Pato agent in Milan
30.6 || webmaster
The agent of teenage sensation Alexandre Pato is in Milan for talks with both San Siro clubs, although Chelsea also want the Brazilian.
Representative Gilmar Veloz flew in to Milan this morning for negotiations, as 17-year-old Pato has set the transfer market alight with his performances for Internacional.
He has already won the Copa Libertadores and FIFA World Club Championship and was a star of the Under-20 South American Championship, won by Brazil in January.
“Pato is a young player, very young, but we are not the only important club who like him,” noted Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti on Friday.
Inter are also preparing a firm £17m bid for what many have referred to as ‘the new Kaka’, but Chelsea are in the frame too.
Berlusconi: Bring me Adriano!
30.6 || webmaster
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi admits Andriy Shevchenko is too expensive, but publicly asks Inter for Adriano!
The patron has never disguised his fondness for Sheva, even after the £30m move to Chelsea leaving the door wide open for a surprise comeback.
“Shevchenko is always in first place for me, but Roman Abramovich is asking too much. Shevchenko would have no problem in returning to us and I am convinced he would be the ideal partner for Ronaldo.”
“Our fans must relax. We will get a great player, but without rushing it, as it is important to have patience,” said the patron after missing out on David Suazo to rivals Inter.
“Cagliari offered us Suazo, then when we discovered it was not possible to sign him, we stepped aside and refused to put obstacles in Inter’s path.”
The good rapport between the two ‘cugini’ could also see a shock summer transfer, as Suazo’s arrival pushes Adriano out of the Nerazzurri squad. Could Milan swoop for the unsettled hitman?
“If only! I have always liked Adriano a great deal and think that he would be at ease at Milan among all the Brazilians we have here,” smiled Berlusconi.
“Milan are a huge family and being here would give him the opportunity to express himself at his best, just as Ronaldo already has.”
This is not the first time that the thought of Adriano wearing the Rossoneri jersey has crossed the front pages, but Berlusconi takes it a step further.
“With what happened recently I’m not sure if it will be possible, as I called Massimo Moratti to organise a friendly match so Milan and Inter could celebrate their success together, but we haven’t been able to find a date yet.
“Having said that, I repeat that I would very much like Adriano at Milan if we could reach an agreement with Inter.”
Other candidates for the forward role include Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho, but Barcelona have stated the pair are not for sale.
“I also want to remind fans that we already have an important new player – Ronaldo can now compete for us in the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, Milan are closing in on former Juventus and Roma midfielder Emerson, who will not be needed at Real Madrid after Fabio Capello’s dismissal.
The Brazilian, known as ‘Puma’, has reportedly already been in negotiations with the Rossoneri for some time and finally got the all-clear to leave Madrid.
AC Milan debate Cassano bid
30.6 || webmaster
Milan transfer guru Adriano Galliani has left the door open for Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko and admitted the squad must vote on whether to welcome Antonio Cassano.
The Rossoneri thought they had signed their new striker when a £10m deal was struck with Cagliari, but David Suazo insisted on joining their arch rivals Inter, so the search is back on.
“I will not disturb other clubs,” he told Sky Italia. “I spoke with Barcelona’s top director after the President, who is Feran Soriano, but at the moment Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o are not for sale.”
Nonetheless, Galliani is keeping his hopes up, as the arrival of Thierry Henry could squeeze the Brazilian out of the Nou Camp.
“We will see. We are keeping our doors open and have a free non-EU member place because Kaka got married and now has an Italian passport.”
One of the other players earmarked for that spot was Shevchenko, who would welcome a return to San Siro just a year after his troubled £30m move to Chelsea.
The reports of another bid were fuelled when Sheva met with Paolo Maldini as both were on holiday in Miami.
“I am getting all sorts of information,” confessed Galliani. “When it comes to Shevchenko, we have to understand if there is a possibility of the transfer and at what price, but here as well Chelsea said no.
“He is also a non-EU member, but we have a place and are open to taking in any striker from any nationality in the world.”
That includes an Italian, so over the past few days Milan have come out into the open with their interest in Real Madrid misfit Cassano.
“Cassano is a player that I would like, but we all have to agree on the matter. I like him because it would be a fascinating challenge. He certainly doesn’t lack talent, so perhaps he would flourish in an environment like Milan, who knows?”
Former Roma starlet Cassano is notorious for his temperament and has had several bust-ups with Coaches at club and international level, including Fabio Capello and Gigi Del Neri.
It is reported that the Rossoneri will have a vote inside the locker room and among the Coaching staff before deciding whether to make a firm bid for the volatile player.
“We are working hard at the moment on cutting down the size of the squad and have already found placements for 11 of the 12 players who will be leaving this summer. The only one still to go is goalkeeper Marco Storari, who will certainly find the best place for him.”
Another of Milan’s shot-stoppers, Ferdinando Coppola, has been loaned out to Atalanta after spending last season at Piacenza.
Abidal admits AC Milan snub
30.6 || webmaster
Lyon full-back Eric Abidal has revealed that he turned down an offer from Milan in the hope of joining Barcelona.
The 27-year-old is expected to sign a deal with the Spanish giants on Friday and is looking forward to teaming up with fellow countryman Thierry Henry, who also arrived in Catalonia this week.
“Barcelona are just the club where I have always dreamed of playing when I was a kid. They are a great outfit,” said Abidal in an interview with L’Equipe.
“Milan were interested in me? It is true. They are a prestigious club, but today Italy is not my aim. Maybe when I am older I will change my mind,” added the Frenchman.
“The day I signed for Lyon I could not believe it so, if as expected, I sign for Barcelona on Friday I will be in the same state of mind. It really is a dream come true.
“I spoke on the phone with Henry. He called me during the holidays to tell me that he would sign for them, so I did the same when I knew I would sign,” concluded the former Monaco defender.
Abidal, who joined Lyon from Lille in 2004, is expected sign a four-year contract with the Blaugrana, who have agreed to pay the French champions around £10m.
Serie A dates revealed
28.6 || webmaster
The Lega Calcio has released the schedule for Serie A next term – and there’s bad news for Roberto Donadoni and the Azzurri.
The FIGC had originally asked for the campaign to begin on August 19 to help the Italy squad to prepare for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against France on September 8 and Ukraine on September 12.
However, Donadoni and Co’s request fell on deaf ears and it has been decided that the big kick-off will be on August 26 instead.
There will also be no midweek rounds between the end of October and the end of February, as asked for by the Italian Players’ Association.
The Italian Super Cup Final between Scudetto winners Inter and Coppa Italia holders Roma will be played at the Stadio Meazza on August 19.
Serie A kick-off
August 26, 2007
September 26, 2007
October 31, 2007
February 27, 2008
March 19, 2008
September 9, 2007 - Euro 2008 qualifier
October 14, 2007 - Euro 2008 qualifier
November 18, 2007 - Euro 2008 qualifier
December 30, 2007 - Winter break
January 6, 2008 - Winter break
May 18, 2008
AC Milan's season ticket boom
28.6 || webmaster
With a mouth-watering campaign in prospect, Rossoneri fever has swept Milan and season ticket sales have rocketed.
The Diavoli have reported 21,344 early ticket sales – an increase of over 13,000 from this time last year.
The bumper ticket sales may be a result of winning the Champions League and the excitement generated by the club’s search for a high-profile striker.
If the Via Turati outfit are able to lure one of Samuel Eto’o, Andriy Shevchenko or Didier Drogba to the San Siro they can expect to sail past last season’s final total of 37,300 season tickets sold.
Serie A attendances have been in decline in recent years, but Milan still boasted an average gate of 47,000 last term – second only to Inter – in spite of the Calciopoli gloom.
It is estimated that Milan’s advanced sales will generate almost £5m for the club.
Milan clubs fight for Maresca
28.6 || webmaster
Milan and Inter could clash in the transfer market again as they both try to lure Sevilla midfielder Enzo Maresca.
The two city rivals have reportedly made contact with the Spanish side in the hope of negotiating a deal for the 27-year-old.
Having started his career in Milan’s youth side, Maresca made his full senior debut for West Bromwich Albion before returning to Juventus in 2000.
However, he failed to cement a regular place in the side and after three co-ownership deals was sold to Sevilla for just £1.7m.
Unlike several other Italian exports, Maresca has thrived in Spain and is a fans’ favourite at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Inter’s offer is allegedly greater than Milan’s, with a figure of around £5.3m being suggested, but sources say that Sevilla won’t be satisfied with anything less than £7m.
After Milan’s controversial attempt to snatch David Suazo away from Inter at the 11th hour, both sides remain tight-lipped over their bids.
OFFICIAL: Bologna sign AC Milan's Di Gennaro
28.6 || webmaster
Promising Milan youngster Davide Di Gennaro is sent on a one-year loan to Bologna, while Atalanta also make a purchase.
Di Gennaro was one of the stars of the Rossoneri Primavera side in 2006-07, scoring 14 goals in the championship, including two hat-tricks against Brescia and Cagliari.
The talented trequartista only turned 19 this month, but has already featured in the senior squad that travelled to Glasgow for the Champions League second round tie with Celtic and made his Serie A debut against Udinese on May 19.
Di Gennaro will spend the next year at Bologna under the guidance of Coach Daniele Arrigoni and hope to impress enough to earn a recall to the San Siro.
Meanwhile, Atalanta have snapped up the entirety of midfielder Tiberio Guarente from Hellas Verona.
He had been shared between the clubs in a co-ownership deal.
Oliveira nears AC Milan exit
27.6 || webmaster
Ricardo Oliveira looks set to leave Milan as the club go in search of a big-name player to bolster their attack.
With the Rossoneri reportedly eyeing Andriy Shevchenko, Samuel Eto’o and Lyon star Fred, Oliveira is expected to make space for the new addition.
The 27-year-old Brazilian has endured a tough spell at the San Siro with only three goals to show for 22 appearances last season, and he was overshadowed by the arrival of countryman Ronaldo.
Oliveira’s chances of shining in Italy were not helped by the stress caused by the kidnapping of his sister Maria Lourdes last October.
Prior to her release in March, Oliveira struggled to fulfill all his club commitments due to regular trips back to his native Sao Paolo.
It is now believed that the Diavoli would only request £7m for Oliveira despite paying Real Betis nearly £15m for his signature last August.
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani today reiterated the club’s desire to sign a top quality front man.
“Milan have one objective – to buy a great striker,” he told Studio Sport. “It’s a very tough task, but I hope it’s not impossible, even if Ronaldino and Eto’o are not for sale.”
Meanwhile, young talent Davide Di Gennaro will spend the coming season on loan at Serie B outfit Bologna.
AC Milan's waiting game for Eto'o
27.6 || webmaster
Milan could still be able to snatch Samuel Eto’o, but any alternative hitman will be Brazilian – Fred or Pato Alexandre.
The Rossoneri have publicly stated on many occasions that Barcelona’s African marksman is their number one transfer target and, despite Barca’s protests to the contrary, in Italy the newspapers continue to maintain he is available.
According to the media, Frank Rijkaard has been told to pick a striker who can sit on the bench and won’t be too expensive, so they will not be keeping Eto’o, Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry.
Milan have caught wind of the plan and are patiently lining up a £22m offer for the Cameroon international.
If this should fail, then there are other alternatives already on the horizon for Carlo Ancelotti and as usual they are looking towards Brazil.
Pato Alexandre has been nicknamed ‘the new Kaka’ and agent Gilmar Veloz has come out into the open about these links.
“It’s not just rumours, Milan have an official interest in the player. Internacional allowed Leonardo to view the player, as did Chelsea.”
Unfortunately, as he is still a teenager and under contract until 2009, Brazilian law states he will not be allowed to leave for Europe until January.
This, and the added bonus of European and Champions League experience, is why Milan are interested in Lyon man Fred.
He will be playing for Brazil in the Copa America in Venezuela and Rossoneri scouts have been sent to report back on his form.
Gattuso Day declared in Canada!
27.6 || webmaster
Gennaro Gattuso’s visit to Oshawa saw over 2,500 fans come to greet him and June 25 declared Gattuso Day.
The large Calabrian community in the area invited the Milan and Italy star to the city near Toronto and Mayor John Gray gave him honorary citizenship.
June 25, 2007 was proclaimed ‘Gennaro Ivan Rino Gattuso Day’ and locals crowded into the Acura 2000 venue to salute the World Cup winner.
“I didn’t expect this. I am truly honoured,” said the midfielder and native Calabrian before he was whisked to the Le Parc centre for a charity gala.
Gattuso’s tour of North America is not over yet, as he will also visit the Milan Club in Brampton and fly to New York for a fundraiser of the Italian Children Foundation on Wednesday.
OFFICIAL: Abbiati joins Atletico
27.6 || webmaster
Milan have announced that goalkeeper Christian Abbiati will join Atletico Madrid on a one-year loan deal.
The ex-Azzurri international appeared for Torino last season, but negotiations to extend his stay with the Granata stalled after Urbano Cairo asked the ‘keeper to lower his wage to £535,000 a year.
“Milan announce the temporary transfer of footballer Christian Abbiati to Atletico Madrid until June 30, 2008,” read a statement on the Rossoneri website.
The Via Turati outfit had declared that they were open to a loan deal if the 30-year-old opted to stay in Turin, but Los Colchoneros’ reported £1m-per-season offer convinced him to move on to pastures new.
Abbiati started his career with Monza and joined Milan in 1998, where he quickly established himself as the Rossoneri’s No 1 before losing his place to Nelson Dida.
He then agreed to a loan deal with Genoa for the 2005-06 season, but immediately returned to Milan after the Grifoni were relegated to Serie C1 as a consequence of a match-fixing scandal.
Abbiati then moved on to Juventus, where he replaced the injured Gianluigi Buffon, but left at the end of the season to join Torino.
His performances earned him a recall to the Italy squad last autumn, after playing in the 2000 Olympic Games and making his full international debut against Switzerland in April 2003.
Abbiati set for Spain?
26.6 || webmaster
Reports in Italy suggest that Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati might join Atletico Madrid in the near future.
The 30-year-old spent last season on loan with Torino and looks set to leave the Rossoneri on a permanent basis this summer, with the Liga side emerging as the favourites for his signature.
“I have not asked for a pay increase to join Torino,” said Abbiati, referring to the club’s request to lower his wage to £535,000 a year.
I would be glad to stay, but on the other hand I can’t cut my salary every year to remain with the Granata,” added the ex-Azzurri international.
The goalkeeper is currently on holiday in Formentera and flew to Madrid yesterday to discuss his position with Atletico officials.
Los Colchoneros are reportedly ready to offer Abbiati £1m-per-season to lure the ‘keeper into moving to the Estadio Vicente Calderon, where he would provide an alternative to Leo Franco.
Representatives from the Spanish outfit are expected in Italy shortly and the No 1 could undergo his medical and be officially unveiled to the Madrid fans by the end of this week.
Milan director general Ariedo Braida had stated that the Rossoneri would not create any obstacles and were ready to extend his loan deal with Torino if the player opts to remain at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We have already stated that Abbiati will decide his own future, choosing between Torino and the proposals from Spain,” explained the official.
“If he chooses Toro, then he will stay with them. I do not see problems in agreeing to a free loan deal,” concluded Braida.
AC Milan deny Ronaldinho talk
26.6 || webmaster
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has admitted that Ronaldinho will never join the club but remains confident they could capture Samuel Eto’o.
The Rossoneri are looking to strengthen their attack after relinquishing their hold on David Suazo and have once again been paired with the Barcelona duo, but the Blaugrana do not seem willing to sell.
“I have spoken with Barcelona President Joan Laporta and he told me that should he sell Ronaldinho, he would have to leave the country,” Berlusconi told Sky Italia.
Milan have always stated that they would be in pole position to sign the Brazilian should he ever leave Spain, but that possibility now seems remote.
As for Eto’o, Vice-President Ferrer Soriano announced on Monday that there was no chance of the Cameroon international joining another club, but Berlusconi insists that there is still hope.
“We don’t want to give limits for our transfer targets. We hope to find someone who can fit our needs,” concluded the former Italian Prime Minister.
In the meantime, the Rossoneri are also being paired with Brazilian international striker Fred, who currently plays in France for Lyon.
Reports claim that Milan’s scouts will be observing the player during the upcoming Copa America in Venezuela and it is understood that the 23-year-old could be allowed to leave for £8.5m.
Zambrotta is AC Milan target
25.6 || webmaster
Barcelona full-back Gianluca Zambrotta is once again being paired with a move to Milan by reports in the Italian Press.
The world champion was one of the first players to leave Juventus after the club’s demotion, but failed to adapt to his new life in Spain and his first season in La Liga has been far from enjoyable.
The defender was already close to joining Milan after the World Cup last summer, but his transfer failed due to the Rossoneri’s involvement in the Calciopoli scandal.
Barcelona are closing in on Eric Abidal of Lyon, who is expected to leave the French champions for £8.5m, and his arrival could free Zambrotta to vacate the Nou Camp and return to Serie A.
Reports suggest that negotiations between Milan and the Blaugrana could start soon, as the French Press expect Abidal’s move to be officially announced in the very near future.
In the meantime, the European champions are also following Parma midfielder Luca Cigarini, who might become Andrea Pirlo’s heir in the Diavoli midfield.
The 21-year-old, who is also a reported target for Juventus, could join the San Siro outfit in a co-ownership deal with the Ducali, allowing him to gain more experience at the Tardini before moving on a permanent basis.
Platini hails AC Milan triumph
25.6 || webmaster
UEFA chief Michel Platini was impressed by Milan’s triumph in the Champions League Final. “They allowed Latin football to save face.”
The Rossoneri claimed their seventh win in the competition in May by defeating Liverpool in Athens, also drawing praise for their 3-0 win over Manchester United in the semi-final.
“Milan played the last matches very well, especially against their English opponents,” Platini told La Domenica Sportiva.
“Latin football saved face in the race with the British, who had brought three clubs to the semi-finals,” added the former Juventus hero.
“The Final was not unforgettable, but Milan managed to win with two classic Filippo Inzaghi goals. I had to be neutral, but I know so many Italian players with whom I played or that I faced as my opponents.
“I believe that presenting the award in the stands made the ceremony more human. Those images will be remembered forever, just like Bobby Moore receiving the World Cup in 1966 from Queen Elizabeth.”
Platini then moved on to comment on Napoli and Juventus’ return to Serie A, which he considers an important event.
“I am very glad for those two outfits, they were the most prestigious clubs when I was a footballer.
“We need to protect our football and think about the future and Italy are doing this,” concluded Le Roi.
Capello: AC Milan won't sell Kaka
25.6 || webmaster
Fabio Capello doesn’t believe Milan will let go of Kaka despite Real Madrid’s repeated attempts to lure him to Spain.
The Merengues have constantly been paired with the South American star, whom President Ramon Calderon had promised the fans he would sign during last year’s election campaign.
However, the European champions have assured their fans that the trequartista will not leave the San Siro, in spite of the Spanish giants’ latest offers.
“Knowing President Silvio Berlusconi, this is a dream which cannot come true,” Capello admitted to Sky Italia.
“He wants Milan to be the best team in the world and he counts on Kaka to achieve that result,” explained the Real Coach, whose future on the bench is expected to be decided this week.
“In the past, Paolo Maldini represented the image of Milan, now that function belongs to the Brazilian,” said the former Rossoneri boss.
Capello then reiterated that he believes Antonio Cassano is the best natural Italian talent, although his attitude has often created tension in the group.
“Talent isn’t everything, he needs to understand that he sometimes has to face difficult situations and has to find a way to do so.
“He is a good lad but sometimes he loses control and that is never good for the squad,” concluded Capello.
Cassano, who did not return to Madrid for the Liga title celebrations, seems set to leave Spain in the summer and might move back to the peninsula after being linked with both Inter and Fiorentina.
Galliani seeks Barcelona stars
24.6 || webmaster
Adriano Galliani reveals why Milan decided to drop David Suazo and Thierry Henry, but confirms they’re seeking a new forward at Barcelona.
It has been an eventful week for the Rossoneri Vice-President. He struck a £10m deal with Cagliari for Suazo only to discover he had already signed for Inter and on Saturday officially relinquished their hold on the Honduran.
“I spoke with President Silvio Berlusconi and he completely agreed with our decision not to get into a bidding war. There was the real risk of a mess emerging. We all liked Suazo, but life goes on,” noted Galliani.
“I spoke to Massimo Moratti many times recently and right from the start I was pleased to see the Nerazzurri did not think we acted unfairly. Milan took the player’s wishes into account and released him without any nasty afters.
“There is too much talk in Italian football and we didn’t need another weight. As a former Lega Calcio President, I can say that a sense of responsibility played a huge part in my decision on Suazo. Can you imagine an appeal to FIFA with the Scudetto winners fighting against the European champions? No, thanks. Better to retire and look ahead.”
The Rossoneri are certainly doing that, with talk – now confirmed by Galliani – that they will pool all their resources into snatching either Eto’o or Ronaldinho from Barcelona.
“I tell the fans what I already reminded Berlusconi of. In 1986 we lost Gianluca Vialli because he refused the transfer. We didn’t get down in the dumps, instead going to sign Marco van Basten. Perhaps we would have won more with Vialli, but with Marco…
“At the moment Eto’o is not on the market and he says he wants to stay at Barcelona. Eto’o is at the top of our list and I have never hidden that.”
Galliani has often protested about the different tax breaks that football clubs receive in Italy and around Europe, so it seems once again this could prove decisive – as it already has this summer.
“The problem is the difference in the financial regime in Spain. We experienced the same problem with Henry,” revealed the transfer guru.
“We were very close to the Frenchman and Leonardo had worked hard on convincing him. We would not have had problems handing over £16m to Arsenal, but the £6.7m per season net wages are not sustainable for us. To be clear, Barcelona’s contract with Henry costs them less than £10m gross, but for us the same wages would cost £13.5m.
“Unfortunately, this is the truth now. We have to get used to it. Years back Ajax, Red Star Belgrade and Steaua Bucharest could challenge for the Champions League. Now they have vanished because they can’t sustain certain costs.
“It’ll get worse, as a new Government plan will take away resources from the big clubs to give to the smaller sides. We’ll get a more balanced Serie A, but the decline in Europe could follow.”
Suazo: I did the right thing
24.6 || webmaster
David Suazo has broken his silence to explain what really happened in his tortuous transfer to Inter, Milan and then the Nerazzurri again.
“It was right that it should end this way,” he told ‘Il Giornale’ as the saga finally appears to be over.
Cagliari had sold the striker to Milan for £10m, but yesterday the Rossoneri officially pulled out, realising that Suazo had already signed a contract with the other San Siro outfit.
“I must above all thank Milan, who did not put any kind of pressure on me and understood that I had given my word to Inter,” said the Honduran.
“Milan acted fairly, but I also wanted to keep my word. It was an issue of respect. The Rossoneri understood that I had a promise with Roberto Mancini, Marco Branca and President Massimo Moratti.
“In the afternoon Mancini called me to confirm all the faith he had already expressed in me. I know that it was above all he who wanted me at Inter.”
Yet Suazo could still risk a ban of up to six months if it is proved he signed for Inter while he was still under contract with Cagliari.
Sardinian President Massimo Cellino and Milan could have made life a lot more difficult for the hitman, but opted to step aside.
“I don’t know what idea people have of this situation, but I think it right that it ended like this,” concluded Suazo.
He is expected to be presented to the Press as an Inter player on Monday or Tuesday.
FIGC: Suazo risks six-month ban
23.6 || webmaster
David Suazo risks a six-month ban after signing a contract with Inter before the clubs had reached an agreement, warn the FIGC.
“Both Suazo and Massimo Moratti said that a contract had already been signed,” noted Mario Stagliano, the former Vice-President of the Federation investigative committee.
“If that is the case, then even if it was torn up later, the crime was admitted by both parties and so a punishment is applicable.
“According to the regulations, the player and the President must be suspended or face some form of sanction. The maximum ban is six months.”
The Nerazzurri confirmed that they had penned a personal deal with the striker even though Cagliari had not formally sold him yet.
So when Milan came in and secured a £10m transfer with the Sardinians, they found him already promised to the other side of the San Siro.
This morning the Rossoneri officially pulled out of the agreement with Cagliari because of that personal contract, but the matter could well not be over with yet.
OFFICIAL: AC Milan release Suazo
23.6 || webmaster
Milan have officially announced they are pulling out of their contract for David Suazo, as he had already signed for Inter.
After Cagliari President Massimo Cellino admitted that a clause in the striker’s contract allowed him to be released for £9.4m to a club of his choice, the Rossoneri had little choice but to accept the ruling.
“Milan have a contract with Cagliari Calcio for the co-ownership rights to David Suazo,” read a statement on the website.
“However, later taking into account that the player had already signed a contract with Inter, we communicate that we are pulling out of the negotiations.
“Milan also wish to underline that they acted fairly in the affair and in full conformity of the national and international sporting rules.”
So now the only remaining piece of the puzzle is for Inter to announce the arrival of Suazo, which is expected over the weekend.
Originally it had been deemed an illegal move for the Nerazzurri to put pen to paper with a player who was still under contract, but it emerged that the clause released him for both overseas clubs and those within Italy.
“He didn’t even give me time to answer back, he sounded extremely certain,” noted Cagliari President Massimo Cellino. “I can only say that at this point I will leave the player free to make his path.”
This leaves Milan clutching at straws, particularly after news from Spanish paper ‘Marca’ this morning claiming that flop Ricardo Oliveira has requested a move to Real Madrid.
Yet this does all point in the same direction – that all of the European Champions’ funds will be poured into snatching a top star to play alongside Kaka and Ronaldo.
With Thierry Henry going to Barcelona for £16m, that leaves the door open for either Ronaldinho or Samuel Eto’o to walk away.
Milan have made no secret of their interest in the two Blaugrana players, although there are also options such as Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and former San Siro hero Andriy Shevchenko.
Cagliari: Inter have Suazo
23.6 || webmaster
David Suazo is free to join Inter after rejecting the move to Milan, confirms Cagliari President Massimo Cellino.
Last night there was another shock turnaround in the Suazo saga. Having been promised to the Nerazzurri, then sold to the Rossoneri for £10m, he convinced Cagliari to change their minds and go back to his original plan.
“Suazo called me at 21.30 and said he wants to go to Inter,” announced patron Cellino.
“Fighting back tears he explained that, aside from the medical he already underwent, he is determined to complete this transfer because Inter have been courting him for months.
"Roberto Mancini called him several times and made him feel very enthusiastic about the move.”
In the end, the player’s intent won out, so the announced £10m agreement between the clubs has been scrapped.
“Even if he appreciates Milan’s gesture, Suazo is afraid that they only wanted to put a spanner in the works for Inter.
“He didn’t even give me time to answer back, he sounded extremely certain. I can only say that at this point I will leave the player free to make his path.”
Cellino was accused of playing the two San Siro clubs against each other, but insists Inter had no right to complain.
“I acted professionally with both Inter and Milan,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport.’ “At a certain stage it seemed that the negotiations with Massimo Moratti’s side were at a dead end.”
The Cagliari patron confirmed that the turning point was provided by a clause in Suazo’s contract – signed last year – that allows him to walk away to a club of his choosing for £9.4m. At first it was believed this only applied to overseas sides, but the Italian inclusion proved decisive.
“Now that clause means I will get the cash and perhaps not even Robert Acquafresca as part of the transfer. I certainly won’t go to demand him. At least in this whole affair we’ve shown that I had asked Milan for the same £9.4m – not a penny more.”
Under-21 international Acquafresca will join the Sardinians in a co-ownership deal as part of the move originally agreed before Milan’s intervention.
An official announcement of Suazo’s switch to Inter is expected over the weekend.
Celtic capture Donati
23.6 || webmaster
Former Milan and Atalanta midfielder Massimo Donati has agreed his transfer to Celtic, confirmed the Scottish club.
The 26-year-old had been in negotiations with the Parkhead outfit and it’s believed the deal has been struck for £3m.
“We are delighted that Massimo has signed for the club,” a Celtic spokesperson told BBC Scotland.
“He is a player of real quality and we’re sure he will be a great addition to our squad.”
Donati leaves Italy after spells at Atalanta – where he was part of their famed youth academy – Torino, Parma, Sampdoria and Messina.
Although owned by Milan, he only ever made 17 Serie A appearances for the club in 2001-02, spending the rest of his career on loan around the country.
Donati’s departure means a change of strategy for the Rossoneri, as Vice-President Adriano Galliani had stated he would return to the club this summer, ruling out the signature of another midfielder.
Having seemingly lost David Suazo to Inter, this suggests they are pouring all their resources into a bid for Barcelona star Ronaldinho.
As for Celtic, they are also in negotiations with Sampdoria over Italian international Gennaro Delvecchio.
Pippo eyes Boca rematch
23.6 || webmaster
After taking his revenge on Liverpool, Pippo Inzaghi hopes he can bring the hammer down on Boca Juniors in the World Club Cup.
“I would love to meet them again, just like we did with Liverpool,” smiled the striker. “I hope that destiny brings us together once more.”
Milan were hurt badly by the Champions League penalties loss in 2005, but a brace from Inzaghi took back the trophy in Athens against the Reds.
They are also still smarting from their last trip to Japan for the Intercontinental contest, when they lost the 2003 Final to Boca Juniors after another shootout.
The Argentines have won the Copa Libertadores, crushing Gremio 5-0 on aggregate, and are also heading for the World Club Cup in December.
“To be crowned world champions would be a great achievement for this wonderful squad,” added Inzaghi.
Before that the Rossoneri will launch a new assault on the Scudetto with the Calciopoli penalties expired and Juventus back in the fray.
“Inter are the reigning champions and are physically very strong. They are the team to beat. We have a solid team and five trophies to aim for. To repeat this season plus the Intercontinental Cup wouldn’t be bad…”
Milan will be in contention for Serie A, the Champions League, Coppa Italia, European Super Cup against Sevilla in August and the World Club Cup.
“Juve are always going to take centre stage and that is only right considering their prestigious history," added the former Bianconeri hitman.
"They have made some good signings like Vincenzo Iaquinta, Tiago Mendes and Sergio Almiron, while Claudio Ranieri is an excellent Coach. It will be great facing them again.”
Internazionale - Suazo, Ronaldinho - AC Milan!
23.6 || webmaster
The David Suazo saga took another shock twist today! His contract clause releases him to Inter, so Milan pour their efforts into signing Ronaldinho.
Cagliari had agreed to sell the Honduran hitman to the Rossoneri in a £10m deal, but the player had already put pen to paper with the Nerazzurri.
Initially this was considered to be an illegal move, but after agent Giovanni Branchini met with Milan directors this afternoon, new details emerged.
It’s claimed that a clause in Suazo’s contract with Cagliari releasing him for £8m is valid for Italian sides as well as overseas.
With this in mind, the Sardinians have little choice but to hand him over to Inter for a lower price than that offered by their rivals plus half of Under-21 international Robert Acquafresca.
“From what I’ve seen recently we can say that there is a clear desire for the player to join the only club that courted him for a long time – i.e. Inter,” said President Massimo Moratti.
“We must make the most of that, besides our rapport with the others involved. We will see how it pans out.”
However, that is not the only development this evening. With Thierry Henry on the verge of completing his Barcelona transfer, this strongly suggests that the Spaniards will release either Samuel Eto’o or Ronaldinho.
Milan have publicly stated on numerous occasions that they are their primary targets and so losing Suazo will be considered more motivation to go all-out for one of the international stars.
If Lionel Messi is to be used as a supply line for Eto’o and Henry, then that means Ronaldinho is more likely to depart the Nou Camp.
The Brazilian has long had a fractious relationship with teammates, his club and Coach Frank Rijkaard, while he has regularly hinted that Milan would be a good move.
Gilardino commits to AC Milan
22.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino has announced that he wants to stay at Milan despite being paired with a summer exit.
The striker had recently declared that he was unhappy with the club, as he did not feel they had faith in his abilities and added that he was ready to leave if his concerns weren’t satisfied.
The Rossoneri management initially announced that an offer of £17m would be needed to convince them to let the player leave the San Siro, but things seem to have changed since then.
“Milan are the only club on my mind,” Gilardino told Sky Italia. “I have heard of Juve’s interest, as well as other outfits, but honestly the Rossoneri are my first thought.
“I want to be part of the squad for preseason training and I hope I will soon return to my best condition. I want the next one to be a great season.
“Luckily I have clarified all issues with the club, therefore I want to guarantee that I will stay here, out of respect for this outfit and the supporters,” continued the Italy international.
Milan pipped Inter in the race to sign striker David Suazo and Gilardino is pleased with the Honduran’s arrival.
“He is a great player and I have always liked him. He is strong and fast, I am sure he will be very useful,” declared the former Parma man.
“Would my position change if Samuel Eto’o were to join Milan? I don’t know, these things are not for me to decide. In any case I think I will stay here.”
The striker also could not avoid questions on Kaka, who remains a reported target for Real Madrid.
“I think he will stay here. I know how much affection Ricardo feels for this outfit, I am sure we will both meet up on July 23,” concluded Gilardino.
AC Milan accuse Spanish press
21.6 || webmaster
Milan have accused Spanish newspaper AS of faking a photograph of Kaka to prove that the player is keen on moving to Real Madrid.
Wednesday’s online edition showed a photograph of the Brazilian posing with the paper running the headline “Campeones de Liga”, referring to the Merengues’ Liga triumph.
“We have found on your online edition a reproduction of a picture showing our player Kaka with your paper, presumably an issue printed after June 18, 2007,” read a letter sent to AS by the Rossoneri outfit.
“However, the image is the result of a clear photomontage because that picture was taken at the Milanello training centre in mid-April.
“Consequently, Kaka could not pose with a newspaper that would only have been printed two months later,” continued the letter.
“The photomontage is not innocent, but part of the continuous harassment which Real Madrid have been perpetrating for over a year to damage Milan in relation to the player.
“The alteration of the photograph, which otherwise is completely neutral, seems to be a part of this manoeuvre,” accused the note.
“It is meant to wrongly convince the readers that Kaka can’t wait to move to Real Madrid and this is not the truth, as not only the player but Milan have repeatedly reiterated.”
Los Blancos have been chasing the player since last summer, when the Rossoneri reported them to FIFA over their public courtship of the starlet.
However, President Ramon Calderon does not seem willing to give up and intends to keep the promise made during his election campaign by netting the Brazilian star.
AS immediately replied to Milan’s letter, stating the picture was taken on May 4 and was only meant to be Kaka’s way of wishing his Brazilian friends in Spain good luck for the title race.
“Milan’s reaction only proves the club’s nervousness as they fear that the player could join Real Madrid,” ended AS.
Suazo banned for Inter signature?
20.6 || webmaster
David Suazo could be suspended and Inter fined if Massimo Moratti’s claims that he signed a contract are true.
The Cagliari player was all set to join the Nerazzurri, but in a shock move Milan reached an agreement with the club for £10m.
Inter were furious and President Moratti told several television stations that there was paperwork proving their deal. “The player signed a contract with us,” he said.
This could well prove costly, as it is illegal for a player to put pen to paper when he is still under contract with another club.
An inquest has officially been opened into the matter and both sides risk sanctions from the authorities.
If Suazo has signed a contract before Cagliari released him, then he could be suspended and Inter face a fine.
The turnaround has also mined confidence within the club, as it seems Coach Roberto Mancini was only told of the transfer to Milan by journalists.
“I am astonished and totally without words,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport.’ “I don’t know what to say. What happened? Inter have a director and a President, so you’ll have to ask them. Nobody told me anything.”
Meanwhile, in a bid to fight back against that incredible snub from cousins Milan, it is reported that Nerazzurri director Marco Branca has flown to Barcelona for talks with Samuel Eto’o.
The Rossoneri confirmed several times that the Nou Camp star was their main transfer target upfront and that Suazo was an alternative once they realised he could not be prised away from Barca.
So Inter would consider it quite a coup if they managed to achieve what Milan failed to do.
Moratti’s men have the advantage of offering Adriano and Walter Samuel as part of an exchange deal for the Cameroon international.
Juve's Gilardino interest confirmed
20.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino’s agent has confirmed that the Milan man is a transfer target for Serie B champions Juventus.
The Italian international’s future at the San Siro is in doubt and the Old Lady are monitoring his situation.
“Juventus are interested in the player and have made this clear,” representative Beppe Bonetto noted on Wednesday.
“However, there are some obstacles to the move which are represented by Gilardino’s [£17m] price tag and David Trezeguet’s future.
“These are not easy problems to solve and that is why I prefer to remain cautious at this moment in time.
“The solution preferred by the Rossoneri and which Gilardino agrees to is for him to remain here in Milan.
“The transfer window closes on August 30. Today he is a Milan player, but you never know what might happen seeing as the market can be unpredictable.”
Fiorentina are also keen on netting the former Parma youngster and have reportedly already made a £10m offer, but Bonetto doubts a Tuscan future looms for his client.
“The Viola don’t seem to have plans to sign players of the calibre of Gilardino,” continued the agent.
“But I also want to underline that it is untrue that [Milan Vice-President] Adriano Galliani has included Gilardino in a number of transfer negotiations.”
Suazo mystery deepens!
19.6 || webmaster
Contracts, agreements and bitter recriminations abound as Inter, Milan, Cagliari and David Suazo’s agents give different versions of events!
The Honduran had been on the verge of joining Inter – as confirmed by Cagliari President Massimo Cellino last week – but last night Milan swooped to finalise a £10m deal.
However, the Nerazzurri insist Suazo has already put pen to paper on a contract with them and his agents hinted that this story is far from over.
“Suazo has not had any contact with Milan and he still hasn’t given his consent to the transfer,” noted Carlo Pallavicino.
“At this moment my associate Giovanni Branchini is in Japan and on his return he will be brought up to date on this whole situation.”
Cagliari are adamant that they have nothing more to say to Inter and President Cellino was furious at being accused of an unprofessional approach.
“Someone missed a great opportunity to stay quiet,” said the patron. “I, however, don’t want to break my silence on this matter.”
Milan also reacted to Inter President Massimo Moratti’s claims that they were robbed of the Honduras hitman.
“I have nothing to say. You can work it all out with your own brains,” said Vice-President Adriano Galliani.
In truth, there is another backstory to this chaotic chain of events that involves another club entirely.
Last week Cellino admitted that Roma had asked him for Suazo in February, but that he requested – and obtained – their word not to contact the player until the end of the season to avoid distracting him from the relegation dogfight.
By the time the Giallorossi were allowed to talk to Suazo, he had already reached an agreement with Inter that cut Cagliari out of the loop.
“Unfortunately, it seems as if Roma’s respect for me penalised them,” said President Cellino.
It’s increasingly likely this snub was the Sardinians’ way of getting back at Inter for what they perceived as a slight in contacting their player directly.
Inter - AC Milan: It’s war over Suazo
19.6 || webmaster
Inter chief Massimo Moratti has told Milan that they have not yet landed David Suazo. “The player has already signed for us,” he blasted.
The Cagliari star was expected to join the Italian champions this summer, but the Rossoneri have hijacked the move after striking an agreement with the Sant'Elia outfit late last night.
“There was no reason for this to happen seeing as there was already a deal with the Rossoblu,” noted Moratti on Tuesday.
“Nevertheless, we will have to see what happens now because the player has already signed for us.”
Sardinian chief Massimo Cellino claimed earlier today that talks with the Nerazzurri had collapsed after failing to get hold of Moratti over the last few days.
“He never called me,” responded the oil tycoon. “That’s a lie. I cannot justify Milan’s attitude either, although I know them well…”
Cagliari have defended their sale to Milan and sporting director Nicola Salerno insist they owe no explanation to Inter.
“The negotiations were ongoing and we needed to close the deal as soon as possible,” said the official to Sky Italia.
“The player had not signed and therefore there was no bond. Galliani and Cellino found an agreement and the deal was done.
“I will not discuss the financial details, all I will say is that there were some bureaucratic problems connected to the transfers of Marco Andreolli and Robert Acquafresca from Inter to us.”
Milan will reportedly pay £10m for Suazo after Marco Borriello refused to be included in a player plus cash switch.
Suazo blocks Eto'o arrival
19.6 || webmaster
Milan have admitted that Barcelona ace Samuel Eto’o is unlikely to arrive after they swooped for David Suazo this morning.
The Rossoneri sensationally captured the Cagliari hitman on Tuesday in an unexpected move which may now see primary target Eto’o remain just a dream.
“Eto’o will most probably not arrive and if we finalise the deal with Suazo [who has yet to sign] then our transfer campaign will be over,” stated Vice-President Adriano Galliani.
“Will our supporters be content this way? They have to be satisfied with the numerous Finals played over the years and the fact that we lead the European rankings.”
Suazo was expected to join Inter after agreeing to a deal last week, but Galliani insists Milan didn’t hijack the move to spite their city rivals.
“We had already been following the player last year. [Cagliari President] Massimo Cellino told us that the negotiation with Inter had stalled and we started conversations and struck a deal,” he added.
“Will I call Inter? No, they didn’t call me when they signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer,” explained the official after Inter ‘stole’ the Swede from under the noses of the Rossoneri.
Reports suggest that Milan will pay £10m to Cagliari after Marco Borriello refused to be included in the deal.
“We need to wait for Suazo to sign as he is currently on holiday and might not want to move here,” added Galliani. “If he agrees, we will have four great strikers in our squad.
“I called [President] Silvio Berlusconi to inform him of the negotiation and he was pleased with the news.”
OFFICIAL: David Suazo to AC Milan
19.6 || webmaster
European champions Milan have announced that they have agreed a deal with Cagliari to sign David Suazo.
The Rossoneri were rumoured to have pipped city rivals Inter with a late bid yesterday and that has been noted as reality by the club this morning.
“The Honduran attacker David Suazo will wear the Milan jersey next season,” a statement on the club’s website noted.
“His transfer from Cagliari into Rossonero was concluded after negotiations which took place last night.”
Cagliari chief Massimo Cellino has also confirmed the move. “I’ve signed a deal with Milan,” he simply noted at the Lega Calcio offices this morning.
Suazo is understood to have cost the Champions League winners a sum in the region of £10m.
AC Milan 'steal' Suazo from Inter!
19.6 || webmaster
Reports in Italy are suggesting that Milan have sensationally pipped Inter in the race to sign Cagliari striker David Suazo.
The Honduran, who scored 14 Serie A goals last season, has been strongly paired with the Italian champions over the past few months and a deal was seemingly done.
Cagliari President Massimo Cellino and Inter owner Massimo Moratti had agreed financial terms and a move was on the horizon – especially as Suazo was then spotted in Milan ahead of his medical.
“Moratti’s word is enough for me,” commented Cellino last week. “The player can now move to Inter.”
However, Tuesday’s edition of Il Corriere dello Sport reports that Milan have amazingly hijacked the switch.
Vice-President Adriano Galliani has allegedly finalised a last-minute deal with Cellino by agreeing to pay the islanders a £10m fee.
Inter were expected to offer the Rossoblu £6.5m and hand over 19-year-old striker Robert Acquafresca, who was specifically wanted by Coach Marco Giampaolo.
The Rossoneri were known to be on the market for a new forward after noting that Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o remained the club’s main target – but there has been no mention of Suazo.
The 27-year-old, who will leave the Stadio Sant’Elia after eight years in Sardinia, joined Cagliari from Olimpia Tegucigalpa.
He was also a reported target for Juventus, Manchester United and the Rossoneri themselves last summer.
Galliani: Eto'o our main target
19.6 || webmaster
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani insists that Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o remains the club’s main target.
The Rossoneri have been heavily linked with the Cameroon international over the past few weeks, when Galliani admitted that he was waiting for the end of the Liga season to make an official move.
The Spanish championship ended on Sunday, when Barcelona were pipped in the race for the title by Real Madrid.
Several Blaugrana players, including Eto’o and Ronaldinho, are now being linked with a summer move and the San Siro is being touted as their possible destination.
“Do Milan want Ronaldinho? Our first objective is Eto’o,” said Galliani on Monday.
“If it is possible from a financial point of view, we will complete the move, otherwise we will continue with the Champions League winning squad, plus Ronaldo,” added the former Lega Calcio President.
Silvio Berlusconi had stated last week that if he could choose between signing Eto’o and bringing back Andriy Shevchenko, he would go for the Ukrainian star.
“Berlusconi and I agree on everything and that has never changed over the past 30 years,” explained Galliani.
“Is Eto’o the best possible solution? I cannot give an answer to this question, there are many different roads we can take,” concluded the Rossonero.
Eto’o recently insisted that he wanted to continue his adventure with the Nou Camp outfit, although his future has yet to be decided as it is understood that the Italian giants might offer up to £28m for the striker.
Donati eyes Celtic switch
19.6 || webmaster
Midfielder Massimo Donati is scheduled to meet Celtic officials this week and could move to Scotland shortly.
The 26-year-old, who is owned by Milan and spent the last season on loan at Atalanta, put in some excellent performances in Bergamo last season, attracting the interest of several clubs.
“I can confirm Massimo and I are planning to hold a meeting with Celtic representatives in the middle of this week,” Donati’s agent Andrea D’Amico told the Daily Record.
“We do not yet know where those discussions will take place, but we are both prepared to fly to London or Scotland,” added the player’s representative.
“Massimo is very interested in their proposal, he is seriously considering that option and wants to hear what they have to say.
“The prospect of Champions League football is exciting for any player, Massimo is no different as he wants to play at the highest levels in the game,” concluded D’Amico.
Donati, who has also appeared on loan with Parma, Torino, Sampdoria and Messina, is a reported target for Palermo and the Blucerchiati as well and Milan might let the player leave for around £3m.
However, new Atalanta Coach Gigi Del Neri is keen on keeping the midfielder, while the Scottish champions are also chasing Sampdoria midfielder Gennaro Delvecchio.
Kaka ignores Real Madrid's millions
17.6 || webmaster
Kaka has rejected Real Madrid’s offer to double his wages and earned the title of ‘Best in the world’ from Pele.
Ramon Calderon has repeatedly announced his intention of bringing the Brazilian to Spain, but Milan have been just as adamant that he is going nowhere.
This week both clubs confirmed that Real representatives met with Kaka’s father – who acts as his agent – but that it was only to officially turn down the proposal of £8m per season.
That is double what he currently earns at the San Siro, although the Rossoneri will improve his contract this summer to pay £4.3m until 2012.
It is also reported that the new deal to keep him in Italy will include the signing of younger brother Digao – currently playing in Serie B with Rimini – and a firm attempt to bring good friend Andriy Shevchenko back to Milan.
Failing that, then Ronaldinho is the next player down on the list of transfer candidates.
Kaka was the top scorer with 10 goals in this season’s Champions League and lifting the trophy in Athens makes him the runaway favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.
Now he has also received the seal of approval from his hero, Brazilian legend Pele.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is without doubt the best player in England, as everyone recognised this year, but that’s a long way off being the best in the world,” said ‘O Rey’ at a charity event in Angola.
“Kaka, on the other hand, is a player with qualities that make him better than Cristiano Ronaldo and that will allow him to be among the greatest of all time.”
AC Milan await Barcelona duo
17.6 || webmaster
The Spanish season ends tonight and transfer guru Ernesto Bronzetti insists either Ronaldinho or Samuel Eto’o will end up at Milan.
It has been a flop of a campaign for Barcelona, who will lose the title unless Mallorca manage to stop Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and that could lead to a clear-out.
“It all depends on what happens tonight. The club will decide which of the two will go – Ronaldinho or Eto’o,” said the agent.
The Cameroon international seems to be the favourite to leave at the moment and is tracked by Milan, Inter and Arsenal.
“From what I have heard through friends, if he had to choose then Eto’o would prefer the Rossoneri.”
The reigning European champions are also looking to Spain for a midfield reinforcement, as negotiations with Real Madrid’s Emerson are at an advanced stage.
“They are looking for a forward and a midfielder this summer. For the latter, I think the shortlist is just Emerson and Edmilson. Carlo Ancelotti’s vote could prove decisive here.”
Bronzetti is an agent who specialises in working with the Spanish sides and he gave his view on the seemingly endless quest to bring Kaka to the Bernabeu with the latest offer said to be a staggering £54m.
“Lately the Merengues directors have been promising a great deal without delivering anything. I am more likely to believe the words of Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi, who continue to assure they won’t release the Brazilian.”
Real Madrid have also put together a contract worth £8m per season and full image rights for Kaka. Will they get what they want?
“I would like to date Monica Bellucci, but I’ve never managed it! Jokes aside, I cannot imagine Kaka going to the club and asking to be sold to the Spaniards. Don’t forget Milan are champions of Europe and top in the UEFA rankings.”
Fabio Capello was on the verge of dismissal many times this season, yet he could be celebrating his second Liga title this evening.
“Everyone here thinks Real have already signed Bernd Schuster for next term, but it would be a mistake to change now that the Italian has had to face up to and surpass every obstacle. If I were Fabio, I’d seriously think about walking away.”
German tactician Schuster is currently in charge of Getafe and is alleged to have signed a pre-contract agreement with Madrid.
Ronaldo's Turkish temptation
16.6 || webmaster
Milan have rejected a £7m bid for Ronaldo from Fenerbahce and will do the same for Real Madrid’s £54m Kaka swoop.
The Rossoneri are champions of Europe and can afford to keep their top stars, so this summer Vice-President Adriano Galliani has turned down all comers.
Ronaldo only joined the club in January from Real for around £5.7m, but from next season will also be available for the Champions League.
According to Spanish newspaper ‘As,’ Fenerbahce have offered £7m to take Il Fenomeno to Turkey and a three-year contract worth an impressive £4.7m net.
He would be reunited with fellow Brazilian and ex-Real Madrid and Inter teammate Roberto Carlos, but Milan have already rejected the proposal.
In fact, talks are already on to extend Ronie’s Rossoneri contract until June 30, 2009.
Galliani is also standing firm against the latest record-breaking Real Madrid attempt to lure Kaka towards Spain.
The Bernabeu club met with his representatives this week, as confirmed by Milan, but he is not for sale.
The latest reports from ‘Marca’ suggest the offer has increased to a staggering £54m plus a contract worth £8m per season and with the total image rights handed to the Brazilian.
Henry stalls Shevchenko return
16.6 || webmaster
Milan’s players do not want Andriy Shevchenko back, so the race for Thierry Henry is back on, according to reports.
President Silvio Berlusconi has long been sponsoring the return of Sheva from Chelsea and this week said the likelihood of this being achieved was “at 80 per cent.”
However, newspaper ‘Il Giornale’ claims this morning that both Coach Carlo Ancelotti and the squad are unhappy with the idea.
Above all Paolo Maldini, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf do not believe he should be welcomed back with open arms so soon after demanding a transfer to Stamford Bridge.
There are also issues over the price-tag, as Chelsea demand no less than £20m – which would already be a £10m loss on the money they paid only 12 months ago – but the Rossoneri won’t go above £6.7m for a one or two-year loan deal.
With Samuel Eto’o eager to stay at Barcelona – or join rivals Inter – Milan are instead turning their attention back to Arsenal’s want-away star Henry.
Reports of a deal with Barcelona have been denied by all the parties involved, so the Frenchman is still on the market.
Coach Ancelotti namechecked Henry as “one of the players we are very interested in” and he could be convinced by the opportunity to play alongside Ronaldo and Kaka.
Meanwhile, ‘Il Giornale’ also states that the negotiations for Edmilson have been abandoned so that Yoann Gourcuff can be given more space in midfield next season.
AC Milan: Kaka going nowhere
16.6 || webmaster
Milan have confirmed that Real Madrid did hold talks with Kaka’s entourage this week – but again underlined that he’s not for sale!
Real officials met with the player’s father and representative on Tuesday to discuss a £53m transfer which fuelled speculation that a move could be on the horizon.
However, the European champions have assured fans that the Spanish giants will not be netting the Brazilian.
“We were informed of the meeting by Kaka’s father and [agent] Gaetano Paolillo, but we confirm that he is untransferable,” said Vice-President Adriano Galliani to the club’s website.
“Kaka is certainly not for sale, but the notable financial offer is possible because of the different fiscal system in Spain which favours the Liga clubs.
“In practice, if an Italian and a Spanish side make the same offer, in Italy only 50 per cent ends up in the player’s pocket, while in Spain his net pay amounts to 75 per cent of the total amount.”
Galliani had already voiced his concern that Italian clubs would find it hard to compete with their Spanish counterparts for such reasons.
“If things continue this way I fear that in a few years’ time Italian football will not be able to keep pace with the top clubs in Europe,” he noted in the autumn.
Silvio shares Shevchenko optimism
16.6 || webmaster
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi claims that the Rossoneri have an “80 per cent chance” of signing Andriy Shevchenko this summer.
The Ukrainian left the Italian giants in a £30m move to Chelsea last year, but he’s been linked with a return given his struggles in the Premiership.
And although the European champions have openly admitted that they want Samuel Eto’o, Berlusconi has openly snubbed the Barcelona sensation.
“I like Eto’o as he is a young and talented player, but I am a romantic and I prefer Shevchenko,” said Berlusconi to the Sfoghi di Calcio television show.
“Up to a few days ago, when I spoke to [Vice-President Adriano] Galliani, I thought Sheva’s chances of coming back were 80 per cent.
“If things had changed and that percentage had dropped to 50 then I am sure Galliani would have told me.
“Shevchenko wants to return and his wage demands would not be a problem, as his salary would be the same as the other champions.
“Obviously we need to find an agreement with Chelsea, but I think he would be an ideal addition to our attacking department.
“I consider Sheva my son. I have shared many important moments with him, like his father’s operation and the birth of his son, who I am godfather to.”
Meetings with Chelsea officials were expected to take place after the Champions League Final in May, even if Shevchenko had insisted that he wanted another chance to prove himself in England.
Whispers at that time claimed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was ready to let the former Dynamo Kiev player head back to the San Siro.
AC Milan plan £70 million Ronaldinho bid
14.6 || webmaster
Milan are ready to spend over £70m to bring Barcelona star Ronaldinho to the San Siro, according to the Spanish Press.
The Brazilian has yet to renew his contract with the Blaugrana and reports suggest that he might leave the Nou Camp if the Catalan outfit lose the Liga title race to rivals Real Madrid.
Marca claims that President Silvio Berlusconi has put aside £70m for the former Paris-SG ace, whose contract expires in 2010, as he hopes to see a Ronaldo, Kaka and Ronaldinho trident next term.
Spanish newspapers also reported a growing rift between the South American and his teammates, as confirmed by his refusal to attend the 2-2 draw with Espanyol last week and the fact that he walked out of training.
The player, who is once again on Milan’s wish list after teammate Samuel Eto’o stated that he would not leave Barcelona, preferred not to comment.
“Now I want to go on holiday, I will think about the future when I return,” Ronaldinho told El Mundo Deportivo.
Real Madrid transfer consultant Ernesto Bronzetti believes that a move is unlikely, mainly because of the player’s sponsorship deals.
“I don’t think Barca will sell Ronaldinho, his sponsors want him to stay in Spain,” said the football agent.
“He is sponsored by Nike and they already have Ronaldo at Milan. If it were only up to the player, things would be different,” added Bronzetti.
In the meantime, Berlusconi admitted that Milan have made an enquiry for Chelsea star Didier Drogba, but the Blues turned down the offer stating that the Ivory Coast captain is not for sale.
Galliani cautious on signings
14.6 || webmaster
Vice-President Adriano Galliani has confirmed that Milan are interested in some big players but doesn’t want to delude the fans.
The San Siro outfit has been paired with several top footballers over the past weeks, including Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho, but the official prefers not to create unrealistic expectations.
“We are looking for a striker and a defender,” Galliani told the local network Telelombardia.
“The names have not changed, we are talking about the most important players around, but they belong to the strongest clubs in Europe, who are not keen on letting them go,” added the former Lega Calcio chief.
“I don’t want to delude our fans. It is possible that someone will arrive, but we might also make no new signings, while I can guarantee that all our key players will stay.”
Galliani is sure that none of the current strikers will leave the San Siro and confirmed that Alberto Gilardino will be part of the squad.
Gila caused controversy at the San Siro with a statement announcing he was ready to leave Milan as he felt the club had no faith in him, but those problems now seem to have been ironed out.
“In next season’s Milan there will be Ronaldo, who will also play in the Champions League, Pippo Inzaghi, Alberto Gilardino and Ricardo Oliveira.
“Everything is fine up-front and everything is fine with Gilardino,” concluded the Rossonero.
Ronaldinho revives AC Milan link?
14.6 || webmaster
If Samuel Eto’o has closed the door on a move to Milan, then Ronaldinho’s loyalty to Barcelona is wavering after he abandoned training.
The Brazilian is still in tense contract renegotiations with his club and, as the Liga title looks set to slip through their fingers in favour of Real Madrid, it could spell the end for this rapport.
Spanish newspapers claim that Ronaldinho refused to attend the 2-2 draw with Espanyol last week, which he could not play as he was suspended, and that he walked out of training.
The rift between the former FIFA World Player of the Year and his teammates is also growing, as it’s suggested he feels frozen out compared to Eto’o, Deco and Carles Puyol.
With Eto’o this week closing the door on a move to Milan, the Rossoneri can turn their attention back towards tempting away Ronaldinho.
Meanwhile, there is a curious transfer story surrounding the San Siro giants and a very familiar face.
There are reports in the Italian media that Ibrahim Ba is set for a return to Milan next season on a one-year contract after undergoing ankle surgery.
“I am very happy,” said Ba, also known as Ibou. “I always got on well at Milan, remain close to everyone there and have worked hard in these months hoping to have another chance.”
The 34-year-old even travelled to Athens as a fan to see his former teammates lift the Champions League trophy.
“I would be so pleased to come back, but it has to be good for everyone and not cause any problems for the Coach. I hope he will want me in the squad.”
Eto'o snubs AC Milan interest
13.6 || webmaster
Samuel Eto’o has told Milan to forget about signing him. “I have already declared that I want to stay at Barcelona,” he noted.
The Rossoneri are keen on netting the Cameroon international, as confirmed by Coach Carlo Ancelotti on Tuesday, and it’s believed the Italian giants will make an official £28m offer on Monday.
However, the attacking sensation insists he wants to continue his adventure with the Nou Camp outfit.
“I am the only one who decides my future,” said Eto’o. “I really don’t know how else to say this.
“Barcelona cannot send me away if I have a contract. If the club wants to keep me and I want to stay, I don’t think there is anything else to talk about.”
Whispers claim that Barcelona are ready to sacrifice Eto’o in order to accommodate Thierry Henry, but the African has other ideas about the Arsenal man.
“It would be great if he came here, but I will not believe it until the news is official,” he added. “We would form a great pair upfront!”
The player’s agent Jose Maria Mesalles had also recently insisted that his client wasn’t looking for a Barcelona exit, although his future had yet to be decided.
“Samuel wants to stay at Barcelona, but there is nothing certain,” he underlined. “We are waiting for some offers and when we receive them we will inform the club.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is being paired with Milan and Inter after admitting that he is tempted to experience football in Italy and Spain.
“I am a long way from saying farewell to Chelsea, but you never know what can happen,” he stated on Tuesday.
Emerson books AC Milan medical
12.6 || webmaster
According to the latest reports in Spain, Emerson has already booked his medical for the transfer to Milan.
The Real Madrid midfielder cannot complete the transfer until the final day of the Liga season, but he is wasting no time in preparing for the future.
The Spanish media suggest that a medical has been booked for Monday at 18.00 local time at Milanello.
The former Roma and Juventus man is so eager to make the switch that he has been pressurising Real to get the negotiations over with quickly.
It would be a return to Serie A for Emerson after just one year in Spain, where he followed Coach Fabio Capello and captain Fabio Cannavaro in the wake of Calciopoli.
The Rossoneri are also looking to Spain for a new striker and Carlo Ancelotti makes no secret of his intention to bring in Samuel Eto’o in a £28m swoop.
“The club is certainly working to make this squad even more competitive,” said the tactician today.
“Eto’o is a great striker, but he is owned by Barcelona. If the opportunity arose, then I think Milan would be in pole position and he’d be an excellent signing for the future.”
No Juventus move for Gilardino
12.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino seems set to stay with Milan after he today rubbished rumours that he was in talks with Juventus.
The Old Lady have been paired since Gilardino claimed that the Rossoneri had little faith in his abilities, but peace seems to have been made with the European champions.
“The news regarding Juventus is untrue,” said agent Claudio Sclosa to Teleradiostereo on Tuesday afternoon.
“Milan first said that they wanted £17m for the player, but now things have changed and it is clear that he will stay.
“The Rossoneri do not intend to sell Gilardino,” he added. “There was a misunderstanding that was immediately clarified.
“I think that those who say that his season was a negative one are wrong. He scored 12 Serie A goals this year, despite his injury.
“What will happen if Samuel Eto’o arrives from Barcelona? We will wait and see, in any case it is our understanding that Gilardino is not on the market.”
Sclosa also ruled out the possibility that Gianluca Zambrotta would leave Barcelona this summer, as suggested by recent reports in Italy.
“He will stay in Spain,” he noted. “There have never been the conditions needed for him to leave. The club is pleased with his performances and he likes it there.”
AC Milan prepare £28m Eto'o bid
12.6 || webmaster
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani will reportedly make Barcelona a £28m offer for Samuel Eto’o next week.
The Rossoneri are looking for a new striker and have admitted that the Cameroon international is a primary transfer objective.
Stories in Italy on Tuesday claim that Galliani will fly to Spain on June 18, once the Liga campaign has ended, where he will make a formal bid for the African – who will also be offered a £4m-a-year contract.
However, the Nou Camp outfit will not let Eto’o go until they find a replacement and Thierry Henry is the first name on the club’s wish list.
A report in France Football had claimed that a deal with the Arsenal man had already been discussed, but that allegation has been denied by his agent Jerome Anderson.
“I can categorically state that I never had a meeting with anyone representing Barcelona. The whole thing is garbage,” Anderson, who has threatened legal action, said to The Sun.
“There is not one element of truth in the story and they will be hearing from my lawyers. Nobody checked these claims with anyone involved in the story – it is scandalous.”
Meanwhile, boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Eto’o would be welcomed with open arms at the San Siro.
“If there is a chance to sign him then Milan will definitely be involved in talks,” the tactician said. “But for now he longs to Barcelona!”
Ronaldo: Inter are ingrates!
11.6 || webmaster
Ronaldo feels the Inter fans have been “ungrateful” and has found a new lease of life over at Milan.
There was fury among the supporters when Il Fenomeno demanded a transfer to Real Madrid in the summer of 2002, just as he finally found his full fitness again after two years of injury nightmares.
“I have always been grateful to the Inter fans, but they were not like that with me,” he told RAI television.
“In 2002 I had to escape with a police escort because I was afraid something nasty could happen to me.”
The main reason behind his decision to walk away was Coach Hector Cuper – who would be fired only a few months later.
“Cuper did not have faith in me and I had none in him. Inter earned a lot of money by selling me, so I don’t think they can really complain.”
The final straw was May 5, 2002, when the Nerazzurri lost the Scudetto on the last day of the season with a 4-2 defeat at Lazio.
“That was the worst day of my career. We were so sure we would win, but once we got on the field we couldn’t seem to do anything.”
It was another Coach who prompted Ronaldo’s return to San Siro, this time to the red and black side of the city.
“When Fabio Capello arrived at Real, the situation became difficult for me and I decided for a change. I was a little afraid of returning to Milan, but it all went well,” he said.
“The most emotional moment was when I went back to the locker room after my first brace at Siena. I was the last one in and everybody – bar none – stood up to applaud me.
“It was so wonderful. In 15 years of my career as a professional that had never happened to me before.”
Capello pushes Eto'o to AC Milan
11.6 || webmaster
With Real Madrid about to win La Liga, it’s more likely Milan will pounce for Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o.
The Rossoneri have made no secret of their interest in the Cameroon international and his time at the Nou Camp could well be up after the disappointment of this season.
With the title seemingly safe a few weeks ago, the Blaugrana have frittered away their lead and last night’s 2-2 draw with Espanyol has put Fabio Capello’s Real Madrid in pole position.
“We had to fight back for this result and to do so I saw a great team spirit,” said the former Juventus boss after their 2-2 with Zaragoza.
“Now we need concentration, as we have not won the title yet, but we can do it.”
Having also failed in the Champions League, Barcelona look ready for a clear-out in their squad and the first to go could be Eto’o.
Also a target for Inter, the 26-year-old African star would be available for around £20m, although other players may be included in an exchange for Barca teammate Gianluca Zambrotta.
The Rossoneri have confirmed they are seeking a new striker for the summer and Coach Carlo Ancelotti named both Eto’o and Thierry Henry in a recent Press conference.
Marseille plan Simic bid
11.6 || webmaster
Olympique Marseille are interested in Milan defender Dario Simic according to the latest reports in France.
The newspaper La Provence claims that two French officials were in Zagreb on Wednesday to observe the Croatian player, who appeared in the Group E Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia, which ended with a goalless draw.
The Ligue 1 side is in need of an experienced central defender and Simic might represent the ideal solution for the Velodrome outfit, which ended the season in second place.
The 31-year-old’s contract with Milan expires in 2009 and Vice-President Adriano Galliani had recently stated that Simic would not leave the San Siro, although rumours suggest that the Via Turati club might consider a one-year loan deal.
The versatile defender has not been granted much playing time in the past few years and is allegedly ready to consider a move, if this were to allow him to play with more consistency.
Simic started his career with Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Inter in 1999, but failed to become a first-team regular with the Nerazzurri and opted for a move to the other side of town three years later.
Camoranesi set for exit?
11.6 || webmaster
Mauro Camoranesi could leave Juventus and would favour a move to one of Inter, Milan and Roma according to his agent.
The world champion is contracted to the Bianconeri until 2009, but the latest talks with the club to extend his deal have stalled over his wage demands.
“We have had no contact with any other outfits, we are trying to solve the situation here,” explained agent Sergio Fortunato.
“Mauro will consider another option if Juve refuse to give him what he thinks he deserves to earn,” added the player’s representative.
The Bianconero has reiterated in the past few months that the difference between the financial offer and the amount he was asking for is significant.
“If Mauro were to leave, he will only play for one of Inter, Milan and Roma. The Nerazzurri and Coach Roberto Mancini asked for the player last summer,” continued Fortunato.
“At Roma there is a £1.7m salary cap? That is what Mauro earns here at Juve, where his wage is half of what the important players are currently paid,” concluded Fortunato.
David Trezeguet has also warned Juve that he is ready to leave the Old Lady, as he feels that the club does not respect him despite his status as Juve’s all-time top foreign scorer with 140 goals.
AC Milan and Juve target Tiago
11.6 || webmaster
Juventus and Milan are ready to battle for Lyon midfielder Tiago, who looks set to leave France this summer.
The Portuguese star recently admitted that his time with the French champions might be near its end, with both Italian sides a possible destination.
Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas has set a £12m price tag on Tiago’s head and has already received an offer from Juventus, according to the French Press.
The newspaper A Bola reports that Milan are keen on signing the player as well, as they look for young blood for their midfield department.
Aulas does not seem willing to lower his demands for Tiago, who refused a contract extension before the Christmas break.
Tiago, who helped his club win a record sixth straight League title, started his career with Sporting Braga before joining Benfica in 2002 and appearing for Chelsea in 2004-05.
He joined Lyon after just 12 months at Stamford Bridge and played an important role in the Portugal side that reached the semi-finals of last summer’s World Cup in Germany.
Ancelotti keeps Henry hanging
9.6 || webmaster
While Thierry Henry admits he’s glad to hear of Milan’s interest, Carlo Ancelotti is keeping his options open. “He’s very good, but he’s not the only one.”
The reports of a summer bid for the Arsenal hitman started last week when Ancelotti himself confessed in a Press conference that Henry was “one of the strikers we are interested in.”
The Frenchman responded with undisguised glee at the opportunity to make a switch to the current European Champions.
“That is great to hear,” said Henry to ‘The Sun’ newspaper. “How can it be anything else?”
Yet on Saturday the Rossoneri boss put the brakes on talk of an agreement with the former Juventus hitman.
“Henry is a very good forward, but not the only forward. There are other good strikers,” he was quoted as telling ‘Sky Sports News.’
“Henry has a contract with another club and it is difficult to buy players who have a contract.”
Milan do have other options on the table, most notably Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o and the possible return from Chelsea of the unsettled Andriy Shevchenko.
Gilardino takes Inzaghi advice
8.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino reveals Pippo Inzaghi convinced him to stay at Milan after this week’s threats to walk out.
The former Parma striker had complained at the lack of faith shown in him by the club and demanded a regular spot in the starting XI, but today’s talk with officials cleared the air.
“I am very happy we had this meeting, as it was important to clarify the situation,” said Gilardino.
“I know this is an important side and want to stay here for as long as possible. That was my intention before and it is even more so now.”
However, he did reveal that there was some valuable advice given to him by one of the players challenging for that place upfront.
“I spoke to Pippo and he said some wonderful things. I also heard from other teammates who asked me to think carefully, but in truth I never had any doubts. The newspapers twisted my words, so I always wanted to stay at Milan.
“In fact, I had only given that interview to reassure the fans that I had not offered myself to any other club, let alone Inter.”
The competition for places in the Rossoneri forward line is already fierce with Inzaghi, Ronaldo and Ricardo Oliveira challenging, but Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed they are looking to bring in another world class striker.
The main target is Thierry Henry and today the Arsenal man noted he was pleased to hear of Milan’s interest.
Amelia has future doubts
8.6 || webmaster
Goalkeeper Marco Amelia may remain at Livorno after admitting that he’s received no concrete offers for his services.
Italy’s World Cup No 3 was expected to leave for a bigger club, with Palermo reportedly interested, but may be forced to continue at the Stadio Picchi.
“I might stay, aside from a few fights with the President [Aldo Spinelli], I like it here and I have many friends and supporters,” said Amelia to Radio Radio.
“There have been no firm offers for now, so I think everything will be decided by the end of July. In any case I am very serene,” added the former Roma man, who renewed his contract in January.
“I extended my deal recently which could represent a problem and Spinelli’s financial requests for me may also be high.
“The best clubs in Italy already have a goalkeeper, whereas I don’t know how much sides like Lazio and Palermo are willing to spend.
“A move to Milan? The two clubs did meet, but then Nelson Dida renewed his contract and the talks ended.”
Amelia underwent knee surgery in April to solve a meniscus problem, but he feels that he has now recovered completely.
“I played very well until Christmas, then I started to have some physical problems which did not allow me to train as I wanted to,” he added.
“My knee bothered me, but now I am finally doing well. These things can happen, although the situation could have maybe been managed differently.”
Gilardino going nowhere, claim AC Milan
8.6 || webmaster
Adriano Galliani insists Alberto Gilardino will stay with Milan for some time – just days after publicly putting him on the transfer market for £17m.
The striker last week revealed that he was considering his options at the San Siro after admitting that he was sick of being treated as a flop and wanted the outfit to show more faith in his abilities.
The European giants didn’t appreciate Gila’s interview, but Vice-President Galliani insists everything has been ironed out with the youngster.
“Just as Filippo Inzaghi, I believe Gila will be a Milan striker for the next 10 years,” said the official on Friday.
“I am sure that all the problems will be resolved. We met with the player, his father and his agent a few days ago and we were all very serene.
“Gila must understand that we have great faith in him, but no Milan player has ever demanded a spot in the starting line-up.
“He will be one of the four strikers in the squad next season and will have to compete with his teammates.”
The former Parma man is a reported target for Juventus, as a possible David Trezeguet replacement, but Galliani is confident that Gilardino has learned his lesson.
“He is young, strong and will be granted space like all of his teammates,” added the former Lega chief. “We would have never reached the Athens Final had we not had so many players here.
“It isn’t always a dishonour to start from the bench, but I am sure Alberto will understand all this. It is normal that he wants to play – he wouldn’t be a Milan player otherwise.”
Emerson 'reveals' AC Milan move
8.6 || webmaster
Real Madrid ace Emerson has reportedly told Marcos Cafu that he will be playing alongside him at Milan next season.
The midfielder has been strongly associated with a San Siro switch after a difficult first campaign in Madrid and stories of a Milanese marriage are gathering pace.
The former Roma man, who left Juventus following Calciopoli last summer, has made no secret of his desire for an Italian return – even if Real win their first Liga title since 2003 this month.
Emerson is expected in Milan on June 18, at the end of the Spanish season, when he will undergo his medical at MilanLab.
El Puma, who has been suffering with a groin problem, expects to easily pass the tests and has allegedly already told friend Cafu that he is Rossoneri bound.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of the South American and recently confirmed the club’s interest in him. “He is the kind of midfielder we are looking for,” Carletto declared.
Striker Ricardo Oliveira may be included in the deal after his disastrous campaign for the European champions.
Barcelona ace Edmilson is an alternative to Emerson should the latter fail to complete his Milan move.
Oddo cools Totti debate
8.6 || webmaster
Milan’s Massimo Oddo believes that the storm surrounding Francesco Totti and the Italian national team has been blown out of proportion by the media.
The Roma captain hasn’t appeared for the Azzurri since the World Cup win last summer and controversially claimed on Monday that he was ready to return for “important” matches.
That statement again raised question marks over his commitment to the Italian jersey and the media focus on the squad was again turned to Totti rather than the Lithuania qualifier.
“Francesco has clarified his position and I now think the issue is between him and [Coach] Roberto Donadoni,” said Oddo.
“We are football players and we should not worry too much about these kind of things. I think that there has been too much focus on the situation and it’s become a media event.
“The World Cup ended almost a year ago and it’s an exaggeration that this issue is still being discussed today.”
Fortunately for the Azzurri, they managed to concentrate on the task at hand as they climbed to second in Group B with wins over the Faroe Islands and Lithuania.
“Our main objective was to get six points in two matches and we are happy we did so,” explained the former Lazio full-back.
“We knew we would have to face some difficulties in these two matches, especially against the Faroe Islands because of the severe weather conditions.
“But we dominated the entire match aside from the five minutes when we conceded the goal.”
Oddo also defended the work of Donadoni who has been put on trial by some sections of the media in recent times.
“In my opinion there was too much criticism against Donadoni,” said the Germany 2006 winner.
“It’s not easy for a Coach to replace a World Cup winner and after the slip against Lithuania and the defeat to France, we obtained the results we needed and are now second in the group.
“No national teams play spectacular football because the Coaches can only work with their players for a few days before the match and it is very difficult to impose tactics in such a short period of time.”
AC Milan link pleases Henry
8.6 || webmaster
Arsenal hitman Thierry Henry has admitted that he is pleased to be of interest to Champions League winners Milan.
The Gunners’ captain has been linked with a move to the San Siro after Coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted that the striker was among the players the Rossoneri were following.
“That is great to hear,” said Henry to The Sun newspaper. “How can it be anything else?
“As I have said many times, now I am an Arsenal player, but everyone knows that many things have happened at the club recently that were not supposed to happen,” added the Frenchman, referring to vice-chairman David Dein’s departure in April.
“In terms of Mr Dein leaving the club, the bosses and a lot of players at the club have been unsettled.
“So the only thing I can tell you is right now I am an Arsenal player, but I cannot deny it’s nice to hear about Milan,” added the Barcelona target.
The 29-year-old signed a four-year contract with Arsenal last year which suggested he would end his career with the London outfit.
However, he has since been plagued by injuries and has grown frustrated at Arsenal’s inability to compete for the Premiership title.
“It’s always the same top four and I’m actually getting annoyed that we’re finishing at the end of the top four now,” he said recently, fuelling speculation that a summer move may be on the cards.
Eto'o staying in Spain
7.6 || webmaster
Milan target Samuel Eto’o wants to stay in Spain with Barcelona, claims the Cameroon international’s agent.
The Blaugrana star has been linked with Milan since Adriano Galliani stated that the Rossoneri would make an official offer for him after the end of the Spanish season.
Eto’o is also a reported target for Liverpool Coach Rafael Benitez, who is planning to significantly strengthen the Reds to make a push for the Premiership title next term.
“Barcelona know perfectly that Eto’o is happy in Spain and wants to stay. There is a contract and we want to honour it,” Jose Maria Mesalles explained to Sport newspaper.
“We have never met with Benitez and we don’t want false news to be reported. As for Milan, the Blaugrana know Eto’o doesn’t want to leave.
“We are not looking for any offers, if anyone is interested they will have to contact Barcelona. In any case, we want to stay,” concluded Mesalles.
The Cameroon international was paired with a summer move after a much-publicised bust up with Ronaldinho and Coach Frank Rijkaard, although the player recently denied that there were any problems.
Ambrosini: It wasn't easy
7.6 || webmaster
Massimo Ambrosini is pleased with Italy’s 2-0 win over Lithuania in Wednesday’s Euro 2008 qualifier. “It wasn’t easy to find the right motivation.”
The Azzurri dominated the match thanks to a brace from Fabio Quagliarella, which allows the Nazionale to go into the summer break in second place in Group B, behind France and ahead of Scotland.
“It was important to give consistency to the win we obtained against the Faroe Islands on Wednesday, which had failed to impress and left everyone a bit disappointed,” said Ambrosini.
“It wasn’t easy to find the right motivation and determination, we are at the end of an intense season,” added the Milan midfielder, who came on for Simone Perrotta 20 minutes before the final whistle.
Italy will start next season with a rematch of the World Cup Final against France on September 8 in what could be the decisive game of their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
But that game has caused controversy in the Azzurri ranks over when the new Serie A season should start, in order to allow the players to better prepare for that crucial qualifier.
“It is not up to us to decide whether we should start on August 19 or 26,” insisted the Champions League winner.
“There are many people who are discussing this issue. I don’t really think that starting a week earlier or a week later will make any difference,” concluded Ambrosini.
Pippo's favourite year
6.6 || webmaster
Filippo Inzaghi ends his season on a high after success with Milan and Italy. “This’ll be the best vacation of my life!”
Although he did not find the back of the net in Lithuania, SuperPippo played his part in the 2-0 win.
“Tonight we knew we needed a performance like this. It was only right that I sacrifice myself and work for the squad after they helped me to score so many goals.
“I am going on holiday now and I think it will be the best vacation of my life! Last year we didn’t have a break after the World Cup and with the early Milan recall, so to win the Champions League and get six crucial points with the Azzurri I am on a real high.”
He bagged a brace in the 2-1 win over Liverpool and then repeated the trick in the Euro 2008 qualifier in the Faroe Islands.
“It would be too much to expect a repeat of this season, but one lives in hope! People in my line of work live for nights like the one in Athens.
“What makes me even happier is that I am alright physically after only a brief problem in January. I’m almost disappointed the season has ended, as I’m in great shape!”
This week Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani complimented Inzaghi on his work rate and training regime.
“Everyone can see what you do on the field, but behind the scenes is another situation. I am very honoured that Milan praised me,” said the striker.
“As for Italy, to be at home and watch them from there is painful for me. It is an incredible feeling to pull on the Azzurri jersey and represent your country.”
With Francesco Totti, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta stepping away from international football, was Inzaghi ever tempted to pack it in?
“In all honesty I have never considered retirement. I did not have much of an impact on the World Cup, even if I was able to score a goal in my 20 minutes.
“The compliments I received from my teammates at the tournament spurred me to carry on and I am always at the disposal of my country.”
The famous goal poacher did get a little ratty at Antonio Di Natale this evening when the Udinese man went for glory despite Inzaghi being in a better scoring position.
“Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella are exceptional, it is impossible to be angry with them. I do know the situation full well, as I’ve shot from there enough times with a teammate clear!”
The squad banded together after the bitter criticism of Roberto Donadoni’s choices in the 2-1 win over the Faroe Islands.
“Donadoni was a player and so he understands where we are coming from. We knew there was tension in the media, but he is very much appreciated by the side and we get on very well with him.”
Milan play down Eto'o bid
6.6 || webmaster
Milan have issued a statement insisting that Vice-President Adriano Galliani was misquoted when talking about Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o.
The Rossoneri official admitted that the Cameroon star was a transfer objective, but the outfit are unhappy with reports on Wednesday which are suggesting that the deal is as good as done.
“There is no assault on Eto’o and no plans to ‘go there and get him’,” read a note posted on the club’s website.
“A prestigious club such as Barcelona deserves to know that Adriano Galliani was astonished this morning when he read in some daily papers phrases that have been attributed to him, but do not correspond with what was said.
“Eto’o is a Barcelona player. Milan will make an official approach to Barcelona when the Spanish League ends.
“However, there are no certainties that the great striker will eventually move to Milan as the Catalan club has the last word when it comes to selling or not.”
Galliani is seemingly keen to avoid the kind of confrontation he had with Real Madrid chief Ramon Calderon last summer after the Merengues openly courted Kaka through the media.
The club has also rubbished claims that Galliani said “are we crazy?” when asked about the possibility of swapping Alberto Gilardino with Juventus’ David Trezeguet.
“What Galliani actually said was: We have been in the world of football for many years and we know from experience that you do not exchange a player born in 1982 with one born in 1977,” ended the note.
AC Milan admit to Eto'o desire
5.6 || webmaster
Milan chief Adriano Galliani has declared that the Rossoneri will make an offer for Barcelona's Samuel Eto’o.
The latter has been heavily associated with the European champions and the Vice-President has today admitted that the Cameroon ace is a target.
“Eto’o remains our primary objective, but we will not disturb Barcelona until the end of the Liga season [on June 17],” Galliani noted this afternoon.
“However, next season’s squad will basically be the same as the group of players who have just ended this campaign.
“A few players might come in, one in midfield and one in attack, but we are in no hurry as we are fine as we are.”
The proposed arrival of Eto’o would increase the competition for a striking shirt next season and Galliani conceded that the club were ready to sell Alberto Gilardino.
The latter is unhappy with the lack of faith being shown in him by the European champions and a divorce is seemingly on the cards.
“I told him that the club would want him to stay,” added the official.
“However, seeing as we can’t guarantee him a starting shirt and we didn’t appreciate his recent interview, I have given him permission to leave – so long as someone pays us £17m.”
Gilardino is understood to be keen on a move to Juventus which has led to speculation that the Old Lady may offer David Trezeguet in return.
“Trezeguet is a player who we really like, but we can’t exchange a player who was born in 1982 with one who is five years older.”
Galliani also rubbished rumours of an Andriy Shevchenko swoop. “His return is more impossible than unlikely,” he added.
“Thierry Henry? We were close to him after Sheva left but he demonstrated himself to be a great man. He wanted to stay loyal to the club who made him famous.”
Kaka says no to Ronaldinho
5.6 || webmaster
Kaka insists that Milan will fail in their bid to sign Barcelona ace Ronaldinho – but he’s hopeful that Andriy Shevchenko could return.
The Blaugrana star has been heavily paired with the Rossoneri over the past few months, while the Ukrainian may be assessing his future after his struggles at Chelsea over the last year.
“I think Milan have moved further away from Ronaldinho if compared to three months ago,” said Kaka in an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I don’t think he will move here as he seems set to stay at Barcelona,” added the South American.
“As to Sheva, I really hope he comes back. I speak to him often, but unfortunately there are rules in football so you can’t just turn around and leave.
“I am sure he would already be here if the decision was only up to him, but it seems there might be some problems.
“[Barcelona’s] Samuel Eto’o is an alternative as he is a great player, but Sheva would have no difficulty in adapting immediately as he knows everyone here.”
Kaka is one of the leading contenders to win this year’s Golden Ball and he admits he didn’t expect to be in the running so soon into his career.
“I was there in 2002 when Ronaldo lifted the trophy during the celebrations for Real Madrid’s centenary. It was an incredible emotion,” explained the 25-year-old.
“I would have never imagined that I would compete for the Golden Ball at my age.
“I haven’t won it yet, but it is flattering to hear that so many important players are suggesting that I should be the winner,” continued the Champions League top scorer.
“My first objective is the Intercontinental Cup. I am aware that the Champions League is more prestigious, but the Intercontinental Cup is especially fascinating for a Brazilian.
“With regards to next season, we will compete with Inter for the Scudetto. This time there will be no point deductions to ruin the championship.”
Boss Carlo Ancelotti recently renewed his contract, which now expires in 2011 just as Kaka’s, and the player confirmed that he has no intention of leaving Milan despite Real Madrid’s courtship.
“I spoke to the Coach and I told him that together we can win everything with Milan. We have chosen our future. Real Madrid can forget about me, at least for now.”
AC Milan eye global title
4.6 || webmaster
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani insists that the Rossoneri want to win the FIFA Club World Championship.
The Rossoneri secured their seventh Champions League title by defeating Liverpool in Athens two weeks ago and the former Lega Calcio chief has now outlined the club’s objectives for next season.
“First of all we want to win the Club World Championship,” said Galliani, who is currently in Sardinia.
“After that competition we would like to win the Champions League, then the championship, the European Super Cup and the Coppa Italia,” added the official.
“We would like to succeed in all these tournaments, because we do not snub any of them. However, we need to set our priorities.”
The 2007 FIFA Club World Championship will be held in December, when the winner of each of the six major continental competitions will meet in Japan.
Galliani was also asked for his opinion on Alberto Gilardino’s recent controversial statements to the Press, as the striker declared that he was ready to leave the San Siro.
The former Parma star said that he felt he had no choice as he was being treated like a flop after being dropped for Pippo Inzaghi in the Champions League Final.
“Last summer, when I called up the team to tell them that we were forced to review our plans because of the Champions League preliminaries, it took Inzaghi just three hours to reach Milanello,” said Galliani.
“This must serve as an example for many players. A word to the wise is plenty,” he concluded.
Ancelotti: Gilardino can go
3.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino’s time at Milan appears to be up after he threatened to walk out and Carlo Ancelotti opened the door – ushering in Thierry Henry.
The striker caused controversy with an interview in this weekend’s ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ in which he said he could “not guarantee” he would stay at the club next season, as he demanded more faith in his abilities.
“If Gilardino feels he needs to go, then there’s no reason why we can’t help him achieve that aim, as long as we find a valid alternative,” replied the Coach.
“Up until a few days ago he seemed relaxed and the situation was under control. He speaks of faith and fair play, but we have always put our trust in him. I always considered him an important player, even if at Milan competition for places is mandatory.”
With Ronaldo no longer cup-tied, Pippo Inzaghi in sparkling form and rumours of another major striker brought in this summer, Gilardino fears he will be pushed aside.
“Competition must act as further motivation to do better and certainly not feel like a weight. Gilardino is young, can still improve and has already scored a lot of goals. Like everyone, he has had his ups and downs.”
Gila is very unpopular with a section of the Rossoneri fans and admits he was bitterly disappointed at losing out to Inzaghi in the Champions League Final starting XI.
“The only player at Milan who is sure of always being first choice is Kaka,” continued Ancelotti. “Everyone should take Inzaghi as an example, a player who takes his profession very seriously. He is always ready and works hard no matter what, so he earned his place in the most important match.”
Not only did SuperPippo play in Athens, he scored both goals in the 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
“It is often said that Inzaghi is in love with the goal, but the truth is that the goal is in love with him.”
That Champions League triumph will act as further incentive to bring in top stars, as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Andriy Shevchenko and Emerson have been strongly linked.
“We are working to make the team more competitive. What you read in the papers is more or less true, specifically our intention to bring in a midfielder and a forward. Negotiations are tricky, as they involve talking to very prestigious clubs.”
The Coach let slip that one of those target is Arsenal hitman Henry, who may finally be ready to leave the Gunners.
“Henry is a great striker and is among those players who are of interest to us,” said the Milan boss.
There are claims this weekend that a deal for Real Madrid man Emerson has already been secured, with a return to Serie A after his spells at Roma and Juventus.
“I have not named names and do not wish to, but Emerson is a player with the characteristics that would be useful for us.”
Gilardino 'cannot guarantee' AC Milan stay
3.6 || webmaster
Alberto Gilardino has told Milan he is sick of being treated as a flop and is looking at other alternatives. “I cannot guarantee I will stay.”
The striker moved from Parma for around £18m in 2005, but has struggled to live up to that price-tag and in two seasons has managed just two Champions League goals.
With Ronaldo no longer cup-tied, Filippo Inzaghi on fire, Kaka moved to a more advanced role and reports that Andriy Shevchenko will return after his spell at Chelsea, there is less and less room for Gila.
“The situation is simple. I am happy at Milan, but I cannot guarantee I will stay here,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport.’
“I have a long contract and an excellent rapport with the Rossoneri environment, but anything can happen in football and I am evaluating other options. I would not be honest if I denied that.
“For me the faith of the club and the Coach are indispensable. In the past I had that and would like for it to be there in the future.”
The decision to drop him in favour of Inzaghi – who scored a decisive brace – for the Champions League Final against Liverpool seems to have left its mark.
“I want to be able to play without all these doubts being raised on my first error or negative performance. At the age of 25 I want to play consistently and repay Milan for the investment they made in me.
“I thought I would play in Athens, I admit it. When I found out I was on the bench, I was disappointed,” he confessed.
“But I always put the team above all personal considerations and just tried to concentrate so I could do my best in the few minutes that Carlo Ancelotti granted me. Lifting the trophy put all that disappointment behind me.”
With constant rumours of new hitmen from Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Shevchenko coming to San Siro, will Gilardino ask to be sold if another forward arrives?
“I am not afraid of competition. I have always sought my space with great champions like Shevchenko, Inzaghi, Christian Vieri and Ronaldo. If the competition is fair and the player who is in the best shape goes on to the field, then I have no problems.”
This week there were claims in the newspapers that Gilardino had openly offered himself to Inter, but he and his agent denied these suggestions.
“That is absolutely not true,” the former Parma man told the ‘Gazzetta’. “I can pledge to the Milan fans, who I get along very well with, that I have not approached anyone, let alone Inter. A few supporters jeered me this season, but the majority are behind me. I want to repay them with many goals.”
Among those linked with a summer bid for Gilardino are the new Juventus and Barcelona, who are probably seeking a replacement for Eto’o.
“These are great clubs and I am pleased to hear of their interest, but Milan are the top club. It’s difficult to imagine walking out on them and they are my first choice. However, if I didn’t feel they had faith in me, then I would look elsewhere.”
When asked point blank if he felt he was always facing tests of his abilities and that there were doubts around him, the World Cup winner answered truthfully.
“Yes, I feel that I am in doubt and in all honesty I don’t know why. I think this is surreal and at times it seems like an incredible situation.”
In two seasons Gilardino has scored 29 Serie A goals for Milan and was their top scorer this term on 12 in 30 appearances.
Oddo apologises for error
3.6 || webmaster
Massimo Oddo has explained what went wrong when the Faroe Islands scored an historic goal against Italy.
“Unfortunately it was three against one and I didn’t spot in time the fact he had lost his marker,” said the defender.
The Milan man was closest to Rogvi Jacobsen when he turned his towering header into the back of the net – only their second goal in qualifying.
Italy emerged 2-1 winners, but it was far from a vintage performance in the northern storms, particularly from the forwards.
“It was a match in which we created so many chances, but when you don’t put it in the back of the net then you do run risks at the end. We poured forward a little too gung-ho and that left them room to counter.”
Cristiano Lucarelli, Alessandro Del Piero and Aimo Diana all missed open goals, while Andrea Pirlo’s free kick was tipped on to the woodwork.
“I would not make a drama out of it. You are bound to run into this type of problem with a side like the Faroe Islands. We didn’t underestimate them, we just failed to kill them off earlier,” insisted Oddo.
Inzaghi thinks positive
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Filippo Inzaghi has thanked his teammates for helping him to continue his remarkable period of form.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as some people suggested. We had a good start despite the cold, rain and very strong wind, but we got the points and that is the important thing,” said the striker.
The Italy player netted a brace in the 2-1 win in the Faroe Islands that sent the Azzurri into second place in Euro 2008 qualifying Group B.
“In the first goal I thought the ball was beyond me, but thankfully I managed to get a touch. This is a great time for me and I must thank my teammates for doing everything they could to help me. Andrea Pirlo’s pass was studied at Milan.”
On Wednesday they travel to Lithuania to face a side that had held Italy to a 1-1 draw in Naples earlier in the campaign.
“We know what happened in Lithuania not long ago with a 0-0 draw. This is a tough fixture and we must be totally focused,” added Inzaghi.
“In Europe we know that there are no easy games. I don’t believe any of us underestimated this test. Even if we had won 7-1, it would still have ended up with three points. Admittedly it wasn’t a vintage performance, but we have to look at the positives.”
Inzaghi’s attitude to the Azzurri jersey is one of constant and ineffable enthusiasm, so how does he view the decisions made by Alessandro Nesta and Francesco Totti to refuse international call-ups?
“I don’t want to judge others, as everyone makes their own choices. Let us not forget that Totti and Nesta have given so much to the Nazionale.”
Financial scandal to hit clubs?
2.6 || webmaster
A new scandal is set to hit Italian football after Sampdoria and Messina were accused of some very creative accounting.
The investigation into the financial affairs of Serie A clubs has concluded with warnings that Sampdoria President Riccardo Garrone, director general Beppe Marotta, Messina patron Pietro Franza and Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani (pictured) could possibly face charges.
The inquiry began when former Bologna President Giuseppe Gazzoni Frascara accused several clubs of “administrative doping.”
The allegations stretch back to 2002-03 and claim that the sides artificially inflated the prices of youth team players to make their balance sheets look healthier than they really were.
Specifically the investigation is based around Ikechukwu Kalù, who had half his contract sold by Samp to Milan for £1.3m and Luca Antonini moving the other way for £2.7m.
Messina risk far more, as the local courts allege that all the balance sheets between 2001 and 2006 were affected by similar strategies. No charges have yet been brought.
Club before country for Kaka
1.6 || webmaster
Milan star Kaka has noted that winning the Champions League was more exciting than Brazil’s 2002 World Cup triumph.
The Rossoneri claimed their seventh European Cup with a 2-1 win over Liverpool in Athens and the playmaker insists it was a victory he will never forget.
“I was only 20 when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup and everybody knows that the role I had then was more to watch and learn,” he told uefa.com.
“This doesn’t mean that things were less thrilling by the time we lifted the trophy, but I was taken over with a different feeling last week in Athens.
“My participation was much more involved this time around.”
Milan were crowned European champions thanks to a Pippo Inzaghi brace in a tight game with few chances.
“I was really confident we could win the Final and things only got better after we scored the first goal,” added the South American.
“I must admit that there were always those little thoughts about things going wrong like in 2005, but when Inzaghi scored the second, I knew a repeat of Istanbul would not happen.”
Kaka has now basically won all there is to win domestically and in Europe, but he insists he’s still hungry for more victories.
“I have won three of the world’s most prestigious competitions now, but I still think there are a lot of things to chase,” he outlined.
“Winning trophies is what motivates me and I am looking forward to the next challenge,” added the 25-year-old.
“This UEFA Champions League, however, will always have a special place in my heart for the extra honour of ending up as the tournament's top scorer.”
Ancelotti extends AC Milan deal
1.6 || webmaster
Carlo Ancelotti has been rewarded with a new Milan contract for guiding the Rossoneri to Champions League glory this term.
The tactician has this evening renewed his agreement for a further two years and is now thus tied to the club until June 30, 2010.
Ancelotti was expected to extend his deal with the outfit and he put pen to paper on Thursday as the club confirmed on their official website.
“I am now even more a part of the Milan family,” noted the former midfielder. “It only took a minute to agree terms and I’m delighted to have remained.
“The fact that we won the Champions League this season is also because the club backed me in November.
“Had I been at another club then they may have looked for a new Coach, but [Vice-President] Adriano Galliani is a great football official.”
No financial details have been released but it is understood that Ancelotti’s salary has shot up from £2.3m a season to around £3.5m.
The former Reggiana, Parma and Juventus boss arrived at Milan in 2001-02 when Fatih Terim was shown the door.
Since then he’s won the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and two European Cups while on the Rossoneri bench.
This may be the last contract Ancelotti signs at the San Siro after he recently admitted that he’d like to Coach Italy after the 2010 World Cup.
Edmilson eyes AC Milan switch
1.6 || webmaster
Barcelona ace Edmilson has issued a ‘come and get me’ plea to European champions Milan.
The defensive midfielder has been paired with the Rossoneri over the last few days and he has made it clear that a San Siro switch would be welcomed.
“If Milan want me then they should make their move right now,” the South American told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I like Milan and Serie A even if it is not totally up to me. I still have one year left on my contract here so Barca will have to have their say.”
Milan already have a massive Brazilian contingent and the World Cup player is keen to become the latest Samba star to wear the Milan jersey.
“My countrymen seem to be happy at Milan and we are talking about one of the best clubs in the world, like Barcelona,” he added.
“It is certainly a possibility that I would like, but if Milan want me then they need to contact Barcelona first.”
Inzaghi hails united Azzurri
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Filippo Inzaghi believes that the unity inside the Azzurri dressing room is Italy’s trump card. “Without a group like this you cannot win,” he declared.
The Rossonero is part of the Nazionale squad which will travel to the Faroe Islands for Saturday’s Euro 2008 qualifier and he believes the spirit in the camp is excellent.
“There are many similarities with the Milan group. We are all friends, there is no envy and we enjoy our time during the ‘ritiri’,” said the Rossoneri’s two-goal Champions League Final hero.
“We joke and we train in great serenity, which is why our time together is very relaxed. Without a group like this you can’t win – the World Cup is proof of that.
“Roberto Donadoni has done a great job in maintaining the unity. Now I only hope we can win the next two matches, although we will have to be careful.
“The Faroe Islands are a proud team, Lithuania managed to win against them only in injury time, and we have been told that the wind might create some problems.”
Inzaghi’s club colleague Alessandro Nesta has opted out of the squad for the double-header, leading to suggestions that he will retire from international football.
UEFA chief Michel Platini has recently reiterated that he believes players who snub their national teams should be suspended, but Inzaghi is sure that would never apply to him.
“The Azzurri shirt is fundamental for me, I have always done my best and I always want to be part of this squad,” he said. “In any case I do not want to judge the decisions made by others.
“Francesco Totti and Alessandro are friends of mine and they have always given their all for Italy. We would have no problem in welcoming them back if they were to change their mind – but Donadoni has the final say.”