expected to be fit to face Udinese tomorrow evening.

“This is an important game for us, but also for Udinese,” continued Ancelotti.

“They started the season at the highest level, then had a shaky period and are getting back on track now. It will be a delicate match for us, as in this injury crisis we want to end the year on a positive note.

“A victory would enable us to go into the Christmas break with a different mentality. Then we will go to Dubai for the training camp so we can start the Serie A campaign again on the right foot.”

Among those who will be in Dubai from December 29 are new arrival Beckham, who passed his medical this morning for a three-month loan from LA Galaxy.

“Beckham’s arrival is important for us, we welcome him and are certain he can give us a hand during the 10 games he will be available for.

“He is a very professional player and with his characteristics can take on three midfield roles. Physically he is in good shape and, despite the contract making clear he can only stay until March 9, in that time I’m convinced he will be a Milan player in every sense.”

Some have suggested that signing a 33-year-old for three months is leaving the Rossoneri in the past rather than building for the future.

“I’m sure many will have something to say about Beckham, but in response I point out they said the same about Ronaldinho, who has scored goals and provided assists.

“Dinho was a pleasant surprise and if Beckham can perform at the same level, then he is more than welcome.

“When I am old and grey, I can sit by the fire with my grandchildren and tell them of all the top stars I trained…”

Beckham "honoured" by AC Milan
20.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan signing David Beckham says he is “honoured to be here playing for one of the most successful clubs in the world.”

The LA Galaxy man is on loan for three months and gave his first interview with Milan Channel after undergoing his medical.

“This adventure is very exciting,” he told the club’s official television network.

“Milan are truly an incredible club, a step above the others. After playing for the biggest club in England and the biggest in Spain, I am in the strongest in Italy.

“My objective is to train hard and give my contribution.”

Becks will be available for selection after the Christmas break, as his contract can only come into effect when the January window opens.

There has been speculation over how long he will be at San Siro, but Milan general manager Adriano Galliani made it clear.

“Beckham will stay at Milan until March 9. His last game will be against Atalanta on March 8. Who knows… I don’t want to give anyone false hope,” added the transfer guru.

“We hope Beckham can leave an indelible mark on the side, so next year we could repeat the experience, hopefully for longer.

“Taking Beckham on loan was an extremely difficult operation with many special clauses. I thank the FIGC President Giancarlo Abete for his collaboration in making it happen.”

The official presentation to the media will be at 18.00 UK time.

Beckham passes AC Milan medical
20.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham was greeted by supporters at Malpensa airport and has undergone a two-hour medical with Milan doctors.

The media whirlwind that is Becks and wife Victoria hit the Italian shores at 09.10 UK time this morning, when their private flight touched down at Malpensa.

The plane was provided by Milan President (and Italian Prime Minister) Silvio Berlusconi and Beckham was greeted at the airport by director Umberto Gandini, photographers, journalists, cameramen and fans.

While she drove towards the Four Seasons Hotel in Via Gesù, he made his way in a BMW to the La Betulle clinic.

A two-hour medical passed without incident, as he underwent stress tests, cardio and other routine examinations.

It was reported that David was able to speak some Italian with the medical staff, as he has been taking lessons during the close season of the MLS.

He will reunite with wife Victoria for lunch before meeting with general manager Adriano Galliani.

The presentation Press conference at San Siro will begin at 18.00 UK time.

Marino put AC Milan first
19.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Udinese tactician Pasquale Marino has excused the Friulani for last night's limp showing against NEC. “We had to concentrate on Milan.”

The Zebrette have been on poor form of late in Serie A, but they entered last night's UEFA Cup clash with a place in the last 32 already booked.

A second-string Udinese were dismal as they were beaten 2-0 by Dutch side NEC, but they still finished top of their group as Tottenham only drew with Spartak Moscow.

“It's always sad to lose, but we had to focus on the Milan game on Sunday,” Marino explained.

“We made several choices so that we would have more options for the League.

“I tried out Mauricio Isla and he responded well - the substitution was just to protect him for the weekend.

“Unfortunately the injury to Dias Felipe forced me to make changes I hadn't bargained on. He needs some more minutes, but he took a real knock and couldn't run.”

Udinese will discover their next UEFA Cup opponents when the draw takes place just after midday.

AC Milan agree Rangers friendly
19.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

It has been announced that Milan will take on Scottish giants Rangers in a friendly next February.

The Rossoneri will travel to Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow in a prestigious game for 51-time champions of Scotland.

England international David Beckham is expected to be part of the squad travelling to Britain.

“Beckham has arguably been the most famous footballer in the world in recent years and supporters of all ages will be eager to see him in the flesh,” Rangers chief executive Martin Bain stated.

“Milan are a club with a rich history and tradition like Rangers, and with players like Beckham, Ronaldinho and Kaka set to feature, I am sure there will be phenomenal interest in the game.”

Neither Rangers nor Milan have had an ideal first half of their domestic campaigns.

While the Diavolo are nine points behind city rivals Inter at the top of Serie A, Rangers are feeling the same pain as they trail Celtic by four points in the Scottish Premier League.

Kaka may make Udinese date
19.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

In spite of fears over his fitness, Milan star Kaka returned to training today and could feature against Udinese.

The Brazilian international has been suffering with a groin complaint and caused panic by claiming that it could take “two or three months” to heal.

However, Milan fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the former FIFA World Player of the Year was back alongside his teammates in training this morning.

Kaka, who had been sidelined since last Friday, took part in sprints and technical drills and reported no discomfort at any stage.

The condition of Kaka will be a huge boost for Coach Carlo Ancelotti as he prepares for a vital test against Udinese.

The Rossoneri lost 4-2 to Juventus last weekend to fall nine points behind leaders Inter and they can't afford to lose any more ground before 2009.

UEFA Cup Draw: AC Milan vs. Werder Bremen
19.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Fiorentina have tough draws in the UEFA Cup last 32 as they face Werder Bremen and Ajax respectively, but Sampdoria and Udinese were luckier.

The Rossoneri were still smarting from conceding an equaliser to draw 2-2 with Wolfsburg on Wednesday night, leaving them to qualify as runners-up in Group E.

And the slip-up may prove costly for the Diavolo as they now face Champions League third-placed side Werder Bremen, who overcame Milan's city rivals Inter in their final group game.

Fiorentina were eliminated from the Champions League, but managed to secure third place.

After reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup last year, the Tuscans will be confident of success, but they have a tough task as they must play Ajax.

Having squeezed through the group stage with a heroic 1-0 win over Sevilla, Sampdoria were handed a favourable tie on paper as they face Ukrainians Metalist.

However, Metalist were the surprise package of the group stage, winning Group B, which contained Benfica, Hertha Berlin and Galatasaray.

Udinese, who won Group D, were also given an Eastern European test as they were paired with Polish side Lech Poznan.

Last 32 draw:
PSG v Wolfsburg
FC Copenhagen v Manchester City
NEC v Hamburg
Sampdoria v Metalist
Braga v Standard Liege
Aston Villa v CSKA Moscow
Lech Poznan v Udinese
Olympiacos v St Etienne
Fiorentina v Ajax
Aalborg v Deportivo
Werder Bremen v Milan
Bordeaux v Galatasaray
Dinamo Kiev v Valencia
Zenit v Stuttgart
Marseille v Twente
Shakhtar v Tottenham

Last 16:
Werder Bremen or Milan v Olympiacos or St Etienne
Aston Villa or CSKA Moscow v Shakhtar or Tottenham
Lech Poznan or Udinese v Zenit or Stuttgart
PSG or Wolfsburg v Braga or Standard Liege
Dinamo Kiev or Valencia v Sampdoria or Metalist
FC Copenhagen or Man City v Aalborg or Deportivo
Marseille or Twente v Fiorentina or Ajax
NEC or Hamburg v Bordeaux or Galatasaray

Ancelotti admits AC Milan concerns
18.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti admits Milan have “a lot of problems” after going through as runners-up in their UEFA Cup group.

“We have a lot of problems at the moment,” confessed the Coach after twice dropping the lead to draw 2-2 with Wolfsburg.

The club was already in hot water with its fans after the 4-2 defeat at Juventus left them nine points adrift of the Serie A leadership, so San Siro was practically deserted as tifosi turned away in protest.

“I tried to recuperate as many players as I could. Our squad is too limited to enable us to create an effective style of football.

“Individually everyone is putting in the effort, but unfortunately we can’t seem to get the squad to gel at the moment.”

Kaka, Gennaro Gattuso, Mathieu Flamini, Daniele Bonera, Marco Borriello and Alessandro Nesta are out, while Philippe Senderos added to Ancelotti’s woes when he limped off with a back problem just three minutes in.

“Senderos is a bit of an unlucky lad. Now we will have to evaluate this latest injury,” sighed the tactician.

“I chose the 4-4-2 because it was the simplest approach to take at this time. Kaka should recover for Sunday, he is currently in physiotherapy.”

The fact Milan will go through as runners-up in their UEFA Cup group means they’ll face one of the sides who finished third in the Champions League groups.

Beckham unveiling on television
18.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham will be presented to fans and media at San Siro on Saturday evening with live television coverage, announced Milan.

The England international arrives on loan from LA Galaxy until March, when the MLS season resumed in America.

Milan released a statement this evening confirming that the executive suite at San Siro will host the presentation ceremony on Saturday December 20 at 18.00 UK time.

The event will be screened live on both Sky Italia television and Milan Channel.

Becks will then salute the Milan fans before Sunday's Serie A match with Udinese.

Although Beckham cannot play competitive matches for the Rossoneri until the January transfer window opens, he will travel with the squad to Dubai on December 29.

However, teammate Gennaro Gattuso admits he doesn't understand the point of such a brief stay in Serie A.

“This Beckham thing seems very strange to me. Perhaps it would've been better and more right if he stayed for the whole season and signed a proper contract.

“To be here for six weeks to two months seems pretty strange…”

UEFA Cup: AC Milan 2:2 Wolfsburg - match report
18.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ambrosini 15 (M), Zaccardo 55 (W), Pato 56 (M), Saglik 81 (W)

Milan were twice caught by Wolfsburg as a 2-2 draw sends them through to the UEFA Cup knockouts in second place. This means they will face a team from the Champions League in the next round.

Both teams were already qualified for the next round, but this was a head-to-head battle for the top spot and therefore seeding in the draw for the knockouts. The Rossoneri were without Kaka, Gennaro Gattuso, Paolo Maldini, Christian Abbiati, Daniele Bonera, Marco Borriello, Mathieu Flamini and Alessandro Nesta. There were familiar faces in the Wolfsburg squad - 2006 World Cup winners Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo.

The injury crisis deteriorated as within three minutes Philippe Senderos had pulled up with a back problem. It took a while for substitute Kakha Kaladze to warm up, so in the meantime Massimo Ambrosini was a makeshift central defender.

Nelson Dida was less than secure when getting down to control a Misimovic daisy-cutter, but Milan had a great chance moments later when Pippo Inzaghi couldn't get enough power to his header on Andriy Shevchenko's cross.

Sheva went for goal himself with a low drive, but it was a midfielder who opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Clarence Seedorf floated the corner in for Ambrosini's downward header, a trademark finish for the Italian.

Wolfsburg fought back immediately and Marek Jankulovski flung himself at Dejagah's shot. They went extremely close when a looping Dzeko header thumped the far post with Dida rooted to the spot.

Dida was tested soon after by Gentner's shot, but Inzaghi was twice halted for extremely tight offside decisions and Benaglio rushed out to flap the ball off Shevchenko's head.

There was a great Andrea Pirlo ball over the top, but Inzaghi's first touch let him down with only the goalkeeper to beat.

There was a blow for the Germans, who lost striker Gentner to an injury, as he had been causing Luca Antonini all sorts of problems.

Milan performed a fine team move with Shevchenko cutting back for Inzaghi, but he found himself surrounded and rolled to the on-rushing Seedorf to fire wide.

Carlo Ancelotti threw on Alexandre Pato for Pirlo in the second half, fielding a trident attack. Dida smothered a Dzeko angled drive, but Benagio had to rush out and prevent Inzaghi's goal after SuperPippo had skinned Barzagli.

Wolfsburg got their equaliser through an Italian international, as Zaccardo connected with Schafer's low cross to draw level, but Dida seemed to be taken by surprise.

Howeber, less than 60 seconds later Milan had restored their advantage with substitute Pato. Shevchenko set up Inzaghi, but the failed first touch turned into an assist to send the young Brazilian clear.

Kaladze and Dzeko clashed heads on a corner and the Georgian got the worst of it, playing on with a large bandage.

Pato sprinted past the Wolfsburg defence and his shot was charged down, while Inzaghi failed to get the rebound on target. However Saglik wasted a golden opportunity when his free header from Dzeko's cross was hit weakly straight at Dida.

Milan also went close, as Pato's run sparked the move and Inzaghi's rising finish was palmed out from under the bar.

Dzeko replied when he shrugged off Kaladze to test Dida at the near post. It proved decisive, as from the resulting corner kick Wolfsburg equalised. It was cleared to outside the box, where Kryznowek unleashed a rocket that was deflected under the bar by Saglik. Appeals for offside were waved away.

Milan needed a win to get the top spot, so they poured forward in the final minutes, but this left them exposed and Dida prevented a third goal by sticking out a leg to parry Dzeko's finish.

Dida also denied Kryznowek and the final 2-2 result means the Rossoneri go through second in their group and will encounter a side from the Champions League in the next round.
Milan: Dida: Antonini, Senderos (Kaladze 7), Favalli, Jankulovski; Zambrotta, Pirlo (Pato 46), Ambrosini; Seedorf; Inzaghi, Shevchenko

Wolfsburg: Benaglio; Zaccardo, Ricardo Costa, Barzagli, Schafer; Hasebe (Saglik 75), Josuè; Dejagah, Misimovic (Alvim 83), Gentner (Kryznowek 37); Dzeko

Ref: Courtney (NIR)

'No AC Milan approach' for Brighi
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Roma midfielder Matteo Brighi has rejected stories linking his client with a transfer to Milan.

Milan are looking for a temporary replacement for Azzurri star Gennaro Gattuso, who has damaged knee ligaments and will be sidelined for six months.

And there have been suggestions that Brighi, who has excelled at Roma lately, could be the answer as he could find himself on the bench when Alberto Aquilani returns from injury.

“I have had no contact with Milan, but that is normal because they are a club who behave correctly,” Brighi's representative Vanni Puzzolo told Radio Radio.

“If the Rossoneri wanted to sign Matteo in January they would contact Roma first before they spoke to us.

“I think it's just transfer speculation. Brighi is already playing for a great team and Roma are in the Champions League, unlike Milan.

“Doubling Matteo's wage at the moment isn't a consideration because he has just signed a renewal and has become a starter at Roma.”

Galliani keeps the faith
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani maintains that the Rossoneri are still in the Scudetto race.

The Diavolo suffered a costly 4-2 defeat against Juventus last weekend to fall nine points behind leaders Inter.

Yesterday Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi admitted that his target was Champions League qualification rather than the title.

“Nine points is a lot,” he said on the Milan Channel. “The Champions League place is our objective and I think we are able to achieve that.”

But director Galliani still has higher hopes for the outgoing world champions.

“We still have the Scudetto as an objective,” Galliani declared.

“We think that we have an ultra-competitive squad, but six or seven injuries is a lot.

“We just need some health. Last season we won two trophies and we are hoping to win something else this year.

“This Milan side is fighting for the Italian championship and the UEFA Cup and we will see if we manage to win at least one of these.”

AC Milan ponder Brighi option
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports that Milan see Roma midfielder Matteo Brighi as a possible replacement for the injured Gennaro Gattuso.

Azzurri star Gattuso has been ruled out of action for around six months after undergoing surgery on his knee ligaments.

The absence of the pugnacious star will weigh heavily on the Rossoneri and they could look for a temporary solution in the New Year.

There were suggestions yesterday that the Diavolo were lining up Sampdoria captain Angelo Palombo, who is currently injured but expected to return to action in 2009.

But Samp have stressed that Palombo won't be leaving the club, forcing Milan to return to the drawing board.

According to this morning's La Gazzetta dello Sport, the next option on the Rossoneri shopping list is former Juventus ace Brighi.

In recent weeks, the Rimini native has shone for the Giallorossi in the absence of Alberto Aquilani.

However, Aquilani is close to returning to fitness, which may leave Brighi warming the bench.

Seeing as he signed a contract renewal until 2012 recently, Brighi is highly unlikely to leave the Eternal City on a permanent basis, but a loan deal is a possibility.

Italian exiles respect AC Milan
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Wolfsburg's Azzurri defenders Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo have the utmost respect for Milan ahead of tonight's UEFA Cup clash.

Both Milan and Wolfsburg have secured their places in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.

However, tonight's San Siro encounter decides which side top Group E with the Rossoneri needing a win to overtake their Bundesliga opponents.

Milan have just been beaten 4-2 by Juventus and aren't in the best of spirits after a poor period, but Barzagli is wary of the Diavolo threat.

“We don't think that Milan are in crisis,” the Tuscan stopper insisted.

“It's not possible to think about things in that way - we must be ready for the hardest of tests.

“It will be a great pleasure to play in an Italian stadium again, especially against a Milan side who have various teammates from the Azzurri squad,” Zaccardo ventured.

Milan have won two and drawn one so far in Group E, while Wolfsburg have a 100 per cent record with 3-2 wins over Braga and Portsmouth and a thumping 5-1 rout of Heerenveen.

Ancelotti hunts Wolfsburg
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is looking forward to an open and entertaining UEFA Cup tie, as Milan and Wolfsburg battle for the top spot.

“Seeing as we are both already qualified, our objective is to secure first place in the group so that we can have a softer round,” noted the tactician.

“Wolfsburg have good quality, but seem to lack consistency, so they peak and trough. They were the toughest opponents in our group and I think they can carry on in the competition.”

Among the familiar faces are Italy’s World Cup winners Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo.

“We know them well and, because so few Italians go abroad to play club football, we keep a special eye out for those who do. I would say that German football is currently a step below Italy, England and Spain, though.”

Kaka is still sidelined after missing the 4-2 defeat to Juventus and Ancelotti looks back over that massive Scudetto setback.

“We lack solidity. Sometimes the defence is left very open and the responsibility can never be for just one area of the team. We aren’t united enough and have to all work on the defensive movement.

“There are times in a season when certain deficiencies emerge and others in which they are hidden. This year the team shows its faults when it is not suitably unified.”

Ancelotti had praised his side for its work ethic mixed with quality when stringing together a long run of positive results, including a derby win over Inter, but complacency has taken over.

“Hard work and sacrifice for the team has to be a constant. We don’t need to redesign the whole squad, especially as it is not easy midway through the season.

“We have to replace a very important player like Gennaro Gattuso and that is why we signed Mathieu Flamini, so he could be there in case of problems.”

Gattuso is out for six months following knee ligament surgery, but Flamini was also injured for the Juve game with a sprained ankle.

The former Arsenal midfielder remains sidelined for the UEFA Cup along with Emerson, Daniele Bonera, Marco Borriello and Kaka, while Christian Abbiati and Paolo Maldini are rested.

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac, Antonini, Darmian, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Senderos, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Pedrocchi, Fondrini, Ruggeri, Inzaghi, Pato, Seedorf, Shevchenko, Ronaldinho

Surgeons: Gattuso really is hard!
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso amazed the medical community again after his knee surgery. “We had to change the scalpel, as he has very hard bones!”

The Milan and Italy man recovered in record time from multiple fractures to his wrist earlier this season and hopes he can also cut the expected six-month spell on the sidelines for ligament damage.

“The surgeon took the tendon, an incomplete part, and made a tunnel to put the ligament through. It will take six months for this to form a strong cruciate ligament,” said Krystel De Reycke.

The assistant to Professor Marc Martens – who also operated on Ronaldo and other top stars – revealed a surprising moment during the surgery.

“During the operation we had to change the scalpel, as Gattuso has very hard bones. He is extraordinary! This has never happened before.”

It was not the only physical anomaly they discovered, as the World Cup winner was able to play for 86 minutes after he had torn knee ligaments in the 1-0 win over Catania.

“He has some very large muscles that allowed him to do that,” the assistant told Sky Italia television.

“Now he will wear a protective cast for a month and that will give him normal mobility without limits. He’ll then walk with crutches for 10 days.

“Another protective device is needed up for another month, but after four months he can start running again.”

Berlusconi ends AC Milan title hopes
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi has effectively given up on the Scudetto. “Our objective is to get back into the Champions League.”

Sunday’s 4-2 defeat at Juventus left them nine points adrift of leaders Inter and in joint third place with Napoli.

“Has the Scudetto slipped from our grasp? Well, nine points is a lot,” confessed Berlusconi, who is also Prime Minister of Italy.

“In any case, we will try to reduce the gap because that is essential for us, so we can return to fighting it out in Europe in the Champions League.”

For several years the Rossoneri have almost snubbed Serie A in order to focus their energy on the continental trophies and Club World Cup.

Last season they failed to qualify in the top four and are competing in the UEFA Cup this term, but it seems that will be their only chance at some silverware.

“The Champions League place is our objective and I think we are able to achieve that,” he added on Milan Channel.

“Sometimes a man has to sleep and Milan can occasionally allow themselves that luxury, too. Not for long, though…”

Galliani plays down Kaka troubles
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan director Adriano Galliani maintains that Kaka's injury problems have been exaggerated. “He could play on Sunday.”

Kaka has struggled with a variety of fitness problems over the last 12 months and his latest complaint ruled him out of the Rossoneri's game against Juventus last weekend.

The Brazilian ace set alarm bells ringing yesterday when he claimed that his back injury could take “two or three months to heal.”

“Kaka has a sportsman's hernia and you can't tell when that will heal,” Galliani told journalists.

“The thing is that you just don't know how long is needed for the recovery. He could even be back in action on Sunday.

“All we need is a little optimism and not to exaggerate,” he concluded.

A 'sportsman's hernia' is a term for a groin or pelvic injury that may be caused by damage to the lumbar or hip joint.

Leonardo covets AC Milan hot seat
17.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan technical director Leonardo has confessed his desire to lead the Rossoneri one day.

The Brazilian played for Milan as an attacking midfielder for four seasons, joining the list of great Selecao stars to wear the Diavolo shirt.

For just over a year, Leonardo has been a director in Milan and has played a crucial role in transfer deals involving South American players.

“It's too early to talk about it, but in the future I would like to lead Milan or Brazil,” Leonardo revealed.

“I started to think about that when I was nominated for the Brazil job before Carlos Dunga was appointed.

“I have a very special relationship with Milan and that's what makes it my dream to be Rossoneri Coach at some stage, even though I am happy with what I am doing at the moment.”

Leonardo then commented on the Scudetto race and Inter's current dominance of Serie A.

“Inter are strong and have everything they need to win the title, but it is a marathon,” he explained.

“Milan need to improve if we are to think about the Scudetto and we need to find two or three things that we are lacking.

“At the moment though we don't need reinforcements, but the injury situation will decide that.

“What's the situation with Kaka? It's nothing serious and he was joking when he said he would need two or three months to recover,” he claimed.

Juventus 4:2 AC Milan - match report
15.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Del Piero pen 16 (J), Pato 31 (M), Chiellini 34 (J), Amauri 41, 69 (J), Ambrosini 56 (M)

Amauri bagged a brace as Juventus thumped Milan 4-2 in a Turin thriller, but Gianluca Zambrotta's red card was decisive.

Bianconeri patron Lapo Elkann called this 'the real derby d'Italia', but more so it was a battle to see who would give chase to runaway leaders Inter. Juve had Nicola Legrottaglie suspended on top of the usual list with David Trezeguet, Gianluigi Buffon, Mauro Camoranesi, Hasan Salihamidzic, Tiago Mendes, Christian Poulsen, Jonathan Zebina and Dario Knezevic.

The Rossoneri had Gennaro Gattuso ruled out for six months by knee ligament surgery, while Daniele Bonera, Marco Borriello and Alessandro Nesta were also out. Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho were able to play despite injury niggles, but Kaka and Mathieu Flamini failed late fitness tests.

Last season this fixture ended 3-2 for Juve, Milan's first defeat here since a 2-1 result in 2002. The Diavolo's last victory in Turin was 3-1 in March 2004. Before kick-off there were banners marking Juve youth team players Riccardo Neri and Alessio Ferramosca, who drowned in a tragic accident at the Vinovo training ground one year ago.

Pouring rain fell on the packed Stadio Olimpico and Kaka's absence meant Seedorf and Ronaldinho supported Alexandre Pato. The youngster sprung the offside trap after five minutes, but his first touch let him down, then Sissoko's shot hit defenders as he pounced on a Christian Abbiati error.

Amauri's overhead kick was over as Sissoko dispossessed Pirlo and Abbiati plucked a Claudio Marchisio rocket out of the air. Amauri had a good chance, but couldn't quite get his head to the cross at the back post. Olof Mellberg's glancing header whipped wide, but moments later the referee pointed to the spot.

Alessandro Del Piero gathered just inside the box and Marek Jankulovski went through the back with a sliding tackle, but it's not clear whether he made any contact with the ball. Del Piero converted powerfully into the top corner despite Abbiati guessing the right angle.

Milan had a great opportunity to equalise two minutes later when Seedorf crossed to Massimo Ambrosini from five yards, but he somehow nodded over! The midfielder had picked up a knock early on and was running in an awkward manner, but could not be replaced because the Rossoneri had few other options.

Alex Manninger flew to palm away a deflected Pirlo free kick, then the goalkeeper pushed a cross right at Seedorf, but the Dutchman's follow-up was charged down.

Jankulovski risked a second penalty when he barged into the back of Zdenek Grygera. There was bad news for Juve, as Pavel Nedved picked up a knock and made way for Paolo De Ceglie.

Milan drew level with a good team move on the counter. Kakha Kaladze won back the ball in midfield and immediately sent Ronaldinho clear down the left, his ball rolled across for Pato to come sliding in from six yards.

It didn't last long, as Juve punished the Rossoneri from a set-piece. The corner was whipped in for Giorgio Chiellini's header down that bounced into the bottom corner. He was left totally unmarked as he peeled off to around the penalty spot.

Manninger timed his run well to pluck a Pirlo chipped pass off Emerson's head, but Juventus extended their lead moments later. De Ceglie went on the counter down the left and crossed for the unmarked Amauri, who had a totally free downward header from six yards.

Marchisio dribbled past three Milan shirts and had his shot deflected wide for a corner in stoppages.

Ancelotti introduced Andriy Shevchenko for Emerson at half-time, pushing Seedorf deeper. Juve threatened again with Marchisio's chest and volley over from 25 metres.

Abbiati got down very well to fingertip a Sissoko screamer from outside the box as Milan continued to have problems dealing with corners.

Molinaro kept his cool to pass the ball out of his own box under pressure from Sheva. Milan were pushing forward and the period of sustained pressure paid off when Ambrosini's hopeful snapshot from distance took a deflection off Chiellini to send Manninger the wrong way.

Marchionni's fresh air shot on a volley let Milan off the hook, but the Rossoneri had the initiative now. That all went wrong when Zambrotta came flying in for a late tackle on De Ceglie barrelling down the left flank and a second booking was inevitable. From the free kick there were appeals over a Seedorf handling offence.

Milan switched to a three-man defence, if only through lack of alternatives. It didn't suit them and Juve took advantage immediately. Amauri combined with Sissoko and anticipated Jankulovski for a half-volley in at the near post that caught Abbiati by surprise.

It really should've been 5-2 moments later, but Del Piero hit the upright with the entire goal to aim at! The captain flicked on the ball to sell Ambrosini short, but struck the woodwork from the penalty spot.

Ancelotti had to make a change, as Ambrosini made way for Luca Antonini, a full-back, while Pippo Inzaghi replaced Pato. Manninger had to flap a Ronaldinho free kick off Antonini's head from six yards, while he also grabbed an Inzaghi header out of the air.

Marchisio drilled wide after Pirlo lost the ball in midfield, but when Juve did the same thing Sheva earned a corner as his pass for Inzaghi was cleared for a corner.

Substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta had the chance for a fifth in stoppages set up by Del Piero, but blasted well wide.
Juventus: Manninger; Grygera, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro; Marchionni, Sissoko (Zanetti 87), Marchisio, Nedved (De Ceglie 30); Del Piero, Amauri (Iaquinta 88)

Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Ambrosini (Antonini 73), Emerson (Shevchenko 46), Pirlo; Seedorf, Ronaldinho; Pato (Inzaghi 76)

Ref: Rizzoli

Sent off: Zambrotta 65 (M)

AC Milan fear Kaka absence
13.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka is in doubt for Milan's all-important Serie A battle against Juventus this weekend.

The Brasilia-born star, who is amongst the five nominees for the FIFA World Player of the Year, was absent from the final game at training this afternoon and spent most of the time working on his own in the gym.

The news is a stinging blow to Coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has already lost inspirational midfielder Gennaro Gattuso to a knee ligament problem.

Reports suggest that Carletto has been experimenting with an attacking trident of Clarence Seedorf, Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato, preparing for Kaka's absence.

The club are expected to make a final decision on whether to risk Kaka later this evening and Milan fans will be waiting anxiously.

Kaka is FIFA nominee
13.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan star Kaka is one of five remaining contenders for the FIFA World Player of the Year award for 2008.

The Brazilian scooped the prize last term, adding it to the Ballon d'Or and FIFPro award.

But Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to triumph this time around.

The Portuguese superstar has already won the 2008 Ballon d'Or for his efforts on the domestic and European stage last year.

Barcelona hitman Lionel Messi, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Spanish international midfielder Xavi are the other contenders.

The award will be presented on January 12 along with the FIFA Presidential Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award.

The candidates were voted for by the Coaches and captains of men's and women's national teams from all over the world.

Galliani confident of Silva swoop
13.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has given an update on the Diavolo's transfer negotiations for Thiago Silva.

There were reports this morning that Milan had beaten Inter and Villarreal to secure the services of Brazilian international stopper Silva.

“Negotiations are at an advanced stage,” Galliani confirmed on Sky Sport Italia.

“The lad will arrive in Milan on Sunday and will undergo a medical the following day.

“If everything goes according to plan, the deal will be finalised shortly. I only usually talk about a deal when it is done, but I can reveal that we are almost there.

“Given that we can't register him and then loan him out, we are keen to go down the same road we did with Alexandre Pato.

'He will be at Milanello from mid-January and he will train with the rest of the squad before becoming a fully-fledged Rossoneri next July.”

AC Milan to sign Silva on Sunday
13.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Highly rated Brazilian defender Thiago Silva is expected in Milan on Sunday to sign a contract with the Rossoneri.

The Fluminense ace has been tracked by Inter, Villarreal and Milan for the last 12 months.

There were reports that Inter had agreed a pre-contract with the 24-year-old and Villarreal tabled a bid of around £5m.

But Milan are ready to pay just under £9m and Silva is keen to play alongside a number of his Selecao teammates in Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The defensive talent will travel to Milan on Sunday to sign a four-year deal worth around £2.2m per season.

Silva won't be allowed to play for Milan until next summer because the Diavolo have their full quota of non-EU players.

However, the new man is expected to come to Italy to train, just as Alexandre Pato did last year.

Agent denies Mexes' AC Milan link
10.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Roma defender Philippe Mexes denies the French stopper is set for a move to Milan, but speculation continues to grow.

Milan are expected to strengthen their ageing back line in 2009 and Vice-President Adriano Galliani has promised that the first reinforcement will be “a great defender.”

Mexes has regularly been linked with the Diavolo and there have been suggestions that Roma may need to sell him to help pay off the vast debts owed by the Sensi family's company.

“There is no connection between the debts accumulated by that group and the football club's books,” Mexes' representative Olivier Jouanneaaux told Calciomercato.com.

“It is just paper talk that Mexes is a player Milan like, but it's just natural for a great team to keep an eye on a top player like Philippe.

“My client has a contract with Roma and has said on many occasions that he is happy with the Lupi.

“Besides, if the Rossoneri really did want Mexes I think they would approach Roma directly, given the good relations between the two teams.

“At the moment there is no truth in these stories and I haven't spoken to anyone.”

Gattuso sustains serious injury
10.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfield star Gennaro Gattuso could be out for six months after suffering a serious knee injury against Catania.

The pugnacious Azzurri ace seemed fine during the San Siro victory and played the full 90 minutes.

But the Rossoneri's official website has revealed that Gattuso was sent for tests after reporting severe pain after the game.

Provisional indications are that Ringhio has torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee - a very serious problem that requires a lengthy recovery period.

The 30-year-old will undergo tests tomorrow in Antwerp with Dr Marc Martens and club medic Jean Pierre Meersseman.

Kaka denies discontent
10.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka was the decisive figure in Milan's win over Catania and the Brazilian ace insists he is happy with the position he is playing for the Rossoneri.

In an interview last week, Kaka stated that he would rather play further forward but is being played deeper by Carlo Ancelotti after the arrival of Ronaldinho.

However, Kaka still made the crucial contribution to secure a 1-0 triumph over Catania yesterday.

“It was a very important game - we played well and picked up three fundamental points,” Kaka said after the final whistle.

“We created lots of scoring chances during the first half, but we didn't hit the back of the net.

“Maybe we need to be more clinical in front of goal, but their goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri made some great saves.

“When I discussed my position, I didn't mean to cause any problems in the squad.

“My teammates and the Coach know that if I need to sacrifice for the good of the team, I will be the first one to accept that.

“I just said that I would probably be more useful in attack, but I can easily adapt to playing in the midfield too.”

Milan's next game is a crunch match against Scudetto rivals Juventus.

Serie A: AC Milan 1:0 Catania - match report
8.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Kaka 65 (M)

Kaka snatched a crucial victory that keeps Milan in the title race, but it was tough going against Catania.

The Rossoneri plunged into crisis this week, as after disappointing draws with Portsmouth, Torino and Lecce, they crumbled to two straight defeats. The 3-1 thrashing at Palermo left them six points off the leaders and Wednesday's 2-1 extra time Coppa Italia exit to Lazio thumped confidence further. Catania weren't doing too well either with one point from their last two games, but they held Milan to two 1-1 draws last season.

Coach Walter Zenga was suspended for insulting the referee, joining Matias Silvestre in the stands, while Christian Terlizzi and Cristian Llama were injured. The home side missed Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf, Pippo Inzaghi, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini, Daniele Bonera, Alessandro Nesta and Marco Borriello, but welcomed back Kaka and Gennaro Gattuso.

Andriy Shevchenko's diving header turned a Kaka cross over the bar, then he would've been clear on goal had Alexandre Pato calibrated the pass correctly. Pato's free kick reached Paolo Maldini for a volley that was heading into the far bottom corner before Albano Bizzarri got a hand to it for a great save.

However, at the other end moments later Giuseppe Mascara unleashed a daisy-cutter that cannoned off the inside of the upright! Less than 60 seconds later, Kaka also hit the woodwork with a similar shot from outside the box thanks to Bizzarri's fingertip save!

Emerson nodded a Pato corner on to the roof of the net and Bizzarri turned a Kaka snapshot on to the side-netting.

There was a great chance on the counter when Kaka flew up the field and sent Sheva out wide, but the Ukrainian tried to pass it back to his teammate rather than go for goal and it was put out for a corner.

Milan were peppering the Catania goal with shots and before half-time Bizzarri smothered a Marek Jankulovski screamer, while Pato was perhaps harshly booked for simulation.

Mathieu Flamini accidentally clattered into Emerson and the Brazilian had to be replaced at half-time by Giuseppe Favalli, moving Gianluca Zambrotta into wide midfield.

Kaka dumped Pablo Ledesma in the box by rolling the ball around with the sole of his foot and the curling finish was inches wide.

On 64 minutes a stunning Pato free kick of rare power was fingertipped out from under the bar by an acrobatic Bizzarri! From the resulting corner, Kaka's header seemed like an assist for Shevchenko, but he was anticipated by a defender's ankle and left the goalkeeper stranded!

Pato at full stretch couldn't quite reach Kaka's pass, then Flamini's shot was deflected wide. From a Catania corner Kaka sparked the counter, but his cross flashed past both Jankulovski and Shevchenko from six yards.

For all their opportunities, Milan nearly conceded an equaliser, as Giuseppe Mascara's header brought a desperate one-handed flying save out of Christian Abbiati.

Gattuso was booked for a sliding tackle and will be suspended for next week's crunch tie with Juventus. Catania wanted a penalty in stoppages for Kakha Kaladze's handling offence, but it was ball-to-hand and the referee waved play on.
Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Kaladze, Maldini, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Emerson (Favalli 46), Flamini; Kaka, Shevchenko (Antonini 81), Pato

Catania: Bizzarri; Silvestri, Stovini, Terlizzi (Tedesco 63); Sardo, Ledesma, Carboni, Biagianti (Plasmati 68), Sabato; Mascara; Paolucci (Martinez 74)

Ref: Gervasoni

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 1:2 Lazio - match report
4.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia



Lazio knocked 10-man Milan out of the Coppa Italia after a 2-1 extra time win, as Mauro Zarate and Goran Pandev cancelled out Andriy Shevchenko's strike. The Rossoneri had been a man down since Emerson's red card on 66 minutes.

These two sides needed a confidence booster and hoped the Coppa Italia knockout round would provide it at a foggy and freezing San Siro. Victory would send them through to the quarter-finals against either Fiorentina or Torino.

Andriy Shevchenko had a rare start with Kaka and Ronaldinho, while Marco Borriello, Gennaro Gattuso, Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo were out. Goran Pandev returned from an injury niggle to lead the Lazio line, but Mauro Zarate was rested ahead of Saturday's Serie A clash with Inter.

Nelson Dida smothered a long-range Cristian Ledesma snapshot, but Milan should have taken the lead on 19 minutes. A wonderful long Clarence Seedorf pass sent Sheva clear and he shrugged off a defender, but fired straight at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. He also sent Giuseppe Favalli's assist wide from six yards and sent a third opportunity high and wide.

Lazio also threatened, with Lichtsteiner drilling just wide from the D and Dida having his palms stung by an Aleksandr Kolarov free kick. The Biancocelesti were forced into a change with Mourad Meghni replacing Lichtsteiner before the break, but still went very close to an opener with the final kick of the first half, as Dida performed a fingertip save to push Goran Pandev's rising strike out of the near top corner.

Dida was again called into a great intervention on 54 minutes, as he got down very quickly to palm Pandev's spin off the line from nine yards. The turning point came on 66 minutes when Emerson clattered into Rozehnal for a second bookable offence.

The 10 men of Milan immediately had to defend, as Dida flew to parry a fantastic Kolarov free kick that sweved viciously around the defensive wall. Nonetheless, Ronaldinho tried to set up Sheva and the Ukrainian again was not sharp enough to make the most of that pass.

Ronaldinho was fortunate not to follow Emerson, as he appeared to elbow Rozehnal. It is possible video evidence will be used against him for this incident. Zarate replaced Rocchi as Lazio pushed for the win and Dida pushed Pasquale Foggia's effort over from a tight angle.

Incredibly, it was Shevchenko who changed the game with a stunning goal. He gathered in midfield, cut back to avoid a challenge and smacked an extraordinary left-foot angled drive right into the far bottom corner where Muslera simply could not reach! The former Chelsea striker seemed to be falling over, so was at full stretch to get power behind that shot.

Dida managed to smother a fierce De Silvestri daisy-cutter from a poorly cleared corner, but he was eventually beaten from the penalty spot by substitute Zarate after Favalli brought down Pandev. It was the Argentine's first goal since November 9 and forces extra time.

120 seconds into extra time when Lazio took the lead for the first time. Zarate's brilliant first touch brought down a chipped pass over the defence and cut out Marek Jankulovski at the same time, then his shot was parried, so was a follow-up, until Pandev finally placed the ball under the bar from close range.

Ronaldinho led the fightback and a stunning free kick split the wall and cracked against the upright with Muslera beaten. Dida stood his ground to deny Foggia from point-blank range, as the Rossoneri ran out of steam.

Milan 1-2 Lazio
Scorers: Shevchenko 76 (M), Zarate pen 87 (L), Pandev 92 (L)
Sent off: Emerson 66 (M)
Milan: Dida; Antonini (Jankulovski 76), Senderos, Kaladze, Favalli; Flamini, Emerson, Seedorf (Zambrotta 73), Kaka, Ronaldinho; Shevchenko (Cardacio 85)
Lazio: Muslera; Lichtsteiner (Meghni 42), Rozehnal, Diakitè, Kolarov; Dabo (Mauri 85), Ledesma, De Silvestri; Foggia; Rocchi (Zarate 72), Pandev
Ref: Ayroldi

AC Milan may move for Munoz
2.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan's hunt for defensive reinforcements could lead them to Boca Juniors star Ezequiel Munoz.

The outgoing world champions have been linked with a huge list of players in spite of Vice-President Adriano Galliani's insistence they won't be entering the market in January.

With Alessandro Nesta and Philippe Senderos nursing injuries and Paolo Maldini's career winding down, the Rossoneri are looking for a face for the future.

And 18-year-old ace Munoz could be just the man they need, according to Calciomercato.com.

Indeed, reports even suggested that the Diavolo had begun negotiations with Boca Juniors in the hope of a switch next summer.

One stumbling block is that Milan have filled their quota of non-EU players with the signature of Ronaldinho in the summer.

There may also be fierce competition for Munoz's signature as FC Porto, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are all known to be interested in him.

AC Milan duo to miss Lazio date
2.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato and Andrea Pirlo are set to miss out on Milan's Coppa Italia clash with Lazio on Wednesday evening.

The Rossoneri are looking to return to winning ways after a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Palermo on Sunday evening.

But Carlo Ancelotti's men should expect fierce resistance from Lazio, who are also trying to erase memories of a poor weekend, which saw them beaten at Atalanta.

Ancelotti, who saw a second-string side crash out to Catania last year, is expected to name a strong side for the Cup encounter, but he will have to do without Pirlo and Pato.

Pirlo, who has only just recovered from a long lay-off, is feeling sore after his efforts at the weekend and won't be risked.

Brazilian striking starlet Pato picked up a series of knocks against Palermo and had to come off after just 29 minutes.

Although the ex-Internacional man's injuries aren't serious, he will also be allowed to rest.

Playing AC Milan is easy, says Zamparini
2.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo chief Maurizio Zamparini claims it was “easy” for the Rosanero to excel against Milan last night.

The Sicilians shocked the Rossoneri 3-1 at the Stadio Renzo Barbera to derail their title bid.

But Zamparini didn't seem surprised that his team managed to claim maximum points.

“It's too easy to play great football against Milan,” Zampa yelled on Radio Anch'io Sport.

“We were well-motivated last night and we have great players who can take on anyone if they are determined enough on the pitch.

“That's how we were able to shock Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico and how we managed to beat Milan.

“It was a really good Palermo performance, even though we can't forget that Milan were missing Kaka and Gennaro Gattuso.

“It was a wonderful night for us, but we have to repeat this performance against Cagliari next weekend.”

Zambrotta on 'painful defeat'
2.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Gianluca Zambrotta admits his disappointment at losing to Palermo and is looking ahead to Wednesday's Coppa Italia date.

Serie A's second-placed side were unexpectedly beaten 3-1 by mid-table Palermo at the Stadio Renzo Barbera and were left to rue a missed penalty from Ronaldinho.

It was a hugely disappointing result for the Rossoneri, who have fallen six points behind city rivals Inter.

“It's a shame to lose, especially in this way and that does hurt,” Zambrotta lamented in his post-match interview.

“If Ronaldinho's penalty had gone in, things may have turned out very differently.

“We are conceding too many goals at the moment and that's not good - we need to be more focused.

“However, we are still in second place and now we can think about our Coppa Italia game against Lazio on Wednesday evening.

“This season is a long road and there's no need to get fatalistic.”

Palermo 3:1 AC Milan - match report
1.12 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Miccoli 50 (P), Cavani 59 (P), Simplicio 80 (P), Ronaldinho pen 83 (M)

Ronaldinho's saved penalty proved very costly indeed, as Palermo ran riot in a 3-1 victory that leaves Milan six points adrift of Inter.

The Rossoneri have been stuttering recently, notching up two last-gasp 2-2 draws on the trot away to Torino and Portsmouth to widen the gap from leaders Inter to three points. Last season they fell 2-1 in Sicily and made the trip this time without Marco Borriello, Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso and the suspended Kaka. Palermo had no injury problems, but had won just one of their last seven Serie A games.

Fabrizio Miccoli went to charge into the box, but was winded by Daniele Bonera's obstruction, although the referee waved play on. Moris Carrozzieri's glancing header from a Miccoli free kick skimmed the upright, but Bonera's volley on Ronaldinho's cross was deflected wide.

Alexandre Pato's glancing header whistled past the far post, but the young Brazilian had a great chance on 17 minutes. A terrible defensive intervention from Antonio Nocerino was basically a backpass to Pato, but Marco Amelia did well to parry from point-blank range.

Just 20 seconds later Miccoli's fierce snapshot from 30 metres was palmed out of the near bottom corner by Christian Abbiati. From the resulting corner Massimo Ambrosini performed a goalline clearance to deny Miccoli again!

Abbiati got down brilliantly again to keep out Miccoli's daisy-cutter volley from the edge of the box.

Pato was off for treatment after a knock to the ribcage, but soon after coming back on, Amelia clattered into him as he sprung the offside trap and the referee pointed to the spot. The contact was right on the edge of the box and difficult to tell whether it was inside or out. Ronaldinho stepped up and took a very long curved run-up, but Amelia guessed the right angle and palmed it out of the far corner! It was a fine save, as the ball was heading right into the bottom corner.

Pato did not recover from that knock and made way for Fratton Park hero Pippo Inzaghi.

Mark Bresciano's fresh-air shot was a relief for the chaotic Rossoneri defence, then Fabio Simplicio rolled through for Miccoli to burst into the box, but Marek Jankulovski performed a crucial tackle as he was pulling the trigger from eight yards.

The Rosanero were pinning Milan back into their own final third in the last 10 minutes of the first half, but could not find a way through. Inzaghi was tripped by Cesare Bovo and this time it was inches outside the box. With the final kick of the first half, Ronaldinho curled that free kick on to the crossbar!

Five minutes after the restart, Miccoli finally won his personal duel with Miccoli. The 'Pocket Striker' went on a trademark run, cut back in from the left and when he saw a gap between defenders unleashed a rocket measured at 106km/h that flashed into the far bottom corner.

Carlo Ancelotti threw on Andriy Shevchenko and Emerson, moving Ronaldinho behind the two strikers. Almost immediately Clarence Seedorf's effort hit Inzaghi and the ball ricocheted into Sheva's path for a fine Amelia save.

Moments later Palermo doubled their advantage with Edison Cavani redirecting Fabio Liverani's cross into a looping header from the penalty spot. The Uruguayan out-jumped Paolo Maldini and twisted in the air.

This was the second time Milan had found themselves 2-0 down in four days, as they fought back to draw 2-2 in stoppages at Portsmouth on Thursday evening. Zambrotta chested down a long ball for Ronaldinho, who shinned his volley.

Mattia Cassani charged down Jankulovski's blockbuster, then Amelia flew to palm an Andrea Pirlo free kick out of the bottom near corner. The tension was getting to Ancelotti, who broke the rules by smoking on the touchline.

Abbiati's palms were stung by a Simplicio screamer, then Sheva exchanged passes with Seedorf to spring the offside trap and Amelia bravely smothered at the Ukrainian's feet.

The hopes of a comeback were wrecked 10 minutes from time when Simplicio was left unmarked for a free header from six yards Federico Balzaretti's cross from the left. The Brazilian was given all the time in the world to line up his finish.

Ronaldinho didn't give in and went on a blazing run through a crowd of Palermo shirts until he was clearly tripped by Bovo. The former Barcelona man decided to take it again after the save in the first half and, although Amelia got the angle right again, this time slipped the ball under his arm.

Dinho was leading the improbable charge now and Carrozzieri blocked another run in the box with a clean tackle, then he blasted just over from 25 metres. Amelia had his palms stung by a Zambrotta half-volley that was heading under the bar from a very tight angle and repeated the trick on Emerson.

It was too little, too late from Milan, who seemed to compress their entire performance into the last 10 minutes. Amelia performed another very tough save on Pirlo's daisy-cutter in stoppages. Substitute Succi nearly got a fourth on the counter, but Bonera timed his sliding tackle perfectly.
Palermo: Amelia; Cassani, Carrozieri, Bovo, Balzaretti; Nocerino, Liverani, Bresciano; Simplicio (Guana 91), Miccoli (Kjaer 87), Cavani (Succi 92)

Milan: Abbiati;Zambrotta, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski; Flamini (Emerson 57), Pirlo, Ambrosini (Shevchenko 57); Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Pato (Inzaghi 29)

Ref: Rocchi

Missed penalty: Ronaldinho 27 (M)





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