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The Archive

March 2011

Prandelli: 'Milan derby can be vital'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli has given his prediction on the Milan derby. “Whoever wins gets very close to the Scudetto.”

Only two points separate Milan and Inter at the top of the table going into Saturday night’s San Siro showdown.

“Whoever wins the Milan derby gets very close to the Scudetto,” said Azzurri boss Prandelli.

“The victor will have a much better chance of taking the title, but right now their odds are 50-50.”

Meanwhile, Prandelli has won the first edition of the Enzo Bearzot Award for his “moral qualities and ethical values in his club management career and now with the Nazionale.”

Seedorf and Pirlo talk up Scudetto
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo feel that if Milan triumph in the Derby della Madonnina then they will go on to win the Scudetto.

Milan have a two-point lead on Inter and have been top of Serie A for much of the season.

“Inter are a very strong team,” Seedorf explained. “It's up to us to show with facts that we are in a position to win the title.

“We have worked well up until now. Every game has its own story. The past is the past. We are two days away from the derby.

“I believe that it will be a great game for Italian football and for everyone who follows our League abroad.”

Pirlo is also confident that Milan will deliver a knock out blow to their title rivals.

“We feel very good,” he told UEFA.com. “We're top of the table, a few points ahead, though we know we still have plenty of difficult matches ahead.

“We are taking it game by game without paying too much attention to the objective we have, which is still a long way away.”

Parolo flattered by Milan clubs
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cesena midfielder Marco Parolo insists he is flattered by the interest the Milan clubs have shown in his services.

The 26-year-old was recently rewarded for his good form with a call up to Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Parolo said: “The interest of Inter and Milan certainly makes me very happy.

“They are two big clubs. But now I have to think about Cesena's survival. It's fundamental.”

Looking ahead to Saturday's Derby della Madonnina, he said: “It will be a great game. It can go any way…”

Shevchenko: AC Milan are favourites
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has backed Milan to win Saturday's potentially title-deciding Derby della Madonnina against Inter at San Siro.

Milan have a two-point lead at the top of Serie A and a defeat would see Inter overtake them and gather yet more momentum ahead of the final seven games of the campaign.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Shevchenko said: “I think that it's a decisive game for the Scudetto. Both teams are looking to win it and I think that Milan can do it.

“Milan will miss Ibra a lot but what counts is the collective. Whoever has prepared best will win the derby.

“Milan are playing well and I see them as favourites,” he concluded.

Boateng: Inter are scared
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri insists he is optimistic that his side can beat Inter in Saturday's Derby della Madonnina.

The Rossoneri have a slender two-point lead over their rivals at the top of Serie A and risk being overtaken if they suffer defeat.

“If they are optimistic, we are more,” Allegri told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Asked to describe what would happen if Milan were to win, he said: “We would go five points clear, actually it would be six points seeing that it's a head-to-head.

“If we lose Inter take a one-point lead with seven games still to play. This game is more important for them than for us. Right now we're fine. Mentally the break has helped us.

“We are two great teams with different characteristics. You can feel that the derby is approaching even if here in Milan it's a derby all year.”

Allegri optimistic of derby victory
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri insists he is optimistic that his side can beat Inter in Saturday's Derby della Madonnina.

The Rossoneri have a slender two-point lead over their rivals at the top of Serie A and risk being overtaken if they suffer defeat.

“If they are optimistic, we are more so,” Allegri told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Asked to describe what would happen if Milan were to win, he said: “We would go five points clear, actually it would be six points seeing that it's a head-to-head.

“If we were to lose Inter would take a one-point lead with seven games still to play. This game is more important for them than for us. Right now we're fine. Mentally the break has helped us.

“We are two great teams with different characteristics. You can feel that the derby is approaching even if here in Milan it's a derby all year.”

Report: AC Milan hold Ganso meeting
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

It’s reported Milan directors met with Paulo Henrique Ganso’s agents tonight to overtake Inter in the transfer race.

The Santos starlet is among the biggest catches on the South American market and has long been of interest to both San Siro sides.

Inter had been the favourites, but this evening it’s claimed on Sky Sport Italia that Milan directors had a summit with Ganso’s agents.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani allegedly met with Ganso’s brother, who is also his agent, and representatives of company DIS.

The Rossoneri presented guarantees that would convince the player to choose them ahead of their local rivals.

Now it is up to Inter to present a counter-offer.

AC Milan trio winning fitness race for derby
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mark Van Bommel look fit for the Milan derby after today’s training session.

The three players were all in doubt for Saturday’s Scudetto showdown at San Siro due to injuries.

Pato and Boateng picked up minor problems last week, while Van Bommel left international duty with Holland early.

All three took part in today’s full training session and therefore seem ready for the big game this weekend.

Andrea Pirlo and Pippo Inzaghi were the only players still undergoing separate training schedules.

Pato could well start with fellow Brazilian Robinho, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended.

AC Milan and Juve seek Kolarov
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Juventus are both pushing to bring Manchester City man Aleksandar Kolarov back to Serie A.

The former Lazio full-back has been quite successful in the Premier League and, according to the Daily Mirror, Rossoneri directors are making their move.

It is reported they are offering €12m for the 25-year-old, which is considerably lower than the €18m Lazio received for the player a year ago.

Juventus are also showing an interest in Kolarov, but have even less spending money available than Milan.

This could let in Real Madrid, as Inter were very close to signing him in January 2010 under the orders of Jose Mourinho.

Criscito: 'Inter and AC Milan made offers'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Genoa and Italy defender Domenico Criscito confirms “Inter and Milan made me offers in January.”

It was widely reported that the 24-year-old international was a transfer target during the mid-season window for big clubs including Napoli, Bayern Munich and the San Siro giants.

“I found out that Inter and Milan made me offers in January, but while I continue to wear the Genoa shirt, I will do my best to honour the club colours,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

Criscito is thought to be worth around €15m and is still of interest to Luciano Spalletti’s Zenit St Petersburg.

Today Genoa President Enrico Preziosi hinted that he could do more deals with Inter after transfers like Diego Milito, Thiago Motta and Houssine Kharja.

“Was he referring to me? I don’t know, you’d have to ask the President,” added Criscito.

Robinho: 'AC Milan play real football'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho has praised Milan Coach Massimiliano Allegri ahead of Saturday’s derby with Inter. “With him you play real football.”

The Brazilian is expected to start this weekend, especially as teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended.

“If I score the decisive goal, then I will dance the samba,” pledged Robinho on Milan Channel.

“This is a crucial moment in which we cannot afford to make a mistake. We just have to win, as it’s the only way we can think of conquering the Scudetto.”

The Rossoneri’s lead at the top of the table has been cut to just two points, so Inter would be the new leaders with a victory.

Robinho appears to have found his form in Serie A after a difficult spell at Manchester City.

“I like Allegri, as with him you play real football, the kind that I like. We play with the ball to feet, spreading the play down vertical lines quickly.

“Among all the Coaches I have worked with, I’d say Allegri is the best when it comes to the concept of football.

“In terms of my growth as a player, Fabio Capello was very important at Real Madrid. He’s a real sergeant with a fist of iron and has no favourites, talking to everyone the same way.”

Balotelli needs love, says Galliani
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani believes that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli needs love if he is to realize his full potential.

The 20-year-old hit the headlines for the wrong reasons last week when it emerged that he had thrown darts at a group of City youth players at the club's training ground.

Balotelli was warned by the FIGC and Italy boss Cesare Prandelli that he risks throwing his career away if he doesn't grow up and show maturity.

Milan have been frequently linked with a move for Balotelli in the past, not least because of his very public support of the club.

Asked to reveal how Balotelli can resolve his problems, Galliani said: “He needs to be loved.”

Pressed on whether Milan are ready to show Balotelli the love he needs, Galliani replied: “There is time. We'll see in the future. Love does everyone well.”

Turning his attention to Saturday's Derby della Madonnina, Galliani said: “There is a little tension even if this is the 50th or 60th derby under President Silvio Berlusconi.”

Abbiati: Leonardo disappointed AC Milan
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati claims Leonardo disappointed the club by accepting the job to coach Inter in December.

Leonardo had spent 13 years at Milan as a player, director and tactician, but left at the end of last season after a fall out with Silvio Berlusconi.

Still, no one expected the former Brazil international to join rivals Inter and he is expected to get a warm reception in Saturday's eagerly anticipated Derby della Madonnina.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Abbiati said: “The fact that when he left he made us understand that he wouldn't be coaching the following year left me perplexed.

“I think his passage to Inter has disappointed many Milan fans. Some of my teammates were also hurt by the decision.”

Ganso: 'I will play in Serie A'
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Santos starlet Ganso is part of his own personal derby, as Milan and Inter try to sign him. “Sooner or later, I’ll play in Italy.”

The Brazilian youngster is one of the hottest properties on the transfer market for this summer, particularly between the San Siro giants.

“One day I’d love to play in Serie A and I think sooner or later I will play in Italy,” Paulo Henrique Ganso told Sky Sport Italia.

“I have never met Leonardo, but we have spoken often on the phone. He gives me great advice and is a wonderful Coach.

“Having said that, I often talk to Milan defender Thiago Silva too.”

The actual Derby della Madonnina is on Saturday evening and Ganso was asked for his prediction.

“I think it will end in a draw.”

Galliani: Derby isn't decisive
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has attempted to downplay the significance of Saturday's Derby della Madonnina.

Inter are just two points behind Milan and can leapfrog the League leaders with a win.

“Whoever wins will have an advantage,” Galliani said. “It will be a very important advantage if we win, a little less so if Inter do.

“There'll still be seven games and 21 points in play, and then there is Udinese and Napoli.

“It's a season that will go down to the wire.”

Pato: Derby too important to miss
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Alexandre Pato claims Saturday's Derby della Madonnina is too important to miss.

The Brazil international is recovering from an ankle injury and hopes to be ready in time.

Milan need Pato to spearhead their attack, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still serving a suspension.

Inter are just two points behind the League leaders and can overtake their rivals with a win.

Interviewed by Vanity Fair, Pato said: “I still have a little problem with the left ankle, but I think and I want it to be in place for the derby.

“It's too important,” he added. “Last year was a bad year from an injuries point of view. But now, thanks to God, it's all in place.”

Trapattoni tips AC Milan for title
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni thinks the title race will come down to a photo finish, but still believes Milan will hold on.

This weekend's Derby della Madonnina is being billed as a title decider with Inter just two points behind the League leaders at the business end of the season

Interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Trapattoni said: “I like Max Allegri. He has been a wonderful surprise. In the summer everyone was convinced that he'd play five or six strikers to make Berlusconi happy. Instead Allegri has changed Milan's mentality. He has convinced his champions that first they must win the ball then try and fling it in the back of the net.

“An illogical team has all of a sudden become a title contender thanks to three words: spirit of sacrifice. Let's put it this way. This time Milan-Inter seems like a Champions League game and in the Cup the great Zlatan has never made the difference. Eleven players must win the derby then Ibra will resolve the remaining games by himself.

“If Milan want to win the Scudetto they must stop Inter now in the derby. If Leonardo overtakes Milan the title race is over. The Nerazzurri would become like those American aircraft carriers that win all the wars. Unassailable.”

Inzaghi set for shock return
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s title hopes could be boosted by veteran striker Pippo Inzaghi. “I’ll be back in 20 days,” he stated.

Inzaghi was expected to be out for the rest of the season after picking up knee ligament damage in a 3-1 win over Palermo last year.

There were even some concerns that he would never play again.

However, after successful surgery and a return to training, the former Italian international wants to contribute to Milan’s Scudetto bid this term.

“I’ll be back in 20 days to help Milan win,” he told Sport Mediaset on Monday evening.

“I’m feeling reasonably good. My knee is no longer causing me problems. I think I’ll be available in about three weeks, but only if I’m 100 per cent fit.

“I suffered a serious injury and you can’t mess around with these things. In the past after injuries I returned too soon.

“My future? If I heal properly then I’d like to play on for one more season here and then end my career with Milan.”

Ibrahimovic: 'If AC Milan lose title it's our fault'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says it will be no one else's fault but Milan's if they throw away the Scudetto this season.

The 29-year-old Sweden international is suspended for next week's potentially title-deciding derby with former club Inter after he needlessly got himself sent off against Bari.

Asked if he feels burnt out, Ibrahimovic said: “No, no. I feel very good. My form is very good. It's all good.

“I think the title race will be tough until the end. There are eight games left.

“Seeing that Inter won their last game and we lost, now it's really tough.

“If we don't win the Scudetto it's our fault because we are the best team in Italy.

“The derby is important because it's more than a normal game. I have played in many derby matches and I know this. It would be great and important to win.”

Diarra: 'Who wouldn't want AC Milan?'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra has sent a clear come and get me message to Milan. “Who wouldn’t be drawn to this club?”

The 29-year-old France international has been compared to Patrick Vieira and heavily linked with a move to the Rossoneri this summer.

“San Siro is a magnificent stadium,” he told L’Equipe newspaper.

“I think of players like Ruud Gullitt, Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Donadoni, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi.

“This is a side with immense history and quality behind it. Who wouldn’t be drawn to this club?”

Diarra’s previous clubs include Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Lens and Lyon.

Nocerino: 'Gattuso is my hero'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo midfielder Antonio Nocerino thanked Delio Rossi for his Italy career and revealed “Gennaro Gattuso is my hero.”

The rugged player came off the bench during the 1-0 victory in Slovenia on Friday evening and Thiago Motta scored the winner soon after.

“Maybe it’s not a coincidence,” he joked in today’s Press conference.

“We played a good game, as we were organized and determined. As for me, I hope I’ll have more chances to play and be a part of this squad.”

Nocerino thanked his former Rosanero Coach Rossi, recently fired by Palermo, for the step up in his career.

“If I am here, then I must thank Rossi. He made me grow, not just tactically and in terms of technique, but also as a man.

“At the start everyone thought I was just a workhorse midfielder, but now they are realizing I have a certain quality to my football and that makes me happy.”

He has been compared to Milan veteran Gattuso, who has now retired from international duty.

“Gattuso is my hero. I still have a lot of work to do in order to reach his level.”

AC Milan: 'Where's Napoli's conspiracy?'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan director of sport Ariedo Braida launched a stinging attack on Napoli. “They talked about a northern conspiracy, but errors went their way.”

President Aurelio De Laurentiis and Coach Walter Mazzarri had very publicly complained about referees, suggesting Napoli being so high up the table was “an irritant” for the powers that be.

“I would like to know what Napoli think now,” blasted Milan director of sport Braida on 7 Gold television.

“Up until a few rounds ago they were talking about a northern conspiracy. In recent games, we saw they scored a clearly offside goal at Parma and a very generous penalty against Cagliari.

“Meanwhile, we had two goals disallowed, one of them extremely dubious. Is there no conspiracy now, then?”

The Scudetto race is now wide open with just three points separating top teams Milan, Inter and Napoli.

The next clash is the Derby della Madonnina, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be able to take part despite the three-match ban being reduced to two on appeal.

“We are satisfied. We knew there was no chance Ibra could play the derby, but we are happy with this reduction.”

Mexes: 'I prefer to stay in Italy'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes admits he could leave Roma on a free transfer, but not for the Premier League. “I’d prefer to stay in Italy.”

The French international has been linked to numerous clubs, above all Arsenal, Milan and Juventus, since failing to renew his current contract.

“It’s true that I’ll be out of contract, but I am quite relaxed about the situation,” Mexes told newspapers in France.

“I will wait and then evaluate all proposals. I never said I’ll go anywhere, but I’ll make a decision over the next few months. There is no cut-off date.

“Milan? There is talk of that, but also of a renewal with Roma or a transfer to England.

“I have nothing in particular to add, other than to say that if I did leave Roma, I’d prefer to stay in Italy. I know Serie A well and they know me, certainly more so than in France.

“I have no interest in returning to Ligue 1, not even for a big club. It’s nothing to do with money. I still have much to learn and already went around France with Auxerre.”

Amelia: 'Chance to beat Leonardo'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia concedes the derby is also an opportunity for some players “to beat Leonardo.”

The current Inter Coach was in charge of the Rossoneri last season and now faces his former club in a Scudetto showdown.

“Do we want revenge on Leo? There is a general sense of indifference in the locker room, but I can say that some of my teammates want to beat him,” said Amelia.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be taking part, as his three-match ban was reduced on appeal, but not enough to play on April 2.

“Ibra won’t be there, but that’s not a problem because we have players like Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Antonio Cassano.

“We will face Inter with a relaxed state of mind, knowing that we are on a par with them.”

Van Bommel doubt for derby
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s preparations for the derby with Inter suffered another blow when Mark Van Bommel left the Holland camp with an injury.

The midfielder, who arrived from Bayern Munich during the January transfer window, was expected to start the Scudetto showdown next Saturday.

The club’s medical staff is on high alert, though, as Van Bommel left the Dutch camp early after pulling up during training.

He was unfit for their victory in Hungary and is now also ruled out of the Oranje’s upcoming friendly against the same team.

Initial reports suggest it is a recurrence of his right thigh injury that has caused problems throughout the season.

The Rossoneri are already without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Thiago Silva: 'Leonardo will convince Ganso'
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

As the two San Siro sides battle over Brazilian Ganso, Thiago Silva reveals why he’ll choose Inter. “You can’t say no to Leonardo.”

The local rivals have made no secret of their interest in bringing 21-year-old playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso to Serie A, especially after he told Santos this week that he wanted a move to Europe.

Someone in the same position was Thiago Silva, who joined the Rossoneri when current Inter boss Leonardo was in charge.

“I owe him a great deal, as Leonardo was very important in my career,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I’ll reveal a little secret: before signing for Milan, I was in negotiations with Inter. Well, Leonardo started calling me on the phone. He talked about the team, Milanello and my future.

“After a few weeks of this, I slammed the door on Inter and signed for Milan. I think he’ll take the same approach with Ganso.

“Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to convince Ganso to turn down Inter with Leonardo there. He always has the right words.”

Thiago Silva also commented on the upcoming Milan derby, which won’t have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, even though his three-match ban was reduced to two on appeal.

“I still think it’s excessive. Ibra’s gesture was ugly, but he didn’t hurt anyone and didn’t deserve such a heavy punishment. It’s a big blow losing him for the derby. I guess I’ll have to score instead!”

Allegri: 'Derby more important for Inter'
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri is not afraid of the Scudetto showdown. “The derby is more important for Inter than it is for Milan.”

The Rossoneri have seen their lead at the top of the table sliced to just two points and could be overtaken if they lose next Saturday.

“The derby is more important for Inter than it is for Milan,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

“We already won in our last meeting, so a draw could even be enough for us.

“If I was told we could lose the derby, but win the Scudetto, then I’d happily take that. In any case, I want to win both.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the winner when these sides met earlier this season, but will be suspended for the April 2 match.

“It’s a shame that Ibrahimovic cannot take part in the game, as we could’ve done with his quality.”

Ibrahimovic still banned for AC Milan derby
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s three-match ban has been reduced on appeal, but he’ll still miss the Milan derby.

The Rossoneri lodged a formal appeal after the striker was sent off for jabbing Bari defender Marco Rossi in the ribs.

The Disciplinary Commission did accept it was not a particularly violent gesture, but the three-match ban has been reduced to two.

This still means Ibrahimovic is suspended for the next Serie A game – the Derby della Madonnina against Inter.

That Scudetto showdown is on Saturday April 2.

The Disciplinary Commission also ruled on two other Serie A bans. Parma’s Daniele Galloppa saw his three-game suspension reduced to two.

Lazio defender Stefan Radu also had a third match chalked off his ban.

Shevchenko's advice for Pato and Balotelli
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko has given Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli some pearls of wisdom.

The Ukraine international, now back with Dynamo Kiev, feels both strikers can still improve.

Pato has struggled in Europe this season while Balotelli continues to be linked with Milan.

Speaking to Il Corriere dello Sport, Shevchenko was asked about Balotelli's prospective move.

“For the moment it's only a project. Balotelli must find balance in himself. He must learn to respect the rule of football and of the world.

“Both Mario and Pato are still young. They must study Milan's history and show a passion for the heroes and traditions of this great club.

“When I arrived in Milan I had Marco Van Basten's goals in my eyes, I got changed in the dressing room beside George Weah.”

Legrottaglie: AC Milan is God's will
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nicola Legrottaglie says God's will was behind his transfer from Juventus to Milan in the January transfer window.

The veteran defender surprisingly crossed the divide after Juventus brought in Andrea Barzagli from Wolfsburg.

“My move to Milan was also a project wanted by Jesus,” Legrottaglie said.

“I was a step away from signing for Cesena: but I wasn't convinced and so I decide to take some time. I started to pray and I felt that I should wait until the last moment. Then came a phone call from Adriano Galliani: it was God's will.”

Asked about next week's clash with Inter, Legrottaglie said: “After the derby we are all going to celebrate together in church.”

Pato still hears from Leonardo
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Alexandre Pato says he still hears from Leonardo even after his decision to take charge of rivals Inter.

The Brazilian pair have a strong relationship. Leonardo was instrumental in bringing Pato to Italy from Internacional in 2007.

Speaking ahead of the Derby della Madonnina, Pato said: “There are still many days left until April 2. The ankle is better. I hope to play against Inter.

“The fans should be calm. We are still top of the League ahead of Inter.

“I still hear from Leonardo. He was very important for me and we have stayed in touch.”

Ancelotti won't mirror Leonardo
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that he could never betray Milan by one day taking charge of city rivals Inter.

The Chelsea boss has been talked about as a possible Nerazzurri Coach of the future, but he claims he wouldn’t be able to do what Leonardo has done recently.

“If Inter President Massimo Moratti did call me in the future then I would, politely, decline the offer,” he told Italian newspaper Il Giorno.

“I’m a Milan man. I spent 13 years at Milan and for me it is impossible to forget the past. I wouldn’t go to Inter, but I do respect the choices of others.”

Ancelotti represented the Rossoneri as a player and Coach, winning the Scudetto and the Champions League in both roles with the San Siro giants.

Leonardo also represented Milan as a player before spending last season on the Rossoneri bench.

He quit in the summer, but returned to the Serie A scene in December when Inter showed Rafa Benitez the door.

Ancelotti could be back in Italian top-flight football next season though as he may be targeted by Roma if his Stamford Bridge stint comes to an end.

Ganso sparks AC Milan derby
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Santos' Brazil international starlet Paulo Henrique Ganso has set off a bidding war between Milan and Inter.

The 21-year-old playmaker is widely regarded as the most creative talent of his generation and wants a move to Europe.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ganso said: “Yes, Robinho has told me something [about Milan], but so have Pato and Thiago Silva.

“At times we joke about it. They tell me that Milan is a fantastic club, with great infrastructure, that Italian football is quite strong and the marking is tight.

“There are always inquiries in the transfer market. Anyway up until now a concrete offer has yet to arrive. If I go to Europe it's to play for a big club. I would have to think a lot before going to a medium-sized one.”

Asked about his frequent contact with Inter boss Leonardo, he said: “We are effectively in touch. He gives me advice and suggestions about how to position myself on the pitch. He says that I have to play more advanced in front of goal.

“Sure, he always says that he wants me at Inter, but he isn't forcing me into a move. I don't know when it will happen. It's my idea to play in Europe, but it will happen at the right moment,” he concluded.

Berlusconi on Ibrahimovic and Balotelli
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Piersilvio Berlusconi, son of the Milan President, felt Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ban was excessive and notes Mario Balotelli would be “a good signing.”

The Rossoneri only have a two-point lead over Inter going into next Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina.

Ibrahimovic probably won’t be there, although Milan have lodged an appeal against his three-match ban for punching Bari defender Marco Rossi in the ribs.

“I think the ban was excessive, but then again, I am talking as a fan,” commented the son of President Silvio Berlusconi.

“Clearly I hope to see him play in the derby. Inter are closing in, but we have confidence. Let the best team win.”

Many are already looking to next season with the persistent rumours that Manchester City and Italy striker Balotelli will come back to San Siro.

“Balotelli is a great player and in general terms would be a good signing for Milan, but it’s too early to talk about it.”

SuperMario has never disguised the fact he supports the Rossoneri.

Cassano on target in Italy test
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino and Sebastian Giovinco scored in Italy’s 4-0 test against the Under-18 side.

Cesare Prandelli tested out the line-up he’ll use against Slovenia in Friday’s Euro 2012 qualifier.

Christian Maggio, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Balzaretti made up the four-man defence.

There was a diamond midfield with Thiago Motta, Alberto Aquilani, Montolivo and the trequartista role for Stefano Mauri.

Former Sampdoria teammates Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini started together in attack.

It was an hour-long game with two halves lasting 30 minutes each and the Azzurri won 4-0.

Montolivo opened the scoring, followed by Cassano’s penalty earned for him by Pazzini.

After the break Prandelli transformed the side, introducing Emiliano Viviano, Davide Santon, Daniele Gastaldello, Davide Astori, Domenico Criscito, Antonio Nocerino, Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio, Giuseppe Rossi, Alessandro Matri and Alberto Gilardino.

In the final stages, Cesena debutant Marco Parolo was also given a chance.

Gilardino and Giovinco hit the back of the net against Alberigo Evani’s Under-18 Italy squad to complete the 4-0 victory.

Ganso alerts Inter and AC Milan
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Santos' Brazil international starlet Paulo Henrique Ganso has reiterated his desire to leave for Europe, alerting Inter and Milan.

Both clubs have publically expressed their interest in the talented No 10 and are expected to fight it out for his signature in the near future.

“Ganso has spoken little,” said Santos President Luis Alvaro Ribeiro. “But he has repeated to me what has been said in recent days - that is that he wants to go and play in Europe.

“It's an absolutely understandable dream. We would like him to respect the contract that ties him to us until 2015, so the idea of lowering his buy-out clause is one that doesn't exist.

“Anyway we are open to offers, but they must be really convenient to us. Right now Ganso is taking the time that he wants to think it over, but I have reminded him that he has a valid contract with us.”

Paloschi captains Under-21s
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Genoa striker Alberto Paloschi is relishing the opportunity to captain the Italy Under-21s against Sweden.

The 21-year-old has really struggled with injury this season, scoring just twice in nine appearances in Serie A.

“I am happy,” Paloschi said. “Ciro Ferrara called me as soon as he became Coach to know how I was.

“We have to win because the Under-21s have a great tradition.

“The Genoa fans expected more. Now we are safe, then we can entertain and try to make them happy.

“This club put faith in me when I wasn't playing and was injured.

“Pippo Inzaghi is still my idol. We often hear from each other. I am sure that he'll be back playing again in a little while. Milan needed him. He is a champion who can be decisive.”

Ronaldo tips Inter for derby win
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian legend Ronaldo has tipped Inter to beat Milan in the Derby della Madonnina on April 2.

The 34-year-old, who retired in February, played for both clubs in his fabulous career.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ronaldo said: “The derby is the derby, a game in itself.”

Pressed to pick a winner, he replied: “OK, I believe Inter [will do it] because they have found their own style of play again, but above all because of their confidence.

“I see a more confident Inter than Milan, and this can count.”

Asked if he feels that Inter would win the Scudetto in the event that they were to beat Milan, Ronaldo said: “It's difficult to say with another seven games still to play, but I really think so.

“You know what Leonardo has always said to me? That winning helps you win. Getting used to it is difficult, but then it's great. Inter have managed it only after a long time and lots of hard work. I really don't believe that they'll stop now."

Balzaretti to join AC Milan?
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Parma full-back Cristian Zaccardo claims that his counterpart at Palermo, Federico Balzaretti, will join Milan in the summer.

Milan are known to be looking to bolster their options at full-back at the end of the season and have been linked with Balzaretti in the past.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Zaccardo said: “I still don't know what I'll do. I could finish my career at Parma, but also make a jump in quality in June to a team in the Champions League.

“It would be a dream to play in this competition. I will talk with the club. We'll evaluate everything. But now we are thinking about survival. I have heard from a mutual friend that Balzaretti is going to Milan.”

Meanwhile, Balzaretti's agent says there is no substance to Zaccardo's claims.

AC Milan linked with Jarmolenko
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are keeping tabs on Dynamo Kiev's talented young wide-man Andriy Jarmolenko, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 21-year-old was watched by Milan director of sport Ariedo Braida during last Thursday when Dynamo played Manchester City in the Europa League.

Jarmolenko has set pulses racing with four goals in nine goals for Ukraine and he is due to play Italy in their next friendly.

La Gazzetta understands Milan might lean on Jarmolenko's teammate, the former Milan striker, Andriy Shevchenko in order to learn more.

Moratti tells AC Milan to pipe down
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter President Massimo Moratti is fed up with Milan complaining about the goal Giampaolo Pazzini scored against Lecce at the weekend.

Milan feel Pazzini used his arm to bring the ball down and that it should have been ruled out, which might have led the game to finish in a 0-0 draw.

Last week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a potentially match-winning goal disallowed against Bari for using his arm and Milan feel that they are being hard done by.

However, replays showed that the referee was right on both occasions, as Pazzini used his chest, while Ibrahimovic did in fact handle the ball.

“Am I bothered by certain arguments?” Moratti asked. “Let's cut it short. They are not the same incidents.

“Pazzini's arm is behind him and he pushes the ball forward with his chest.”

Milan are anxious because Inter have closed the gap at the top to just two points ahead of the Derby della Madonnina, which follows the international break.

AC Milan door opens for Balotelli
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli’s representative says the player is happy at Manchester City, but a move to Milan is still a possible option.

Balotelli is going through a tough spell at City which has raised some question marks over his future.

Things then took another twist last week when his needless red card in the Europa League saw him dropped from the Italy squad for breaking Cesare Prandelli’s code of ethics.

“It’s an unfortunate time for Mario,” agent Mino Raiola told Sky Sport 24. “It’s not a happy spell, but he’ll come out of it stronger than before.

“Nevertheless, there are no problems with his club or with Coach Roberto Mancini. A part of the English media, the part I don’t respect that much, does everything it can to create drama.

“Prandelli and Mario have spoken, it was a positive conversation and their relationship is an excellent one.

“The boy is disappointed with his dismissal and the fact that he’s not been selected for Italy as a result.”

Raiola concluded the interview by suggesting that a move to Milan is on the cards at some point in the future.

He stated: “I hope that he can one day play in the Milan derby again…”

Balotelli left Inter in the summer after difficulties with the Beneamata and he’s been strongly linked with city rivals Milan ever since.

Taiwo flirts with AC Milan
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marseille left-back Taye Taiwo has flirted with Milan, telling reporters in France that he'd like a move to San Siro this summer.

The Nigeria international is out of contract at the end of the season and will not extend his existing deal with Marseille.

Speaking to Canal Foot Club, he said: “I am honoured by the interest of top European clubs. Milan are my No 1 option.”

The 25-year-old has also been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.

Milan are known to have a weakness at the full-back position, which they tried to address in the Janaury transfer window with the signing of Didac Vila from Espanyol.

Gattuso: AC Milan are scared
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Rino Gattuso admits that there is a fear within the dressing room that the team risks letting the Scudetto slip through its fingers.

The gap at the top closed to just two points on Sunday and next week's Derby della Madonnina against champions Inter is already being billed as a title decider.

Interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Gattuso said: “It's a fact. We could have gone seven points clear and instead find ourselves with a two-point lead before the derby. It's been 10 days since things started going in the wrong direction.

“If the title race is open again, it's our fault, but destiny is in our hands. The derby will be decisive. We must prepare for it well both in the head and in the legs.

“I expected more from the entire team. And it angers me that in Palermo every time we put a ball in the box there was no one ready to put it in the back of the net.

“If Mathieu Flamini and I were the most dangerous players, there is something not right.”

Pato and Jankulovski derby doubts
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato and Marek Jankulovski risk missing out on the Milan derby after test results on their injuries.

Both limped off during last night’s 1-0 defeat at Palermo and today the club announced the medical examinations.

“Pato has a slight sprain to the left ankle and is expected to recover in around 10 days,” read a statement.

“Jankulovski sprained his left knee with a strain of both the medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament.

“There will be further evaluations over the next few days.”

It could well be the end of the season for Jankulovski, although he might be able to recover for the final games.

As for Pato, there is the real risk he could not be fit enough to start the Milan Derby on April 2.

He will have just under two weeks to work on physiotherapy, as there is a break for international duty.

Seedorf 'hoping Inter slip up'
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf admits Milan must rediscover their form and now “hope Inter make a mistake.”

The Serie A leaders fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at Palermo last night, meaning the gap could be cut to just two points today if Inter beat Lecce.

“There is a great deal of anger within the squad, as we were unable to finish off our chances and were also quite unlucky,” said the Dutchman.

“We gifted Palermo the winning goal. Now we mustn’t think too much about this game, as it is lost and there’s nothing we can do about it.

“Now we hope Inter make a mistake, but if that doesn’t happen, then we’ll still be two points clear and will play the derby to go +5.”

That head-to-head is on April 3, straight after the break for international duty, and Milan go into it with one point from their last two games.

“We paid a heavy price for defensive errors against both Bari and Palermo,” continued Seedorf.

“There are moments during a campaign when things don’t go your way. We need a little more luck and to have a clear head without pressure, as they are necessary to get the ball in the back of the net.”

Allegri: 'We're still on top'
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri is keeping calm after Milan’s surprise loss in Sicily. “We’re still top of the table. A defeat can happen.”

The Rossoneri fell 1-0 to Palermo this evening, their first away defeat since the trip to Cesena in Week 2.

“Going down early on was not helpful and we didn’t play well in the first half, especially the final third,” said Allegri.

“It was better after the break, although considering all our possession, we didn’t have enough shots on target.

“Although it was better to avoid it, a defeat can happen. Fortunately we are going into the break for international duty now and have time to get our ideas in order. In any case, we are still top of the table, then we’ll see what Inter and Napoli do tomorrow.”

If Inter beat Lecce at San Siro, they’ll move to within two points of Milan with the derby coming up in a fortnight.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be suspended for that clash, as today he began his three-match ban.

“There’s no point talking about how important Ibra is for us, but tonight we should’ve done more. We have to analyse what didn’t work.

“Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano were playing as a pair for the first time, so it’s natural it’d take a while to settle. I had to look at the full 90 minutes, as Robinho is tired and Kevin-Prince Boateng cannot play a full game at the moment.

“I remain convinced Milan are the favourites for the Scudetto, so even if things go badly, we’ll still be two points in front.”

Serie A: Palermo 1:0 AC Milan - match report
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Goian 9 (P)

Milan badly missed Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their shock 1-0 defeat at Palermo, blowing the Scudetto race wide open.

They have lost their last four consecutive visits to the Stadio Barbera and haven't won here since 2006. The Rossoneri had lost only once on their travels this season, 2-0 at Cesena in Week 2.

Both sides made big changes for this Saturday night clash. The Serie A leaders were forced to do without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who started his three-match ban, so Antonio Cassano, Alexandre Pato and Clarence Seedorf made their first start as a trio. Palermo had lost five on the trot and surprisingly dropped captain Fabrizio Miccoli in favour of Josip Ilicic in a new advanced role. Dorin Goian returned from a two-month lay-off in defence, as Mattia Cassani was injured and Cesare Bovo suspended.

Palermo took the lead with their first real opportunity. A corner kick was whipped in and not cleared effectively, so as the Rossoneri defenders stood around appealing for offside, Goian was allowed to fire into the roof of the net from six yards.

Straight away at the other end, Mathieu Flamini's strike was deflected wide and from the corner it rolled along an empty goal as Alessandro Nesta just failed to get the final touch at the back post.

Marek Jankulovski picked up a serious-looking knee injury early on and was carried off in favour of Luca Antonini.

Pato curled a free kick over the bar, but for all their possession, Milan risked going 2-0 down when Javier Pastore flashed a shot across the face of goal.

Seedorf's free kick was charged down by the defensive wall, while Christian Abbiati smothered another long-range effort from Mauricio Pinilla following Pastore's backheel flick.

Cassano burst down the right flank only to blast his finish wide of the near post, then Flamini couldn't quite get the final touch to his cross. Thiago Silva intercepted a dangerous Pastore pull-back for Pinilla in the box.

Salvatore Sirigu's first real intervention was at the 45th minute, coming off his line to smother at Pato's feet from a Seedorf through ball.

The Rossoneri tried to push forward more after the break, but it just left huge gaps for the counter, where Pinilla and Ilicic tested Abbiati.

Cassano's angled drive was charged down in the area by Esequiel Munoz and Kevin-Prince Boateng was introduced for Mark Van Bommel.

Palermo went so close to a second on the counter, as Federico Balzaretti sent Pastore through to roll across for Milan-owned Matteo Darmian to fire wide at the back post.

A long-range Pinilla snapshot was well held and Pato's rising angled drive stung Sirigu's palms, although he was offside. The Brazilian picked up a knock during that move and limped off for Robinho.

Milan had a great chance on 65 minutes when Boateng pulled back for Flamini's half-volley, forcing a flying save out of Sirigu.

The goalkeeper also got hold of a Robinho effort at the end of a well-worked move. The former Manchester City striker aimed a cross-shot at the near post, where Sirigu beat it away.

Cosmi made a surprising change, replacing Pastore with Miccoli. Seedorf blasted wide and Gennaro Gattuso almost scored a spectacular equaliser, his diving header forcing a great reaction save from Sirigu.

Abbiati spilled a Miccoli solo effort, but managed to scramble control of the loose ball, but the final 15 minutes were all Milan laying siege on the Sicilians.

In stoppages Abel Hernandez and Miccoli went two against one on the counter, but the Uruguayan hit a weak finish wide. Giulio Migliaccio timed his tackle perfectly to stop Robinho in the box.

Palermo: Sirigu; Munoz, Goian, Migliaccio; Darmian, Bacinovic (Acquah 69), Nocerino, Balzaretti; Pastore (Miccoli 73); Pinilla (Hernandez 88), Ilicic

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski (Antonini 16); Gattuso, Van Bommel (Boateng 53), Flamini; Seedorf; Pato (Robinho 63), Cassano

Ref: Tagliavento

AC Milan deal for Borussia's Dede?
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports from Brazil that Milan have a deal for Borussia Dortmund's Dedé to join in the summer.

The 32-year-old Brazilian has declared he will not remain in the Bundesliga beyond the end of this season.

However, he wishes to stay in Europe for another two years before returning to South America.

According to O Globo newspaper, Milan have already reached a basic agreement to sign Dedé.

He would strengthen the left side of the defense, which is currently among their weakest spots.

Zamparini: 'Palermo can beat AC Milan'
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini is not afraid of leaders Milan. “We have beaten them many times and can do it again tonight.”

The evening kick-off at the Stadio Barbera sees the Sicilians aim to end a run of five consecutive defeats.

“In recent years we have beaten Milan many times and can do it again tonight,” declared the patron.

“It won’t be easy, but if the side finds the right mentality, then this can happen.”

Milan have lost their last three visits to Palermo, the latter two by 3-1 scorelines.

Zamparini sacked Delio Rossi, but so far replacement Coach Serse Cosmi has lost both games in charge.

“The lads must play without the pressure of needing a result. If Palermo play in a relaxed manner, then I think we can absolutely win this.

“I didn’t doubt the fans would stick close to the team and we hope to give them something to celebrate.”

Cesare Bovo sits out a ban, while Mattia Cassani is the only injury case, but Cosmi is keeping his cards close to his chest.

Allegri expects test in Sicily
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Max Allegri has told his players to expect a tough test when they travel to play Palermo in Sicily this weekend.

The League leaders are looking to preserve their five-point advantage at the top ahead of the upcoming Derby della Madonnina.

“Serse Cosmi is a prepared Coach who knows how to manage his team,” Allegri said.

“It will be difficult because Palermo are coming off five straight defeats. They are playing at home and are a team in possession of undeniable technical qualities in midfield and in attack.

“We'll find an opponent who can create a lot of difficulties for us. We know that they don't joke in attack. Yes, the numbers says that on a defensive level they concede something, but every game is different. Milan will need to give a great technical performance.

“Palermo have players who can make the difference like Pastore, Miccoli and Pinilla, but I wouldn't like to forget that we have Nesta, Thiago Silva, Pato and Seedorf.

“The team is good and if we manage to stay calm and collected at the Barbera we will give a great performance.”

Ambrosini frustration at injury
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini admits the thigh strain took him by surprise. “I didn’t expect such a long lay-off.”

The veteran midfielder was ruled out for two months with the muscular injury, joining teammate Andrea Pirlo on the treatment table.

“I feel fairly good, but still cannot give an accurate date for my return to the playing field,” Ambro told Milan Channel.

“We are evaluating it day by day with the medical staff, as it is a rather unusual type of injury, so we have to be very careful.

“Frankly, I didn’t expect such a long lay-off.”

Robben sends AC Milan message
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arjen Robben has alerted the likes of Milan to a possible summer bid after declaring: “I don’t want to play in the Europa League.”

The Dutch talent is looking for a move away from Bayern Munich after their elimination from the Champions League this week at the hands of Inter.

Bayern are currently fourth in the Bundesliga and could miss out on the tournament next season.

“I really don’t see myself in the Europa League and don’t want to play in it,” Robben told Bild newspaper.

“I couldn’t care less about winning the trophy. In fact, I don’t think that competition should exist in the first place.”

Milan had already been linked with a swoop for Robben over the past few days and these comments will only boost their interest.

Nesta drops retirement hint
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Alessandro Nesta has dropped the biggest hint yet that he’ll hang up his boots soon. “We’re almost at the end.”

The defender has been close to retirement before, especially during his long battles with a back condition.

“We’re almost at the end,” he told Sportmediaset. “I don’t want to be dragging myself around the pitch, so will evaluate my physical condition.

“I have received a great deal from football in my career and I want to end it on a high.”

He will celebrate his 35th birthday on March 19 and started his Serie A career in 1993.

Nesta could well call it a day at the end of the current campaign, which sees Milan leading the Scudetto race.

“I think the Champions League will take away the strength Inter needed to keep up with us.

“We made a mistake against Bari but, thankfully, so did they with Brescia, so the gap at the top remains the same. The derby will be decisive.”

Dossena: 'Napoli will bother AC Milan'
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Dossena has promised that Napoli will continue to bother League leaders Milan in the title race this season.

Napoli's challenge appeared to end last month when they lost 3-0 to their rivals at San Siro, but they haven't given up hope.

“Victories make us happy,” Dossena said. “We have got several this year. We get on well together. We all went for dinner yesterday.

“We know that we're a close group. There is the right mix. We had a great evening. Our objective is to win as many games as possible then we'll see where we finish.

“Every Sunday we have to get three points. We have a project. The President has spoken about improving on last year's sixth place.

“Milan are six points ahead of us. If they win all their remaining games, congratulations. We want to bother them. They have a handicap now without Ibrahimovic.”

Flamini compliments Inter
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Mathieu Flamini has complimented Inter for making the Champions League Quarter-Finals.

The holders overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg by beating Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Flamini said: “I am happy for them and for Italian football. They played a great game.”

Asked if he thinks Inter's progress in Europe might hinder their title challenge, he replied: “I don't believe so.”

Pirlo interest is real
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

La Stampa claims that Juventus' reported interest in signing Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo this summer is real.

Pirlo is out of contract in June and it's thought that Juventus plan to lure the playmaker away from San Siro possibly on a free transfer.

Juventus are said to be balking at the price of Alberto Aquilani's transfer from Liverpool and may allow the Italy international to return to Anfield.

Pirlo would represent a low-cost alternative capable of giving a jump in quality to Juventus' midfield even if he is approaching the twilight of his career.

La Stampa understands that Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has made inquiries at Milan and that considering the good relationship between the two clubs, they are progressing well.

Milan have refused to grant Pirlo a new contract worth €5m a season, hence the player's agent Tullio Tinti sounding out Juventus to see if they would be interested.

A deal could be reached at €3.5m a year with Juventus paying Milan a €5m transfer fee.

If that might seem expensive for a 32-year-old, it would still be much cheaper than the transfer of Aquilani who currently earns €4m a season and would cost €16m to buy on a permanent basis.

Serie A: Milan derby moved forward
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The fixture list changes are confirmed with the Milan derby on Saturday April 2 and a lunch-time start for Napoli-Lazio.

The Lega Calcio Serie A announced the adjustments to the calendar for the first two rounds in April.

A huge few days is around Week 31, which will see crucial meetings for the Scudetto, Champions League and Europa League spots.

The Milan derby has first against second and could decide the title, kicking off at 19.45 UK time on Saturday April 2.

There’s an unusual Sunday lunch-time start for Napoli-Lazio, which sees third welcome fifth as things currently stand.

That night Roma aim to continue their revival against crisis side Juventus on April 3.

Gattuso: 'I hoped Inter would lose'
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso admits he hoped title rivals Inter would lose against Bayern Munich. “I did cheer against them.”

The midfielder made the revelation after last night’s amazing comeback, when the Nerazzurri won 3-2 in Germany to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.

“Well, to be honest, I did cheer against them,” he told Radio Montecarlo.

“On 2-1 I thought Inter were going to concede another three or four. Yet you could tell the Bayern defence left something to be desired.

“The fact Inter went through proves that Serie A is not the way everyone likes to describe it.”

Inter are the only remaining Italian representatives in Europe and continue the Scudetto battle with Milan.

“First of all we have to focus on the next game with Palermo, which is important, and remember every match is still worth only three points. That includes the derby.”

Pato relishes playing with Cassano
16.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato has revealed he is looking forward to partnering Antonio Cassano up front for Milan.

The pair are likely to spearhead Milan's attack for the next three games after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension.

“I wanted to play with Antonio for a while and now I can do it,” Pato said. “I am happy. I only want to play, with or without Ibrahimovic.

“I can either play as a centre-forward or as a second striker, it depends on the Coach's decision. I want to show my worth.

“Ibrahimovic is fundamental for us. It's a big loss, but we have champions who can play well.”

Rossi: 'Ibrahimovic didn't apologise'
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bari defender Marco Rossi has been punched off the ball by both Cristian Chivu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “At least Chivu apologised.”

The Italian seems to be at the centre of attention, as he was punched in the head during an off the ball incident with Inter’s Chivu.

This weekend he was poked in the ribs by Ibrahimovic and sent off, leading to a three-match ban for the Milan striker.

“I feel swept up by events that I didn’t really contribute to,” Rossi told Striscia La Notizia.

“I was suddenly struck by both Chivu and Ibra, despite the fact we hadn’t crossed paths in the preceding moves.

“Chivu’s punch was straight to my head, so it was much more painful. At least Chivu apologised by phoning me the next day. There hasn’t been the slightest sign of contact with Ibra.”

Some have called the three-match ban harsh, especially as it will rule Ibrahimovic out of the Scudetto-deciding Milan derby.

“It was violent conduct and had absolutely nothing to do with going for the ball, so I guess it was the right decision.”

It’s not Rossi’s first time in the spotlight, as he revealed an ugly coming-together with ex-Lazio striker Simone Inzaghi.

“Don’t make me out to be a punching bag! I don’t talk much on the field and I fight hard, albeit with fair play.

“It’s true that three years ago I lost a tooth when Inzaghi elbowed me during Parma-Atalanta. The day after, the groundsman found my tooth on the pitch and my dentist was able to re-attach it.

“I hope that I never get to that point of striking an opponent, as it’s not setting a good example. If one day I do make a mistake, at least I can say I’ve been provoked enough times...”

AC Milan derby for Ganso
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Santos starlet Ganso made his return from injury on Saturday night, sparking a derby between Milan and Inter for his signature.

The 21-year-old Brazil international fantasista is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents to emerge in South America.

He has been out of action with a serious knee injury for seven months and scouts were eager to monitor his progress against Botafogo at the weekend.

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands Milan's former wing-back Serginho was in the stands compiling a detailed report on Ganso and he didn't disappoint.

He laid on an assist and scored a goal in just 45 minutes, which was enough to seal a win for his side.

Santos President Luis Alvaro De Oliveira says the chances of Ganso leaving Santos are zero, even though the player is negotiating to bring down the buy out clause in his contract to €30m.

Ganso is owned by three parties. Santos have a 45 per cent stake in his contract, the player himself owns 10 per cent and an investment group called DIS hold the other 45 per cent.

Milan have reportedly already made inquiries, but face competition from Inter.

Leonardo is known to be an admirer of Ganso and recently expressed his interest in signing the player.

Berlusconi wants Maldini back
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi is “working” on bringing Paolo Maldini back to the club possibly as a director.

The legendary former defender retired in 2009 after devoting his entire 19-year career to the club in red and black.

Maldini has expressed an interest in working for Milan, even turning down the chance to join Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea as a Coach.

Speaking at a party to celebrate his 25 years as Milan's owner, Berlusconi was asked about his intentions for Maldini.

“We are working on his return to the club,” he said.

Inzaghi plans April return
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi hopes to be back playing again in April and would like to help Milan down the final straight towards the Scudetto.

The 37-year-old suffered a serious knee injury earlier this season and it was initially feared that he wouldn't play again until the end of the campaign.

“I am fine,” he said. “My knee is better. I hope to be back on the pitch next month. I have a great desire to play and give my contribution for the Scudetto, but I'll only return when I'm 100 per cent. I don't want to rush back if I am not better.

“I want to return and be the same Inzaghi as before.

“I still have a lot of desire to play. I don't know if one day I would like to become a Coach. I could, but I am afraid I'd get angry too much.”

Banned Ibrahimovic to miss Inter
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the Scudetto showdown with Inter after the Milan man was banned for three matches.

The Diavolo sensation was dismissed in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Bari after clashing with Marco Rossi.

The League’s disciplinary panel viewed the incident today and ruled it was an act of violent conduct.

Ibra will thus miss the games against Palermo, his former club Inter in what may be a Scudetto decider, and Fiorentina.

Milan are expected to launch an appeal against today’s decision.

Ibrahimovic to discover fate
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will learn today whether he has been suspended for the Milan derby after picking up a red card against Bari on Sunday.

The Sweden international appeared to slap Bari defender Marco Rossi in the gut and received a straight red for unsporting behaviour.

Serie A's disciplinary commissioner will decide whether to follow the line indicated by the referee Christian Brighi and punish Ibrahimovic with a two-match ban.

However, there is a possibility that the incident will be reviewed. In which case if the slap is considered violent conduct, Ibrahimovic will be ruled out for three games.

Either way, it is unlikely that Ibrahimovic will escape punishment and be available for the Derby della Madonnina, which takes place in two games' time.

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands Milan will appeal the decision whatever the outcome.

Berlusconi 'opens arms' to Kaka
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi says he would welcome Ricky Kaka back to the club with open arms.

The Brazil international is injured again at Real Madrid and has lost all confidence in Spain.

Kaka is said to be frustrated at the way he has been treated by Jose Mourinho.

Last month, the player's father appeared to encourage a move back to Milan.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has ruled out a transfer on account of Kaka's wages.

However, Berlusconi has given the impression that impossible is nothing with regard to Kaka.

Speaking at a party celebrating his 25 years in charge of Milan, he said: “I haven't spoken about money, I have yet to talk with Galliani. I don't know anything about it.

“But we are here with open arms.”

Allegri: 'Ibrahimovic must not get irritable'
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Max Allegri admits Milan “expected to win against Bari, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic must not get so irritable” after his red card.

The Swede was sent off for a reaction foul when the Rossoneri were losing 1-0 at San Siro, but Antonio Cassano snatched a late point.

“We knew it wasn’t a game that was under lock and key before kick-off, but it got complicated with that goal in the first half,” said the Coach of a 1-1 draw.

“Bari did well to make the most of their only real chance. We were just too distracted on their free kick and should’ve avoided it.

“We created so many scoring opportunities and played an excellent second half. Everyone expected to win, but we are still five points clear at the top of the table and that’s not to be sniffed at.”

Ibrahimovic had a nightmare game, seeing a goal disallowed for his handling offence and then sent off for a reaction dig in the ribs.

“Unfortunately he reacted. Zlatan was calm during the week and wanted to get back to scoring from open play. He moved well, but he mustn’t get so irritable if he hasn’t scored in a month.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:1 Bari - match report
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Rudolf 39 (B), Cassano 82 (M)

Milan scraped a point at San Siro against bottom club Bari thanks to Antonio Cassano, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw red.

The Rossoneri had to focus on the Scudetto after their Champions League elimination this week and were boosted by Inter's 1-1 draw at Brescia on Friday night. There were numerous changes from the side that failed to beat Tottenham, including Luca Antonini, Gennaro Gattuso, Mark Van Bommel and Alexander Merkel. Bari missed Paulo Barreto, Salvatore Masiello, Vitalii Kutuzov, Andrea Raggi, Alessandro Parisi and the suspended Alessandro Gazzi.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic squeezed between two defenders for Robinho's shot charged down by Glik. From the poorly-cleared corner, Gattuso drilled wide.

Bari also threatened, as Simone Bentivoglio unleashed a snapshot to skim the near post with a slight deflection off Thiago Silva.

Abdel Ghezzal was robbed by Ibra at the by-line, but Jean-Francois Gillet intelligently intercepted the cut-back.

Ibrahimovic put amazing power behind a free kick that almost propelled Gillet back into his own net, but the Belgian goalkeeper did just enough to parry.

Bari sat back and frustrated Milan, but took full advantage of their only real chance to take the lead! It was a well-worked free kick, as Sergio Almiron pretended to blast it, but instead rolled past the defensive wall to find Gergely Rudolf in acres of space for a precise angled drive.

Remarkably, that was only the eighth goal Bari have scored on their travels all season and stunned San Siro into silence.

Ibra had the chance to equalise just before the break, but his shot was deflected out for a corner off Nicola Belmonte. Pato was tripped in stoppages for a free kick and The Duck stepped up, curling it straight into the arms of Gillet.

Urby Emanuelson replaced Merkel for the second half.

Within 40 seconds of the restart, Milan thought they had equalised when Ibra knocked down a cross for Robinho to tap in at the back post. He was flagged offside, but replays suggest the Brazilian was level.

Robinho's angled drive was straight at Gillet and made way for Bari native Antonio Cassano. Luca Antonini had a great chance to equalise, but got the ball caught under his feet from nine yards.

Milan had another goal disallowed on the hour mark. Ibra chested down the ball - with the aid of his arm - and blasted into the top corner, but was booked for the handling offence.

Gillet flew to palm an Ignazio Abate cross-shot round the near post. Ibrahimovic rolled a ball across the six-yard box, but Huseklepp improvised as a defender with a last-ditch sliding interception to stop Emanuelson tapping in at the back post.

Ibrahimovic was having a nightmare and flashed an angled drive across the face of goal from Cassano's assist.

The tension got to the Swede, who had already been booked, but was shown a straight red card for a reaction foul on Marco Rossi. It was only a slight prod in the ribs, but still enough to warrant at least a second booking. He'll be suspended for next week's game against Palermo and possibly even the Milan derby.

Moments later, Pato wanted a penalty for Rinaldi's nudge, but the referee waved play on. In fact, it was nearly 2-0 on the break for Bari, as Abdel Ghezzal surged past Gattuso and the pull-back was scuffed wide by Almiron.

Huseklepp also threatened on the counter, but Gattuso got back to clean up in the area after he had skipped past Alessandro Nesta.

Milan finally broke through to equalise with Bari home boy Cassano eight minutes from time. A through ball sent Antonini down the left and he flicked up a cross for Cassano's cushioned volley from eight yards.

It still wasn't over, though, as Christian Abbiati made his first save of the game by having his palms stung by a Bentivoglio snapshot.

Gillet flew to push a Thiago Silva screamer round the near post, then Cassano at full stretch couldn't get his toe to Pato's cross.

Gillet beat away Abate's angled drive with his legs, then Edgar Alvarez charged down from Van Bommel.

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Gattuso (Seedorf 81), Van Bommel, Merkel (Emanuelson 46); Robinho (Cassano 56); Pato, Ibrahimovic

Bari: Gillet; A Masiello (Rinaldi 46), Glik, Belmonte, Rossi; Codrea, Almiron, Bentivoglio; Alvarez (Huseklepp 60), Rudolf (Kopunek 68), Ghezzal

Ref: Brighi

Sent off: Ibrahimovic 73 (M)

Mutti: 'AC Milan haven't beaten us yet'
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bortolo Mutti may be propping up the table, but he believes Bari can give Milan serious problems at San Siro.

“I have already been extremely clear with the lads. If I see any of them with the attitude that they’re going to lose or are sacrificial lambs, then I have no doubts in leaving them on the bench.

“In order to beat Milan, the only thing we can do is put in a perfect performance,” he warned ahead of the lunch-time kick-off.

“What I ask of my squad is to support the strikers as best they can. Everyone must work together so the attacks are like a chorus.”

Bari were very unlucky to lose 1-0 at high-flying Udinese last week, as a costly penalty and the saves of Samir Handanovic prevented them picking up points.

“I want to see the same Bari attitude that we had in Udine, with determination and grit,” concluded Mutti.

Paulo Vitor Barreto, Salvatore Masiello, Nacho Castillo, Andrea Raggi and ex-Milan striker Vitalii Kutuzov are unavailable.

Bari squad: Gillet, Padelli; S.Masiello, Belmonte, Glik, Rossi, Parisi; Bentivoglio, Codrea, Almiron, Rivas, Donati; Huseklepp, Ghezzal, Okaka, Alvarez, Rudolf

Ambrosini open to Ancelotti reunion
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini’s agent has not ruled out the reports of a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea. “It’s up to Milan.”

The midfielder’s contract is up for renewal at the end of the season and it’s suggested in the Italian media today that former Milan boss Ancelotti has put in a call.

That reunion could happen at Chelsea or, if other reports are to be believed, at the new American-owned Roma.

“It is beyond doubt that there is a strong bond between Massimo and Ancelotti,” agent Moreno Roggi told Radio Sportiva.

“They worked together for many years and respect each other, but not even Carlo’s future in London is secure, so we cannot discuss this sort of thing right now.

“Massimo is a Milanista and has been for life. He is captain of the Rossoneri, but the decision on whether to renew his contract is up to the club.

“He wants to stay at Milan and there are suggestions the club want to keep him too. I am almost certain he’ll stay with the Rossoneri, but I cannot hide that there are offers from other clubs.

“April should be a decisive month in understanding what his future holds.”

Allegri: 'Too early for Scudetto'
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists it’s too early for Milan to put their hands on the Scudetto, even after Inter’s unexpected draw last night.

A victory over bottom of the table Bari would put the Rossoneri seven points clear at the top of the table.

“We are only racing against ourselves,” warned the Coach. “The fixture list ahead of us is not the easiest and we must absolutely not underestimate Bari. They’re worth more than their points in the table would suggest and are coming off a couple of strong performances.

“It is far too early for us to celebrate and a win over Bari would certainly not mean we’d have the Scudetto.”

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Marek Jankulovski are out, while others could be rested after the Champions League trip to Tottenham.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is tired, which is only normal at this stage of the season, especially as he played practically every game.

“I maintain this is his best campaign and he should start. Alexandre Pato is the only player certain to start against Bari. As for the rest, I have some doubts in midfield and at left-back.”

The European exit means the Rossoneri must focus on Serie A and the Coppa Italia.

“I would’ve liked to continue in the Champions League and feel we deserved to, but if Tottenham went through then it means we made a mistake somewhere over the two legs. If I’d had Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini and the January buys, then perhaps it would’ve been different.”

Boateng out of AC Milan's Bari match
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are without Kevin-Prince Boateng and Marek Jankulovski for Sunday’s match against Bari.

The Rossoneri are resting a couple of figures who picked up knocks during the 0-0 draw with Tottenham.

Boateng was a big risk for that Champions League game due to a sprained ankle, but managed over an hour and will be rested to ensure he fully recovers.

Jankulovski has been playing regularly after months on the sidelines and is also given respite.

Nicola Legrottaglie, Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo and Pippo Inzaghi are still injured and also not called up for Sunday’s Bari game.

Expected to start are those who missed the trip to White Hart Lane due to being suspended or ineligible: Antonio Cassano, Mark Van Bommel, Urby Emanuelson and Gennaro Gattuso.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes, Papastathopoulos; Emanuelson, Flamini, Gattuso, Van Bommel, Seedorf, Strasser, Merkel; Cassano, Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho

Seedorf: 'I have many offers'
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf has given a clear warning he’ll leave Milan. “I don’t play very much and have many offers.”

The Dutch veteran had a rare start against Tottenham this week in a new Andrea Pirlo style role in front of the defence.

“There are no problems with Coach Massimiliano Allegri. I know he respects me and this is the only reason I accepted the bench,” Seedorf told the Corriere della Sera.

“However, I don’t play very much and always have many offers coming in.

“As for my future, I am still searching for my fifth Champions League trophy.”

The 34-year-old already broke records by winning four editions with three different clubs.

AC Milan face battle for Boateng
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Genoa look as though they will prove tough negotiators this summer when Milan attempt to make Kevin-Prince Boateng's move to San Siro permanent.

The Ghana international midfielder is on loan until the end of the season and so far has been one of Milan's best players.

“We'll see in May,” said Genoa President Enrico Preziosi. “Galliani knows that I don't make gifts and he doesn't either. It will be a great fight.

“He will make me an offer and I will see if it's adequate. But I believe that we have already outlined some things with Galliani so we shouldn't argue.”

AC Milan agree Kaka deal?
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Spain suggest Milan have already reached an agreement to bring Kaka back from Real Madrid in the summer.

Wednesday's edition of El Mundo Deportivo claims Kaka is up for sale and will return to San Siro in a deal worth between €20m and €30m.

Earlier this week, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani said the signing of Kaka would be impossible because of his extremely high wages at Real Madrid.

However, the contracts of nine players are due to expire at Milan this season, giving Galliani great room to maneuver in terms of salary than first thought.

Kaka has endured an injury-ravaged season and is in the treatment room again for at least two weeks after his knee became inflamed.

There are doubts as to whether he can ever recapture the form that persuaded France Football to present him with the Ballon d'Or.

Galliani defends Italian game
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani feels Milan can leave the Champions League with their heads held high and that the Italian game isn't completely in decline.

Milan drew 0-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night, but went out 1-0 on aggregate to Tottenham with the regret of not having done more in the first leg.

“We need to look at the positive aspects of this game. We were only missing a goal,” Galliani said.

“We have a great chance with the ball that leaped towards their goal-line. We dominated in possession. We also didn't concede any shots on target.

“The difference between Gigi Buffon getting a hand to a ball and it going in, and Robinho's shot, which Gallas saved on the line is nothing.

“We conceded on the counter in the first leg. I had nothing to tell the lads off for.

“We missed a goal by five centimetres, tiredness has got nothing to do with it. I am satisfied with Milan's performance.

“We need to have the maturity to accept defeat above all when they arrive this way. We are out, but we have honoured the game of football.

“We mustn't forget that in the last 10 years, Italian clubs have won the Champions League three times.

“I think that the Europa League and the Champions League should have two separate rankings because it's not right that if you do badly in one competition you then suffer the consequences in another.”

Pato: 'AC Milan dominated in London'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato feels “it is tough to go out like this after dominating the game” at White Hart Lane.

Milan had by far the better chances and possession, but couldn’t overturn their 1-0 first leg defeat against Tottenham.

“It is tough to go out like this after dominating the game and doing so well,” said ‘The Duck.’

“What we needed was a goal and we didn’t get it. We played well, but without the scoreline, it’s all irrelevant in the end.

“Now we must quickly forget this game and focus only on Serie A and the Coppa Italia. We all want to win and can do so in Italy this season.”

Ibrahimovic: 'AC Milan were the better team'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

“Over two legs Tottenham had one shot on goal and scored,” said Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “The best team doesn’t always win.”

Milan exited the Champions League with their heads held high after having by far the better of the play at White Hart Lane, but went out 1-0 on aggregate.

“We played well, but didn’t get the goal, which was the only thing we were lacking this evening,” said the Swede.

“Over two legs Tottenham had one shot on goal and scored. The best team doesn’t always win.

“I am satisfied with my performance and everyone in the team played well. I tried to score, but the ball would not cross the line.

“It’s a shame we went out of the Champions League, but we still have the Scudetto and Coppa Italia to focus on.”

Flamini: 'We dominated Spurs'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mathieu Flamini was “sad” at Milan’s Champions League exit. “We spent the entire match in Tottenham’s half.”

The Rossoneri dominated at White Hart Lane, but were unable to recover from their 1-0 first leg defeat.

“We were here to earn qualification and it did not arrive, so we are sad, as we gave our all and the goal did not come,” said the midfielder.

“It’s a shame, but that is football. We spent the entire match in Tottenham’s half, looking for the goal. Everyone saw we played a great game with the right spirit.

“Now we must focus on Serie A and the race for the Scudetto. The Champions League was one of our objectives and we gave it our all, but now we will think about the title.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan deserved to qualify'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri believes “Milan did everything possible and over two legs deserved to go through” against Tottenham.

The 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane was not enough, as Spurs qualified thanks to their late 1-0 winner on the counter-attack in the first game.

“The team put in a fine performance tonight and I think over the two legs we deserved to go through,” said Allegri.

“Unfortunately, that mistake in the first leg cost us dearly. This evening my Milan did everything it possibly could, showing intensity and technique. We only lacked something in the finishing.

“We created the chances with Robinho and Alexandre Pato, so there was nothing more we could do and I have to compliment these lads.

“This performance must give us more confidence going back into the Serie A race, as we have been improving for a while now.

“I still cannot be satisfied, as there is a great deal of bitterness at going out, but I am comforted by the way my lads fought.”

The best scoring opportunity saw Robinho’s scuffed shot cleared off the line by William Gallas.

“Usually the players don’t make these purely technical errors, but this was a difficult game,” noted Allegri.

“I am happy for Clarence Seedorf, as I really liked him in front of the defence. Zlatan Ibrahimovic lacked something in terms of finishing, but all the front three did well and were only missing a goal. They moved brilliantly.”

Redknapp: 'AC Milan made Tottenham work'
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp concedes “Milan made it difficult for us to get near them with that fantastic ability in their team.”

The 1-0 first leg victory proved crucial, as the Rossoneri dominated at White Hart Lane, but were unable to break the deadlock.

“It’s a great night for the players, the fans and everyone. We’re delighted,” he told ITV.

“It was hard work out there tonight, Milan are a good side and you can see why they’re a great club with the tradition of winning the Champions League.

“They showed it tonight, coming here with players like (Clarence) Seedorf and (Alexandre) Pato; it’s so difficult to get near them with that fantastic ability in their team.

“We worked our socks off, stayed with them and it’s a difficult situation when you come home with that 1-0 lead. You try to protect it, but at the same time want to go for broke and are aware you need to keep hold of that.

“We were out-numbered in the middle of the park. They had Seedorf in that spare role, they narrowed up, had extra men in there, passed it around in midfield and made it difficult for us to get near them.

“I enjoyed the occasion, but I couldn’t say I enjoyed the 90 minutes. You look at the clock and want that 90 minutes to be up.

“It’s a great achievement for this club to be in the last eight of the Champions League. If people can’t appreciate and enjoy this tonight, then they shouldn’t be involved in football.”

Dawson: 'AC Milan forced Spurs back'
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Tottenham stars Michael Dawson and Peter Crouch acknowledge Milan “forced us to sit back” in a tense second leg.

Spurs are notorious for their attacking approach and had won all their Champions League home games, but were fortunate to escape with a goalless draw at White Hart Lane, beating the Rossoneri 1-0 on aggregate.

“Winning ugly? Definitely. The first half performance was back to walls, but we worked our socks off. Same in the second half. Look at it now, it’s rocking,” Dawson told ITV.

“Milan forced us to sit back. If you look at the players in our team, we’re very attacking, but we showed a different side to us tonight.

“We’ll enjoy tonight and see who we get in the quarter-final.”

Crouch got the goal in the first leg and insisted Tottenham deserved to reach the next phase.

“It’s huge. The club has never been in the Champions League before, then going to San Siro and winning, the lads defended magnificently tonight, great credit to them,” said the striker. “I’m really pleased and looking forward to the next round. That’s what it was all about.

“Sometimes in the Champions League you need to get results and that means defending from the front. We did that and I think over the two legs deserved to go through.”

Champions League: Tottenham 0:0 AC Milan - match report
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan dominated at White Hart Lane and were denied by a goalline clearance, but couldn't get the goal and go out of the Champions League.

The Rossoneri had to overturn a 1-0 first leg defeat, but lost Gennaro Gattuso to a lengthy ban after his fracas with Joe Jordan at San Siro. With Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini, Pippo Inzaghi and the cup-tied Antonio Cassano, Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson out, Milan had Kevin-Prince Boateng back just days after spraining his ankle. Tottenham had Rafael Van der Vaart back, but Gareth Bale was only fit for the bench.

Peter Crouch knocked down an Aaron Lennon cross for Van der Vaart, but Christian Abbiati smothered at his feet, getting a kick in the face.

Milan took more control of the game after that initial burst and a fierce Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick was palmed out for a corner by Heurelho Gomes. Both Van der Vaart and Alexandre Pato had shots charged down in the box.

Milan should've scored on 25 minutes when Pato dribbled round the on-rushing Gomes and rolled into the middle for an unmarked Robinho. He scuffed it on to Benoit Assou-Ekotto's back and it looped into the air, allowing William Gallas to perform a goalline clearance!

Van der Vaart curled a free kick on to the roof of the net, but Abbiati had it covered. Pato was again very dangerous down the left, as he sprung the offside trap on an Ibra through ball and forced Gomes to parry at the base of the near post from a tight angle.

The visitors continued to hold on to the ball for long periods in the first half, dominating possession. Van der Vaart fired straight at Abbiati after a Crouch interception, but then Gallas went sliding in to stop Ibra's pass setting up Pato from nine yards.

Luka Modric charged down a Boateng snapshot after Gomes flapped at an Ignazio Abate cross, while Gallas again had to be alert to cut off Pato's progress.

Straight after the restart, Crouch knocked a Lennon cross down into blank space rather than going for goal. Moments later Sandro intercepted a pass for Ibra as part of a smart Robinho-Abate move.

Thiago Silva's sliding tackle stopped Lennon's progress, including a handling offence, but it bounced off his leg and was clearly involuntary.

Flamini pulled an angled drive across the face of goal after Dawson charged down Pato's shot. Spurs were starting to become dangerous on the counter, but Seedorf bundled a Lennon cross out for a corner with his thigh.

Flamini was booked for a studs-up challenge on Assou-Ekotto, but got the ball. Moments later Pato was carded for being too close to a free kick.

There was a great chance for the Rossoneri on 65 minutes. Abate's low cross from the right found Robinho, but Gomes did just about enough to scramble it clear after two or three attempts from point-blank range.

Bale and Jermaine Jenas replaced Van der Vaart and Steven Pienaar, while Luca Antonini came on for Jankulovski.

Boateng finally ran out of steam and made way for 19-year-old Alexander Merkel. Immediately Sandro threw himself at Merkel's cross-shot to charge it down, then as the move continued Pato's fierce strike shook the side-netting.

In the final 15 minutes it was increasingly a siege on the Tottenham area. Robinho combined with Ibra on the edge of the box for a shot deflected over the bar.

Tottenham: Gomes; Corluka, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Sandro, Modric, Pienaar (Jenas 70); Van der Vaart (Bale 66); Crouch (Pavlyuchenko 83)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski (Antonini 69); Seedorf, Boateng (Merkel 76), Flamini (Strasser 87); Robinho, Pato; Ibrahimovic

Ref: De Bleeckere (Bel)

Tassotti: 'AC Milan emergency against Spurs'
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan assistant manager Mauro Tassotti feels they can get past Tottenham “even if we are in an emergency situation.”

The Rossoneri lost the first leg 1-0 on home turf and travel to White Hart Lane this evening without Gennaro Gattuso, Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo, Pippo Inzaghi or the cup-tied Antonio Cassano, Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson.

“We need to be balanced,” said Tassotti. “As long as the game is on 0-0, it will be balanced.”

Yet Massimiliano Allegri has fielded an all-attack system with Clarence Seedorf, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“We do not have many midfielders at our disposal and it would certainly have been nice to bring a striker for the bench.

“We’re in an emergency situation, but if we play in the Milan style, doing things the right way, then qualification is within reach.”

Bale to start on bench
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

It's thought Gareth Bale will start on the bench for Tottenham this evening when they face Milan in the Champions League at White Hart Lane.

The Wales international winger only returned from a back injury at the weekend, playing 20 minutes against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“We've got to see how he is,” said Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. “He trained today, he did a little bit but I am not too sure about the game.

“I don't think he is fit enough to start. He doesn't feel that he is quite ready.

“He is a great weapon to bring on… I just hope that he will be able to come on. I am sure, yes, that Milan will get a lift when they see that Gareth is not in the team.”

Meanwhile, Rafael Van der Vaart is expected to start after shaking off a calf problem.

Seedorf: AC Milan need a great game
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf believes Milan need a big performance against Tottenham tonight if they are to qualify for the Champions League Quarter-Finals.

Milan lost the first leg 1-0 at San Siro and the odds aren't stacked in their favour.

Asked if he will play in a trequartista role, Seedorf said: “I can play in any part of the pitch and try to give quality and experience like I have always done, and perhaps even a little more.

“This is a special game after the first leg. But I feel that we are ready to play a great game.”

Seedorf is expected to wear the captain's armband at White Hart Lane this evening.

Allegri has Boateng quandary
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Max Allegri hints that Kevin-Prince Boateng “has a good chance of starting” at White Hart Lane tomorrow, “but the formation depends on him.”

Milan have to overturn a 1-0 first leg defeat to Tottenham and thought they’d be without the Ghana international when he limped off with a sprained knee during Saturday’s win at Juventus.

“Boateng has one more night to go and we have to see how he’s feeling tomorrow morning, but he has a good chance of starting,” said the Coach in his pre-match Press conference.

“I just have to decide whether to field him as a trequartista behind the strikers or wide midfield. The formation depends on Prince.”

It’s reported that Boateng behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato would mean leaving Robinho on the bench.

“The team is convinced it can have a great game, even if we know the fans will push Tottenham on. It’ll be a match open to any result.

“We played well in the first leg, but lost anyway. I think quite aside from Gareth Bale’s presence, Tottenham are a strong side, but I repeat that despite our missing players, we intend to play a great game.”

Boateng shock Spurs comeback
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

“It is very probable” Kevin-Prince Boateng will be on the pitch against Tottenham tomorrow, said Milan chief Adriano Galliani.

The Ghana international was thought to be out of action after limping off at half-time during Saturday’s 1-0 win at Juventus.

He was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, but is making a remarkable recovery and trained with his teammates today.

“I was not at Milanello this morning, but from the news I hear, it is very probable Boateng will be on the field tomorrow,” revealed Vice-President Galliani.

It is the second leg of the Champions League tie at White Hart Lane and an uphill struggle for Milan, who lost 1-0 at home.

“As you know, I cannot predict the future and do not want to get into predictions. What I can say is that we are playing in a beautiful stadium and, as always, it will be intriguing to play in England.”

Gennaro Gattuso is suspended following his brawl with Joe Jordan at the end of the last game, while Antonio Cassano, Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson are cup-tied.

The injury list is Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo and Pippo Inzaghi, leaving precious few midfield options.

Galliani also commented on recent reports that Kaka could make a return to San Siro after his disappointing Real Madrid spell.

“We’d all love to have him back, but I fear it is impossible.”

Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Roma; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Jankulovski, Legrottaglie, Nesta, Oddo, Papastathopoulos, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes; Boateng, Flamini, Merkel, Seedorf, Strasser; Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho

Tottenham vs. AC Milan Live Text
8.3 || webmaster

In case you threw the TV out the window in the first leg or simply can't reach one with a proper channel, join us for Spurs vs. AC Milan live text on The AC Milan Blog. Plus some good time.

Berlusconi opens door to Kaka
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi says it would be “great news” if Real Madrid playmaker Ricky Kaka were to return to the club.

Last week Kaka's father Bosco encouraged Milan to bring his son back to San Siro after an injury-blighted 18 months in Spain.

Quoted in Tuttosport after a trip to the dentist, Berlusconi apparently said: “If Kaka were to return, it would be great news.

“I don't think a return is possible. Not right now. But if he were to return it would really be great news for Milan and for all the fans.”

Asked about Wednesday's Champions League knockout tie with Tottenham, Berlusconi said: “As ever I am very confident.

“The victory against Juventus in Turin was very, very important. We have been up there for the Scudetto since the beginning and we will stay there,” he concluded.

Bale is No 1, says Capello
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

England manager Fabio Capello has warned Milan that Tottenham winger Gareth Bale is the No 1 in the world in his position.

The Wales international is expected to play the second leg of their Champions League knockout tie at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

Bale was absent with a back injury when the two sides met last month, but Tottenham still recorded a precious 1-0 victory at San Siro.

Italy caught 'Bale fever' earlier this season when the 21-year-old scored a hat-trick against Inter in the group stages of the competition.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello said: “Today Bale is the No 1 in the world, the only one who can make the difference in that position because he has speed, technique and power, three difficult qualities to find in a player who isn't a striker.

“Bale doesn't start from the back, like a full-back, but pushes and when he gets close to goal he pushes towards the middle and shoots with extraordinary precision.”

Allegri: AC Milan need a team performance
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri feels Milan need to perform as a team if they are to knock out Tottenham on Wednesday night.

Milan are 1-0 down on aggregate after losing the first leg at San Siro last month.

“We can do it because we have a strong team which is physically and mentally fine,” Allegri said.

“The first leg was a strange game. We know that Tottenham are a strong team and we mustn't commit the mistakes that we made at San Siro.

“Tomorrow's match must be one of Milan and not of individuals. If we don't play as a team, we'll find it difficult to get a result.

“There are several solutions for the formation tomorrow. We can play with Thiago Silva in midfield or in defence. I have various solutions in mind and I will judge them today.

“It will not be a historic exploit if we go through. We are talking about overturning a result that in the first leg was a lie.

“It will be a different game at their home with respect to the first leg, but we must play a game of great intensity, of great sacrifice and of great technique.”

Bale: AC Milan should be worried
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Tottenham star Gareth Bale believes Milan should be worried ahead of their visit to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

Spurs have a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie and remain confident of beating the Serie A leaders.

Interviewed by Extra Time, Bale said: “They have a string of big names capable of making the difference by themselves.

“It won't take much to neutralise a 1-0. I am thinking about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, about Robinho. But I believe that Milan should think about what they'll have to put up with here.

“They will be a lot more concerned than us. And this should balance the strengths on the pitch.”

Asked if Milan will be worried above all by his return, Bale said: “I don't know how much that's true. I can't focus on it and I must give the maximum.”

Robinho: We'll beat Tottenham
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan ace Robinho is convinced that his side can beat Tottenham in the Champions League this week.

The Rossoneri arrive for Wednesday’s White Hart Lane clash a goal down after their 1-0 San Siro reverse.

“I honestly believe we can win in England,” he told UEFA.com. “Our goal is to comeback from England having qualified for the next round of the Champions League.”

Milan were pretty disappointing against Spurs last month and Robinho has called for more focus from his teammates.

“We will have to change our attitude and be even more focused,” he added. “If we concede a goal things will become even more difficult, but anything can happen in football.

"Unfortunately, we lost the home leg in a difficult match. And we conceded a goal when we were playing better. But that does not mean we cannot win there.

"They play in a different way, focusing on physical strength, plenty of crosses into the box. I think they will play exactly the same way again."

Robinho joined Milan late in the summer transfer window and he has eyes on winning the greatest prize in European club football.

"It is a great competition and unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to win it,” he added.

"So I hope to become a European champion here with Milan. It is a competition I love playing in, a difficult one, the toughest in European football. We hope to win it this season.”

Zola: Tottenham should beware Pato
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gianfranco Zola believes Alexandre Pato is likely to be Milan's secret weapon when they face Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Brazil international striker didn't start the first leg, which Milan lost 1-0, but his record of 11 goals in 17 League appearances this season mean he is a potent threat.

“Milan have every chance of going through,” Zola told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Tottenham are a great team, but they are young and inexperienced.”

Asked if he had any advice for Milan, Zola replied: “Play openly because they will not stand off so the defense should concede something.

“Milan should be clever at profiting from it. Paradoxically on a tactical level I would say that it will be simpler for Milan with respect to the first leg.

“They should focus on Pato. He could hurt the English with his speed.”

Raiola: 'Balotelli is going nowhere for now'
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is unlikely to leave Eastlands this summer, according to his agent Mino Raiola.

Balotelli was pictured watching Inter's 5-2 victory over Genoa at San Siro on Sunday. He was whistled by the home crowd.

The Italy international has made no secret of his desire to play for Milan one day in the future.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Raiola said: “Manchester City are happy with Mario, and I can confirm that his project abroad is continuing.

“So I don't believe that he will move in the summer.”

Allegri: Spurs aren't the elite
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri says that while Tottenham play great football, they still aren't among the elite in Europe.

The Serie A leaders travel to White Hart Lane on Wednesday in an effort to overturn the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie last month.

Speaking to Radio CrC, Allegri said: “We mustn't make mistakes against Tottenham, but they profited with a good counter attack beating us by a goal to nil. However, it must be said that despite playing good football, Tottenham are not among the strongest in Europe.

“Moreover we have the disadvantage that in Europe, the three players who arrived in January can't go out on the pitch. Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini are injured and we have a limited number of players in the middle of the pitch.”

Asked about the title race in Serie A, he said: “There are still 10 games left and lots of points to play for.

“Napoli can still fight for the Scudettto also because in this League, you can't allow yourself to get too many games wrong otherwise you risk being caught.

“Keep an eye on Roma, Lazio, Udinese and Juventus who are still in the race for the top four places. Sure, when you win against the second placed team in the table and against Juventus it makes you realise that you are a step away from the title, but it's too soon to make predictions.

“Napoli deserve to be one of the top four teams of the season and I believe that they are not yet out of the fight for the Scudetto.”

Bale fit for AC Milan tie
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Tottenham have received a boost ahead of Milan's visit to White Hart Lane this week, as Gareth Bale appears to be fit again.

The Wales international played the last 20 minutes of Spurs' 3-3 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Sunday.

Milan have reason to fear Bale after he scored a hat-trick against Inter at San Siro in the Champions League earlier this season.

A bad back kept Baloe out of the first leg of Tottenham's second round clash with Milan last month, but the Premier League outfit still won 1-0.

Last night, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani said: “Let's hope his bad back returns.”

Raiola: 'Ibrahimovic won't end his career at AC Milan'
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Despite expressing his intention to do so, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not end his career with Milan, according to the player's agent Mino Raiola.

Last week, Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he plans to retire at the age of 33 and doesn't see himself playing for any team other than Milan.

Speaking to 7 Gold, Raiola was asked if his client would keep his promise.

“No,” Raiola said. “Before stopping Ibra will make another three transfers.

“We will decide in 2012, also based on results,” he concluded.

Galliani: Kaka is too expensive
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani has distanced Milan from a bid for Ricky Kaka, telling reporters that his prospective return to San Siro would be too expensive.

Last week, Kaka's father appeared to encourage Milan to make a bid for the Real Madrid midfielder who won a Champions League, a Scudetto and the Ballon d'Or in a six-year spell in Italy before leaving for Spain two summers' ago.

“Ricardino earns too much also because they pay less tax,” Galliani said.

“I am sorry that he is having problems in Madrid, but he'd have to reduce his salary a lot to return to Milan…

“We can allow ourselves the salary of only one Ibrahimovic.”

Gattuso: This AC Milan is incredible
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Rino Gattuso thinks this current Milan side is “incredible” and that it has more than honoured the name of the club.

The veteran midfielder scored a rare goal on Saturday night to inflict defeat on Juventus in Turin.

It ensured Milan maintained their five-point lead over Inter at the top of Serie A.

Speaking to the Milan Channel, Gattuso said: “Milan are not ready to win the Champions League.

“It seems like Milan haven't won anything. It seems that we are Longobarda, a little team.

“However, it's enough to walk into one of the rooms in Via Turati to see what Milan has been in recent years. It deserves respect.

“It will be very tough against Tottenham, but we are not top of Serie A by chance.

“We must go to London and try to do it.

“I am certain that we'll have a little extra anger for what happened at San Siro where we didn't deserve to lose.

“The lads could make me a present. They could put something extra in for me.

“This group is incredible, keeping Ibrahimovic at bay all week isn't easy.

“Ibra never shuts up. We have many champions and it becomes ever more difficult in training: no-one wants to lose, everyone says his bit and every now and again even the mister gets angry.

“Milan have history, we are not a little team,” he concluded.

Boateng ankle sprain confirmed
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin-Prince Boateng is effectively out of Milan’s clash with Tottenham after spraining his ankle.

The Ghana international limped off at half-time during last night’s 1-0 win over Juventus following an accidental collision that seemed to turn his ankle.

“Chief medic Dr. Gianluca Melegati announces that today Boateng underwent tests confirming the right ankle sprain,” read a statement on the club website.

“The player will be monitored daily to evaluate the progress of his condition.”

Although no time frame has been laid out, it is safe to say Boateng will not be available for Wednesday’s Champions League game with Spurs.

Milan must overturn their 1-0 first leg defeat when visiting White Hart Lane.

Alexandre Pato and Massimo Oddo both missed the Juventus match due to flu symptoms, but the Brazilian is feeling better today and should make it for Tottenham.

Boateng out of Spurs trip?
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There’s the very real risk Kevin-Prince Boateng could miss Milan’s trip to Tottenham after he left the Olimpico on crutches.

The Rossoneri will attempt to overturn their 1-0 first leg defeat in the Champions League on Wednesday and Boateng had been a favourite to start.

However, he limped off at half-time during last night’s 1-0 victory away to Juventus and left the Stadio Olimpico on crutches.

Boateng accidentally clashed with Felipe Melo, receiving a very hard kick to the ankle, which seemed to twist in an unnatural fashion.

He carried on playing for a few more minutes, but was replaced at the break and seems to be in poor shape.

There’s a race against time to get the Ghana international fit for Wednesday’s match at White Hart Lane.

Antonio Cassano, Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson are cup-tied, while Alexandre Pato and Massimo Oddo missed the Juventus game with flu symptoms.

It’s likely that Clarence Seedorf will be given a starting spot in midfield instead.

Redknapp: 'We'll have a go at AC Milan'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Harry Redknapp and Jermain Defoe insist Tottenham will continue to attack Milan, even though a draw would be enough to qualify.

Spurs won the first leg 1-0 at San Siro and welcome the Rossoneri to White Hart Lane on Wednesday for a place in the Champions League quarter-final.

“When you have that advantage in a two-legged game, if you sit back and think you have the lead then you find yourself in trouble,” said Redknapp.

“We have to treat it as a one-off and we have to go for it. We're at home and we have to go and try to win the game. It's not natural for us to sit on a 1-0 lead for 90 minutes.

“We will pick an attacking team and have a go at them, that's how we have got to play.”

Tottenham forward Defoe also commented on the second leg.

“I think they will come and sit back and try to frustrate us a little and make it difficult,” claimed the England international.

“I think in games like that you have to be very professional. Champions League games are a bit slower than Premier League games so you get a slow build-up and you have to keep possession.

“You can’t get sloppy or switch off, because if you do that just once then they will punish you with the players they have got. If we do that then hopefully we will win.”

Allegri: 'We should've finished it off'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri was not entirely happy with Milan’s performance in Turin. “We should’ve finished off the game sooner.”

The Rossoneri are running away at the top of the table after a 1-0 victory against Juventus, secured by Gennaro Gattuso.

“I think this is our second solid performance after the one against Napoli, although last week we were more incisive in attack,” said the Coach.

“It was more difficult this evening. We didn’t allow our opponents anything at all, but we should’ve finished off the game sooner, seeing as we had the chances.

“I am happy with the overall psychological approach, both from those who started and who came off the bench.”

Milan are continuing their Scudetto push despite missing key midfielders like Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini.

“I think the club made an intelligent move during the January transfer window, which was a difficult time for us in terms of injuries.

“Mark Van Bommel is a smart player who already speaks some Italian. He plays in a very practical manner and rarely makes a mistake, giving a lot of protection to the defence.”

Gattuso celebrates end of goal drought
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso was overjoyed at his first goal in three years to sink Juventus, “but there’s a long, hard road ahead of us towards the Scudetto.”

The gritty midfielder hadn’t hit the back of the net since January 1998, but got the only goal in Turin this evening.

“The goal is very important, but there’s a long, hard road ahead of us towards the Scudetto,” he told Sky Italia television.

“We are now eight points ahead of Inter again, but tomorrow evening I’m sure it’ll be five points.

“The atmosphere is positive and at times the Coach has to interrupt a training session as we are too determined! When there’s that kind of attitude, we always get an important trophy.”

Many expect the Scudetto race to be decided by the Milan derby next month.

“The derby is still worth three points, just like every other game.”

Serie A: Juventus 0:1 AC Milan - match report
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Gattuso 68 (M)

A very rare goal from Gennaro Gattuso gave Milan victory in Turin and could spell the end as Gigi Del Neri's Juventus suffer a third straight defeat.

The Serie A leaders travelled to Turin against a wounded Juve who had suffered back-to-back defeats against Lecce and Bologna. Del Neri's job was looking increasingly insecure, but they seemed to raise their game against the big clubs, beating Inter only a few weeks ago.

Alexandre Pato and Massimo Oddo pulled out with flu symptoms just before the match, joining Andrea Pirlo, Pippo Inzaghi, Massimo Ambrosini, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini and Alexander Merkel on the absentee list. Antonio Cassano stepped in to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Juve missed Alberto Aquilani, Fabio Grosso, Hasan Salihamidzic, Leandro Rinaudo, Paolo De Ceglie, Momo Sissoko, Fabio Quagliarella and the suspended Simone Pepe, but welcomed Gigi Buffon back from his ban.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic should've scored within three minutes, but volleyed a Cassano cross over at the back post under pressure from six yards. The home side had more of the ball early on, though, as Felipe Melo had two shots charged down.

Juve had possession, but Milan had the chances, as Marek Jankulovski's through ball sent Cassano clear only for him to lean back as he blasted over the bar from eight yards.

A touched-on free kick for Armand Traore' hit the wall, then a Milos Krasic counter was wasted by an indecisive Alessandri Matri, who was stopped by Thiago Silva. There was an accidental clash when Felipe Melo kicked Boateng's ankle, but they were both able to continue after treatment.

Ibra attempted a volley on a Cassano cross, but completely missed the ball for a fresh-air shot. Buffon came off his line to smother at Boateng's feet after a Thiago Silva ball over the top. Giorgio Chiellini ran a big risk in the final third, but just about managed to stop Ibra going clear.

Robinho replaced Boateng to take the trequartista role, and Mathieu Flamini nodded straight at Buffon from Ignazio Abate's long cross.

Ibrahimovic hit a screamer of a free kick from 25 metres that swerved in the air, forcing Buffon to flap it away for a corner as it dipped towards the near post.

Juve also threatened when Jankulovski hesitated in his own penalty area and was robbed by Chiellini, but the pull-back couldn't reach Felipe Melo or Luca Toni.

Milan did break the deadlock with the last person they expected to find a way through. Gennaro Gattuso gathered a loose ball on the D after Andrea Barzagli's error and scuffed the left-foot shot, but it bobbled right in front of Buffon so the goalkeeper got a hand to it, but could not keep it out. It was Rino's first goal since January 2008.

Juventus showed no signs of a fightback, so threw on captain Alessandro Del Piero for the final 10 minutes, replacing an anonymous Matri. Instead, Ibra knocked down a Clarence Seedorf cross, but both Flamini and Robinho had their shots charged down for a corner.

Del Piero's corner was nodded off target, as three Juve players went for the header and put each other off. Chiellini was furious when he fell under a Gattuso challenge on the edge of the box, but the referee waved play on.

Juventus: Buffon; Sorensen, Chiellini, Barzagli, Traoré (Bonucci 84); Martinez, Marchisio, Felipe Melo, Krasic; Toni (Iaquinta 63), Matri (Del Piero 80)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Van Bommel, Flamini; Boateng (Robinho 46); Cassano (Seedorf 70), Ibrahimovic

Ref: Rizzoli

Boateng makes Scudetto pledge
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin-Prince Boateng is expected to start against Juventus this evening and promised a spectacular goal celebration for Milan.

“If I score the goal that wins us the Scudetto, then prepare yourselves: I’m going to dance on the pitch like Michael Jackson!”

The Ghana international also has other plans to mark his time spent at Milan, especially as he is still co-owned by Genoa.

“I hope to stay here, even if 50 per cent of my contract is with Genoa. Scudetto, Champions League, Coppa Italia: why set limits?

“If I do well and get to stay at Milan, then I’ll tattoo the club logo on my left arm.”

Tardelli: 'AC Milan are Juventus' last chance'
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Juventus legend and current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli gives his views on tonight’s “Last Chance Saloon” with Milan.

“At this moment it’s a lot easier for Milan than Juventus. For the Bianconeri it is the Last Chance Saloon, not just for European qualification, but also in terms of confidence,” he told TuttoMercatoWeb.

“The season isn’t over yet and Juve’s current form is down to many injuries and poor transfer decisions, made both in the summer and in January. They need to begin again and I hope, for the sake of Juventus, that tonight a new campaign can start.

“When the injuries occurred, it all collapses unless you have players of the right character. I have trouble spotting these men at Juventus right now.”

The Turin giants beat Inter only a few weeks ago, but followed that result up with back-to-back defeats against Lecce and Bologna.

“They probably find motivation against the big clubs that they cannot muster with smaller sides. I think it’s a psychological issue, although it could also be physical, as the minnows tend to work a lot harder.”

Tardelli is working as assistant manager to Giovanni Trapattoni on the Ireland bench, but is keeping a close eye on Serie A.

“Milan targeted the Scudetto from the start, even if originally I thought Inter would be the favourites. The Rossoneri are having a great season and when you win, it prompts you to play better football.

“We’ll see what will happen in the Champions League against Tottenham, as failure to go through to the next round could have a negative effect on the campaign.”

Spurs won 1-0 at San Siro in the first leg and welcome Milan to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening.

Redknapp: 'Bale could face AC Milan'
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Harry Redknapp is keeping Milan on tenterhooks, as he now claims Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart will be fit for their meeting.

Bale missed the Champions League first leg, won 1-0 by Tottenham at San Siro, with a back injury that has kept him out for over a month.

The Welsh wizard was also expected to miss out on the return match at White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening, but that might not be the case.

“I’m hoping Bale will be fit. He feels OK. He has just got to push himself through it now. We'd love him back. We'll wait and see,” said Redknapp.

“Rafa is the same. Rafa will not be fit for Sunday, I think, but there is a chance he will be fit for Milan. We'll have to wait and see.”

Van der Vaart is dealing with a persistent calf problem and is not expected to face Wolves this weekend.

Aquilani fit to face AC Milan
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani and Gigi Buffon return to the Juventus squad ahead of tomorrow night’s big game with leaders Milan.

Buffon has completed the one-match ban that followed his red card in a 2-0 defeat at Lecce.

There were major injury doubts over Aquilani’s ability to take part in this match and it’s not clear if he is fit to start or only sit on the bench after suffering a thigh injury a week ago.

Simone Pepe is suspended, while Fabio Grosso, Hasan Salihamidzic, Leandro Rinaudo, Paolo De Ceglie, Momo Sissoko and Fabio Quagliarella are unavailable.

It is reported that Giorgio Chiellini will return to the centre-back position, pushing Leonardo Bonucci on to the bench.

Jorge Martinez is again expected to take a wide midfield position, as he did against Bologna.

Juventus squad: 1 Buffon, 2 Motta, 3 Chiellini, 4 Felipe Melo, 8 Marchisio, 9 Iaquinta, 10 Del Piero, 13 Manninger, 14 Aquilani, 15 Barzagli, 17 Traoré, 19 Bonucci, 20 Toni, 21 Grygera, 25 Martinez, 27 Krasic, 30 Storari, 32 Matri, 35 Buchel, 43 Sorensen, 45 Corticchia

Allegri: Juventus are a wounded animal
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has warned his players that Juventus are a wounded animal.

The two sides are set to meet on Saturday in one of Serie A's most eagerly anticipated fixtures.

“When there are 11 games left, every game can be the most important,” Allegri said.

“But tomorrow, the game is worth a lot to us in that it's key for the Scudetto. It's worth a lot to them in that's it important to close in on the Champions League places.

“Juve are strong physically, they have character and are dangerous on set-pieces. Juve are wounded and for this reason they are dangerous.

“We must be careful and try to go and get a result.

“Juve mustn't be underestimated. They beat Inter and played most of the game against Lecce with 10 men, and they were a little unlucky against Bologna and got punished on the counter.

“We would be crazy to have a dip in tension tomorrow.”

Astori: I have time for AC Milan
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cagliari defender Davide Astori insists that time is on his side and a move to Milan doesn't necessarily have to happen right away.

The 24-year-old has long been on Milan's radar and there was talk of a transfer taking place when the window opened in January.

Astori is co-owned by Cagliari and Milan, and both apparently want to buy him outright, so a battle is expected at the end of the season.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “Massimo Cellino and Adriano Galliani will decide.

“My future is in the hands of the Presidents. I can decide little. Today in football you need to learn to be diplomatic.”

Asked if he would like to stay at Cagliari, he said: “I would be just as happy and with the new stadium in development you can think that there is an important project here.

“I am very happy in Cagliari and I would like to finish this season well.”

AC Milan open soccer school in Japan
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have become the first Italian club to open a soccer school in Japan with a view to sourcing young talent.

It's well documented that the Asian market offers massive commercial opportunities for the world's biggest football clubs.

Hidetoshi Nakata's arrival at Perugia in 1998 blazed a trail for the likes of Yuto Nagatomo who joined Inter in January.

Milan are following the example set by Barcelona and Valencia who have already set up academies in Japan.

“Japanese footballers are very active in Europe and the objective is to help the football of this country grow even more,” said Franco Baresi.

Milan now have 12 soccer schools open worldwide.

The latest will be based in the south of Tokyo.

Former Milan Coach Alberto Zaccheroni is currently in charge of the Japanese national team.

He helped win the Asia Cup earlier this season.

Ibrahimovic: I am no talisman
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he would never like to be considered a talisman like Francesco Totti or Alessandro Del Piero.

The Sweden international left Inter in the summer of 2009 only to controversially return to Italy with Milan at the end of last season.

Interviewed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ibrahimovic said: “I wouldn’t like to be a talisman.

“It’s better to change rather than stay at a club for a long time because you learn through changing and a great player must be decisive in many clubs.

“You need motivation to be at your best. It’s always easier to seem strong at your home.

“Anyway Milan will be my last club. I believe that I will stop after the age of 33.

“I don’t want to stay and spit blood until the end.”

Chiellini: Juventus concentrating on AC Milan
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Giorgio Chiellini insists Juventus aren't thinking about qualifying for the Champions League right now, but rather their next game against Milan.

The Old Lady is in crisis after losing back-to-back games in Serie A to Lecce and Bologna.

Gigi Del Neri is thought to be under review and changes will be made in the summer.

Juventus currently lie seventh in Serie A and risk not qualifying for next year's Champions League.

Speaking to Sky, Chiellini said: “Of course it's a different game with respect to the last two [against Lecce and Bologna].

“We are facing the League leaders, the favourites for the Scudetto, together with Inter, who are still, in my opinion, a step above the rest.

“Motivation isn't lacking. It wasn't lacking in the other games, but this is of course a special challenge.

“Yes, it's a very delicate moment because we thought we had got out of the difficult period we experienced in January.

“We were convinced that we could get back to putting together a positive series of results and make up lost ground.

“Instead, unfortunately, we fell into a series of errors again and only we can get ourselves out of it.”

San Siro contingent called up for Brazil
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter and Milan are well represented in Mano Menezes' latest Brazil squad ahead of a friendly against Scotland at the Emirates on March 27.

Julio Cesar, Douglas Maicon and Lucio were called up from Inter to bolster the defence. They will be joined in the backline by Milan's Thiago Silva.

The only other Serie A based player named in the squad is Milan striker Alexandre Pato who has been in terrific form since the advent of the New Year.

Pato has scored 11 goals in 12 League starts this season and will partner one of Nilmar, Neymar or Jonas up front against Scotland providing he doesn't suffer an injury.

Van Bommel: Derby not decisive
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Mark Van Bommel doesn't think the Derby della Madonnina in April will be decisive in the title race.

Inter are five points behind the League leaders, but have generated a great deal of momentum since Leonardo's appointment in December.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Van Bommel said: “The derby is an important game, but I don't believe that it will decide the season.

“We still have many games to play. We must concentrate on Juventus, on Tottenham, and then one Bari and on Palermo.

“Massimiliano Allegri is a good Coach. He is very calm.

“It's always a great emotion to play against Juventus. It's wonderful to play this kind of game and for me it will be more emotional because there is my friend Hasan Salihamidzic.

“They have lost many games, but these matches are more complicated because everyone believes that we will win them.

“I am telling you that it won't be easy also because we'll play them at their home.”

Ibrahimovic injury scare for Juventus
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled up with a back problem during today’s training session, but Milan medics are confident he can face Juventus.

The Swede interrupted his weight-lifting session in the gym when he felt a twinge in his back.

According to Sky Sport Italia, the Rossoneri medical staff believe it to be only a slight pull and nothing to be concerned about.

Ibra could even return to normal training as early as tomorrow, which would mean he is not at risk for Saturday’s crucial game with Juventus.

Already set to miss out are Andrea Pirlo, Daniele Bonera, Pippo Inzaghi, Massimo Ambrosini and Luca Antonini.

Cassano: 'Ibrahimovic is wild, like me'
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Cassano feels he might be related to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “He’s wild, like me. Maybe he’s got a grandfather from Bari Vecchia...”

The Milan teammates get along famously and are forming a strong strike partnership, particularly as both are known for their fiery personalities. Cassano has always made his childhood in the slums of Bari part of his character and feels strange so far up north.

“Gennaro Gattuso speaks Milanese now, he’s been here so long, therefore I am clearly more of a terrone (southerner) than he is,” grinned FantAntonio in GQ Italia.

“Ibra is wild, like me. Maybe he’s got a grandfather from Bari Vecchia... Alexandre Pato is scarily talented, as there isn’t anyone that good at that age.

“I am super happy to have come to Milan and we’ve got to win the Scudetto, but it’s tough for me to live here. I need to get used to it. My mother and my cousin Nicola gave up after three days of fog and went back to my old house by the sea.”

He declared his intention to return to Genoa one day after his rapport with Sampdoria ended in a row with President Riccardo Garrone, the latest of many outbursts that affected his career.

“There was a time when my head just refused to grow up. Some, like Fabio Capello, tried to put me on the right track, but there was nothing to be done.

“Massimiliano Allegri is a good guy, he knows how to approach me. I must also thank Cesare Prandelli for all he has done.

“Now I am expecting a child and it’s an uphill struggle, as soon my kid will know all the dumb things I did! It will be tough being credible at that point... but I’ll manage it.

“Just two things really count: the first is education and the second having a ball between your feet. The boy is showing positive signs already, as he constantly kicks in his mother’s tummy. Both right and left footed.”

Bale still out injured
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have received a boost ahead of their visit to White Hart Lane next week as Gareth Bale is still injured for Tottenham.

The Wales international has been one of the Premier League's best players this season and scored a hat-trick against Inter at San Siro.

He was missing from the first leg of the Champions League second round knock-out tie between Milan and Tottenham on February 15 with a back injury.

Tottenham still managed to win 1-0, scoring an away goal through Peter Crouch.

Spurs expected Bale to be fit again for the second leg, but according to the latest reports he has yet to start training and won't be risked against Wolves this weekend.

That has left the English media very doubtful of seeing Bale start when Milan visit London on a week today.

Report: Mexes to join AC Milan
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roma defender Philippe Mexes has decided to join Milan at the end of the season, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 28-year-old France international is out of contract in the summer and has stalled talks for a renewal with Rosella Sensi.

Milan made an inquiry in January, but it was agreed with the player that the best solution would be to wait until June.

La Gazzetta understands that Milan have readied a four-year deal for Mexes worth €4m a season.

Real Madrid apparently also expressed an interest in the player, but Mexes' mind is already made up.

Milan are gradually rejuvenating their ageing side. No fewer than eight players' contracts expire this summer and some will not be renewed.

Mexes is being viewed as a long-term replacement for Alessandro Nesta, who at 34, is considering retirement.

Napoli chief has AC Milan penalty regrets
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Napoli director of sport Riccardo Bigon vented his frustration at officials after the 3-0 defeat to Milan. “The penalty changed the game.”

The Vesuviani were beaten at San Siro in last night’s Scudetto showdown, but the deadlock was broken by a controversial spot-kick for Salvatore Aronica’s handling offence.

“I never make an issue of refereeing performance, but this theory of ‘I’ve seen them given’ is getting tiring,” Bigon told Radio Marte.

“You can get one offside decision wrong, maybe even two, but not four. The penalty was also talked about in the media with that ‘I’ve seen them given’ approach.

“You win and you lose, but when you lose then you have to understand where you went wrong and analyse the mistakes.

“We cannot do that about last night’s game with the right clear-headed view, because the penalty incident changed the game.”

Napoli are now in third place and six points adrift of the Serie A leaders, but Bigon feels they are still in the Scudetto race.

“Of course there are regrets and we would’ve liked to analyse a defeat based only on our own errors and not other elements, but when Milan play like that, it is difficult for any opponent.

“We mustn’t forget all the good work we have done up until now.

“The next test with Brescia will be the most important of the season, just like the one after that and so forth. The support of our public is going to be crucial.”

Van Bommel future 'is uncertain'
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel was one of the key figures in last night’s win over Napoli, but the agent admits his Milan future “is uncertain.”

The Dutchman arrived from Bayern Munich in January, but has no contractual obligation to stay at San Siro past June.

“What happens next year is uncertain and there are no guarantees,” agent Mino Raiola told Voetbal International.

“If Milan decide to keep Mark, then he will stay here.”

Among others, Van Bommel has been linked with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur.

The 33-year-old was sent off on his Serie A debut and is unavailable for Champions League competition, but has become an essential figure for the Rossoneri midfield.

Galliani addresses Kaka - AC Milan talk
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has opened the door to Kaka’s return and commented on the Scudetto race.

There were reports this morning that Ricardo Kaka would be making his comeback after a difficult spell at Real Madrid.

“At the moment there is no hypothesis. His father, Bosco Leite, is a friend, but we have absolutely not talked about Riccardino. At the moment there is no plan.

“Would I like his return? I don’t know, we’ll see. For now we’ll focus on this season.”

Galliani was beaming after last night’s 3-0 win over Napoli, which put them five points clear at the top of the table.

“We won an important game, but Napoli are still in the chase. The only points we have over Napoli are those from our two head-to-head meetings.

“I don’t think the Milan derby with Inter will be decisive. The next 11 games are all crucial and we’ve got to face them with the same attitude we took yesterday.”

Galliani was spotted blowing kisses to the camera in the stands after Kevin-Prince Boateng came off the bench to score a goal.

“They were dedicated to Genoa President Enrico Preziosi, who allowed Milan to sign the Ghana international.”

Genoa bought the player from Portsmouth to immediately loan him to the Rossoneri in the summer and the transfer should be made permanent at the end of the season.

Allegri thinking about Juventus not Spurs
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Max Allegri claims he is thinking about Saturday's clash with Juve rather than the second leg of a Champions League knock out tie with Tottenham next week.

Milan opened up a five-point gap at the top of Serie A last night with a 3-0 win at home to Napoli, prompting some sections of the media to suggest that they will concentrate on Europe.

The Rossoneri lost the first leg of their second round clash 1-0 at San Siro and need to overturn the deficit if they are to qualify for the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League again.

“First we have Juventus and then we'll think about Tottenham,” Allegri said.

“Saturday's game is very important to earn more points and to increase our advantage on the chasing pack.”

Asked to reveal if he believes Alex Pato and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are compatible, Allegri said: “There has never been a rivalry.

“They are friends and teammates both on and off the pitch.”

Galliani saw Sacchi's AC Milan
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani claims he saw a bit of Arrigo Sacchi's Milan in last night's 3-0 win over Napoli in a match billed as a title decider at San Siro.

The Rossoneri put on a sensational second half display with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and Kevin-Prince Boateng getting amongst the goals.

“What I saw seemed like the Milan of 20 years ago,” Galliani said. “It was a fundamental game. We knew that.

“Now we have another one on Saturday. The team played well. Napoli had one shot at goal, which was saved practically by Christian Abbiati.

“Marek Jankulovski was a big surprise. He did more than an hour very well. He played great after being out for a long time.

“I liked Mark Van Bommel a lot.

“We have stretched the table wonderfully. We are top of the League with a five-point gap on second place.

“Up until this point we had a three-point advantage on second place. Now we have five.

“We have been top for many months. Now there are 11 games in front of us.”

'Kaka could return to AC Milan'
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Real Madrid playmaker Ricky Kaka could make a sensational return to Milan, according to his father.

The 28-year-old Brazil international reluctantly left the club after a six-year spell in 2009.

He won the Scudetto with Milan in 2004 and the Champions League in 2007.

Asked if his son would ever play for Milan again, Bosco Leite replied: “You'll have to ask Adriano Galliani.

“We'll see what happens,” he concluded.

The Italian media have leapt on the fact Leite did not say 'no'.

Kaka has endured an injured blighted season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, since he has got back to full fitness, the former Ballon d'Or winner has made five starts in La Liga.

Win was right result, says Allegri
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists that Milan deserved the win over Napoli – even if he admits the penalty decision was controversial.

The Rossoneri marched to a 3-0 victory after Salvatore Aronica was judged to have handled in the area. Zlatan Ibrahimovic drove home the resulting penalty.

“It looked like a penalty from the sidelines, but there are a few doubts when you see it on the replays,” he noted.

“But regardless of the incidents, we played well. We didn’t allow Napoli to have one shot on goal and I think our victory is deserved.

“We did very well in the first half, but we made a lot of errors in attack.

“I liked our character though, I’m happy with what the lads did, seeing as the boys played in Napoli’s half for 90 minutes.”

Allegri was also content for more reasons than just the three points as Kevin-Prince Boateng returned from injury to net the second.

“I’m happy with the win but also because my injured players are coming back to full fitness,” he continued. “Some important elements are returning.

“Boateng is the kind of player who can break a game when he comes on, just like Robinho did against Parma when he came on and as Pato did last Sunday.”

Allegri was also asked to comment on rumours that Kaka could return to San Siro in the summer seeing as the player’s father, who is also his agent, was present at the game tonight.

“The market is closed for now. We just have to concentrate on our objectives which are the League and the Champions League,” he responded.

“We can’t get distracted and then we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the summer.”

Pato snubs title for Juventus
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Alexandre Pato has sidelined talk of the Scudetto after beating Napoli. “We’re just thinking about Juventus.”

The Brazilian inspired the Rossoneri to a 3-0 victory over the Azzurri at the Meazza this evening with a sparkling individual second half display.

Although the victory saw them move five points clear of Inter and six ahead of Napoli, Pato is not getting overly excited.

“We’re not thinking about the Scudetto,” said the Brazilian who won a penalty, set up the second and slotted home the third. “We’re focused on our next game against Juventus.”

The two giants meet on Saturday night in Turin in a tie that Milan will start as favourites, especially given Juve’s woeful form.

“I like playing in this team,” Pato continued. “There are great champions here, but they are not teammates, they are my brothers.

“I’m happy that we played a great game.

“I always want to play, but the Coach makes the decisions which he thinks are best for the team and I know I have to work hard.”

Pato started the game at a very wet Meazza alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho. Antonio Cassano remained on the bench throughout.





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