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Adriano Galliani confirmed Kevin-Prince Boateng, Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I hope to convince Clarence Seedorf to stay with Milan.”
The transfer chief was in a summit with Genoa President Enrico Preziosi today and secured a deal to buy out the remaining 50 per cent of Boateng’s contract.
“At the start we had some difficulties, but at the end found an agreement that I think is fair and right for both parties,” said the Milan Vice-President.
“Both Marco Amelia and Alberto Paloschi are also entirely owned by Milan. The latter will certainly remain, as he’ll be important over the summer when Alexandre Pato and Robinho are in the Copa America.
“I don’t think Cassano has any particular problems and his agent hasn’t said anything. Ibrahimovic will certainly stay at Milan. Every now and then Mino Raiola likes to joke around, but Ibra is going nowhere.”
Of the veterans with contracts set to expire next month, Seedorf is the least likely to put pen to paper, as he has several offers from Brazil.
“I hope to convince Seedorf to stay at Milan.”
Galliani was also asked about reports the Rossoneri are preparing a swoop for want-away Fiorentina captain Riccardo Montolivo.
“He plays in front of the defence, so in that position we already have Massimo Ambrosini and Mark Van Bommel.”
Genoa: 'AC Milan have bought Boateng' 25.5 ||webmaster
Milan manager Max Allegri has blasted some colleagues, including Jose Mourinho. “He’s pathetic and banal. His arrogance hides insecurity.”
The Rossoneri tactician was interviewed on comedy show Le Iene and asked to give a brief description of other bosses, but was particularly riled by the Real Madrid chief.
“Every now and then Mourinho is pathetic. He always repeats the same things and it makes him become banal,” said Allegri.
“I think he’s very talented, but his arrogance hides insecurity.”
Mourinho was back in the spotlight today after releasing a statement on the Real Madrid website taking yet another stab at rivals Barcelona.
“I would like to end with a very simple wish, which is that next season we recover certain values no one should ever forget, but that some professionals and institutions of the world of football have nonetheless forgotten,” wrote The Special One.
“These values should be the basis of our sport. Fair play, respect for your opponent and zero tolerance to racism shouldn't just be words, they should also be facts. I again stress my hope and wish to recover those fundamental principles in our sport next season.”
Meanwhile, Allegri gave his response to quick-fire questions about other colleagues.
“Leonardo’s weakness is he’s too much of a gentleman. Gigi Del Neri is very stuck in his ways. Luciano Spalletti is... bald!
“Cesare Prandelli is diplomatic. Walter Mazzarri gets too angry.”
When asked if he would follow Leonardo’s footsteps and move across the city to Inter, he ruled it out.
“You never know in life, but there is a lot of rivalry between Inter and Milan, so these club colours really get under your skin.”
Didac Vila considers AC Milan exit 24.5 ||webmaster
Udinese saw a penalty saved, so it was a real game, but got the point they needed for Champions League football!
The Friulani need only a point to be sure of Champions League preliminary round qualification, an amazing achievement considering their season started with four straight defeats. Antonio Di Natale was already sure of his second consecutive Capocannoniere title. Dusan Basta and Andrea Coda were the only absentees, as Alexis Sanchez recovered from a recurring ankle injury. Milan were still celebrating their Scudetto, but also waving goodbye to Andrea Pirlo and probably Clarence Seedorf, while Didac Vila received his Serie A debut.
Udinese's record in this fixture is terrible, notching up only six victories, 17 draws and 12 defeats. Curiously, the Friulani haven’t shared the spoils at all in Serie A since a 0-0 with Brescia on February 20, winning seven of the next 11 rounds.
Seedorf was angry at himself after firing an early effort over the bar, then Mathieu Flamini was deservedly booked for a two-footed tackle on Gokhan Inler after 12 minutes.
Di Natale went extremely close too, as his splendid free kick curled over the defensive wall and thumped the upright with Marco Amelia beaten.
Milan put together a lovely team move with one-touch football between Antonio Cassano, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Seedorf, but Samir Handanovic closed it down with a flying intervention.
Alexandre Pato also tested Handanovic, then a Sanchez diving header went over the bar. Danger for Udinese when Cassano's pull-back for Pato was crucially intercepted.
An audacious Boateng volley flashed inches over the bar from a tight angle. Cassano then blasted a dangerous angled drive just past the far post.
Urby Emanuelson replaced Mark Van Bommel for the second half. It was a sluggish start and Milan continued to have more chances, as Boateng came sliding in and just failed to get on the end of Cassano's through ball.
Di Natale wanted to add to his Capocannoniere tally and burst past defenders down the right to fire hard at Amelia's palms at the near post.
Udinese were growing and tested Amelia at the same stick moments later, this time with Sanchez.
Bad news for Milan, as Pato fell awkwardly on to his left shoulder and was stretchered off in clear pain.
Sanchez was constantly causing problems for the Milan defence and eventually earned a penalty when Seedorf mistimed his tackle at the by-line. Di Natale stepped up, but Amelia picked the right spot and fingertipped the penalty on to the base of the near post!
Moments later from a corner Amelia palmed away the glancing Inler header, while Ignazio Abate had to stop Mauricio Isla nodding in at the back post.
Udinese couldn't believe their luck on 76 minutes! Inler's screamer from distance had Amelia rooted to the spot, but it hit the underside of the crossbar and ricocheted on to the upright to go back out! He effectively hit bar and post with a single shot.
The Friulani also threatened when Pablo Armero's shot from close range was practically cleared off the line by teammate Di Natale, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Boateng flicked on a pass for Robinho, forcing Handanovic to smother at his feet. There was the very real risk of losing fourth place if Milan got a goal here, as Lazio were winning comfortably in Lecce. The Rossoneri gave Flavio Roma a quick run-out in his season debut after signing a contract extension this week.
Marek Hamsik admits “it’s wonderful that Milan are interested in me, but if an offer arrived then I’d have to talk to Napoli first.”
The Slovak has been named by newspapers as the primary reinforcement for the Rossoneri and explained as much to Sme in his home country.
“It’s wonderful that Milan are interested in me, of course, but I am accustomed to the newspapers writing things that don’t come true,” said the midfielder.
“If an offer arrived then I’d have to talk to Napoli first. I would like to try playing for a club that regularly challenges for the Scudetto and Champions League.”
The Partenopei could well fit that bill, as this season they finished third and were Milan’s main challengers for a while.
“At the start of the season nobody expected us to qualify for the Champions League. This is an incredible result for the club and I can’t wait to hear the competition theme tune. Only then will I realise what we’ve managed to do, so I’m impatient for the next campaign to start.
“We were in the top Serie A positions for practically the whole season. There was consistency in our performances, so we deserved our place.”
Walter Mazzarri has threatened to walk away, but over the weekend was more conciliatory with the club.
“Mazzarri is a great Coach and we’ll see how it goes. We would all be happy if he stayed,” added Hamsik.
Pippo Inzaghi looks back over his Milan career and reveals “Leonardo got it wrong on an interpersonal level, unlike Massimiliano Allegri.”
Tactician Allegri won the Scudetto on his first attempt, whereas many have a poor memory of Leonardo after he moved to rivals Inter.
“Leonardo got it wrong on an interpersonal level. He did the exact opposite of Allegri, who connected with the players and was very smart to earn the faith of the squad without storming in to mark his authority.
“The most important thing for a manager to do is get the players on his side, as that brings you to success.
“The tactician I am closest to remains Carlo Ancelotti. We won so much together, although all my Coaches gave me something special.”
Inzaghi was one of the many players out of contract, but has signed a one-year extension and will likely hang up his boots next summer.
“My motivation to keep on playing comes from the fans, as to hear an entire stadium chanting your name after six months out is worth everything to me. I don’t know if I’ll fully recover from this injury, but their affection gives me strength.
“I am looking ahead to my career and if I can stay at Milan in some capacity, it would be better. I know that if I wanted to become a Coach next season, I could begin training,” he told Radio Uno.
The veteran hitman will also be a spectator for the Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United.
“I love beautiful football, so obviously I will be cheering on Barcelona.”
'Fabregas to AC Milan is fantasy - for now' 21.5 ||webmaster
Max Allegri promised Milan will give their all against Udinese, but also looked to the future. “Andrea Pirlo’s replacement will be world class.”
The Scudetto winners have nothing more to play for, while Sunday night’s opponents need a point to secure Champions League football.
“We’ve got nothing to lose, so we have to play a great game. Udinese will be very motivated, but we are Milan and cannot afford to embarrass ourselves.
“They have great players like Antonio Di Natale, Alexis Sanchez, Gokhan Inler and Cristian Zapata, so the Champions League is a huge achievement for them, but we aren’t going there to facilitate their party.”
Allegri notably did not name Kwadwo Asamoah, the Udinese player who has been repeatedly linked with a summer move to San Siro.
“He is a good player, but I prefer not to talk about this.”
It is going to be Pirlo’s last game after 10 years in a Milan jersey, but he is not in the starting XI.
“Juventus have made a great signing by bringing in Pirlo. It was a mutual decision from all parties, so our paths have separated, but I’m sure he’ll do wonderful things at Juve,” continued Allegri.
“I still need to talk to Clarence Seedorf and will wait until the end of the season. Considering the rapport I have with everyone, I will honestly answer every question he has for me. Once we have spoken, I’ll tell you our decision.
“Our objective is to win the Champions League, the Scudetto and the Italian Super Cup next season. Pirlo’s replacement will be world class. We already have several, including Thiago Silva, Alessandro Nesta, Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano.”
There are reports Cassano could be on his way out after only six months in order to join Fiorentina.
“When there is competition in a top side like Milan, everyone has to know the number of games they’ll play with vary. No club in the world can guarantee 50 matches per season.”
Gennaro Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini are out injured, so Allegri named the starting XI against Udinese.
Genoa President Enrico Preziosi is “90 per cent” sure Kevin-Prince Boateng will stay at Milan and admits Diego Milito won’t be returning either.
The Grifone signed Boateng from Portsmouth in the summer to then immediately loan him to the Rossoneri, but details of a permanent transfer are still up in the air.
“We’ll meet with Adriano Galliani on Tuesday. If we don’t resolve it then, it means we have serious problems,” explained Preziosi.
“If I have to give a percentage, then I’d say I’m 90 per cent sure the matter will be closed on Tuesday. I’ll be glad for this soap opera to end, as I frankly don’t think it’s a major problem.”
There are several loan and co-ownership deals in these negotiations, including goalkeeper Marco Amelia and striker Alberto Paloschi.
“The situation is a little complicated, as it involves eight players and not just Boateng. I hope we don’t get into an argument, but the friendship between the clubs should ensure a conciliatory position all round.
“Genoa will make their requests for Amelia, who is not a part of our plans. There is an agreement with Milan, we have already looked elsewhere, so we hope the promises are kept.”
Preziosi also commented on reported talks with Inter forward Milito, who has been linked with a return to Genoa after a disappointing campaign.
“He will be a protagonist at Inter again, because he wants to make up for this season.”
AC Milan counting on Seedorf bond 20.5 ||webmaster
Milan chief Adriano Galliani has revealed that the club want to sign a left-sided midfielder this summer.
“If none of our top players leave, which I don’t think they will, then Milan will make just one signing – a left-sided midfielder,” he noted on the day that the club were linked with Rafael Van Der Vaart.
“We are sorted in defence with Philippe Mexes and Taye Taiwo. And fine in attack if nobody departs.”
When asked about possible swoops for Javier Pastore of Palermo, Napoli’s Marek Hamsik or Santos star Ganso, Galliani cooled the speculation.
“They are players who are a little expensive and nobody will offer us a discount,” he continued. "Van Der Vaart? I think not."
The Milan official has had a busy week after extending the contracts of Alessandro Nesta, Pippo Inzaghi, Thiago Silva, Mark Van Bommel and Flavio Roma.
“Now I need to think about the contracts of Massimo Ambrosini and Clarence Seedorf,” he continued.
“Only after discussing things with Ambrosini and Seedorf will we then concentrate on bringing in the one player we want.”
Galliani, who added that he will meet with Genoa on Tuesday to discuss the future of Kevin Prince Boateng, also bid farewell to Andrea Pirlo.
“He’ll never be an opponent,” he noted after the midfielder confirmed his Milan departure. “Our Coach will now field a different type of player in front of the defence.
“Ambrosini, who I hope signs today, will alternate with Van Bommel.”
Milan also diffused stories that Antonio Cassano may want a move away from San Siro.
“He’s not expressed an unhappiness to be here,” Galliani continued. “He has a contract until 2014. If he isn’t content then we can talk about it.”
Pippo Inzaghi is overjoyed at extending his contract. “It’s a dream to end my career at Milan and I’ll catch Raul’s record.”
The 37-year-old is the latest veteran to sign a new agreement holding him to the club until June 30, 2012, as his current deal was set to expire next month.
“I am happy, as it’s a dream to end my career at Milan. I don’t think there were any alternatives, as what happened the other day at San Siro was worth so much,” he said of their Scudetto party.
“The negotiations have never been about the economic issues, as there has always been a great rapport between us and we shared great victories.
“Everyone came together to make this dream come true of staying for another year. It’s wonderful that there wasn’t the slightest doubt, because we are united as men first and foremost.”
Inzaghi barely featured this season due to a devastating knee injury, but even then was considered very low on the pecking order.
“I know what my role will be and will do everything possible to help Milan win, both on and off the field,” he told Milan Channel.
“I have two months to improve over the summer, so I hope to be ready for pre-season training and to catch Raul’s record.”
It has long been a battle between SuperPippo and Raul for the title of top goalscorer in European club football, but the injury and Schalke’s passage to the Champions League semi-finals sent the Spaniard out in front.
While Inzaghi and Alessandro Nesta have signed new contracts, Andrea Pirlo looks certain to walk away.
“Everyone knows what Andrea has given to this club and we will all miss him, but this is life and we must accept these things. I wish him the best and appreciate Andrea as a player and a man. He will never feel like an opponent.”
OFFICIAL: Inzaghi extends AC Milan deal 18.5 ||webmaster
Andrea Pirlo has put an end to his time with Milan. “I am here to say goodbye. These were 10 unforgettable years and it’s a consensual separation.”
The midfielder is one of several players out of contract on June 30, but while Alessandro Nesta, Mark Van Bommel, Flavio Roma and Thiago Silva all signed extensions this week, it looks as if Pirlo’s time is up.
“I am here to say goodbye,” he told Sky Sport Italia outside the Milan headquarters in Via Turati this afternoon.
“These were 10 unforgettable years and it’s a consensual separation. Do I hope Milan will regret losing me? Yes.”
It is widely believed Pirlo will sign for Juventus on a free transfer over the summer.
Clarence Seedorf had a meeting with Milan today, but admits “I don’t know if I will stay next season.”
The Dutchman’s contract expires on June 30 and he has several offers from overseas, including Brazilian sides Botafogo and Corinthians.
“Today’s meeting went well,” he said after talks with Vice-President Adriano Galliani.
“I don’t know if I will stay at Milan next season, but it was a very friendly meeting and we’ll talk again next week. We want to end the season with a victory against Udinese first, then we’ll discuss it.”
Some have already put pen to paper, as this evening it was announced that Thiago Silva, Mark Van Bommel and third choice goalkeeper Flavio Roma all signed new contracts.
“My rapport with Milan will be good, even if we no longer work together. After all, we have always got along well, as President Silvio Berlusconi and Galliani expressed words of affection towards me.”
This week Botafogo publicly declared their interest in signing Seedorf, whose wife is Brazilian.
“I have not met with any Botafogo directors personally. Maybe someone else did on my behalf.”
OFFICIAL: Thiago Silva and Van Bommel renew 17.5 ||webmaster
Udinese talent Kwadwo Asamoah’s agent has denied negotiations with Milan, but reports continue to suggest he is Andrea Pirlo’s heir.
It is highly unlikely that Pirlo will extend his contract with the Rossoneri, which expires next month.
“Massimiliano Allegri wants a player with different characteristics in that midfield role,” explained assistant manager Mauro Tassotti.
The man who fits the bill would appear to be Udinese’s Ghana international Asamoah, who scored a fine goal against Chievo at the weekend.
He is set to face Milan on Sunday in the final round of the Serie A season and there were rumoured talks between Rossoneri director Ariedo Braida and agent Claudio Vagheggi.
“I did meet with Braida, but can quite happily deny we talked about Kwadwo,” the representative told Calciomercato.it.
“At this moment the transfer market is the last thing on the mind of Udinese players. We certainly can’t be discussing negotiations just five days before such an important and decisive game.
“There is absolutely nothing in it and everyone is concentrated only on Sunday’s match. The lad is relaxed, he knows these rumours are normal, and is thinking only about the pitch. The same goes for his Udinese teammate, Pablo Armero.”
Napoli’s Marek Hamsik and Sandro of Tottenham could be targeted by Italian champions Milan over the summer.
The Rossoneri, fresh from their Scudetto triumph, want to build a side which is competitive enough to fight for the Champions League.
According to various Italian media on Monday, Napoli star Hamsik is at the top of boss Massimiliano Allegri’s wish-list.
Nevertheless, the San Siro giants know that signing such a player would be a problematic swoop.
The Slovakian is one of the Azzurri’s most prized assets and Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis would be reluctant to sell – especially after Napoli qualified for the European Cup last night for the first time in 21 years.
Add to that hurdle the fact that Hamsik would be valued at something like €30m by the San Paolo outfit and Milan may have to look elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the club are also being associated with Spurs midfielder Sandro after he impressed them in their Champions League meetings.
The South American is valued at around €15m and is wanted to strengthen a central midfield which may be without the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Massimo Ambrosini, Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo next term.
Sandro holds a Portuguese passport and thus can be registered as an EU player.
Boss Allegri is set to meet with Vice-President Adriano Galliani this week to discuss the club’s market strategy.
Milan chief Adriano Galliani insists “Kaka will not return and from Tuesday we’ll think about contract renewals.”
There have been numerous reports that the Rossoneri want to bring Kaka back from Real Madrid, including statements from Galliani and President Silvio Berlusconi.
“Unfortunately Kaka will not return and the reasons are economic ones,” Vice-President Galliani told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Roma will probably buy out Marco Borriello, while there’s absolutely no truth in talks for Cristiano Ronaldo or Michael Essien.
“Mario Balotelli to Milan? I doubt it.”
The Rossoneri have more pressing problems to deal with, as several stars – including Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Nesta, Pippo Inzaghi and captain Massimo Ambrosini – have contracts that expire next month.
“On Monday I am in a Lega Calcio meeting, so from Tuesday I’ll start speaking to the players about contract renewals.
“When a deal expires, everyone has to agree on the next course of action. We will look at the problem and see what happens.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng is still technically only on loan from Genoa and Galliani referred to his Michael Jackson-style Moonwalk performance during the Scudetto celebrations.
“I hope Genoa President Enrico Preziosi doesn’t raise the price-tag after seeing how he can dance!
“As well as a football player, he’s a born showman.”
Ambrosini and Robinho hail Boateng 15.5 ||webmaster
Massimo Ambrosini and Robinho hailed Kevin-Prince Boateng’s Moonwalk routine, while Clarence Seedorf analysed Milan’s Scudetto triumph.
The Ghanaian had pledged to dance like Michael Jackson on the San Siro pitch if they won the title and was true to his word during a night of celebrations.
“I only dance when I score, but I bet Boateng’s better!” grinned Robinho after scoring a brace in the 4-1 win over Cagliari.
“It is a great honour to win the Scudetto and a wonderful way to crown a fantastic season.”
Captain Ambrosini was also enjoying his teammate’s Moonwalk exhibition before a fireworks display in the stadium.
“Boateng is doing something much better than the game! We are the team who deserved to win the title.”
Seedorf was more reserved and focused on analysing Milan’s first Serie A trophy in seven years.
“To win the Scudetto you need consistency, a good defence, a forward line that works and above all a team that stays united during difficult moments,” said the Dutch veteran who scored against Cagliari.
“Every side goes through tough times during a season, but we did well to stay together and keep everything running smoothly.
“My future? As Milan announced, there will be a meeting next week.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng kept his promise and performed a Michael Jackson dance routine on the San Siro pitch during spectacular Scudetto celebrations!
The players all came out individually to accept the cheers of the crowd amid deafening music, followed by the management staff and Coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Having been given their gold medals, captain Massimo Ambrosini was last out to lift the Serie A trophy on the San Siro pitch amid fireworks, red and black confetti and champagne.
The squad then held up a giant club flag with the 18th title and paraded it all the way around the stadium.
There was also a large screen set up in Piazza Duomo for those supporters who couldn’t get tickets to the 4-1 win over Cagliari, including one with a goat dressed in the Rossoneri strip!
The players brought their children out on to the field to join the celebrations.
The lights were dimmed and a giant white sheet placed on the field as a projector screen for the images of their Scudetto celebrations last week against Roma and a speech from President Silvio Berlusconi.
Each player was then celebrated with an individual image, his autograph and his shirt number projected on to the stadium.
Everyone was waiting for the moment that Boateng had pledged a few weeks ago – that he would do Jackson’s Moonwalk dance on the San Siro pitch.
The lights went out and a spotlight picked out the Ghana international on a special podium, dressed in full Jackson outfit of sparkly black jacket, black trousers, white t-shirt and fedora hat placed over his face.
Boateng did a full dance routine as 'Billy Jean' played in the stadium, including Moonwalk and final twirl to throw his hat into the crowd.
The night concluded at around midnight local time with a spectacular fireworks display and light show inside the stadium.
Zambrotta: 'You never get used to this!' 14.5 ||webmaster
Milan celebrated the Scudetto by beating Cagliari 4-1 with Robinho, Gennaro Gattuso Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi's comeback. The team was handed the Serie A trophy after the final whistle.
There was certainly a party atmosphere at San Siro, as the team travelled here on an open-top bus greeted by 50,000 fans in Piazza Duomo before the game. It was their first home match since securing their 18th Scudetto and had a DJ to fire up the atmosphere. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alessandro Nesta were rested due to fitness worries, as the Swede was in a car crash on Thursday, while Kevin-Prince Boateng was suspended. Cagliari missed Nene and Francesco Pisano, but were comfortably safe mid-table. Curiously, both Max Allegri and Roberto Donadoni were facing their former clubs.
The Sardinians had lost the last six editions of this fixture, but Nainggolan had the first chance with a blockbuster from 25 metres that ruffled the roof of the net. Simone Missiroli and Robert Acquafresca both reached a wayward cross only for the latter to deflect it over from seven yards.
Urby Emanuelson's header was charged down, so Robinho followed up on the half-volley to force a great save out of Agazzi at the near post.
Robinho broke the deadlock with a sensational strike after 22 minutes. The Brazilian ran down the left flank and cut inside between three defenders to unleash a curler that swept round Agazzi's hand into the far bottom corner.
Moments later Milan got a second in frankly bizarre circumstances! Pato did all the work by running on to a through ball, but Agazzi came tearing out to smother at his feet and the ricochet off Clarence Seedorf landed on Gennaro Gattuso's head. The midfielder had an empty net to aim at for a very rare goal, his second of the season.
Seedorf's through ball sent Pato clear on goal, but he tried to chip Agazzi and the goalkeeper didn't fall for it.
Pato opted to set up his teammate instead moments later, rolling across for Robinho to surge unmarked into the box and sweep a cool right-foot finish past the on-rushing Agazzi.
Andrea Cossu got Cagliari on the scoresheet with a wonderfully classy strike, as he pulled back on to his left foot to send Mario Yepes to ground and placed an angled drive across Christian Abbiati.
Andrea Pirlo replaced Massimo Ambrosini at half-time for what is probably his final game at San Siro. His contract is up next month and a renewal seems unlikely.
Cagliari took a free kick from near the corner flag and as it reached Perico he thumped a fierce right-foot strike from distance that Abbiati flew to palm away.
Gattuso had a slight muscular problem and made way for Mathieu Flamini. The substitute tested Agazzi with a hopeful daisy-cutter, as did Robinho when attempting to complete his hat-trick.
Seedorf got his name on the scoresheet with his fourth goal of the season and Milan's fourth of the night. It was a wonderful team move with Pato touching on Robinho's pass for the Dutchman to spring the offside trap and place an angled drive past Agazzi. Seedorf is another of those likely to leave in the summer and after the goal he went to the bench for a long hug with Antonio Cassano.
A very special moment of the season when Pippo Inzaghi made his comeback to a standing ovation from San Siro. It was his first appearance since snapping knee ligaments against Palermo on November 10, ending 185 days on the sidelines.
Roberto Donadoni faces his former club and admits “it was pleasing to see Milan win the Scudetto, but Cagliari won’t be submissive tonight.”
The Coach spent most of his playing career at San Siro and returns during a party atmosphere.
“I must admit it was pleasing to see Milan win the Scudetto, as they represent an important element of my past, but it is going to be a real game,” declared Donadoni.
“It is also a cute coincidence that Massimiliano Allegri gets to celebrate the Scudetto by facing his former club.
“I don’t believe we’ll see the Rossoneri sit back in a satisfied fashion. On the contrary, they will want to make up for the midweek Coppa Italia defeat to Palermo. In turn, we won’t be submissive and fully intend to get a result.”
Cagliari secured their safety several weeks ago and it has showed in their performances, picking up just two points from their last five games.
“The team put in so much effort that when the certainty of safety arrived, perhaps we started to lose than little bit of concentration and determination that makes the difference.
“Recently the big problem has been losing momentum after the break. Just look at the statistics from Sunday’s defeat to Cesena, when we had 13 shots on target in the first half and just two in the second.”
Andrea Pirlo has rejected talk that he has already agreed to join Juventus. “I’d spend another 10 years here at Milan.”
The midfielder’s contract expires next month and there have been suggestions that he is all set for a switch to Turin.
However, speaking with the Corriere della Sera, he insisted that nothing had been decided about his future.
“It’s not true about Juventus,” he stated. “If I had already signed with Juve then why would I need to talk to Milan?
“I’ll be speaking with Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani in the coming days and then we’ll make a decision.
“However, both parties have to agree. If there are the right conditions in place and if they are happy then I would be happy to stay. I’d spend another 10 years here.”
Pirlo is just one of numerous high profile players at the club who have been told to wait until the end of the season before discussing new terms. Teammate Clarence Seedorf criticised that decision yesterday.
“It’s now the time for the club to let us know of their intentions,” Pirlo, the 2006 World Cup winner, added.
“Everyone is free to make their own decision. If there is no more room for the old guard then there will be no problem. It makes no sense to remain here at all costs.
“But I still feel young, I feel as if I can play at the highest level for another three or four years. I’m sure of what I am saying. That’s why a one-year contract makes no sense.
“I still want to win important trophies and for that reason it is right that I’ll continue to play in Europe.”
Milan and Juventus are among those pledging retaliation after the Lega Calcio voted in favour of the 15 smaller Serie A sides in the battle over TV rights.
The money from pay-per-view television rights is the main source of income for Italian clubs and every summer there tends to be controversy over how the funds are divided up.
The five big sides – Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma and Napoli – had protested vehemently against the other clubs following a meeting on April 15.
This is because the smaller sides picked three agencies to calculate how the television rights should be divided up and the top clubs disagreed with the choice.
Today the matter came to a head when the smaller sides won 6-5 with Lega Calcio President Maurizio Beretta’s decisive vote.
“Beretta will take responsibility for his actions, including what effect it will have on the Lega,” blasted Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani.
“He abstained from the first vote and promised to do the same today, but then changed his mind.”
Juventus President Andrea Agnelli was even more severe with the Lega decision.
“There are five clubs who between them represent 75 per cent of the fans, but are forced to accept the decisions of the other teams. We have 3m people in our potential audience compared to the 300,000 of the other 15.
“We will appeal to the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) to ensure the development of this sport. We are united with the other four big clubs and could leave the Lega.
“Does this mean possibly playing in the Premier League or French Ligue 1? We are evaluating all options.”
Beretta responded with a statement insisting “in the absence of other options supported by everyone, it was difficult to avoid getting the process underway.
“In any case, I maintain there are the time and the conditions to find an agreement between all parties on how this mechanism will work.”
Ibrahimovic 'thanks City, but wants AC Milan' 12.5 ||webmaster
Palermo are in their first Coppa Italia Final for 32 years after beating Milan 2-1 in a game with two red cards. The Sicilians face either Inter or Roma in the one-off Stadio Olimpico match on May 29.
The Rossoneri relied on Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Clarence Seedorf, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng were only fit for the bench. Andrea Pirlo tried the new wide left midfield position. Palermo had a 2-2 first leg result at San Siro to sit on and opted for a double-trequartista system.
Milan had lost their last four visits to the Barbera, not winning since 2006, but confidence was high after securing the Scudetto three days ago.
Robinho had the chance to take the lead after 150 seconds when springing the offside trap from a Pirlo ball over the top, but he fired over the bar. Mathieu Flamini's fierce cross-shot was punched off the line by Salvatore Sirigu, then a corner fell to Clarence Seedorf to again blast too high.
Palermo also threatened, as Abel Hernandez laid off Giulio Migliaccio's pass for Javier Pastore's snapshot on the bounce that whistled just wide.
A Pirlo free kick was smothered with some difficulty, then Alessandro Nesta closed down Federico Balzaretti's dangerous counter. Palermo made a tactical switch, introducing Armin Bacinovic for 19-year-old midfielder Afriyie Acquah.
Luca Antonini dragged a shot well wide from the edge of the box rather than set up Robinho. Bad luck on the stroke of half-time, as Thiago Silva accidentally clattered into teammate Antonini and the young Italian was stretchered off with an apparent knee injury. Gianluca Zambrotta and Marek Jankulovski are also sidelined, so Daniele Bonera had to come on at left-back.
After the restart Abel Hernandez drilled over and Alexandre Pato flashed across the face of goal from a tight angle. Palermo were far more aggressive than in the first half and it paid off.
An Ilicic corner was whipped in for Giulio Migliaccio's diving header in off the inside of the near post, as the midfielder got in front of Thiago Silva in the six-yard box.
It meant Milan now had to score twice to qualify, so Ibrahimovic was thrown on for Seedorf. Pato mistimed his header from Flamini's cross and as the move continued Ibra tried to backheel flick it in from six yards, but it whistled wide.
At the other end Pastore's flick set up Hernandez for a shot with the outside of his left foot that came off Thiago Silva to hit the side-netting. From the corner, Migliaccio's glancing header was again just wide.
Ibrahimovic was on the pitch for four minutes when booked for clattering into Dorin Goian.
The situation deteriorated for Milan when Pastore's through ball allowed Ilicic to go clear on goal, pulled back by Mark Van Bommel for an inevitable penalty and red card. Cesare Bovo stepped up to convert successfully and send Christian Abbiati the wrong way, even if Coach Delio Rossi was too nervous to watch.
Evidently the enthusiasm got to Bovo, as the goalscorer was shown a straight red card mere seconds later for an insanely high tackle. He completely mistimed his intervention to kick Pato on the side of the head. It was unintentional, but incredibly dangerous.
Milan still needed two goals, this time to force extra time. Massimiliano Allegri threw on Antonio Cassano for Alessandro Nesta, so four strikers were on the field.
Ibrahimovic thought he had got the Rossoneri back into it, but Palermo were saved by an incredible stroke of luck! A long Pirlo pass found Ibra at the back post, where his tap-in hit the upright, rolled all the way along the goalline and off the other stick!
Sirigu smothered a Flamini effort from close range and Ibrahimovic did score at the 94th minute. He sprung the offside trap and flicked a finish with the outside of his right boot to beat the on-rushing Sirigu.
Ibra also had penalty appeals, but seemed to go to ground very easily and the referee quite rightly waved play on.
However, it was too late and Palermo went through to their third Coppa Italia Final after 1974 and 1979.
Pippo Inzaghi hopes to play on for another year after his devastating injury. “I intend to renew my contract with Milan.”
The striker scored some crucial goals in the early part of the campaign, but has been out of action since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and external meniscus ligament in his left knee on November 10.
“I would like to take part in next season’s celebrations too,” said SuperPippo after the 18th Scudetto party.
“Unfortunately this year I had to spend a lot of time on the sidelines, which is particularly difficult for someone like me, but I’m happy to celebrate another trophy with Milan.
“I have to praise the club, the directors and the squad, as we have a great group of players here. Everyone fits in perfectly.
“On Thursday I will resume full training with the team and hope to play the next game at San Siro.”
Inzaghi is one of several veterans whose contract expires on June 30 and negotiations have been postponed until the title was secure.
“I intend to renew my contract with Milan. I hope to end my career in this side and everything points towards that being the case.”
Pirlo: 'We'll see if I'm still at AC Milan' 8.5 ||webmaster
Thiago Silva and Ignazio Abate were rocks of the Milan defence this season and are already looking ahead to the Champions League.
“This is a highly-competitive side and I always believed, but only on this evening did I realise we could do it,” said Thiago Silva of their 0-0 draw with Roma that clinched the Scudetto.
“It’s truly difficult to win in Serie A, so all of us deserve praise. There is no stand-out player, as we all did well and can all celebrate.
“Now we can look ahead and my next dream is to win the Champions League with Milan.”
Teammate Abate was a revelation, as he had been a winger who was transformed into an effective right-back.
“We are all happy, as it has been an extraordinary year,” said the Italian.
“I must thank all my teammates and especially Alessandro Nesta, who gave me advice throughout the campaign.
“I did believe that I could play this role and the Coach put me straight in there during a delicate encounter with Real Madrid. Massimiliano Allegri always pushed me to improve myself, even in a new position.
“I’ve played in many different Leagues, but this is the football that counts. A big club means always confirming your success, so I look ahead to improving myself next season.”
President Silvio Berlusconi celebrated Milan’s 18th Scudetto and promised “some more gifts for the fans over the summer.”
The Rossoneri clinched the Serie A title with a goalless draw at Roma’s Stadio Olimpico this evening, ending a five-year Inter reign.
“The Scudetto has finally returned to the red and black side of San Siro,” Berlusconi told Mediaset.
“At the end of the day, I think the title is deserved. All our choices were decisive. Massimiliano Allegri understood our style and the fact we never focus on the result more than giving entertainment on the pitch.
“We made important signings and have a competitive squad, but all this doesn’t come cheap. You cannot win in football without spending a lot of money.
“Do I have some more gifts for the fans over the summer? Yes, hopefully the transfer market will allow me to do that for the supporters.”
Galliani: 'Derby was the crossroads' 7.5 ||webmaster
Massimiliano Allegri has won the Scudetto at his first attempt with Milan. “I still can’t believe it! I made a pledge with Adriano Galliani.”
The former Cagliari Coach had never won silverware before, but is Champion of Italy after a 0-0 draw at Roma this evening.
“It was important to finish this off against Roma, who still have ambitions of fourth place. We played with great concentration to bring the Scudetto to Milan without waiting for next Sunday,” said Allegri.
“I have to thank the lads, the President who gave me this chance and this squad with newcomers who behaved impeccably in the locker room.
“These men have won so many trophies, but they were professionals working for the group. This is why we won the Scudetto.
“To be honest, I still can’t believe it! I’m incredibly happy and lucky. I had a great squad at my disposal and there was always respect between players.
“The best moment was the derby, as that was the right time to break away from Inter. It’s just a shame we’re not in Milan right now.”
When asked if he had planned anything special, Allegri revealed a promise with Milan’s Vice-President.
“Galliani and I made a pledge that if we won the Scudetto, we’d walk up to the church in Versilia on foot. It’ll be quite a hike!”
Pato's first, Seedorf and Ambro's last? 7.5 ||webmaster
Milan are the Champions of Italy after a goalless draw at Roma clinched the Scudetto!
A point would be enough for the Rossoneri to mathematically secure the title, but the Giallorossi needed a result too in order to stay in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from his three-match ban, though Alexandre Pato was only fit for the bench. Roma had Simone Perrotta and Daniele De Rossi suspended, replaced by Fabio Simplicio and Matteo Brighi. Milan's last win at the Olimpico was in March 2005.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Rodrigo Taddei had early efforts whistle wide.
Roma somehow failed to take the lead after 14 minutes. Marco Cassetti skipped past Gianluca Zambrotta and floated in a cross for Mirko Vucinic, but Christian Abbiati sprinted off his line to charge it down at the back post. It was a combination of the goalkeeper and Alessandro Nesta who managed to smother from point-blank range.
Brighi picked up a knock early on during a collision with Gennaro Gattuso. He tried to carry on, but eventually had to limp off to make way for Aleandro Rosi.
Francesco Totti's back-heel flick combined with Vucinic, but the captain was closed down by Clarence Seedorf as he pulled the trigger. A dangerous through ball threatened to find Vucinic from eight yards, but Nesta was at full stretch to get a slight interception. From the corner, Rosi's header caused trouble with Abbiati stranded.
Abbiati did better when smothering another Rosi angled drive towards the near post in a chance created by Fabio Simplicio.
At the other end, Ibrahimovic gathered a Robinho through ball, but Juan stuck out a foot to force a corner as he prepared the shot. A crucial Nicolas Burdisso sliding tackle also prevented Ibra's through ball reaching Boateng.
In first half stoppages Totti pulled back from the corner flag for Simplicio, but again Abbiati was quick off his line to smother at the Brazilian's feet.
Max Allegri made a half-time change with Massimo Ambrosini replacing Gattuso.
Within 32 seconds of the restart, Milan had their best chance of the game so far. Ignazio Abate set up Robinho for a curler from the edge of the box that cracked against the base of the far post with Alexander Doni beaten.
A free kick was whipped in by Seedorf for Ambrosini's half-volley deflected wide. Simplicio drilled wide from the D on a corner and ex-Milan striker Marco Borriello replaced Vucinic.
Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap to get on the end of a long ball and at full stretch made contact with the ball, but so did Doni and the referee waved play on.
Boateng and much of the Stadio Olimpico thought Milan had taken the lead on the hour mark when he sprung the offside trap from a chipped Ambrosini pass and drew out the goalkeeper, but his angled drive shaved a coat of paint off the far post of an open goal.
Moments later Doni parried a blisteringly powerful Ibrahimovic free kick into the path of Seedorf, then defenders threw themselves at the follow-up.
Pato made his comeback from a thigh strain to replace Robinho. There was an odd moment when Borriello thought he'd been dragged back by Nesta, but the referee gave a free kick against him.
Abbiati smothered a David Pizarro free kick, but both teams appeared to be relatively content with the draw. This made more sense for Milan than it did for Vincenzo Montella's men.
Juan has warned Milan that Roma aim to ruin their Scudetto party tonight. “We’ll fight to the end for the Champions League.”
The Rossoneri will secure the Serie A title this evening with a point at the Olimpico, but both sides are fired up.
“Every game from now to the end of the season is important,” Juan told Globoesporte.
“It won’t be easy to earn a place in the Champions League. We need to win all three remaining matches and hope that other results go our way.
“While there is still the mathematical possibility of a top four finish, then we will believe and fight to the end.
“Do not forget, we kept our chances alive thanks to the win at Bari.”
That 3-2 result in stoppages took Roma within a point of fourth-placed Lazio with Francesco Totti bagging a brace.
“Totti has always made the difference,” continued Juan. “I try to do my part in defence so that he and the others can be decisive in attack. We hope that Totti can keep up this form during the final rush, because everything is possible with him playing like that.”
Gianluca Zambrotta looks forward to Milan’s Scudetto party, potentially tonight, and reveals “Leonardo is the Coach I had most problems with in my career.”
The veteran full-back looked back in a long interview with Sky Sport Italia and was asked to compare the last three Rossoneri tacticians.
“I already knew Carlo Ancelotti from our time at Juventus, so I got on well with him straight away,” explained Zambro.
“I had a few issues with Leonardo in the year of the World Cup in South Africa. It was nothing to cause controversy about, but he is the Coach I had the most problems with in my career.
“Massimiliano Allegri is a young Coach who wants to make an impact, never gives in and gave these qualities to the squad. He’s doing a great job.”
If Milan avoid defeat against Roma this evening, then they will mathematically secure the Scudetto.
“Today Thiago Silva is the best defender around and he will be in future too, hoping he’ll stay at Milan for as long as possible.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic has grown a great deal from his time at Juventus. He always scored goals, but is now more incisive and has matured in every respect. He brought his winning mentality to the group, always wants 110 per cent from himself and his teammates.”
Zanetti: 'AC Milan deserve Scudetto' 6.5 ||webmaster
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi maintains “I deserve to have a stadium named after me considering everything I’ve won with this club.”
The patron, who is also Italy’s Prime Minister and a media magnate, saved the Rossoneri from bankruptcy in 1986 and recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of that takeover.
“We’ll only talk about the Scudetto when it is already sewn on to the shirt,” he said on television show Porta a Porta.
“If it does happen, then it will be the 27th big trophy Milan have won under my tenure. We are already the most successful club in the world and made me the President who has won more than any other in history.
“After me, the President who won the most was the great Santiago Bernabeu of Real Madrid.
“The Spanish named a stadium after him. I think I deserve having the stadium in Milan named after me.”
That would not sit well with Inter supporters, who share the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, also known as San Siro.
Under Berlusconi, Milan have won seven Scudetti, five European Cups/Champions League trophies, three Intercontinental Cups/Club World Cups five European Super Cups, one Coppa Italia and five Italian Super Cups.
AC Milan spotted in Marko Marin talks? 4.5 ||webmaster
This is Adidas' press release regarding the new AC Milan kit (photos at the bottom):
Somewhere between innovation and tradition, true to the style of adidas and AC Milan - for the 2011/12 jersey, the three-stripe label has decided to combine its most innovative technology with a design reminiscent of the Rossoneri strips of the early twentieth century.
The launch, too, was structured along the same lines - journalists from the traditional media and bloggers gathered at adidas Italy’s Brand Center in Monza but Milan fans from across Italy and the world were also able to attend the unveiling of the new strip and to ask the guests in attendance questions by means of live streaming at adidas.com.
Guests at the event included CEO and Vice President of AC Milan, Adriano Galliani, Senior Vice President Commercial Operations (Europe and Russian Federation) of Emirates, Salem Obaidalla, and the CEO of adidas Italy, Jean Michel Granier.
The star models of the new kit were Rossoneri players Clarence Seedorf, Mark Van Bommel and Luca Antonini.
The event was hosted by familiar television personality, and avid AC Milan fan, Daniele Bossari.
The strip will be worn for the first time on May 15th for the penultimate game of the league against Cagliari.
Design of the strip
ReReverting once again to the thinner 2cm-wide stripes compared to the 9cm-wide ones of last year,there there are 21 stripes in total, 11 of which are black and 10 red.
The white crew neck stands out with three stripes on the sleeves, which are white for the first time, on a red inset. TThe back of the collar bears the words “Associazione Calcio Milan” underneath the Italian flag to highlight the fact that Milan is one of the best-known symbols of Italy around the world.
Reference to the colours of the Italian flag can be found on the insets at the sides on the front of the shirt as well as on the shorts and socks.
Next season, AC Milan players will be able to choose whether to wear the TECHFIT™ PowerWEB uniform as a single layer or whether to wear the base layers under the FORMOTION™ uniform, which has a traditional fit.
TECHFIT™ PowerWEB is the most innovative technology used for sportswear. Thanks to the use of special compression fabrics and the application of TPU strips at specific areas of the body, the TECHFIT™ layers are able to concentrate muscular energy to the maximum to give the athlete explosive power, acceleration and resistance, whilst reducing muscle vibration, improving the athlete's posture, the feel of their body and level of core stability in order to guarantee not just any performance but record-breaking performance.
Worn all together (shirt, shorts and socks), the TECHFIT™ PowerWEB kit is able to increase players’ power by 5.3%*, their jump height by 4%*, their sprinting speed by 1.1%* and their efficiency by 0.8%*. adidas TECHFIT™ PowerWEB kits, worn as a single layer, are 45% lighter than the classic two-piece kit worn together.
The ForMotion™ strip sees the use of three-dimensional and elastic fabrics which adapt perfectly to the body of the player and subsequently improve the fit of the strip in order to optimise movement, comfort and increase freedom of action.
The addition of adidas ClimaCool™ and adidas FlowMapping™ ensures optimum breathability and helps the Rossoneri players to maintain an ideal body temperature, even under pressure.
The new AC Milan shirt is about to be released on Adidas Italy in a conference starting today at 16:00 Italian time. Tune in to see it on that site. We've got someone participating from our part as well and will file a report on The AC Milan Blog after all is said and done.
UPDATE: Given how short this all affair was and the fact that our correspondent didn't get the chance to ask questions, we're not going to file a report on the blog. If you want to get the gist of it you should check this thread out.
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is clinging to superstition. “At least we have second place under lock and key.”
The Rossoneri need only one point to be sure of the Scudetto after today’s 1-0 win over Bologna.
“I don’t like making predictions,” said Galliani. “There are some good opportunities in the next three games, but seeing as I don’t know the future, I’ll say that at least we have second place under lock and key.
“If Inter get nine points and we need one, then we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.”
The Vice-President thanked President Silvio Berlusconi for an intensive transfer campaign that brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Antonio Cassano, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mark Van Bommel.
“Berlusconi decided to invest a lot of money. Milan could’ve started the season with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Marco Borriello, but the President was fantastic and his financial efforts have brought us to this stage.
“He also reiterated that commitment in January. We knew that we were targeting the Scudetto this season, which is why we bought Cassano, Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson in January despite the fact they couldn’t play in the Champions League.”
It will also be the first major silverware in the career of Coach Massimiliano Allegri in his debut San Siro campaign.
“I used to watch his Sassuolo side play good football, just like his Cagliari. Don’t forget Arrigo Sacchi had never managed in Serie A, while Fabio Capello was a newcomer to the bench and Leonardo was a technical director.
“It takes a little imagination and that’s what we do here at Milan. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Milan are edging closer to the Scudetto, although Mathieu Flamini's early goal saw them scrape past 10-man Bologna.
The Rossoneri would not be crowned champions today, as Inter and Napoli won their games on Saturday, but still required just four points from the rest of the season to seal the Scudetto. Bologna thought they were safe, but after four straight defeats risked being sucked back into the drop zone.
Mark Van Bommel joined Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the naughty step with Alexandre Pato, Gennaro Gattuso, Pippo Inzaghi and Marek Jankulovski injured. The visitors were without Diego Perez, Antonio Busce', Gyorgy Garics and Andrea Esposito.
Mathieu Flamini broke the deadlock when he ran on to a Robinho through ball and let it go on to confuse the defenders. His first shot was parried by Emiliano Viviano, but the goalkeeper could do nothing on the follow-up.
Antonio Cassano wasted a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 on 17 minutes, as he sprung the offside trap from Ambrosini's assist and spun round from eight yards, but fired straight at Viviano.
Kevin-Prince Boateng got under Robinho's cross to head it over from close range, then Milan went on a classic counter-attack but Flamini failed his brace by essentially passing it to Viviano's outstretched feet.
Robinho went absolutely clear on goal with the counter-attack only to blast wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
It was still 1-0 and Bologna threatened an equaliser when Marco Di Vaio just failed to get on the end of an Albin Ekdal cross-shot.
Abbiati was rooted to the spot when substitute Henry Gimenez jumped above the crowd to nod inches past the far post.
Milan were tired towards the end and clinging on for dear life, as Bologna were repeatedly dangerous from dead ball situations. This time Della Rocca's header whistled wide with Abbiati well beaten.
Bologna went down to 10 men for Della Rocca's tackle on Alessandro Nesta. It was an extremely harsh straight red card moments after Ambrosini's tackle on Gimenez should've stopped play for a free kick.
Nonetheless, the Rossoblu would not give in and continued to put on the pressure. Teenage Milan striker Giacomo Beretta had a good chance to put it beyond doubt, but fired straight at the goalkeeper.
Alberto Malesani has no intention of making Milan’s Scudetto celebrations easy. “Bologna’s defeat is not a given.”
The Rossoneri cannot clinch the title today even with a victory, as Inter and Napoli both won their Saturday games.
However, a win would mean they’d need only one point from their remaining three matches to secure the Serie A crown.
“Milan are a fantastic squad and I adore them, but my lads are concentrated and Bologna’s defeat is not a given,” warned Coach Malesani.
“We are capable of achieving big results in critical arenas. I am most concerned by the team work of Milan and that is thanks to their manager, Massimiliano Allegri.
“We are fully aware that our opponents are superior, but we hope to bridge that gap with a great performance.”
His side had somewhat taken their foot off the gas after reaching the 40-point mark, but after four consecutive defeats they are no longer looking entirely safe from the threat of relegation.
“My players want to emerge from this difficult period and return to being the team they were before.
“We must not make a drama out of this. The crisis we’re going through was also experienced by Palermo and Udinese this season. Naturally it looked worse because it happened just as we were ready for the step up in quality.
“When everything goes wrong, you need to be humble and I hope to bring this calm state of mind to the squad.”