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The Archive

May 2008

OFFICIAL: Zambrotta to AC Milan
31.5 || webmaster

ACMilan.com

AC Milan issued a short statement on the official site saying Zambrotta joined the club.

Galliani reveals Scudetto spending
31.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has confirmed that the Rossoneri will spend big ahead of next year's Scudetto bid.

Milan finished fifth this season and, combined with exiting the Champions League at the second round stage, will not participate in Europe's premier club competition.

Their disappointing campaign has led some to call for an overhaul of the current squad, but Galliani believes three or four new faces will suffice.

“It is important that we hold on to the players we have and look to reinforce in all four departments,” said Galliani.

“In goal,” he observed. “Valerio Fiori has left and Christian Abbiati has returned, while Serginho and Cafu are no longer part of the defence.

“We are looking for a wing back, like Gianluca Zambrotta. We will learn whether or not he will arrive in the next few days.

“In central midfield we have lost Yoann Gourcuff, who is on loan at Bordeaux, but have added Mathieu Flamini.

“Likewise, in attack we have brought Marco Borriello back. He scored more goals than Juventus' new signing Amauri this season.”

The transfer guru added that Milan have freed up quite a lot of capital from changes in the management of the club and sale of players.

He also unnervingly revealed that the Rossoneri's failure to qualify for the Champions League has hit the club hard financially.

“It is difficult to arrive at an exact figure and it will depend on how well we do in the UEFA Cup.

“But I believe it will leave us £15m in debt over the next two years. Every Italian club is in the red, there is no risk.”

Galliani: Ancelotti will remain
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has moved to quash rumours linking Carlo Ancelotti with the Chelsea job.

Ancelotti has emerged as the favourite for the post at Stamford Bridge, with Blues owner Roman Abramovich reportedly willing to pay millions for his services.

The 48-year-old's future has been in some doubt after the Rossoneri exited the Champions League at the second round stage and finished fifth in Serie A.

Milan, however, are keen for the former Juventus and Parma boss - who has been at the club since 2001 - to stay.

“Ancelotti is very happy at Milan,” said Galliani. “We do not sell players, never mind Coaches.”

Galliani confirmed that Chelsea are considering Ancelotti and another trainer from the peninsula.

“Ancelotti was on Chelsea's shortlist. It is true that the English club have two Italian Coaches in their sights, one of which is Carlo.

“Between the club and Ancelotti there is a common purpose. He will be here for many years to come.

“Look at Sir Alex Ferguson. He did not win anything at Manchester United for years but like Ancelotti, he is in perfect harmony with the club.

“With regard to Carlo, that harmony stems from being a Milan player for five years and Coach for eight.”

Ancelotti has won eight major honours with the Rossoneri in seven years, including two Champions League trophies and the Club World Cup.

He has a contract until 2010 and earns around £3.7m a season.

Borriello exit saddens Genoa
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Football Italia

Genoa President Enzo Preziosi is disappointed that star striker Marco Borriello has left the club.

The 25-year-old scored 19 goals this season and helped the Rossoblu to a 10th-place finish.

Genoa bought 50 per cent of Borriello's contract from Milan last summer, but the Rossoneri have paid £7m to buy it back.

Milan have also thrown in youngster Davide Di Gennaro to sweeten the deal, but Borriello will be difficult to replace.

“I am sorry to lose him,” said Preziosi. “But Milan offered him £2.3m a season, which is far more than we could give him.”

Borriello came through youth ranks at Milan, but never made an impact with the first team.

The Neapolitan was shipped out on loan to six different clubs before joining Genoa.

Meanwhile, the Rossoblu's bid to sign Napoli defender Maurizio Domizzi has ground to a halt.

“The deal has stalled,” explained Preziosi. “The Azzurri are asking too high a price for Domizzi.”

Napoli are believed to want £6m for the 27-year-old left back, who made 29 appearances for the Partenopei this season.

“We have not arrived at that figure,” added Preziosi. “There is, however, still room for discussion. He will leave Napoli.

“He is an important player wanted by many clubs. We would love to take him, but it does not depend on us.”

Preziosi did have some good news on the transfer front. The toy impresario told Radio Marte that highly-rated Reggina defender Francesco Modesto is close to the club.

“We are assured of Modesto,” he concluded.

Galliani's proud of AC Milan
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has defended the Rossoneri’s last two seasons. “I wouldn’t swap them.”

The Diavolo faithful were plunged into a pit of despair when their side failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

However, Galliani is refusing to let the prospect of playing in the UEFA Cup next year get him down.

“I wouldn’t exchange the last two years with anyone,” he claimed. “I wouldn’t swap two Scudetti for the Champions League, the World Club Cup and the European Super Cup.

“Even if last season went a bit awry, we brought home trophies that our rivals don’t even know the value of.”

“The objective for next year is to return to the top in Italy and European competition is of secondary importance.

“As a warning to anyone who hasn’t been on form for the last two years, this can’t happen this time around – we have to try and win the title.

“Reinforcements? Don’t worry, Milan will have a very competitive squad,” he concluded.

Pato wants Ronaldo return
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Football Italia

Milan sensation Alexandre Pato would like to play alongside Ronaldo again next season, despite his problems.

Ronaldo is currently recovering from yet another knee injury, which he suffered while playing for Milan against Livorno in February.

His contract at San Siro expires this summer and there is a chance that calcio lovers have seen the last of the No 99.

The 31-year-old's career is in the balance and a recent scandal involving him and a group of transvestites has not helped either.

“I would like it a lot if we could play together,” Pato told GQ magazine. “We are really good friends.”

The talented striker, who signed for Milan last summer from Brazilian outfit Internacional, is confident Il Fenomeno can overcome his personal problems.

“Ronnie is going through a rough patch at the moment. The media are always hounding him.

“Nevertheless, he has such a great character that I expect he will get over his injury and image problems.

“We talk all the time, but never about football. He always asks me how I am doing. It's crazy, Ronaldo is my idol.”

Pato also gave his impressions of the Italian game after completing his first year with Milan, calling to mind the Rossoneri's match against Lazio in March.

“I remember Cristian Ledesma repeatedly hitting me - massacring me. I was not bothered. Actually, I like playing this way. It has made me grow up.

“In Brazil, you get the ball and are allowed 20 seconds to look up and think about what you are going to do.

“Here, instead, you have three seconds to do something before someone like Ledesma arrives.”

Pato was in expansive mood and spoke of Christianity, which a lot of Brazilian players ardently follow.

The 18-year-old's teammate Kaka is a very public believer and often points to the heavens after scoring a goal.

“I am not as religious as Kaka,” explains Pato. “I am Evangelical, but I do not follow the Bible to the letter.”

Pato scored nine goals in 18 games for Milan this season and is central to their plans for the future.

Gilardino happy with move
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Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino is pleased to have joined Fiorentina after three disappointing years at Milan.

The 25-year-old formally moved to the Viola yesterday for a fee of £11m, signing a five-year contract worth £1.2m a season.

“I am content … actually, I am very happy. It has been a marriage made in heaven,” said Gila.

“We quickly understood that this deal could be done in a matter of days and I could not wait to do it.”

Gilardino also admitted his transfer to Fiorentina was a lifestyle decision, impressing his affection for the club and city.

“It is an important stage and I want to make it clear that I love this place. Fiorentina is my destiny.”

Once dubbed the future of Italian football, Gilardino was keen to defend his time at Milan and stressed his career is not in decline.

“I spent three important years with the Rossoneri, winning prestigious trophies. I gave a lot. That experience shaped me.

Gilardino scored seven goals in 30 appearances for Milan this season and has consistently failed to replicate the form he showed while at Parma.

The World Cup winner will hook up with Cesare Prandelli at Fiorentina, who coached him at the Stadio Tardini.

Prandelli is credited with getting the best out of the Biella-born star. Gilardino scored 27 goals in 58 games playing under the 50-year-old tactician.

“I have a special rapport with Prandelli,” Gilardino explained. “I developed a lot training with him. We are great together off the pitch as well.”

Gilardino will be able to rekindle his lethal partnership with Adrian Mutu at Fiorentina.

The pair played together at Parma and became two of the most in demand strikers on the planet.

“I know Mutu very well, but I would like to play along side Giampaolo Pazzini too. There will be space for everyone.”

AC Milan miss out on Lloris
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Football Italia

Nice goalkeeper and known Milan target Hugo Lloris will join French champions Lyon on Thursday.

The 21-year-old custodian was being watched by the Italian giants, as confirmed by Vice-President Adriano Galliani recently, but he’s opted to remain in his homeland.

Lloris will hold a Press conference this afternoon where he will announce details of his transfer. The youngster will replace departing 35-year-old Gregory Coupet.

Milan’s failure to lure the talented custodian will add strength to reports that Christian Abbiati will be part of the squad next season after spending the last three campaigns out on loan.

AC Milan share Ancelotti joke
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has laughed away reports linking Carlo Ancelotti with Chelsea. “I’ve asked Roman Abramovich for £35m in exchange,” he joked.

Galliani was questioned on his Coach’s future after reports claimed that he was on the Stamford Bridge shortlist to replace the axed Avram Grant.

But instead of simply ruling out such a move, the jovial Galliani decided to respond to the speculation with a smile on his face.

“Chelsea’s interest in Ancelotti is a story which I am aware of,” he noted. “I’ve asked Abramovich for £35m in exchange.

“Or we could always propose a straight swap deal between Ancelotti and Didier Drogba,” he chuckled.

“But after selling Alberto Gilardino to Fiorentina, we now need two strikers. Therefore let’s say that we ask for Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko for Ancelotti…”

The Rossoneri have insisted that Ancelotti, despite only leading the side into next season’s UEFA Cup, will remain.

The leading candidates to take the Chelsea job are thought to be Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, Portugal tactician Luis Felipe Scolari and recently sacked Inter Coach Roberto Mancini.

Duo set for AC Milan return
29.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Christian Abbiati and Marco Borriello will be a part of the Milan squad for the 2008-09 campaign, reports suggest.

Stories in the peninsula this morning claim that the goalkeeper will return after loan spells away, while an agreement has been reached with Genoa for the striker.

Abbiati was rumoured to be on his way to Palermo, but after talks it now seems likely that the goalkeeper will be fighting for the gloves at San Siro.

The Italian, who has been loaned out to Juventus, Torino and Atletico Madrid, will be in competition with Zeljko Kalac and Nelson Dida for the No 1 shirt next season.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri have virtually wrapped up a deal to bring Borriello back to the club after his sensational campaign at Marassi.

Borriello scored 19 goals in 35 games for Genoa after they bought a 50 per cent share in him last summer.

But Milan, who sold Alberto Gilardino to Fiorentina yesterday, want him back and are prepared to pay £7m and offer youngster Davide Di Gennaro to gain full control of his rights once more.

Meanwhile, Milan are considering an offer from Galatasaray for Croatian defender Dario Simic who is looking for a change of scenery after failing to break into the plans of Carlo Ancelotti.

Carletto in Chelsea talks
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Football Italia

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly spoken to Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti about their vacancy.

The West London side sacked Avram Grant last week after the Israeli failed to secure either the Premier League or Champions League title.

According to The Sun, the Russian oil baron met Ancelotti in Geneva on Monday do discuss the situation at Stamford Bridge.

Abramovich is not, however, believed to have offered Ancelotti a job on the Blues bench.

The billionaire is currently asking some of the world's best Coaches for advice as to how he should proceed with Chelsea.

Ancelotti is not thought to be on their shortlist, which is said to include Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Michael Laudrup and Frank Rijkaard.

Carletto's own future has been called into doubt after Milan were eliminated from the Champions League by Arsenal and failed to finish in Serie A's top four.

Many fans have called for the former Juventus and Parma boss to be sacked as part of a move to freshen up the Rossoneri.

OFFICIAL: Gilardino signs for Fiorentina
28.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino has completed a transfer from Milan to Fiorentina after agreeing a five-year deal with a reduced salary.

Since joining Milan from Parma in 2005, Gilardino’s career has stalled and he has slipped down the pecking order with the arrival of Alexandre Pato and the resurgence of Pippo Inzaghi.

After weeks of negotiations, Gila is now headed for a fresh start at Fiorentina as the swoop was announced on the club’s website.

Gilardino has agreed to take a sizeable pay cut to put pen to paper on a deal worth around £1.3m for five years plus bonuses in the event he scores more than 20 goals.

The former Azzurri hitman is willing to earn half his San Siro wages, but is reportedly excited by the prospect of linking up with former Parma and Verona teammate Adrian Mutu.

The official presentation will take place tomorrow morning at 11.30 and he will report back from holiday on July 7.

Galliani rues expensive tastes
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani confesses that many of the Rossoneri’s targets are too expensive, but continues to search for new recruits.

After the disappointment of finishing fifth, Milan now must rebuild as they look to reassert themselves as one of calcio’s superpowers and secure Champions League qualification next term.

One man the Diavolo have had in their sights for a long time in Azzurri defender Gianluca Zambrotta of Barcelona.

“The difference today, just as yesterday, is £1.5m,” Galliani explained.

“The player wants to play for Milan and the Barcelona directors know that and I hope that a deal can be done.”

Milan have also been linked to Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o, who also plies his trade at the Nou Camp, but it seems Galliani may have been priced out of the market.

“Barcelona is an expensive place to shop,” he lamented.

“As soon as you set your sights on a player they ask for £20m, £30m or £40m – the kind of sums that aren’t compatible with anyone’s budget.”

The main focus of the world champions’ summer transfer campaign is finding a reliable striker and it seems they may need further attacking options with Alberto Gilardino on the cusp of joining Fiorentina.

“With Ronaldo leaving, we are looking for a striker and if Gilardino goes too then we will need two,” Galliani confirmed.

“I will be talking to Fiorentina director Sandro Mencucci today about Gilardino. But Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o are high quality targets and so very expensive.

“Marco Borriello? If he came to Milan I don’t think that he would move again.

“He wants to be a main player? I’m not the Coach – if he arrived he would be one of six strikers, but we will see when his co-ownership runs out on June 25.”

After a dismal season for Nelson Dida, Milan are also on the look out for a new custodian, but they need to make space by selling third-choice Christian Abbiati.

“For the moment Abbiati looks like he doesn’t want to go to Palermo,” Galliani sighed.

“We are watching Hugo Lloris, but if Abbiati stays then our ‘keepers will be Dida, Abbiati and Zeljko Kalac. If he leaves, we will bring in another.”

Galliani closed with an update on his attempts to bring former Milan hero Andriy Shevchenko back to San Siro.

“We are constantly talking to Chelsea and Sheva but it also depends on them,” he said.

“If they compromise on certain conditions then they know that we will sign him, but otherwise we won’t.”

Abbiati denies Sicilian switch
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Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati has denied reports that he has completed a transfer to Palermo.

The news that the 30-year-old shot-stopper had joined the Rosanero broke on several websites yesterday.

It was reported that the former Azzurri custodian had agreed a £2.8m move to the Stadio Renzo Barbera and was ready to sign a three-year deal.

However, Abbiati has issued a statement on his official website stressing that negotiations are not complete.

“Christian denies the news that appeared over the last few hours from various media sources that he has officially signed for Palermo,” it reads.

“The man in question is listening with interest to all the offers put to him and will make a decision shortly.”

Abbiati spent last season on loan to Atletico Madrid and is not expected to feature in Milan’s first-team plans, despite the fall from grace of Brazilian No 1 Nelson Dida.

Corvino: Gilardino yes, Barzagli no
27.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino is confident that the Viola will add Alberto Gilardino to the ranks, but is “pessimistic” over Andrea Barzagli.

The Tuscans are looking to strengthen this summer after stealing fourth place from Milan and securing a place in next season’s Champions League.

Having already moved for Slovenian striking starlet Stevan Jovetic and Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo, Corvino is now moving on to other targets.

“We have almost a desperate battle against Inter, Roma and Juventus to sign players because they have so much money whereas we have to rely on sacrifices from the Della Valle family and the nous of myself and Cesare Prandelli,” the transfer guru explained.

“Gilardino? He will be the most expensive player that I have ever signed – even more than Luca Toni.

“In my career I have become used to cooking with water, but this time I have used oil and I hope I can offer more tasty dishes.”

Azzurri defender Barzagli had looked likely to join Fiorentina, but now it seems that negotiations have hit a brick wall.

“I am pessimistic about Barzagli,” Corvino admitted.

“However, for the last three years our defence has been amongst the tightest in the League. We can win without him.”

Lyon defender Anthony Réveillère is also believed to be on the defensive shopping list.

“Réveillère could be useful to cover for the departure of Tomas Ujfalusi, but he isn’t the only option,” Corvino stressed.

“Angelo Palombo? We won’t be moving for him. We already have six midfielders and if we need one more we will research better. One could be developing in Florence or in Patagonia – we’ll find him.”

Palermo opt for Abbiati
27.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Palermo have deemed Marco Amelia too expensive and turned to Christian Abbiati to take charge between the posts.

Veteran shot-stopper Alberto Fontana started 30 of the Rosanero’s 38 games this term, but at the age of 41 his playing days could be numbered.

The Sicilians had been lining up Livorno ace Amelia, who will leave the Amaranto after their relegation to Serie B, but the Tuscans’ demands seem to be too great.

Palermo have now turned to Milan outcast Abbiati, who spent the season at Atletico Madrid.

The 30-year-old will cost a mere £2.8m – under half the sum Livorno want for Amelia – and Abbiati has agreed to take a pay cut for his three-year deal.

It looks set to be a summer of changes for Palermo after last season’s miserable mid-table finish.

Star striker Amauri will complete his transfer to Juventus today, while Cristian Zaccardo has joined Wolfsburg and Andrea Barzagli looks set to join Fiorentina.

Meanwhile, midfielder Fabio Liverani may be on his way to the Stadio Renzo Barbera along with Tulio De Melo.

Borriello: I'm no reserve
26.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Marco Borriello has told Milan that he would rather stay at Genoa then be a reserve for the Rossoneri.

Borriello spent the last season at Genoa and scored 19 goals, becoming one of Serie A's hottest properties.

The Rossoneri are now planning to offload Alberto Gilardino and bring Super Marco back to San Siro.

“I don't know anything about the transfer market yet. Soon there will be a meeting for the co-ownership deals and I will find out my future,” said the Italian international.

“If Milan want me back they have to talk to Genoa. If President Enrico Preziosi is satisfied with their offer then I will be happy to return to the Rossoneri.

“I am not going there to be the fourth or fifth forward though. If Milan are sure they want me back to be a regular, then it is all good.

“After a season like this I think I can be considered an important player, not a reserve. Are they selling Gilardino to give me more space? Perhaps…”

However, the Grifoni bomber has made no secret of his wish to stay at Marassi.

“I would like to play for Genoa in order to confirm all the good things I have done so far, but if Milan call me then I am happy too.

“It would be an honour, a nice challenge and an opportunity to play for a great team, which has different targets than Genoa.

“Carlo Ancelotti committed an error misjudging my potential, but I did too. I could have tried harder but there was plenty of competition at Milan and it is normal that the big names take over the small ones…

“Anyway, it is all over now and we have cleared the air through the newspapers. Ancelotti and I have a great relationship - the past misunderstandings are forgotten.”

AC Milan chase Evra
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Football Italia

Milan are hoping to sign Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra on a free transfer at the end of next season, French newspaper Le Parisien reveals.

The French international is a key player for the European champions, but his contract is set to expire next June and Sir Alex Ferguson is desperate to keep him at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils are planning to offer him a lucrative new contract in the coming weeks, but the former Monaco defender is asking for £3.5m per year.

The 27-year-old has already played in Italy after spells with Sicilian team Marsala and Monza between 1998 and 2000.

Meanwhile, Milan general director Ariedo Braida has commented on the negotiations for Barcelona trio Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Gianluca Zambrotta.

“The truth is that we don't need the Brazilian as much. We do not care about rumours, just facts,” claimed Braida.

“Eto'o is a great player and there is always a chance for him to join us. We realise it is a difficult deal and we will have to pay Barcelona lots of money.

“Zambrotta admitted he would like to play for us - this is really important. However, we are at the beginning of negotiations and there is a huge difference between our offer and their demands. With time this margin will be reduced.”

Zambrotta: I miss home
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Football Italia

Barcelona full-back Gianluca Zambrotta has revealed that he wants to join Milan this summer as he misses Italy.

The Azzurri ace joined the Spanish giants from Juventus two seasons ago, but he hasn't been able to settle into life at the Nou Camp.

“It is nice to be in Spain because there are many big clubs, but my wish is to return to Italy,” confessed the 31-year-old.

“Joining Milan? Not yet. The two clubs have had a meeting but the negotiations are still ongoing and there is nothing written down. But it would be nice to go back.

“My home is in Como, which is 40 minutes away from Milanello.”

The Catalans have set their asking price at £8m but the Milanesi are hoping to seal the deal for £6m.

“Milan have failed to win the Scudetto for many years, and I hope that next season - with or without me - they will win it,” added the former Juventus man.

“Right now I am focusing on the national team, but I can still think about my transfer.”

Zambrotta concluded by giving his opinion on Barça teammate Ronaldinho, who could also join Milan this summer.

“He has got a good chance of coming to Italy. When he is at his best he can still make a difference. But if I could I would also sign Samuel Eto'o.”

OFFICIAL: Oliveira leaves AC Milan
26.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ricardo Oliveira is now officially a Real Zaragoza player after the Spanish side agreed to pay Milan £7m for his services.

The 28-year-old bomber joined the Rossoneri from Real Betis back in 2006 as a replacement for Andriy Shevchenko, but he failed to live up to expectation.

Il Diavolo signed him for £11m in an exchange deal which also involved Swiss midfielder Johann Vogel, but Oliveira netted only three goals in 26 games and was then loaned to Zaragoza.

Oliveira's return to Spain was very successful, with the Brazilian ending the season with 18 goals to his name, although he didn't manage to help his team to avoid relegation.

When the two clubs agreed terms last summer, Real Zaragoza had the option to sign him for £7m at the end of the season - which they have now taken.

However, Atletico Madrid are rumoured to be interested on the player so it wouldn't be surprising to see him changing team again before the start of the next season.

Milan can now focus on other targets such as Marco Borriello and Didier Drogba, while Alberto Gilardino is another striker on his way out.

The Biella-born player could join Fiorentina for around £10m as his disappointing performances at San Siro have convinced the Rossoneri board to look for alternatives.

Gilardino set for Fiorentina
25.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

The Italian Press believe Milan have agreed a deal with Fiorentina to sell striker Alberto Gilardino.

The Viola have put together a package worth £12m for the 25-year-old attacker.

Gila, who joined the Rossoneri in 2005, has suffered since moving to Milan from Parma.

Regarded as one of Italy’s brightest talents when he left the Gialloblu three years ago, Gilardino has wilted under intense pressure.

Despite a commendable goalscoring record at Milan, Gila has never received the adulation lavished on him at Parma, where he scored 50 times in 96 games.

If the transfer goes through, the former ‘Prince of Parma’ will link up once again with his former mentor Cesare Prandelli.

Prandelli presided over Gilardino’s development at the Ennio Tardini and is widely accredited with getting the best out of the Biella born star.

Gila is reported to have been offered a five-year deal and will earn £1.2m a season.

Palermo to meet Abbiati
25.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Palermo are rebuilding their team for next season, and would like to start with Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

The 30-year-old has been on loan at Atlético Madrid this season, helping the Rojiblancos to a Champions League place.

Rosanero Coach Stefano Colantuono is eager to reinforce his defence with the money earned from Amauri's prospective sale.

Alberto Fontana, aged 41, currently keeps goal for the Sicilian's and is expected to retire in the near future.

World Cup winning centre-back Andrea Barzagli is on his way out, while his defensive partner Cristiano Zaccardo has already left.

Colantuono would like Abbiati to play behind Atalanta's Moris Carrozzieri and Torino's Paolo Dellafiore in a new-look backline.

While these deals are yet to be concluded, the Rosanero have reached an agreement with Sergio Floccari.

The 26-year-old Atalanta striker was a pupil of Colantuono's and has developed a lot this year, scoring eight goals for the Orobici.

Floccari is likely to be pair up with Tulio De Melo or Davide Lanzafame, who is expected to join from Juventus as part of any deal for Amauri.

The Rosanero are also in need of a midfield general and have begun talks with Fiorentina's Fabio Liverani, whose contract runs out this summer.

AC Milan close in on Zambrotta
25.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is to fly to Barcelona to iron out a deal for Blaugrana defender Gianluca Zambrotta.

The 31-year-old World Cup winner is eager to leave Camp Nou after two trophy-less seasons.

Galliani will have dinner with Barcelona chairman Joan Laporta to discuss the Italian’s asking price.

Milan have already made an offer for the former Juventus stopper, but it is believed to have fallen £3.5m short of the Culés’ valuation.

Silvio Berlusconi’s right-hand man will also put forward a proposal for Barcelona’s want-away forwards, Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho.

Laporta, last week, made it clear that Ronaldinho did not have a future with the Catalan giant’s.

Any deal for Eto’o is unlikely to involve the Brazilian given their antipathy towards each other.

Robinho: AC Milan want me
25.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Real Madrid star Robinho claims Milan have approached him with view to a transfer.

The 24-year-old was responding to rumours that Champions League finalists Chelsea and Manchester United were after his signature.

“With regards to Manchester, it was only speculation,” Robinho told Gloesport. “Cristiano Ronaldo does not want to leave England.”

“I received an offer from Chelsea, and Milan are also interested. The Rossoneri asked to meet my agent.”

Milan are rebuilding their squad after a disappointing season both domestically and in Europe.

The Diavoli finished fifth in Serie A and will play in the UEFA Cup next year, having failed to retain their Champions League crown.

Robinho was crucial to Real Madrid this season. His 11 goals helped the Merengues to a second consecutive La Liga title.

The Brazilian is thought to be happy at the Bernabéu despite interest from Europe’s biggest clubs.

The former Santos fantasista is, however, haggling for a new deal worth £3.5m per annum. Should anything go wrong, Milan will be waiting.

Paloschi's on Reggina road
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Football Italia

Milan have given the green light for teenage striker Alberto Paloschi to join Reggina on loan.

The 18-year-old made a splash last term when he scored in both legs of the Rossoneri’s Coppa Italia last 16 clash against Catania.

Paloschi also stole the headlines when he netted in his Serie A debut against Siena in February after just 18 seconds on the pitch as a substitute.

However, the young gun still needs to adapt to the pressures of playing the game at the highest level and Milan are looking for him to gain some top-flight experience before he pulls on the Diavolo shirt again.

The world champions’ Vice-President Adriano Galliani met with Reggina President Lillo Foti yesterday and it seems that a deal has been agreed.

Unless Paloschi objects to the switch, he will spend next season at the Stadio Granillo, where the Amaranto are looking to replace talismanic hitman Nicola Amoruso, who has his heart set on a move to Spain.

Kaka goes under the knife
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Football Italia

Milan ace Kaka will undergo surgery on his left knee later today and could face a lengthy period of recovery.

The Brazilian playmaker reported pain in his knee throughout the season, but he fought on because the Rossoneri couldn’t afford to lose him.

However, tests have now confirmed that and operation is necessary and the FIFA World Player of the Year has flown to Rio De Janeiro for a procedure.

“Kaka will have an operation on his left knee on Friday and his rehabilitation period will be decided by doctor Jose Luiz Runco, who will carry out the surgery,” a statement on Milan’s website reads.

The 15-goal wizard will now miss Brazil’s friendlies against Canada and Venezuela and is unlikely to feature in June’s World Cup 2010 qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina.

Early estimates suggest that Kaka’s recovery will require between a month and three months – Milan will certainly be hoping that it is closer to the former.

Zambrotta awaits AC Milan news
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Football Italia

Barcelona full-back Gianluca Zambrotta is awaiting news regarding his transfer to Milan, but the deal is yet to be sealed.

The former Juventus player would be happy to return to Italy and the Spanish giants have already made it clear that they will let him go as long as the Rossoneri meet their demands.

“I don't know what is going to happen. My agent hasn't told me anything yet,” Insisted Zambrotta.

The Italian international should move to San Siro for a £6m transfer fee, although the Milanesi may have to wait until the end of Euro 2008 to seal the deal.

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho could join Zambrotta in moving to Milan this summer as the months of speculation continue to gather pace.

The Barcelona star claimed in an interview with Ona FM that he has already agreed a contract with Milan.

The Brazilian will not travel with Barca to Saudi Arabia next week to take part in their friendly, leading to claims that the deal could be confirmed in the next fortnight.

Reportedly, the Rossoneri would pay him £5m per year while the Catalans may settle for a transfer fee of just £14m.

Ba to scout for AC Milan
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Football Italia

Ibrahim Ba will scout for Milan in Africa after the midfielder brought his playing career with the Rossoneri to an end.

“I’m retiring from the game,” said the former France international. “It’s the right decision – I’m 35 and have been injured for a long time.

“However, I’ll still be involved in the game as I will work for Milan as a scout in Africa,” he continued.

Although the winner of eight French caps, the once highly-rated winger was actually born in Senegal.

Ba was initially snapped up by Milan in the summer of 1997 after he caught their attention in a superb Bordeaux side the season before.

However, he never really settled at San Siro and was loaned out to various clubs before playing his last competitive match in 2005 with Swedish side Djurgarden.

After remaining club-less in January 2006, he was surprisingly handed a Milan contract at the start of this season even if he never saw any competitive playing time.

Kaka risks knee operation
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Football Italia

Milan star Kaka may require minor surgery to resolve a knee complaint, reports in his homeland claim.

TV station Globo suggested that the World Player of the Year will have a consultation with Brazilian team doctor Luis Runco on Friday to assess whether he’ll need to go under the knife.

Should that happen then the former Sao Paulo ace will be sidelined for around 15 days which would rule him out of the international friendlies with Canada and Venezuela.

He would then hope to be back in top shape for the World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Argentina in the middle of June.

Kaka, who Milan insist will remain despite their failure to secure Champions League football, featured 30 times in Serie A this season and was his club’s top scorer with 15 goals.

Oddo stunned by axe
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Football Italia

Massimo Oddo has spoken of his disbelief at being left out of the Euro 2008 squad. “I didn’t expect it,” said the Milan man.

The full-back has been a regular in the Giro Azzurro since the appointment of Roberto Donadoni in 2006, but the latter omitted him from his 24-man preliminary party earlier this week.

“It’s an exclusion that burns me and I sincerely didn’t expect it,” noted the former Verona and Lazio man.

“Two years of my total disposal, sacrifices and acceptance of responsibility have been trampled on in the space of a few weeks.”

Donadoni seemed to defend his decision to ignore Oddo by focusing on the recent knee meniscus surgery that they player underwent, but the World Cup winner insists that was irrelevant.

“I would have reached a more than satisfying level of fitness two weeks before the tournament kicked off,” he added.

“In all honesty, the minimum I would have expected was to have my physical condition verified – if Donadoni’s consideration and faith in me hadn’t changed that is.”

Italy will travel to Euro 2008 with two right-backs in the form of Roma’s Christian Panucci and Gianluca Zambrotta of Barcelona.

AC Milan refute Gilardino - Fiorentina talks
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Football Italia

There are reports that Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino is in Milan to negotiate for Alberto Gilardino, but the Rossoneri deny any talks.

Gilardino’s career has stalled somewhat at San Siro since arriving from Parma for nearly £20m in 2005.

Having lost confidence and fallen below Pippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato in the pecking order, many feel that the 25-year-old would fare better at Fiorentina, who are looking for a strike partner for Adrian Mutu for next season’s Champions League adventure.

Mutu and Gila played together at Verona and Parma and would have the advantage of already knowing each other.

Sources suggest that Milan would want around £12m for the unsettled marksman, but that the Viola’s transfer guru Corvino is in Milan to propose a part-exchange deal.

However, his Diavolo counterpart Galliani is adamant that no discussions are taking place and there hasn’t been a decision on his future.

“It’s still early and there’s lots of time for the market – we will have to see,” he said.

“There certainly hasn’t been any appointment made with Fiorentina because there are no negotiations underway for Gilardino’s sale.”

AC Milan surge for Dossena
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Football Italia

Milan are considering the option of replacing the departing Serginho with Udinese full-back Andrea Dossena, according to reports.

The veteran Brazilian, 36, ended his Rossoneri career on Sunday after nine years with the outfit and the club are looking for a similar flying wing-back.

Dossena could be that man after his sensational campaign at the Friuli saw him win international recognition and the interest of Liverpool.

Some reports in Italy on Wednesday are suggesting that Milan sporting director Ariedo Braida has discussed the player with Udinese counterpart Pietro Leonardi.

Talks are set to continue between both parties, but the feeling is that an agreement could be imminent.

Udinese, who have a reputation for unearthing talents, signed the 26-year-old from Treviso in the summer of 2006.

Dossena, whose only previous club was Verona, will probably be replaced in Friuli by Paolo Castellini after Parma were relegated on Sunday.

Juventus and Roma have also been tentatively associated with the versatile Dossena.

Marquez in AC Milan link
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Football Italia

Italian giants Milan are being linked with a third Barcelona player after Rafael Marquez popped up on their transfer wish list.

The Rossoneri are in the midst of a squad revolution after only finishing fifth this season and missing out on Champions League qualification.

While rumours insist that Gianluca Zambrotta and Ronaldinho are on their way from the Camp Nou, the Mexican could join them.

A cultured central defender, the San Siro outfit are in need of fresh faces in the middle of their backline.

There is still some uncertainty over whether Paolo Maldini will continue to play, while Dario Simic will be heading out of the Meazza.

The club’s current first choice central pairing consists of Alessandro Nesta and Kakha Kaladze, but neither have had comfortable campaigns.

Marquez, a World Cup star, has been linked with Milan and Italian rivals Juventus in the past.

Barcelona are set for a clear-out with former Brescia midfielder Pep Guardiola taking over from Frank Rijkaard as boss.

Inzaghi angered by European omission
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Football Italia

Milan marksman Pippo Inzaghi has reacted with bitterness to being left out of Roberto Donadoni’s provisional squad for Euro 2008.

The 34-year-old spent three months of the season injured, but he fired himself back into the frame for an Azzurri shirt with 10 goals in the final seven games of the campaign.

However, Don chose Sampdoria’s enigmatic striker Antonio Cassano and Genoa’s 19-goal surprise package Marco Borriello over Super Pippo, effectively ending the former Juventus hitman’s international career.

“Evidently my injury was enough to mean that I didn’t even deserve a phone call and to cancel out what I thought was a mature, adult relationship,” Inzaghi lamented.

“I am disappointed to have been left out, but I sincerely wish all the best to the Azzurri for the European Championship.”

Inzaghi is the sixth-highest goal scorer in Azzurri history – level with Adolfo Baloncieri and Alessandro Altobelli – with 25 international goals to his name.

Pippo's most recent strikes for his nation came in last June's Euro 2008 qualifier against the Faroe Islands.

Pippo proud of Rossoneri ton
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Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is delighted to have taken his Milan tally to 100 goals and sees the Rossoneri as strong Scudetto candidates for next year.

After a strong start to the season, Inzaghi was plagued by injuries and spent three months on the treatment table.

However, Super Pippo was on sensational form when he returned in January and he finished the campaign with and impressive 11 goals in 21 games.

Inzaghi’s 59th-minute strike against Udinese was his 100th in a Milan jersey, but was overshadowed by the Diavolo’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

“I would never have thought that at the end of this season I would have been able to reach the 100 mark because of those three months that I spent on the sidelines,” Inzaghi said on the Milan Channel.

“But I managed to have a positive end to the season. Until recently I was stuck on 90 goals.

“I am only disappointed that I reached such a milestone and couldn’t celebrate with the whole squad.

“Everybody knows what these years at Milan have meant to me and I want to thank my teammates, the club and the fans for their support. Hopefully we can celebrate properly next year.”

There has been a gloomy atmosphere at San Siro as the world champions face up to sitting out Europe’s biggest club competition, but Inzaghi concluded with a message of hope.

I’d like to tell everyone to be calm because I remember the 2001 season when I arrived at Milan and we were in the UEFA Cup trying to start again from nothing,” he said.

“Now, instead, we have the advantage of a solid base and have brought home two important trophies this year.

“It’s true that we weren’t at our best in the championship, but I think that next season we will be strong title contenders and I think that we can win it.”

Gattuso commits to AC Milan
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Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has ended speculation about his future by deciding to remain at Milan. "I'll finish my career here."

The pugnacious midfielder had been tipped for a move to Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Tottenham or Newcastle this summer as Milan look to revamp their squad after failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

While it was widely suggested that the arrival of Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini would signal the end of the road for Rino, a long meeting with Vice-President Adriano Galliani and agent Andrea D’Amico today seems to have cured his wanderlust.

“We are friends like we were before and I will stay here for another three years,” Gattuso told journalists. “I will finish my career here.”

Gattuso is under contract with the Diavolo until 2011 and has reportedly received assurances from Galliani that he is still seen as an integral part of Carlo Ancelotti’s side for next season.

Milan’s ambitious transfer plans for the summer must have been hit hard by missing out on Champions League football and Gattuso’s decision may have been influenced by the reduced chance of further midfield additions.

Laporta opens Ronaldinho door
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Football Italia

Barcelona President Joan Laporta has admitted that it may be best for Ronaldinho to leave the club, paving the way for a move to Milan.

After a miserable season at the Nou Camp, the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year is reportedly keen to quit Barça with Milan in pole position for his signature.

While Laporta has been insistent in the past that the former PSG man should stay, he now seems to advocate a move.

“I am very grateful to Dinho, but we’ve told him that he needs new challenges,” he said on TV3.

Barcelona, like Milan, are looking to restructure their side after failing to deliver glory at home or in Europe this term.

“When you finish an era, it’s normal that the leading figures should leave,” Laporta continued.

“I very much hope that Ronaldinho can leave as Frank Rijkaard has done, with his head held high, and that we can remember him as the man who give us two League titles and the Champions League."

Meanwhile there are reports that Milan are also preparing to talk to Barcelona about a possible deal for Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o.

AC Milan 4:1 Udinese - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Mesto 32 (U), Pato 48 (M), Inzaghi 59 (M), Cafu 80 (M), Seedorf 89 (M)

Milan can only qualify for the UEFA Cup, as Fiorentina's late victory in Turin made this result futile.

Fourth place was in the balance, but the Rossoneri had done themselves a lot of damage last week by losing at Napoli to see Fiorentina overtake them and go two points clear. To achieve a Champions League preliminary round spot they had to beat Udinese and hope the Viola stumbled away to already-safe Torino.

Handily, Udinese were in the UEFA Cup and for some weeks had seemed on holiday anyway, but were eager for revenge after Alberto Gilardino's stoppage-time winner at the Friuli earlier this season. Alessandro Nesta and Gennaro Gattuso were suspended, while Marcos Cafu and Serginho said their goodbyes to San Siro.

Udinese got off to the best start, as Antonio Di Natale skipped past Daniele Bonera to test Zeljko Kalac, then Andrea Dossena hit the side-netting. Milan fought back with Pippo Inzaghi just failing to get on the end of Kaka's assist, but Kalac required a stunning reaction save to deny Fabio Quagliarella's header.

Kaka was the Rossoneri's liveliest player, but he wasted a good opportunity from six yards, while Massimo Ambrosini ballooned over.

The Friulani took a deserved lead on 32 minutes, as Giandomenico Mesto comfortably waltzed past Giusepe Favalli at the byeline to fire in with his left foot from the tightest of angles. Naturally, this prompted jeers and protests from the Milan fans.

Samir Handanovic did well to rush out and smother the ball at Inzaghi's feet, as the home side tried to fight back.

The Rossoneri should have equalised at the end of a well-worked team move between Clarence Seedorf and Massimo Ambrosini, but Kaka incredibly scuffed wide from the penalty spot.

Alexandre Pato and Cafu were thrown on for an all-attack formation in the second half. It certainly worked, as within three minutes he had tapped in Kaka's ball across the face of goal from six yards to equalise.

However, moments later Gokhan Inler tested Kalac on the counter and Quagliarella's free header was well over. It was a different game now, though, and Inzaghi was twice denied by desperate last-gasp Handanovic interventions.

Inzaghi turned it around completely with his 100th in a Milan jersey. Ambrosini's cross was chested down by Pato for Inzaghi's left-foot half-volley from close range.

Kaka went on a blazing solo run that tested Handanovic, but on 69 minutes Inzaghi was brought down by Zapata as both tried to get on the end of an Andrea Pirlo free kick. The referee pointed to the spot, but first Handanovic saved Kaka's weak attempt, then Inzaghi hit the rebound on to the crossbar!

Fiorentina had taken the lead, but in a fitting finale Cafu scored on his final appearance for Milan, thumping in an angled drive on the volley.

Seedorf also got his glory, combining with Kaka to slide a left-foot shot past Handanovic, but it mattered little with the Viola winning in Turin.

Milan: Kalac; Oddo (Cafu 46), Bonera, Kaladze, Favalli; Brocchi (Pato 46), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf; Inzaghi (Serginho 81)

Udinese: Handanovic; Zapotocny, Cosa, Zapata; Mesto, Pinzi (Eremenko 81), Inler, Dossena; Pepe, Quagliarella, Di Natale

Ref: Rosetti

Missed penalty: Kaka 70 (M)

De Biasi promises Fiorentina battle
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Football Italia

Milan have begged Torino to trip up Fiorentina and Coach Gianni De Biasi pledges to do their best in a Champions League decider.

The only way the Rossoneri can finish fourth is if they beat Udinese and the Viola fail to pick up three points in Turin.

“We have to stay focused on this game for our fans, for ourselves and for football, as we are the ‘referees’ of the Champions League place and don’t want our honesty to be doubted in any way.”

The Granata have nothing more to play for, as last week’s victory away to Livorno mathematically secured Serie A safety.

“Finishing the campaign on 43 points is different from 40, so I ask my lads to put in a performance worthy of Toro. We can salute our fans in the best way possible and give our farewells until next season.”

Yet there is a very cordial rapport between the two sets of fans, who will show they are twinned with choreographies in the stands of the Stadio Olimpico.

“With the fans being twinned, the sight in the stands will be a great advertisement for football. I hope the same is true on the field.”

Ancelotti's last chance
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is well aware this is Milan’s “Last Chance Saloon,” but won’t consider the UEFA Cup a tragedy.

To finish in the top four, the Rossoneri must defeat Udinese and hope that Fiorentina don’t get all three points away to Torino.

“I think Toro will play their game and having achieved their objective of safety can go out there without pressure, just as Napoli did against us last week,” said the Coach of that 3-1 defeat.

“In any case, our future in Europe does not depend solely on us now. It is futile to remind everyone that Fiorentina are in a better position, just as we were last week before the game against Edy Reja’s squad.”

That dismal performance risks ruining all the hard work Ancelotti has put into this campaign.

“It was unexpected, as we were in good shape. Tomorrow evening we’ll know what it meant. This is our Last Chance Saloon. If we should end up in the UEFA Cup, then we’ll approach it with the same spirit as the Champions League.”

General manager Adriano Galliani confirmed that Ancelotti will remain on the bench regardless of whether they end up in Europe’s premier competition.

“In the meantime we have to focus on getting three points against Udinese. They have real quality, especially in attack, and the fact they have nothing to aim for means they’ll have less pressure on their shoulders.

“We must play well for the entire 90 minutes and show true belief. I can confirm that Nelson Dida is on the bench, while Marek Jankulovski and Yoann Gourcuff are unavailable.”

Alessandro Nesta and Gennaro Gattuso are suspended, leading many to suggest the midfielder has played his final game with the Rossoneri jersey.

“I have received some reassuring signals from him. He will stay,” assured Ancelotti.

The same is not true for Marcos Cafu and Serginho, who have already confirmed their departure.

“They have done great work with professionalism and effort. The objective in the future will be to find this type of player.”

AC Milan line up Hugo Lloris
17.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

With Nelson Dida heading home to Brazil, it is reported Milan have chosen their next goalkeeper by striking a deal with Hugo Lloris of Nice.

Zeljko Kalac has filled in admirably for Dida during his injury and poor form, but for next season the club wants to bring in a new face.

Newspapers on both sides of the Alp claim an agreement has been reached for Lloris to pen a four-year contract.

Lloris is still only 21 years old and according to L’Equipe is also a target for Olympique Lyonnais.

This is already his fourth Ligue 1 campaign, though he has only become a first team player for the last two seasons.

He is only expected to be a reserve initially, as Christian Abbiati could return from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

There are also still reports that a deal for Fiorentina’s Frenchman Sebastien Frey is in the offing.

Flamini: AC Milan are simply the best
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Football Italia

Mathieu Flamini reveals the reason he insisted on joining Milan. “Because it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

The former Arsenal midfielder had been lambasted in the media by Arsene Wenger for seeking money above all else in his decision to make the move to San Siro, so he reacted by giving his side of the story.

“I’ve enormous respect for Wenger. But I did not leave for the money,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Sun.

“It is not true. I don’t want to comment about what he said or how I felt when I read his comments. But I will say I’m leaving for Milan because it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world — with millions of fans everywhere, an enormous history and one of the biggest trophy cabinets in the world.

“Milan are in the Champions League final every couple of years. Arsenal are a big club too and they have ambition. But I chose to go to Milan.”

The Frenchman penned a four-year contract worth £3m per season and was able to move on a free transfer because his deal with Arsenal had expired.

“Those who say I left for the money should think that I signed as a 20-year-old and I left with the same salary I had when I came to Arsenal,” he continued in The Sun.

“If money was the reason I played for Arsenal, then why did I play for four years with the same contract? I had the chance to go to some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

“I took my decision based on what I wanted for the future. Milan is the most decorated club in the world, along with Real Madrid.”

In fact the Rossoneri now have the most international trophies of any club in history, as the Club World Cup triumph in December took them above Boca Juniors.

The 24-year-old also revealed an ulterior motive for choosing his first Serie A venture.

“I’m half-Italian and it was an opportunity to go back to my roots. My father Roland is the proudest person in the world that I’ve finally gone to Italy.”

There are strong reports that his former Arsenal teammate Alexander Hleb will join him at San Siro – albeit wearing the blue and black shirt of Inter – while Cesc Fabregas is also a Serie A target.

“I honestly don’t know what will happen with Cesc or Alex. My teammates knew I had a decision to make and respected it. They know one day they may have to make a decision themselves.”

AC Milan keep Ronaldinho offer down
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Football Italia

While some newspapers report of a Ronaldinho deal for £20m, Milan transfer guru Adriano Galliani insists he never offered that much.

Spanish sources over the past 24 hours have suggested a contract is all drawn up with Barcelona to complete the summer transfer in a £20m agreement.

“I often speak with the Barcelona directors and I can confirm that the figures talked about in the papers was not the offer put forward by Milan. Our proposal was far inferior to that,” said Galliani.

There are other sides in the hunt for Ronaldinho, above all Manchester City, but the Brazilian has long made it clear he has agreed personal terms with the Rossoneri and will only accept a transfer to San Siro.

Milan are certainly set for a complete revolution over the summer with players such as Marcos Cafu and Serginho already confirming their departure.

It has been reported the club intercepted negotiations between Palermo and Juventus to snatch striker Amauri.

“We are interested in all great players, but we are not thinking of any other forward until we have resolved Marco Borriello’s status,” added the general manager.

Serie A Capocannoniere Borriello is co-owned by Milan and Genoa, but looks set to leave Marassi at the end of the season with Napoli a possible option if he doesn’t return to base.

“If Borriello arrives, then we will not bring in another player of the same characteristics. If Amauri, after we have resolved the Borriello situation, is still available then that’s great.

“Otherwise there are many other alternatives, including some nobody would suspect who are offering themselves to Milan even if we only qualify for the UEFA Cup. You’ll see that someone will come, but first we must figure out what to do with the Capocannoniere who scored more goals than Amauri.”

The Rossoneri have their own problems to contend with this weekend, as they must beat Udinese and hope Fiorentina stumble away to Torino if they are to reach the Champions League.

Nonetheless, Galliani reserved a thought for arch rivals Inter, who have the Scudetto in the balance and have called a media silence all week.

“I find that incredible. You cannot stay silent faced with those who give great support to a football club. I think it is our duty to talk.”

AC Milan 'confirm' Ancelotti
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti will remain on the Milan bench whether they finish fourth or not, assures general manager Adriano Galliani.

“Whether we enter the Champions League or the UEFA Cup, Ancelotti will be our Coach next season,” announced Galliani.

The Rossoneri have a very slim chance of reaching the top four, as with one game to go they are two points adrift of Fiorentina.

Milan welcome Udinese to San Siro, while Fiorentina visit already-safe Torino on Sunday afternoon.

“What I continually tell the lads is that we must go out there and beat Udinese, because it would be such a shame if Fiorentina lost and we did not take the opportunity,” continued the general manager.

“It would be very disappointing not to qualify for the Champions League, but for the past six years we have achieved great results in that competition.”

Serginho and Cafu to leave AC Milan
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Football Italia

Brazilians Marcos Cafu and Serginho have said farewell to Milan ahead of the final game of the season against Udinese.

Cafu arrived at the Rossoneri from Roma in 2003 and the 37-year-old has made over 100 appearances during a highly successful period at San Siro.

“Five years ago I chose to come to Milan because I knew that they were a big club where I could show everything that I had learned in my career,” he explained.

“I have had five marvellous years in which I’ve managed to win everything.

“One incredible memory will always be with me – when I arrived in the summer of 2003, Milan had just won the Champions League Final in Manchester.

“And technically we are still European champions now, for a short while longer.

“The joy of winning these titles will always remain within me, as well as my teammates.

“It’s the right time to leave now, which is sad but I knew that sooner or later the time would come to go home, back to Brazil and my family.

“My children have got on well here in Italy, especially here in Milan.”

Cafu hasn’t yet decided whether he will continue playing in his homeland or hang up his boots.

“I don’t know if I’ll play on in Brazil,” he said. “All I know is that my last game for Milan is on Sunday and I don’t know whether I’ll get to play or not.

“I am ready to take on such an important task. Carlo Ancelotti will be able to count on me on all fronts.

“It’s not easy to say goodbye to the fans who have welcomed me in a fantastic manner, I hope I haven’t let anyone down. I will continue, however, to support Milan’.”

It will also be an emotional day for Cafu’s compatriot Serginho, who joined the club in 1999 and is also heading for the exit.

“After my back problems, I haven’t been able to get back to peak fitness, which is why I think the time is right to leave,” the 36-year-old said.

“I came to Milan in the summer of 1999 along with Gennaro Gattuso and Andriy Shevchenko when I was 27 and I have spent nine splendid years for which I thank the club and the fans.

“I have managed to find a piece of Brazil in Italy and it has been stupendous.

“Having come here to complete a mission, today I can calmly accept that my career is over.

“Sunday evening will be difficult because San Siro has become my home, but I am happy with everything I have done for this club.”

AC Milan’s Ronaldinho ultimatum
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Football Italia

There are reports in Spain that Milan have tabled their final bid for Ronaldinho and are awaiting a response from Barcelona.

The Rossoneri have been chasing the signature of unsettled Brazilian ace Ronaldinho for months, but concrete talks have only begun in the last few weeks.

Dinho is reportedly keen to switch to Milan after a season of frustration at the Nou Camp, but Barça are believed to be demanding £25m for his signature.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, the Diavolo have set £20m as their final offer and are unwilling to go any higher.

While other sides were interested in Dinho and Manchester City are reportedly willing to pay the full £25m, the player has made it clear that Milan are the only side he would be happy to join.

He has also allegedly agreed to a four-year contract worth around £7m per season, including image rights and other sponsorship windfalls.

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani is due to travel to Barcelona next week to discuss the deal.

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho has been left out of Carlos Dunga’s Brazil squad for next month’s World Cup 2010 qualifiers and there are serious doubts over his long-term fitness.

Reports: Kaka for Ronaldinho and Deco?
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Football Italia

Spanish reports claim Milan and Barcelona will discuss a sensational swap that sends Kaka to the Nou Camp and Ronaldinho and Deco to San Siro.

After disappointing campaigns, Milan and Barça are both expected to ring the changes in pre-season.

Over the last few months, the Rossoneri have made their interest in Ronaldinho known and are also said to be considering a move for Portuguese midfield wizard Deco.

The star duo are highly likely to leave the Nou Camp at the end of the season, having been frozen out of first-team plans and lost faith in the club’s direction.

While Milan’s war chest wouldn’t cover two signings on this scale, it seems they could land the pair and add to their summer budget if they are willing to let prized asset Kaka leave.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, the two clubs are due to meet before the end of the week when Barça President Joan Laporta will offer Ronaldinho, Deco and £16m in exchange for Kaka.

Other sources, such as La Gazzetta dello Sport, claim that Barcelona are ready to throw in Azzurri defender Gianluca Zambrotta as well, but that the Diavolo are asking for gifted striker Samuel Eto'o.

Despite the FIFA World Player of the Year’s repeated declarations of love for Milan and decision to extend his contact until 2013, it seems that Kaka remains a target for Laporta.

However, there are a vast number of potential stumbling blocks in such a deal and it would require weeks of pain-staking negotiations to broker what would be one of the most dramatic transfers in history.

Dida to go back to Brazil?
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Football Italia

Brazilian side Cruzeiro are considering bringing Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida back to the Mineirão, despite his acrimonious departure in 1998.

Dida’s days at Milan seem to be numbered after a miserable campaign that was blighted by a succession of injuries and howlers.

The Rossoneri may consider releasing the 34-year-old this summer and it seems that he could find a place at former club Cruzeiro, despite the fact he left under a cloud back in 1998 when he took the club to court in order to break his contract.

“It was the first time that a player went to court against Cruzeiro, but he was an idol for the fans and our doors are open to him,” sporting director Eduardo Maluf stressed.

“I don’t see any problem with having him in our team again.”

Cruzeiro’s current goalkeeper Fabio has made it clear that he is looking for a move to Europe this summer and could make way for Dida between the posts in Belo Horizonte.

Whether or not there is an offer from Cruzeiro, Dida is expected to leave San Siro at the end of the season as Milan continue to be linked with a swoop for Fiorentina ‘keeper Sebastien Frey or PSV’s unsettled shot-stopper Gomes.

Ancelotti quells revolution
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has silenced those who suggest a total revolution at Milan is needed, including a change of management.

The very likely failure to qualify for the Champions League is set to prompt a clear-out at San Siro with some suggesting current Italy boss Roberto Donadoni or Barcelona’s Frank Rijkaard as the next tactician.

“I will be on the bench again and I don’t think there will be a revolution of the squad, but there will be some necessary adjustments,” commented Ancelotti on 7 Gold television.

Much of their future depends on Sunday’s results, as the Rossoneri must beat Udinese and hope Fiorentina fail to win at Torino to recapture fourth place.

“We hope to reach the Champions League because it is very important for us. Clearly it doesn’t just depend on our efforts anymore, but we will do our duty to the end.”

Milan face Udinese without the suspended Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta, but Andrea Pirlo returns from a ban.

Kaka looks on the bright side
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Kaka concedes that Milan’s plight is of their own making, but maintains that it has been a successful season for the Diavolo.

The world champions need to beat Udinese and hope for Torino to upset Fiorentina if they are to play in next term’s Champions League.

“We are working well because we can’t give up while we have a chance and we must keep believing,” Kaka insisted.

“This is a week of important work because we want to be in the right shape for Sunday’s game.

“We have to win and then just hope that everything else goes well.

“We have found ourselves in this unfortunate situation, but it our fault and we have to see what happens on Sunday.”

But while the Press write off the Rossoneri’s campaign as a failure, Kaka takes a more positive view.

“It has been a good season,” he declared.

“We won two important titles in the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup, even if the League is in the balance and the Champions League was a bit disappointing.

“It would really upsetting not to see Milan in the Champions League next year, but this season we made the choice to go to Japan

“We had to make up the games when we returned, so we were playing while others were resting, but it was a positive choice because now Milan are the most decorated club in the world.”

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has revealed that Kaka will be used in a new second striker position next year and the Brazilian concluded by welcoming the shift.

“It’s a position that I like and I am suited to it because it gives me the chance to get close to goal,” he beamed. “I will be able to have more shots and provide more assists.”

Seedorf blasts Van Basten
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Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has blamed Holland boss Marco Van Basten for his decision to withdraw from Euro 2008.

The Suriname-born star stunned Dutch fans by announcing that he wouldn’t be representing the Oranje in Austria and Switzerland.

Van Basten had frozen Seedorf out of the side between 2004 and 2006, but recently reintroduced him and claims that he tried to persuade the talented playmaker to reconsider his decision.

“I am 32-years-old and perhaps this would have been my last European Championship,” Seedorf told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It was a dream to play for Holland, but I already had that dream taken away from me for the World Cup in Germany.

“Therefore I couldn’t have done anything else other than pull out or I would have been going against my integrity.

“Why did Van Basten have preconceptions about me that influenced the way he valued me as a player?

“Once he said I was like a Hollywood star. I wish Holland all the best at Euro 2008, but it’s better than Van Basten takes players he trusts to Switzerland.”

However, it seems that Seedorf’s decision to pull out of this summer’s competition doesn’t signify his international retirement because Van Basten will step down after the tournament.

“I am ready to give my contribution in the World Cup qualifiers if the new Coach wants me,” he insisted.

“Right now I am just thinking about Milan and the final game of the season. I hope that we can still get to the Champions League.”

Fiorentina step up Gilardino efforts
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Football Italia

There are reports that Fiorentina are moving forward in their bid to lure Milan outcast Alberto Gilardino to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

It has been a miserable season for Gila, who has been banished to the sidelines due to the arrival of Alexandre Pato and the resurgence of Pippo Inzaghi.

The 25-year-old was seen as one of Italy’s greatest striking prospects when he arrived at San Siro from Parma for nearly £19m in 2005, but now he needs to re-launch his career.

Fiorentina many be headed for the Champions League and are looking to find a reliable strike partner for the inspirational Adrian Mutu.

With Giampaolo Pazzini prone to misfiring and Christian Vieri likely to leave, Gila could be the man for the job.

Gilardino would relish the chance to play under Coach Cesare Prandelli, who acted as his mentor at Parma, where he scored 23 goals in 34 games at the age of 21.

The Piedmont native is also well acquainted with Mutu, as he played alongside him at Verona between 2000 and 2002.

The Viola are reportedly willing to table a bid in the region of £10m – a fee that Milan would be likely to accept for a man who has slipped down the pecking order.

Gilardino would have to accept a significant pay cut from the £2.8m per year he nets at Milan, but it may be a small sacrifice in order to take on a fresh challenge.

Ronaldo: What really happened
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Football Italia

Milan hitman Ronaldo has given the full version of events that led to a sex scandal involving three transvestite prostitutes.

The 31-year-old severed a tendon in his knee in February, but has made an encouraging recovery so far.

However, the former Selecao star’s reputation has been severely damaged by Press reports that he spent the night with three transvestite prostitutes in Rio De Janeiro.

Even though it has now been confirmed that Ronnie was the victim of an extortion attempt and that original reports he had taken drugs were false, the controversy has taken its toll.

“What happened with the transvestites was the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” he said in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS.

“It was my mistake and I think about it every day. It caused me a lot of personal pain, but it hasn’t changed my desire to play again.

“The true story is that I went to dinner with some friends. We left the restaurant at 4.30am and I did something stupid.

“I’d had an argument with my girlfriend and I was sad, so I was thinking lots. A girl came up to my car and I accepted her services.

“We went to a motel and she called some friends. When they arrived I realised that they weren’t women, but men, transvestites. And then I told them that I had changed my mind.

“I didn’t want to go any further because they weren’t women and they demanded £24,000 or else they would go to the Press.

“But they asked me for more money. I started to negotiate with them because I didn’t want any trouble.

“So they went to the police station and made up lies about me to profit from the situation because I am famous.

“I don’t normally go to prostitutes and I want people to know that. I have always had a girlfriend and I don’t need that kind of service.

“I am heterosexual. I have no problem with homosexuals, but I like women.
I have never taken drugs - I am a sportsman.

“My girlfriend didn’t take it well. She was very angry with me and we argued, but afterwards she gave her support.

“It has been a tough thing for me and also for her. I think that she is also pregnant, but we will wait for the first few months to see if everything goes well.

“I understand that some people may have lost a little respect for me, but I have done a lot for football, for sport and for my country.

“We all make mistakes and I have learned a lot from this experience. I did something stupid and I regret it more each day, but when I return to the pitch and score again everyone will forget it,” he concluded.

Ronaldo has admitted that his dream is to play for Flamengo when he is fully fit and looks increasingly unlikely to ever wear the Milan shirt again.

Drogba's AC Milan mating call
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Football Italia

Chelsea's Didier Drogba confesses his desire to join Milan in his autobiography and reveals that he came close to making the move in 2006.

Milan are looking to reinforce their striking line this summer and Drogba has been widely touted as a possible addition.

The Ivorian hitman has made it clear that he wants to leave Stamford Bridge and has continued his flirtation with the Diavolo by recalling a past dalliance in his book.

Drogba reveals that he travelled by private jet to meet with Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani and veteran defender Paolo Maldini in 2006.

“I explained to Maldini that Milan were a club I would love to join,” he writes. “All footballers dream of joining Milan.”

The towering marksman then claims that Galliani asked him whether he would sign for the Rossoneri, prompting his reply: “Whenever you want, it’s all up to you. Get the money ready and go and see Chelsea.”

According to Drogba, Galliani approached Chelsea the next day with an offer, which prompted an angry response from boss Jose Mourinho.

“Seeing as we are not kids, we are going to talk,” he quotes Mourinho as saying.

“I trusted you, but there you are telling me that you’re going to the dentist in Paris when in fact you’re in Milan discussing a transfer.

“You lied to me and didn’t keep your word. Have you been badly brought up or what?”

Whether Milan see Drogba or Palermo star Amauri as their main priority remains to be seen, but much also depends on whether Carlo Ancelotti’s men can secure Champions League football for next year.

Drogba seems keen to relocate to Italy’s fashion capital, but it seems unlikely that he would settle for playing UEFA Cup football.

Borriello boom for Napoli
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Football Italia

Marco Borriello could play for Napoli next season, according to Genoa President Enrico Preziosi.

The striker, whose 19 goals have put him joint top of the Capocannoniere charts alongside Juventus duo David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero, has been a revelation for Genoa this term.

His contract is co-owned between Milan and Genoa, so he was expected to return to San Siro, but that may not be the case.

“His future does not only depend on me,” said Preziosi on Radio Kiss Kiss. “Genoa would like to keep him, but it depends on whether Milan want to keep him for the Champions League.”

The Rossoneri’s transfer strategy depends on their qualification for that competition, which at the moment seems unlikely, as they are two points adrift of Fiorentina.

It has been rumoured that they are set to swoop for Amauri, whose move to Juventus appears to have collapsed this week.

“If Milan were to sign Amauri, then I don’t think Marco would go to Palermo. Between the Rosanero and Genoa, he’d stay with us.

“It’s more likely Borriello would go to Napoli. As a native of that city, it’s obvious he’d love to wear the shirt of his hometown club. It’s also clear we’d battle to keep hold of him.”

There could well be an ulterior motive, as Preziosi admits he is in negotiations with Napoli already.

“We are interested in Maurizio Domizzi and we are in talks. At the end of May we have two friendly games planned to celebrate the friendship between Napoli and Genoa.

“Who would I get to replace Borriello? Robert Acquafresca or Alessandro Matri, although I also like Napoli’s Emanuele Calaiò. It all depends on the clubs who own their contracts.”

Ronaldo: I want Flamengo
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Football Italia

Injured striking star Ronaldo looks unlikely to return to Milan as he admits that he wants to join Flamengo when he recovers from his severed tendon.

El Fenomeno’s career was in danger when he was carried off in February after severing a tendon in his knee during the Rossoneri’s game against Livorno.

Although Ronnie is recovering ahead of schedule, a sex scandal has hurt his reputation in Italy and the news that he is set to become a father for the second time may also encourage him to stay in his homeland.

“My contract ties me to Milan until the end of the season, but my dream is to play for Flamengo,” he said on Mais Voce.

“In order to do that though I need to be in condition because you don’t mess with history.

“I want to lose weight so that I can make a difference on the pitch by getting back my agility and speed,

“I won’t play for Flamengo unless I manage to lose weight because I want to earn my place and deserve it. I have always loved the club and the Maracana.”

Ronnie also gave an update on his progress on the road to recovery.

“I have started to use a bike and I am swimming to ensure that I burn more calories than I eat.

“Last week I started an athletic nutrition programme where I don’t drink coffee at breakfast and I have as many pieces of fruit and vegetables as I like.

“I think that I will be at my ideal weight within a month.”

Galliani doesn't trust Torino
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani doesn’t expect Torino to beat Fiorentina on Sunday and was devastated by last weekend's defeat at Napoli.

Having overtaken Fiorentina for fourth-place with a glorious derby win over Inter, the Diavolo had looked set for Champions League qualification.

But disaster struck when the Rossoneri were beaten 3-1 by Napoli, allowing the Viola to take advantage with a win over Parma.

“I don’t know whether or not the defeat against Napoli was the worst of the season,” Galliani mused. “I know that it was an unexpected loss.

“There was no explanation for the result. The team came into the game after three good results and the thing that amazed me was that we never dominated the match.

“It was the first away game of the season where we were really second best.

“Now we will have to see what happens, but we still believe.”

Milan need to take maximum points against Udinese and hope that Fiorentina fall in Turin on Sunday if they are to play in next season’s Champions League.

“We don’t expect a gift from anyone because nobody gives them,” Galliani insisted.

“But this League has shown results that are similar to the others in northern Europe, where anyone can beat anyone else, and that is very positive.”

Silvio Berlusconi had to step down as club President last week after he was sworn in as Italy’s Prime Minister.

“Silvio didn’t see the game on Sunday because he was flying,” Galliani revealed.

“I spoke to him in the evening and he was sad, just as I was. He is still Milan’s No 1 fan, even if the law stops him from being President.

“More than being red with rage, he was disappointed and saddened, which were the feelings of the players and the Coach.”

Seedorf pulls out of Euro
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Football Italia

Milan star Clarence Seedorf has shocked Holland Coach Marco Van Basten by pulling out of Euro 2008.

Despite losing his place in the national side between 2004 and late 2006, the 32-year-old midfielder was expected to be a key figure for the Dutch side in Austria and Switzerland.

After an impressive campaign with Milan, Seedorf’s place in Van Basten’s 23-man squad was assured and he had been part of the 30-man preliminary squad that was announced last week

But it has emerged that the Suriname-born ace personally called the tactician to tell him he had decided to withdraw.

“I was surprised because I did not expect that,” Van Basten commented.

“I told Seedorf that I have the utmost respect for him as a man and as a footballer. But sadly he was immovable.”

The motives for Seedorf’s decision are so far unclear, but Italy boss Roberto Donadoni will be delighted not to have to face him in Group C.

Seedorf turns to Torino
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Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf has voiced his frustration after Milan relinquished fourth place, but hopes that Torino can do the Rossoneri a favour on Sunday.

Last weekend was demoralising for the world champions as they were beaten at Napoli while Fiorentina beat Parma.

It was a bitter blow after fighting so hard to capture the all-important fourth Champions League qualification spot with victory over Inter in Week 36.

“I’m more disappointed than angry,” Seedorf insisted. “We had our destiny in our own hands – we could have secured fourth place, but we didn’t do that.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I have never seen a more competitive championship. There are 10 or 12 teams that can win against anyone at home and that has never been the case before.”

Milan now need to hope that Fiorentina slip up against Torino, who have nothing to play for, and must focus on picking up maximum points against seventh-placed Udinese at San Siro.

“We will evaluate the situation at the end,” Seedorf stated. “Torino must do their duty and we are convinced that they will.

“It is not for us that they must do their bit because we have damaged our own cause, it is for the good of Italian football as a whole.”

Maldini in retirement U-turn
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Football Italia

Milan veteran Paolo Maldini looks increasingly likely to put off his retirement by another year. “I am moving towards carrying on.”

The 39-year-old has indicated after last December’s Club World Cup triumph that he would be hanging up his boots at the end of this campaign.

However, in recent times Maldini has seemed less certain that he wants to quit the game and now seems ready to commit to a 25th year with the Rossoneri.

“I am moving towards the decision to carry on playing and in the week I will go to the offices for discussions,” the Diavolo legend revealed.

“There’s nothing official because there doesn’t need to be while I am still under contract, but I am in agreement with Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“I’m thinking about carrying on as my physical condition has improved and the club have asked me, more or less explicitly, to play for another season.”

Maldini’s decision doesn’t seem to rest on qualification for the Champions League, which now looks unlikely with just one game to overturn Fiorentina’s two-point advantage.

“To fail to reach the Champions League would be a big disappointment,” he admitted.

“But we aren’t out of the running yet because we have seen what a great championship this has been.

“Even the teams with less to play for have made their presence felt right up until the end of the season.

“We hope that Torino can do the same, but the future isn’t in our hands now.”

Milan need Torino, who secured Serie A survival last week, to shock Fiorentina in Turin while they must overcome seventh-placed Udinese at San Siro.

Ancelotti: We were poor
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti concedes it was a “poor performance” in Milan’s loss to Napoli, as a Champions League spot hangs in the balance.

“We have to focus on the next game, as we still have a chance,” said the Coach after their 3-1 defeat at the San Paolo.

That result and Fiorentina’s 3-1 win over Parma put the Viola back into fourth place with just one round left to play.

“Clearly now the Champions League doesn’t just depend on us. We must work hard and do better against Udinese so we can put pressure on Fiorentina.”

The Tuscans travel to Torino for the final game, with the Granata mathematically safe from relegation, and Milan welcome Udinese.

“Napoli were in fine form and we were having a bad day at the office. It was a heavy defeat, but we need the strength to look forward.

“This was a delicate encounter and it is a shame we were unable to approach it the way we wanted to.”

Andrea Pirlo’s suspension made a difference to their midfield and the Rossoneri struggled to move the ball around.

“It was unexpected, because the team was in good form. We struggled at the start and from then on couldn’t get back on track.”

Napoli 3:1 AC Milan - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Hamsik 36 (N), Domizzi pen 68 (N), Garics 92 (N), Seedorf 94 (M)

Milan's Champions League place is back in Fiorentina's hands after this disastrous defeat at the San Paolo.

The Rossoneri were back on track and leapfrogged Fiorentina into fourth place last week, but faced a tough test to keep hold of it, as the likes of Inter and Juventus had already fallen at the San Paolo. Cristian Brocchi filled in for the suspended Andrea Pirlo, while Yoann Gourcuff joined the injury list. Fabiano Santacroce and Manuele Blasi sat out bans for the home side, who wanted revenge for losing 5-2 at San Siro in January.

Napoli hadn't won this Serie A fixture since 1995, followed by two draws and as many defeats. There were early penalty appeals for a possible Clarence Seedorf handling offence on Marek Hamsik's cross and Alessandro Nesta needed a crucial intervention to stop Ezequiel Lavezzi turning in Roberto Sosa's cutback.

Lavezzi burst between two defenders and the delightful finish with the outside of his right boot flashed over the goal from six yards. Sosa's volley was just off target too and Lavezzi fired wide again as Milan were under the cosh.

The deserved opener finally arrived with a simply extraordinary goal. Hamsik gathered from a Milan corner, ran the entire length of the pitch and smacked a precise right-foot finish into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Gennaro Gattuso stung Navarro's palms, but Sosa just failed to get on the end of a loose ball at the back post. Kaka went on a solo run to test Navarro and Pippo Inzaghi couldn't finish off the rebound.

Alexandre Pato came on for the second half, pushing Seedorf back into midfield. Kaka skipped past Maurizio Domizzi, but fired over rather than crossing for Inzaghi.

Zeljko Kalac fumbled a Walter Gargano effort, but made up for it by smothering Sosa's follow-up.

Napoli were playing at full pelt and Nesta's sliding tackle from behind on Lavezzi was mistimed, so the referee pointed to the spot. Domizzi stepped up to convert under the bar with a powerful finish.

Pato should have got one back, but incredibly ballooned over from close range!

Instead Bogliacino risked a third, as his curling finish thumped the woodwork.

Gyorgy Garics got it in stoppages, totally unmarked to volley in a Mannini cross from the left, as Milan had stopped playing some time ago.

Only Seedorf managed to net a consolation goal in stoppages with a deflected low free kick at the near post.

Napoli: Navarro; Contini, Cannavaro, Domizzi; Mannini, Pazienza, Gargano, Hamsik (Montervino 91), Savini; Sosa, Lavezzi (Bogliacino 88)

Milan: Kalac; Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli (Jankulovski 60); Gattuso, Brocchi (Pato 46), Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf; Inzaghi

Ref: Farina

Reja eyes AC Milan revenge
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Football Italia

Milan may be eager to hang on to a Champions League spot, but Edy Reja points out Napoli have even stronger motivation – pride.

The Rossoneri need a victory to be sure of going into the final round in fourth place, but sides like Inter, Juventus and Fiorentina have already been defeated at the San Paolo.

“We know that we are facing a very difficult opponent, as Milan are the form side at the moment. However, we will have the San Paolo as an ally to contrast the Rossoneri army.”

Revenge is also at stake after the 5-2 hammering Napoli received back in January at San Siro.

“We arrived there like sacrificial lambs. Milan were celebrating victory in the Club World Cup and Alexandre Pato’s debut. We kept up with them for the first half and I want to see that spirit again.”

Napoli have another special reason to mark this occasion, as Roberto Sosa is returning to Argentina after leading his club from Serie C to the top flight.

“Il Pampa is in our hearts and we must all be grateful for what he has done for this club. It is only right to reserve a long round of applause for the man who represented the new Napoli,” explained Reja.

“He was important for us both as a player and as a human being. He really is a silent leader and it is a shame he has to go.”

Ancelotti's San Paolo mission
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has confidence Milan will retain fourth place despite a trip to Napoli without the suspended Andrea Pirlo and quashes Didier Drogba rumours.

Last week they took advantage of Fiorentina slip-up to defeat Inter and leapfrog into the final Champions League spot, but they have two rounds left now to keep hold of it.

“We have worked very well this week, with less apprehension and more certainty. Tomorrow we’ll have to be very careful,” commented the Coach.

It will be a tough test for the Rossoneri, as Napoli play their last home game of the campaign.

“The team and fans will be eager to celebrate such a strong season. Napoli have always hurt the big clubs, defeating Inter and Juventus here, so they are a competitive and new squad. Tactically they are very open and attacking with great individual talents.”

The San Paolo also brings back happy memories for Ancelotti, who was a midfielder when they beat Napoli 3-2 to win the first Scudetto of the Silvio Berlusconi era on May 1, 1988.

“Returning to Naples does evoke some wonderful moments, but that is another story entirely. We are ready for an incredibly important game and it’ll be a spectacle within a spectacle.

“We hope to continue our walk towards the Champions League. We have a point advantage and aim to maintain it, so winning tomorrow would mean a great deal for our position.”

Pirlo sits out a ban and Yoann Gourcuff is injured, so Cristian Brocchi plays in midfield, although a new name on the teamsheet is Ibrahim Ba.

“Why did I call Ba? I like him!” was Ancelotti’s response when asked about the veteran who has barely set foot on the field for several years.

Ancelotti was asked about the future and various reports linking Milan to a series of players.

“I respect Amauri and have said so many times, but it will be difficult to see him arrive at Milan? Does Didier Drogba have a deal with Milan? It’s all rubbish.

“Ronaldinho? I have no news on that front. As with Amauri, he is well-respected, but it’ll be difficult to sign him.”

Milan squad: Fiori, Kalac, Offredi, Bonera, Digao, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo, Serginho, Simic, Ambrosini, Ba, Brocchi, Gattuso, Kakà, Seedorf, Gilardino, Inzaghi, Pato.

AC Milan: Drogba or Adebayor?
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Football Italia

Milan are looking to London for their new centre-forward – Didier Drogba or Emmanuel Adebayor – but Jose Mourinho’s future depends on the Azzurri.

Patron Silvio Berlusconi confirmed they were going to sign an old-style striker for the new campaign and the Corriere dello Sport newspaper suggests the prime target is Arsenal’s Adebayor.

Also of interest to Barcelona, the 24-year-old Togo hero could double his current wages with a move to San Siro and reunite with Mathieu Flamini.

Yet according to today’s Daily Mirror, the Rossoneri have agreed a three-year contract with Chelsea hitman Drogba, who has made it clear he is unhappy to stay on after Mourinho’s dismissal earlier this season.

This is certainly not the first time Milan have been linked with the Ivory Coast international, although the latest reports have another twist to them.

It is claimed Drogba will join the Diavolo if Mourinho takes over the reins at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

However, the element the Daily Mirror has not touched upon is the key to whether or not Carlo Ancelotti will depart.

Milan have repeatedly confirmed their faith in the Coach and he has no intention of leaving the club unless it is for the Italy job.

Should Roberto Donadoni fail to take the Azzurri to at least the Euro 2008 semi-finals, then Ancelotti would be sworn in as the new boss.

It means a long wait for all parties concerned to see what will happen in Austria and Switzerland.

Juventus shove AC Milan for Sagnol
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Football Italia

Juventus have jumped ahead of Milan in the race for Willy Sagnol, but their fans warn Amauri is not worth losing Sebastian Giovinco.

The two Italian giants are accustomed to fighting it out over the transfer market and this summer appears to be a particularly fraught battle.

They are both challenging for the signatures of Palermo striker Amauri and Bayern Munich wing-back Sagnol.

Earlier this week Sagnol confirmed he had been approached by the Rossoneri, but attempted to play down the chances of his departure.

“The Milan directors have been keen to show their interest in me regularly over the last six years,” the 31-year-old told L’Equipe.

“I still have two years of my contract, but I will pay close attention to what happens over the next few days.”

It is now reported in the Corriere dello Sport that Juventus general manager Jean-Claude Blanc met with Sagnol’s agents on Friday.

He had already been close to joining Juve in January 2006, but Bayern renewed his contract just before they lost him on a free transfer.

Sagnol is not the only player torn between Juventus and Milan at the moment, as both are still vying for Amauri’s signature.

While Palermo and the Bianconeri have been in extensive negotiations to the degree that President Maurizio Zamparini announced the striker was “98 per cent a Juve player,” new problems have emerged.

The Rosanero are demanding promising youngsters as part of the deal and have specifically named Under-21 starlet Giovinco.

Currently on loan at Empoli, he is earmarked to be the new Alessandro Del Piero and his form alone has kept the team from relegation up to this stage.

While Juventus are said to be considering giving up 50 per cent of his contract to capture Amauri, the fans have launched a furious protest campaign.

A recent poll on website VecchiaSignora.com found 90.5 per cent of supporters were dead set against even a loan deal, while only 1.5 per cent would favour a co-ownership move.

If the transfer is not completed soon, Milan could intercept negotiations to snatch Amauri from under Juve's noses.

Pippo replaces Iaquinta for Italy?
10.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Vincenzo Iaquinta’s injury has opened up a spot in the Euro 2008 squad and there are reports Pippo Inzaghi could fill the void.

Juventus hitman Iaquinta has effectively been ruled out of the competition after the club confirmed tests showed he can only return to training with the Turin giants in July after a thigh strain.

This makes it extremely unlikely the 2006 World Cup winner will be able to push for a place in Roberto Donadoni’s Azzurri squad.

Alessandro Del Piero has done enough to earn his recall to international duty with his most prolific campaign since 1998, an 18-goal haul that puts him in the race for the Capocannoniere crown.

The other likely beneficiary from Iaquinta’s absence is current Serie A top scorer Marco Borriello, who has bagged 19 this term.

However, there are concerns over his form at this level, as the Genoa forward has not hit the back of the net since a 3-0 victory over Torino on April 13.

With this in mind, it is rumoured Donadoni is considering a change to his approach for Euro 2008 that would allow the inclusion of veteran Inzaghi.

The Milan man turns 35 in August, but is on blistering form right now with nine goals in his last five Serie A games.

Inzaghi is happy to take a back seat and only made one appearance in the 2006 World Cup, scoring one goal.

The only way Donadoni could accommodate him would be to leave behind a defender, which he is said to be seriously considering ahead of the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Kaka: There's still pressure
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Football Italia

Kaka admits that the pressure is still on fourth-placed Milan and has spoken of his new understanding with Pippo Inzaghi.

The Rossoneri overtook Fiorentina after winning the Derby della Madonnina against Inter last weekend and must now hold their single-point advantage.

Milan face a tough trip to Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo next, but they have happy memories of their 5-2 win in Week 18 when Kaka, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldo played in a three-man attack.

“The home fixture was a great game and the only outing for the Ka-Pa-Ro trident,” Kaka recalls.

“We are hoping for an equally positive result in Naples because the three points would be important for fourth place and it would help us to be in the right frame of mind to do well in the final game against Udinese at San Siro.

“Even if we have overtaken Fiorentina and we are in fourth, there is always a bit of pressure.

“We have a little extra responsibility because it is all down to us, and that gives us a great motivation.

“If we win both our remaining games, we will reach our objective but we are aware of Fiorentina right behind us and they are having a great season.”

Kaka provided the cross for a resurgent Inzaghi to head home for the first goal against Inter and the duo seem to be clicking.

“Our understanding on the pitch has improved a lot and are able to find each other with assists,” Kaka said.

“It’s a special time for us as a pair and we are hoping to finish the season strongly in these next two games.

“The turning point for us was the second goal in Athens. Since then we have got to know each other better when we play together.

“Pippo’s best quality is that he keeps believing until the end and never gives up. He chases every ball until it has completely gone out of play.

“He was the only player who could have got on the end of the cross I put over against Inter on Sunday and that’s why he is unique.”

Despite Vice-President Adriano Galliani’s insistence that he can’t sign Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Kaka finished by reiterating his respect for the Argentine ace.

“Messi is a great player and the fact that he is from Argentina doesn’t matter to me at all,” he declared.

“I like how he plays and if I had the power to bring a player to Milan it would be him.

“I rate him as a player and I have met him two or three times and found him to be a good lad.”

Berlusconi steps down
8.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Silvio Berlusconi has officially announced his resignation as Milan President on the club’s website.

Berlusconi was sworn in as Italy’s Prime Minister this afternoon to head his third government after a resounding victory in the April 13-14 elections.

The law states that the peninsula’s leader must not be susceptible to a conflict of interests, forcing Berlusconi to let go of the Rossoneri’s reins.

“Having accepted the role of President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, I am forced by law to resign from social posts,” Berlusconi states on acmilan.com.

“With deep regret I have left the post of President of A.C Milan football club with immediate effect.”

Berlusconi has been at the helm since February 1986 but had to leave the position for the same reason in December 2004 before returning in June 2006.

During his time at the club, Milan have won seven Scudetti, five European Cups, three world titles, five Italian and European Super Cups and a Coppa Italia.

Bayern prepare Gattuso raid
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Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso could be in line for a bumper contract at Bayern Munich if he chooses to quit Milan.

Many believe that the Azzurri midfielder will end his nine-year spell with the Rossoneri this summer as the club look to freshen up their squad.

The arrival of French star Mathieu Flamini has already called Gattuso’s position into question and there could be further additions.

Gattuso has hinted that he would be happy to try his hand abroad, especially in England, but his main suitors are German champions Bayern Munich.

Bayern President Franz Beckenbauer has admitted that Rino would be “ideal” for his squad and the club are expected to table an offer to bring him to the Allianz Arena.

According to Studio Sport, Gattuso will be approached with a four-year contract worth around £4.5m annually – a fee that his current employers can’t match.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani is determined that the former Rangers man will stay at San Siro, but it is now looking increasingly likely that his future lies in the Bundesliga.

Pato prioritises Olympic dream
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Football Italia

Alexandre Pato hopes to compete at the Olympics, but would be disappointed to miss the start of Milan's Champions League campaign.

At the age of 18, Pato has become a key figure for Milan and made his international debut for Brazil against Sweden in a friendly in March.

With the Rossoneri now in the box seat for Champions League qualification, Pato could be at the centre of a tug-of-love between club and country because the Olympic Games clash with the Champions League third qualification round in August.

“It would be a shame to miss the first Champions League games because I would have liked to give my contribution in both competitions,” the former Internacional man told the Corriere dello Sport.

“I don’t know yet whether I will be selected for Beijing, but naturally I hope so.

“Brazil have never won a gold medal in football and to get one would mean entering the history books.”

While Pato is expected to make the trip to China, it is highly unlikely that his teammate Kaka will be allowed to represent his country.

“All I can say is that if things go well then it would be great to see him in the dressing room,” Pato stressed.

Kaka: Milan, buy me Messi!
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Football Italia

If Ronaldinho isn’t set to join Milan, then Kaka has asked for another Barcelona star – Lionel Messi.

“If Adriano Galliani ever gave me the reins to the transfer market, I would sign Messi,” revealed the Brazilian on Sky Italia.

“At this moment in time he is a player I like to watch. He can make the difference in an incredible way. If I could sign any player, yes, it would be Messi.”

Although the pint-sized Argentine has indeed been linked with a switch to San Siro, up until now it has only been towards Inter.

As the Ronaldinho deal appears to be crumbling based on recent medical tests, the negotiations with Barcelona could instead turn to Messi.

“Can we play together? Of course,” continued Kaka. “I can play with Messi, with Ronaldinho, with Alexandre Pato and with Pippo Inzaghi. It is just an issue of adapting to each other.”

Kaka did not get much opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo, whose snapped knee tendon has ruled him out for eight months.

Il Fenomeno has been in the headlines for non-football matters, as the three transsexual prostitutes who claimed they slept with him and did drugs have now retracted their stories, admitting they were trying to extort money from the striker.

Nonetheless, the incident has left a stain on his reputation, something that deeply religious family man Kaka is unaccustomed to.

“I tried calling him, but we know Ronie is a bit out of the loop at the moment. I respect him for what he has been through and this is a difficult time.

“I try to stay close to him as much as possible in every situation. I respect him a great deal and he is a very good person. Those who know him are aware of his values.

“Everybody can make a mistake. I do not judge him for what he did and that error, which he has taken full responsibility for.”

Beckenbauer: I want Gattuso
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Football Italia

Bayern Munich President Franz Beckenbauer believes that Gennaro Gattuso would be ‘ideal’ for his side and has praised Luca Toni.

Azzurri hitman Toni is the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 21 goals to his name in a magnificent season since joining from Fiorentina last summer.

The giant marksman is already a hero at the Allianz Arena after firing Bayern to the title and his contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Toni and Franck Ribery made the difference with their goals and their class,” Beckenbauer enthused in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Of course Toni will be staying – we are very happy with him. He isn’t for sale and he is clearly under contract.

“Luca is a goal machine. He reminds me of Giorgio Chinaglia whom I got to know during my time in America, He is devastating.

“I think he can help Bayern win the Champions League again as soon as possible.”

Bayern have been linked with another Italian international in Gattuso, who may quit Milan at the end of the season.

“I don’t know if it is true that Gennaro Gattuso wants to leave Milan,” Beckenbauer said.

“But I like him as a player and he would be a vital component for Bayern in Europe. In fact, he would be perfect.”

The Bavarians could also be in the running for Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey’s signature as they look for a replacement for the iconic Oliver Kahn, who is hanging up his gloves.

“Kahn is about to retire but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are lining up Fiorentina’s ‘keeper,” Beckenbauer said cautiously. “That will be decided by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Jurgen Klinsmann.”

The man nicknamed “Der Kaiser” concluded by looking ahead to this summer’s European Championship.

“Germany-Italy would be a game to get excited about,” he sighed. “It would be a rematch for the World Cup semi-final. The Azzurri are always strong and Germany have grown a lot over the last two years.

“There’s a great equality in the tournament. At least 10 nations think that they can win it.

“I don’t think that it will be another Greece-style winner, I think it’ll be one of Italy, Germany, France and Holland.”

Cafu rejects retirement talk
7.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan veteran Marco Cafu is unsure whether he will be staying at Milan beyond the end of this season, but he is keen to continue playing.

The Brazilian defender has been in Serie A since 1997 when he joined Roma from Palmeiras and has made over 100 appearances for Milan.

Cafu has become something of a peripheral figure for the Rossoneri and has started just eight games this term, but the 37-year-old believes he still has something to give.

“It’s still to early to give up,” he told TV SetteGold. “But I haven’t decided what I will do next year yet.

“Once the season is finished, I will sit down at the table and work out what is the right thing for myself and my family.

“Will I stay at Milan? There are lots of options, but it all depends on me. It’s not a given that I will leave or retire if I’m not offered a new contract.

“There have been other offers and I will have to weigh those up soon. It’s really nice to know that at my age there are still interested parties.”

It has been suggested that Cafu may return to his homeland to play out the rest of his career should Milan indicate that he is surplus to requirements, but there are also rumours of an offer from Japan’s J-League.

Ronaldinho injury discouraged AC Milan?
7.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

A sensational report claims the reason Milan have given up on signing Ronaldinho is a serious injury that could end his career.

The Rossoneri had been in advanced negotiations with Barcelona for the player and already agreed personal terms with his agent.

However, on Sunday President Silvio Berlusconi announced the deal was off. “We do not need Ronaldinho.”

Now the reasoning behind this turnaround might be clarified, as the website of Spanish newspaper ADN published a shock report this evening.

“Physically he is in far worse condition than people think,” a source from the Delfos clinic in Barcelona was quoted as saying.

The newspaper suggests the muscular injury that has kept Ronaldinho out for a month is career-threatening and means he might never again play at the highest level.

Inter have also given up on their interest in the Brazilian, so only Manchester City remain with an offer of £31.5m.

According to ADN and Globoesporte, Ronaldinho underwent the tests in a private clinic without Barca’s knowledge.

Happy Ambrosini demands focus
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are finally in the box seat for Champions League qualification, but Massimo Ambrosini is forbidding premature celebrations.

A Rossoneri side captained by Ambrosini triumphed in last weekend’s Milan derby and their jubilation was intensified by the news that Fiorentina have slipped up against Cagliari, leaving Milan one point ahead of the Viola in fourth.

However, failure to win at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo could send the Diavolo back to square one and Ambrosini isn’t willing to take that risk.

“The spirit at Milanello has changed compared to last week,” he revealed.

“We are finally masters of our own destiny again, but we can’t let that distract us.

“The difficult thing now is to make sure that we don’t feel to satisfied and that we keep our concentration up.

“This Sunday’s game against Napoli is crucial for us. In Naples there will be a cauldron-like atmosphere because it is their last home game.”

Although he is keen to look to the future, Ambrosini can’t entirely archive his delight at beating the Nerazzurri.

“There is still a great feeling of joy,” he beamed. “It was so important not to lose the derby for a whole list of reasons.

“We managed to do even more win deservedly. The nervous ending was better because it made us appreciate the result even more.

“Now we need to ensure that the derby is a point of departure, rather than arrival.

However, there are still question marks over Milan and they continue to struggle to keep their intensity for a full 90 minutes.

“We have to learn how to react to this problem late in the game,” Ambro insisted.

“It’s not a physical issue. I think that it is exclusively a mental thing that makes us ease off a bit late in the game, especially when we are ahead.”

Sagnol may snub AC Milan
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Bayern Munich wing-back Willy Sagnol has confirmed that Milan are vying for his signature, but he seems happy to stay in Bavaria.

The Rossoneri have already started to reinforce the squad for next season with the addition of Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini.

But their main focus is expected to be the back line and Sagnol is known to be on the shopping list.

“The Milan directors have been keen to show their interest in me regularly over the last six years,” the 31-year-old told L’Equipe.

“I still have two years of my contract, but I will pay close attention to what happens over the next few days.”

Sagnol has been frozen out by current Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, but the tactician will be replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann this summer and that could signal a fresh start for the former Monaco man.

“I am proud to get Milan’s attention, but my first priority remains Bayern Munich,” Sagnol continued.

“I have spoken to the new Coach Klinsmann and he told me that he is counting on me.

“Nonetheless, in the world of transfers, things can go very quickly. Milan are a big club and there is another great team, who aren’t Italian, that are taking an interest.

“All I can say is that I will make my decision before the European Championship. For now, I just want to concentrate on playing.”

Agent: Gattuso is staying
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso was heroic against Inter in the Derby della Madonnina and his agent insists the pugnacious midfielder’s future is in Rossonero.

The world champions are set for a summer clearout after a largely disappointing campaign and there have been suggestions that Gattuso may be part of the exodus.

And the arrival of Arsenal star Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer at the end of the season has intensified speculation.

Rino has attracted the attention of a host of high-profile sides, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham and Bayern Munich in recent weeks, but it seems that the 30-year-old is ready to complete a decade with the Diavolo.

“Will Ringhio leave Milan? All he is thinking about at the moment is making sure that his team reaches the Champions League,” representative Claudio Pasqualin insisted.

“He has a very long contract with the Rossoneri and I can confirm that he has every intention to respect it.”

There have been rumours that Gattuso has agreed a three-year deal with Bayern Munich, but he remains bound to Milan until 2011.

OFFICIAL: Matthieu Flamini to AC Milan
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have officially secured the services of Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini for next season, to the delight of transfer guru Ariedo Braida.

Flamini repeatedly turned down Arsenal’s offers of a contract extension and snubbed Juventus in order to agree a deal with the Diavolo.

The French international will arrive at San Siro on a free transfer at the end of the campaign after penning a four-year deal worth £3m per season yesterday.

“Flamini has signed his first contract with Milan, which will begin on July 1, 2008 and last until June 30, 2012,” a statement on the club’s website confirms.

“I can say that Flamini was a player Carlo Ancelotti really wanted and Milan is like a family, where decisions are made jointly,” director Braida enthused.

“Flamini isn’t an unknown player, just as Didier Drogba isn’t. I assume that several teams would have wanted him because his talent is well known.

“Although negotiations are never easy, it wasn’t hard to convince Flamini to join Milan.

“We are delighted that Mathieu has chosen Milan. He is a very good player and can offer a lot to the team.”

It remains to be seen whether the arrival of Flamini has put an end to the world champions’ attempts to lure Barcelona ace Ronaldinho.

Kaka still wants Ronaldinho
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have reached an agreement with Mathieu Flamini, but star man Kaka is hoping they will still try to sign Ronaldinho.

The 26-year-old, who has netted 15 goals this season, has been dreaming of an all-Brazilian trident at San Siro alongside Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho.

“I cannot judge his season because I don't know exactly what happened to him, but Ronaldinho is a great player with a unique talent. No doubt about that,” insisted Kaka.

“It would be fantastic to play with him at Milan, I am sure he would help us win the title. With Brazil we played together a lot and never had any problems.”

Kaka also commented on the Champions League race and his special relationship with Filippo Inzaghi.

“Fiorentina lost and we won, that was great. We did our job against Inter,” he noted.

“The Nerazzurri didn't win the Scudetto and we reached fourth spot, now it is all up to us in order to qualify for the Champions League.

“Pippo and I have found the net in the last couple of games and there is a great understanding between us.”

Milan will face Napoli and Udinese in their last two games, so Kaka and Inzaghi will have the chance to increase their scoring record while chasing the Champions League.

Ronaldo explains all
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

After a week of silence, Ronaldo has returned to speak to the Press to explain the recent controversy in Brazil.

Speaking to the cameras of the Brazilian TV Rede Globo the Milan striker confessed his regret regarding the events that have involved him recently.

Reportedly, he had been blackmailed by three transvestites, who he had picked up outside a disco in Rio de Janeiro.

“I did something really stupid. Everybody can make errors and I made one,” he admitted.

“I didn't even realise they were transvestites. As a player I am generally on a different level, but I am a person who has his weakness and fears which makes me as normal as anyone else.”

Ronaldo also went on to reveal details regarding that crazy night in Rio.

“I had an argument with my girlfriend and then I went to three prostitutes to heal my sorrows. I wasn't drunk and when we got to the hotel I realised they were men so I decided to kick them out.

“But at that stage they started asking for money. I offered them a liquidation and two accepted while the other asked for an incredible amount saying that he/she would reveal everything to the Press.”

Now the 31-year-old is looking to recover from his injury and hoping to forget about that night as soon as possible.

“I have to rebuild everything around me, it is like when a house gets blown away from a tornado. Now I have to start everything all over again.”

Despite the scandal, Ronaldo has kept his position as a Unicef peace ambassador although there are fears over the Brazilian's sponsorship deals with TIM and Nike.

AC Milan 2:1 Internazionale Milano - match report
6.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorers: Inzaghi 52 (M), Kaka 56 (M), Cruz 76 (I)

Pippo Inzaghi and Kaka won a dramatic derby that ruins Inter's Scudetto celebrations, cutting their lead to just three points!

Rarely has a Derby della Madonnina been so highly charged, as Inter could win the Scudetto and rub their rivals' noses in it, while Milan needed a victory to maintain any hope of reaching a Champions League spot. Bragging rights were also at stake, as the Nerazzurri were on track for a fourth consecutive derby triumph.

There were no suspension worries, but Nelson Dida, Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Emerson, Serginho, Olivier Dacourt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba and Luis Figo were injured. Nuno Maniche was a surprise choice when Dejan Stankovic failed to recover from a muscular problem, while teen prodigies Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli were on the bench.

The Rossoneri had the stronger start with Massimo Ambrosini and Clarence Seedorf firing wide, while Kaka caused quite a few problems for Nelson Rivas. Julio Cesar parried an Inzaghi strike and Inter were pinned back into their own half.

Inzaghi was inches away from getting his head to a dangerous Daniele Bonera cross from six yards out, while Zeljko Kalac smothered a Maniche strike from distance. Giuseppe Favalli went off with an ankle injury, making way for Marek Jankulovski.

In first half stoppages Kaka lobbed a cross into the six-yard box where Inzaghi's diving header incredibly squirmed wide of the target!

The deadlock was finally broken on 52 minutes, as Kaka got down the right flank and crossed for Inzaghi's header. It was SuperPippo's ninth goal in five games.

Instead of fighting back, Inter seemed to crumble as Milan came forward in waves and Seedorf fired over. Five minutes on Kaka doubled their lead, as Ambrosini dispossessed Patrick Vieira for the Brazilian to slide an angled drive into the far bottom corner.

After this second goal the Nerazzurri decided to get into the game, as Kalac parried a Maniche effort with his knee and Hernan Crespo drilled wide. The whole match turned on its head with Inter now dominating, Kalac palming a Douglas Maicon rocket over the bar and Balotelli on for Maniche.

Crespo wanted a penalty for a Bonera challenge on a corner kick, but play was waved on.

Inter halved the deficit with a curling Cruz free kick that went over the wall and left Kalac rooted to the spot with 15 minutes to go. Inevitably, it meant the Nerazzurri pinned Milan back into their own half, while Pato replaced Inzaghi to take advantage of the counter.

Marco Materazzi's header from a corner was wide, but there was another free kick from a similar position and this time Cristian Chivu went for the near top corner with Kalac's great save.

The final kick of the game was a set piece for Inter after Jankulovski's crunching tackle, but Chivu turned it way over.

Milan: Kalac; Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli (Jankulovski 41); Gattuso (Brocchi 66), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kaka, Seedorf; Inzaghi (Pato 77)

Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Rivas (Maxwell 81), Materazzi, Chivu; Vieira, Zanetti, Cambiasso; Maniche (Balotelli 65); Cruz, Crespo (Suazo 72)

Ref: Rosetti

Gilardino agent invites offers
3.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino’s agent admits he is likely to leave Milan at the end of the season. “We’ll evaluate every proposal.”

The former Parma striker moved to San Siro for £17m in the summer of 2005, but has not lived up to expectations.

“The lad has decided to only face this issue at the end of the season,” explained agent Francesco Romano on Radio Kiss Kiss.

“Together we will evaluate every proposal that comes in. Obviously Alberto is bitter at the fact he can’t find space in the side and clearly if Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko and Marco Borriello were to arrive then it would all be up for debate again.

“Talking about his position now is premature, especially as at this moment Milan have not signed anyone yet.”

He scored 17 goals in 34 games the first term and 12 goals in 30 the next, but this season has just seven from 30 Serie A appearances.

Increasingly pushed aside by Alexandre Pato and the revival of Pippo Inzaghi’s form, Gilardino also has a fractious rapport with the Milan fans.

Gila has made just one appearance in the last month, as a substitute in the 3-2 defeat at Juventus, and has not scored since January 30.

There were reports that he would be included in an exchange deal with Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey.

It would reunite the striker with Cesare Prandelli, who was his Coach during their time together at Parma.

Kaka on Time 100 influential list
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Football Italia

Kaka has been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and is the only football player in the list.

The Milan hero was included under the category ‘Heroes and Pioneers’ along with the likes of Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius.

Kaka will be one of the 100 faces on the cover to be released on May 12 and he could not hide his satisfaction.

“When I heard the news I was really moved, because this is a wonderful moment,” he smiled on Milan Channel.

“I consider it a great satisfaction. To be among the 100 most influential people in the world is a remarkable privilege.

“To see my name there in that list along with 99 other personalities of world renown makes me very happy.”

Considering the splash David Beckham made in the States, it is interesting to note Kaka is the only football player on the list.

“It is not easy to make a mark on the American media. They have their own market and their favourite sports. Allowing me, a soccer player, to be part of this list is a great feeling for which I thank God.”

The article on why Kaka deserves to be in Time magazine was written by Kasey Keller, the current Fulham goalkeeper who faced him in the World Cup with the U.S.

It has been quite a year for Kaka, who in the past 12 months won the Champions League, European Super Cup, Club World Cup, Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.

“Do I feel as if I am a good communicator? Yes, it is a responsibility that we players have to take on, because today football is the most popular sport in the world.

“Everyone watches and follows the games, so players have a duty and a responsibility to transmit positive values.”

Kaka has said he would like to become a preacher after he retires from the sport.

AC Milan: Adebayor or Toni?
3.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan need a centre-forward and while Gennaro Gattuso calls for Luca Toni, Emmanuel Adebayor’s agent doesn’t deny rumours of interest.

According to the Corriere dello Sport newspaper, the Rossoneri have pinpointed the 24-year-old Arsenal star as the perfect man to complete their attack.

Adebayor particularly impressed in the two Champions League games in which Milan were eliminated earlier this season.

Problems in bringing Andriy Shevchenko back on loan from Chelsea in a cut price deal could send them towards the Gunners target man instead.

As teammate Mathieu Flamini is also on the verge of completing a free move to Milan, the club could opt for a double deal worth £17m.

On Monday evening agent Stephane Courbis was spotted in Milan and the denials weren’t exactly convincing.

"We have not received concrete offers. Obviously, it is logical that Emmanuel is demanded. I have to meet his club when the season ends to speak about his future.

"Today he is happy at Arsenal, he showed it on Monday, but you know football, everything goes very quickly.

"However, we will not talk before the season ends, as Arsenal are focused on trying to finish second."

These statements leave the door wide open for negotiations with Milan, especially if they succeed in reaching the Champions League.

There could be a battle within the ranks, though, as Gattuso has made it perfectly clear he’d prefer World Cup winning teammate Toni, currently at Bayern Munich.

“If I were in charge of Milan’s transfer policy then I would buy Toni,” said the midfielder. “We would really need a striker with his characteristics and let him leave Italy too soon.”

Seedorf sees 'ugly' Inter
2.5 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf believes that the difference between the Diavolo and Inter is a clinical attitude. “They don’t always excite.”

The build-up to Sunday’s all-important Derby della Madonnina is gathering intensity with comments from players on both sides.

Seedorf, who played for Inter between 2000 and 2002, is the latest star to have his say and the Dutch international’s views could antagonise the Nerazzurri.

“It’s true that there hasn’t been such an important and charged derby for a long time,” he began.

“I think that as teams we have two different ways of getting the victory.

“Inter maybe have superior individual talents that allow them to get leads and close games more easily – you could call it cynical football. But they don’t always play the same quality of football that we do.

“They are referring to this as a third Scudetto? They say that you either have class or you don’t. I think that you should try and avoid using words that could offend others.”

Milan are chasing Fiorentina for fourth place and will be hoping that yesterday’s cruel UEFA Cup semi-final defeat will upset the Viola’s rhythm.

“You can’t tell what reaction an event like that will do to a side, especially for a team who deserved to be in the Final so much,” Seedorf explained.

“But we have to think about ourselves. We have achieved two objectives and another one is still possible – we have to try and reach it.”

One of the major talking points of the last few months around San Siro has been the possible arrival of Barcelona ace Ronaldinho.

“I don’t think that the Brazilian is a priority, but just one of several,” Seedorf explained.

“I would be happy if he arrived and I think that Carlo Ancelotti would find a formation that would suit him, but other players are needed.

“Would my position be under threat? I just try and put myself in the Coach’s plans, but I know that to have three strikers like Ronaldo, Alexandre Pato and Alberto Gilardino on the bench is ridiculous.

“However, I think that the understanding between myself and Kaka over the last two seasons has been important.”

Matrix: AC Milan are favourites
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Marco Materazzi claims that Inter are the underdogs against Milan and admits that he wants the Rossoneri to miss out on the Champions League.

While Inter lead the Rossoneri by 23 points in the table and are widely seen as favourites to win and wrap up the title, Materazzi thinks that they are outsiders to win this weekend.

“It’s every Interista’s dream to win the Scudetto in the derby,” he said on Sky Sport Italia. “Winning it with no handicaps will have a different taste.

“But to prevent any disappointment I have to say that we are facing a side on good form. They are favourites because they are world champions and it is their home fixture.

“However, maybe Carlo Ancelotti is more afraid of missing out on the Champions League than we are of losing the Scudetto.

“If we don’t win the title on Sunday, we have two other chances to win the title.”

Milan must look for maximum points from their remaining three fixtures to keep their hopes of overhauling fourth-placed Fiorentina and playing in next season’s Champions League alive.

“Milan have had a strange year where lots of their players were tired,” Materazzi explained.

“They haven’t had Pippo Inzaghi all season and Alberto Gilardino has had some problems.

“Inzaghi is someone who only needs three minutes in a game and some adrenaline and he can find form as he has shown. I’m hoping to stop him.

“But in the end they will still be fighting until the final day. I hope that they don’t make it.

“Who would I bring to Inter from the Milan side? It would be too easy to say Kaka, but I would say Gennaro Gattuso,” the Matrix concluded.

Agent: AC Milan mad for Borriello
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Genoa’s striking revelation Marco Borriello is moving towards a return to Milan with his agent declaring that the Rossoneri “want him at all costs.”

Borriello left San Siro for Marassi in a co-ownership agreement after a bleak period with the Diavolo that included a failed drugs test.

However, the 25-year-old has reinvented himself at Genoa and has blasted 19 goals, showing his devastating talent.

While Borriello has declared that he is happy to stay put at the end of the season, it seems that Milan may be keen to bring him back.

“The player has proven himself at the top level this year and I think that the world champions will try and sign him back,” agent Tiberio Cavalleri told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“They want him at all costs because they are looking for a 20-goal striker.

“If they take him from Genoa then they will trust him to play, even if there is obviously some squad rotation at big clubs.”

Milan may have to dig deep to convince the Grifone to let Borriello go and if the sides don’t reach an agreement they will have to put offers in sealed envelopes.

Kaka: We can crash Inter's party
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Football Italia

Kaka is hoping that his Milan side can postpone Inter’s Scudetto party by winning this weekend’s Derby della Madonnina.

Sunday’s San Siro clash promises to be a classic with the Nerazzurri needing a win to clinch the title and Milan chasing three points to keep their hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League alive.

Inter have a 23-point advantage over the Rossoneri and start as favourites, but Kaka is backing his underdogs.

“It will be hard to stop the Beneamata winning the Scudetto,” the FIFA World Player of the Year admitted. “But the ideal thing would be to delay their party.

“For them it would be the third consecutive Scudetto, but I wouldn’t say it like that. They only won two of those on the pitch and one was more deserved than the other.”

It has been a season of ups and downs for Milan, who have disappointed in the League and lost their European crown, but won the European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

“If I had to give us a mark for our campaign, I would say seven and a half out of 10,” Kaka said.

“We made a choice to focus on the Club World Cup and we were penalised. While other teams rested, we were playing matches and had to recover,

“What is Inter’s strength? It’s certainly the group. They have a big squad and it doesn’t matter much who plays.

“However, we have been back on form lately and we have rediscovered an incredible Pippo Inzaghi.”

Kaka concluded by giving an insight into the mood in Italy’s fashion capital ahead of Sunday’s game.

“There is a very civil atmosphere,” he claimed. “Milan fans stop me in the street and tell me we need to win this game, but Inter fans also stop me and tell me not to do anything stupid.

“My prediction? I hope we beat Inter and I don’t think that Fiorentina will win at Cagliari.”

Gattuso looks to the future
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Football Italia

Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso knows that defeat isn’t an option in Sunday’s derby and has discussed the possibility of life after the Rossoneri.

The world champions need to pick up maximum points from now on if they are to remain in the hunt for a Champions League spot next term, but they have their work cut out against an Inter side who can secure the Scudetto with victory.

“Playing in these huge games like Sunday’s derby is the best thing,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. “They are the matches that give you a huge adrenaline boost.

“We certainly can’t lose the derby. It could go either way. They are missing lots of players and we are going to go for it.

“Since December 23, however, Inter have only picked up two more points than us.

“If you look at the records at home and away it’s clear that something didn’t work. And recently we have made ridiculously hard work of the so-called ‘small’ teams.”

The Azzurri star will come up against one of his Italy teammates in Marco Materazzi, who is a close friend.

“I met Marco one evening in a bar in Perugia when I was very young,” Rino explained.

“There was a bouncer causing trouble and he helped me because he was a little older.”

Paolo Maldini is set to retire at the end of the season, leaving the side looking for a new captain.

“It’s only right that Massimo Ambrosini is the next Milan captain and I’ve said that to the directors lots of times,” Gattuso said.

“The captain’s armband should go to a player who has been with the Rossoneri for many years like he has.”

As for Gattuso’s future, many think that he will leave in a summer clearout and he is weighing up his options.

“I would like to have the chance to play in the Premier League because I think that I have the characteristics to play there,” he stressed.

“It is my dream and I have never denied that. When I leave Milan I will only wear the shirt of a foreign side. But Spain would be hard because it isn’t a League that suits the way I play.

“It would certainly be impossible to play for Inter, just as it would be to represent Celtic.”

Vieira welcomes D-day battle
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Football Italia

Inter midfielder Patrick Vieira isn’t feeling the pressure ahead of this weekend’s derby against Milan. “These are the games you live for.”

The leaders face their city rivals needing a win to seal the title, but they can expect fierce resistance from a side fighting for Champions League qualification.

The fixture is Milan’s ‘home’ leg and so there will be a hostile atmosphere for Vieira and his teammates, but the French international seems unfazed.

“With Arsenal I won a title at White Hart Lane and one at Old Trafford. Now it’s time to go to Milan,” he said.

“Sunday’s game will be something special and incomparable to anything I have seen in the past, England included.

“We are playing for the Scudetto and they are playing for a Champions League place. There will be such an atmosphere!

“But I thrive under pressure. These are the games that you dream of.”

Adriano agent meets AC Milan
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Football Italia

Inter outcast Adriano’s agent has met with Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani, fuelling rumours that L’Imperatore could move across the city.

The Brazilian marksman is currently in Brazil where he is recovering from the depression and physical problems that have dogged his career in recent years.

While Adri has impressed in his homeland and will return to Inter this summer, there may not be space for him in the Nerazzurri ranks.

Given his tempestuous relationship with Coach Roberto Mancini and the rapid development of teen sensation Mario Balotelli, Adriano may find himself low down in the leaders’ pecking order.

However, his future may still lie at San Siro. Milan’s directors have previously admitted their desire to snatch the former Parma star and it seems that contact has been made.

Adri’s agent Gilmar Rinaldi was in Milan yesterday to discuss his client’s future and he opted to meet with the Diavolo’s Galliani and Leonardo rather than Inter technical director Marco Branca.

According to the Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport, the meeting proves a move is being discussed, but La Gazzetta dello Sport has played down the significance of the talks, claiming it was simply a matter of friends meeting for a meal.

Adriano has also been linked with a return to Fiorentina, where he spent time on loan in 2002, and a reunion with Cesare Prandelli, his mentor at Parma.

Flamini 'chooses AC Milan'
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Football Italia

There are reports from Italy that Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has told teammates that he will be joining Milan next season.

The talented Frenchman has rebuffed the Gunners’ new contract offers and looks set to leave the Emirates Stadium when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Juventus were thought to be leading the pack of sides chasing his signature, but, according to the Corriere dello Sport, he has his heart set on the Rossoneri.

“I have decided that I will be going to Milan,” Flamini allegedly said in the dressing room.

Manager Arsene Wenger seems to have resigned himself to Flamini’s departure, leaving him free to discuss personal terms with the Diavolo once the current campaign is over.

Milan are reportedly ready to offer a four-year deal worth around £3m per season to lure the free agent.

Pato stands up for Ronaldo
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Football Italia

Alexandre Pato looks forward to his first Milan derby and stands by disgraced teammate Ronaldo. “He’s still my idol.”

This week the Rossoneri’s Brazilian contingent has been shaken by news that Ronaldo was caught up in attempted extortion by a transvestite prostitute in Rio de Janeiro.

“He is still my idol,” assured 18-year-old Pato. “He is a great friend. He’s relaxed and now just has to focus on healing his knee injury. He needs to get better and return to playing football.”

Meanwhile, ‘The Duck’ is preparing for a special occasion this Sunday as he faces Inter for the first time.

“The derby is a momentous match. I think I will play and if I do then I always focus on scoring goals to help Milan win and to celebrate with the heart sign.”

Pato has been struggling with a mysterious muscular problem over the past few weeks, but is back to full fitness.

“I am a little happier now, but will be even more so if we can finish the season in fourth place and qualify for the Champions League,” he continued.

“What is my dream? To be a great player, win the Ballon d’Or and become a real champion with Milan.”

Nike to end Ronaldo contract?
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Football Italia

Ronaldo may not have a legal case to answer, but the scandal with three transvestite prostitutes could cost him his girlfriend and his Nike contract.

Ronnie’s name was splashed all over Brazil’s newspapers when transvestite Andre Albertini claimed in the Folhe de Sao Paulo that he took cocaine with the marksman in a hotel in Rio De Janeiro before receiving payment for sex acts.

However, Ronaldo claims he was the victim of an attempt at extortion and that he refused to pay Albertini £12,000 to stop him fabricating the story for the Press.

The latest reports suggest it could have a disastrous effect on the Milan star’s reputation and career.

“An active supporter of social causes, he has never used drugs and is an idol to youngsters all over the world. All the evidence points to a case of extortion with Ronaldo as the victim,” read a statement on his official website.

According to Brazilian newspaper ‘Extra’, his position as an idol to youngsters is precisely why Nike are considering tearing up Ronaldo’s lucrative sponsorship contract.

The deal has lasted throughout injury problems and career dips, but this off the field incident could prove the final straw for a contract worth in the region of £100m.

It is also reported that Ronaldo’s girlfriend Maria Beatriz has left their apartment in Rio de Janeiro for a return to her family home in Brasilia.

The pair had been dating since January 2007 and local gossips suggest marriage and children were on the cards.

The official Milan website is continuing to studiously ignore the entire incident, but their view on Ronaldo’s latest problem in addition to the injuries could prompt the Rossoneri to reconsider his future as well.

Top trio chase 'new Balotelli'
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Football Italia

Reports in the peninsula suggest that Milan, Inter and Juventus are fighting for the services of a 14-year-old striker dubbed “the new Mario Balotelli.”

Inter phenomenon Balotelli has been one of the success stories of the season and has become a regular fixture in the leaders’ front line at the tender age of 17.

Balotelli’s impressive form has sparked a nationwide search for more prospects for the future and it seems that one is lurking at Serie C outfit Padova.

Ivory Coast-born hitman Adama Diakite – who holds Italian citizenship – is being widely tipped for the top after 25 goals in 19 games for Padova’s youth team and is said to resemble Balotelli in the way he plays.

Diakite trained with Juventus earlier in the season, but Inter and Milan scouts have been present to watch him in action over the last few months.

There are also rumours that Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United are keeping an eye on the precocious danger man.

Kalac: We can beat Inter
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Football Italia

Milan custodian Zeljko Kalac concedes that the pressure is on the Rossoneri in this weekend’s derby, but he feels they have the quality to win.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Derby della Madonnina with Inter needing a win to secure the Scudetto and Milan searching for three points to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive.

The world champions cut Fiorentina’s advantage in fourth place to two points last weekend but know that a defeat would virtually sentence them to UEFA Cup football next term.

“On Sunday we will go out there knowing that we have to win,” Kalac said on the Milan Channel.

“Sometimes that causes a bit of trouble, but we are on good form and we can approach the game with confidence.

“Inter play with strength and are a physical side, but we play good football and so we can win this match.”

Milan have improved hugely since their elimination from the Champions League and Kalac finished with a wry comment on the reduced demands on the side.

“We always said that we were a bit tired before and if we had only been playing games as regularly as we are now all season we would have already secured fourth and would be on holiday by now,” he claimed.

Shevchenko: Forza Milan!
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Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko hopes that former side Milan can stop Inter this weekend and has discussed a possible return to San Siro.

The Ukrainian marksman was a hero for the Rossoneri between 1999 and 2006 when he scored 127 goals in 208 games and he will be watching this weekend’s battle with interest.

“It’s a unique and great game,” Sheva stressed on Sky Sport Italia.

“I think that this derby is worth more to Milan because they are fighting for fourth place and Champions League qualification and it is also their home fixture.

“I wish all the best to my former teammates. I know how important it is to win the derby, especially now.”

After a miserable spell at Chelsea, Shevchenko has been widely tipped for a return to Milan this summer and Vice-President Adriano Galliani has admitted that he is a target.

“There’s so much talk about a return, but I’m not at liberty to say anything more than that I have always been close to Milan,” the 31-year-old commented.

“Whether or not I return, this side has given me so much. I grew at Milan and I won the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League there.

“I have great memories and relationships with my ex-colleagues at San Siro,” he concluded.

Dida's new injury blues
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Football Italia

Hapless Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida has suffered another injury on the training ground.

The Brazilian custodian has endured a nightmare season blighted by howlers and health problems.

Most notably, Dida managed to sustain a back injury while sitting on the bench against Parma.

Zeljko Kalac has taken advantage of the giant shot-stopper’s woes and made to No 1 shirt his own in the second half of the campaign.

And now Dida’s misery has deepened after he damaged his ankle during training yesterday.

“Dida suffered a trauma to the tissue in his right ankle,” a statement on Milan’s official website reads.

The severity of the problem is still unclear but given Kalac’s form and the widespread belief that a big-name ‘keeper will arrive in the summer, Dida may have played his last game for the Rossoneri.





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