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Gattuso sparks Milan revival but money issues still a problem 27.5 ||webmaster
The news that AC Milan are in danger of being banned from European competition for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules is an unwelcome distraction to their summer transfer plans.
Milan's case was referred to the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA's club financial control body earlier this week, with the regulatory body set to look into whether Chinese investors Rossoneri Sport have the ability to repay loans they took out to finance the purchase of the club last summer.
American hedge fund Elliott Management is reported to have loaned the Li Yonghong-led group more than Ł250 million and these loans must be repaid by October, together with more than Ł40m of interest.
Milan finished the Serie A campaign in sixth place, good enough for a place in next season's Europa League, although it was another disappointing campaign by their standards.
However, Gennaro Gattuso did spark an arrival in the club's fortunes after taking over as manager in December 2017 and he is eager to build a side capable of challenging for a top four spot next term.
Milan are priced at around 16/1 to win next season's Serie A title and punters should use this BookiePro Promo Code if they fancy Gattuso to inspire them to even greater heights.
He was deservedly rewarded for his work with a contract that will see him remain in charge until 2021 and his tenacious nature seems to be an ideal fit for Milan.
Without a league title since 2011, Milan's most realistic aim next term is to secure a return to the Champions League.
Retaining the services of the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma and Suso would be a major statement of intent.
Midfield is one area that Gattuso has said he wants to strengthen and Milan have become increasingly confident that they can snap up Marouane Fellaini on a free transfer from Manchester United this summer.
The Belgian's contract expires next month meaning he is free to enter into talks with any club – although he has not ruled out staying at United and they could yet make an improved offer for him.
Fellaini isn't everyone's cup of tea as a player, but his style of play would bring added grit to Milan's engine room.
Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk) and Nicolo Barella (Cagliari) are other potential midfield targets, although Jordan Veretout is arguably the player Gattuso should be prioritising.
The Fiorentina player excelled in his first season in Italy and his transfer fee should be within Milan's range.
With two or three quality additions to their squad Milan should certainly be capable of challenging for the top four next term – assuming the club can resolve its FFP issue.
Balotelli and Donnarumma for Napoli? 25.5 ||webmaster
Agent Mino Raiola refused to comment when asked if Mario Balotelli and Gianluigi Donnarumma could go to Napoli.
The Nice striker is a free agent next month, as his contract with the Ligue 1 side expires, while the Milan goalkeeper has an increasingly tense situation with the fans at San Siro.
Milan had gone behind, but came back with a vengeance to crush Fiorentina 5-1 and book their Europa League ticket.
The Rossoneri needed a win to be sure of sixth place and direct access to the Europa League group phase, or at least to match Atalanta’s result at Cagliari, but Riccardo Montolivo and Fabio Borini were suspended with Suso, Andrea Conti and Cristian Zapata injured. Manuel Locatelli stepped in for not 100 per cent fit Lucas Biglia. The Viola were virtually out of the running for Europe and had Jordan Veretout banned.
Coppa Italia: Juventus 4:0 AC Milan - match report 13.5 ||webmaster
Scorers: Benatia 56, 64 (J), Douglas Costa 61 (J), Kalinic og 76 (J)
Giorgio Chiellini was injured and Gonzalo Higuain surprisingly dropped in favour of Mario Mandzukic. The Rossoneri were highly-motivated, as victory would also ensure their place in the Europa League group phase. Instead, this means fifth, sixth and seventh will go into the Europa League, but the side in seventh will need to start the preliminary rounds in July.
This was the fifth time these clubs have met in the Coppa Italia Final, with three Juve victories in 1942, 1990 and 2016, losing only in 1973. All five of the meetings between these sides in one-off Finals of all competition had gone to extra time, four of them to penalties.
Milan earned a comfortable 4-1 victory to keep European ambitions alive and mathematically sent Hellas Verona back to Serie B.
The Rossoneri were battling for Europa League places, but lost their last home game to already-doomed Benevento and were missing Lucas Biglia and Andrea Conti, but Alessio Romagnoli returned from injury. Hellas were practically relegated, knowing they’d be down if they failed to win at San Siro – something the club had never managed in 26 previous attempts.
Germany still the team to beat in Russia this summer 1.5 ||webmaster
The World Cup is now less than two months ago, which is always a sentence that always gets over a billion people around the globe doing a little dance and putting up their wall planners. While the managers of the 32 teams preparing to participate in this summer's tournament in Russia will be finalising their plans and squads, the rest of us are busy trying to predict just how the 2018 World Cup will pan out. Now, as we've seen in the past, most recently with Portugal's victory at the 2016 European Championships, major tournaments aren't always won by those teams you'd expect.
This, however, is rarely the case when it comes to the World Cup. While there is always the chance a Panama could make it to the latter stages of the tournament, getting out of the group and then beyond the knockout round takes more than a couple of lucky breaks. No, despite the hope that fuels a nation for a few months, there are only a handful of teams that realistically have a chance of lifting the famous trophy in Russia this summer - and we're afraid to say that England aren't one of them, especially after the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Despite the brief genuine belief that will sweep the nation before Gareth Southgate's men inevitable loss to Poland in the round of 16.
So, which teams stand the best chance of success this summer:
Perhaps surprisingly, Germany won't start this World Cup as the firm favourites. Despite possessing, what many feel is, the strongest squad on paper, Joachim Low's side have been written off by some, priced at around 5/1 with some. The Germans will certainly arrive in Russia full of confidence after winning last year's Confederations Cup, with what was a squad missing the majority of their best players. On the flip-side, though, winning the World Cup's warm up tournament is usually a precursor to failing to win the big one. While they may have the strongest squad, there are some question marks next to the German's forwards, with some wondering where the goals are going to come from without the prolific Miroslav Klose. That said, you'd be a brave soul to write off Low's men, and it's no surprise to see so many picking the Germans to win over on the FootballTips.com World Cup tips guide.
Having taken over from Dunga in June of 2016, Tite completely turned things around for the five-time World Cup winners after dominating a tough South American qualifying group - something his predecessor struggled to do. With memories of a disastrous 2014 World Cup campaign still fresh in Brazilians' memories, capped off by their 7-1 hammering at the hands of Germany, there is a lot of pressure on Brazil this summer in Russia in a relatively easy group in which Serbia will be their main challengers along with a Switzerland team featuring AC Milan left back Ricardo Rodriguez. Of course, much of the South Americans' hopes depend on how fit Neymar is - with the PSG striker in a race against time to recover from a broken metatarsal. Behind him, though, Tite has a plethora of talent, more than enough to make a real charge towards a sixth World Cup title, repeating what they did in 1958: winning a World Cup in Europe. And with odds of around 11/2 to go all the way in Russia, Brazil appear to have as good a chance as any.
There are some who continue to write Spain off as a team past their best but that's a very simplistic way of looking at one of the main contenders this summer. Led by the influential Sergio Ramos, Spain possess the talent and know-how to make a real run at the title this year. In David De Gea, Sergio Busquets, David Silva, Isco, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta, Spain have a group of players that could walk into any team in the world. And with AC Milan's Suso also knocking at the door after an impressive spell in Serie A, there are a number of potential match winners in this Spain squad. The question is now whether they can put it all together when it matters. If they can, Spain have a great chance of lifting the trophy, reflected in their pre-tournament betting odds, priced at around 7/1, although Portugal, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Suso's AC Milan team-mate Andre Silva, will be hoping to push the Spaniards all the way in Group B.