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The Archive

August 2004

Trez misses Milan trophy clash
27.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Trezeguet is out of tomorrow’s Trofeo Berlusconi match with Milan, but Fabio Capello is adamant he wants his first Juventus trophy.

“This will be another step towards the Serie A season,” assured the Coach, “but we need to understand whether the side we saw against Djurgarden was the real Juve or a performance created by the emotion of the night.”

The Bianconeri earned their spot in the Champions’ League with a confident 4-1 victory in Sweden, silencing many of their critics.

David Trezeguet bagged a brace during that tie, but he has not even made the trip to the San Siro due to a fitness worry. Paolo Montero and Gianluigi Buffon are also out of action, so Fabrizio Miccoli should partner Alessandro Del Piero.

Capello has already lifted the Champions’ League trophy with both Milan and Real Madrid, but faces a tricky Group phase in this year’s competition.

“When you start such an important adventure,” noted the experienced tactician, “the most difficult game tends to be the first one, and we’re opening our campaign away to Ajax. The Dutch giants are at a more advanced level of fitness and we know their strengths well.”

“Bayern Munich were already a strong side and have since signed some important players to make them competitive in Europe. Maccabi Tel Aviv are the least recognisable outfit, but they are a good outfit.”

“These are all difficult opponents,” concluded Capello, “but Juventus will also be considered a threat by any other club in Europe.”

Their entrance to the Champions’ League has unlocked new transfer funds and this evening director general Luciano Moggi confirmed that Fabio Cannavaro was on his way.

“We have not completed any deal,” noted Moggi, “but we are very close to a conclusion.”

Inter defender Cannavaro is expected to arrive in exchange for cash plus goalkeeper Fabian Carini. The deal could be made official over the weekend.

Juventus squad for the Trofeo Berlusconi:

Buffon, Chimenti; Ferrara, Birindelli, Tudor, Thuram, Zebina, Legrottaglie Pessotto; Emerson, Zambrotta, Tacchinardi, Blasi, Bonnefoi, Baiocco, Kapo; Olivera, Zalayeta, Miccoli, Del Piero

Abbiati off to Lazio?
27.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are more conflicting reports over the future of Christian Abbiati after he was today linked with Lazio.

The Milan man is unhappy at being a reserve at the San Siro and is known to be keen on a move.

The goalkeeper had stated that he wanted to join Palermo but the Rossoneri insisted that he would remain - given that they would struggle to replace him so close to the transfer deadline.

However, whispers circulating in the peninsula on Friday claim that he could now be on the verge of joining Lazio.

Milan are ready to release him to the capital club but only if they receive Angelo Peruzzi in return.

The 34-year-old recently signed a new contract with the Biancocelesti but he could be tempted by a switch to the San Siro.

The problem is that Peruzzi is guaranteed first team football in Rome but would be the second choice behind Dida with the Scudetto holders.

Brocchi staying with Milan
27.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lazio have failed in their attempt to sign Cristian Brocchi after he committed his future to Milan.

The midfielder had said that he was keen on a capital switch but he’s now been convinced to remain.

"This situation came about because I didn’t feel very important anymore," said the former Verona winger.

"But I have had a meeting with Coach Carlo Ancelotti and Vice-president Adriano Galliani to clear the air.

"I had a good offer but Milan is like a family to me and I now feel like a key member of the squad again.

"I would stay with the Rossoneri for the rest of my career if it was up to me to decide."

In other transfer news, midfielder Fabio Pecchia has officially left Bologna for Serie A rivals Siena on loan.

While Messina boss Bortolo Mutti has extended his contract with the newly promoted outfit until 2006.

Euro draw reaction…
26.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Representatives of Italy’s four Champions’ League participants have commented on today’s draw.

Roma sporting director Franco Baldini was surprisingly cheerful after his club were drawn in Real Madrid’s group for the third time in four years.

"The Spanish Press were right when they wrote that Francesco Totti would play at the Bernabeu," he joked after rumours that the Italian would join the European giants.

"It will certainly be difficult but we are well used to coming up against them after our recent matches."

Baldini seemed to be more worried about the threat of Bayer Leverkusen and Dinamo Kiev who are also in Group B.

"We have some tough opponents, especially because travelling to the Ukraine in September will be very difficult. Nevertheless, we will do our best to go through."

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti was looking forward to the competition despite being landed with Barcelona, Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk.

"It isn’t an easy group but it is very stimulating," said the tactician. "We know Barca well who we played last night.

"Celtic have shown in recent years that they can achieve some great results at both home and abroad.

"While Shakhtar have spent heavily this summer in order to put together a competitive side. We must take care even if our opponents probably fear us more right now."

City rivals Inter will also face Spanish opposition as they will play Valencia, Anderlecht and Werder Bremen in Group G.

"It is a difficult group but that is what we expected," stated Inter tactician Roberto Mancini.

"This is the best competition in Europe so the quality is going to be very high. I’m optimistic though as we have what it takes to play against anyone."

Juventus won’t be flying to Spain but they’ve been handed one of the toughest groups of all with Bayern Munich, Ajax and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

"It won’t be easy for us," admitted Vice-president Roberto Bettega. "Even if it is nice to finally play against Bayern for the first time as we are both historic clubs.

"Ajax? They are an old rival of ours and it will be as difficult as it has always been against the Dutch."

Champions’ League draw
26.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

The Champions’ League draw has taken place with all four Italian clubs being handed tough groups.

Italian champions Milan are in Group F along with Barcelona, Celtic and Shakthar Donetsk.

Roma will face the mighty Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Dinamo Kiev.

The draw has been unkind to Juventus after they were named in Group C with Bayern Munich, Ajax and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Inter arguably have the easiest out of all Italian clubs as they take on Claudio Ranieri’s Valencia, Anderlecht and Werder Bremen.

Group A
Dep Coruna

Group B
Real Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen
Dinamo Kiev

Group C
Bayern Munich
Maccabi Tel Aviv

Group D
Man Utd
Sparta Prague

Group E
PSV Eindhoven

Group F
Shakthar Donetsk

Group G
Werder Bremen

Group H
Paris SG
CSKA Moscow

Abbiati calms Milan rift
26.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati has looked to make peace with Milan after some controversial comments appeared on his personal website.

It had appeared as if the goalkeeper had attacked his Coach and teammate Dida, as his frustration at being left out of the side grows.

An article on the site stated that Ancelotti had not kept his promise to the ‘keeper and that the Brazilian made errors in a recent friendly with Sampdoria.

But Abbiati has today insisted that he wasn’t the author of the piece, adding that the site’s webmaster was to blame.

"In a bid to really find out what happened you will need to speak to my agent," said the shot-stopper.

"That is because I never speak to the person who looks after my site. I would never judge one of my teammates. Dida is a friend and a great ‘keeper."

The webmaster himself has since taken responsibility for the article, adding that it was simply an opinion piece.

Abbiati’s future at the San Siro has been in doubt over the last few weeks given his current situation.

He has asked to be sold to Palermo, in a bid to play regularly, but Milan insist that he has left it too late to leave.

Meanwhile, there are reports today which suggest that the Rossoneri could sign a new striker before the transfer deadline.

They have allegedly asked Roma for the loan of Vincenzo Montella given the fitness worries over Pippo Inzaghi.

Milan fall on Barca loss
26.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italian champions Milan last night fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Spanish giants Barcelona.

The Rossoneri started the game well by taking the lead in the 13th minute. Goalkeeper Valdes made a mess of a Serginho cross which ended up in the back of the net.

The home side got back on level terms after 34 minutes though when Giuly fired a diagonal drive past Dida.

Frank Rijkaard’s men collected the win, and subsequently the Trofeo Gamper, when young striker Iniesta netted in the 69th minute.

There was a nervous end to the game though as Gennaro Gattuso was dismissed for arguing with just seven minutes remaining.

"This is a game that we shouldn’t have lost," said Ancelotti. "We played within ourselves tonight.

"I saw some good football at times but when there is an opportunity to win then you need to win. We could have done that today."

Right-back Marcos Cafu was excellent on the night, even if Brazilian teammate Kaka disappointed.

Milan block trio exit
25.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan have told Christian Abbiati, Kakha Kaladze and Christian Brocchi that they won’t be leaving the club.

All three men are keen on an exit but Vice-president Adriano Galliani insists that their requests to leave have arrived too late.

"Our market operations are over," he stated. "No one new will arrive and nobody will be leaving.

"Abbiati, Kaladze and Brocchi will remain here with us because it is just too late to find replacements of similar calibre.

"If a player wants to leave because they are being left on the bench then they must tell us sooner as Martin Laursen did."

Abbiati, No 2 behind Dida, has been hinting that he would like to leave the San Siro for the newly promoted Palermo.

Brocchi is being linked with Lazio, while defender Kaladze is apparently an objective for Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Fabricio Collocini is looking forward to being a part of the Milan squad again after spending the last few years on loan in Spain.

"Milan are a great side and I am a better player than four years ago," said the Argentine Olympic Games defender.

"I have matured greatly recently and I am now ready to play for Milan after spells at Alaves, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal."

Coloccini ready for Milan challenge
25.8 || Seamus

Milan defender Fabricio Collocini is ready to fight for his place at the club this season.
The Argentine, who is currently playing at the Athens Olympics, has spent the last few seasons on loan at Alaves, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, but is set to play out the forthcoming campaign at the San Siro.

"Milan are a top side and I am a different player from four years ago," he said. "I have matured a lot and I am ready. As I came through Italian football I remember the class of Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta. It’s up to the coach to tell me where to play."

Meanwhile, in a press conference head of the club’s friendly with Barcelona, coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "All discussion of who will leave is closed. All the players will remain. The club has decided to close the transfer market. Otherwise Fabricio Coloccini will join the squad after the Olympics."

Milan duo want out
24.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati and Kakha Kaladze are considering their futures with Italian champions Milan.

Both men are only squad players at the San Siro right now and an exit may occur given their hunger for regular football.

"The club want to keep me but I want to be a first team regular," said goalkeeper Abbiati.

"I have already reached an agreement with Palermo and I now just hope that the Rossoneri will allow me the opportunity to play there."

Milan will probably only release the international if they can find a replacement for him in the next week.

Meanwhile, Kaladze is also unhappy given that his chances of appearing have been reduced by Paolo Maldini’s return to the left-back role.

"If things continue like this then I will leave in January," said the Georgian. "I don’t want to wait until someone gets injured or for Maldini to have a rest.

"It isn’t nice to always be named as a substitute. I am 26-years-old and I don’t want to waste my career."

Maldini happy with switch
24.8 || scharatz

Paolo Maldini says he’s ready to play as a left-back this season following his display in the Italian Super Cup.

The 36-year-old returned to his former role on Saturday given that new boy Jaap Stam was fielded in the centre.

There were some doubts over how Maldini would adjust to the switch but he was immense in the 3-0 victory over Lazio.

"I was happy with my performance throughout the whole game even if it is not a new position for me," said the Rossoneri captain.

"I’ve played there when necessary over the past few years. The most positive thing is that it allows me to attack which I like.

"However, this may not be my definite position for the new season even though it is important that I do what is best for the team and not just myself."

Although the arrival of Stam has directly affected Maldini, the legendary Italian has praised his capture.

"We have a very strong defence now," he added. "Stam is a great central defender even if he can also play on the right.

"Integrating a player of his calibre is never a problem for any team."

The veteran was also asked for his opinion on the new season. "The Scudetto race will be between us, Inter and Juventus," he explained.

"The Champions’ League is the most important thing though. That is definitely our objective even if winning both wouldn’t be a bad thing."

Lazio want Milan duo
23.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Lazio could sign two Milan players by the end of the week, according to reports in Italy on Monday.

The capital club are in desperate need of some reinforcements after their financial problems led to a mass sale over the summer.

Boss Mimmo Caso and some of the squad have asked for new signings and President Claudio Lotito (pictured) has heard them.

Milan winger Cristian Brocchi is on the verge of joining after he admitted over the weekend that he would be keen on a capital switch.

He could also be followed by Dario Simic given that he too is just a squad player with the Italian champions.

The Croatian defender rarely featured last term and faces even stiffer competition for a shirt this time around after the arrival of Lazio’s Jaap Stam.

The Biancocelesti are also in talks with Parma regarding a possible bid for stopper Sebastiano Siviglia.

Lazio may also unveil a new striker by Friday after Gremio’s Christian Correo Dionisio admitted contact.

"Lazio have made me an excellent offer," said the Brazilian forward. "It is now my hope that an agreement between the two clubs can be reached."

Inzaghi targets season opener
23.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi is confident that he will be fully fit for the start of the new Serie A campaign.

The striker has been hampered by an ankle injury for almost a year which saw him miss out on Euro 2004.

Inzaghi did have an operation on the problem in April but complications followed and he’s just spent another few weeks on the sidelines.

However, Inzaghi is now close to a return even if he needs to pass a medical which should rule out the threat of new surgery.

"I’m feeling better and I’m improving day by day," said the former Juventus ace. "I’ll be back in training with the rest of the squad within the next week.

"I’m looking forward to coming back and I hope to be ready for the start of the championship on September 12."

Meanwhile, Milan have reassured fans that Hernan Crespo’s injury is not as serious as some thought.

The striker limped out of the Super Cup tie on Saturday just seven minutes after appearing as a substitute.

But the Rossoneri have stated that the player was replaced as a precautionary measure due to a slight muscle problem.

Ancelotti crowns King Sheva
22.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has crowned hat-trick hero Andriy Shevchenko “the best striker around,” while Lazio deny a rift with Paolo Di Canio.

“Quite simply,” noted the tactician after Saturday’s crushing Italian Supercup win over Lazio, “there is nobody out there like Shevchenko. He is the best forward around right now.”

The Ukrainian certainly showed what he is capable of, scoring with his head, his left and right foot during the San Siro showdown, earning high praise from Milan President Silvio Berlusconi.

“As a hitman, Shevchenko is certainly the equal of Marco Van Basten,” smiled the Italian Prime Minister. “Maldini constantly confirms what an incredible player he is, while I enjoyed Rui Costa’s performance in midfield.”

The 3-0 result left Lazio little to work with, but Mimmo Caso was relatively content with the overall effort.

“We have lost against the strongest team in the world right now,” insisted the Biancocelesti boss. “It was impossible to do more than that, but I am happy as we put them under some pressure during the opening half-hour. Even as an opponent, it is a joy to watch Milan play.”

Caso has never taken charge of a Serie A side before, but is proving his character by leaving fan favourite Paolo Di Canio on the bench.

“I spoke to Di Canio before the game and told him I simply preferred Luciano Zauri out wide on the right. There are no problems between us.”

The Rossoneri begin the 2004-05 campaign as they mean to go on, picking up trophies and wowing the fans.

“After a slightly nervous start the team began to play with real focus and desire,” continued Ancelotti. “Unfortunately, Hernan Crespo felt a hardening of the upper thigh muscle and I took him off to avoid any further complications.”

If Shevchenko was the star of the show, then he was closely followed by veteran Paolo Maldini.

“I had no doubts that he could still play brilliantly on the left,” smiled the Coach. “He accepted this change happily, but I should point out he will not always play in that role.”

The Rossoneri now have the versatility that was perhaps lacking last season, as Maldini, Jaap Stam and Billy Costacurta can take on a variety of defensive positions, while Manuel Rui Costa took over Andrea Pirlo’s deep midfield role.

Sheva: Don't stop me now!
22.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has begun the campaign with a Supercup winning hat-trick and claims he has no intention of slowing down.

“The important thing is that I had a nice rest and a good holiday,” smiled the recently wed star. “We also had a great tour of the US and I am happy with this trophy.”

Two of the Ukrainian’s three goals against Lazio were set up by captain Paolo Maldini, who made it seem as if he had never given up that left-back position. Lifting the Supercup was a good way to mark his 750th official match in a Rossoneri jersey.

“Maldini was just wonderful tonight, and it really didn’t seem as if he hadn’t played in that role for years.”

Shevchenko was nonetheless generous when commenting on their defeated opponents at the San Siro.

“Lazio are a good side even without those players who were sold, as they have a great team spirit. They played very well for the first hour.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have conquered almost every trophy over the last couple of years, but Shevchenko is still hungry for more.

“Milan have had two spectacular seasons,” noted the hitman, “and we can do even better this year. It is important to start the campaign well and we are now accustomed to playing for the Scudetto, Champions’ League and Coppa Italia.”

Supercup: AC Milan 3:0 SS Lazio - report
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Shevchenko 35, 44, 77

Andriy Shevchenko's spectacular hat-trick ensured Milan begin the season with the Italian Supercup after crushing Lazio.

The Italian version of the Charity Shield effectively opens the 2004-05 season in the Peninsula. This game was originally scheduled to take place in Libya, but was moved amid security fears. It is the Rossoneri's first edition of this contest since 1994, when they beat Sampdoria on penalties, even though they have taken part in a record eight Finals.

Scudetto holders Milan gave Jaap Stam his competitive debut against his former club, pushing Paolo Maldini back to his old left-back position, while Manuel Rui Costa was experimented in the deep midfield role usually held by Andrea Pirlo.

Surprisingly, the two major signings of the summer were both left on the bench, as neither Hernan Crespo nor Paolo Di Canio were considered fit enough to start this clash. It was Lazio boss Mimmo Caso's first competitive match in charge and he took the brave decision to field Oscar Lopez just days after his loan move from Barcelona was completed.

Lazio had the first chance after four minutes when a series of defensive errors allowed Cesar to run into the box, but Paolo Maldini managed to intercept his cut-back to Luciano Zauri.

Dida was then secure on Ousmane Dabo's long-range snap-shot, while Andriy Shevchenko drilled wide of the post.

The best scoring opportunity of the game so far fell to an unlikely source. After 12 minutes Paolo Maldini charged past Massimo Oddo down the left flank and saw his pass to Shevchenko charged down, so he went for goal himself and his fierce effort cannoned off the crossbar and back out off the line.

Rui Costa was clearly enjoying his new deeper midfield role and placed some pin-point cross-field passes for Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

The deadlock was eventually broken by Serie A's Capocannoniere Andriy Shevchenko. Massimo Ambrosini performed a stunning cutback to leave Zauri for dead and the Ukrainian volleyed in his cross past the outstretched hand of Angelo Peruzzi.

Dabo drilled a promising free kick over the bar just before the break, but it was Shevchenko who struck again in the closing minutes of the first half. Maldini wound back the years and curled in a perfect cross for Sheva's head from eight yards.

Kaka was quiet overall, but he nearly made it three in stoppages when he stung the palms of Peruzzi and then fired the follow-up over the bar.

Milan started the second half the way they ended the first, as Marcos Cafu fired his effort past the far post, then Shevchenko's shot was charged down for a corner.

Paolo Di Canio made his competitive debut in a Lazio jersey from the 56th minute, playing against one of his former teams. But the Biancocelesti were pinned back into their own half as the crosses continued to rain in.

Shevchenko managed to head the ball back across the face of goal towards the foot of Tomasson, but an acrobatic Paolo Negro clearance prevented the Dane from making contact.

Cafu was increasingly dangerous on the right flank and his fierce shot stung the palms of Peruzzi. Hernan Crespo finally stepped on to the field for the final 15 minutes, giving fans a glimpse of his partnership with Shevchenko.

The Ukrainian didn't need a partner to complete his hat-trick in truly spectacular fashion. Massimo Ambrosini's turn was deflected into the air and Shevchenko didn't hesitate to slam a perfect volley into the top corner.

Crespo's Milan debut did not bode well, as the Argentine limped off after just seven minutes with a thigh injury.

When Lazio got their only real chance of the second half in the closing minutes, Dida performed a splendid reaction save with his outstretched foot to keep out Luciano Zauri's angled drive.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Rui Costa, Ambrosini (Dhorasoo 77); Kakà; Shevchenko, Tomasson (Crespo 75) (Serginho 82)

Lazio: Peruzzi; Oddo, Negro, Couto (Sannibale 77), Zauri; Lopez, Dabo, Giannichedda (Corsi 88), Liverani, Cesar (Di Canio 56); Muzzi

Ref: Collina

AC Milan 3:0
21.8 || webmaster

Viola close in on Coloccini
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Fiorentina are closing in on Milan-owned defender Fabricio Coloccini, while Tomas Ujfalusi is settling in to Serie A life.

The Viola have been perhaps the most active top flight club on the transfer market this summer and are still linked with a host of star names, including Udinese’s Martin Jorgensen and Empoli forward Antonio Di Natale.

It is also reported Fiorentina have beaten Inter to the signature of Ancona’s 18-year-old forward Andrea De Falco.

The story that is attracting the most interest this weekend involves Argentine international Fabricio Coloccini.

The 22-year-old has been on Milan’s books for some time now, but has never actually played for the Rossoneri.

He is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid and has made quite a name for himself in La Liga. Over the last few days he was suggested as Real Madrid’s next defensive reinforcement, but the arrival of Jonathan Woodgate from Newcastle has put paid to that theory.

“My objective has always been to play for a big club like Real Madrid or Milan,” commented Coloccini. “I am waiting for a call, so the next few days will be decisive for my future.”

The Viola are completely renovating their defence after the hard-fought promotion from Serie B and the biggest new addition is Euro 2004 star Tomas Ujfalusi.

“I am really settling in well,” said the Czech international. “I am getting on with the other players and particularly bonding with my roommate Enzo Maresca.”

The former Hamburg defender has been struggling throughout the summer with a foot injury suffered during the tournament, but should be fit for the Serie A opener at Roma.

“I still need to work on this injury, but the recovery process has been tough because the training regime in Italy is much harder than I am used to in Germany.”

Abbiati open to Palermo move
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati has finally accepted Palermo’s advances, so negotiations with Milan can now begin in earnest.

“I spoke with Luca Toni and Simone Barone during the Italy get-together in Iceland,” revealed the goalkeeper.

“They convinced me that Palermo is a great club to play for and I’d happily join them. The final word now rests with Milan.”

The Rosanero have been actively seeking out Abbiati throughout the summer, but had always seen their proposals rejected.

It seems that now Abbiati has realised his chances of first team football at the San Siro are limited by Dida and that Palermo’s star-studded squad can be a force in Serie A this year.

The Rossoneri will not release him without an adequate back-up for that reserve role, but Palermo could have the solution already within their grasp.

The Sicilian club has also agreed a deal to sign 30-year-old shot-stopper Matteo Guardalben from Piacenza this afternoon and could hand him over to Milan as part of the Abbiati deal.

In other transfer news, Lecce have bought out half of Genoa striker Sasa Bjelanovic's contract.

Ancelotti trusts in Milan stars - Supercup preview
21.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is confident of a Rossoneri victory in tonight’s Supercup clash with Lazio and tests out their new tactical set-up.

“We will be playing against a side that has renewed itself over the summer,” warns the Coach, “but I trust in Milan. These last few days of training have helped improve our focus and quality.”

The Italian Champions will be without Olympics star Andrea Pirlo, while Pippo Inzaghi and Clarence Seedorf are injured.

“I won’t give out the line-up, but I can say that Massimo Ambrosini has recovered from his fitness problems and could start.”

It is likely that Jon Dahl Tomasson will be picked to partner Andriy Shevchenko to begin with, but the biggest changes are elsewhere.

Paolo Maldini should move back to his left-back slot to make way for a central defence of Jaap Stam and Alessandro Nesta, while Manuel Rui Costa takes over Pirlo’s deep midfield role.

“We would like to start the season on the right foot,” added Ancelotti. “To win this trophy would also be of particularly importance to us, as it can wash away the bitterness of last year’s Supercup defeat to Juventus.”

All eyes will be on Stam, as the Dutchman makes his official Milan debut against his former teammates.

“It is rather ironic,” smiled the defender, “but that is football for you. I maintain a good rapport with the club and really hope the fans give me a warm welcome. It would be perfect to begin my Milan career with a trophy in my hand, because that’s why I came here.”

However, the Rossoneri have run into a diplomatic row with Brazil following their decision to keep Dida, Marcos Cafu and Kaka in the lead-up to this game.

“The time has come to make ourselves heard,” slammed Ricardo Teixeira, President of the Brazilian Federation. “We already had to give up Kaka in our Olympic qualifiers, then the Copa America and other matches, but despite that there was still no negotiating for Thursday’s friendly against Haiti. Enough is enough.”

The CBF has also aimed its fury at Bayern Munich for holding back Lucio and Ze Roberto, threatening to ban these players – and Milan’s three Brazilians – from taking part in the Selecao's games ever again.

Probable line-ups:

Milan: 1 Dida; 2 Cafu, 13 Nesta, 31 Stam, 3 Maldini; 8 Gattuso, 10 Rui Costa, 23 Ambrosini; 22 Kakà; 7 Shevchenko, 15 Tomasson

(Subs: 17 Abbiati, 5 Costacurta, 4 Kaladze, 24 Dhorasoo, 31 Brocchi 27 Serginho, 11 Crespo)

Lazio: 1 Peruzzi; 22 Oddo, 23 Negro, 24 Couto, 8 Zauri; 6 Dabo, 16 Giannichedda; 9 Di Canio, 20 Liverani, 10 Cesar; 11 Muzzi

(Subs: 33 Sereni, 4 Oscar Lopez, 43 Sannibale, 34 Corsi, 31 Melara, 19 Pandev, 44 De Sousa)

Ref: Collina

Crespo targets Super win
20.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo is confident that Milan can lift the Italian Super Cup against Lazio on Saturday.

"Our condition is good. We may not be at our peak but that is only normal at this time of the season," he said. "I’m convinced that we will see a great Milan."

Although the Super Cup is not the Rossoneri’s prime objective this term, Crespo is hungry to win everything.

"We don’t want to leave any trophies for any other clubs. We want to win everything," added the striker.

The Argentine arrived at Milanello this summer after an agreement was reached with Chelsea over a one-year loan move.

"I’m very happy to be back in Italy, especially with such a good side," stated the former Inter player.

But will Crespo play at the San Siro tomorrow? "I want to start but I must respect the decision of the Coach," he added.

"I’m still not 100 per cent but if I’m needed then I will be ready. I have a great desire inside of me."

It’s unclear at this stage whether boss Carlo Ancelotti will select Crespo or Jon Dahl Tomasson alongside Andriy Shevchenko.

Kaka on the defensive
19.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan ace Kaka has been stunned in training by the strength of the new Rossoneri defence.

The rearguard was already immense last term before the summer arrival of Jaap Stam from Lazio.

Now the Brazilian has warned his club’s rivals that they will struggle to ripple Dida’s net in the next 12 months.

"We’ve been trying to put them under pressure in training but they have just confirmed that we have a great defence," said the attacking sensation.

"This is an important aspect of our game, especially for the more offensive players of the side.

"That is because we can attack in the knowledge that we have some quality stoppers behind us."

Stam joins the likes of Paolo Maldini, Marcos Cafu, Alessandro Nesta and Giuseppe Pancaro at the Italian champions.

Meanwhile, Kaka is hoping to get his hands on another trophy when they take on Lazio in the Super Cup this weekend.

"It is vital to get the season off on the right foot," he continued. "This will be my first Super Cup game and I want to win it."

Maldini slams 20-team Serie A
18.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini claims the expanded Serie A will only harm Italian clubs’ chances in Europe this season and looks at the Scudetto race.

“This is a very long Championship, unlike most other European Leagues,” noted the veteran. “This is the opposite of what clubs team, as they should be preparing for the final stages of the Cup competitions with a good level of fitness. The ideal would be to have 16 squads.”

This is the first year since 1951-52 that the Italian top flight will include 20 teams, adding two more promotions from Serie B.

Milan are certainly the hot favourites to retain their title, but Maldini refuses to rule out the stuttering Bianconeri.

“The head to head clashes will be decisive, even if nowadays the group of Scudetto contenders has been reduced to just three. It used to be six, although I think that Roma could break in to the battle if their new buys gel.”

“However,” added Maldini, “I believe we’ll fight it out with Inter and Juventus. These are two very strong sides and we shouldn’t be fooled by their pre-season form. All too often teams have a slow start only to finish the season on a sprint.”

The Rossoneri have made few real signings, but they are important ones in the form of Hernan Crespo, Jaap Stam and Vikash Dhorasoo. The Dutchman’s arrival could force a tactical switch with Maldini’s possible return to a left-back role.

“I am at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal,” assured the versatile defender. “In the last few years I have become accustomed to a central position and I do prefer that to a left-back, but I haven’t forgotten what it was like to be out wide. It is only right that we test out various alternatives because we have a squad of great defenders here.”

Veron hails rivals Milan
18.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter ace Juan Sebastian Veron believes that city cousins Milan are the best team in Italy right now.

"At this present time, Milan are on a different level than us because they have been together for two or three years," said the on-loan Chelsea man.

Although the Argentine has praised the Rossoneri, he is sure that Inter can win the title with the aid of Adriano and Christian Vieri.

"I’m convinced that they can play together in attack," continued the former Lazio midfielder.

"I can’t see any problems at all for those two. They will take care of scoring so long as we can provide them with the chances necessary."

The playmaker has been particularly impressed with Vieri, a player who was on the verge of leaving over the summer.

"He’s is good shape and is looking very determined," added the South American. "He can’t wait to start the season.

"I’ve known him for sometime and he hasn’t changed in the slightest. This is a good sign for Inter."

Veron is also content with his own form as he has undoubtedly been one of the club’s best players so far – even if he disappointed against Basel last week.

"I’m improving each day," he commented. "I had an operation last year and I’ve been working hard since January.

"I knew I would find it tough against the Swiss side but I was happy that I lasted the whole 90 minutes. That was important for me."

Milan deny Gilardino claims
16.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan have dismissed speculation that they have been in talks with Parma regarding Alberto Gilardino.

Some stories in Italy claim that the Rossoneri have shown an interest which has hampered Roma’s attempts to sign the striker.

But Vice-president Adriano Galliani has today insisted that the Under-21 international is not a target.

"Milan have never opened negotiations for the Parma player," stated Galliani. "However, if we wanted to then we wouldn’t need to explain our actions to anyone."

Whispers have suggested that Milan have put pressure on the Gialloblu to keep the player for one more season – much to the annoyance of Roma. Yet Galliani rubbished that theory.

"All that has happened is that one club has decided to not sell a player to another club," he continued.

"I see no reason why we should look to block the transfers of any Roma targets."

Milan were linked with Gilardino given the fitness problems of international striker Filippo Inzaghi.

"We already have four strikers at this club," added Galliani. "They are Andriy Shevchenko, Inzaghi, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Hernan Crespo.

"In other words, we have four players for only two first team places. That is more than enough for us."

Ancelotti keeps South American stars
13.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti insists that Milan will not release their South American stars for international friendlies just three days before the Supercup.

“The South Americans will stay in Italy, and that includes Dida,” announced the Coach after reports of a new clash with the Brazilian Federation.

“I don’t see any reason why we should release our players for these friendly games, seeing as it is up to the club to decide on overseas trips.”

The timing of these internationals are particularly tricky for the Rossoneri, as the games on August 18 are just three days before the Italian Supercup clash with Lazio.

Just some of the players who would risk missing out on this trophy Final are Kaka, Dida, Hernan Crespo and Marcos Cafu.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti has confirmed he will test Manuel Rui Costa’s new role during tonight’s Trofeo Seat match against Sampdoria.

“We are performing some experiments during training and Rui Costa is already proving that he can do well in that position. He also seems content with the change and we’ll have some more evidence of that with this game. It’ll make interesting viewing.”

This isn’t the only test, as Jaap Stam will make his official debut in a Milan jersey following his summer switch from Lazio.

“Assuming he recovers from a muscular problem, Stam will play one half as a central defender,” revealed Ancelotti, “and the other as a left-back.”

The pressure is on the Coach to continue his winning streak and Milan will begin the defence of their Serie A title at home to Livorno on September 12.

“On paper it may seem like an easy tie,” warned the tactician, “but we all know how much newly promoted sides are motivated when they are facing one of the bigger clubs.”

Milan face Livorno test
13.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan will begin the defence of their title against new boys Livorno on September 12, while Fiorentina debut at Roma, as the Serie A calendar was drawn up.

The first big games will be early on in the campaign, as in Week 4 we will see Lazio welcome Milan to the Stadio Olimpico and Parma’s trip to Inter.

Seven days later the Capital will again be the centre of attention, as the Nerazzurri pay a visit to Roma.

The Milan derby takes place in Week 7, while the two Roman clubs face off in what is set to be a heated battle on Jan 6 – Week 17.

However, the most eagerly-awaited ties of the 2004-05 season are the showdowns between Juventus and Roma. Fabio Capello and Emerson moved across the divide this summer in controversial circumstances and they’ll welcome their old teammates to the Delle Alpi on October 27, stepping back into the Capital on March 6 2005.

Other highlights of the campaign are set to be Roberto Mancini’s Inter against Lazio (Week 9), Milan-Roma (Week 10), the Derby d’Italia Inter-Juventus (Week 13) and Juventus-Milan (Week 16).

The Italian top division has been expanded to 20 teams for the first time in 52 years, so teams vying for the Scudetto will have to play 38 games.

As the season kicks off on September 12 and concludes on May 29, it will require five midweek rounds, including the traditional January 6 matches.

The Christmas break rules out weekend games on Dec 26 and Jan 2, while there will be three pauses for international duty on Oct 10 (Slovenia-Italy), Nov 19 (China-Italy) and March 26 (Scotland-Italy).

Milan face new Brazil battle
13.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

The problem of players on international duty is returning for Milan, as the club is eager to keep its squad together ahead of the Italian Supercup clash with Lazio.

The Rossoneri will step on to the San Siro turf to contend the Italian version of the Charity Shield on August 21, just three days after a series of international friendlies around the world.

Those likely to be called away for matches and long-haul flights include Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Marcos Cafu, Dida, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta.

As Andrea Pirlo is already ruled out due to his participation in the Athens Olympics, Carlo Ancelotti will have precious few choices for the starting eleven against Lazio.

Milan have already clashed with the Brazilian FA over the use of Kaka in both the senior and Under-20 Selecao, so the rapport between the two is not particularly friendly.

Meanwhile, Christian Abbiati claims he is ready to step in at any time for the Rossoneri despite his strong links with a move to Palermo.

“I am staying right here,” the goalkeeper told Milan’s official website. “I’d only leave the San Siro for a big European club. I am very happy with the offers and respect the teams who showed interest for me, but I am a Milan player.”

Rui Costa reveals doubts
11.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa admits he considered leaving Milan this summer, but now enters a new role within the Rossoneri squad.

“I thought about my future for a long time,” admitted the Portuguese international. “I was no longer a first team regular, but still felt that I had given my contribution to the squad.”

Bought for a club record £27m in 2001, the former Benfica and Fiorentina legend has been recently pushed out of the line-up by young prodigy Kaka.

“I considered the situation and realised that there was no better place to be. Milan are a winning side, I am respected here and can fight for important trophies.”

It’s reported several clubs requested him after a fine Euro 2004 performance, in particular Fiorentina and Manchester United.

“There were some offers,” he concedes, “but the thing that made me most happy was Milan rejecting them all outright, not even sitting down to discuss figures. This is why I never spoke to any representatives from other clubs and even Fiorentina never contacted me directly.”

Now a new era to his time at the San Siro is opening up, as Rui Costa could be fielded in the deep midfield role left vacant by Andrea Pirlo’s trip to the Olympics.

“I am not putting myself forward for any particular positions, as that is for the Coach to decide,” he added. “I want to help out the team in any way that I can, even from the bench, but if I’m in a position to visualise the players in front of me, then I would certainly not be unhappy with that.”

Maxi Lopez looks to Milan
9.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Argentine football’s new starlet is 20-year-old Maxi Lopez and the striker admits he would relish a move to Milan.

“It is difficult to keep a cool head in these circumstances,” he told newspaper ‘Clarin’ after interest from all the top clubs.

“These are all big sides being linked with me and to play in Europe would be very important for a South American who wants to prove himself.”

The press in both continents have noted that Milan, Reggina, Venezia, Udinese, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sunderland and Arsenal have made approaches.

However, the Rossoneri have an ace up their sleeve in the shape of his fellow countryman Hernan Crespo.

“I don’t want to say anything about a preference,” said the River Plate man, “but Crespo has always been my hero. I often taped his games and tried to copy some of his moves. For the moment I’ll just have to watch him on the television.”

Tomasson challenges Crespo
8.8 || scharatz

Jon Dahl Tomasson is confident that he can make his mark on this season with Milan despite the arrival of Hernan Crespo.

“I feel good,” said the Dane as he arrived for pre-season training at Milanello. “I need to do a little more work on my stamina and sharpness, but that’s because I want to start this season with a bang.”

Tomasson has slowly earned himself respect at the San Siro, as after a difficult opening campaign he turned into an important extra man during the injury worries of Pippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

With a splendid Euro 2004 tournament behind him, the former Feyenoord and Newcastle United striker is not bowed by the extra competition in the form of Crespo.

“I am fully aware that our team is full of world class strikers,” he told Milan Channel, “but the squad has always been very united and this is why any rivalry will be purely sporting in nature.”

Over the last two years he has lifted the Champions’ League, Scudetto and Coppa Italia, so what now for Tomasson and Milan?

“Our objective this season is to win everything it is possible to win,” he smiled, “and on a personal level to do even better than last year.”

Milan move in on Gilardino
8.8 || scharatz

The future of Alberto Gilardino hangs in the balance as Milan now join the fray, but his agent believes it’ll be a last minute deal whatever the destination.

“We haven’t heard of any contact with Milan,” maintained representative Francesco Romano after the rumour emerged this morning.

“Gilardino is in training with the Under-21 side and is currently concentrating only on the Olympics. From next week we will begin to consider our options.”

The Parma striker has made it clear on numerous occasions that he favours a switch to Roma and even stated he felt “60 per cent a Giallorossi player already,” but his £16m price-tag is too steep for the cash-strapped Capital club.

Juventus had also been heavily linked with the 22-year-old, especially after their move for Adrian Mutu collapsed on Friday, but a new theory is emerging over this weekend.

Newspapers suggest that Milan will bid for Gilardino following the continuing injury worries of Pippo Inzaghi, although a move is more likely in January than the summer.

Parma director Luca Baraldi continues to insist that the star striker will not be sold for any price, but few believe that is the case, especially with Gilardino’s public call to Roma.

“Anything could happen,” added his agent Romano. “Roma could put the pressure on, just as Juventus could revive their interest. He is an intelligent lad with a contract tying him to Parma until 2006. In any case, we must wait for the end of the Olympics before taking steps.”

Milan’s other option to replace the increasingly troubled Inzaghi would be River Plate hitman Maxi Lopez, who is also a target for several Premiership sides.

Stam dreams of the scudetto
6.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jaap Stam maintains the first target of his Milan career is not to conquer Europe, but to take the Scudetto.

“I am happy to be here,” said the former Lazio star, “and want to win everything possible. I chose Milan because they are the strongest team in Italy, perhaps even the world, so I only hope that with my input they can further improve.”

The Dutchman had been expected to return to his homeland when he split with Lazio, but instead opted to sign a two-year contract with another Serie A outfit.

“I had originally wanted a one-year deal,” he revealed, “but when I saw the economic sacrifices they were making to get me, I chose to make it two. Nobody knows what the next two seasons will bring, but if I am still fit then I might extend the contract.”

The ex-Manchester United defender had also been close to joining their arch rivals Inter, with a little help from a close friend.

“All throughout last year Roberto Mancini tried to convince me that going to Inter was the best option,” explained Stam, “but when I was met with the proposal from a club like Milan, the choice was easy.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s men are the Champions of Italy and therefore more likely to concentrate on taking the European trophy again, but the new arrival sees his season mapped out differently.

“I’d definitely want to win the Scudetto first of all. In every country I have played in I have won the League title and want to do the same in Italy with Milan.”

Ancelotti eyes perfect Milan
5.8 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan return from a triumphant US tour, but Coach Carlo Ancelotti claims his side can be even better once the season kicks off.

“We still need to improve a great deal in defence,” warned the tactician, “and in these friendlies we were often asleep on set-pieces. Our midfield is also still quite slow and we can do better in counter-attack situations.”

The Serie A Champions impressed in America with wins over Manchester United and Chelsea, who are at a more advanced stage of fitness preparation.

Milan are now back in the Peninsula and can begin to work with Euro 2004 stars Jon Dahl Tomasson, Manuel Rui Costa and Jaap Stam, who only just returned from their holidays this week.

The one player who is worrying Ancelotti is Filippo Inzaghi, as the striker has still not recovered from a persistent ankle problem. The surgery he underwent in May was not enough to clear up the injury and another operation may well be required.

With this in mind, it’s reported Milan are back on the transfer market and have set their sights on River Plate’s young Argentine hitman Maxi Lopez.

Ujfalusi challenges Nesta crown
4.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Fiorentina’s new Czech signing Tomas Ujfalusi claims he is a better defender than Alessandro Nesta and expects to take Serie A by storm.

“I have always liked and admired Nesta (pictured), so I have often taken inspiration from him. However, I think I’m a better player than the Milan man, especially when going forward.”

“I consider myself to be very good in the air and a clean tackler,” explained the former Hamburg star. “I am one of the few Bundesliga defenders to concede hardly any free kicks, so I won’t have a problem with the more severe Italian referees.”

26-year-old Ujfalusi is certainly not lacking in confidence, boosted all the more by his impressive displays for semi-finalists the Czech Republic in Euro 2004.

“The best striker I have ever come up against has been Ruud van Nistelrooy,” he continued. “I think I did pretty well in that situation, so I have no fear when taking on Serie A’s best forwards.”

He is the latest new arrival at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, where Fiorentina have already snapped up a series of star names.

“I knew that Fiorentina were a good squad with a lot of quality, so with people like Hidetoshi Nakata, Javier Portillo and Enzo Maresca I really hope we can go far.”

Rui Costa seeks Kaka connection
4.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa has dashed transfer speculation and instead maintains he wants to play alongside Kaka for Milan this season.

“Kaka has had an extraordinary first year in Serie A,” confessed the veteran who has been pushed out of the line-up by the Brazilian.

“It is obvious that because of this I have been on the sidelines, but I certainly hope he can replicate that kind of form this season. In fact,” added Rui Costa, “my wish is that we can share the field together. I don’t want to take to the field only in the absence of Kaka.”

Carlo Ancelotti has claimed in the past that the two creative midfielders can play in the same line-up, but it is an experiment that has rarely been used. With the arrival of hitman Hernan Crespo as well, it is an increasingly unlikely tactical option for the Rossoneri to employ.

Nonetheless, Rui Costa has dashed speculation linking him with a return to Benfica, Fiorentina or even a Premiership experience at Manchester United.

“I am very glad to be back in a Milan jersey, although throughout the summer the club never gave me the slightest worry about my future. A club that wants to win everything cannot rely on eleven players alone, so there will be room for everyone, including me.”

The 32-year-old will have even more energy for his club commitments now that he has retired from the international scene with a heartbreaking Euro 2004 Final defeat to Greece.

“My summer holidays obviously got off to a bad start with that Final in my mind,” confessed the Portuguese legend. “When we least expected it the trophy was taken away from us on home turf, but at least the fans continued to cheer us on and made us feel like heroes for a month. The joy of having achieved something unprecedented eventually overtook the sadness for the defeat.”

He may well be given more room in the Milan line-up for the opening weeks of the season, as Andrea Pirlo is away with the Olympics squad.

“Ancelotti knows me well and I can take on a variety of tactical positions,” he told Milan Channel. “I have played out wide on the right, left and was even tested in that deep midfield role that Pirlo now holds. I don’t know if I’d have the same effect, but I’m certainly willing to try.”

Crespo denies Chelsea clause
4.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has denied reports that he will be contractually barred from playing a competitive match against his former club Chelsea.

Earlier this week a source from the Stamford Bridge side was quoted as saying, “We have standard contracts and there’s no question of any of our players being allowed to play against us. Just as Mikael Forsell cannot play against Chelsea in a competitive match, neither can Juan Sebastian Veron or Crespo.”

The Argentines are currently on loan to Inter and Milan respectively, but there are no UEFA rules banning them from taking on their owners, as seen when Fernando Morientes netted for Monaco against Real Madrid last season.

However, Crespo has denied the existence of such a clause in his contract with the Premiership side.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” the Milan man told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “It is only logical that such a thing wouldn’t be in a contract that I have signed. I would never have accepted this clause.”

Meanwhile, the Champions of Italy have returned from their triumphant tour of the USA, which included victories over Manchester United and Chelsea.

“I am very happy to have a teammate like Crespo,” explained Andriy Shevchenko on the official Milan website.

“Clearly we need to improve our rapport, but we are already exchanging positions as the main centre-forward during the game. He knows how to go round me and I also love to roam on the field.”

Meanwhile, another Chelsea star could be making his return to Serie A, as Adrian Mutu will ask to be sold after the arrival of Mateja Kezman and Didier Drogba.

“He wants the same opportunities as other strikers,” explained agent Andrea Pretti. “That’s why we will meet the Coach as soon as possible to know his plans for Mutu. If he doesn’t consider all four forwards to be on the same level, then things will change.”

The Romanian is a former Inter, Verona and Parma star who has recently been linked with Juventus and Fiorentina.

Olympic changes for Pirlo
3.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Claudio Gentile’s Under-21 side begins preparations for the Olympics and looks to adapt the squad for new entry Andrea Pirlo.

The Milan midfielder is the most prolific Italian of all time at U-21 level and is included in the Azzurrini squad as one of three over-age players for the tournament in Athens.

“Pirlo will not be used as a trequartista behind the two strikers,” assured Coach Gentile. “We will play with a different tactical system so that he can take on a deeper role, similar to the one he holds at Milan.”

Pirlo had started his career as a trequartista, only to find a new lease of life as part of a rhombus shaped midfield. Italy are already among the favourites for the gold medal after their triumph in the European Championships in May.

“These Olympic games are of great importance to us,” insisted Gentile. “It is 68 years since Italy took a medal and it’s up to us to end that negative streak. There is a lot of expectation around us after the Euro victory, but we will do everything we can to shoulder that responsibility.”

The start of Serie A has been delayed for the Olympics, but that could be a problem as many of the other nations taking part are already at a more advanced stage of fitness preparation.

“It is true that in the heat of Athens that may well be a problem,” warned the Coach, “but we have this week together in which to prepare. I am confident, as this side is very motivated and the three additions can really give us some extra quality.”

Italy are in Group B with Ghana, Japan and Paraguay, considered to be quite a tough draw for the Azzurrini.

“We fear all three of our opponents equally. This has been defined the most difficult Group precisely because everyone feels they can qualify. It will be tough to beat them.”

Daniele Bonera is one of the other over-age players to be included in the side and insists they are confident.

“We are the Champions of Europe and have no fear,” noted the Parma defender. “Italy really want to do well in this tournament and realise the pressure is on our shoulders.”

Sheva cuts down Chelsea
3.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s successful American tour concluded with a 3-2 victory over Chelsea sealed by Andriy Shevchenko.

Last week the Rossoneri, who are further behind in their fitness preparations than the Premiership sides, also got the better of Manchester United after a penalty shoot-out and were again victorious in the final Champions World Series clash in Philadelphia.

Chelsea had been 2-1 up at the break thanks to Eidur Gudjohnsen and Didier Drogba, although Marcos Cafu had temporarily drawn level after 26 minutes with a fine volley, spotting Carlo Cudicini stranded off his line.

The turnaround arrived in the second half, as veteran defender Billy Costacurta met Kaka’s corner kick to equalise before a late free kick from Shevchenko sealed the victory with two minutes to spare.

Chelsea patron Roman Abramovich has made no secret of his desire to snap up the Ukrainian and was again full of praise for the striker. “Shevchenko is a phenomenon,” he told newspaper Corriere dello Sport-Stadio, “a champion, a great athlete and a wonderful man.”

Abramovich paused to salute the Rossoneri before jetting off back to London this morning. “I wanted to shake Carlo Ancelotti’s hand because I admire him and the way his Milan side plays.”

There were also a few words exchanged with Hernan Crespo, who left the Stamford Bridge outfit last month to join Milan on loan. “I can only thank Abramovich and Chelsea,” explained the Argentine, “but I am happy at Milan now.”

Milan 3-2 Chelsea

Scorers: Gudjohnsen 19 (C), Cafu 26 (M), Drogba 38 (C), Costacurta 76 (M), Shevchenko 88 (M)

Supercup switched to San Siro
2.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The League has surprisingly announced that the Italian Supercup clash Milan-Lazio will be played at the San Siro rather than Tripoli.

The trophy showcase between the Scudetto holders and Coppa Italia winners was set to take place in the Libyan Capital for the second time on August 21.

However, this evening the Lega Calcio released a statement explaining the change of venue was due to “unexpected organisational problems.”

Mystery surrounds the issues that were at the core of these “problems,” but the match between Milan and Lazio will now be staged at the San Siro in Milan on August 21.

It was set to be the fourth time that this trophy – which traditionally opens the Italian football season – was played outside of the Peninsula following trips to Washington DC, Tripoli and last year’s showdown in New York.

Milan: Pippo will be back
1.8 || scharatz

Milan have again stated that they will not buy a new striker even though Pippo Inzaghi’s injury worries continue.

"Milan will not be making anymore moves on the transfer market," stated Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

"Inzaghi will be back and he will be stronger than ever. I say this because this is what I know will happen.

"The Rossoneri do not need any new forwards. We have Inzaghi, Shevchenko, Crespo, Tomasson, plus we also have young Pozzi. We will wait for Inzaghi."

The Italian is a doubt for the start of the campaign as he fails to shake off a troublesome ankle problem.

Inzaghi underwent surgery in April but he’s now been told to rest for the next four weeks as the pain persists.

Reports recently have suggested that the Azzurri star, who missed Euro 2004 with the injury, may require another operation.

However, Milan medic Jean Pierre Meersseman is hopeful that the player will not need to go under the knife again.

"Now we must work and wait," said Meersseman. "We will probably find a solution that will not require surgery."

Milan spot on against Utd
1.8 || scharatz

Milan won their first game of their USA tour with a penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United.

The tie, played in New York, ended 1-1 after a 90th minute Andriy Shevchenko goal cancelled out a 33rd minute Paul Scholes strike.

Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti fielded a strong side with Dida in goal, Cafu, Nesta, Maldini and Kaladze in defence.

The midfield consisted of Gattuso, Ambrosini, Pirlo and Kaka who were behind the strike duo of Shevchenko and Crespo.

The Italian side started well and Shevchenko almost opened the scoring after just 14 minutes.

United, ahead in their preparation for the new season, began to get a grip on the game though as the match went on.

Giggs had a chance before Scholes gave his side a deserved lead at the Giants Stadium.

Little changed after the break and the England international almost netted his second from a Silvestre cross.

Crespo tried his luck with a back heel on 64, before Shev diverted a Kaka free-kick with just seconds remaining.

The tie went to penalties which Milan won 9-8. Man Utd goalkeeper Tim Howard made the crucial error as Dida tipped his effort onto the post.

"There was a clear difference between the fitness of the two teams," stated boss Ancelotti.

"They are ahead of us but I was happy with what we did, especially in the first 20 minutes in this difficult heat."

Milan’s next game is on August 2 against Chelsea. "They are in form and it will be useful to improve team spirit," added the tactician.

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