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The Archive

October 2005

Milan snub Cassano
31.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out a move for Roma’s troubled striker Antonio Cassano, while also joining the debate over who will eventually replace him at the San Siro.

Cassano has failed to agree a new contract with the Giallorossi and now looks likely to exit the Stadio Olimpico in the January transfer window.

Juventus and Inter appear to be the two leading candidates for his signature and Ancelotti has now confirmed that he doesn’t plan to enter the race.

“We have just invested in an interesting young player in Alberto Gilardino, therefore we are not interested,” the tactician told Radio RAI.

Carletto also spoke of his conversation with President Silvio Berlusconi following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of title rivals Juventus.

Speculation has been rife that there is a cold front between the two with conjecture on who the next Milan Coach may be almost constant among observers of the Serie A scene.

“He would like me to remain here for life, even if I know that is not possible,” stated Ancelotti.

“My successor? There is Marco Van Basten, but in the Milan squad which I played in there all also great trainers in Roberto Donadoni, Mauro Tassotti and Frank Rijkaard.

“Paolo Maldini is also a leader and could make it as a Coach, therefore there will be many options.”

Istanbul still haunts Gattuso
31.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso believes that Milan are still suffering from the Champions League Final.

The Rossoneri were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Istanbul showpiece, despite leading the game 3-0 at one stage.

So when Gattuso and his teammates took a 3-0 lead against Juventus on Saturday night, you can imagine there were a few butterflies in the stomach – especially when David Trezeguet pulled a goal back for the Bianconeri.

However, Milan held on for an impressive win to cut the gap at the top of the League to just two points, which Gattuso feels will boost their confidence.

“After going ahead 3-0 against Juventus I thought it would end just like it did in Istanbul,” said the former Rangers man.

“I feel well physically and playing matches like this one fills you with motivation and increases your trust.

“At half-time we looked at each other in the face and that was enough. After what happened in the past, we could not exclude anything.”

Seedorf: Milan remain the best
30.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf always maintained that Milan were a better side than Juventus and believes Saturday’s win proved it.

“Taking the lead you can more easily control the game, as up until that point it was in the balance, but we improved and had the better of the overall play,” noted the Dutchman. “We did well to convert our chances and keep a solid defence throughout.”

Seedorf opened the scoring with a strike that took a decisive deflection off Lilian Thuram – marking his 100th Serie A appearance in a Milan jersey with a crucial goal.

The gap has been cut to two points, but Seedorf insists there was much more to this battle of the giants than the Scudetto race.

“These are always very exciting and wonderful games to play. Even if we had been 15 points behind, it’s always a match you want to win. We wanted to prove that we were on a par with the form team of the championship and tonight showed we have a little bit more.”

The former Inter and Ajax man has always maintained that Milan are the best squad in Serie A this season and this result only strengthened his convictions, especially as it was their seventh win on the trot.

“Juventus are a solid outfit and were on great form right from the off this term. Milan struggled a little to begin with, but we have found our stride now.”

This victory came without Milan’s star player, as reigning European Player of the Year Andriy Shevchenko was in the stands due to a painful heel problem.

“It was a great performance, especially the first half, and the squad controlled the tempo brilliantly,” said the Ukrainian. “To see my team-mates playing so well really felt like scoring a hat-trick, as I was so proud of them. We decided not to risk it today, but I am training and undergoing treatment for my injury. I cannot say if I’ll play against PSV, as it is still very painful.”

Ancelotti admires world class Milan
30.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti described Milan’s 3-1 victory over Juventus as “a world class performance on every level” and praised his midfielders.

“This match was decided by the pressure we put on Juve’s midfield and attack, squeezing all the space away from their key players,” said the Rossoneri boss. “We did that very effectively. Milan put in a world class performance on every level and fully deserved the victory, especially as the game was kept under control in the second half.”

Clarence Seedorf’s early deflected effort broke the deadlock, while Kaka and Andrea Pirlo were also on target for a 3-0 lead.

“Once we took the lead it opened up more space as Juve were forced forward and we made the most of that. Andrea Pirlo is getting back to his old self and more than held his own against Emerson and Patrick Vieira. I think Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso were among the best out there today.”

Ancelotti surprised some people by leaving Marcos Cafu on the bench in favour of Jaap Stam and Serginho, putting more of his attacking push down the left side.

“Juve are very strong when coming towards the ball, so we tried to move it around quickly and seek depth in our moves. It was above all a problem of fitness, as Stam and Serginho had rested recently, so it was a physical issue rather than a tactical one.”

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi was in the stands and kept the post-match comments civil after Juve’s Serie A record of nine consecutive opening wins was halted at the San Siro.

“It was a vibrant and entertaining game with two great squads determined to get a positive result,” said the Italian Prime Minister. “It went well for us, but Juventus remain top of the table. Both sides play great football and every time they meet it’s a memorable occasion. It’s actually a shame to cut short Juve’s record, as it’s always an impressive feat to do something nobody has ever done before.”

Capello bemoans Juve luck
30.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Fabio Capello insists that the only thing separating Milan and Juventus this evening was “good luck” and insists the Bianconeri are stronger than ever.

“Today I realised I have a remarkably strong squad, as we conceded a goal when Milan weren’t doing any damage at all,” he said after the 3-1 defeat at the San Siro. “Clarence Seedorf’s opener was a lucky strike and the others were on set-pieces, but we did well against a team on great form and the only difference between us was luck. We accept the result.”

Kaka and Andrea Pirlo’s goals came from free kicks that were not dealt with adequately by the Bianconeri back-line, while David Trezeguet netted a consolation goal in the later stages.

“I don’t think our goalkeeper was particularly tested, as the only real chances went into the net. I told the lads that they are a really strong outfit. We knew Milan were good, but the 3-1 result was too harsh considering the overall performances of the two teams.”

Capello also insisted that the Rossoneri did not dominate this match, despite leading 3-0 at one stage and Dida was hardly tested.

“Milan went forward in bursts, but I don’t think that before the 2-0 result they were creating too many problems for us. They were aggressive and determined, but they weren’t dispossessing us that much, as far as I could see.”

Capello also refused to fan the flames of controversy in the post-match comments and praised referee Paolo Bertini.

“I have always supported this style of refereeing and this type of football that is fast-moving, so I have no complaints there.”

Juventus director general Luciano Moggi was in the stands and criticised the Bianconeri’s psychological approach to the game.

“I saw a Milan side of great quality, aggression and desire that truly wanted this victory. Perhaps Juve were a little too confident and that is never a good idea in football,” noted the transfer guru. “The real difference between the teams was that desire to win.”

AC Milan 3:1 Juventus - match report
29.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Seedorf 14 (M), Kaka 26 (M), Pirlo 45 (M), Trezeguet 76 (J)

The title race is back on after Milan ended Juve's unbeaten run with a crushing 3-1 victory at the San Siro, cutting the gap to just two points.

The San Siro was sold out for this long-awaited title clash, as Milan hoped to get back into the title race with a seventh straight win and Juventus aimed to make history with their 10th consecutive victory. This was also a decisive tie last season, as on May 8 David Trezeguet's goal practically handed the championship to the Bianconeri.

Andriy Shevchenko was in the stands due to a heel problem that has kept him out for a week, so former Juve star Pippo Inzaghi partnered Alberto Gilardino. Alessandro Nesta returned after surgery for a ruptured tendon in his hand, while Marcos Cafu was left out in favour of the more defensively minded Jaap Stam, as Serginho was a very attacking option at left-back. Alessandro Del Piero and ex-Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati were left on the bench, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Patrick Vieira returned from injury.

Both these Coaches were facing their former clubs, as Fabio Capello won almost every trophy with the Rossoneri, while Carlo Ancelotti was fired after failing to capture the Scudetto.

Pavel Nedved's cross-shot did not trouble Dida, while Inzaghi gathered Andrea Pirlo's pass and aimed a weak effort at the near post. Gennaro Gattuso thumped the upright on nine minutes, but play had been halted for a crunching tackle on Lilian Thuram.

Ibrahimovic nearly managed to hook down a long pass forward with only Dida to beat, but even his long limbs couldn't get it under control.

However, moments later it was Milan who took the lead with a spectacular - if fortunate - goal from Clarence Seedorf. The Dutchman combined with Gilardino and his shoot took a decisive deflection off Thuram, lifting the ball over a helpless Chimenti.

The game sprung to life and there were two potential counter-attacks in quick succession for Inzaghi, Ibrahimovic and Kaka, all closed down by some desperate defending.

A furious row broke out off the ball between Gattuso and Emerson, so play had to be stopped while calm was restored. Vieira was then booked for a late challenge from behind on Kaka.

It proved an important foul, as that Pirlo free kick was dropped into the centre and not cleared effectively, so Kaka rifled in a fierce half-volley from 10 yards to beat Chimenti.

Gilardino required treatment after an accidental elbow in the jaw from Thuram, while Capello made a tactical change just before half-time, introducing Giorgio Chiellini for Gianluca Pessotto.

On the stroke of half-time, Milan took a surprise 3-0 lead thanks to a howler from Chimenti. The former Lecce goalkeeper - filling in for Gianluigi Buffon and Abbiati - completely misjudged the flight of a seemingly harmless Pirlo free kick and allowed it to squirm in at the near post.

Nesta was booked for a challenge on Chiellini on the edge of the box, but the defenders were furious as they claimed the ex-Fiorentina man had handled in the build-up.

After the break, Stam came sliding in to stop Nedved pulling the trigger just inside the area. It was a crunching tackle, but one that got the ball.

Juve were more solid, but couldn't create any real scoring opportunities and instead Milan nearly made it 4-0 with another Chimenti error. This time the 'keeper managed to push away another viciously dipping Pirlo set-piece from distance.

A Pirlo strike from the edge of the box took a deflection out for a corner, as the Rossoneri turned up the heat again and Juventus seemed to have problems clearing their lines.

Capello had to introduce a more attacking player and threw on Adrian Mutu for the quiet Mauro German Camoranesi. Nedved found space on the left of the penalty area and his shot was comfortably smothered by Dida.

A corner kick came back in from Paolo Maldini and eventually fell to Seedorf for a half-volley that went over the bar. A scuffle broke out when substitute Mutu fell on Nesta and nearly stamped on him. His team-mates were furious, as the defender had only just returned from a serious injury to his hand.

Inzaghi was halted rushing towards goal for an extremely debatable offside decision. He made way for another ex-Juve man, Christian Vieri, soon after.

Capello even introduced Alessandro Del Piero for the final 20 minutes, pushing him out wide on the left in place of Nedved. Chimenti flew to push out another Pirlo free kick and Maldini's ambitious volley from 25 metres was well over.

Ibrahimovic combined with Trezeguet only to be disposessed by Stam, but moments later Juventus got one back. The same move came back out and Trezeguet sprung the offside trap thanks to Stam's error to volley in Vieira's chipped pass over the defence.

Substitute Vieri ballooned over and Gilardino made way for Marcos Cafu for the final 10 minutes. Nesta slipped inside the area and allowed Del Piero space to cross, but Dida recovered the situation before the ball could reach Ibrahimovic.

Vieri's angled drive shaved the far post in stoppages, but he had just strayed offside and it wouldn't have counted had the finish been on target.

The last kick of the game was a splendid Del Piero volley that tested Dida on the ground, but Milan re-open the title race with a crucial victory.

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Kaladze 85); Kakà; Inzaghi (Vieri 69); Gilardino (Cafu 79)

Juventus: Chimenti; Pessotto (Chiellini 41), Thuram, Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Camoranesi (Mutu 58), Emerson, Vieira, Nedved (Del Piero 72); Trezeguet, Ibrahimovic

Ref: Bertini

Kaka ready to make history
29.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka is looking forward to tonight’s big game with Juventus and believes this result will put Milan in the history books.

“Playing a match that has so much riding on it is always a pleasure,” said the Brazilian starlet. “This is a truly important tie that has always had its place in history, but it is also crucial for this season and our place in the Scudetto race.”

Juve are five points clear at the top of the Serie A table and travel to the San Siro, where they won 1-0 last term to effectively hand them the title.

“It will be wonderful to play at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza packed with Rossoneri supporters, as they can give us that extra push. We have to make the atmosphere into an advantage for us.”

Former Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati will probably be on the bench, so Antonio Chimenti starts and Kaka claims they can take advantage of this uncertainty.

“I think it will be crucial to find a way to hurt their defence, though until now Juve have conceded just two goals in nine games,” continued the Selecao star. “They have great qualities, but we can find a way through.”

The Bianconeri have already made history as the first team ever to win its opening nine Serie A fixtures, but their rivals are not far behind.

“Juventus may be on a strong run of results, but Milan have won their last six on the trot and we don’t want to stop now. We are on the right track.”

The main doubt for Carlo Ancelotti is in attack, where Andriy Shevchenko is struggling with a heel injury. The Ukrainian is in the squad, though Pippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri are challenging to take his place alongside Kaka and Alberto Gilardino.

“As far as I am concerned, nothing would change if Sheva did not play. Every striker wants to receive the ball, so there are no tactical differences. Here at Milan we all know each other well and work on team unity every day.”

Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini and Jaap Stam are also part of the squad after injury problems.

Milan squad:

Gk: Dida, Kalac

D: Cafu, Costacurta, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Jankulovski, Simic, Stam

M: Gattuso, Kaka`, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho, Vogel

F: Inzaghi, Gilardino, Shevchenko, Vieri

Del Piero fights back
29.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Del Piero could be benched for tonight’s Scudetto showdown with Milan and admits he’s disappointed at being left off the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

“I will prepare for this game as if I was certain of starting,” assured the Juventus captain in ‘Tuttosport’ newspaper. “My training schedule, my mental approach and preparation of details has not changed. I feel like a first-team player, but if Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet start, then I will cheer them on.”

The Italian international has scored three goals in six Serie A appearances this season, and provided the inspired assist for Trezeguet’s winning goal at the San Siro last May, but remains third choice behind his Juve team-mates.

“I am a bonus for the strikers who play alongside me, as they often score more goals when I am supporting them. It happened with Fabrizio Ravanelli and Pippo Inzaghi, while now the same thing occurs with David and Zlatan. My team-mates have no reason for complaint.”

Del Piero also focuses on his own scoring ratio and on 177 goals is closing in on Giampiero Boniperti’s all-time Juve record of 182. “That landmark will be beaten and I hope it is soon,” he smiled.

Alex has been on the sidelines a great deal since the arrival of Fabio Capello, but assures the fractious relationship has been healed.

“Our rapport is very good at the moment, as he is a determined Coach and knows how to spread his desire to win throughout the squad. He is so competent precisely because he lives for football.”

Nonetheless, the last year has been a difficult one for Del Piero and he was left off the 50-man shortlist for France Football’s prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy.

“I was upset by that decision, as last year I was coming off an injury and therefore it was understandable, but in 2005 the situation changed in my view. In any case, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. I accepted it when the award went to Mathias Sammer in 1996 and I was only fourth, so I won’t make myself ill over this now.”

Del Piero will probably be joined on the bench by Christian Abbiati this evening, as Capello confirmed that the goalkeeper is struggling with tonsillitis and “personal problems.” Former Lecce man Antonio Chimenti will instead fill in for the injured Gianluigi Buffon.

Juventus squad:

Gk: 12 Chimenti, 32 Abbiati, 22 Bonnefoi

D: 3 Chiellini, 6 Kovac, 7 Pessotto, 14 Balzaretti, 19 Zambrotta, 28 Cannavaro, 23 Giannichedda, 21 Thuram

M: 4 Vieira, 8 Emerson, 11 Nedved, 16 Camoranesi, 18 Mutu, 20 Blasi

F: 9 Ibrahimovic, 10 Del Piero, 17 Trezeguet, 25 Zalayeta

Ancelotti casts aside demons
28.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is looking to cast aside old demons as he prepares his team for the visit of Juventus on Saturday night.

Comparisons are being made with the previous match last May which ended 1-0 in favour of the Bianconeri.

That result effectively handed the Serie A title to Juve, who stole a vital march and three crucial points on their rivals with just three matches to go.

"That game was certainly a decisive one," said Ancelotti. "But this one isn’t. We were at the end of the season then, but now it is too soon to even begin to think of it in those terms."

Echoing the wise words of his opposite number at Juve, Fabio Capello, the message from Ancelotti is that there is a still a long way to go before any medals are handed out.

Nevertheless, Carletto knows that he can ill afford to let the Turin side extend any further their precocious five-point lead at the top.

"It’s a game against a side we must challenge all the way until the end of the season, like last year," he said.

"Tomorrow it is important to try to win. We must take to the pitch with the intention of taking control of the tie, imposing our game.

"We’re not looking to win at all costs but defeat would certainly affect us psychologically."

In the probable absence of Andriy Shevchenko, Ancelotti is happy to call upon Gilardino and Inzaghi, who are "in fine form" at present.

However, he did admit being wary of the midfield presence of Patrick Vieira and Emerson, which might force a change of midfield tactics.

"Kaka may have to make way for Marek Jankulovski," admitted the 46-year-old, who should also be able to rely on rested Paolo Maldini plus the fit-again Jaap Stam and Alessandro Nesta.

Capello: Milan clash "not decisive"
28.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus boss Fabio Capello has played down the importance of the Milan match by insisting it is ‘not decisive’ to the outcome of the title race.

Speaking ahead of Saturday night’s eagerly-awaited showdown between his Serie A charges and second-placed Milan, Capello admitted that the psychological spoils were at stake but nothing more at this early stage.

"It’s an important game but not a decisive one," he said. "It has more of a psychological value than anything else."

The Juve tactician, who guided Milan to four League titles in five years as well as a Champions League win during the 1990s, has set an Italian record already this season by masterminding nine straight wins since the start of the campaign.

Victory number 10 would put his side eight points clear at the top of the table – a fact that is not lost on the 59-year-old.

"A win would be an important one as it would put us eight points ahead, but we are still only at the early stages," he added. "The title race is a long one."

It certainly will be for the chasing pack if Juve triumph at the San Siro. Given his side’s incredible run of form, Don Fabio is confident that his side has got what it takes to win three points.

What gives him even more belief is the fact that his side is stronger than the one that beat Milan 1-0 in this fixture last term.

"We are not afraid because last year we won and we didn’t have either Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Patrick Vieira in the side. This year we do and because of that we don’t feel inferior to anyone," he argued.

"Our strength is that we approach every side with the same attitude and with the intention of winning. We know what our strengths are and we play with great conviction."

Milan will need that very same conviction if they are to prevent Juve from stretching their 100 percent League record into double figures.

With regard to his starting line-up, Capello is only expected to be without Christian Abbiati – who is on loan from Milan. Antonio Chimenti will therefore start in goal.

Milan consider Reveillère
28.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are monitoring the progress of Lyon defender Antoine Reveillère as they look to rejuvenate their ageing back line.

In addition to 37-year-old club captain Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta, who is now in his 40th year, Milan boast Marcos Cafu, 35, at right-back in one of the oldest defences in Serie A.

The Rossoneri believe that the time is now right to think about injecting youth and pace into their rearguard and Reveillère has been watched by Ariedo Braida, who was in the stands in Athens to watch the 26-year-old in action against Olympiacos, as a possible replacement for Cafu (pictured).

The France international, who is contracted to the French club until 2008, has been an integral member of Lyon’s successful league-winning side and is currently striving to help the club to a record-breaking fifth consecutive French title.

Inzaghi set for Sheva shirt
28.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko looks to have lost his battle for fitness to face League leaders Juventus in Saturday night’s top-of-the-table clash at the San Siro.

The Ukraine international has missed the Rossoneri’s last two matches with a heel injury and although doctors are pleased with his progress, they are not prepared to risk their star striker unless he is 100 percent fit - even for a game of such great importance.

"If he can no longer feel pain then he will play," said Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti. "But otherwise he won’t - and at the moment it’s looking more likely that he won’t play."

Ancelotti must now choose two out of three in-form strikers for a game his side cannot afford to lose.

Milan are trailing Juventus, who have won all nine Serie A games so far this season, by five points and a home win would throw the title race wide open again.

Both Alberto Gilardino and Christian Vieri scored in midweek and Filippo Inzaghi did his selection chances no harm either by netting the winner against Palermo last weekend in his first game back after a lengthy injury lay-off.

With five goals to his name so far already this season, Gilardino is a virtual certainty to start.

"Scoring twice at Empoli was important for me," said Gilardino. "Now it’s up to the Coach to decide.

"As far as I’m concerned, after five away goals, I’d like to score in front of my own fans at the San Siro."

So would Inzaghi. The former Juventus hitman has endured a miserable time with injuries over the last year, and his emotional goal celebration against Palermo was a testament to the frustrations of a season spent on the sidelines.

Superpippo would relish the opportunity to confirm his return to the big time with a goal against his former club and it is thought that he will be given the nod ahead of Vieri.

The Rossoneri will be boosted by the return to the defence of Paolo Maldini, Jaap Stam and Alessandro Nesta.

The Italy stopper has recovered quicker than expected from a bizarre hand injury that had been reported, although denied by the player himself, as being caused by excessive use of his PlayStation.

Milan will allow Stam departure
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jaap Stam looks almost certain to quit Milan in the summer after the Rossoneri opened the door for his exit.

The 33-year-old stopper is eager for a return to Holland and a transfer now seems almost inevitable.

"If Stam wants to return to Holland then we will look to please him," stated boss Carlo Ancelotti.

"Milan are not a club who will stand in anybody’s way, but Stam won’t be leaving us before June."

Although happy at Milan, the former Manchester United defender wants to depart for personal reasons.

"Jaap is very content in Italy and is contracted to the club for another two years," his agent Henk Van Ginkel stated this week.

"However, Stam wants to go back home to Holland so that he can totally dedicate himself to his family.

"Two clubs have already said they are interested in him. We’ll now have to speak to Milan and see what can be done."

It’s understood that PSV Eindhoven, where Stam played between 1996-1998, and Heerenveen are keen on his signature.

However, the player maintains that he wants to leave the European giants on a high if possible.

"I will make a decision on my future at the end of this season," stated the signing from Lazio.

"But my only thought right now is to win something important with Milan first."

Vieri ends Milan goal drought
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri insists he’s still got what it takes to be a top striker after finally netting his first goal for Milan.

The Italian scored in the 3-1 win at Empoli on Wednesday and was quick to silence talk that he is too old to make a difference any more.

"That’s not true," he told Sky Italia. "I always get three or four chances during a game. The important thing is that I am still creating opportunities.

"Sometimes I score and sometimes I don’t, but the crucial thing is that I am in the right place at the right time."

The Azzurri international, who joined the club in a controversial move from Inter in the summer, concedes that last night’s goal has eased the pressure on him.

"It feels like a weight has been lifted," said the 32-year-old, who dedicated his first Milan strike to his mother.

"I’ve worked hard in these times, but it is only normal to feel the tension after you go two or three months without a goal.

"I want to thank the Coach and my teammates who stayed close to me during this period. I’m as happy for them as I am myself."

Vieri hadn’t scored in Serie A since May 15, 2005, in Inter's 1-0 win over Livorno. He could now get another chance against Juventus given Andriy Shevchenko’s ankle problem.

"I’m ready to play even if it up to the Coach to select me," he added. "Milan have some of the strongest forwards in circulation and we are all at the club’s disposal."

Vieri’s latest strike was his 132nd in 219 games.

Chivu won’t join Milan, say Roma
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roma have rubbished recent speculation that Cristian Chivu is set for a January transfer to Milan.

Whispers had suggested that the Romanian was unhappy in the capital and had asked to be sold in the New Year.

But Roma technical director Bruno Conti has moved quickly to officially rubbish the claims, after Milan were immediately linked with the versatile stopper.

"Whoever started this rumour is not being truthful and these claims are stupid," the club legend said.

"Chivu is very happy here and ready to play for Roma at this stage of his career and also in the future."

The Rossoneri have also rejected the stories, claiming they have no need for any new defenders.

"We have no intention of bringing in Chivu in the New Year," Vice-President Adriano Galliani said.

"There is no defensive crisis at Milan. We did have a few selection difficulties against Empoli, but we have many excellent stoppers in our squad."

Chivu, who can play on the left and in the centre, has been heavily linked with Milan in the past given their ageing rearguard.

New defenders are expected to arrive next summer though as Jaap Stam is set to leave, while Billy Costacurta may finally retire.

Capello focused on Milan
27.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus boss Fabio Capello insists Saturday’s match against Milan is more important than his side’s record breaking start to the season.

The Bianconeri won their ninth consecutive League game against Sampdoria last night, but the tactician wasn’t interested in celebrating a Serie A first.

"Instead of thinking about the record, I’m just totally focused on the Milan match," said the Coach.

Although Juventus didn’t shine brightly on Wednesday, the 2-0 win has underlined the outfit’s quality.

"I can tell the Rossoneri that we won’t be very easy to beat at all," continued the former Real Madrid boss.

"My Juve side have again demonstrated that we are a very competitive team. We have a desire to win and it is tough to get past us.

"Sampdoria were excellent in the first half, while we made a few mistakes. Fortunately, things improved after the break."

Juventus currently sit five points clear of Milan, but have stretched their lead over fellow title rivals Inter.

The Nerazzurri lost 3-2 to Roma at the San Siro with the help of a splendid Francesco Totti strike.

"He did something extraordinary because he is an extraordinary player," added Capello when asked to comment on his former Giallorossi pupil.

Empoli 1:3 AC Milan - match report
26.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Vannucchi 34 (E), Gilardino 45, 50 (M), Vieri 56 (M)

Milan fought back from a goal down to end Empoli's unbeaten run thanks to an Alberto Gilardino brace and Christian Vieri's first goal for the club.

Both these sides were on fine form going into the Stadio Castellani, as Milan were coming off five consecutive Serie A victories, while Empoli were unbeaten since Week 3. Andriy Shevchenko, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini were ruled out and Carlo Ancelotti reshuffled his squad ahead of Saturday's showdown with Juventus.

Christian Vieri ran on to a long ball forward within the opening 30 seconds and clattered into the brave Gianluca Berti, who flung himself at the Milan striker.

Manuel Rui Costa was given a rare start and his chip was a little too delicate to beat Berti in the Empoli goal. Alberto Gilardino fired wide and Vieri had two attempts charged down by desperate defending around the six-yard box.

Coda and Pratali combined to keep out Rui Costa's close-range strike, as Empoli defended in numbers to frustrate the Rossoneri.

However, the Tuscans opened the scoring with their first shot on goal. Igli Vannucchi unleased a fierce strike from 20 metres that took a massive deflection off Dario Simic to leave Dida utterly stranded.

Empoli almost made it 2-0 soon after on the counter-attack, as Almiron's powerful finish on a Vannucchi cross was somehow parried at the near post by Dida.

Milan got back on level terms in first half stoppages. Gilardino toe-poked Kakha Kaladze's low cross from the left into the net at the near post.

Gilardino is yet to score at the San Siro, but he has been crucial for Milan on their travels and turned the game around with a glancing header on Rui Costa's centre.

Vieri was very close to extending their lead, his header fingertipped out of the goal at full stretch by Berti, but it was only a warning shot. Moments later, Vieri opened his Rossoneri account in official competition by nodding in a Clarence Seedorf cross from the right.

Carlo Ancelotti curiously opted to play Kaka alongside Rui Costa when Gilardino came off the field. An Andrea Pirlo curler was deflected over the bar.

In stoppages, Dida flew to fingertip Lodi's fine strike over the bar, as Empoli refused to give in.

Empoli: Berti; Lucchini, Coda, Pratali, Bonetto; Ficini (Pozzi 86), Almiron (Rigano' 52), Buscè; Vannucchi, Moro; Tavano

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Costacurta, Simic, Kaladze; Seedorf (Vogel 85), Pirlo, Jankulovski (Gattuso 60); Rui Costa; Vieri, Gilardino (Kaka 67)

Ref: Trefoloni

Ancelotti selects "strongest" Milan
26.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has conceded that he will select the best team possible to face in-form Empoli this evening.

Although the Rossoneri entertain leaders Juventus on Saturday, their injury problems mean that the Coach hasn’t the luxury of resting key players ahead of the San Siro showdown.

"We need to make sure that Juventus don’t extend their lead over us before the match at the weekend," he stated. "Therefore I will pick my strongest side possible.

"We are up against a team who is doing very well right now and a striker in Francesco Tavano who is one of the most dangerous in the Division."

Ancelotti is set to be without Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Massimo Ambrosini and star striker Andriy Shevchenko.

"Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino will play in attack," added the tactician. "They are improving all of the time, let’s hope both can score."

The Ukrainian international is missing because of an ankle problem and Ancelotti admits he’s unsure whether he will be fit enough to face Juve.

"It will be tough for him but we can only really think about it on Thursday," explained the Coach.

"As for Nesta, he is feeling good again even if we won’t know whether he will be available until he has a few tests carried out on Wednesday."

Dario Simic is expected to come into the defence this evening, with Serginho or Marek Jankulovski being handed the left-back jersey.

Milan probable: Dida; Serginho, Simic, Costacurta, Cafu; Seedorf, Pirlo, Gattuso; Kaka; Vieri, Gilardino.

Shevchenko out for Empoli
25.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will face Empoli on Wednesday night in Serie A without star striker Andriy Shevchenko.

The Ukrainian international will miss the Stadio Castellani clash after failing to recover from an ankle injury.

Shevchenko underwent more tests on the problem last night, which confirmed he wouldn’t be risked against the Tuscan minnows.

The European Footballer of the Year picked up the injury during the 0-0 Champions League draw with PSV Eindhoven.

Shevchenko already missed the 2-1 win over Palermo, but the outfit are hopeful that he will have recovered in time for Saturday’s showdown against Juventus.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti will now have to select two from Christian Vieri, Alberto Gilardino and a fit-again Pippo Inzaghi for tomorrow’s game.

Meanwhile, Jaap Stam should be available again after he pulled up during the Palermo warm-up in Week 8.

The Dutchman took part in a light training session on Monday and will probably be included in the squad to face Empoli.

Alessandro Nesta could also return to first team action on Saturday following a hand operation.

If he gets the green light from the surgeon later today, the Italian international will resume full training with his teammates.

Stam set for summer exit?
25.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Jaap Stam could return to Holland at the end of this season, according to reports.

The 33-year-old is contracted to the Italian giants until June 2007, but a summer switch may be on the horizon.

Stories in the peninsula have already suggested that Stam could ask for a transfer and his agent has admitted that a switch is a possibility.

"Jaap is very happy at Milan and is contracted to the club for another two years," Henk Van Ginkel is quoted as saying.

"However, Stam wants to go back home to Holland so that he can totally dedicate himself to his family.

"Two clubs have already said they are interested in him. We’ll now have to speak to Milan and see what can be done."

It’s understood that PSV Eindhoven, where Stam played between 1996-1998, and Heerenveen are keen on his signature.

The former international joined the San Siro giants in the summer of 2004 for around £7.5m from Lazio.

He started his career at FC Zwolle, but really hit the headlines after three successful years at Manchester United before his August 2001 move to Italy.

Milan are already looking for new defenders to rejuvenate their ageing rearguard.

Udinese’s Dias Felipe, Cristian Chivu of Roma and Paris Saint-Germain’s Mario Yepes have all been associated recently.

Super Pippo is back
24.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Filippo Inzaghi insists he’s back after the Milan man scored the winner in the 2-1 triumph over Palermo.

The striker has spent most of the last two years on the sidelines with injury, but has now returned to playing and scoring for the Rossoneri.

"I’m back to being the player I once was," stated the Italian. "This is a really satisfying moment for me."

Hampered by an ankle injury for almost 24 months, there were some who questioned whether Inzaghi would ever play at the highest level again.

However, Super Pippo insists he was always fully backed by his club and teammates throughout his difficulties.

"I want to say thank you to everyone here," continued the forward. "This environment has allowed me to give out my very best.

"My club colleagues have also been fantastic towards me, they really are great friends."

Inzaghi’s availability will undoubtedly boost the club’s chances of fighting for honours at home and abroad.

"Juventus are not dropping any points, but it was important to beat this Palermo side," added Inzaghi. "They will cause problems for a lot of teams this season."

Inzaghi hadn’t scored in Serie A since March 7, 2004, during the 3-1 win over Sampdoria.

Meanwhile, his last goal for the club was netted on September 29, 2004, in the 3-1 Champions League win against Celtic.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti is obviously delighted to have Inzaghi, scorer of 114 League goals, at his disposal again.

"It was a special afternoon for Filippo, seeing as his goal gifted us the victory," noted the tactician.

"His partnership with Alberto Gilardino? They did some good things together in the first period. I liked them."

AC Milan 2:1 Palermo - match report
23.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Caracciolo 28 (P), Gattuso 30 (M), Inzaghi 77 (M)

Pippo Inzaghi scored his first Serie A goal since March 2004 to ensure Milan's fifth consecutive victory in a hard-fought and entertaining clash with Palermo.

Palermo had never won at the San Siro, but last season the 3-3 draw here mathematically handed Juventus the Scudetto title. The Rossoneri were without the injured Alessandro Nesta and Andriy Shevchenko, so Pippo Inzaghi was handed his first start since undergoing surgery on an ankle problem in the summer. Jaap Stam was originally named in the starting eleven, but was replaced by Marcos Cafu at the last minute.

Kaka's shot was parried by Nicola Santoni's gloves after three minutes, then at the other end Mariano Gonzalez held up the ball for an Andrea Caracciolo volley that was just over.

It was an eventful start and on five minutes Milan had to thank the crossbar, as another Gonzalez assist reached the head of fellow Argentine Mario Alberto Santana and Dida was rescued by the woodwork.

Santoni seemed surprised by the flight of a Kaka free kick and pushed it back into the path of Inzaghi, but the Italian couldn't quite touch it into the net.

Marek Jankulovski sprinted down the left flank and put in a cross that went past everyone, even if Kaka managed to redirect it over the bar.

Inzaghi couldn't have gone closer to a comeback goal, as he hooked Kaka's searching pass and went round Santoni, but his finish wasn't quite strong enough and Andrea Barzagli got back in time for a goalline clearance.

However, it was Palermo who opened the scoring against the run of play after 28 minutes. Fabio Grosso's cross reached Stephen Makinwa and he turned it back across the face of goal for the unmarked Andrea Caracciolo to tap in at the far post.

Milan fought back immediately and Kaka set up two good chances for Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino, the ex-Parma man kept out by a point-blank save.

The lead lasted less than two minutes, as Gennaro Gattuso scored a spectacular strike from the edge of the box. Kaka held up the ball and the little midfielder spun round for a volley that looped over a helpless Santoni. It was only his third Serie A goal in 208 games.

Kaka sidefooted a Cafu cross wide from close range at the end of a thoroughly entertaining first 45 minutes. Milan made a change at half-time, introducing Andrea Pirlo for Johann Vogel in midfield.

Some desperate defending eventually cleared Pirlo's set-piece, as Santoni captured Paolo Maldini's overhead kick. Kaka had two shots charged down and Pirlo drilled the third over the bar from distance.

Palermo were now working mainly on the counter-attack as Milan poured forward, and Gonzalez rode Cafu's challenge only for Dida to have his palms stung by Caracciolo's finish. Inzaghi also nodded a Serginho cross off target.

Pirlo's free kick took a touch and had overtaken the goalkeeper, but Barzagli somehow managed to clear off the line at the back post under pressure from Gilardino.

When the Rossoneri's goal finally came, it was for their comeback king - Pippo Inzaghi. An acrobatic diving header on Jankulovski's cross gave Super Pippo his first Serie A goal since March 2004. His celebration was to say the least ecstatic and he leapt into the arms of Coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Christian Vieri went past his marker and forced Santoni to perform a save with his outstretched foot. Inzaghi suffered cramp in the final minute.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Costacurta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Vogel (Pirlo 46), Jankulovski; Kakà; Gilardino (Vieri 66), Inzaghi

Palermo: Santoni; Zaccardo, Barzagli, Terlizzi, Grosso; Santana, Corini, Mutarelli, Gonzalez (Bonanni 68); Makinwa (Pepe 66), Caracciolo

Ref: Farina

Ancelotti sets sights on Juve
23.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Scudetto showdown with Juventus is just a week away and Carlo Ancelotti hopes to beat Palermo and Empoli first to close the gap.

“If the Rosanero we’ll face today are the same as the ones who beat Inter 3-2, then we’ll have some real problems,” noted the tactician. “This is a side that uses the flanks a great deal, has a player like Eugenio Corini that dictates the play and two great strikers who can become dangerous in open space. The antidote to their power is to maintain possession for 90 minutes.”

The Rossoneri will be without Alessandro Nesta and Andriy Shevchenko due to injury, although this could be a blessing in disguise. Last season they played twelve games without the Ukrainian and won nine, drawing the other three.

“We have to keep an eye on Shevchenko’s heel problem every day and when the pain passes, he can play again. Losing him is a real blow, but Pippo Inzaghi is finally fit again and is able to play from the start. Clearly he’ll take a while to achieve match fitness, but he’s more motivated than anyone.”

These two players are also doubts to feature against Juventus next Saturday in a game that last season decided the Scudetto race.

“I don’t know if Nesta and Shevchenko will play, but the Bianconeri are the last thing on my mind at the moment,” insisted Ancelotti. “Clearly we hope to close the gap during this week, although I don’t think Juve’s defeat at Bayern Munich will affect them.”

Despite Palermo’s strong midfield, Milan will stick with the two-striker system and Ancelotti gives Alberto Gilardino the nod.

“Gilardino on his own upfront could be useful in other games, but we have to win this and two forwards is much better in that situation. My team has always found it easy to score goals and, when someone like Shevchenko is absent, everyone has to take on more responsibility.”

Pirlo shares Corini respect
22.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Eugenio Corini could be Andrea Pirlo’s understudy at the World Cup and they explain their mutual respect as Palermo take on Milan.

“Corini is a wonderful player and knows how to make the team tick,” explained Rossoneri midfielder Pirlo. “I don’t know how such a technically gifted player can win back the ball and put pressure on opponents so effectively.”

We’ll have the opportunity to witness the two foremost deep midfielders in Italy when the two teams face off at the San Siro on Sunday afternoon,

“To make the most of his qualities, it’s best to have a side with two very powerful wingers who can push up continually. I’m always impressed when Corini gathers the ball with his back to these players, but within a moment he can just turn and set them running with a precise pass.”

The feeling is mutual and Corini was also eager to praise Pirlo for the way he has reinvented a role that had barely existed in Serie A.

“Andrea is an extraordinary player who has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few seasons,” noted the 35-year-old. “I consider Pirlo to be one of the five best midfielders in the world. Milan are technically a world apart from most sides and if they are having a good day then it’s tough for anyone to get a result against them.”

Gila has Champions dream
22.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino dreams of meeting Juventus in the Champions League Final and taking Milan to victory.

“My dream is to reach the European Cup Final with this great team. It would be fantastic, and difficult, but we have the quality to get there. I hope our opponents would Juve,” said the £17m summer signing.

Gilardino has stuttered since making the move from Parma and hopes to score his first San Siro goal when Palermo come to visit tomorrow afternoon.

“I was given a warm welcome to this club, although obviously it takes a little while to get acclimatised when you’re moving to a new team and city, especially when the pressures are so different and you’re always expected to win. To be playing side by side with champions like Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta is amazing when a few years ago I only saw them on my television set.”

The Italian international is also forced to fight for a place with Andriy Shevchenko, Christian Vieri and Pippo Inzaghi.

“Squad rotation is normal at this level, but I am more than happy to accept the situation and any decisions the Coach makes. There are so many games in a season that there will be room for everyone. I have no preferences on a strike partner, as I can play alongside any of my teammates. It was an honour to be compared to Inzaghi, as he’s one of the best in the world and I have much to learn from him.”

There has been a Rossoneri tinge to his career thus far, as one of his mentors at Cesare Prandelli’s Parma was director – and former Milan Coach – Arrigo Sacchi.

“Sacchi was very important for me, as he gave me a lot of advice and was key in resolving certain situations. Carlo Ancelotti and Prandelli are similar personalities and have a good rapport with their players. They explain football in its tiniest details and that really helps.”

Milan targets Slobodan Rajkovic
21.10 || webmaster

Source: JadranSport.org

The rumors that have been going around Serbia and Europe in the past few days regarding Arsenal and AC Milan interest in OFK Beograd young defender Slobodan Rajkovic (Slobodan Rajković) are now officially confirmed by the Serbian club’s officials who, for now, refuse to speculate where will the 16 year old who’s a member of Serbian U21 national side continue his career.

“Yes, and yes, there’s nothing else I can answer on the question whether those teams are interested in me and that’s great since playing in clubs such as Arsenal or AC Milan is a dream come true for any player, especially for someone as young as myself,” said Rajkovic who will turn 17 in February 2006.

It should also be noted that Rajkovic has spent the past summer at Arsenal’s camp where by the youngsters own words the Gunners manager Arsen Wenger said that he’s impressed with his football skills and that he would like to see him in England next summer as well.

For now OFK officials are not revealing which club is closer to sign or loan the young defender and for what amount will they be willing to let him loose so only time will show what will happen for the young Rajkovic who’s saying that his only concern for now is to display good performances both in his club’s and national jersey.

AC Milan junior football camp to be held in Dubai
21.10 || webmaster

Source: KhaleejTimes.com

DUBAI — AC Milan's first junior football camp will be held in the UAE for boys and girls between the ages 8 and 16 who want to learn the secrets of the game directly from the official technical staff of the famous Italian club.


Called the Milan Junior Camps, it will be held at the Al Nasr Club sports centre from November 7 to November 11.

Intense programme

These five days of sport and recreation, geared to kids, will include an intense programme of technical training, athletic preparation, and tactical information. On November 5 and 6 a course will be organised for future coaches. The inaugural Press conference yesterday saw the special attendance of Daniele Massaro, a former champion with AC Milan and the national Italian football team, now the Public Relations Director, and Mauro Tavola, the Sales Director of AC Milan, who both flew in from Italy for the occasion.

Euro giants don’t scare Kaka
21.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan playmaker Kaka insists his club have what it takes to compete with Juventus and Chelsea this season.

The pair are widely regarded as two of the best clubs in Europe this term, after winning all of their League games between them so far.

But the Brazilian maintains that his outfit will have a part to play in both the Scudetto race and the Champions League hunt.

"There are a lot of clubs who are playing very well right now," Kaka stated. "However, the season ends in May. We’ll see who crosses the line first.

"We are well aware that every team in the world can be beaten. We are now hoping that Juventus lose in the League so that we can catch them up in the table."

Juve, who lost to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, arrive at the San Siro on October 29 in what promises to be a mammoth encounter.

"We will be at home which will be important, but this isn’t the right time to think about them," added the South American. "Milan have games against Palermo and Empoli first."

The leaders may be without the inspirational Patrick Vieira for the game, even if Kaka doesn’t think that will be a factor.

"Nothing will change without Vieira," he added. "What have Juventus got that we haven’t? Five points…"

Milan seem to have archived their difficult start to the campaign, but the 0-0 draw against PSV in midweek was disappointing.

"I’m hopeful for the future because we are growing all of the time," he underlined. "We created a lot against PSV, but we struggled to finish off our moves."

Shevchenko given green light
20.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko is expected to resume training with Milan on Friday after tests on his ankle ruled out anything serious.

There were fears that the striker could be sidelined for a lengthy period after limping out of the Champions League 0-0 draw with PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.

However, the Ukrainian was examined this afternoon and no significant damage has been detected.

The striker, five goals in seven games so far this term, should now be available for the Palermo match on Sunday.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti may rest him though seeing as the outfit will then play Empoli and Juventus next week.

Shevchenko is undoubtedly the Rossoneri’s most lethal finisher, having netted 113 goals in his Serie A career to date.

Vieira to miss Milan trip?
20.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Patrick Vieira may fail in his attempt to be fit for Juventus’ clash against Milan at the end of this month.

The Frenchman was pencilled in to return to the side for the October 29 tie against his former club.

However, Vieira is struggling to shake off a hamstring problem and is now a major doubt for the San Siro showdown.

The £14m summer signing from Arsenal picked up the injury on international duty, but isn’t reacting too well to treatment.

The midfielder hasn’t trained at all since he was replaced after just 23 minutes of France’s final World Cup game against Cyprus.

Vieira, who has only undergone sessions of physiotherapy and pool work, was hoping to be fit for the Milan clash.

That will reportedly only happen if he can resume light training with the rest of the squad from this weekend.

Vieira will undergo a number of tests on Monday which should give a clearer indication of whether he will be available for the game.

Boss Fabio Capello will certainly hope to have him at his disposal as the Bianconeri struggled badly without Vieira in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Turin giants were outplayed by Bayern Munich who collected a comfortable 2-1 win in Germany.

Vieira will also miss the League games against Lecce and Sampdoria over the next seven days.

Giuliano Giannichedda or Manuele Blasi are now expected to partner Emerson in central midfield.

Ancelotti rues missed chances
20.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti claims the only thing lacking from Milan’s performance against PSV Eindhoven was a winning goal.

“Our only problem was our inability to score a goal,” he said after the 0-0 draw. “We played one of our best games of the season and couldn’t turn all that possession into a result. Perhaps we pushed too much down the centre in the first half and pushed it out wide more after the break, but we were aggressive throughout and did very well.”

Goalkeeper Gomes performed several splendid saves to keep out Kaka, Kakha Kaladze, Andriy Shevchenko and Clarence Seedorf.

“I think the goalkeeper made the difference with his performance. I am happy with the overall approach, as I can see the team improving with each test and we remain at the top of our Group, so it’s still a positive result.”

Fenerbahce were held to a spectacular 3-3 home draw by Schalke 04, so the Rossoneri remain one point clear at the top of Group E.

Milan are wasting plenty of scoring opportunities this season and the poor form of Christian Vieri is causing concern, while Andriy Shevchenko limped off with a heel injury.


“These are the most difficult games for strikers, as our opponents clammed up completely, but they moved well,” insisted Ancelotti.

“We’ll see the test results tomorrow for Shevchenko. He’s definitely a key player, though we managed to win both ties against Manchester United last season without him thanks to an overall team effort. Vieri plays an important part in the team work-rate and is doing his job. He isn’t the only one who failed to hit the net tonight.”

Ancelotti believes Milan are on the right track in the Champions League despite picking up just two points from their last two games.

“It’s a balanced group and the other sides are also on form, so this point is a valuable advantage and I think it’ll be tight to decide the qualifying places.”

AC Milan 0:0 PSV Eindhoven - match report
19.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan aimed a series of shots at the PSV goal, but were unable to go past a 0-0 draw and lost Andriy Shevchenko to injury.

These two sides met in last season's semi-finals and a 2-0 victory at the San Siro was followed by a 3-1 defeat in Holland, Massimo Ambrosini's last-gasp header earning Milan passage to the Final on goal difference. Johan Vogel was playing for PSV that day, but took his place on the Milan bench this time, while Jaap Stam stepped in for the injured Alessandro Nesta. The Dutch outfit was without suspended hitman Vennegoor of Hesselink.

Christian Vieri was given the nod ahead of Alberto Gilardino after his goal for Italy against Moldova last week. The ex-Inter man almost scored within the first two minutes, as he volleyed a free kick off target, then Ooijer's attempt was charged down from eight yards.

Kaka burst forward from midfield and cut back for Vieri, but he blazed wide under pressure from a defender with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Ooijer was forced to make a crucial intervention on Paolo Maldini as the 37-year-old ran on to Kaka's backheel in the box.

On 20 minutes Andriy Shevchenko sprung the offside trap on Andrea Pirlo's searching pass and brought a tough save out of the goalkeeper, but had his first touch been better then it would probably have been in the back of the net.

The Rossoneri began to increase the tempo and peppered the PSV penalty area with crosses, while Shevchenko's overhead kick was accidentally intercepted by Kakha Kaladze.

Milan really should've taken the lead on 35 minutes when Gomes only beat away a powerful Kaka strike, but Clarence Seedorf's follow-up header was so weak that it failed to trouble the goalkeeper.

Pirlo had another great chance on the stroke of half-time with his dipping effort that went just over the crossbar, but there was bad news for Milan, as Shevchenko intimated he wanted a substitution. The Ukrainian tried to start the second half, but almost immediately limped off with a heel injury and made way for Pippo Inzaghi, who had his official comeback for eight minutes at the weekend.

Within seconds of the restart, Seedorf went close with a fierce drive from distance, then on 51 minutes a stunning Kaladze half-volley from the edge of the box was palmed over the bar by a flying Gomes.

Gennaro Gattuso's cross-shot settled on the roof of the net and Inzaghi side-footed Gattuso's assist wide of the target. Kaka then combined with Seedorf and skipped past a defender before unleashing a rocket that was just over the bar.

It was turning into a siege now and Gomes at first leapt to push away a powerful Seedorf strike, then fingertipped a Marcos Cafu angled drive round the post and palmed out a Pirlo free kick.

Gomes rushed off his line to clear the ball off Inzaghi's foot from six yards, but Dida made his first real save after 74 minutes, smothering Farfan's counter-attack, as PSV were focused entirely on defence.

Serginho's pace replaced Seedorf for the closing stages in a bid to find a way through the Dutch lockdown. The shots kept on coming and a free kick was desperately cleared at the near post by Kaladze, then Stam's attempt was charged down and Serginho's follow-up was over.

Inzaghi ran on to Serginho's through ball and went too wide when trying to go round the goalkeeper, though he did earn a corner kick. Kaka drilled well wide from the edge of the box and Milan continued to bang their heads on a brick wall.

There were timid penalty appeals in the final minute when Alex nudged Inzaghi as he rose to meet a cross, but the referee waved play on. Super Pippo was booked for dissent soon after.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Serginho 74); Kaka; Shevchenko (Inzaghi 49), Vieri

PSV Eindhoven: Gomes; Reiziger, Alex, Ooijer, Lamey; Afellay, Simons, Cocu; Beasley, Robert (Aissati 63), Farfan

Ref: Plautz (Aus)

Vieri handed PSV nod
19.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri will replace Alberto Gilardino in Milan’s Champions League clash against PSV on Wednesday.

Although the youngster has netted in his last two games for club and country, he is set to be replaced by the veteran at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

"Vieri will certainly start," said boss Carlo Ancelotti. "There are no great differences between Bobo and Gilardino. Vieri hasn’t scored yet but he’s been unlucky."

The Rossoneri will begin as favourites this evening, but Ancelotti hasn’t forgotten about the scare in last season’s competition against the Dutch.

Having won the first leg 2-0, Milan needed an injury time Massimo Ambrosini goal to reach the final on the away goals rule in a 3-1 defeat.

"The PSV squad is very different this year," added the Coach. "It's been overhauled, but they still have the same fighting spirit."

Eindhoven lost Ji-Sung Park, Mark Van Bommel and Johann Vogel in the summer, the latter joining Milan themselves.

Ancelotti added that he could make five or six changes to the side that beat Cagliari on Sunday given his many options.

"I've more faith this year because I have a better squad," he continued. "Rotating players has worked from a physical and mental standpoint. It's a stimulus that has motivated the entire group."

Despite the threat that Milan will pose with Vieri, Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka, PSV boss Guus Hiddink insists his team will not sit back and defend.

"We will play with three up front because I like to have flexibility in attack," he said.

"Against a side like Milan, we need to play the perfect game. And last time we played a perfect game, despite some unfortunate turns, so I wouldn't rule anything out.

"We have a lot of young players who are very quick, and I'm confident they can adapt to the play of Milan."

Milan are without the injured Alessandro Nesta, while PSV are shy of the suspended Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, while Jefferson Farfan is struggling to be fit.

Maldini Jr. adds to AC Milan dynasty
18.10 || webmaster

Source: ESPNSoccernet.com

MILAN, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Paolo Maldini's son Christian has signed up as an AC Milan player, becoming the third generation of the footballing family to be on the books of the Italian club.

Christian Maldini, the nine-year old son of the current AC Milan captain and grandson of former player and coach Cesare Maldini, was formally registered at a ceremony at the club's headquarters.

The youngest Maldini is expected to make his debut for one of the club's junior teams in a derby game against Inter Milan on Saturday.

Paolo Maldini, 37, recently set a new record number of appearances in Serie A and is also Italy's most capped player while his father was captain of the first Milan team to win the European Cup in 1963 and still works for the club as a scout.

AC Milan vs. PSV Eindhoven - match preview
18.10 || webmaster

Source: FOXSports.com

MILAN, Italy (AP) - AC Milan has finally got things rolling in the Serie A, winning four straight after a 1-1-1 start. Now, the team wants to improve its 1-1-0 record in the Champions League.

Memories of last season's final and a three-goal lead squandered against Liverpool still linger.

PSV Eindhoven, which visits San Siro on Wednesday, was the team Milan only barely beat in the semifinals of last season's competition.

Milan won the first leg 2-0 then lost the return 3-1 and advanced to the final on away goals.

"(PSV) is always an opponent to fear because its coach has made a very big impact," Milan captain Paolo Maldini said of Guus Hiddink. "They've lost some important elements but they have found new pieces. They're always a tight-knit team."

Some of the players who have left PSV include Mark van Bommel, who played in all 14 of PSV's Champions League games last season before moving to FC Barcelona, South Korea's Park Ji-sung, who transferred to Manchester United, and Switzerland captain Johann Vogel, who is now with Milan.

Vogel received his first serious dose of action for Milan in a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday in Serie A as coach Carlo Ancelotti rested several regular starters for the PSV game.

Christian Vieri and Cafu did not even travel to Cagliari. Andrea Pirlo and Kakha Kaladze were also rested and Kaka played only the final 23 minutes.

"That's the secret to getting ahead in a long and difficult championship," Maldini said. "The Champions League requires a lot of energy. We can't be afraid to play guys who haven't been used that much."

Vogel and versatile Brazilian Serginho were singled out for their play against Cagliari.

"This continual rotation of players is very important to make everyone feel useful," Ancelotti said.

Vieri should line up in attack alongside Andriy Shevchenko against PSV. Filippo Inzaghi made his season debut in the closing minutes against Cagliari and could be ready for more action off the bench, having recovered from a series of injuries.

Kaladze and Cafu should line up around Maldini and Jaap Stam on defense with Alessandro Nesta out following surgery on his left thumb.

Milan leads Group E with four points. PSV and Fenerbahce have three, while Schalke has one.

PSV hopes Peru striker Jefferson Farfan can play after suffering a heel injury in World Cup qualifying last week.

"I'll play, even if it hurts," he said. "The medicine is working well and I'm feeling better."

Hiddink was being more cautious.

"It will be questionable until the last hours before the game," he said. "I'm not going to take any stupid chances."

Another player in limbo is Ibrahim Afellay, who dropped out of the game against AZ Alkmaar on Saturday due to cramps. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Theo Lucius will both miss the match.

Vieira set for Milan return
17.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Patrick Vieira’s injury is now expected to keep the French ace out of Juventus’ next three games.

Although the club yesterday suggested that Vieira would resume training shortly, reports now suggest he won’t be rushed back into action.

The midfielder picked up a hamstring problem on international duty last week and already missed the 1-0 win over Messina on Saturday.

The £14m summer capture from Arsenal is also definitely out of Tuesday’s trip to Bayern Munich.

Vieira should then watch the games against Lecce and Sampdoria from the sidelines, before returning for the clash against former club Milan on October 30.

Boss Fabio Capello will replace the inspirational player with either Giuliano Giannichedda or Manuele Blasi.

However, the latter may again be used as a right-back given that Jonathan Zebina is still unavailable because of a thigh strain.

Inzaghi eager for Milan role
17.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is aiming to be of some use to Milan this season after he brought his injury nightmare to an end.

The Italian international has hardly played for two years but returned to action in the 2-0 win at Cagliari on Sunday.

"I’m feeling good again and I hope to be useful to this club," he said almost five months after his last official game with the club.

"I am slowly finding my best physical condition. I admittedly haven’t felt like this for some time."

Inzaghi has struggled with numerous ankle and knee problems recently, yet he demonstrated that he is well on the road to recovery with a hat-trick in a Primavera game last week.

"That match was an important test for me," he admitted. "I wasn’t scared or concerned about playing again. After all, I am doing what I love and wanted to play again at all costs.

"Everyone at Milan has really helped me," he added. "I feel important here and it doesn’t matter if I score 30 goals or if I don’t score any."

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is clearly happy with the former Juventus player’s return to the highest level.

"He’s recovered and that is clear to me because of what he has been doing in training," the Coach stated. "This is a positive note for us all."

Vice-President Adriano Galliani added: "Inzaghi is certain that he is fully fit again. You can tell that by the way he made his first tackle in the game."

Ancelotti satisfied with points
17.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti admits his Milan side were more solid than beautiful in last night’s 2-0 win at Cagliari.

The tactician is eager for his team to entertain, but concedes that winning was the most important aspect at the Stadio Sant’Elia.

"We played with great attention plus application in defence and in midfield," said the tactician. "We gave very little away.

"Perhaps we could have done a bit better with possession, given that we were not precise and slightly slow off the ball. Nevertheless, I’m happy with victory."

Ancelotti decided to rest a number of his first team players for the game, a move he insists was forced upon him.

"It was only logical that I played with men who were a little fresher," he commented. "It was important to get the three points for the championship.

"We’ll look to do the same on Wednesday in the Champions League against PSV."

The San Siro giants have now moved up to second in the table, five points behind the unstoppable Juventus.

The Turin giants have won all seven of their League games so far this term, but Ancelotti insists his side are not out of the Scudetto race.

"Juve are not superior to us, we can battle for the title with them," the former Bianconeri boss added.

Milan chief Adriano Galliani is also optimistic that the gap at the top of the standings will be reduced.

"Juventus can’t win them all," he stated. "We are mirroring our results from last season which means we are doing well.

"We are just ‘missing’ the two points we dropped at Ascoli in Week 1."

I’ll be back, says Gilardino
17.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Alberto Gilardino insists he will soon be the player who everybody admired at Parma.

The £17m summer signing did have a difficult start to his Rossoneri adventure, but the youngster is slowly re-finding his touch after two goals in his last two games.

"I was struggling to score but now, between club and country, every time I touch the ball it goes in the back of the net," he said. "Football is like that.

"I still haven’t reached the level of Parma but I am giving it my all. I’m training well and want to succeed. My physical and mental form will soon be excellent."

Gilardino scored the winner in the 2-1 win over Moldova on Wednesday before netting in the 2-0 at Cagliari.

"Breaking the deadlock last night was important," he continued. "I believed that I could score and I did."

Gilardino was also asked whether he was worried about the return of Pippo Inzaghi, given the stiff competition for places already offered by Christian Vieri and Andriy Shevchenko.

"Not at all," he responded. "I’m happy because he is an important player for this club. There is room for everyone here."

Cagliari 0:2 AC Milan - match report
16.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Gilardino 1 (M), Shevchenko 27 (M)

Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko ensured Milan ended Cagliari's unbeaten home record after a year.

The Sardinians were unbeaten at the Stadio Sant'Elia since October 2004 when, funnily enough, the last side to win here was Milan.

The Rossoneri left Christian Vieri and Marcos Cafu at home, while Kaka and Andrea Pirlo were also rested in favour of Manuel Rui Costa and Johann Vogel. The injured Alessandro Nesta was replaced by 39-year-old Alessandro 'Billy' Costacurta. Cagliari dropped their trident attack in favour of a more solid 4-4-2 with Mauro Esposito partnering David Suazo.

It couldn't have been a worse start for the Sardinians, as within 25 seconds Milan had broken through. Alberto Gilardino was surrounded by four Cagliari defenders, but they couldn't clear the ball and the ex-Parma striker was allowed to turn in a weak finish from eight yards.

The visitors also stuttered in defence soon after and Suazo's effort was cleared for a corner, then Nelson Abeijon's header was off target. Honduras international Suazo went past three men before his shot was comfortably saved by Dida, as the early goal forced Cagliari to come out of their shell.

Dida was forced to work a little bit harder on Bega's precise header from a corner kick, but the worst panic came from a wayward Serginho backpass. His looping header was completely off course and nearly beat his own goalkeeper.

Esposito spun round for a quick volley that Dida captured and Milan finally showed their face at the other end of the field on 23 minutes when Andriy Shevchenko's drive dipped just over the bar.

For all the chances that Cagliari wasted, Milan made the most of their few opportunities with European Player of the Year Shevchenko. The Ukrainian dummied a pass from 20 metres only to unleash a powerful strike into the bottom corner of the net, taking Fabian Carini by surprise.

There was another blow for the Sardinians, who lost Alessandro Conticchio to injury and chose to replace a furious Abeijon with Andrea Cossu.

Serginho was forced into a decisive challenge to prevent Esposito turning inside the area on the stroke of half-time.

Little changed in the two attitudes after the break, as Clarence Seedorf's fierce shot was just off target, but Dida needed two touches to get a powerful Suazo volley under control from Antonio Langella's cross.

Moments later, Jaap Stam intercepted Esposito's centre as Langella came hurtling in at the back post.

Gennaro Gattuso also aimed a snapshot at the Cagliari goal, but it whistled wide of the upright.

Milan thought they had nabbed a third on 61 minutes when Serginho's low cross reached Shevchenko and his effort was deflected on to the crossbar, but the move was halted anyway for the Ukrainian's offside position.

Paolo Maldini also nearly scored an own goal, but once again Dida was more attentive than his team-mates.

Substitute Kaka went close within minutes of stepping on to the field, his close-range finish aimed straight at goalkeeper Carini. Pisano sprung the offside trap, but couldn't keep his volley on target, and Langella's effort was over the bar.

In an important moment for the Rossoneri, Pippo Inzaghi made his comeback from surgery in the summer, as he has been plagued by injuries over the last two years.

Dida was again tested in the final minute by Honduras international Suazo, and Canini had to push Kaka out wide as he burst through the centre, but Cagliari never found a way back after their dismal start to this game.

Cagliari: Carini; Lopez (Pisano 66), Canini, Bega, Agostini; Conticchio (Langella 31), Abeijon (Cossu 31), Budel, Gobbi; Esposito, Suazo

Milan: Dida; Stam, Costacurta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Vogel, Seedorf; Rui Costa (Kaka 67); Shevchenko (Inzaghi 82), Gilardino (Jankulovski 78)

Ref: Messina

Cagliari vs. AC Milan - match preview
15.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan travel to Sardinia hoping to take advantage of Cagliari’s disastrous start to the season. The Rossoblu are in turmoil after getting through three Coaches in as many games and currently sit second from bottom in the League table. While the fans may be happier with new boss Davide Ballardini’s 4-3-3 formation, that will mean little unless they start to pick-up points. The 3-0 defeat to fellow crisis club Lecce in Week 6 has not helped and they are already being touted as likely relegation candidates. But while they may have lost all their games outside of Sardinia, at the Sant’Elia they are undefeated. They have conceded just two goals there but will have to be at their best to keep that record intact against the Rossoneri.

Milan seem to have regained their footing after their early slip-ups against Ascoli and Sampdoria by winning their last three matches. This has seen them move up to second in the table but there are still question marks over their away form. Yet with the Cagliari defence already having conceded ten goals, Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Kakà will be hoping for a goal-fest to dismiss the accusations about their performances outside the San Siro. The attacking trio already have eight between them and will definitely be looking to add to that tally at the weekend.

The influential pairing of Nelson Abeijon and David Suazo are both available to play for Cagliari after returning from injury although Abeijon is still struggling for fitness. The return of Suazo will be a big boost as he is currently the club’s leading scorer. Andrea Campagnolo and Joe Bizera are both still out though and Daniele Conti is unavailable due to his suspension. Milan are still without Massimo Ambrosini due to injury after his impressive early form but Marek Jankulovski does return. The Rossoneri have been dealt a major blow though, with the news that Alessandro Nesta will be out for four weeks following a mysterious hand injury that some have blamed on the player’s supposed addiction to computer games.

Cagliari (probable): Carini; Lopez, Bega, Canini, Agostini; Conticchio, Budel, Gobbi; Esposito, Suazo, Langella

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà; Gilardino, Shevchenko

Ref: To folllow

Seedorf: Milan are the best
15.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan may be five points adrift of leaders Juventus, but Clarence Seedorf insists they remain the best team in Serie A.

“Five points mean nothing at this stage of the season,” said the Dutchman. “At the moment Juve are playing better than we are, but we’ll see where we are at the end of the campaign. In fact, by the time we face off on October 29, we could already be level.”

The Rossoneri have stuttered to begin with in 2005-06, but had a similar problem at the start of last term and repeatedly caught up to Juve before finally releasing their grip on the Scudetto in the final month.

“Milan have the strongest squad of all and the criticism and pressure piled on us in these weeks have only increased our solidity. I remain optimistic on the Serie A title race and will do until the end.”

The San Siro giants have been in the headlines this week for the injury that will keep Alessandro Nesta out of action for a month, a thumb ligament problem that intensified during international duty.

“There is absolutely no chance that we will sue the Italian authorities for the injury,” assured Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani. “This is not an option.”

Seedorf’s club teammates booked their spot in the World Cup, but the midfielder is unlikely to join them in the tournament.

“There is an unusual situation with my national side,” confirmed the former Ajax and Real Madrid man. “From what I have understood, Coach Marco van Basten wanted to create an entirely new squad, but I don’t know the reasons behind his moves. I’d love to play in the 2006 tournament, as Holland can do very well and I’ve not won anything for my country yet. All I can do is play well when called upon and I think I’ve done that.”

Ancelotti fancies Italian job
14.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has expressed an interest in one day becoming the Italian national Coach.

Although the tactician intends to see out his contract which expires in 2007, he is thinking about his long term future.

"I still have the same stimulus inside of me which I have always had," Ancelotti told Studio Sport on Thursday.

"I have a lot of objectives to achieve, many of them at the highest level in an environment which I am happy in.

"My target is to carry on with this club but then take on another challenge when I do leave Milan.

"The Italian national team? I would like that a lot."

The San Siro giants recently rubbished claims that Ancelotti would be heading for the exit at the end of this season.

Chief Adriano Galliani publicly declared that the club legend would remain for at least another two seasons.

However, there is now the possibility that he could leave sooner if the Azzurri post became vacant next year.

Current Nazionale boss Marcello Lippi is only tied to the Federation until the summer of 2006.

Should Lippi’s Italy flop at the German World Cup Finals then Ancelotti would certainly be in the frame to take over.

Meanwhile, the former midfielder is confident that Milan’s sluggish start to the campaign has been forgotten.

"After a difficult start the side has begun to mirror last term’s performances," Ancelotti added.

"I’m very optimistic. Some important players are finding their form again, while others like Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino are on the right path."

Both players scored for Italy in last night’s 2-1 win over Moldova at Lecce.

Serie A stars up for FIFA award
13.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nine Serie A players, including three Italians, have been short-listed for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The Milan duo of Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta have been joined by Juventus’ Azzurri No 1 Gigi Buffon.

Kaka, Marcos Cafu, Andriy Shevchenko, Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pavel Nedved are the peninsula’s foreign players included on the 30-man list.

The respective Coaches and captains of every national side will be asked to vote over the next month.

The names of the three players in contention for the ultimate prize are expected to be released in late November.

FIFA will announce the winner on December 19 in Zurich.

Barcelona and Brazilian star Ronaldinho won last year’s poll.

Shortlist: Adriano (Inter), Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), David Beckham (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cafu (Milan), Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd), Deco (Barcelona), Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus), Kaka (Milan), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Paolo Maldini (Milan), Pavel Nedved (Juventus), Alessandro Nesta (Milan), Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton), Raul (Real Madrid), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), Arjen Robben (Chelsea), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid), Robinho (Real Madrid), Ronaldinho (Barcelona), Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Andriy Shevchenko (Milan), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Man Utd), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid).

Milan link delights Torres
12.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres says he’s proud to be at the centre of reports linking him with a move to Milan.

The forward has been paired with the club in recent seasons and his name has again been mentioned ahead of next summer’s transfer window.

But although happy to be associated with the Rossoneri, the player has other things on his mind for now.

"Milan want me? That is good news but I must just concentrate on qualifying for the World Cup with Spain at this moment," he said.

The 21-year-old is highly rated in the Spanish game and Atletico are reportedly ready to cash in on him.

Torres, valued at around £20m, could be approached if Christian Vieri and Pippo Inzaghi fail to find their best form again.

In other transfer news, Bayern Munich’s Willy Sagnol is being linked with a move to Juventus in the summer.

The Frenchman could join the Italian outfit on a free transfer should he not extend his present deal with the German giants.

The 28-year-old, who is also liked by Atletico Madrid and Inter, may meet up with Robert Kovac in Turin after he made the same move last summer.

Gattuso won’t quit Milan
12.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has rubbished claims that this could be his final season at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

"I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t remain here," he said. "After all, I have a contract in place."

A possible exit has been rumoured after a difficult start to the season following last term’s Champions League nightmare.

Gattuso had previously revealed that he thought about leaving the side but opted to remain after talks with the club.

And the player insists he hasn’t changed his mind despite also being dropped to the bench this term.

"My deal expires in 2009 and I have always said that I won’t go unless the club asks me to leave," he added.

"I was simply left out because I wasn’t playing like the Gattuso that boss Carlo Ancelotti wanted. I’m improving now though."

The Italian international, suspended for tonight’s clash against Moldova, has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

However, he claims he would only quit the San Siro outfit if he was no longer a part of the Coach’s plans.

"I don’t know if I could accept sitting on the bench regularly," he conceded. "A move to England? People who know me are aware that I have a passion for that type of football."

Gattuso has spent six highly successful years at Milan following his move from Salernitana in 1999.

During that time, the former Rangers man has won the Scudetto, the Champions League, a Coppa Italia, the European Super Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

It took a little time for him to settle with the giants, but he has since developed into a key element in Ancelotti’s system.

Milan intend to hand him the club captain’s armband once the legendary Paolo Maldini retires.

Player Profile: Dida
12.10 || Seamus

Nelson de Jesus Silva was born in the small town of Irará in Brazil’s large northern state of Bahia, but spent most of his childhood in Lagoa das Canoas, Alagoas – one of the smallest Brazilian states, nestling north of Bahia and before Pernambuco. He became determined to become Brazil’s goalkeeper after being entranced by the seleção’s own Valdir Peres and Russian stalwart Dasaey in the 1982 World Cup.

Little did he know that this was almost a taboo: the last Afro-Brazilian keeper was Barbosa, the scapegoat of the 1950 ‘Maracanazo’ that saw Uruguay beat hosts Brazil in the eponymous Carioca coliseum. Dida started off in one of the many small clubs bearing names of the giant teams of Brazil: Cruzeiro de Arapiraca. A spotter snapped up the 18 year-old Dida for one of the two greats of Bahia – Vitória.

Barely a year later the already imposing form of Dida was to be seen between the sticks of the under-20 Verde-Amarelo, giving a hand (or two) to the conquest of the South American tournament that proclaimed Brazil three-times champion of the continent in 1993. This led him to a first team place at Vitória, and the agility that belied his bulk was a key factor in Vitória’s conquest of the Brasileirão vice-championship.

In an ironic twist of fate, Dida was sought out by the original Cruzeiro. The Minas Gerais team got him to sign on the dotted line in 1994, and he soon became an idol in Belo Horizonte’s answer to Maracanã; the imposing Mineirão shared between blue Cruzeiro and Badger-striped rivals Atlético Mineiro. His performances in the Mineiro Cup of that year led to him being dubbed as Brazil’s natural successor to Claudio Taffarel (the 1994 WC hero) in the Brazilian goal by none other than Mario Zagallo.

The ‘old wolf’s’ prophecy was fulfilled 24 months later as Dida flew to Atlanta in search of Olympic gold. It was to be a baptism of fire that charred his reputation. He showed a side that occasionally gets spectators to rub their eyes with disbelief – the side capable of ham-fisted howlers (‘frangos’ or ‘chickens’ in Brazil, named after the poor sod who ends up groping at thin air when trying to catch a chicken in a farmyard).

Two goals were suffered in the group phase as he thumped into Aldair, including the embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Japan. Despite his forehead-slapping errors, he was not alone: Rivaldo’s midfield smart-arsery led to a Nigerian counter-attack, leaving Brazil with a depressing lump of Bronze. The bitter disappointment was ameliorated by further conquests with Cruzeiro – Mineiro State Champion three times in a row from 1996 to 1998, Copa do Brasil winner in 96 and 98, the cherry on top being the Libertadores conquest in 1997 with the Raposa.

In spite of the host of trophies, Dida had lost Zagallo’s previous unquestioning faith in his abilities. His call-up for the 1998 World Cup in France was soured by the certain knowledge that Taffarel was now back as Zagallo’s first-choice keeper. Dida was to watch the entire Cup from the bench, sidelined by a goalie who had retired in 1995 and was only back in action thanks to Zagallo’s personal appeal. It appeared that Dida would be condemned to the shadows.

With half of his twenties spent defending the Cruzeiro goal, Nelson de Jesus Silva decided it was time for a change of scenery. His last bash at claiming the Seleção number one shirt – at the 2000 Sydney Olympics – was a distant memory that even his trophy-winning performances in Belo Horizonte couldn’t erase, and Dida was itching for another shot. What could be better than a little foreign adventure?

At the start of 1999 Dida officially told the Raposa management that he no longer considered himself part of Cruzeiro, and that he would be joining AC Milan forthwith. This went down like a bowl of sick with croutons and the jilted management started a five-month legal battle in revenge. Dida hit back with a temporary FIFA ruling that allowed him to keep in shape by playing for Swiss club Lugano in the meantime.

The battle of Dida had three winners: Cruzeiro won money by getting the Italians to part with a transfer sum; AC Milan won by signing a goalie who was to write his name in club history; Dida won his freedom and seed of his Verde-Amarelo dominance. “I want to grow professionally by showing how good I am on the European stage” said Dida at the time. The euphoria that surrounded his ascent to Milan was short-lived.

Dida found he was unable to break into the first team on a regular basis. A young Abbiati had grabbed his chance firmly, so Milan farmed him out to Corinthians in order for him to have regular first-team play. This would be a turning point for Dida as his flair for saving penalties came to the fore; something first seen under the wing of Wanderley Luxemburgo and in front of audiences watching the Americas Cup and The Confederation Cup.

Corinthians fans elevated Dida to the realm of Alvinegro idols after the keeper saved no less than three penalties in the old-fashioned Brasileirão ‘play-offs’ between the top eight clubs in the league. Two of the spot-kicks were in the same game against rivals São Paulo and, as if this wasn’t enough for the Fiel supporters, both taken by Raí, a traditional name in Parque São Jorge defeats to the Tricolor Paulista.

FIFA organised their first World Club Cup in January 2000, trying to improve the damp squib set-up of an Intercontinental Cup that functioned in much the same way as the Confederations Cup: through private sponsorship. Although highly rated in South America this (one match) Cup doesn’t attract even near the same weight in Europe. Corinthians, along with Vasco, were the ‘home’ teams as the tournament was played in Brazil.

In the first phase he saved the Timão from a defeat against Real Madrid by stopping an Anelka penalty, and as the final game – played against Cariocas Vasco – was decided in a penalty shootout the ‘muralha’ (wall) showed his skills again to help Corinthians become the first FIFA World Club Cup champions. It wasn’t surprising when AC Milan decided to bring him back to Italy for a second crack of the whip.

A whip cracks both ways; the first blow was a series of seleção slip-ups in the defeats against both Paraguay and Chile. Dida was replaced first by Rogério Ceni, who bowed out after a short stint as well, then by 2002 World Cup winner Marcos of Palmeiras. At least it seemed that Dida was heading for a resurgence at Milan; nothing could go wrong, could it? Yes it can if your passport is forged.

In June 2001 he ended up being the first Brazilian to be charged with using a fake European Community passport. After confessing to using illegal methods to gain the crucial Bosman-dodging document, FIFA slapped a one-year European and national ban on Dida. Corinthians snapped him up for the Parque São Jorge, part of a strategy to make the Fiel fans forget the sour exit of idol Marcelinho Carioca by the triumphant return of another. Would the risk pay off?

2002 started well as Dida helped Corinthians to winning both the (now defunct) Rio-São Paulo Tournament and the Copa do Brasil. This led Dida, normally a shy and slowly-spoken man, to predict that he’d win every competition that year. His game had been lifted by big improvements to his tactics and skills when leaving the line – a major defect that still occasionally pops into view and tarnishes his image.

The year kicked off on a high note that would end up being sustained through twelve months. Dida kicked off with a sterling performance that helped Paulista giants Corinthians to a welcome trio of trophies: the state title (the ‘Paulista’ or ‘Paulistão’) the (now-defunct) Rio-São Paulo tournament and the Copa do Brasil.

His work at Corinthians with Parreira was peppered with daring moved that saw him risk injury on a weekly basis and the notable improvement to his aerial work paid off handsomely in silverware. Dida even ventured forth into the previously unknown territory of leadership, overcoming his sometimes crippling shyness and conducting his team-mates from behind.

These final adjustments to his game and on-pitch style won the cynical Luiz Felipe Scolari over, and Dida was on his way to his second World Cup: the 2002 campaign in South Korea and Japan. Like the previous, unhappy 1998 tournament in France Dida would be relegated to the bench alongside Rogério Ceni as Scolari’s old Palmeiras prodigy Marcos was given the number 1 shirt.

He was also paired with Ronaldo in the hotel rooms the seleção shared during the Cup. The Fenômeno benefited from Dida’s help to chase away demons that haunted the still-Inter striker. With memories of the disastrous final against France still fresh in his memory, Ronaldo was distracted from his worries by the easy-going goalkeeper. This continued for most of the hours before the final against Germany, and the results speak for themselves.

With the conquest of the longed-for ‘penta’ (fifth WC), the sub label stung a lot less as Marcos proved impeccable in the Canarinho goal. Dida chalked it down to experience and the hot competition from Marcos, not to mention the Coach’s personal foibles. These foibles were to hit the sweet spot with Parreira, but first there was the little matter of Scudetto and European titles to take care of.

From World To European Cup - And More...

Immediately after the World Cup triumph, Dida began to monopolise both the Brazilian and AC Milan number 1 jerseys. His game had now reached full maturity: Dida was in his prime and ready to shoulder the responsibility in two of the most demanding leagues in the world – the Champions league in its 2002-2003 edition and the Italian league the following year.

Milan lifted their sixth European Cup thanks to a remarkable display of penalty-stopping mastery from Dida, repeating the blend of an uncanny agility that defies his substantial size and sort of soothsayer predictions of a player’s kick that enables him to foil so many spot-kicks. Such deft skill was evident as he stopped Trezeguet, Zalayeta and Montero from scoring for Juventus.

The Juventus players were magnanimous in defeat, praising Dida’s key role in keeping the Cup from Turin. “Dida is a specialist at penalties and showed that throughout the penalty shootout” said a dejected, yet polite, Thuram. Juventus Coach Marcelo Lippi joined in: “Everybody knew that Dida would be difficult in a dead-ball situation and today he was excellent.”

Dida was also the first-choice Milan goalie as the Rossoneri fought their way to the 17th Scudetto at the end of the following season. With fellow countrymen Kaká, Cafú and Serginho – the latter being one of Ancelotti’s high-powered subs – Dida let in 20 goals in the 32 (out of 34) games that he played as number 1 for the Champions.

This did much to erase horrific memories of their inglorious exit from the CL; eliminated by Deportivo La Coruña in a 4-0 drubbing that the overwhelmed Milan’s 4-1 first leg advantage, giving lethal weight to the Spaniards’ away goal. After handing the Vecchia Signora the Scudetto on a silver platter the year before (a 3-3 San Siro draw against Palermo on May 20th), Milan needed the title that Dida had yet to win.

Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic stadium was a return to the cruel vagaries of reality for Dida. Milan went off for the break with the warm glow of three goals scored against Liverpool, and it appeared that Dida would soon be pocketing his second CL winner’s medal in as many years. Fate would see the Mersey club come back and force a penalty shoot-out that would see a goalie pull off miracles.

Unfortunately for the Bahian the keeper that shone that night was his opposite number: Dudek. The Polish veteran saved both Pirlo and Shevchenko, whereas Serginho put his chance wide. Dida wasn’t able to repeat his 2003 feat and Hamann, Cissé and Smicer put theirs away to ferry the Cup back to the Mersey.

Dida is now guaranteed as Brazil’s first-choice keeper for Germany 2006: the last man standing in a line-up that has been tipped to play like the legendary 1970 Brazilian team. The child who marvelled at the 1982 World Cup will soon be the first Afro-Brazilian keeper to defend the Verde-Amarelo sticks in a World Cup since the ill-fated Barbosa in 1950.

Fact File

Name: Nélson de Jesus Silva
Nickname: Dida
Birth Place: Irará (Bahia, Brazil)
Birth Date: 01/10/1973
Clubs: Vitória, Cruzeiro, Lugano (Switzerland), Corinthians and Milan (Italy)

Trophies

1992 – Bahia State Champion (Vitória)
1993 – Under-20 World Champion (Brazil)
1994 – Minas Gerais State Champion (Cruzeiro)
1996 – Minas Gerais State Champion (Cruzeiro)
1996 – (Copa do Brasil Champion) Cruzeiro
1997 – Minas Gerais State Champion (Cruzeiro)
1997 – Libertadores Champion (Cruzeiro)
1998 – Minas Gerais State Champion (Cruzeiro)
1999 – Copa América Champion (Brazil)
1999 – Brasileirão [Brazilian League] Champion (Corinthians)
2000 – FIFA World Club Champion (Corinthians)
2002 – Rio-São Paulo Tournament Champion, Copa do Brasil Champion (Corinthians)
2002 – World Cup Champion (Brazil)
2003 – Champions League Champion (Milan)
2003/2004 – Serie A [Italian League] Champion (Milan)

Aaron Marcus

www.goal.com

Nesta denies computer injury
12.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta has laughed off rumours a video game addiction caused an injury that will keep him sidelined for a month.

“I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the theory that my finger injury was caused by my passion for video games,” said the defender on Milan’s official website.

“Frankly I don’t think the two elements can be put together, especially as this is only a hobby and not affecting my professional conduct.”

The Italian international was wearing heavy strapping to his left wrist during the 1-0 win over Slovenia on Saturday and upon his return to Milan’s medical staff was diagnosed with the complete rupture of a tendon in his left hand.

“I hope to come back as soon as possible,” said the former Lazio star. “I have absolute faith in the doctors and am confident about the recovery process.”

This unusual injury has prompted speculation in the Italian Press, as he was allowed to play even after suffering the initial problem.

The Rossoneri website confirmed that Nesta had a slight bruise after the Schalke 04 test on September 28, but a thorough examination found no serious damage. He played in Milan-Reggina on October 2 and then joined the Italy squad.

The recurring difficulty in moving his left hand prompted him to ask for further tests on international duty, finding a lesion of the tendon, but he nonetheless played against Slovenia with the aid of heavy strapping.

Upon his return to the Milan headquarters, further examination discovered the complete rupture of the tendon and surgery was agreed. Nesta will be out of action for the next four weeks.

Vieri targets Moldova strike
12.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri will face Moldova this evening with the intention of ending his goal drought for club and country.

Although Italy boss Marcello Lippi insists that the player is one of the top three strikers in Europe, the 31-year-old is struggling for goals.

The Milan man has yet to score for his new club after featuring in eight games so far this season.

The target man has amazingly also failed to net in the Azzurri shirt for a mammoth 17 months, not since the 1-1 draw with Spain.

Vieri will hope to make amends this evening and Moldova do have a special place in his heart.

The former Juventus and Inter man made his debut against tonight’s opponents in March 1997, when he grabbed his country’s 1000th goal in international football.

Vieri, who hasn’t netted for 147 days, will be aided in attack by Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alex Del Piero.

Milan monitor Super Mario
11.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paris Saint-Germain star Mario Yepes is the latest defender to be associated with a transfer to Milan.

The Rossoneri are openly looking to rejuvenate their ageing rearguard and the Colombian is being monitored.

Sporting director Ariedo Braida has reportedly already flown to the French capital to watch and make enquiries about the centre-back.

The 29-year-old South American is widely regarded as one of the best in his position in Ligue 1.

There is talk of a January switch even if a move at the end of the campaign seems to be much more likely.

Milan’s current centre-back options consist of Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Paolo Maldini, Billy Costacurta and Dario Simic.

However, Maldini is regularly being rested between games and can no longer be used every three days.

Costacurta is being tipped to retire in the summer given his 39 years, while Simic is expected to move on.

Milan have also been linked with Udinese’s Dias Felipe, William Gallas of Chelsea and Anderlecht youngster Vincent Kompany.

Milan committed to Ancelotti
11.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have insisted that boss Carlo Ancelotti will remain until his contract expires in June 2007.

There were reports that the tactician would quit the San Siro giants at the end of the current campaign.

But chief Adriano Galliani has underlined that the former Rossoneri midfielder is going nowhere in the immediate future.

"Milan have already made a decision with regard to their Coach," Galliani underlined.

"Ancelotti will stay with us until at least June 30, 2007, with the total desire to respect the contract which was signed.

"I therefore see it as inevitable that Ancelotti will continue to sit on the bench until that date."

Ancelotti, a former Italian international, took charge of the outfit in 2001 when he replaced the axed Fatih Terim.

The ex-Parma and Juventus boss has won the Champions League, the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto during his Rossoneri stint so far.

Possible replacements for Ancelotti include his current No 2 Mauro Tassotti, Dutch boss Marco Van Basten, Livorno’s Roberto Donadoni and Frank Rijkaard of Barcelona.

All four men played alongside Ancelotti in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the all-conquering Italian giants.

Nesta out for a month
10.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have been dealt a massive blow with the confirmation that Alessandro Nesta will be sidelined for the next four weeks.

The stopper has picked up ligament damage in his left hand and will require surgery to resolve the problem.

Nesta will go under the knife on Wednesday and will subsequently be out of action for the next month.

He will therefore be unavailable for the Week 10 Scudetto showdown against Juventus at the end of October.

The Italian international is likely to be ruled out for five Serie A matches and two Champions League ties.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti will now be forced to stick with a central defensive pairing of Jaap Stam and Paolo Maldini.

His other rearguard options include veteran stopper Billy Costacurta, now 39, and Dario Simic.

Milan have Nesta concern
10.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Alessandro Nesta could miss the big clash against Juventus later this month because of injury.

The defender is suffering with a hand problem which has seen him ruled out of Wednesday’s insignificant World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

Nesta is believed to have damaged ligaments in his left hand which may see him sidelined for up to three weeks.

There is even a risk that surgery could be needed in an effort to resolve the problem, which the player has been struggling with since the start of September.

The former Lazio captain will undergo a number of tests, but whispers are already suggesting that he could be unavailable for the game against Juve on October 30.

The loss of Nesta would be a massive blow to the Rossoneri seeing as they have already struggled defensively so far this term.

Gallas dreaming of Milan
9.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Chelsea defender William Gallas could be the heir to Marcos Cafu and confirmed he is looking for a move to Milan.

“I have to admit I don’t know if I’ll be at Chelsea next season,” the defender told ‘The News of the World.’

“Maybe I need a new challenge. I’ve been here since 1999 and of course I’ve enjoyed it, but there are some massive clubs out there who might prove tempting to me. I remember when a France team-mate told me once: ‘When you wear the Milan shirt, it shows you have succeeded.’ That makes you think.”

It’s likely the fellow Bleus star who told Gallas of this experience was Marcel Desailly, who moved to Chelsea towards the end of his career after winning the Champions League, European Supercup and two Serie A titles with the San Siro giants.

The Rossoneri are looking for a right-back to be groomed as the heir to Brazilian Cafu, as the World Cup winner is now 35 years old.

Gallas is said to be dismayed at the fact Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and John Terry earn triple his wages and is willing to buy out the remaining two years of his contract for £2.5m in order to negotiate a better deal in the summer.

The Frenchman can play both as a central defender and at right-back, allowing him to cover several roles in the Rossoneri back four.

Above all, he would cut down the average age of the defence amid Paolo Maldini (37), Alessandro Costacurta (39), Cafu (35) and Jaap Stam (33).

Super Pippo back with a bang
8.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is back on track to full fitness after scoring a hat-trick in his comeback match with the Milan youth team.

The striker played with the Rossoneri in the Primavera Championship against Legnano this afternoon, his first taste of football since an operation in the summer.

He made an immediate impact, setting up Antonelli’s opener before bagging a hat-trick in the 4-1 victory. Inzaghi side-footed home from close range, then scored at full-stretch and finally with an angled drive.

“I no longer feel pain,” he said after playing 80 minutes of the match. “I am cure and today I can finally say that I am once again a football player.”

The former Juventus player has been troubled by recurring injuries over the last two years, undergoing surgery on his knee and ankle.

His problems started with a knee injury in March 2002 in an accidental clash with Cristiano Lupatelli, then fractured his jaw just weeks after his comeback in a collision with Zeljko Kalac – now his teammate at the San Siro.

He underwent two operations on a niggling ankle condition, but again on his return he fractured a bone in his hand on January 26. This summer he went under the knife again and hopes his career can finally get back on track.

On the basis of this test, Inzaghi could be ready for an official return to the Milan team for next week’s Serie A trip to Cagliari.

Gilardino: "I'll score World Cup goal"
8.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino has been struggling since his move to Milan, but believes he’ll score the goal that books Italy’s World Cup ticket.

“It would be great for me to put my mark on this tournament for Italy,” said the striker. “My adventure with the Azzurri started in Palermo in September 2004 with a game against Norway and we’re back at the Stadio Barbera. It has been a golden year for me with the Azzurri call and Milan, 12 months that changed my life.”

Gilardino made a £17m switch from Parma to the Rossoneri in the summer and has scored two goals in six official appearances since that transfer.

Nonetheless, he looks set to start alongside Fiorentina’s Luca Toni in a 4-4-2 system for tonight’s clash with Slovenia.

“Coach Marcello Lippi has many choices in attack and I am here to make his decisions a little more difficult. In any case, Luca and I proved against Belarus that we can play together and I was unlucky not to score as well that night.”

Toni bagged a hat-trick in that qualifier, a result that puts Italy on the verge of a spot in the 2006 tournament.

Nesta grabs World Cup chance
7.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta insists Italy are going into the World Cup with the intention of winning the tournament, as for many of the players it will be their last chance.

“We will do everything we can to win in Germany next summer, this is for certain,” said the Milan defender.

“There are outfits like Brazil who are fantastically strong, but in a one-off match anything can happen. This team has really improved a great deal and Marcello Lippi has brought in a more attacking approach, which is only right with the number of excellent strikers at our disposal.”

The Azzurri have struggled in recent tournaments, failing to get past the Second Round in the 2002 World Cup and stopping at the Group phase of Euro 2004.

“This World Cup is a very important chance for many of us, as I don’t think we’ll have that many opportunities to win a competition like this again,” noted the 29-year-old. “On the other hand, we have plenty of young players who have brought new enthusiasm to the squad.”

One point against Slovenia on Saturday evening will be enough to qualify Italy for the World Cup, but the reverse fixture was the Azzurri’s only defeat in Group Five.

“We saw the videotapes of Slovenia’s performances and they are a very tough, physically strong side that already beat us last year. We are close to our objective, but we haven’t reached it yet.”

Milan-Juve brought forward
7.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The changes to the Serie A fixture list have been drawn up all the way up to Week 19, as the Champions League and UEFA Cup ties shape the calendar.

This season each Italian top flight weekend is split between four kick-off times – 5pm and 7.30pm Saturday, 2pm and 7.30pm Sunday (all UK times).

Among the highlights, we find the Rome derby on the evening of Sunday October 23, the Scudetto showdown between Milan and Juventus is brought forward to Saturday October 29 and Fabio Capello’s Juventus visit Roma in a bitter grudge match on Saturday November 19. The Milan derby is on Sunday December 11.

Week 8

Saturday October 22

Messina-Ascoli (17.00)

Fiorentina-Parma (19.30)

Sunday October 23

Roma-Lazio (19.30)

Week 9

Wednesday October 26

All games are at 19.30

Week 10

Saturday October 29

Sampdoria-Inter (17.00)

Milan-Juventus (19.30)

Sunday October 30

Udinese-Palermo (19.30)

Week 11

Saturday November 5

Empoli-Reggina (17.00)

Lazio-Inter (19.30)

Sunday November 6

Palermo-Sampdoria (19.30)

Week 12

Saturday November 19

Udinese-Messina (17.00)

Roma-Juventus (19.30)

Sunday November 20

Inter-Parma (19.30)

Week 13

Saturday November 26

Livorno-Chievo (17.00)

Milan-Lecce (19.30)

Sunday November 27

Roma-Fiorentina (19.30)

Week 14

Saturday December 3

Chievo-Milan (17.00)

Inter-Ascoli (19.30)

Sunday December 4

Lecce-Roma (19.30)

Week 15

Saturday December 10

Siena-Empoli (17.00)

Fiorentina-Treviso (19.30)

Sunday December 11

Inter-Milan (19.30)

Week 16

Saturday December 17

Cagliari-Ascoli (17.00)

Lazio-Juventus (19.30)

Sunday December 18

Sampdoria-Roma (19.30)

Week 17

Wednesday December 21

All games at 19.30

Week 18

Saturday January 7

Reggina-Fiorentina (17.00)

Palermo-Juventus (19.30)

Sunday January 8

Milan-Parma (19.30)

Week 19

Saturday January 14

Lecce-Sampdoria (17.00)

Messina-Palermo (19.30)

Sunday January 15

Roma-Milan (19.30)

Milan consider San Siro exit
6.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani has made the shock revelation that Milan are considering leaving the San Siro.

The Rossoneri have occupied the famous Giuseppe Meazza stadium since 1926 and Vice-President Galliani believes that the time is right to start thinking of a change.

“Our stadium is among the best in Italy,” said Galliani. “The pitch is magnificent, you have a good view from the stands, the majority of fans don't get wet if it rains and it is easy to get to.

“But the first level was built in 1926 and sharing with Internazionale isn't easy. Inter's directors have different ideas to us and so maybe it is time to think of two new stadiums for the city of Milan.”

Milan called five different places ‘home’ after forming in 1899, before they switched to the 80,000 capacity San Siro.

And though League chief Galliani is full of praise for the stadium, he is less complimentary about the rest of the stadia in the country – much of which was redeveloped for the 1990 World Cup.

“The error of Italia ‘90 was developing existing stadiums or building new ones with athletic tracks. That was how we lost a historic opportunity,” he continued.

“All the club Presidents agree with my view that the fall in attendances is without doubt related to stadiums that are obsolete and not designed for football.

“You have a bad view and if it rains you get soaked, as happened to 5,000 Livorno fans at Florence on Sunday who will have caught colds after watching the match in the pouring rain. We can't go on like this.”

And not one to simply criticise without a solution, Galliani suggests that the latest crop of stadia in Germany – much of which have been built for next year’s World Cup – are the example to follow.

“The way forward is to build new stadiums because the majority of the current ones are neither savable or able to be restructured,” he said.

“The Germans told me that they sell an average of 30,000 litres of beer for each game. In our stadiums you can't even get a cup of water!

“It's obvious that as long as the stadiums are like this people will prefer to watch the game on television rather than go to the match.”

Beccantini And Maldini’s Golden Ball Award
6.10 || Seamus

The only Italian journalist eligible to vote in the election of the yearly Ballon D'Or explains to us why Paolo the Great has never won the coveted award.
A name and a legend; he was born a champion and has always been a predestined, but he has always sweated to achieve everything that he has done, because one of his great talents is humility. He’s the man of the weekend; he seemed finished, but he got back up like a warrior without age and from his helmet pulled out two fantastic goals. The "bomber" Maldini re-launches a hot matter: why a world class player like he is: clean, serious, technical, elegant, gentleman-like has never won the Golden Ball? An enigma which we have tried to explain through the intervention of Roberto Beccantini, the only accredited journalist to vote for this important football contest 'invented' by France Football back in the 1956.

What are the choice criteria for this award?
“The jurors of the Golden Ball are 52, one (at most two, however with only one available ballot) for every European country affiliated to Uefa. Each juror must draft a classification of five players, among the 50 which the direction of “France Football” chooses and spreads in mid-November. The reference criteria relate to the successes of the solar year, where the squad of the player, the personality, talent, fair play and career matter a lot.”

Characteristics which seem to belong to the Milan defender.
“Paolo Maldini finished third in 1994 (Stoichkov, Baggio) and in 2003 (Nedved, Henry). In 2003 I marked him in second place, behind Pavel. Paolo’s problem is simple: he plays in defence. Since 1956, year of the first edition, just one goalkeeper, Lev Jascin, won the Golden Ball (Dino Zoff was second in 1973). Among the defenders, only Franz Beckenbauer (1972, 1976) and Matthias Sammer (1996) won it. The two German players are however considered two “free hitters”, in Sammers’s case, an ex midfielder. Franco Baresi finished second in 1989, behind Marco Van Basten. It’s not fair, but these are the criteria. The goals attract and seduce. We Italians say: what a scandal forgetting Baresi and Maldini. The Spanish arise: and Raul? I could continue, but I hope I proved the point.”

Not even an award for the career?
“In the history of the Golden Ball, only one was given for the career: to Diego Armando Maradona. The intent is clear: repay him of the mistake made in 1986, when he won the World Cup but was not eligible.”

Maldini does not need this award, which can be more or less arguable, because he is a renowned champion in the world, but if from now until December he will manage to invent himself as a goalscorer, maybe those second and third places can transform themselves into a homage to one of the greatest champions still in activity.

http://www.goal.com/NewsDetail.aspx?idNews=91132&progr=1

Inzaghi Defends Vieri
6.10 || Seamus

Filippo Inzaghi decided to defend team mate Christian Vieri for his difficult start to the season in which he has yet to score an official goal for Milan.

“Bobo has always scored many goals. We all had the moments of abstinence; the important thing is to create many chances like he did as it means that he’s fine physically.”

The eldest of the Inzaghi brothers also spoke confidently about the team’s chances for the season.

“We have some points to recover from Juve in the league, but we are first in the Champions League. We have a great group and when you’re away you realize this even more. This team gave and will continue giving satisfactions to the club and fans. Now the coach has every available and there’s a big choice.”

Pippo believes that there is just one way to stop the seemingly unbeatable Juventus.

“Playing great matches. We are a great team, with great champions and a great coach. Milan has a winning mentality and can do well.”

http://www.goal.com/NewsDetail.aspx?idNews=91117&progr=2

Inzaghi: "I'm finally fit again"
6.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi will make his comeback with Milan this weekend and thinks two years of injuries will be forgotten by this “rebirth.”

“It has been a long time since I’ve played competitive football and the last eight or nine days have been particularly important,” said the striker. “In the past I had tried to rush my return, but instead I am training hard and sticking to the schedule my doctors advised.”

Inzaghi has been plagued by fitness problems over the last two years and underwent several operations on his ankle and knee, but is finally ready to return. He’ll play in Franco Baresi’s Milan youth team on Saturday against Legnano – a key step towards his Serie A comeback.

“I haven’t felt any pain recently and that has helped me to find my way back to full fitness. I didn’t want to risk wasting two months of work just to come back a week or two early. I could’ve been called up for the senior squad last Sunday, but for the first time I waited until I was 100 per cent fit.”

It’s now more than likely Inzaghi will be in the squad for a substitute’s role in the San Siro encounter with Cagliari on October 16.

“I really miss the playing field and to step back on to the pitch will be like a rebirth for me,” said the former Juventus man.

Galliani backs Ancelotti
5.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti’s position as Milan Coach is safe, according to Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

Speaking to the Milan Channel, Galliani assured Ancelotti there has never been any danger of him losing his place in the Milan hot seat.

“Ancelotti has never been under discussion, either after Istanbul or at the start of this season,” said Galliani.

Club President Silvio Berlusconi also publicly backed Ancelotti in a recent interview and Galliani added: “The President simply told things publicly that he has always told me privately.”

Milan appear to have settled into the swing of Serie A this season as they currently sit in second spot, however, it was their poor start – which leaves them five points behind leaders Juventus – which had caused concern.

Carletto himself responded to the club’s support by again revealing his affection for the Rossoneri. “Since I’ve been at Milan there have been beautiful and delicate moments, but I have never missed the support of President Berlusconi and Mr Galliani.”

“There is no need of further confirmation of a feeling that already exits with both of them. The only risk or my only worry is the team won’t obtain results or they don’t play well,” he concluded.

AC Milan 2:1 Reggina - match report
2.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Maldini 5, 20 (M), Cavalli 94 (R)

Paolo Maldini may be the most experienced player in Serie A history, but his remarkable brace earned a relatively comfortable win over Reggina.

The Rossoneri threw away a lead twice in Gelsenkirchen to draw 2-2 with Schalke 04 midweek and needed to prove they had solved last season's issues.

However, not only did they welcome a Reggina side buoyed by their first League win, they also had to contend with a heavy thunderstorm over the San Siro which made the pitch very difficult to play on. Carlo Ancelotti's men had already struggled to a 1-1 draw under similar conditions in Ascoli in Week 1, so it was not a reassuring start.

Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Marcos Cafu and Alberto Gilardino were rested, while the Milan fans staged a protest against the new security laws in stadiums by leaving the 'curva' empty.

Paolo Maldini became the most experienced player in Serie A history last week and proved he's more than just a great defender. The 37-year-old nutmegged an opponent before placing an angled drive into the far corner of the net with a wonderful individual effort. It was his first Serie A goal since 2002-03.

Andriy Shevchenko nearly made it 2-0 moments later with a fierce strike that skimmed the upright. The home side was desperate to ensure the points were safe and aimed a series of efforts at the goal with Christian Vieri, Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso's deflected attempt.

Astonishingly, it was Maldini who doubled their lead with his second of the game! A Manuel Rui Costa corner kick came out to the unmarked captain for a powerful header under the crossbar.

There were penalty appeals for Giandomenico Mesto's challenge on Seedorf after he had run on to Rui Costa's chipped pass.

Vieri ran on to Rui Costa's through ball only to fire wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Milan were dominating the first half and a lot of that was down to the performance of ex-PSV midfielder Johann Vogel, here filling in for Pirlo.

Reggina could've pulled one back on the stroke of half-time when a Modesto cross reached Simone Cavalli at the back post, but he somehow managed to nod off target from less than six yards.

Shevchenko's wayward volley on a Gattuso assist was wide and Vieri's looping cross-shot was fingertipped out of the top corner by an alert Pavarini.

Vieri was disappointing and his first touch let him down with only the goalkeeper to beat. Reggina had a goal correctly disallowed for Cavalli's offside position and Francesco Cozza's late shot swerved just past the post.

Of all the Milan players, perhaps Rui Costa deserved a goal for a series of assists he sprayed around the field. In the final minutes his delightful lob slammed the top of the crossbar with Pavarini beaten.

Milan's many missed chances left the game relatively open and Reggina pulled one back with Cavalli's half-volley in the last seconds of stoppages.

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Vogel, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Shevchenko (Kaka 74), Vieri

Reggina: Pavarini; Carobbio (Missiroli 81), De Rosa, Franceschini, Lanzaro (A Lucarelli 81); Mesto, Paredes (Cavalli 12), Tedesco, Modesto; Vigiani; Cozza

Ref: Rizzoli

Ancelotti wants Milan focus
2.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan continue to lose leads and Carlo Ancelotti claims it is down to a collective lack of concentration that they will work on against Reggina today.

“I have seen a constant improvement from my team recently and we have resolved the problems we had at the start of the season,” he insisted. “The Reggina match must allow us to go into the break for international duty with the knowledge we are getting back to our best.”

The Rossoneri dropped points at Ascoli and were defeated by Sampdoria, while midweek they were leading Schalke 04 twice in Gelsenkirchen only to emerge with a 2-2 draw.

“The important thing is to find the right level of tension. Sometimes my team gets that right and sometimes it doesn’t. I have noticed that we tend to struggle more against the sides that focus on work-rate rather than quality, so I hope we don’t have the same trouble with Reggina.”

Andriy Shevchenko picked up a knock during the Champions League test and could be rested in favour of Christian Vieri’s partnership with Alberto Gilardino. Andrea Pirlo skipped training due to a muscular problem.

Reggina had opened their Serie A account with four consecutive defeats, but the 2-0 win over Udinese last week boosted their confidence.

“The Amaranto had been playing well at the start, even if they weren’t getting the results they deserved,” noted Ancelotti. “They switched to a four-man defence in the last game and it made a big difference to their style of play.”

Vice-President Adriano Galliani is also concerned at facing the Southern club at the San Siro this afternoon.

“The fans know that these are tough tests for us, as last year we dropped a lot of points to clubs in the second half of the table,” said the director. “I hope to get a good result so that I can rest and watch Juventus-Inter this evening.”

Nesta voices Schalke regrets
1.10 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan lost a lead twice against Schalke 04 and Alessandro Nesta warns that they must beat Reggina to avoid sliding back into their old pattern.

“We should’ve won that match after going ahead twice,” noted the defender after their 2-2 Champions League draw on Wednesday. “We weren’t cynical enough, that was our problem.”

It brought back memories of last season’s European Cup Final, where a 3-0 lead was thrown away for Liverpool to take the trophy, and clearly some of those issues have not yet been resolved.

“In any case, I am confident, as we also had a difficult start last year until we settled into our rhythm. We are also accustomed to the constant Press criticism in Italy, as when you reach a high level of achievement, everyone wants to knock you down.”

The Rossoneri were run ragged in Gelsenkirchen and the effects of that could be felt against Reggina on Sunday afternoon.

“Thursday was the only intensive training session we’ve had in a long time, as there are so many games in the calendar and for the internationals it is particularly difficult to work on specific aspects,” explained Nesta. “I tried to get some running done, as otherwise when you’re on the pitch your strength leaves you and it’s difficult to sprint.”

Milan face a tough test on Sunday, as Reggina are back on track after beating Udinese 2-0 at the Stadio Granillo and will most likely come to the San Siro looking to frustrate their opponents.

“We’ll have to be wary of Reggina’s enthusiasm and their energy, as that comes from a side that has just won its first game of the season. It will be an important tie, then we’ll put our feet up and enjoy watching Juventus-Inter on Sunday night.”





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