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The Archive

March 2005

Pirlo suggests Baronio swoop
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo believes that Chievo’s Roberto Baronio could become his ‘substitute’ at Milan next season.

The Rossoneri have openly admitted that Pirlo is irreplaceable in the side right now and the outfit will look to remedy that problem in the summer.

Although a number of players have been linked, Baronio’s name is being continually associated with a switch.

"I know him very well because we grew up together at Brescia," stated the Italian international.

"We also played alongside each other for the Under-21s. He has great vision and is a really good player.

"He is like a brother to me and we often speak. It would be ideal to have him by my side even if that isn’t up to me to decide."

Pirlo is again proving his worth to the champions this season and reports suggest a new contract could be on the way.

But the former Inter player, who scored twice in the 2-0 win over Scotland on Saturday, is in no rush.

"A new deal until 2010? My present one expires in 2008 so we will take our time," concluded the playmaker.

Sheva ready, Adriano hopes
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano and Andriy Shevchenko have had mixed responses from their check-ups as they race to be ready for the Euro derby.

Today’s check-up with Professor Jean Marcel Ferret in Lyon confirmed the initial diagnosis of a strained knee ligament and he can remove the protective cast.

However, he won’t be able to resume running until Monday and the chances of getting him back to full fitness for the Champions’ League quarter-final on April 12 are extremely slim.

“Professor Ferret confirmed the diagnosis, was pleased with the treatment he’s been subjected to up until now and together we drew up a rehabilitation programme,” explained Inter chief medic Franco Combi.

“Adriano will finish off this week with a specific strengthening work-out to reinforce the area around the damaged ligament, while aerobic exercises in the pool will keep the rest of his leg in shape. At the start of next week he can begin running.”

The Brazilian is certainly ruled out of the first leg encounter with rivals Milan on April 6, so Obafemi Martins will start with either Christian Vieri or Julio Cruz.

Vieri remains a doubt to play on Saturday in the Serie A trip to Bologna, as he has not set foot onto the field since the last Milan derby on February 27.

On the other side of the San Siro, the Rossoneri are ready to bring Andriy Shevchenko back for the first time since he fractured his cheekbone against Cagliari on February 19.

“The injury has healed,” announced Milan medic Professor Jean-Pierre Meersseman following today’s check-up.

“He is doing better than I thought he would at this stage and his fitness levels are fine. Perhaps he’s lacking a bit of sharpness, but if he plays against Brescia this weekend then that should come fairly quickly.”

Pippo Inzaghi is also prepared for his return from injury, so the two strikers could share the spotlight with perhaps 45 minutes each against the Rondinelle on Saturday evening.

Rui Costa in crash scare
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa’s private jet was in an emergency landing at Milan’s Malpensa Airport this afternoon and the player has spoken of his shock.

The midfielder, celebrating his 33rd birthday today, was returning from a holiday in Sharm El Sheik with his wife, two children, parents, his brother and a baby-sitter when the pilot reported problems with the undercarriage.

The plane came in for an emergency landing with the aid of foam on the runway, eventually screeching to a halt, causing the closure of the airport for an hour.

“I was terrified,” explained the Portuguese international after he was released from hospital. “I didn’t so much worry about myself as I did for my family. I was very scared for their safety.”

Rui Costa was able to take part in the training session this afternoon with his teammates and fans showing their concern.

“It was a terrible experience, but thankfully it all went well in the end. I must above all thank the pilot and the firemen for doing such a great job. Training so soon after the incident was a real help to me, as I had to get my mind off what could’ve happened. Thank you to everyone for your kind show of support and affection.”

Curiously, this was the second emergency landing at Malpensa today, as this morning a Swiss Air jet interrupted its flight towards Zurich after being hit by a bolt of lightning.

I almost quit, reveals Crespo
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Hernan Crespo says he thought about retiring as a result of his constant injury problems.

The 29-year-old was hampered by numerous fitness issues for 18 months before returning to his old self around Christmas time.

"When I was jumping from one injury to another, I did think about retirement," said the Chelsea owned player.

"I couldn't play two games in a row and that depressed me. I couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

"I alternated good performances with bad ones and I didn’t feel comfortable with myself at all."

Crespo joined Chelsea in 2003 but he failed to establish himself, scoring 10 goals in just 19 games.

A loan move to Milan followed at the start of this term and he’s once more enjoying his football, as his 15 goals in all competitions clearly illustrates.

"Now I feel happy and proud because I’m like the same player who I was some time ago," added the Argentine.

"I’m feeling in very good physical condition and I needed a moment like this, as I did think that I would hang up my boots in June.

"But that has changed with a lot of hard work and I feel that I am alive in football once again."

Crespo, who hopes to seal a permanent move to Milan, was also quick to thank his current club.

"Milan have treated me well and with patience," he explained. "Thank God that I was given this opportunity by them.

"The only thing they were interested in was to have me fully fit. They gave me the strength to carry on."

AC Milan vs. Brescia - match preview
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s bid to win back-to-back Scudetti continues at home to Brescia on Saturday. The Rossoneri are the form team in Serie A having won their last eight games, while their opponents have won just twice in their last 12. But the Rondinelli can take heart from their 0-0 stalemate against Milan earlier in the season – although the Milan side they faced back in November were struggling for consistency.

Alessandro Costacurta will, as ever, be on hand to step into the Milan defence in place of the suspended Jaap Stam but Alessandro Nesta is missing with a gashed foot. Brazilian starlet Kaka is also suspended, although it is not certain that he would have played anyway having been away on international duty. Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson will again play in attack, even if Andriy Shevchenko could feature at some stage,

Daniele Berretta and Giuseppe Sculli return for Alberto Cavasin’s side, who are again without January signing Marco Delvecchio. The influential Luigi Di Biagio will return to a defence who haven’t kept a clean sheet since the middle of February.

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Maldini, Costacurta, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Crespo, Tomasson

Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Martinez, Di Biagio, Zoboli; Wome, Stankevicius, Milanetto, Berretta, Sculli; Caracciolo, Mannini

New deals for Milan duo
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo and Manuel Rui Costa are on the verge of signing new contracts with Milan.

Pirlo, who scored a brace of free-kicks in the 2-0 win over Scotland on Saturday, is ready to commit his long-term future to the Rossoneri.

Already contracted to the champions until 2008, the San Siro outfit are keen to extend his stay up to 2010.

Meanwhile, Rui Costa is also expected to put pen to paper on a new deal which will probably see him retire with the outfit.

The former Fiorentina playmaker’s present agreement expires in the summer of 2006 but that is set to be prolonged by an extra 12 months.

Although the Portuguese ace is no longer guaranteed first team football, Milan want to keep hold of the creative midfielder who is today celebrating his 33rd birthday.

Rui Costa was expected to return to his homeland in the summer but is now ready to accept a 20 per cent cut in wages in order to continue his Italian adventure.

Meanwhile, Japanese media reports claim that Milan are monitoring 17-year-old Takayuki Morimoto.

The forward, who can play as a first or second striker, is currently excelling in the J-League with Verdy.

Milan begin Crespo fee talks
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will start talks with Chelsea this week in an attempt to agree a transfer fee for Hernan Crespo.

The Argentine ace is currently on loan at the San Siro and is desperate to remain after a successful campaign away from Stamford Bridge.

It’s understood that the South American has agreed terms with Milan but can’t put pen to paper until the two clubs reach an agreement.

Chelsea paid Inter a massive £15m for Crespo two years ago, but are expected to release the former Parma man to the Rossoneri for roughly £8m.

Crespo arrived at the club in the summer as a fourth striker behind Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Despite a slow start, the South American has made a real impression this season after netting 14 goals so far.

That has convinced Milan to keep the ace despite the fact that they are also expected to sign Parma’s Alberto Gilardino in the summer.

Crespo and his agent have held talks with the champions and a three-year deal has been agreed.

But that document can’t be registered with the Italian Football League until a fee between the two clubs has been settled.

Milan and Chelsea officials will hold a number of talks this week and Crespo is remaining optimistic.

"I am hopeful that Chelsea will sell and am confident that I will remain," the player said last week.

"I made my decision last June and I have only one intention which is to stay with Milan. However, a deal must be agreed with Chelsea first."

Milan ponder Oddo swoop
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Oddo is the latest right-back to be paired with a summer move to Italian champions Milan.

The Rossoneri are looking for a valid alternative to Marcos Cafu, 34, for the new season and the Italian is a real possibility.

Lazio are still trying to resolve their debt problems and reports suggest Oddo will be sacrificed at the end of the season.

The 29-year-old, an Italian international, is rather similar in style to Cafu given his offensive nature.

That similarity suggests that Oddo would be more welcomed by boss Carlo Ancelotti rather than the also linked Giandomenico Mesto (Reggina), Marco Cassetti (Lecce) and Daniele Bonera (Parma).

Oddo, who was brought up through the Milan youth ranks, has also been associated with Inter and Juventus.

The former Verona player and penalty expert will be allowed to leave the Italian capital for a reported £3.6m.

Rossoneri join Bonera race
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Parma defender is tipped to set the summer transfer gossip alight when he is likely to be sold in order to keep the Tardini side afloat.

Up until now, Juventus have been the runaway favourites to capture his signature, but today Turin-based newspaper ‘Tuttosport’ has warned that there is a new contender in the race.

Milan are eager to bring some fresh blood into a defence where only Alessandro Nesta is the right side of 30, while Bonera’s versatility would enable him to play in central defence or at right-back.

The key to the deal could lie with Alberto Gilardino, as the deal to bring in the hitman is almost completed and 23-year-old Bonera could be thrown in as part of an expanded agreement with Parma.

The importance of Marcos Cafu on the right has become all too apparent this season and a back-up is necessary for the new campaign.

Lecce’s soon to be Italian international Marco Cassetti was the prime candidate, but Massimo Oddo’s imminent split with Lazio has alerted the San Siro giants to potential bargain.

Milan vie for Hugo Viana
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are strong reports that the Rossoneri will be making a firm bid for Newcastle-owned flop Hugo Viana in the summer.

Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd travelled to Portugal this week to discuss the 22-year-old’s future, but it looks as if Sporting Lisbon – where the midfielder is currently on loan – will be unable to meet the £5m asking price to make the move permanent.

Milan are now showing a marked interest after director Ariedo Braida formed a comprehensive scouting dossier on Viana.

Porto and Benfica are also willing to keep him in Portugal, but the Serie A giants provide a very different allure.

Viana’s attacking tendencies from midfield will fit into Carlo Ancelotti’s tactics and the youngster could step in for his fellow countryman Manuel Rui Costa.

The former Under-21 international was signed by Newcastle for £8.5m in 2002, but failed to settle in to the Premiership.

Thuram: Lay off AC Milan trio over blood tests
26.3 || webmaster

Source: tribalfootball.com

Juventus defender Lilian Thuram says he is in favour of blood doping tests, but also backs the decisions of AC Milan's three players to refuse to give a sample.

Milan trio Rino Gattuso, Giuseppe Pancaro and Clarence Seedorf have all refused to take a blood test during this season, which has caused uproar in Italy.

But Thuram said: "I am in favour of the blood tests."

"If I was asked, I would undergo it. But I do not see why players should be criticised for refusing when the laws allow them to."

AC Milan in talks with Reggina over Mesto & Mozart
26.3 || webmaster

Source: tribalfootball.com

Reggina supremo Pasquale Foti has been locked in transfer talks this international week with AC Milan.

Foti has been speaking to Milan chiefs Adriano Galliani and Ariedo Braida about Reggina midfield pair Mozart and Giandomenico Mesto.

A cash-plus-player swap deal is on the table, with Reggina keeping on-loan Milan striker Marco Borriello, plus the choice of one of Sam Dalla Bona or Massimo Donati, in exchange for Mesto and Mozart. A cash component of £2.5 million would also go to Reggina.

Foti is considering the offer, but doesn't want to make a decision until Reggina's fate for next season is decided.

Galliani has told Foti if he isn't interested in the package, then Milan's priority is sign the versatile Mesto.

Emre regrets Milan snub
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Emre Belozoglu has said he made a mistake when he chose to sign for Inter and not city rivals Milan.

"The Rossoneri contacted me when I decided to move to Italy but I picked Inter instead," he told Turkish newspaper Vatan.

"Inter are now a side with no future. They will never be as good as Milan."

The pint-sized midfielder arrived at the San Siro in 2001 from Galatasaray, catching the attention of the planet a year later when he helped Turkey finish third at the World Cup.

But he is now part of an Inter side that is overloaded with midfield talent and struggles to play regularly in the starting XI.

"Boss Roberto Mancini has his own ideas," added Emre. "He’s told me I’m a good player but that he knows what side he wants to pick.

"I understand that but I didn’t think he would be so rigid or unwilling to change. He just picks the same players all of the time."

Emre’s controversial outburst comes just days after he publicly revealed that he was looking for a summer exit.

"I am leaving," he again underlined. "I have understood that Inter will never win anything whereas if I was at Milan, I would have already won the Champions’ League and Lo Scudetto."

The two teams ironically meet in the quarter-finals of this season’s European Cup next month.

Emre, still just 24, is likely to leave Italy at the end of the season, with reported interest from a number of Spanish and English clubs.

Rui ready for new deal
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa is on the verge of extending his contract with Milan, according to reports.

The Portuguese ace was expected to return to his homeland in the summer but now looks likely to end his career at the San Siro.

The former Benfica ace, who will be 33 next Tuesday, is set to sign a new deal keeping him in Milan until 2007.

Rui Costa will also take a 20 per cent cut in wages in order to remain with the Italian champions.

The midfielder is no longer a first-team regular at the club but says he and Milan are ready to compete on all fronts after the short Easter break.

"We are all prepared to fight to the end in the League and the Champions’ League," he stated.

"It’s a case of taking one game at a time but I believe we have a much better side than two years ago when we won the European Cup.

"The next game against Brescia is important," he added "It will motivate us to finish the jobs we have started. This could be a very positive season."

Italian AC Milan therapists set to work on shaken Shevchenko
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Xinhua (China)

ROME, Mar. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- AC Milan is using a special course of psychological therapy to help European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko recover from the shock of a nasty face injury, local media reported Thursday.

Shevchenko fractured his left cheekbone in a clash of heads during Milan's 1-0 win over Cagliari in Serie A on February 19. The injury left the player's face swollen and distorted, and he was visibly shaken when he left the field.

Two days later Shevchenko had an operation that successfully repaired the bone. But the psychological trauma did not heal with it, prompting Milan's doctors to prepare a tailor-made course of biofeedback therapy.

A fractured cheekbone usually takes 10-12 days to heal and the club had hoped to have the Ukraine back in action for last weekend's away tie against AS Roma. Shevchenko did not feel ready though,and Milan had to win the game without him, 0-2.

"I have to delete that memory," he said. "The problem is a mental one. Even today when I see photos of the accident it sends shivers down me."

During the therapy Shevchenko is shown images of the incident, while electrodes attached to his body provide a variety of readings -- the feedback -- displayed on equipment in front of him.

The signals measure variables such as skin temperature, muscle tension and brainwave activity. Therapists use this information to train the patient to make changes in the way he perceives the cause of the stress, so he can get over it.

Experts warn that if a psychological trauma of the kind Shevchenko suffered were left untreated it could undermine the professional's confidence and damage his career.

The hope now is to have the Ukraine international mentally and physically fit for Milan's home league tie against Brescia on April 3.

Milan Health Coordinator Jean Pierre Meersseman has said the striker will probably have to wear a protective mask for the first few games after his return.

Azzurri stand firmly behind Gattuso
24.3 || Seamus

Italy's Rino Gattuso will go into Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland with the full backing of the national team despite his refusal to take a non-mandatory blood test following his club side AC Milan's Serie A game against Roma on Sunday.

The Italian midfielder, who used to play for Rangers, submitted a mandatory urine sample but opted out of giving an optional blood test, believing the facilities were not clean at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.


He was joined in his refusal by AC Milan team-mate and former Azzurri international Giuseppe Pancaro, who also declined to provide a blood sample. Both Roma players agreed to the blood tests after the match.

'I have not refused the anti-doping test as I did provide a urine sample,' said Gattuso.

'When I went into the anti-doping room, they asked me if I wanted to give a blood sample and I asked if it was mandatory and the answer was no.

'I did provide a urine sample so I reiterate that I have not refused to take an anti-doping test.

'In the anti-doping room, there were 10 people there, there was a lot of confusion, I had the stress of the after-game and there were syringes all over the place.

'We, meaning I and the rest of my team-mates, are not animals.'

Italy's Olympic Committee president Gianni Petrucci has been left frustrated by the incident as, under current football regulations, players are only required to submit urine samples.

'They had the right to refuse to take the test,' admitted Petrucci. 'This episode is nevertheless morally disappointing.'

Petrucci believes the current rules need to be changed and has the support of Italy coach Marcello Lippi who said: 'I would not send Gattuso home just because of this episode.

'But the controls should become mandatory.'

Gattuso, who is looking forward to taking on Scotland in Milan this weekend after playing for Rangers earlier in his career, is surprised that the episode has created a huge controversy.

'I don't think it's the first time that a player has refused to give a blood sample,' said Gattuso, who has undergone a total of 13 anti-doping controls so far this season.

'I have nothing to hide, they can do controls whenever they want to, in Milanello (the AC Milan training ground) or in my own house - I can give 10 litres of blood if need be!'

To prove his point Gattuso provided a blood sample on Tuesday - two days after he had refused to do so in Rome.

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has come out in defence of Gattuso and brushed aside the criticisms made by some of the nation's leading sports personalities, who believe that footballers are given an easier ride than less high-profile sports people.

'I don't think we are privileged in comparison to other sportsmen,' said the Juventus defender.

'In Europe, Italy is the country that has more anti-doping tests done in football than in any other country, approximately 5000 tests per season.

'The rules are wrong and the only way to resolve this problem is by making the blood tests mandatory.'

Last year Franco Carraro, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president, said that any player refusing the joint blood-and-urine test should not be selected for Italy although no formal rule exist to that effect.

However, on Tuesday Carraro backed the AC Milan midfielder when he said: 'I consider Gattuso an honest athlete.'

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/headlinenews?id=328572&cc=5901

Cannavaro fears Scudetto play-off
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juve and Milan have been locked at the top of the Serie A table for weeks and Fabio Cannavaro fears the Scudetto can only be decided by a play-off.

“I expect this head to head situation to carry on for some time to come,” said the Bianconeri defender. “I hope it’ll all be resolved before the final day of the season, but the showdown with Milan will be too early to be decisive.”

The two clubs will face off at the San Siro on May 8, but there will be another three League games before the end of the season. Goal difference counts for nothing and we could see the second Scudetto play-off, as in 1964 Bologna beat Inter 2-0 on neutral turf to take the title.

“I think that at the end of the day the title will be decided by an unexpected poor result, or even the absence of a star player.”

Both teams have had to do without key elements this season, as David Trezeguet, Pavel Nedved, Andriy Shevchenko and Pippo Inzaghi have been long-term injury worries.

“Juventus are more of a solid side, while Milan can count on greater quality and passing,” explained Cannavaro.

The former Parma and Inter defender was interviewed at the Coverciano training ground as Italy prepare to face Scotland in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier.

“The fact that Antonio Cassano and Alberto Gilardino are fighting for places shows what quality the Azzurri have at the moment. Lately we’ve had to do without Christian Vieri and Alessandro Del Piero due to injury, so it’s important to know we have young players who can fill in for them.”

Francesco Totti is now an injury doubt for the Scotland game after again skipping training due to a cut on his foot. However, the Roma star is expected to recover in time for Saturday's game.

Seedorf: I refused blood test
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf has added to the doping scandal surrounding Milan by admitting he’s one of ten other Serie A players to refuse blood tests this season.

“I refused to take a blood test after our 2-1 win at Atalanta,” revealed the Rossoneri midfielder. “It was nothing out of the ordinary, as there is a choice and I chose not to give a blood sample.”

The media has been buzzing since the news that Gennaro Gattuso and Giuseppe Pancaro refused to give blood samples after their 2-0 win at Roma on Sunday evening. New rules state that all players selected must give urine samples, but blood tests are not compulsory.

Since the story broke, it has emerged that ten Serie A players also chose not to give blood samples for an anti-doping test during February and Seedorf admits he was one of them.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that I opted not to give blood because the urine sample can take a long time after you’ve played a match and are tired. I had the option not to take this test and took that option, but it doesn’t make my anti-doping test any less thorough.”

The fact that Milan’s stars were named and shamed in the Press prompted confusion amid the Rossoneri squad.

“I don’t understand how the fact that Gattuso and Pancaro said no could emerge in the first place,” continued the Dutchman. “There is a law to protect privacy in Italy and yet we are reading names and surnames of doctors. It’s all very strange.”

Teammate Andrea Pirlo also added to the anger and claimed there was an organised attempt to undermine the Serie A leaders.

“It’s very probable that there is a conspiracy against Milan at work here,” said the midfielder. “Certain things should be kept private and they were for other players. There is no scandal to discuss, as they were not obliged to take the tests.”

Gattuso later gave a blood sample at the Italy squad’s Coverciano training ground, claiming the conditions at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday were “unsanitary.”

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro suggested a way to end this confusion over the new anti-doping tests once and for all. “If they were made to be obligatory for everyone, then that would clarify where all the players stand.”

Crespo nears Milan move
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Chelsea’s Hernan Crespo is a step closer to making his loan move to Milan a permanent one.

The Argentine forward has been in sparkling form recently and the champions are very keen to retain his services for next season.

"I’m very optimistic," said Crespo. "I have almost agreed terms with Milan, all that is left is to find an agreement with Chelsea over my transfer."

Crespo’s agent has been in negotiations with the Rossoneri for the past month, after the striker netted some crucial goals in both Serie A and Europe.

Reports suggest that the Italian giants have offered Crespo, who is currently on international duty, a contract until June 2008.

There could be further developments by the end of next week with a meeting scheduled between both clubs.

The two parties will use those talks in an attempt to agree a reasonable transfer fee that satisfies both Milan and Chelsea.

The Blues, whose boss Jose Mourinho would still like the player at his disposal next term, signed Crespo from Inter in 2003 for a massive £15m.

Milan could try to tempt Chelsea to sell with a cash plus player bid, which may see left-back Kakha Kaladze move to Stamford Bridge.

Nesta leaves Italy's camp
23.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

FLORENCE - Alessandro Nesta left the Azzurri camp in Coverciano due to an injury to his right ankle that makes him unavailable for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland. The defender joined the Azzurri training camp yesterday evening despite the fact that the wound to his foot had still not healed. Italy medical officer Castellacci explained: 'The player is not in a fit state to train.'

Crespo on his form
23.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

ROME - Hernan Crespo spoke about his current good form before leaving for Buenos Aires to join up with the Argentina squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. It should be a relaxing flight for the striker as his goals have kept Milan at the top of the table, matching Juventus game for game. Crespo said: 'I am happy to be able to live this moment and I just want to keep going down this road. The striker is the gauge of the side and if he scores it’s good to say that the team are doing well. We are top of the table and one of the best eight sides in Europe which is down to my team-mates who have given me the chance to get back.'

Hernan played a major part in the win over Roma, scoring the first and winning the penalty for the second. He talked about his goal against the Giallorossi, but first about his chance early in the second period: 'I really wanted to drive home Clarence’s [Seedorf] long pass but the goalkeeper was good and fortunate. As for the goal, it seemed easier than it really was when I watched it on television again.'
The 29-year-old scored his first competitive goal for the side on November 20 in the Italian Cup tie at Palermo and in the following four months he has found the net on regular occasions, scoring twice against Shakhtar in the Champions League, a left-footed drive at Verona against Chievo. He then hit a hat-trick against Fiorentina in December and a brace against Lecce in January. However, Crespo really stepped up a gear in February, with two at Messina, a last-minute winner at home to Lazio, and then in both legs against Manchester United in the Champions League. In the two games against the English side and the return derby encounter, Hernan played as the sole striker, drawing defenders all over the place and creating space for his team-mates. Crespo will be back at Milanello on April 1, a day ahead of the Brescia game so it will be hard to say if he will be ready for the game but of course, the derby is just around the corner: 'Italian derbies are unique experiences, I feel them a lot, I was in London for Chelsea and Arsenal but I feel the Milan derby more, it’s closer to my character and temperament.'

Sala on the test procedure
23.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

Milan medical officer, Dr. Massimiliano Sala has spoken about the control mechanism used for post-match doping tests following the debate that has arisen following a report that two Milan players refused to give blood samples after the game at Roma. This season the procedure was interrupted in February and started again this month where four players are checked, giving urine and blood samples. Dr Sala said: 'Only the player can give his consent to a blood test. If he does then it must be kept anonymous, that is the law on privacy. If one of the four do not give their consent then none of the players need do but it must be kept private who did not give their consent. This is the important issue. Then the blood test does not show if a pharmacological substance is there that can modify the sporting performance. It is not a anti-doping control but a test of the blood cell parametres for the likes of haemoglobin and retculum C. The parametres are set as normal at 100cc of urine but if it is higher than this amount then a search of substances on the World Ant-doping list will be consulted and that will include EPO.'

Sala went on: 'If a player does not give a blood sample it will mean his urine drug test will be even more stringent. It is important to make this clear so everyone has the right information. The blood test is not the first screening and a player is not evading the anti-doping test as he knows there is a more accurate one in the urine sample. If have to clear this up as there is false information going round.'
In conclusion, the doctor said: 'A player can turn down a blood sample as he has played ninety minutes of football and two vials of blood have to be taken. He might find this too painful and can therefore give a urine sample and he knows that this is also more complete.'

Sala on post-game doping
23.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

Milan medical officer, doctor Massimiliano Sala, has helped clear up the procedure surronding the blood and urine tests carried out on a player after a game: 'If a player does not give a blood sample it will mean his urine drug test will be even more stringent. It is important to make this clear so everyone has the right information. The blood test is not the first screening and a player is not evading the anti-doping test as he knows there is a more accurate one in the urine sample. I have to clear this up as there is false information going round.'
He added: 'A player can turn down a blood sample as he has played ninety minutes of football and two vials of blood have to be taken. He might find this too painful and can therefore give a urine sample and he knows that this is also more complete.'

Weight of absences hangs over derby
23.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

Players always want to be involved in the big games and nothing comes bigger than a Milan derby. However, down through the years there have been some controversial incidents and delicate moments when some of the top performers have been left out or missed the encounter due to injury or suspension. Just considering the last 26 years, there are some curious cases. Milan were wearing the star for ten titles on their shirts in 1979 when coach Nils Liedholm left out the legendary Gianni Rivera and played Giovanni Sartori instead. The Rossoneri won 1-0 thanks to Aldo Maldera’s goal. Six years later, in a red-hot first leg of an Italian Cup semi-final derby, Milan looked to be a victim as they were deprived of Mark Hateley who had been their top-scorer that season. Liedholm’s team slowly managed to make up for the England international’s absence and defeated Inter 2-1 thanks to goals from Pietro Paolo Virdis and Andrea Icardi.

A year later it was Milan’s turn to fall to an Inter side deprived of Karl Heinz Rummenigge. It was the famous derby that saw Giuseppe Minaudo’s winner, a defeat that turned out to be a tricky one for the red-and-black colours. History seems to support the thesis that the derby is won by the team missing their star player. This may be the rule, but the city derby also produces exceptions, as witnessed in the first match of the 1988-89 season. The Rossoneri rested Ruud Gullit ahead of the Champions League encounter in Belgrade and the Nerazzurri took advantage of this and won through a Aldo Serena goal.

Exactly one year later, the situation was reversed as Inter were without Lothar Matthaeus and Milan punished them with three strikes from Marco Van Basten, Diego Fuser and Daniele Massaro. Another season passed and the Rossoneri missed an in-form Carlo Ancelotti due to a suspension earned in the previous game at Bergamo and the derby ended 1-0 for Inter, with Nicola Berti getting on the scoresheet. Sometimes it isn’t all heartbreak as George Weah proved in 1995, when the Liberian suffered a muscular problem at Vicenza a week before the derby, but was able to make a last-minute recovery to feature in the Serie A late match, however, he was not at his usual top form, that’s why the derby ended in a 1-1 draw, with Dejan Savicevic cancelling out Antonio Paganin’s opener for the Nerazzurri.

These were all the well-known previews that led to the derbies Inter played without having Ronaldo, that registered either Nerazzurri victories as in March 2000 (2-1 thanks to goals from Ivan Zamorano and Gigi Di Biagio), or draws as in January 2001 (2-2, with Oliver Bierhoff scoring a late equaliser) or Rossoneri victories such as the 6-0 win and the 4-2 triumph in late 2001. It must also be remembered that Christian Vieri missed both the Euro-derby semi-final games in 2003, but to be precise and complete even Andrea Pirlo’s and Clarence Seedorf’s injuries must be cited, with the duo being ruled out of the first leg. The same happened to Andriy Shevchenko in the Serie A return derby this season. While Milan were approaching the week leading to the Inter challenge, leaving for Manchester, the Golden Ball winner was travelling to a clinic to be operated on his cheeckbone. The final score that Sunday night was a 1-0 win for Milan who, to be honest, were not so lucky to face the big challenge without Sheva, Jaap Stam and with an excellent Kakha Kaladze being forced off with injury during the game.

All in all, the derby teaches us that a big absence can stimulate the team who suffer it to do better or give the victory to the opposition. The truth is that every game is played on the pitch and no amount of previous history can predict what will happen in a Milan derby.

Nesta to miss Scotland tie
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Alessandro Nesta is on the verge of pulling out of Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

The defender has failed to recover from a deep gash in his foot, which he suffered in the recent 1-0 win over Sampdoria.

The Rossoneri stopper, who missed training this morning, will probably return to Milan later today after being examined by the Azzurri’s medical staff.

His place in the heart of Italy’s defence will now go to Inter’s Marco Materazzi, ahead of the talented but inexperienced Palermo centre-back Andrea Barzagli.

The loss of Nesta will be a massive blow for boss Marcello Lippi as he prepares for Saturday’s San Siro showdown.

Lippi, who was appointed in the summer after Giovanni Trapattoni’s failure at Euro 2004, is already without first choice left-back Gianluca Zambrotta because of suspension.

There are also concerns over the fitness of Vincenzo Montella after the Roma striker worked in the gym this morning.

Scotland have their own injury problems through with strikers James McFadden and Paul Dickov both pulling out of the game.

Milan pair in drugs row
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The doping debate is back in the spotlight after Gennaro Gattuso and Giuseppe Pancaro refused to give a blood sample following Milan’s win against Roma.

The Rossoneri duo were randomly selected for the routine drug test following Sunday’s match, but only opted to give the compulsory urine sample.

Yet the Italian internationals declined to also give a blood sample which is left up to the players discretion.

Milan team doctor Massimiliano Sala was quick to defend their decision. "If a player does not give a blood sample it will mean his urine drug test will be even more stringent," he said.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC), who last year agreed that players were well within their rights to decline leaving blood, will look to quickly clear up the confusion.

It is not clear at this stage why the players refused but Italy Coach Marcello Lippi is hoping the incident will not affect his squad before Saturday’s game.

Especially as Gattuso, a former Rangers man, is expected to play a key role in the Azzurri’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland at the weekend.

Italian football has been swamped with doping stories over the last decade after players such as Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids tested positive for nandrolone.

Juventus doctor Ricardo Agricola was also recently found guilty of administering illegal substances to players even if the club were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Galliani fears Scudetto showdown
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan chief Adriano Galliani is ignoring any thoughts of a potential Scudetto play-off with rivals Juventus.

Both clubs are still locked at the top of the table and Italian rules state that a one-off game must be played if they end the campaign level on points.

"I hope we don’t need the ‘spareggio’, I still remember the game between Bologna and Inter," he stated.

That match in 1964 was the last time that a Scudetto showdown was needed, a game the Dall’Ara outfit won 2-0.

"We are marching at a high pace on 66 points with nine games still to go," continued Galliani.

"Milan are playing better in some games, Juventus in others. This is a situation of great equilibrium which will continue until the very end. It’s going to be tough."

Milan and Juventus will definitely meet at least one more time this season in the Week 35 schedule.

That clash is currently set to take place at 15.00 hours local time, but there is a distinct possibility that it may kick-off at 20.30 hours instead for television.

"Milan are ready to play at night but we will have to see what the League and Juventus say," he added.

The two giants of the Italian game could in theory also meet in Europe this term, if they both reach the Champions’ League Final.

Roma 0:2 AC Milan - match report
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Crespo 63 (M), Pirlo pen 71 (M)

Bruno Conti's Roma debut is ruined by his old Giallorossi teammate Carlo Ancelotti as Milan notch up their eighth consecutive Serie A win.

Conti made his Serie A debut as a Coach against his old friend and former Giallorossi teammate Carlo Ancelotti, but this was also a game neither could afford to lose. Milan needed three points to stay top of the table alongside Juventus, while Roma were losing sight of the European spots following their third consecutive defeat.

Luigi Del Neri resigned on Monday and Conti was expected to leave Antonio Cassano on the bench in favour of Amantino Mancini, but he went for an attacking line-up with Francesco Totti behind the front two rather than as part of a trident attack. Philippe Mexes, Traianos Dellas and Daniele De Rossi were suspended, while both goalkeepers were injured. Conti's actual debut was Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Fiorentina, but the Giallorossi still qualified for the Coppa Italia semi-finals on penalties.

Milan had to do without the injured Alessandro Nesta and Andriy Shevchenko, while Serginho was on the bench despite suffering from flu. The 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Udinese in the Coppa Italia midweek ended a run of nine consecutive victories in all competitions, but they were still looking for an eight Serie A win on the trot.

Roma had a strong start with Montella firing two good chances wide of the target, then Totti failed to complete a fine passing move with the Aeroplanino and there were timid penalty appeals for a shirt-tug on the captain.

Montella skipped past defenders after 11 minutes and his relatively weak effort was gathered by Dida.

But it was Milan who went closest soon after, as Kaka redirected Andrea Pirlo's free kick and forced Gianluca Curci into a tough reaction save at the near post. It was only the 19-year-old goalkeeper's second Serie A appearance.

Francesco Totti curled a free kick over the bar and Jaap Stam performed a crucial intervention to prevent Cassano's cross reaching Montella.

Moments later, Jon Dahl Tomasson's first touch let him down on a Clarence Seedorf floated pass and Curci was able to smother the ball.

Kaka also failed to get a firm touch on Crespo's pass and Cristian Chivu was able to dive in for a corner kick. The Brazilian also had a long-range shot comfortably blocked by Curci.

Dida intercepted some marvellous duetting between Cassano and Totti, while the captain curled a low free kick round the defensive wall and the goalkeeper did well not to be taken by surprise.

Milan's best chance of the game so far arrived two minutes into the second half, as Crespo held off his marker to latch on to Seedorf's pass and pulled the trigger, but Curci bravely stayed on his feet and was able to charge down the shot with his legs.

Cafu was booked for a two-footed tackle on Leandro Cufre and the Argentine was stretchered off with a large hole in his shin, making way for teenager Scurto. Cafu was perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch, as it was an extremely dangerous challenge.

Gennaro Gattuso unleashed a powerful strike from 25 metres that went a few inches over the crossbar as Milan began to take more of an initiative in this second half.

On the hour mark Roma had a fantastic scoring opportunity, but Kakha Kaladze timed his tackle perfectly to stop Montella in the area, then Dida smothered Totti's follow-up.

There were timid penalty appeals for Matteo Ferrari's challenge on Tomasson soon after.

Amantino Mancini was expected to start in place of Cassano, but when the Brazilian finally did come on it was for Montella and Roma switched to a 4-4-2 system.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 63 minutes. Kaladze found space down the left and curled in a cross for Hernan Crespo's floating header into the far corner of the net.

Tomasson was rightly booked for a frankly embarrassing dive in the area when he had lost his moment to put in a cross for Crespo.

Moments later Curci showed he will hang on to this Roma starting spot with another splendid save, beating away Kaka's volley from a corner kick and then capturing Seedorf's second attempt.

There was some fine play when Kaladze and Kaka exchanged passes around the six-yard box and the Brazilian fired just wide.

Seedorf charged into the box and floated in a cross for Crespo, whose header was kept out of the net by Christian Panucci's arm. The former Milan defender was sent off and Andrea Pirlo stepped up to convert the penalty.

Pippo Inzaghi replaced Crespo for the final 17 minutes, while Gattuso had another long-range effort blocked by Curci. Massimo Ambrosini took over from Tomasson, switching Seedorf to a Trequartista role alongside Kaka.

Kaka had another shot blocked by Curci and Stam's wayward defensive header almost led to an own goal.

Totti was clearly frustrated at the impending defeat and was shown a second yellow card for a pointless foul on Ambrosini in midfield.

Milan cruised towards their victory and matched the club record with their 11th away win of the season.

Roma: Curci; Panucci, Chivu, Ferrari, Cufrè (Scurto 51); Aquilani, Perrotta, Dacourt; Totti; Cassano, Montella (Mancini 62)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Maldini, Stam, Kaladze (Costacurta 90); Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Crespo (Inzaghi 73), Tomasson (Ambrosini 81)

Ref: Paparesta

Sent off: Panucci 70 (R), Totti 90 (R)

Galliani: "Happy for the contract extensions"
20.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO – Adriano Galliani focused on Jaap Stam and said: ‘He is a top player we had been chasing for a long time, he had some unluck but was treated well by doctors, was good and above all immediately fitted in the club's spirit. On the pitch he lifts the team and gives safety thanks to his powerful figure. He has not played a lot since he joined Milan, but when he had the chance, he had outstanding performances.'
The chief executive also spoke about Paolo Maldini and Massimo Ambrosini who signed new contracts with the club on Friday. He said: ‘I had a beautiful meeting with the captain and Ambrosini yesterday. They are important renewals, this way we understand to have a team that feel the shirt sown on their skin. The sense and the pride of being part of this club is the incentive for our victories, president Silvio Berlusconi and I have always believed this.'

Before leaving, Galliani also confirmed that Kahka Kaladze is also going to pen a new contract with Milan after the international week, and the possibility for Sheva to recover for the upcoming game with Brescia.

Ancelotti's press conference
20.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO – Below are the main points covered by Carlo Ancelotti on the eve of Roma-Milan:

What type of game do you see at Roma?
We know it’s a delicate place to play. Roma have a certain psychological approach to game, we could find them well up for it, it’s important for us to overcome that.
Have you talked any further about the defeat at Udine?
We made a lot of mistakes but the case is closed, Roma will come up against a concentrated Milan, the usual Milan.
Have you talked about the derby in the Champions League?
There is plenty of time for that, we have to get ourselves focused on it come the time but I don’t want to talk about it until after the Brescia game.
Do you feel relaxed ahead of the derby?
I think I have the capacity to arrive at this game in a relaxed manner, as the coach it is my duty to create a relaxed environment. There won’t be much difference in the pressure between a quarter or semi-final. There are no easy games when you get to this stage.
Before Inter and the semi-final, how as the team preparation been?
The team have prepared well but there is little point discussing that, the best thing is to win.
You are entering a period of high emotion ...
I am happy about this, if we can manage to do well then it will be a fantastic season and one that will go down in history and one rich in satisfaction.
Did you watch Roma in the Italian Cup?
I saw a side well-motivated, well set out, concentrated and ready to carry out their tasks. Bruno Conti is an important factor after a bad period for Roma. We played for eight season together, we built a great rapport and I smoked a lot of his cigarettes. We are still friends, I haven’t heard from him this week, but we will and are in contact. We was a great talent, great left foot, I have seen few left feet such as his. He was a unique talent. We will both get on with our jobs for ninety minutes on Sunday.
Sheva didn’t manage to recover in time ...
He’s doing well but still has recovered totally and so he will remain behind, it’s best for him to get better.
Will it be a white-hot atmosphere at Roma?
I wouldn’t say that but with Roma going through in the Italian Cup and Conti taking over, they will have a lot of spirit.
Would you like to buy Antonio Cassano?
I would like to speak to him first, but we don’t buy players just for their quality but also we have to think of how best they can fit into a role at Milan.
What would you say to the players who have played little?
Players always have to ready, they have to have the desire to play a final or semi-final of a Champions League. What counts is the quality not the number of minutes on the pitch.
Does Christian Abbiati need to recover his form and what’s the problem with Serginho?
Abbiati doesn’t need to recover his form and Serginho has had flu but is a bit better, I am not sure if he will join the squad or not. Paolo Maldini and Jaap Stam, on the other hand, are fit.

Ancelotti eyes Roma double
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan conquered the Stadio Olimpico last season and Carlo Ancelotti believes another victory against his old chum Bruno Conti will prove crucial for the Scudetto.

“This is a very delicately balanced game,” assured the tactician. “Our objective is to pick up all three points, just as we did last season. Up until now we haven’t slipped up in the big ties and we have to maintain Juve’s pace.”

The two sides are locked together at the top of the Serie A table and the Rossoneri face a much tougher task this weekend by facing Roma.

It is a particularly special occasion for Ancelotti, who was new Roma Coach Conti’s teammate with the Giallorossi for eight years, including the Scudetto-winning campaign of 1983.

“We shared a room during away games for eight years. I said goodnight to him more times than I did my wife,” joked the former midfielder. “In the old days the training camp was more fun, as there were no DVD’s or computers so you talked to your teammates and had a laugh.”

“I must have picked up so much passive smoke from Bruno, as he was like a chimney most of the time. There would be a thousand anecdotes about our times together, but I can only say our rapport has remained a strong one.”

Now the two men, who Ancelotti earlier this week insisted were “like brothers”, must challenge each other on the Stadio Olimpico sidelines in a game neither can afford to lose.

Andriy Shevchenko and Alessandro Nesta have not even made the trip down south, so Jaap Stam and Paolo Maldini play in central defence. Serginho was originally left out with flu symptoms, but his condition has improved and the Brazilian has joined his teammates in Rome.

The Rossoneri were on the end of a 4-1 thrashing at Udinese in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday and risk being distracted by the Champions’ League draw that has pitted them against Inter.

“I am convinced that if we give everything we’ve got in these next few weeks, then this could be a season that will remain in Milan history,” said Ancelotti.

“The best way to do that is to play it one game at a time. We’ll only think of Inter after the final whistle of the Serie A encounter with Brescia and as a Coach it is my duty to keep the players relaxed. I’m certainly not going to start tearing my hair out with stress.”

Nesta misses Roma match
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko, Serginho and Alessandro Nesta are out of the Roma game, while Milan and Inter’s stars turn up the heat on the Euro derby.

Shevchenko has postponed his comeback from a fractured cheekbone for another fortnight, but Nesta has been ruled out after requiring seven stitches to a cut on his ankle. Serginho was a late addition to the injury list.

The Rossoneri are already riled up for the Champions’ League derby against Inter and Shevchenko’s comeback should coincide with that tie.

“I felt that we would face Inter in Europe this season,” revealed the Ballon d’Or winner. “I expected it to be at this stage or at the most the semi-final. I admit it is a little disappointing, as no other opponent in the world would bring out this kind of tension. We already felt it two years ago and it’s a shame that one of the San Siro clubs has to go out.”

Hernan Crespo was wearing the Nerazzurri jersey when these two sides last met on the continent in 2003 and is yet to score in a Milan derby for either team.

“After having played this fixture on one side of the Stadium, it would be marvellous to break my derby duck with the Milan jersey,” said the Argentine.

Over at the Pinetina training ground, the fact that Inter haven’t won a derby in any competition since March 2002 has not dulled their hopes.

“It will be a game for strong men, so I am ready,” assured Marco Materazzi. “Two years ago we thought we’d win the Champions’ League tie, but we were a little unlucky. We are all really fired up and have come this far, so we want the semi-final place.”

Inter went out on away goals as Shevchenko and Obafemi Martins scored the only goals of the tie in the Nerazzurri’s ‘home’ game. The pattern could be repeated this year, as once again the second leg is Inter’s home match.

“We could’ve turned the whole tie around in the final 20 minutes in 2003, so if we play all 180 minutes the same way as those closing stages then we can certainly go through,” continued Materazzi.

“Milan are a team to be feared, as they have Shevchenko, Kaka, Crespo and Pippo Inzaghi is returning to full fitness.”

Captain Javier Zanetti also added, “The past doesn’t matter now. We have shown this season that Inter are certainly not inferior to Milan.”

The race for tickets is also heating up, as just 24 hours after the draw, the two clubs have already received requests for 300,000 tickets for the games to be played on April 6 and 12.

Milan squad for Roma game:

Gk: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori

D: Costacurta, Cafu, Kaladze, Maldini, Pancaro, Simic, Stam

M: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Kakà, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf

F: Crespo, Inzaghi, Tomasson

Kaka makes Cassano call
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Kaka has invited Antonio Cassano to leave Roma for the San Siro in the summer.

The Brazilian is a massive fan of the forward, who looks increasingly likely to leave the Giallorossi at the end of the season.

"Cassano is a player who I like," stated the 22-year-old fantasista. "He is a champion whose touches and genius excite me.

"It would be magnificent to play alongside him. We would form a perfect partnership, one that is technically in synch and unpredictable.

"Antonio really is an excellent footballer who is destined to keep on improving given his young age."

The former Bari youngster, whose contract at the Olimpico expires in 2006, isn’t believed to be a Milan target though.

The Azzurri ace, who was superb at Euro 2004, is more likely to join either Juventus or Real Madrid,

Juventus have also been heavily linked with another Roma player in the form of Cristian Chivu.

Reports over the past month have suggested that he could also leave the capital, but the Romanian has today denied that claim.

"I feel as if I owe this club a lot. For that reason I only see them in my future," said the defender.

Chivu, contracted to Roma until June 2008, is also being watched by Milan, Inter and Real Madrid.

Dhorasoo survives ankle scare
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Vikash Dhorasoo expressed his relief after tests confirmed he had not seriously damaged his ankle in Milan’s 4-1 Coppa Italia defeat at Udinese.

The attacking midfielder was the victim of a dangerous tackle, just five minutes before the end of Wednesday’s match, and feared he would be forced out of France’s World Cup qualifiers against Switzerland and Israel.

"At the moment it happened I was really, really scared," he said. "My left ankle hurt so much I was sure I’d have to pull out of the national team.

"The thought of pulling out, having just earned my recall was too much," he added.

Fortunately the injury has responded very well to treatment and Dhorasoo even hopes to be available for his club’s Serie A clash with Roma this weekend.

First called-up to the national team in 1999, the former Lyon and Bordeaux playmaker has forced his way into Coach Raymond Domenech’s plans after four years in the international wilderness.

Roma vs. AC Milan - match preview
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

As Serie A debut games go, new Roma Coach Bruno Conti couldn’t have asked for a tougher baptism of fire than to face the reigning Scudetto holders – who are bossed by his close friend and former Roma teammate Carlo Ancelotti. Gigi Del Neri relinquished control at the Capital club following three straight Serie A defeats and Conti will do well to prevent that figure becoming four.

To make matters worse, he will have to do without the influential Daniele De Rossi, who is suspended following his red card against Cagliari, allowing Alberto Aquilani to return to the side. Traianos Dellas is also suspended, so Cristian Chivu should make his first start of the season. And Christian Panucci is expected to replace Abel Xavier to help shore up the Roma defence.

After shipping three goals to Cagliari in Sardinia, Roma will have to improve dramatically if they are to take anything from Milan. Their form against the Rossoneri has been indifferent in recent years, although they have won two of their last three meetings at the Stadio Olimpico.

Last season’s encounters between the two sides saw Milan win 1-0 and 2-1, with all three of their goals coming from Andriy Shevchenko. But they will have to look elsewhere for inspiration this weekend as the Ukrainian hitman is unlikely to have recovered from his broken cheekbone in time to make the squad.

Milan are also likely to be without Alessandro Nesta, who was injured against Sampdoria. He is likely to be replaced by Giueseppe Pancaro, with Paolo Maldini reverting to centre-back. Despite winning seven consecutive games, six of these have been by just a solitary goal and Milan have been far from convincing. But it would take a brave man to bet against Ancelotti’s side making it eight wins in a row.

Roma (probable): Zotti; Panucci, Chivu, Ferrari, Cufre; Aquilani, Dacourt, Perrotta; Totti, Montella, Cassano

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Maldini, Stam, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka, Rui Costa; Crespo

Maldini extends Milan contract
18.3 || webmaster

Source: EuroSport.com

Milan's 36-year-old captain Paolo Maldini has signed a new contract to keep him at the club until June 2007. Maldini's current deal with Milan was due to expire in June 2006 but on Friday the club announced a one-year extension had been signed.

The defender, Italy's most capped player with 126 appearances for the Azzurri before his international retirement after the 2002 World Cup, has been in excellent form for the Italian champions.

A one club player, Maldini made his debut for Milan in January 1985 and has won seven Italian league titles and four European Cups during his time at the club.

The Milan skipper will be almost 39 when his new contract runs out.

His long-term defensive partner Alessandro Costacurta, a back-up player these days, signed a new deal in January that will keep him with the club past his 40th birthday.

Ancelotti: "Important to keep pressure down"
18.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

NYON - Carlo Ancelotti commented on the Champions League draw that paired Milan with Inter for the quarter-finals. He said: ’We all wanted to avoid this derby, however, I think the atmosphere will be different from that of the semi-finals two years ago. We will try to prepare for this game in the best way possible. I think it is essential to create a serene and relaxed atmosphere and above all to think of doing well in both games.'

Milan will play the first leg at home, with the second leg taking place at Inter just a week later, as it happened two years ago when Milan were crowned European champions at Manchester. Carlo added: ’The derby is a special game, I don't think the atmosphere will be the same as in the 2002-03 semi-finals. I remember very well what we did and felt in that week, but that Milan side was just coming to life, a cycle was to be set, we had to restart over anew. Now we are more mature.'

If Milan progress to the next stage, they will meet the winner of the Olympique Lyonnaise and PSV Eindhoven tie. Ancelotti concluded: ’Olympique are not so well known, but are a tough team and I think they have more chance to go through than PSV. There are no easy opponents, even Liverpool, who will face Juve, are not either. Now, I think it is important to keep the pressure down.'

Crespo's Love Triangle
18.3 || webmaster

This column was written by John Cagney. If you want to submit a column, please send it to admin*at*acmilan-online.com.



Carlo Ancelotti adores him, Jose Mourinho is attempting to woo him back and Galliani insists that the ‘affair’ is none of his business and that if the wife (in this case Mourinho) wants the player to honour his contract ‘vows’ then there is little the mistress (Ancelotti) can do about it.

It seems that Hernan ‘Valdinito’ Crespo has many admirers at present, yet many Rossoneri supporters remain unconvinced that the Argentine star is good enough for their Milan side. They feel (and justifiably so) that his inclusion in the team is a direct consequence of the long-term injury to Filippo Inzaghi and more recently a month-long lay-off for current European Footballer of the Year, Andriy Shevchenko, not to mention the dismal form shown by Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson.
Many supporters would also argue that he is not clinical enough in front of goal and wastes more chances than he scores.

The majority of Milan fans would also be of the belief that his season-long loan signing from Chelsea is merely an interim measure before the anticipated summer arrival of Alberto Gilardino from Parma.

But despite the doubters, Crespo himself is adamant that Milan is now his home, recently informing the club’s website: “when I joined Milan, I had a dream: to rise again as a player and be part of this team on a permanent basis. Today I'm happy to know that [Adriano] Galliani is trying to define my situation with Chelsea. Milan have given me a lot so far, they have coddled me, helped me from a medical point of view to overcome a difficult situation, I really owe a lot to this club.”

The English press continually refer to his time in England as a ‘complete disaster’ and label him a ‘flop’, but this is a player who spent a large portion of his English adventure out injured and in the 19 Premier League games that he took part in managed to find the back of the net 10 times – that’s an average better than one goal every two games. His track record in the notoriously defensive-minded world of Serie A speaks for itself – at time of writing he had rattled in 117 goals in 210 games.

Two exceptionally diverse finishes - if the tap-in following Roy Carroll’s clumsy blunder at Old Trafford typified the striker’s predatory instinct, then his perfectly placed header which left Tim Howard no chance in the return leg illustrated the Chelsea player’s class - against Manchester United in the first knockout stage of the Champions League were enough to see Milan qualify for the quarter-final stage of the CL for the third successive season – a unique distinction amongst Milan’s fellow quarter-finalists.

His two strikes in February’s international friendly in Germany, including a stunning effort floated past Arsenal ‘keeper Jens Lehmann, brought his tally to 36 in just 50 outings for the national side.

This is a player who, at the turn of the new millennium, was thought of as the complete striker, many people’s choice as the world’s best goal-scorer. So now, five years on, and at 29 years of age, at the peak of his professional career, it remains somewhat perplexing that he continues to divide opinion, even amongst supporters of the club he plays for.

It remains to be seen who will eventually win Crespo’s hand with Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti recently declaring, “If it depended on us, Crespo already would have been signed. But his future depends on Chelsea. There is an agreement on our side; Crespo wants to stay and we want Crespo to stay. With that, we must find an agreement and negotiate with the London club."

However, whether he stays or goes, his time at Milan has seen the striker reaffirm his status as one of the best goal-scorers in world football.


John Cagney

Injured Shev postpones return
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has ruled himself out of Milan’s crucial Scudetto clash at Roma on Sunday.

The European Footballer of the Year was hoping to have fully recovered from a fractured cheekbone but he’s postponed his comeback.

"Things are going well and the bruising is going down on a daily basis but I’m still not at 100 per cent," said the Ukrainian international.

"This isn’t the right time to return to action. I did everything that I could to be available for Roma but it wasn’t possible. I’ll be back in two weeks."

The striker has been sidelined since February 19 when he clashed heads with an opponent during the win over Cagliari.

Shevchenko, who should be available for the Week 30 game against Brescia, is now also a major doubt for his country’s World Cup qualifier with Denmark on March 30.

Max told to decide his future
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have admitted that they can’t force Massimo Ambrosini to sign a new contract at the San Siro.

The Rossoneri are ready to hand the midfielder a two-year extension but the Italian is unsure of where his future lies.

"His renewal is possible, we could even sort it out before the Roma game on Sunday," stated Vice-president Adriano Galliani. "However, the decision is down to him."

The former Vicenza player is unhappy after failing to play regularly for the club over the last 18 months.

"I am not a reserve," he said this week. "I feel that I can give more to the team and although my rapport with Carlo Ancelotti is excellent, that’s just not enough for me anymore."

The Azzurri star is contracted to Milan until the summer of 2006, which means the club must get him to re-sign or risk losing him for nothing.

Should Ambrosini decide to leave, there won’t be a lack of options for the defensive midfielder.

He’s been associated with Juventus, Barcelona and Valencia in the past, while Real Madrid were linked on Wednesday.

CL Draw: Milan handed city duel
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will play city rivals Inter in the quarter-finals of the Champions’ League, while Liverpool await Juventus.

The two Milan clubs meet in the competition again, just two years after the Rossoneri won on the away goal rule in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, the Bianconeri’s two games against Liverpool are set to be packed with emotion given that they meet 20 years after the Heysel Stadium disaster in Brussels.

The semi-final draw also took place today which has kept alive the possibility of an all-Italian Final.

If Juventus beat Liverpool, they will play either Chelsea or Bayern Munich. The winners out of Lyon and PSV await one of the Milan sides.

Quarter-Finals (5/6 Apr and 12/13 Apr)
Liverpool v Juventus
Milan v Inter
Lyon v PSV
Chelsea v Bayern Munich

Semi-Finals (26/27 Apr and 3/4 May)
Chelsea/Bayern Munich v Liverpool/Juventus
Lyon/PSV v Milan/Inter

Hleb has Milan desire
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stuttgart starlet Aleksandr Hleb has revealed his desire to join a top European club like Milan.

The 23-year-old is highly-rated in the game and he’s ready to leave the Gottlieb-Daimler outfit.

"There are a lot of clubs that I’d like to play for," said the creative attacking midfielder. "Teams like Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal.

"However, I want a private life and I don’t want to be the centre of attention. I am ready to wear dark glasses and a fake beard to make sure nobody recognises me off the pitch."

The Belarus international is currently tied to the German club until 2008 but a £10m move could be on the horizon.

"Arsenal have made an enquiry," his agent Niki Spilevski told Kicker. "He’s tied to Stuttgart with an excellent contract but you don’t know what will happen in the future.

"Especially as there are a few more important clubs who are interested in Aleksandr right now."

Milan have been linked with a move for Hleb in the past but his proposed arrival seems unlikely at this moment in time.

Roma, Parma and Udinese have also been associated with the midfielder over the last 18 months.

Stam won’t miss Roma test
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Jaap Stam should be available for Sunday’s trip to Roma despite picking up an injury last night.

The giant Dutchman limped out of the 4-1 Coppa Italia defeat at Udinese after just 34 minutes.

Stam, who was replaced by Dario Simic, seemed to be having problems with his right knee.

However, Vice-president Adriano Galliani is confident that the former Lazio ace will be fit for the Week 29 game.

"It is nothing too serious," stated the official. "I’ve spoken to him and he told me he came off as a precaution."

So will Stam start in a Milan defence that will be without Alessandro Nesta? "I think so," added Galliani.

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti expects the Olimpico tie to be a tough one following the arrival of Bruno Conti as Coach.

"It will be difficult," said the San Siro tactician. "They beat Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia which has calmed down the situation in Rome.

"As for our defeat, we basically handed Udinese the first half thanks to our slow tempo and errors.

"We played better in the second half but still gave Udinese too many opportunities to counter-attack, something they are good at."

AC Milan close in on Cudicini
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Mirror.co.uk

CARLO CUDICINI looks set to quit Chelsea in the summer after having talks with manager Jose Mourinho and owner Roman Abramovich.

But Mikael Forssell will reject a move to Birmingham to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge.

Cudicini has made just eight appearances this season and is tired of being second choice to Petr Cech. Chelsea want him to stay but the Italian craves first-team football.

His agent Federico Pastorello said: "It's not a good thing being on the bench after having been named the Premiership's best goalkeeper two consecutive times."

AC Milan are believed to have offered a deal, while Arsenal and Manchester United are also interested.

Forssell was on loan at Birmingham until injuring a knee and City boss Steve Bruce hoped to seal a £5million permanent deal.

But the Finland striker said he was "looking forward to the chance to impress the right people" at Chelsea.

Udinese 4:1 AC Milan - match report
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Iaquinta 20 (U), Mauri 60, 94 (U), Tomasson 77 (M), Di Michele pen 79 (U)

The Rossoneri are out of the Coppa Italia following a crushing 4-1 defeat against on-form Udinese.

Milan had a slender 3-2 lead to protect from the first leg and travelled to the Stadio Friuli without the injured Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Andriy Shevchenko.

Udinese needed a win to qualify and it was almost gifted to them after nine minutes, as Christian Abbiati’s clearance went straight to Antonio Di Natale, but the goalkeeper made up for his error by fingertipping the chip round the post.

The opening goal arrived soon after, as Gianpiero Pinzi threaded through for Vincenzo Iaquinta to sweep into the far corner of the net.

With two defenders already out of action, Milan also lost Jaap Stam during the first half with a slight calf problem, but the medical staff assured he would be fit for Sunday’s Serie A trip to Roma.

Clarence Seedorf came on for the second period and immediately brought a tough save out of Morgan De Sanctis from distance, while Christian Brocchi drilled just wide.

Jon Dahl Tomasson’s shot was only parried into the path of Brocchi and the midfielder’s lob was off target.

However, it was Udinese who doubled their lead on the hour mark when Stefano Mauri thumped in Marek Jankulovski’s low cross with a powerful and precise left-foot drive into the top corner.

Substitute David Di Michele struck the side-netting from a promising position soon after and Abbiati was at full stretch to tip his lob over the bar.

Pippo Inzaghi hit the back of the net, but it was disallowed for an offside position, but Milan did get back into the running when De Sanctis rushed off his line to clear from Inzaghi, only for the ball to reach Tomasson.

That didn’t last for long, as Udinese restored their two-goal cushion moments later when Kakha Kaladze brought down David Pizarro and Di Michele converted the penalty.

The Rossoneri ended their campaign in 10 men as Vikash Dhorasoo limped off during the final minutes when all the substitutions had been completed.

Just as the visitors were piling on the pressure in a desperate bid to reduce the gap, Udinese put the tie beyond doubt with Mauri’s second of the game. Another Abbiati howler allowed Di Michele to set up his teammate from close range.

Udinese win 6-4 on agg

Udinese: De Sanctis; Belleri, Bertotto, Felipe, Zenoni; Pinzi, Pizarro (Pazienza 84), Jankulovski; Di Natale (Di Michele 60), Iaquinta, Mauri

Milan: Abbiati; Pancaro, Costacurta, Stam (Simic 34), Kaladze; Brocchi (Inzaghi 60), Ambrosini, Dhorasoo; Rui Costa (Seedorf 46), Serginho; Tomasson

Ref: Morganti

Bring on Milan, says Moratti
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter chief Massimo Moratti says he wants to face Juventus or Milan in the last eight of the Champions’ League.

The Nerazzurri booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Porto last night and the owner now wants an all Italian tie.

"I would like Juventus or Milan which would give us a chance for revenge," Moratti stated, referring to the semi-final loss to the Rossoneri two years ago.

"While the team to avoid in Friday’s draw are Lyon because they have been playing together for some time."

Despite some difficulties, the Nerazzurri knocked the reigning champions out of Europe on Tuesday thanks to an Adriano hat-trick.

"I did suffer and I didn’t see the best Inter but we had the chances," added the former President.

"There seemed to be a lot of nervousness but I am happy for Adriano. He is untouchable and I hope that Real Madrid don’t contact us about him because they would be wasting their time."

Moratti also rubbished reports that boss Roberto Mancini could have been sacked if the team were eliminated.

"I’m not even thinking about changing Coach," he noted. "We have drawn a lot of games this season but we are playing better than in the past.

"We have a project for the future and I’m sure that we have what is needed to reach the European Cup Final this season."

The San Siro crowd also used last night’s match to express their thoughts on a possible Ronaldo return.

The Curva Nord chanted: "Ronaldo, we don’t want you." That was followed by a long round of applause by 70,000 at the San Siro.

The Real Madrid striker, who left the outfit in 2002, has recently suggested that he was ready to come back to Milan.

Emerson snubs Scudetto showdown
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus ace Emerson doesn’t believe that the May 8 clash against Milan will decide the destiny of the title.

Both clubs are currently joint top of Serie A, with the Week 35 clash already being billed as the Scudetto showdown.

But the former Roma midfielder believes nothing will be decided until the last kick of the season.

"It’s tough to make a prediction of who will win the championship," he said. "Ourselves and Milan are very similar.

"I fear the game between us won’t be decisive either. The Scudetto could easily be decided on the last day of the season."

Most neutrals see Milan as slight favourites given that they seemingly have a bigger and better squad than the Bianconeri.

"I don’t think that is true," responded the Brazilian. "After all, you’ve seen what both Marcelo Zalayeta and Ruben Olivera have done recently."

The latter netted the only goal of the game at Chievo on Sunday, while Zalayeta scored the winner in the Champions’ League against Real Madrid.

"That victory helped us with our morale," added Emerson. "It was an important win against one of the best teams in the world."

Juventus are next in action on Saturday against Reggina and the South American doesn’t want any surprises.

"It will be a difficult tie," he insisted. "Reggina have some good players. If we want to finish the season in first then there is only one result which will do…"

Ancelotti turns on Milan critics
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti prepares to face Udinese in the Coppa Italia and turns on critics who suggest Milan have been favoured by referees.

“I am amazed that we have been dragged into a debate that has nothing to do with us,” said the Coach after the reaction to recent decisions that boosted Juve’s progress. “The only thing that links us with Juventus is our position in the table.”

The two debatable goals scored against Roma and the Chievo strike that was not allowed despite crossing the line prompted an analysis in the Italian Press of alleged refereeing favouritism for the top two teams.

“The Chievo incident can happen as the ball was travelling very quickly,” added Ancelotti, “but the newspapers compared that to a free kick not awarded for Billy Costacurta’s foul in midfield. It’s absurd. We must remind everyone that the ‘protected’ Milan have suffered five red cards this season.”

The Rossoneri have won their last nine games in all competitions, but their most recent escape was when Alessandro Nesta’s last man shirt-tug on Stephen Makinwa went unpunished during the 2-1 win at Atalanta in Week 27.

“These were incidents that were totally different to the Juventus ones. People are trying to build up a case for their protests and clutching at straws.”

This only increases the pressure on match officials and Milan will be tested on Wednesday evening when they travel to Udine for a Coppa Italia quarter-final clash.

“We mustn’t make calculations and instead go out there to win,” he said after the 3-2 first leg win at the San Siro.

“It won’t be easy, as after beating Palermo 5-1 at the weekend they will be more confident than ever. We are on fine form and want to continue that trend in order to qualify for the final four.”

Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta have not made the trip due to injuries that could also rule them out of Sunday’s Roma match, while Hernan Crespo has also been left behind. Pippo Inzaghi will start from the bench and perhaps come in for the second half.

Milan squad:

Gk: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori.

D: Cafu, Costacurta, Esajas, Kaladze, Pancaro, Simic, Stam.

M: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Dhorasoo, Kakà, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho.

F: Inzaghi, Tomasson.

Maldini will face Roma
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Paolo Maldini is confident that he will be fit enough to face Roma on Sunday.

The legendary stopper limped out of the 1-0 win over Sampdoria with a knee injury, but he’s sure that he’ll soon be back.

"I’m feeling OK," he told Milan Channel. "The pain which I felt during the Sampdoria game was not a new one.

"Having played so many games and on poor pitches, it is only normal that the odd injury returns.

"I simply came off as soon as possible as we were in a game that we really needed to win. It wouldn’t have been right to continue."

The former Italian international is expected to miss the Coppa Italia trip to Udinese on Wednesday.

However, boss Carlo Ancelotti should have him available for the Giallorossi clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

Meanwhile, Pavel Nedved will resume training with Juventus later today after recovering from a head injury.

The Czech ace has been sidelined for three weeks after being knocked unconscious in the 1-0 first leg Champions’ League defeat at Real Madrid.

He should at least start on the bench for the Week 29 clash against Reggina at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

Seedorf: 'Milan will fight until the end'
15.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILAN - Uefa.com has dedicated their magazine to Clarence Seedorf. The main subject dealt with in the special interview is not the domestic campaign but the qualification to the Champions League quarter-finals. After the 1-0 victory in Milan, the Dutch international, who is the only player to have won the competition with three different clubs, said: ’After beating a side like United twice in two weeks with two very convincing performances, we know we are able to win against every team in Europe. Now it’s not important which team we will have to face in the next round. At this stage of the competition there are only strong sides left but if we play as we did against United we cannot fear any opponents. Facing this kind of opponent and winning both games with the authority and spirit we had is surely a great boost for our confidence and morale.'
'It was very important not to risk anything because a team like United can always score,' the Rossoneri midfielder continued. 'The first half of the game at San Siro was very difficult for us but we grew up during the game and took full control in the second half. We always felt that sooner or later we were going to score and win the game. Despite Andriy Shevchenko's absence, the whole squad won against United and [Hernán] Crespo’s header was superb. We usually play better against sides who try to play football and not only sit back and defend. Everything is much more complicated when we face teams who only come to the San Siro to get a point. That’s why we play better in the Champions League.'
Seedorf also has a theory to explain why Milan have scored eight of their last nine goals during the last 19 minutes of games, three of them in added time. He said: 'It is not a matter of luck as people wrongly say. I think we are always trying to make our own luck, as we are always pushing forward and we try to win until the final whistle.'

AC Milan 1:0 Sampdoria - post-match comments
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti: “This was a tricky game and the fact we won it proves our remarkable character. Sampdoria gave us plenty of problems from start to finish. I added an extra midfielder today because we had to take the initiative and I knew Samp’s style. You only really need two forwards when facing a side that will sit back and defend.”

Walter Novellino: “We played a great game and still lost. We should’ve made more of our scoring opportunities and I can’t really ask any more from my players. The goal came from our mistake and we usually don’t concede these, but Andrea Pirlo was wonderful by curling in the cross early.”

Injured Nesta to miss Roma trip?
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini are major fitness doubts for next Sunday’s clash with an increasingly troubled Roma.

“I don’t understand how the studs in football boots can create such a deep cut,” said Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani after visiting Nesta in the treatment room. “It was so deep that it looked as if it had been created by a surgeon’s knife.”

The defender suffered the injury during an accidental collision with an opponent in today’s 1-0 win over Sampdoria and required seven stitches for the cut to his right ankle.

This means it is extremely unlikely that former Lazio captain Nesta will recover in time for next Sunday’s Serie A crunch match at the Stadio Olimpico.

Paolo Maldini also limped off during the first half of today’s game with Sampdoria, but his setback is less serious.

“I feel fairly good, as it was just a little knee problem,” explained the veteran. “It is not a new injury for me and the strain of the last few weeks has probably made it flair up again. It was best to just leave the pitch before it got any worse.”

With Giuseppe Pancaro and Kakha Kaladze also dealing with injuries, leaders Milan may have to reshuffle their defence for the Roma match.

AC Milan 1:0 Sampdoria - match report
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Reuters

Scorer: Kaka (M) 65'

MILAN, March 13 (Reuters) - AC Milan hung on for a 1-0 win over Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday with a 65th minute header from Brazilian Kaka, ensuring they keep the pressure on rivals Juventus.

Milan lead on 63 points with Juventus, who play at Chievo Verona later on Sunday, three points behind in second place.

During a nervous finale for Milan, Sampdoria went close to a late equaliser when Francesco Flachi's shot was cleared off the line by Jaap Stam.

Milan have now notched up nine successive victories, including their two Champions League wins over Manchester United, and six of them have ended with a 1-0 scoreline in their favour.

"Above all it is the close attention we have been paying in defence that has been the crucial element in this run of results," said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti.

The champions went close to a first-half opener when Rui Costa's deflected shot struck the cross-bar but Milan, who had to replace defenders Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini due to injuries, also suffered scares.

In the 62nd minute Belarussian Vitali Kutuzov, formerly with Milan, struck the post with a shot from inside the area but three minutes later Milan were ahead.

Kaka peeled away to the back post and met a splendid Andrea Pirlo cross with a perfectly placed header to beat Francesco Antonioli.

"That win came from character but I have to say that Sampdoria were really well organised at the back," said Ancelotti.

Sheva ready for Roma
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alvaro Recoba has gone under the knife for his fractured ankle, while Milan reveal that Andriy Shevchenko will be able to face Roma next week.

Inter forward Recoba damaged his ankle during a training session last Wednesday and was later diagnosed with a fractured bone and slight ligament damage.

He underwent surgery at the Pavia University hospital this morning to reduce the fracture and has been ordered complete rest for 10-15 days before beginning rehabilitation. It’s believed the Uruguayan won’t be back in action until mid-April.

On the other side of the San Siro divide, Milan are welcoming Andriy Shevchenko back to full fitness after his facial injury. The striker (pictured) had two titanium plates implanted to stabilise a fractured cheekbone, suffered when he clashed heads with Cagliari’s Simone Loria.

“Shevchenko is doing well and I think he can be back to play against Roma next Sunday,” revealed Coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“He has no physical problems at the moment, as he has resumed training with running, shooting and pretty much everything a footballer needs to do. Now we have to see when he’ll feel ready to challenge an opponent for a header, but I think he’ll be ready for Roma.”

It’s likely the European Player of the Year will require a protective mask, especially as he has sustained several facial injuries in the past – including a split lip and two operations on his nose.

Trez: Milan are the best
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juve hero David Trezeguet admits that Milan play the better football and reveals the nature of the rare virus that ruled him out for several weeks.

“The Rossoneri are on stunning form,” he told French newspaper L’Equipe. “They play great football, better than we do at the moment.”

Both sides are currently topping the Serie A standings and qualified for the Champions’ League quarter-finals by eliminating giants Real Madrid and Manchester United.

“Milan seem more confident and relaxed in their own system,” continued the Bleus hitman. “If the two starting line-ups are on a par, their bench is of decidedly higher quality.”

Having said that, it was Juve benchwarmer Marcelo Zalayeta who proved crucial on Wednesday with the late winner against Madrid, while Gianluca Pessotto filled in for the injured Pavel Nedved.

Trezeguet also gave an intriguing insight into Fabio Capello’s Coaching technique in spurring his players on to such a determined performance.

“When I came off the bench on Wednesday night, Capello did not give me any precise pointers or tactical rules. He just told me that I had to make sure Juve qualified.”

He followed that indication to the letter, scoring the goal that took the tie to extra time, but he had missed out the first leg altogether after being struck down with flu-type symptoms.

“During the week I was just exhausted,” explained Trez. “I would train and then be sick, going home with a high temperature. I had a blood test every two days, but nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. Eventually a virologist identified a rare virus I had contracted and gave me the right treatment.”

Lippi hails Italian renaissance
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy Coach Marcello Lippi hopes the recent success in the Champions’ League will boost the Azzurri’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I must compliment everyone for this week’s performances,” said the tactician. “We had a sabbatical year in this competition, like several other nations, but we are back with a bang. These results will benefit everybody and the enthusiasm and confidence will seep through to the Azzurri squad.”

Last season Porto lifted the trophy after beating Monaco in the Final, but the big sides seem to be favourites again.

Juventus eliminated Real Madrid, Milan knocked out Manchester United and Inter could see off reigning trophy holders Porto in their second leg tie next week to make it a hat-trick of Serie A representatives in the quarters – more than any other nation.

“I never thought that Italian football was in crisis, as I don’t run after the ebb and flow of fashion. Our players and teams were strong last year and they remain more than competitive. These Champions’ League results merely confirm that.”

Now the pressure is on Lippi to carry on the fine work at international level, as Italy face Scotland later this month in a crunch 2006 World Cup qualifier.

“I am not a man who runs away from responsibility,” insisted the former Juve boss. “Italian football is strong at both club level and internationally.”

There is the concern than this week the only goalscorers for Juve and Milan were foreign – David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Hernan Crespo.

“Nobody can deny that there are many overseas stars in our clubs, but the essential structure of the teams are purely Italian and we’ll confirm that in the qualifiers. I have total faith that the players will come to the Azzurri camp tired but enthusiastic.”

Iaquinta is Crespo alternative
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will make a move for Udinese’s Vincenzo Iaquinta if they fail to keep hold of Hernan Crespo.

The latter, currently on loan at the San Siro from Chelsea, wants to stay with Milan but a deal has yet to be agreed with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Although the Italian side are hoping to keep the Argentine, Chelsea’s valuation of the player may be a stumbling block.

The champions are ready to offer around £6.5m but the London club may want more given Crespo’s current form.

The striker has bagged regularly over the last three months and scored both in successive 1-0 wins over Manchester United.

If a deal for Crespo falls through, it is widely understood that the Giuseppe Meazza club will go for Iaquinta.

The former Under-21 international is enjoying a splendid season at the Stadio Friuli and has netted eight in Serie A so far.

Iaquinta, who is dreaming of full international honours, has made no secret of his desire to join a big club.

But Iaquinta is also liked by Barcelona after they failed in their attempt to net him during the January transfer window.

Brescia’s Andrea Caracciolo, capped by Italy boss Marcello Lippi in late 2004, is another possible Milan target.

Italians do it better, says Ancelotti
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has hailed the quality of Italian football after this season’s success in the Champions’ League.

Both Milan and Juventus are in the last eight of the competition, while Inter may join them next week if they dispose of European Cup holders Porto.

"A lot is said about the strength of foreign clubs but our sides know how to win and we’re proving that," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

"This week’s games prove that big name players are not enough. Without organisation, results won’t arrive."

Juventus beat Real Madrid on Wednesday, while Milan seemed to be back to their best after defeating Manchester United 1-0 in both games.

"Our recent improvement is down to the balance that now characterises our games and our movement," he added.

"We seem to be able to attack and defend in tandem. That’s how we take advantage of our quality."

Milan could draw Juventus, or possibly Inter if they qualify, a prospect which doesn’t excite the former Roma midfielder.

"It would be very strange to face them," added the tactician. "Even if it is clear that our battle with Juventus continues."

Milan ready to keep Crespo
11.3 || Seamus

Milan say they will attempt to keep Hernan Crespo but have ruled out a bid for Barca star Ronaldinho.

The Argentine striker today made it clear that he doesn’t want a Chelsea return and the Rossoneri are keen to make his loan move permanent.

"We have an excellent relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and hopefully we can find an agreement," said Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

"I’ll again underline that we want to keep hold of the player but we can’t forget that his contract belongs to Mr Abramovich.

"I can extend the contracts of players who are ours but Chelsea will have their say when it comes to Hernan."

Crespo has been in fine form of late, a fact that could complicate negotiations surrounding his asking price.

"I’ll be more than happy if Crespo keeps scoring the goals needed to take us to the Champions’ League final," added Galliani, after the striker netted both in the 2-0 aggregate win over Manchester United.

"We are aware that his valuation will increase if he keeps finding the target but we will think about finances at a later stage."

Meanwhile, the Italian media have today been speculating that Milan are preparing a summer bid for Ronaldino.

"I’ve had enough of this story," commented Galliani. "He is a player who I really like but he already plays for a big club and I think he’ll stay at Barca.

"I’m more than happy with all of the strikers that we currently have available."

The San Siro official also commented on the Champions’ League after Juve joined Milan in the last eight.

"I’m happy for the Italian clubs and I hope Inter (who play Porto) join us next week too," he stated.

http://www.channel4.com/sport/football_italia/mar10j.html

Rui Costa: "They were good, we were better"
10.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILAN - ’We played a great game, I congratulate all the team-mates who gave it their best shot’. These were the first words Manuel Rui Costa said after the victory over United. The Portuguese star, who had an outstanding performance, also wanted to remark the worth of the opponents. He added: ’I also got a bit angry because both I and my team-mates can't feel our legs anymore. Manchester are a great team, it was Milan that were the best, not the English side who were not up to the expectations.'
Manuel then praised the abilities of the Rossoneri and concluded: ’We did well tactically in attack because we helped the midfield very much in the defensive phase, making the team compact. The game tonight was the achievement of an objective we have had in our minds since the draw was held. One of the mistakes we could have made was to think that we could progress easily thanks to the first-leg lead.'

Stam embraces Milan mentality
10.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO - On Tuesday evening he had left the stadium with the satisfaction and the pride pictured on his face. He had just responded on the pitch to some precipitous criticism received in the last few weeks. The day after the success over Manchester United saw him protagonist in the news once again: no more two but three years at Milan. A contract extension until June 30, 2007 says bureaucracy. ’You have convinced me, here I really feel at home’ is the meaning of Jaap Stam’s agreement on the club’s proposal. At the end of the training session, the media gathered all around the Kampen-born giant and he starts from the qualification. He said: ’Maybe nobody expected that Milan were so superior to United over the 180 minutes, maybe neither our opponents. But they were so, it went like this. Before the game we had spoken among ourselves about this return game and all agreed that we couldn’t think about the first leg’s 1-0 lead. This is also why we clinched this beautiful victory, a very important one for us, the club and the fans.’
The success against Manchester United was obtained not only for the good football the Rossoneri produced, but especially for the character and the maturity of the team. Stam confirmed: ’We know we are strong and all want to win. This is very important, the will and the determination are decisive to make the difference. Now we expect another game, on Sunday we will face Sampdoria and we will have to clinch another success. Manchester United is past, now we muct focus on Samp. We are very happy but we must consider that we have not achieved anything yet. We have to focus on one game each time and draw the sums only at the end. [Sir Alex] Ferguson? There is nothing personal in my satisfaction for Milan’s qualification. I’m just happy because we won, that’s all.’
Then he spoke about his contract extension. Jaap added: ’This has been a difficult season for me partly due the tendon injury and partly to other muscular problems. I wanted to repay the trust Milan have shown in me. That’s why I agreed to sign for one more year, after this one in which I haven’t played so much I want two more ahead of me to play a lot. I’ve joined Milan to play, not to be out with injuries. I want to end my career at Milan.’

Crespo snubs Chelsea return
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has told Chelsea he wants to stay at Milan despite their eagerness for him to return next season.

The Argentine is currently on loan at the San Siro, but the London club are keen to have him back after his two goals ended Man Utd’s Champions’ League ambitions.

"Everyone knows that it is my desire to stay at Milan," the South American again underlined.

"Chelsea called me after I scored at Old Trafford and then the San Siro to tell me that they want me back.

"I responded by stating that wasn’t part of my plans and that I was extremely happy in Milan.

"However, it is obvious that my contractual situation will be discussed before the end of June."

Crespo returned to Italy at the start of this season after an unhappy year in the Premiership at Stamford Bridge.

Despite a very slow start due to poor form and fitness, he’s developed into a key figure at the Italian champions as they look for a Scudetto and European Cup double.

"I’m just trying to concentrate on those two objectives now," added the former Lazio, Parma and Inter man.

"The uncertainty regarding my future isn’t a problem because at the end of the day I still have a contract at Chelsea.

"Even if I have to confess that I would be a lot more serene if I knew that I would definitely still be here next season."

Stam pens new Milan deal
10.3 || Seamus

Milan stopper Jaap Stam has today extended his contract for a further season with the Italian giants.

The giant Dutchman was previously tied to the club until June 2006 but will now remain at the San Siro for an extra 12 months.

Milan revealed the news on their website this morning, just hours after Stam’s impressive display against former club Manchester United.

Stam, who only joined the outfit from Lazio in the summer, had struggled for form and fitness prior to last night’s superb Champions’ League performance.

The Kampen-born defender, who can play as a right-back and a centre-back, has been in Italy since August 2001.

The now 32-year-old, who has also played for PSV Eindhoven, joined Lazio after falling out of favour at Old Trafford.

http://www.channel4.com/sport/football_italia/mar9c.html

Milan vs. Sampadoria - match preview
10.3 || Seamus

The two most in-form Serie A sides meet at the San Siro as leaders Milan face third-placed Sampdoria. The Rossoneri have won their last six League games, while Doria have won five and lost one (to Livorno) over the same period of time.


The Rossoneri kept up their joint leadership with Juventus thanks to a 2-1 win at Atalanta. That victory was labelled as ‘lucky’ by some given that Andrea Pirlo netted a 94th minute winner. The champions are developing a habit for leaving it late after winning in similar circumstances against Lazio and Cagliari.


Sampdoria will certainly need to be aware of that particular Milan characteristic given their last experience of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The port outfit were leading 2-0 at Inter before the home side scored three times in the last five minutes to net a remarkable victory.


While most expected Milan to be in such a position, few believed that Doria would be fighting for a place in next season’s Champions’ League. They beat Chievo, somewhat fortunately, last week and have also beaten Juventus in Turin this season. That will make them a danger even without the injured trio of Stefano Sacchetti, Cristiano Doni and Marcello Castellini. It's a special occasion for Vitali Kutuzov, whose contract is still owned by the Rossoneri.


Milan also have injury problems to contend with. Golden Ball winner Andriy Shevchenko is still out following his cheekbone surgery and Kakha Kaladze is struggling with a muscle problem, even if Manuel Rui Costa could return after a bout of the flu. Marcos Cafu missed the Atalanta trip through suspension and shores up the defence.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Tomasson, Crespo


Sampdoria: Antonioli; Zenoni, Pavan, Falcone, Pisano; Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto; Flachi, Kutuzov

http://www.channel4.com/sport/football_italia/sa0405/mil-sam.html

AC Milan vs. Sampdoria - match preview
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The two most in-form Serie A sides meet at the San Siro as leaders Milan face third-placed Sampdoria. The Rossoneri have won their last six League games, while Doria have won five and lost one (to Livorno) over the same period of time.

The Rossoneri kept up their joint leadership with Juventus thanks to a 2-1 win at Atalanta. That victory was labelled as ‘lucky’ by some given that Andrea Pirlo netted a 94th minute winner. The champions are developing a habit for leaving it late after winning in similar circumstances against Lazio and Cagliari.

Sampdoria will certainly need to be aware of that particular Milan characteristic given their last experience of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The port outfit were leading 2-0 at Inter before the home side scored three times in the last five minutes to net a remarkable victory.

While most expected Milan to be in such a position, few believed that Doria would be fighting for a place in next season’s Champions’ League. They beat Chievo, somewhat fortunately, last week and have also beaten Juventus in Turin this season. That will make them a danger even without the injured trio of Stefano Sacchetti, Cristiano Doni and Marcello Castellini. It's a special occasion for Vitali Kutuzov, whose contract is still owned by the Rossoneri.

Milan also have injury problems to contend with. Golden Ball winner Andriy Shevchenko is still out following his cheekbone surgery and Kakha Kaladze is struggling with a muscle problem, even if Manuel Rui Costa could return after a bout of the flu. Marcos Cafu missed the Atalanta trip through suspension and shores up the defence.

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Tomasson, Crespo

Sampdoria: Antonioli; Zenoni, Pavan, Falcone, Pisano; Diana, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto; Flachi, Kutuzov

Shevchenko hails mighty Milan
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Injured Milan ace Andriy Shevchenko has praised his teammates for disposing of Manchester United in the Champions’ League.

The Rossoneri qualified for the last eight of the competition last night after beating Man Utd 1-0, just as they did in the first leg at Old Trafford.

"It was a really good game and I have to give Milan 10 out of 10," stated Shev after Hernan Crespo again hit the target.

"Manchester United are a great team and it wasn’t easy to collect the victory against them."

Shevchenko missed the game with a fractured cheekbone and he expects to be out for a little while longer.

"I’ve been able to rest for a week and I had a medical on Tuesday," he revealed. "The doctor was happy but told me that I would be out for another two weeks."

The Golden Ball winner suffered the horrific injury on February 19 after clashing heads with Cagliari stopper Simone Loria.

"I’m already back in training and I’ll be able to return without a mask," continued the Ukrainian international.

"How do I feel psychologically? I know that these things happen in football and I’ve already tried to cancel it from my memory."

Shevchenko says he could return in two weeks
9.3 || webmaster

Source: FoxSports.com

MILAN, Italy (AP) - AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko, who fractured his cheekbone during a an Italian league match last month, said Tuesday that he could return to the field in about two weeks.

"Doctors told me that I can play again in two weeks, possibly without wearing a protective mask," the Ukraine player told television interviewers after watching Milan's victory over Manchester United at San Siro which qualified the Italian side for the Champions League quarterfinals.

"Sheva," who missed both matches with United, was expected to be fit for Milan's quarterfinal matches in April.

Shevchenko, who has scored 14 goals in the Serie A this season, said he was trying to forget the incident, where he clashed heads with a Cagliari defender in the first half of the Feb. 19 match.

"I don't think to have psychological problems on my return. I'll try headers again," Shevchenko said.

Ancelotti relishes Milan control
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has taken his revenge on Sir Alex Ferguson and claims Milan were in complete control throughout the two legs.

“I must say that it was a good game and a great performance,” he said after their 1-0 win at the San Siro. “Manchester United were very aggressive and we could have been a bit more accurate in front of goal, but the fact remains that we were in complete control from start to finish. Thankfully, we managed that both in the first and second legs.”

Much has been said of the Rossoneri’s rock-solid defence, but it was in the middle of the park that they excelled.

“We knew it would be difficult, as we had to remain concentrated in midfield so Roy Keane and Paul Scholes were rarely able to support the forwards. I think we won this game all the way through the side, as we were only under pressure when our fullbacks were pushing up and they caught us on the break, but it went well.”

Ancelotti chose to play with the Christmas tree formation and then decided to take off goalscorer Hernan Crespo.

“The players were also a bit surprised when I took the only striker off, but with Kaka’s pace he could be very dangerous on the break in the final minutes,” explained the tactician. “When the clock is ticking away, you need some solidity.”

Ex-Manchester United man Jaap Stam started in central defence, moving 37-year-old Paolo Maldini to his old left-back position.

“Maldini is fit enough to play as left-back and he was willing to make this sacrifice today, especially as a great captain he is happy to do anything for the good of the team.”

Gennaro Gattuso was one of the most impressive on the night and gave an interview before the match suggesting he’d like to play for the Old Trafford outfit.

“I think that Gattuso enjoyed playing in Scotland and his warrior-like approach suits the Anglo-Saxon game, but if I told him tomorrow to swap places with Keane then he – and I – would refuse the exchange,” smiled Ancelotti.

Ancelotti was on the Juventus bench in 1999 when Manchester United fought back from a first leg defeat to win in Turin.

“Everyone tried to remind me of that, but these were two very different situations,” assured the Coach after taking his ‘revenge.’

Now 2003 winners Milan go into the draw for the quarter-finals and the other sides already qualified are Chelsea and Olympique Lyonnaise.

“I just hope we don’t draw another Italian club, as I am convinced that both Inter and Juve will qualify and Milan can compete with anyone on the European stage.”

Hernan Crespo bagged both goals over the two legs and came back to haunt the Premiership giants after his time at Chelsea.

“These were two very tough games and we managed to get through with victories,” smiled the Argentine. “I love playing for Milan and certainly hope to stay, but when Pippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko return the whole team will get even better.”

AC Milan 1:0 Manchester United - match report
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Crespo 61 (Mi)

Hernan Crespo is proving to be Manchester United's nightmare as he scored in both legs as Milan knock out the Red Devils 2-0 on aggregate.

The Rossoneri had conquered Old Trafford with Hernan Crespo's lone strike in the first leg and made a few changes, introducing Jaap Stam as a central defender and moving Paolo Maldini back to his old left-back role.

Carlo Ancelotti retained the Christmas tree formation in Andriy Shevchenko's absence, while Manchester United dropped Roy Carroll after his howler and Ruud van Nistelrooy was back from the start after injury. Sir Alex Ferguson remained confident after overturning a first leg defeat at Juventus in 1999, when Ancelotti was on the Turin bench.

Ex-Inter man Mikael Silvestre did well to intercept Manuel Rui Costa's through ball to Crespo, then Gabriel Heinze's hopeful punt from 30 metres bounced just in front of Dida's goal.

The first shot on goal came after seven minutes when Clarence Seedorf sprinted forward on the counter-attack and rolled across for Crespo, whose shot was beaten away with some difficulty by Tim Howard.

Soon after, Rui Costa's tame effort was easily smothered, then Crespo fell as he went shoulder to shoulder with Heinze for a long ball forward, but there were no penalty appeals for the 50-50 challenge.

Howard clumsily pushed Maldini's sweeping cross off the head of Crespo and Seedorf was unable to make the most of the loose ball. Stam performed a crucial tackle on his former teammate van Nistelrooy on the edge of the box and Silvestre's handling offence just outside the area went unpunished.

Kaka's looping header from a Cafu cross was over the bar, but Milan were extremely lucky to stay with the scoreline level on 28 minutes. Ryan Giggs sprung the offside trap and chose to go for glory rather than roll across for the totally unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo and the Welshman's angled drive thumped the upright with Dida beaten.

Kaka burst through the Manchester United defence only to drill his effort wide of the far post, but the Brazilian did rather better soon after when he pounced on a poor Silvestre clearance and his fierce strike rattled the crossbar.

Manchester United were again dangerous before the break, as Wayne Rooney held up the ball for van Nistelrooy, who ballooned it over from seven yards.

Rui Costa rushed through the centre and saw his shot charged down by Silvestre as the first half came to a close.

Kaka threaded through for Seedorf and the defence crowded out the Dutchman as he pulled the trigger. Ryan Giggs needed treatment for a bloody nose when he accidentally clattered into Gennaro Gattuso's shoulder and was forced off the field to make way for Quinton Fortune.

Gattuso's long-range effort was deflected off target by Silvestre, then moments later the former Inter defender proved decisive again to stop Crespo toe-poking in Cafu's cross.

The two Milan men combined again less than a minute afterwards with Crespo nodding over the bar. Fortune made an immediate impact on the game, as he was booked within 60 seconds for hacking down Kaka as he charged up the left flank.

Crespo went down a bit too easily under Silvestre's challenge just inside the box, then Seedorf had another strike deflected off target by the impressive Silvestre.

The deadlock was eventually broken on the hour mark and Hernan Crespo is now Manchester United's worst nightmare. Marcos Cafu curled in the cross and the former Chelsea star's header looped over Tim Howard and in off the far post.

Manchester United now poured forward and Stam pushed Cristiano Ronaldo's free kick over and from the resulting corner Rooney's volley was a metre wide.

But Milan could have doubled their lead. Rui Costa started the move and Kaka rolled the ball across for Crespo, who toe-poked it past the near post from close-range.

Moments later there were penalty appeals for a handling offence when Roy Keane fell on to the ball as he challenged Kaka and prevented the Brazilian from continuing his move.

Then van Nistelrooy somehow managed to blaze wide from eight yards when totally unmarked at the back post on Fortune's pass. Ronaldo had another piledriver off target and Alessandro Nesta threw out a foot to intercept a very dangerous low Keane cross from the right.

Kaka was on lively form and fired over and Crespo was replaced by defensive midfielder Massimo Ambrosini.

Gattuso thought he was Pele for a moment when he dribbled past two players, gathered Kaka's backheel and saw his shot squeeze inches wide of the upright in a fantastic move.

Substitute Vikash Dhorasoo's cross found Cafu and another fine attempt was charged down before Gattuso limped off with cramp.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso (Costacurta 88), Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà, Rui Costa (Dhorasoo 84); Crespo (Ambrosini 78)

Manchester United: Howard; Brown (Smith 84), Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze; Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs (Fortune 57); Rooney, Van Nistelrooy

Ref: Fandel (Ger)

Kaka gets licence
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Goal.com

AC Milan starlet Kakà will finally be able to drive a car as he obtained his drivers licence earlier this week.

He obtained it in an area north of Milan next to a town called Stresa, as to not attract too much attention from the local media.

“I had never seen this area of Italy. I like it, and will surely come back,” said the Brazilian superstar.

Shevchenko on the mend
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko is close to a return after the Milan man resumed training on Monday afternoon.

The Ukrainian striker has been sidelined for the last two weeks as a result of a fractured cheekbone.

The European Footballer of the Year required minor surgery but he’s now back amongst his teammates.

Shevchenko will miss tonight’s Champions’ League clash against Manchester United, but he could soon be back at the disposal of boss Carlo Ancelotti.

"He could be physically ready in a week," revealed the tactician. "The only real problem could be a psychological one.

"That is something that he must resolve himself but I’m confident that he’ll be fine judging by his mood over the last few days."

Shevchenko completed a light running session with his colleagues before continuing specific work in the gym.

He may start on the bench in the Week 28 game against Sampdoria, but should definitely be back for the trip to Roma on 20 March.

AC Milan vs. Manchester United - match preview
7.3 || webmaster

Source: EuroSport.com

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti needs no reminder that Manchester United, Tuesday's Champions League opponents, are capable of winning against the odds in Italy. Six years ago Ancelotti was coach of the Juventus side who lost the second leg of their semi-final 3-2 at the Delle Alpi stadium.

Milan went one better than Juventus in the first leg of their knockout round match last month, winning 1-0 in Manchester, but Ancelotti is taking nothing for granted.

"I remember extremely well what happened last time....we know the job is only half done," he said at Old Trafford.

United manager Alex Ferguson says victory over Milan would be an even greater achievement than the upset at the Delle Alpi.

"Turin was the greatest performance of my time here, easily," he said. "To win on Tuesday would be above that. Milan's experience at the back is the thing."

Caution and cool defending are likely to be Milan's watchwords at the San Siro. Ancelotti's team know a draw would be enough to see them through although the coach insists that will not mean a negative approach.

"We don't want to simply defend because that can end badly," he said. "Rather we want to play as we did in Manchester."

The Italian champions are on a run of excellent results which underline the tightness of their defence.

After two defeats in a shaky January, Milan have won their last seven games - four of them 1-0. On Saturday they beat Atalanta 2-1 courtesy of a final second winner from midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Injuries and the need to rest players ahead of Tuesday meant Ancelotti shuffled his pack. Striker Filippo Inzaghi and former United defender Jaap Stam made their returns from injury and could play some role in Tuesday's game.

Inzaghi is set to start on the bench, a boost for Ancelotti who is likely to be without Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko after suffering a fractured cheekbone last month.

Milan will have to wait for a fitness check on Georgia left back Kakha Kaladze. If he misses out then Giuseppe Pancaro is on stand-by.

GREATER PENETRATION

United were frustrated by 10-man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday and will need to find greater penetration if they are to trouble Milan.

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who made his return from injury in the first leg, is still short of full match fitness and so Wayne Rooney will probably be given the nod to start in attack against Maldini and Alessandro Nesta.

Keeper Roy Carroll, whose error handed Hernan Crespo the chance for Milan's goal at Old Trafford, has been dropped in favour of American Tim Howard.

Ferguson will re-shuffle his defence after England's Gary Neville was ruled out by an ankle injury, his place at right back probably going to Wes Brown with France's Mikael Silvestre slotting into the middle.

Rooney's pace and the threat on the wide threat of Cristiano Ronaldo could trouble Milan's ageing back line, though French striker Louis Saha is out through injury.

Ferguson is banking on his side's experienced core to deliver.

"Tuesday's going to be a night for the big players," he said. "We'll have to defend better than we've ever defended.

"If we don't lose a goal, the longer the game goes on, the better our chance may be. I think the team who wins this tie could go on and win the cup.

"I know there are some other good teams, particularly Barcelona, but there's a great mental toughness about us and Milan," said the United manager.

Probable teams:

AC Milan: 1-Dida; 2-Cafu (or 31-Jaap Stam), 13-Alessandro Nesta, 3-Paolo Maldini, 4-Kakha Kaladze; 8-Gennaro Gattuso, 21-Andrea Pirlo, 20-Clarence Seedorf; 10-Rui Costa, 22-Kaka, 11-Hernan Crespo.

Manchester United: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Wes Brown, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 27-Mikael Silvestre, 4-Gabriel Heinze; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 16-Roy Keane, 18-Paul Scholes, 25-Quinton Fortune, 11-Ryan Giggs; 8-Wayne Rooney.

Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)

Gattuso mad for Milan
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has dismissed reports of a transfer to Manchester United by insisting he would be "mad" to leave Milan.

The Italian midfielder did reveal ambitions of moving to Old Trafford over the weekend, but he’s looked to end the speculation regarding his future.

"I’ll stay with Milan for as long as they want me," the former Rangers player stated. "It would be madness to leave."

Many expect the midfielder to remain at the San Siro for some time to come, especially as he will be handed the captain’s armband once Paolo Maldini retires.

However, there were doubts over his long-term plans with the Rossoneri after an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

"My dream is to play for Manchester United in England," he told the newspaper.

"I know it is a bit soon to talk about it because we have this big game coming up against United, but I have always been fascinated by them.

"I would love to have a new experience, even in the next year or two.

"I would choose Manchester United ahead of Chelsea because the stadium has a very special atmosphere and the club is world famous, like Milan."

Gattuso, who was rested for the 2-1 win against Atalanta on Saturday, will return to the side against United on Tuesday.

Milan face the Premiership giants as they look to reach the last eight of the Champions’ League after the 1-0 first leg win at Old Trafford.

Abbiati will quit Milan
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italian international Christian Abbiati will leave Milan in the summer, with Palermo his most likely destination.

The goalkeeper is looking for a new club after spending the last two seasons as No 2 behind Nelson Dida.

Roma had apparently taken a keen interest in the player, given the inconsistent form of Ivan Pelizzoli, but Abbiati’s wage demands have scared them off.

That leaves Palermo in pole position after they almost signed the 27-year-old at the start of this season.

Reports suggest the move will definitely happen if the high-flying Rosaneri qualify for European football.

Milan will look to England to replace Abbiati, with Chelsea reserve Carlo Cudicini high on their wish-list.

The latter has spent most of the season on the bench behind Petr Cech and could be interested in a move.

Speculation suggests that Cudicini would be in favour of a return to Milan, in order to be closer to his high-profile girlfriend Alessia Marcuzzi.

Abbiati, a former Under-21 international, has also been linked with a move to Premiership giants Arsenal in the past.

Gullit hails 'great' Ancelotti
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ruud Gullit admits he is amazed at how well his former Milan teammate Carlo Ancelotti has settled into the life of a Coach.

“I always knew that Ancelotti would have become a brilliant tactician once he retired,” revealed the midfielder. “What surprises me is how quickly he has managed to achieve it.”

There are several members of Arrigo Sacchi’s ‘Grande Milan’ who have gone on to success on the bench, including Feyenoord boss Gullit, Barcelona’s Frank Rijkaard, Livorno boss Roberto Donadoni and current Holland manager Marco van Basten.

His ex-roommate has been keeping tabs on the situation, including the fortunate late victories in the derby and yesterday’s trip to Atalanta.

“Inter played well and were unlucky, especially as there were a few injury problems. Milan have great players who can turn a game at any moment, and that is precisely what we’ve seen over the last few weeks.”

The Champions’ League is reaching a crossroads next week with the second leg encounters and all three Serie A representatives are in the running.

“Milan, Inter and Juventus all picked up positive results and I think they’ll qualify for the next round,” insisted Gullit. “Clearly, at this stage it’s a fight between the very best that Europe can offer, so anything can happen.”

The former Chelsea manager finally turned his attention to the growing problem of racism in the continent’s football stadiums.

“Unfortunately, it’s a problem that tends to flare up when there is an economic crisis,” he reasoned. “People need to vent their frustration and they do so against immigrants or those who look different. But Europe is united and must stick together in this situation.”

Ancelotti denies Milan are blessed
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti and Alessandro Costacurta insist that Milan’s last-gasp victories are down to hard work and not good luck.

“This really was a difficult game,” he conceded after the 2-1 win in Bergamo. “We could have won it or lost in those dying stages, but thankfully we managed to get the goal.”

This is hardly a new tactic for the San Siro giants, who have repeatedly improved upon their results in the final 15 minutes despite below par performances.

“I’d say the first half was under control for both sides, then towards the end there were plenty of chances at either end of the field. The state of the frozen pitch didn’t help anyone today and we knew it was going to be tough.”

The Rossoneri are now certain to stay top of the table regardless of Juve’s result at Roma tonight, but they were certainly made to work by the club currently propping up the standings.

“Atalanta played very well and put us under constant pressure,” admitted Ancelotti. “We didn’t handle the situation and left them far too much space to hit us on the counter-attack.”

Several midfield players were rested ahead of Tuesday’s Champions’ League clash with Manchester United, though there are concerns over the wavering form of Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

“We come out of this with an excellent result and hope to make the most of our confidence going into the European tie,” added the tactician. “Filippo Inzaghi came on for the final stages, but he is still not 100 per cent fit and has only taken part in two full training sessions.”

Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta explained that Milan’s recent victories should not be put down to luck alone, but rather their commitment to the result.

“All these late wins cannot be explained away by good fortune alone,” said the veteran defender. “It is remarkable consistency that enables us to keep going until the final whistle, which our opponents are rarely ready to do. Milan never give in and I think the points are fully deserved.”

Atalanta thought otherwise, especially as Alessandro Nesta escaped what could have been a red card offence on Stephen Ayodele Makinwa.

“We lost a point that we needed, both for our confidence and to climb off the foot of the table,” explained the Nigerian. “Nesta clearly pulled my shirt when I was lining up the shot.”

“The team played well and was unlucky in the final minute, but if we continue like this then Atalanta can avoid the drop.”

Atalanta 1:2 AC Milan - match report
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ambrosini 72 (M), Makinwa 73 (A), Pirlo 94 (M)

Milan survived a scare at bottom of the table Atalanta as Andrea Pirlo grabbed a winner with the last kick of the game.

The Rossoneri were without the suspended Marcos Cafu, while Andriy Shevchenko, Kakha Kaladze and Manuel Rui Costa were injured. Jaap Stam returned from a thigh problem to take the right-back role. There were massive changes in midfield with stars rested ahead of the Manchester United tie and they returned to the two-striker system.

This may be a top to toe encounter as far as the table is concerned, but Atalanta have really improved of late and held Cagliari to a thrilling 3-3 draw last Sunday.

Hernan Crespo failed to get on the end of a corner kick and Andrea Pirlo's free kick was charged down, but it was Atalanta who had the first real scoring opportunity after 11 minutes. Antonino Bernardini's free kick reached Capelli for a glancing header that turned the ball past Dida and on to the base of the far upright.

Carlo Ancelotti was playing with two central defenders in full-back roles and that inevitably saw the standard of crosses into the box dip during this game. With this in mind, 36-year-old Paolo Maldini pushed up to a left-back position and began to cause a few problems.

Milan still had a great chance to take the lead on 21 minutes, as goalkeeper Alex Calderoni was surprised by the bounce Kaka's pass and just pushed the ball away from Maldini around the six-yard box, then Crespo couldn't turn his marker to aim at an empty net.

Crespo and Kaka were finding it tough to control the ball on the frozen Bergamo pitch and wasted a golden opportunity on the counter-attack soon after.

Stephen Makinwa dribbled round Alessandro Nesta at the byline and an unlucky bounce sent his pass away from his Atalanta teammates. Soon after, Dida rushed off his line to punch a dangerous Motta cross off Bellini's head.

On the stroke of half-time, Crespo's effort was deflected into the path of Stam, who ballooned a woeful effort over from a promising position.

Dida was again tested after the restart with a fine save on Makinwa's dangerous turn and strike from the edge of the box. Kaka was then disposessed in midfield and Bernardini drilled just wide from distance.

There was controversy on the hour mark when Makinwa was clearly dragged back by his shirt as he prepared to shoot from just outside the penalty area, but the referee and linesman somehow failed to notice Nesta's tugging offence. It was at least a booking as Costacurta was nearby, probably a red card for last man. The referee went to the Atalanta Coach and explained that Makinwa had committed a foul first, but he didn't award a free kick to the Rossoneri either, so this explanation is somewhat confusing.

Serginho introduced some much-needed pace to the Milan side by replacing Vikash Dhorasoo, while Massimo Ambrosini took over from Christian Brocchi.

Maldini was very lively and his powerful strike was cleared just in front of Calderoni by Natali's defensive header.

The Atalanta goalkeeper then took a step backwards to capture a floating Pirlo free kick and nearly went over the line, but was able to contain it.

Calderoni scrambled to Tomasson's feet after he had battled past both Capelli and Bellini to run into the area.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 72 minutes. An Andrea Pirlo free kick from the right found a totally unmarked Massimo Ambrosini for a strong twisting header into the near corner of the net.

It didn't last long, however, as just 60 seconds later Atalanta drew level in similar circumstances. Another free kick, this time by Bernardini from a central position, found Makinwa in the middle of several Milan shirts and his equally impressive header went into the bottom corner.

Maldini had another long-range strike that was deflected inches wide of the near post, while Pippo Inzaghi returned to the playing field for the first time since October 17 following surgery on his ankle and then his right hand. It was an emotional occasion for him because Inzaghi was also a top scorer with the Atalanta jersey at the start of his career.

Atalanta horribly wasted a fantastic chance to win it soon after, as Makinwa sprinted past Nesta and rolled the ball across for the unmarked Andrea Lazzari, who fired straight at Dida when it might have been easier to score.

Ambrosini chested down a cross and fired wide of the near post, then Makinwa again used his extraordinary pace only to aim a weak shot at Dida.

Makinwa was booked for trying to punch Lazzari's cross into the net at the back post after some great build-up play from Bernardini.

Inzaghi pounced on a loose ball and would have been one on one with the goalkeeper, but Rivalta dived in with a crucial tackle.

In the final minute of normal time, Tomasson had his best chance of the game by turning his marker and Calderoni rushed out to smother the shot with his chest.

Makinwa was stretchered off in stoppages with cramp, but as has happened so often this season, Milan left it until the last kick of the game to grab the winning goal. Inzaghi's header from a corner kick was parried into the path of Pirlo, who slammed home the winner from close range to ensure they stay top.

Atalanta: Calderoni; Rivalta, Natali, Capelli; Motta, Montolivo, Bernardini, Marcolini (Innocenti 86), Bellini; Lazzari, Makinwa (Sinigaglia 91)

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Costacurta; Brocchi (Ambrosini 61), Pirlo, Dhorasoo (Serginho 60); Kakà; Crespo (Inzaghi 77), Tomasson

Ref: Bertini

Injury list
5.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO - Four Rossoneri players will miss the trip to Atalanta on Saturday: injured Kakhaber Kaladze and Adriy Shevchenko, suspended Marcos Cafu and Manuel Rui Costa who remains at Milanello to train after having influenza earlier this week.

Ancelotti wants Milan to fly
5.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO – This is what Carlo Ancelotti had to say at his usual pre-match press conference, on the eve of the trip to Atalanta:

What formation will you play at Atalanta?
'This week many players worked apart, so we couldn’t try a lot, today will be fundamental to understand the formation. We will try many solutions this afternoon.'
What have this Milan side improved in?
'After the two slip-ups against Livorno and Bologna our attention has improved, moreover Sheva’s injury has given the team more responsibility.'
Will Jaap Stam play?
'Milan have the four best central defenders in the world, in this sense we have no problems, today we’ll evaluate the situation of the Dutchman.'
Do you fear any concentration drop after the big clashes with Manchester United and Inter?
'Milan won’t be suffering any concentration drop but we will have to respect the worth of the opponents, a team who have improved much recently. The pitch won’t help us.'
This Milan side are not scoring that much…
'We played delicate games, we didn’t create much but also conceded few chances. If we had put everyone in attack, we would have certainly risked more.'
What about Pippo Inzaghi's recovery?
'Inzaghi underwent two individual training sessions earlier this week, he has not joined the team yet. As I already said with Stam, we will evaluate Pippo’s condition later this afternoon.'
What do you expect from Atalanta?
'Atalanta have changed their organisation on the pitch, opting for a three-man defence, and can count on Makinwa, a very dangerous striker.'
What will you tell your men?
'That games must be played until the very end, we can’t be too hectic in chasing the victory, but will have to keep control of the game and be very relaxed in looking for the goal.'
Is it more stressful to lead or chase?
'It is more stressful to be behind, you cannot allow yourself to make mistakes.'
What will you do against Atalanta on Saturday night?
'The important thing is that the team keep control on the game for the whole 90 minutes, of course if they open the scoring early, then it will be easier to hold on, but this team do not get discouraged, I’m relaxed about this.'
How is Jon Dahl Tomasson?
'He had physical problems until December, now he is fit and I think he can do well until the end of the season and repeat the good that he did last year.'
You play first on Saturday, than Juve face Roma in the evening…
'I don’t care. We just have to take the lead, even only for ninety minutes.'
Milan are no longer that spectacular...
'This team have been built to play an attractive football, and when they don’t do it, there is something to be reviewed, but the opponents also make things difficult very often.'
How long are you going to play Paolo Maldini?
'Maldini will rest when I have the sensation that some tiredness is affecting his performance.'
Does this squad give you guarantees?
'The squad we have gives me great guarantees, the players who have been given a chance have always impressed.'
What do you expect from the return game against Manchester United?
'They will certainly adopt counteractions not to repeat the same performance of the first leg. They have many quality players who are set to become top stars. I expect some changes from Sir Alex Ferguson.'

Kaka: 'Tough game on a hard pitch'
5.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO - Kaka spoke about the trip to Atalanta and said: ’I'm ready. We know it will be a tough game. We play away from the San Siro and I know, although I've never been there before, that the pitch will be difficult.'
Even more difficult for a Brazilian. Kaka continued: 'I've got used to the bad conditions of the pitches in the winter period, we will have to overcome this difficulty. We know we will have the support of our fans, we want to make them happy once again.'
Manuel Rui Costa will miss the game due to influenza, Kaka could play behind Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson. He concluded: ’If it were like this, I would have no problems, I?m used to play that role. It will up to the coach to decide.'

Inzaghi returns to face Atalanta
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi has returned to the squad for the trip to Atalanta, while Kaka looks forward to a change of tactics.

The Italian international has barely set foot on the field for the last year with a series of injury setbacks, including two operations on his ankle and a recent bout of surgery for a fractured bone in his right hand.

He resumed full training this week and his presence at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia put Inzaghi in good stead for a place on the bench against Manchester United next week.

Marcos Cafu is suspended for this match, while Manuel Rui Costa has not made the trip to Bergamo due to a flu virus, so Carlo Ancelotti could return to the 4-3-1-2 system with Kaka supporting Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

“I am ready,” noted Kaka. “We all know it’ll be a tough game against Atalanta, especially with such appalling weather, but I am now getting used to the Winter climate in Europe.”

The Brazilian will brave the rain and snow to take the field on Saturday evening in this creative position behind the front two, though there are also reports that Crespo will be rested ahead of the Champions’ League fixture.

“It will be up to the Coach to decide,” he added. “We know plenty of supporters will make the trip and we want to make them happy with a victory. Then we can all sit down in front of the television and cheer on Roma against Juventus!”

Jaap Stam also returns from a muscular injury to shore up the defence in Cafu’s absence, while we could see a few midfield changes.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori; Costacurta, Maldini, Nesta, Pancaro, Simic, Stam; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Dhorasoo, Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf, Serginho; Crespo, Inzaghi, Tomasson.

Ancelotti likes it on top
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has warned Milan that they mustn’t underestimate Atalanta, as he wants to stay top of the table at the end of tonight’s games.

“I won’t tolerate a lack of concentration as we have to keep hold of the leadership,” said the Coach. “It’s far more stressful to fight our way back up than it is to maintain a position and we cannot afford to make any mistakes here.”

The Rossoneri clawed back an eight-point deficit to catch Juventus in the top spot and they are favourites to be out in front by this evening as they face bottom of the table Atalanta while the Bianconeri take on Roma.

“We are playing against a side that is not to be underestimated,” warned Ancelotti. “Atalanta have really improved over the last few games and will do their best to hurt us on the counter-attack.”

So far they have survived without Andriy Shevchenko and can welcome Pippo Inzaghi back on to the bench today.

“We hope to have everyone fully fit as soon as possible, but now every match becomes more important and it is essential to rotate the squad. Thankfully, this group of players is of a very high quality and those who stepped in were up to the task.”

There could also be a few adjustments in midfield, while there are reports that Hernan Crespo will be rested ahead of the Manchester United clash.

“I certainly expect Sir Alex Ferguson to make a few changes so that they won’t risk repeating the first leg performance,” noted the tactician. “Manchester United have some quality players who are destined to be great, but I do not suppose I’ll see the same approach from them.”

Marcos Cafu is suspended for the Atalanta trip, while Jaap Stam and Giuseppe Pancaro return, but 36-year-old captain Paolo Maldini shows no signs of slowing down.

“I’ll leave him on the bench when I feel he needs a rest,” explained his former teammate Ancelotti. “To be honest, in 15 years he has never looked tired!”

Milan in pole position, claims Buffon
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have the slight advantage in the title race, concedes Juventus No 1 Gianluigi Buffon.

Both sides are currently joint top of the table but the goalkeeper insists the Rossoneri have the edge.

"Milan beat Inter last week while we still have to face the Nerazzurri," stated the Italian. "Now they have a 51 per cent chance of the Scudetto, while we have 49 per cent.

"However, we have the possibility to level it up again if we win at Roma because Milan still have to travel to the Olimpico."

The Turin giants face their great capital rivals on Saturday night and Buffon is expecting a real test.

"It will also be up to me and not just our attackers to make a difference," continued the former Parma ace.

"Roma are a very tough side to face, especially as they have the attacking trio of Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano and Vincenzo Montella."

February was a tough month for Juventus after they surrendered an eight-point lead, but Buffon has rubbished reports of unrest within the Bianconeri squad.

"I have read many false things about this team," said the 27-year-old. "The reality is that we feel good and are united."

There were allegations which suggested that boss Fabio Capello had clashed with both Alex Del Piero and Buffon last month. The club subsequently categorically denied those claims.

Milan face snow threat
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s game at Atalanta on Saturday could be postponed after heavy snowfall in the north of Italy.

The clash at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia should kick off at 18.00 hours local time but there are serious doubts over whether it will go ahead.

Should the bad weather continue over the next 24 hours then the Week 27 match could be called-off.

There are also concerns regarding Sampdoria’s tie against Chievo, to be played on Sunday, after the city of Genoa was also affected by the wintry conditions.

Snow has been falling on the city since last night and a pitch inspection has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Nesta in cautious mood
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan ace Alessandro Nesta has shot down claims that the Week 27 schedule favours the Rossoneri.

The champions travel to bottom of the table Atalanta on Saturday, while joint leaders Juventus face a tricky test at Roma.

But the Italian international is taking nothing for granted, despite the form guide suggesting that his side could take control of the championship race this weekend.

"There could be problems if we consider ourselves as favourites," stated the former Lazio skipper.

"The Bergamo pitch is likely to be frozen and we will be up against a team who haven’t given up hope of survival.

"The secret of success in this game is to remain concentrated at all times."

Juventus have surrendered an eight point lead to Milan recently, but Nesta isn’t too sure that they will drop more points on Saturday night.

"It certainly won’t be an easy game for them in Rome but the Bianconeri could win it, just as we beat Inter last week," added the stopper.

The Italian international was also asked about how much of a part stress could play in deciding the destination of the title.

"You can be struck by anxiousness when you are at the top of the League, a fear that you might not be able to make it," he added.

"But that is only a minimal risk at a club like this one because Milan are so used to winning important trophies."

Costacurta: 'To Bergamo concentrated and determined'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

Billy Costacurta continued: ’After the two slip-ups against Livorno and Bologna we found ourselves in deep water. We tucked up our sleeves and overcame that difficult moment in the best way, joining Juve top of the table. January and February were two beautiful months, we did wellas we leart to be patient. When you face teams that press in masse, it is crucial to be able to wait. On the pitch you know you can't be aggressive for 90 minutes, that's why we usually score after the break. The opponents slow down, as it happened with Lazio, for example. Dabo didn't stop Kaka when he shot, in the first half he would have done it. This is also a key to read the game. Our group is realy compact, the Italians have helped the foreign players to fit in well, we were able to convey the values of this club. I am one of the veterans in the dressing room, every team in Europe have their columns.'
Speaking about the upcoming game at Atalanta, Billy added: ’To think we have already won that game before playing it can be a big mistake, we will have to avoid this. We need top concentration.'

Costacurta: 'We are able to deal with difficult moments'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO - The team have resumed training at Milanello in view of the trip to Atalanta on Saturday. Before starting practice, Billy Costacurta answered the questions of the journalists gathered in the pressroom.
The veteran defender ruled out the possibility that Milan are over boosted by the latest successes and with his usual wisdom and experience said: ’I believe that it is impossible to lose the concentration at this point of the season. I mean, if you start well from the beginning, then it is possible that you can get sidetracked, but now we are close to the final rush and we know it. We can't take the pitch if we are not at our best, we must always take the most of every game.' Milan have clinched six consecutive victories in February, against Messina, Lazio, Reggina, Cagliari, Manchester and Inter. Billy explained the great quality of the team: ’The team have managed to deal with the difficult moments. Our new ability is to know that if you play with attention, it is also easier to win even when you are not so brilliant. And this season in the league, especially against quality opponents, it is not easy to lead the play. To play against Inter and dominate them is not possible, against those teams who are at your same level, you win thanks to other qualities. So we did in the derby and even against Manchester United. At Old Trafford we played a great game.'

Maldini: 'Domestic campaign more and more important'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: noticias.info

MILANELLO - Paolo Maldini, speaking with the Milan Channel before starting training this afternoon at Milanello, focused on the league and the upcoming trip to Atalanta. He said: ’Most of the hard work we expected has been completed, but we cannot undervalue the small teams who close in defence and don't concede much space to play. In Bergamo Atalanta will be looking to defend and hit on the counter-attack, while we will have to get a result.'
Milan could be facing a new season after joining Juventus at the top of the table. Maldini continued: 'A new stage has started even for those who cannot reach certain targets anymore, so they will be fighting for other ones. The championship is getting more and more important.'
Winning is just as important for Paolo on a personal level. He concluded: 'I'm happy to be here, still in the fight. All of this is a sort of confirmation for me. Get the best results, this will be my objective as long as I play.'

AC Milan hunt Scots
3.3 || webmaster

Source: The Sun (UK)

ITALIAN soccer legends AC Milan are searching for new football talent - in SCOTLAND.

The reigning Serie A champions are establishing a sports academy at Paisley University's Robertson Trust Sports Centre in Renfrewshire.

Milan will base a number of their coaches at the university and operate junior camps, which will give boys aged between five and 18 the chance to receive world-class training and coaching.

It is hoped the scheme can pave the way for a young Scot to emulate legendary Scotland striker Joe Jordan, who played for Milan between 1981 and 1984.

It will get under way this summer, with two week-long residential football camps in July.

The number of places will be limited to 100 youngsters per camp.

A university spokesman said: "This partnership with AC Milan highlights the quality of the University's Robertson Trust Sports Centre.

"To be the only venue in Scotland to be hosting these camps is a huge achievement."

The six-time European Champions boast a galaxy of stars including Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, Kaka and current European Footballer of Year Andriy Shevchenko.

In comparison, the nearest Scottish club to the university is St Mirren, who are currently third in the Bell's First Division.

Maldini eyes hidden dangers
3.3 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan have seen off Inter and Manchester United over the last week, but captain Paolo Maldini says it’s Atalanta they should be worrying about.

“A large part of the work has been done, but we must not underestimate the importance the smaller teams have on the Scudetto race,” noted the 36-year-old. “These are the sides that close up and make it difficult for you to play your style of football.”

The Rossoneri have struggled more than most against these struggling outfits, following defeats to Livorno, Bologna and Messina as well as draws with Palermo and Brescia.

The challenge this weekend is provided by bottom of the table Atalanta, who have already proven their character by fighting back three times to hold Cagliari in an exhilarating 3-3 draw last Sunday.

“Atalanta will try to soak up pressure and hit us on the counter-attack,” warned Maldini. “We must concentrate on getting three points by all means necessary.”

Milan looked dead and buried a month ago, but in February they picked up six victories between Serie A and the Champions’ League to join Juve at the top of the table and put themselves in pole position for a quarter-final spot in Europe.

“This is a new phase for us and it’s the same for all the other teams. They see their objectives change and their approach mutates with it, so from now on in the games become more important for everyone.”

Maldini is heading towards another impressive addition to his CV and has no intention of hanging up his boots despite the fact he’ll turn 37 in June.

“I am happy to be here and keep on fighting,” said the defender who has played for Milan since the age of 16 and recently marked the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut. “My objective continues to be getting the best possible results – and it will be until the day I retire.”

Pizarro set for Pirlo role
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are today being linked with a swoop for David Pizarro - but the Udinese man has doubts that the move will occur.

Reports suggest that the playmaker is at to top of the Rossoneri’s shopping list as they look for an alternative to Andrea Pirlo.

The side struggled without the latter last month after he picked up a minor knee injury, leading Vice-president Adriano Galliani to admit that the player was "irreplaceable".

Milan are looking to remedy that problem for the new season and the Chilean ace is a possible acquisition.

The Italian champions are reportedly ready to offer almost £6m, even if Udinese are reportedly hoping to net closer to £7.5m.

There is also the possibility that Milan may offer cash and a player from either Massimo Ambrosini, Christian Brocchi or Vikash Dhorasoo.

However, Pizarro seems to have doubts over a summer transfer after proposed moves to both Inter and Juventus collapsed in the past.

"I hear that a lot of clubs are after me but at the end of the day I always seem to stay in Udine," he told La Repubblica today.

Pizarro could become the second Stadio Friuli star to move to the San Siro at the end of the season.

It’s widely understood that Czech midfielder Marek Jankulovski will join the club for £6m for the 2005-06 campaign.

Inzaghi back and ready for United
1.3 || webmaster

Source: EuroSport.com

AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi returned to full training on Tuesday and said he hopes to play some part in next week's Champions League tie with Manchester United. Inzaghi missed the bulk of this season with an ankle injury and then on his return suffered a fractured hand in late January.

"I hope I'll be available for the Manchester game but I need to be realistic. I haven't played for a long time and I only started running again today," said the Italy international.

"But if I am able to offer a hand then I am ready. I've done it before and I can do it again. I'd be willing to go on the bench but let's see nearer the time," he added.

Milan, who lead 1-0 from the first leg at Old Trafford last week, are currently without their Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko, who is recovering from a fractured cheekbone and remains a major doubt for the return game with Alex Ferguson's side.

Top of the table Milan face lowly Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday and coach Carlo Ancelotti could opt to rest Argentine forward Hernan Crespo for the United match and give a rare start to Dane Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Jankulovski invites Milan bid
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Udinese’s Marek Jankulovski has told Milan that he is ready to join them at the end of the season.

The Czech ace has been strongly linked with the Rossoneri and he’s hopeful that a transfer can be completed.

"The Milan interest is no longer a rumour," he told Pravo. "It wasn't speculation about Juventus or Inter either, it was just that no deals were agreed between the clubs.

"Playing for Milan would be the fulfilment of a childhood dream. It's a really giant club. One of the world's biggest."

Jankulovski is one of the most wanted players on show in Serie A after a few stunning seasons at the Stadio Friuli.

He was expected to be sold last summer but proposed moves to Juventus and Inter failed to materialise.

CSKA Moscow then agreed a fee with Udinese, only for the international to reject a switch to Russia.

"I’ve had some offers from abroad but my family is really happy here in Italy," Jankulovski continued.

"I don’t see any reason to leave the peninsula but I would certainly happily consider joining a new club."

Gattuso: Juve clash not decisive
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso believes that the Scudetto won’t be decided until the last day of the season.

Juventus director general Luciano Moggi yesterday claimed that the May 8 clash between the two clubs would be decisive, but Gattuso disagrees.

"I don’t think that match will decide anything," said the former Rangers ace. "It will be a race until the very end."

Both clubs are joint top of the table but the Rossoneri have the advantage of facing Juventus at home.

"That seems to be true but in games like that it really doesn’t matter where it is played," continued the midfielder.

"From now on, the team who makes the less mistakes will win the title."

Milan haven’t been in great form lately but have still managed to win their last four games, the latest being a 1-0 defeat of rivals Inter.

"I just hope that if we don’t entertain then we still keep winning," noted the Italian international.

"Are we lucky? It is fashionable to say that about us but I think that Inter only had one real shot against us.

"When Juventus were winning like that, they were clinical. We win like that and people say we are fortunate…"





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