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The Archive

January 2002

Perugia fury as Dellas deal collapses
31.1 || Tom

Thursday 31st January 2002

Perugia managing director Alessandro Gaucci has launched a furious attack on Roma president Franco Sensi after the proposed move of Traianos Dellas to Juventus fell through on transfer deadline day in Italy.

Perugia's Greek defender had seemed certain to move to Juve, but after the deal collapsed at the last minute, Gaucci claimed that Dellas had broken league regulations by signing an agreement with a rival club before the stated deadline.

He said he will call on the Italian FA to take action against Dellas after the Greek defender pulled out of a proposed move to Juventus.

And he also accused Sensi of underhand dealings. "How can this man become the next president of the league, how could he represent all the clubs when he steals players," blasted Gaucci.

Dellas has attracted the attention of a number of leading Serie A sides this season but Gaucci was under the impression he had sealed a deal that would see him join Juve this week.

"I signed the contract (with Juventus) but neither Dellas nor his agent were here," he explained. "They missed the meeting, so I called him and he told me he would prefer to stay at Perugia until the end of his contract.

"That confirmed to me he has already signed a contract with another club. But he did it when he wasn't allowed to. He can only sign after January 1 and he did it before then.

"I will denounce him to the league. How is it possible to turn down a rich contract in favour of £130,000 pounds per year? Only if you have another agreement."

AC Milan and Internazionale have both trailed the progress of the Greece international but it is thought he has signed a pre-contract agreement with Roma.

The Serie A champions are believed to have offered him a three-year contract worth £400,000 per year, to start in the summer when his Perugia contract expires.

Simic to stay and fight for Inter place
31.1 || Tom

Thursday 31st January 2002

Out-of-favour Internazionale defender Dario Simic believes that he still has a future with the Serie A title-chasers after failing to join city-rivals Milan hours before the Italian transfer window closed.

"It sounds strange that Inter would let me go, especially to Milan," said the Croatia international. "Both sides are still in the race for the league title and Inter do not have many defensive players in the squad.

"There may have been some informal talks but I was never informed about them."

A series of early-season injuries has kept the 26-year-old out of the Inter line-up, and since his return Simic has found himself behind Ivan Cordoba and Marco Materazzi in coach Hector Cuper's plans.

Despite being linked with moves to Lazio, Parma and Fiorentina, the former Dinamo Zagreb centre-back believes that an opportunity to claim a regular starting place will arrive soon enough, especially with the return of European competition next month.

"Inter are battling for the title but also the Uefa Cup and they need 22 players for that so I am biding my time," he said. "It's normal for everyone to get a run in the first-team."

Simic played an important part in Croatia's third-place finish at the 1998 World Cup, forming an outstanding partnership alongside Slaven Bliic in the heart of the defence, and is confident of making Mirko Jozic's squad for Japan and South Korea.

"The important thing is that I am fit and ready to play and Jozic knows he can count on me."

Ba returns to Milan from Marseille
31.1 || Tom

Thursday 31st January 2002

AC Milan have recalled midfielder Ibrahim Ba from his loan spell at Marseille. The former France international is set to begin training at the San Siro on Monday.

The 28-year-old was given the chance to resurrect his career at Marseille in July 2001 after failing to establish himself with the Rossoneri following his move from Bordeaux in 1997.

The son of a former Senegal international, he began his career with Le Havre in 1992

A proposed £5 million move to Premiership side Newcastle fell through in 1999.

He then jumped at a move to the French club in the face of competition from Andrea Pirlo, Rui Costa, Demetrio Albertini, Massimo Ambrosinii, Fernando Redondo and Gennaro Gattuso at Milan.

Milan slipped to fourth in Serie A last weekend after letting slip a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat to Udinese.

Ba's contract with the club expires in June 2003.

Ambrosini praises training camp
31.1 || webmaster

Massimo Ambrosini has stated that AC Milan's seven-day training camp has given the team a good chance to evaluate their season.

Being away from family and friends for a week was difficult for the players, but Ambrosini stresses the importance of keeping a positive attitude: "This has to be a way for us to evaluate what we've done do far and understand the mistakes we've made.

"If we start thinking that this is a punishment then things become much worse than they really are."

Ambrosini also said that he believes that in order to create a well-organised team, you need to express yourself first: "You can only have a united group of players if each and every single players wants this to happen.

"That's why it is important for everyone of us to think for themselves first."

Albertini hopes to perform brilliantly against Lazio
31.1 || webmaster

Sunday on stadium Olimpico AC Milan is meeting S.S.Lazio. The match is going to be a very interesting one, states Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini.
"We must come out on to the field as if our lives depend on this game. We can't afford us to perform well we must do it perfectly. All the matches we had against Lazio ended in our favour. I hope that we'll be lucky this time as well," said Albertini.

Simic ponders deadline-day Milan switch
30.1 || Tom

Wednesday 30th January 2002

Internazionale defender Dario Simic is considering a loan move to city-rivals AC Milan for the rest of the season.

"I have heard that it's a possibility and Milan are a big club, but I have to talk to Inter first," explained the out-of-favour Croatian. "Nobody from Inter has spoken to me about it yet," he added.

Simic, who has found first-team football hard to come by under coach Hector Cuper this season, has also been linked with moves to Lazio, Parma and Fiorentina recently.

He only has 24 hours to seal a move as the Italian transfer window closes on Thursday.

Simic, 26, played a major role in Dinamo Zagreb's success in the late 1990s and had an outstanding 1998 World Cup alongside Slaven Bilic in the heart of the Croatia defence.

Italian Prime Minister Tells Milan How To Be
30.1 || Tom

01/29/2002. Italy's Prime Minister and Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has been in touch with his vice-president Adriano Galliani to advise how to stop his club from sliding out of contention in the league. Apparently, Berlusconi told Galliani to watch individual players closely and to take strong action if needed. Whether this includes reducing wages remains to be seen.

Since taking charge of the country, Berlusconi has adopted a low-key approach to running AC Milan leaving Galiani with acting president status. Galliani consulted Berlusconi the night before he sacked Turkish coach Fatih Terim despite the PM attending a "war summit" that evening of European leaders convened by his British counterpart Tony Blair.

Sunday's didappointing 3-2 defeat at Udinese left Milan in 5th place but a daunting 11 points behind leaders Roma.

SA Int.

Milan Track Oddo
29.1 || Tom

01/29/2002. AC Milan are keen on signing Verona defender Massimo Oddo before the transfer window closes.

The rossoneri's recent poor defensive record looks to have persuaded coach Carlo Ancelotti that he needs some more back-up and the 25-year-old is at the top of his list.

However, Verona seem unwilling to allow Oddo to leave until the summer meaning it is unlikely that we will see him in a Milan shirt before next season.

If Verona refuse to budge, Milan will reportedly ask for an option on the former Monza player in an effort to fend off interest from other clubs.

Oddo actually started his career with Milan in the mid-nineties but never played a game and found himself shipped out on loan to various lower league clubs.

SA Italy

Contra desperate to quit Milan
29.1 || webmaster

Romania defender Cosmin Contra wants to quit AC Milan and return to La Liga. "I long for Spain, the lifestyle and the food. If there is a first-division club that would take me, I would be there tomorrow," he said.

Contra, who only moved to Milan from Alaves six months ago, hawked himself to Serie A teams in 2000-01 during an impressive season which culminated in an appearance in the Uefa Cup final.

He repeatedly explained how he could make the grade in Italy and would love to move to a club like Milan. But now he is desperate to leave after failing to shine at the San Siro.

Contra's comments come after reservations about his defensive abilities were raised by former Milan coach Fatih Terim.

"I would like more application in defence by Cosmin Contra. I like to see him running on the wing, but he is a defender and the first aim for a defender is defence," the Turk said last year.

Milan have fallen way below expectations this season. Carlo Ancelotti has replaced Terim as coach in an eventful campaign that began with the big-money signings of Manuel Rui Costa, Javi Moreno and Filippo Inzaghi.

The club are currently fifth in the table – one place off the Champions' League qualification places.

Gaizka Mendieta and Moreno have also expressed that they are disillusioned with life in Serie A and are expected to return to Spain before next season.

Dellas back in Perugia frame
28.1 || Tom

Sunday 27th January 2002

Perugia president Alessandro Gaucci has reached a compromise with defender Traianos Dellas, which will see the Greek return to first team action.

"He's one of the best defenders in Serie A, so it stupid to see him playing with the youth team," a spokesman told

Dellas was signed on a one-year contract from AEK to ensure he would make the grade in Serie A before tying him to a longer-term deal.

But the impressive form of the powerful Greek attracted the likes of AC Milan, Internazionale, Juventus and Roma, with the latter offering him a three-year contract worth £400,000 a season, or four times his salary at Perugia.

Perugia coach Serse Cosmi responded by dropping him in November – but the club have now agreed a compromise where they will receive a fee for Dellas if he quits in the summer.

"We consider that it's necessary to let him play if we want to avoid relegation," spokesman Paolo Meattelli told

"Gaucci has a promise from the player that if Perugia find a good team for him at the end of the season, we'll take a fee on his transfer."

Meattelli added: "I've heard all the talk about Juventus, but the truth is that the Bianconeri are not the only team to follow him.

"The difference is that now all the clubs will have to pass through Perugia if they are interested in him."

Manninger hopes to prolong Italian experience
28.1 || Tom

Monday 28th January 2002

Fiorentina keeper Alex Manninger hopes to prolong his stay in Italy even if the Florence club cannot afford to make his loan move from Arsenal permanent.

"I feel good in Florence and I hope the club will be in safe waters soon, but if they can't afford me any longer, I'd love to stay on in Italy," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Here I have the chance to play against some of the biggest clubs and star in some of the best grounds which are packed full."

Manninger joined La Viola last summer and Arsenal will hope to recoup £3 million when they sell the Austria international.

The 24-year-old has impressed as his side fight the drop and is reported in Italy to have attracted the attention of AC Milan and Parma while in Germany both Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg are both reportedly keen on the keeper.

"I dream about becoming one of the leading three or four keepers and this season I have been given the chance to improve," Manninger said.

AC Milan chief begs quiet from jeering fans
28.1 || Tom

Monday 28th January 2002

Adriano Galliani has called for fans to rally round AC Milan after the side let slip a two-goal lead to lose at home to Udinese.

"I can understand the bitterness as I'm a fan too and suffer as well," said the Milan vice-president. "But, the jeers aren't going to solve our problems. We have to stand together and fight to improve.

"We're still fighting on various fronts. We're fourth in the league, in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia and the quarters of the Uefa Cup.
We have to keep our concentration and stay united. If we give up now, things will only get worse.

"We wasted a two-goal lead and that means that something serious went wrong but we can only get out of this if we all pull together. When I say everybody, I mean the club, the players, the coach and the fans."

The winter transfer window is about to close and Galliani ruled out bringing in reinforcements to boost the squad.

Galliani gave coach Carlo Ancelotti the ominous vote of confidence on Sunday.

"Ancelotti will be Milan coach next season, though if we don't make the Champions' League, a lot of the players will leave," he said.

Andriy Shevchenko and Serginho had put Milan two up before Roberto Muzzi's long-range effort got the visitors back into the game ten minutes before half-time.

Shevchenko then failed from the spot for the second match in a row and he was made to pay as substitute Gennaro Scarlato found the target early in the second period with a diving header and Martin Jorgensen completed a sensational turnaround with a goal 12 minutes from time.

Viareggio: Milan 4 - 1 Feyenoord - opening match
28.1 || webmaster

Milan has won 4-1 the opening match of the worlds most prestigious youth tournament, against Feyenoord. The Milan goals were scored by Sammarco 7', by De Martin 57' from a penalty kick and by Marcus in 70' and 84'.

Galliani: "We can't win the title"
28.1 || webmaster

Adriano Galliani, Milan's vice president has officially said goodbye to this year's title after yesterday's defeat with Udinese.

He says that his team must try to fight to end of the season and aim for a Champions League berth.

He said: "Even though we suffered a very serious defeat with Udinese, the team must keep on fighting for the only goal we have left for this season in Serie A – the fourth spot in the table.

"It's true that we have lost but also Lazio did and looking at the table, there's only Chievo between us and the fourth place. Therefore we must jump ahead of Chievo."

Galliani has also asked for the fans of his team to be patient as he and the rest of the board try to bring back the glory days at the San Siro.

He added: "I ask all of our fans to stand by their team and be patient because it's not as if we can win everything.

"We've got to be patient and try to get to the fourth spot."

Galliani however has confirmed that Carlo Ancelotti will remain and has invited his players to act accordingly.

"We have had four managers in less than a year we won't be changing again," he confirmed.

"Whatever happens, our players must know that next season, will start with the same coach we have now."

AC Milan's Galliani says any changes will be thought out
27.1 || Tom

Agence France-Presse

MILAN, Italy (January 27, 2002 01:31 PM EST) - AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said Sunday night that he would bide his time before acting despite a 3-2 home defeat by Udinese at the San Siro.

Just 24 hours earlier, Galliani had warned his team that sweeping changes would be made at the end of the campaign unless Milan reached its minimum objective of fourth place and qualification for the Champions League.

And despite the abject nature of the result - Milan had led 2-0 before capitulating - Galliani insisted that remained the case.

"This is a serious defeat, which weighs on the directors, coaches and players," said Galliani, who is de facto head of the club as president Silvio Berlusconi is concentrating on his role as Italy's prime minister.

Asked what measures he would take, he said: "We will think about it with calm.

"Our objective remains the same - fourth place. We have Chievo in front of us and we must overcome them."

Galliani revealed he had given the team and coach Carlo Ancelotti a half-hour pep talk.

"We will talk (about major changes) on May 6, but until May 5 (the last day of the season) we will keep looking at the situation and then decide the way forward," he said.

On Saturday, Galliani had said even victory in the Italian Cup or UEFA Cup - he considers that a "Serie B trophy" - would not be seen as positive if AC Milan failed to qualify for next year's Champions League.

He gave Ancelotti an unequivocal vote of confidence Saturday - although Ancelotti's Turkish predecessor Fatih Terim had also received two pledges of loyalty shortly before being sacked in November.

Copyright © 2002 SportServer

Milan track Dutch trio
27.1 || webmaster

The Dutch trio of Kevin Hofland, Theo Janssen and John Van Beukering have apparently caught the attention of AC Milan.

PSV Eindhoven's Hofland has played for the Dutch national side on five occasions and is seen as Jaap Stam's natural successor in the centre of the Holland defence.

If the 22-year-old was to move, it is likely to be at the end of the season because Manchester United are tracking him and the Old Trafford club have been told by the player's father that he will remain in Holland for the rest of the season.

It is reported that Milan representatives were at the recent Vitesse Arnhem-NEC Brada match and were watching the Vitesse duo of Janssen and Van Beukering. Janssen is a 20-year-old left-sided midfielder while Van Beukering is an 18-year-old attacker who can play on the right or left side.

Boss reads riot act to AC Milan
27.1 || webmaster

MILAN, Jan 27 (AFP)
AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has told his team there will be consequences should the San Siro club for the second time in succession fail to qualify for the Champions League, the Italian sports press reported Sunday.
Going into Sunday's match with Udinese Milan were in fifth place in Serie A, some nine points behind leaders and arch-rivals Inter Milan.
And Galliani, who is the de facto head of the club with club president Silvio Berlusconi concentrating on the not insignificant task of being Italy's prime minister, has made it clear he expects an improvement.
Galliani said even victory in the UEFA Cup or the Italian Cup would be considered failure unless the club was to finish in one of the top four places that would earn Champions League football next season.
"Even winning the UEFA Cup would not save the season," he said.
"It would be nice to win... but it is a Serie B trophy. I have told the players that we can not finish fifth or sixth, it is not permitted to stay out of the Champions League."
Galliani said the job of coach Carlo Ancelotti, appointed in November in place of sacked Turk Fatih Terim, was not in danger - although he gave two similar guarantees to Terim shortly before wielding the knife.
"Whatever happens for the rest of the season we are not changing the coach," said Galliani.
"Ancelotti stays, he is well regarded and we have a good relationship."
Galliani also said the players were under the microscope but reacted angrily when asked about the situation of star Ukrainian striker Andiry Shevchenko who has not scored yet in 2002 and has been linked with Real Madrid.
"If I read anywhere that Milan wants to sell Shevchenko then I will not talk to the press for six months," said the vice-president.

Contra slams AC flops
27.1 || webmaster

AC midfielder Cosmin Contra says the whole team are to blame after today's 3-2 defeat to Udinese that saw the visitors come back from 2-0 down.

The home side had started the better side and Andrij Schevchenko opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute before Serginho made it 2-0 some 10 minutes later.

However, Udinese fought their way back into the game and goals from Roberto Muzzi, Scarlato and Martin Jorgensen secured a stunning comeback for the visitors.

To make matters worse Schevchenko missed another penalty just minutes before half-time that would have put AC 3-1 up, although Contra says the whole team are equally to blame for throwing the game away.

He said: "This was a game we shouldn't have lost. There are no excuses, we are all to blame.

"We had started the game very well and even succeeded in scoring twice but then we conceded a goal and missed a penalty kick.

"We have played the second half of the match being way too afraid of our opponents and that cannot be excused. Now we must do our best to prepare for next week's game with Lazio."

Milan 2 - 3 Udinese - match report
27.1 || webmaster

AC suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Udinese as the visitors battled back from 2-0 down to secure a 3-2 win in today's Serie A clash.

Andrji Schevchenko had opened the scoring with a penalty as early as the sixth minute and the home side looked likely winners when Brazilian midfielder Serginho doubled the score 10 minutes later.

However, Roberto Muzzi pulled one back for the visitors on 34 minutes before Scarlato and substitute Martin Jorgensen grabbed second half goals to secure the shock defeat for Luciano Spalletti's side.

AC started brightly and Demetrio Albertini had missed an early chance to take the lead before their Ukrainian striker scored his first goal of the New Year with his penalty strike on six minutes after Cosmin Contra had been fouled in the box.

Serginho then doubled the score for the Rossoneri when he fired home a left-foot shot just outside the area on 16 minutes.

But Muzzi gave the visitors hope in the 33rd minute when he got one back for Udinese with another shot from the edge of the box.

Schevchenko could have given AC a two goal advantage going into half-time when the home side were awarded another penalty kick on 44 minutes after Gennaro Scarlato had brought him down following a majestic run into the box.

However, the Ukrainian could not convert the spot-kick and Turci was allowed to clear and give Piacenzia hope going into the second half.

And the home side were made to pay for their missed opportunities as the visitors secured the win with header from Scarlato on 52 minutes and a close range effort from Jorgensen 12 minutes from time.

Jorgensen had only been on the pitch some seven minutes before grabbing the winner and his strike was enough to give the visitors the win despite a late onslaught from the home side.

Milan rally behind tearful Rui Costa
27.1 || webmaster

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has given his backing to Rui Costa after the Portugal midfielder broke down in tears when he played his former club Fiorentina. "He rejected Lazio, Parma and Real Madrid to join us. Rui Costa and Milan are living a love story," he said.

The midfielder's reaction to the trip to Florence led to accusations that he may not be dedicated to the Milan cause.

But Galliani rejected the criticism, pointing out that the Portuguese star had turned down more money to sign for the San Siro giants.

"When I phoned him to confirm the conclusion of the transfer, he rejoiced like a fan," Galliani said.

Explaining Rui Costa's behaviour in Florence, coach Carlo Ancelotti added: "It's normal. I felt the same when I played for Milan at Olimpico Stadium against Roma.

"I don't think we were disrespectful to our supporters. Rui Costa has showed his love for Milan for six months."

Perform or else - Milan supremo
26.1 || webmaster

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has spoken to each of his side's players one-on-one in a bid to get the club's season back on track.

A frustrated Galliani is apparently no longer willing to tolerate dire draws and defeats for Milan and hopes that the personal pep talks given to his players will spur them on to begin winning more.

Galliani said: "I have spoken with every single player and not with the whole team.

"We simply cannot miss out on qualifying for the Champions League for the second year in a row. The Uefa Cup is a competition that we are very interested in, but even winning it would not save our season."

The vice-president, who currently sees Milan sitting fifth in Lo Scudetto, continued: "If we don't qualify for a Champions League berth then next year we'll have to have a turnover of players."

"This would mean that something had not worked the way we had planned."

Ancellotti defends his boys
25.1 || Tom

25 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Carlo Ancellotti has blamed recent performances and results on the fact that several key players have been missing.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Sunday's game with Udinese, Ancellotti defended his team.

Ancellotti said: "We have been missing key players and the fact that our captain and leader Paolo Maldini has been missing is a huge blow.

"Any team in the world would struggle without him but when they return we will be ready to continue our assault on the Championship."

Ancelotti hopes for best
25.1 || webmaster

AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti is not casting down after his team's 2-1 defeat at Juventus FC in Italian Cup first leg semifinal tie. However, the defeat may deprive Milan of their hopes to win the national Cup, which was their main target according to their chairman Silvio Berlusconi.
"I think that a draw would have been a fair result for both sides. Though we made some mistakes in the first half, after the break we did very well in defence. This game will serve us a good lesson. On Sunday against Udinese we won't repeat our mistakes," the coach said.
After the defeat, Ancelotti faced a storm of criticism, and here is what he said: "Criticism and football are closely connected. I try to solve Milan's problems, because I am in charge of the team. I am full of optimism and confidence that as soon as our injured players are back, we will once more conquer the football world."

Beckham impasse alerts Euro elite
24.1 || Tom

Thursday 24th January 2002

England captain David Beckham will not sign a new contract with Manchester United before the World Cup. Europe's top clubs are set to line up for the midfielder after United chief executive Peter Kenyon admitted he was frustrated by the contract impasse.

Beckham's contract expires in 2003 and last week it was reported that he was offered a take-it-or-leave-it offer of £90,000 a week by United. With no agreement yet reached, Kenyon admitted on Thursday that he was running out of patience.

Kenyon said: "You reach a point where you cannot go any further. And after several months of negotiations, you reach a point where you conclude it one way or another.

"He has not said, 'I'm not going to sign' and we have not said, 'Sign or else'. We are at that time where we are close, but not close enough to get an agreement.

"You get to a point when you have to put it all on the back burner for the club's and player's interests. That takes us to the end of the season now and nothing will be done then with the World Cup coming up.

"I'm sure we are both frustrated. We'd still like to get it completed. But the football must come first.

"I don't know what will happen, to be honest," he added. "But you do reach a point where you can't go any further. You conclude it one way or another and we both feel that is where we are getting to."

Beckham, 26, has been in talks with the club for around five months. He was told recently that United could not improve the five-year deal they have proposed, which includes control of their star midfielder's image rights.

It would make Beckham the highest-paid employee in United history, but he has hinted that he will wait to find out who is chosen as coach Sir Alex Ferguson's successor before making up his mind.

The club have always said they are confident Beckham will re-sign. He has been a United supporter since childhood – and despite being on the substitutes' bench for the majority of recent games, has shown few signs of being unsettled.

He said before Christmas that he expected to stay at Old Trafford: "Talks are still going on and we are getting closer, but it has to be right. I said last week that it would not be sorted before Christmas, but I do want to get it sorted as soon as possible. It's out of my hands at the moment.

"I think I've worked hard for them [the club] and I want to carry on playing for Man United, that's the team I support and the place where I'm most loved by the fans, and I love them."

Alex comes back to haunt Carlo
24.1 || Tom

24 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Carlo Ancelotti is Alessandro del Piero's biggest fan but the Italian international was the star of the show when Juve beat Milan 2-1 in the cup.
Ancelotti, formally the Juventus coach and now in charge at Milan, used to be criticized for playing the Italian international when he was not fully fit.

But the Juve hero came off the bench to fire a spectacular goal that gave the bianconeri the upper hand over their fierce rivals Milan in the cup clash by beating them 2-1 at the San Siro.

Despite the home defeat, which no doubt complicates things for the rossoneri, Ancelotti says his team will not be going to Turin thinking that the game's already lost.

He said: "I believe that the game was very well balanced. Both sides had the chance to seal the outcome of the match, but only Juve succeeded in doing so.

"In any case, we'll try to win the return match. We know it's going to be very tough but we want to try anyway."

Ancelotti has also talked about the team's star player Andriy Shevchenko, who played part of the second half without really leaving his mark.

"Scheva did what he could, also considering that he didn't play the full match," he said.

"I still think we played a nice game for about an hour but got distracted in the last part of the match and allowed them to score."

Boban rejects UAE offer
24.1 || webmaster

Croatia legend Zvonimir Boban has turned down a lucrative offer to come out of retirement and play with former AC Milan team-mate George Weah at Al Jazirah.

"I did get an offer from a club in the United Arab Emirates," he told "They told George Weah to get in touch with me and convince me to come, but I told them no.

"Since I retired earlier this season, I have received offers to play in Mexico, the USA and France, but I've turned them all down. It's strange that they keep on coming because I have already said that I will never play professionally again," added Boban.

The former Dinamo Zagreb playmaker has reportedly been offered £1.6 million to sign for Al Jazirah, but he stated on Thursday: "Money is not important in this situation."

The 33-year-old stunned Celta Vigo fans when he announced his decision to quit in October – just two months after joining the Spanish club – following a disagreement with coach Victor Fernandez.

"I will lose a lot of money doing this, but my pride means more to me," said the former Croatia star in October.

"Things have not worked out since I came from Milan. I don't want this to become a nightmare. Over the last ten days I have begun to realise that I should retire."

My popularity could kill me, claims Weah
24.1 || webmaster

George Weah is in fear of his life after becoming a target for supporters of Liberia president Charles Taylor. "I don't want somebody to come and kill me because of my popularity," said the former AC Milan star. "They have already burnt my house down."

The former World Footballer of the Year has vowed to never represent his country again after the African Nations Cup. He believes he is being victimised because of the good relations he enjoyed with former president Samuel Doe.

"Football has gone into politics and I don't want to be part of the politics," said the 35-year-old. "The president of Liberia is against us. The government is against us. They are jealous of us."

The striker – who doubles as Liberia's technical director – said his property had been attacked and businesses repossessed because of the vendetta.

"I don't want something to happen to me before my children grow up. I'm afraid. I don't feel safe," Weah told AFP. "Doe was comfortable with my popularity, so he helped me a lot to build up a team – but Taylor doesn't want to accept that I am popular.

"He thinks that I want to be president."

Weah started his career under Arsene Wenger at Monaco in the early 1990s before glorious spells with Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.

He went on to play for Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille before signing a two-year contract worth £8 million with United Arab Emirates club Al Jazirah in October.

Ancelotti: "We'll try to win in Turin"
24.1 || webmaster

MILAN, January 24 (DS) - Milan striker Jose Mari commented on the club's official site regarding their yesterday's Italian Cup semifinal first leg 1-2 defeat to Juventus.
"We are out of luck, but we should not complain. As to the Italian Cup, there is still one match to play. Ancelotti told us we have to change this situation and improve our results."
In post-game commentary, club coach Carlo Ancelotti noted the beauty of the match.
"It was a close and beautiful match. Juventus went better, but we'll try to win in Turin.
"Only in the final part the kids lost their unity. Shevchenko tried hard to help the squad."
Meanwhile, Milan star Andriy Shevchenko was quick to thank his fans.
"I felt their warmth when I got on the field tonight. It's very important to me, as I'm not in a very good moment.
"We shouldn't lose our heart because we can start again from next Sunday's match.
"We have to improve in general, as a squad. Now we are all sad and worried for tonight's loss, but we can still recover in the second leg."

ITALIAN ROUNDUP: Juventus of Turin tops AC Milan
24.1 || Tom

The Associated Press

MILAN, Italy (January 23, 2002 08:36 PM EST) - Alessandro Del Piero, who entered as a second-half substitute, scored in the 86th minute Wednesday night to give Juventus of Turin a 2-1 win at AC Milan in a first leg of the Italian Cup semifinals.

Javier Moreno had put AC Milan ahead in the 39th minute, but Juventus tied it in the 48th when Alessandro Birindelli's free kick was deflected by Ivan Gattuso past goalkeeper Sebastiano Rossi.

There was a moment of silence before the game in memory of Brescia defender Vittorio Mero, killed Wednesday in a highway crash.

The other semifinal, between Parma and Brescia, was postponed until Jan. 30 or 31.

Helveg's Inter return delayed
23.1 || Tom

23 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Denmark international Thomas Helveg's proposed return to local rivals Inter from Milan may not now happen for another year.
The 30-year-old was bought by Inter from Milan in the summer but was immediately loaned back to the rossoneri for the 2001/02 season.

Now the right-back, who has been a permanent fixture in the Milan defence under both former boss Fatih Terim and present coach Carlo Ancelotti this season, has hinted that he may not move back across the city to Hector Cuper's Serie A table-toppers until the summer of 2003.

The player told Danish daily Fyens Stiftstidende: "I should have moved back to Inter in the summer. Now Milan have been in contact with Inter and it seems I will spend one more year at Milan."

Helveg is enjoying his return to Milan and may well feel that his chances would be limited with the Serie A leaders where he would have to compete for a place with Javier Zanetti, Stephane Dalmat, Clarence Seedorf and Andres Guly.

Helveg's contract with Inter expires in 2004.

Striker's title pledge
23.1 || Tom

23 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Josè Mari has admitted his desire to play in the World Cup with Spain, but for now the striker is focussed on winning the Serie A with Milan.
The former Atletico Madrid star revealed that he wants to concentrate on his club duties, before he considers the chance to play in the World Cup, following his return to action after a three month-long injury.

However, the striker admitted that he is hoping to be included in the Spanish National Team that will travel to Korea and Japan next June.

He said: "Right now all I care about is AC Milan."

"I don't want to think about the World Cup right now. It's too soon and in any case I am yet to speak with the Spanish coach so I don't even know if I'll go."

"In any case, before thinking of going to Korea and Japan I want to give my best to AC Milan and play as best as I can."

Inzaghi backs strike partner
23.1 || Tom

23 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Milan's injured star Filippo Inzaghi believes that his team-mate Andrji Schevchenko will soon be back scoring for The Rossoneri.
Schevchenko who's always been the top scorer at the club, has been going through a dry spell for almost five weeks now and he also failed to score from the penalty spot in the last Serie A match against Fiorentina.

Inzaghi however believes that his friend will still be able to help their team fight for the title, he said: "I don't believe anything peculiar is going on with Scheva. It is normal to go a few games without netting."

"In any case I'm sure he'll soon be back to scoring lots of goals because we need his nets."

The former Juve striker has also stated his belief that the real AC Milan is not the one we saw in the last two games against Brescia and Fiorentina.

He added: "Those were simply two unlucky games for us."

Cosmin Contra wallpaper and new photos
23.1 || webmaster


I have just added a Contra wallpaper made by myself. You can download it from

There are also much more photos in our Photo Gallery, after I've added:
> 1 team photo
> 2 Ancelotti photos
> 1 Laursen photo
> 2 Jose Mari photos
> 1 Javi Moreno photo
> 1 Ambrosini photo
> 1 Contra photo
> 1 Rui Costa photo

You can check them out in our Photo Gallery at


PREVIEW Lippi keeps the faith for Coppa showdown
22.1 || Tom

Tuesday 22nd January 2002

Juventus coach Marcello Lippi has vowed to stick with the second-string players who have helped his side reach Wednesday night's Coppa Italia semi-final against AC Milan, whose boss Carlo Ancelotti gave his backing to out-of-form Andriy Shevchenko.

Lippi was in no doubt about the magnitude of the game when he declared: "I don't want to reduce the importance of the other semi-final between Parma and Brescia, but I think that AC Milan-Juventus is the real final."

He then promised to keep faith in the players who had got the team to this stage of the competition. Alessandro Birindelli, Michele Paramatti, Marcelo Zalayeta and Fabian Carini are normally substitutes in the league, but Lippi said: "It's the right reward.

"They have always satisfied me every time I picked them. They deserve to play in an important stadium like the San Siro. They have reached the semi-final and they have to play in it."

Ancelotti, meanwhile, came out in support of Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainian who missed a penalty in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Fiorentina.

"Shevchenko is not a problem," he said. "He has always scored a lot of goals in the past, it's normal to have a bad run in a career. Andriy is calm, he is only disappointed for his mistake.

"I am sure that he will return to his best form as soon as possible. He will show in this semi-final that he is important for Milan."

Ancelotti had words of praise for his former team: "They are having a good spell. There is only one difference between us: they have better consistency. But Milan are angry, and we will give our best in these two Coppa Italia matches."

Helveg stuns Inter with Milan pledge
22.1 || Tom

Tuesday 22nd January 2002

AC Milan defender Thomas Helveg has stunned city rivals Internazionale by declaring that he wants to stay with the Rossoneri for another year – despite already agreeing a transfer to Hector Cuper's side at the end of the season. "I expect to stay," the Dane said.

The foraging right-back signed for Inter in the summer of 2001 but Inter agreed to loan the player back to Milan for the 2001-02 season.

He has been a permanent fixture in a solid AC Milan defence under Fatih Terim and Carlo Ancelotti this season – and Milan are now keen to keep him for another season.

And the former OB and Udinese defender said on Tuesday: "I know that Milan and Inter have been in contact [regarding the possibility of staying].

"And although it has been unofficial, it seems as if I will be staying with Milan for a further year. However, things happen quickly here in Italy," he told local Danish newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende.

Inter are unlikely to be willing to relinquish the rights for the player and an extension of the current loan deal seems the most likely option.

When he arrived at Milan, Helveg was former coach Alberto Zaccheroni's protege. It was Zaccheroni, sacked by Milan in March 2001, who plucked him out of relative obscurity at Odense in Denmark back in 1993 and turned him into one of the highest-rated right midfielders in Europe with Udinese.

When Zaccheroni arrived at Milan in 1998 he took Helveg with him and the blond midfielder responded with another impressive season.

A matter of honour vs. Juve
22.1 || webmaster

AC Milan meet Juventus FC in the Italian Cup semifinal first leg at San Siro. The victory is a matter of honour for Milan side as they no longer have any chances to emerge as winners in the Italian championship title hunt. Meanwhile for Marcello Lippi's team this match will be nothing but another tie as they still continue their Italian championship campaign as well as perform in the Champions League.
The tie is likely to turn into a true battle as noone will dare to name Milan v Juventus fixture a friendly.
"We'll face a team, who are in their hey day," claimed Carlo Ancelottri speaking on the Turin side. Milan coach claimed his side have considerably strengthened their defensive options but they've a little bit weaken their attacking line especially after Filippo Inzagi had been injured.
"We have bettered our skills but we have a lack of "agonistic rage," said Ancelotti.

Ancelotti: "We lack consistent results"
22.1 || webmaster

Despite scoring his second goal in the Italian championship, Spaniard Jose Mari isn't happy. His goal didn't bring his team a long-waited-for victory in their tie against Fiorentina (Milan drew 1-1). Just for a moment Milan fans believed their favourite team still could claim the victory when they were awarded a penalty. But the Ukraine forward Andriy Shevchenko failed to convert it as Fiorentina keeper Manninger, who was hailed as hero by Fiorentina fans, made a superb save.
AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti was equally dissatisfied with his side's draw: "I can't say we perform badly, that's not the case. But we make too many mistakes. This draw proved crucial for us. The gap between the leader and us is too wide. We lack consistent performances."
Meanwhile Ancelotti ruled out allegations about Shevchenko's regress: "He played well. He failed to convert the penalty though his strike was a brilliant one. Why did I replace him? I found it necessary to start Jose Mari."
Meanwhile Fiorentina's newly appointed coach Ottavio Bianchi equally wasn't in raptures over his side's performance: "We play with fright: that won't do. Every time we get the ball the players are in dismay what to do. We make an impression of a team who do their best meanwhile all their efforts fall flat. We must somehow reverse this tendency while it's not too late. I can't do anything at the moment. I believe a short timeout would do us good."

Serie A Reaction: Ancelotti Left Frustrated
22.1 || Tom

Full of regrets (Allsport)
01/20/2002. AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was a frustrated man after seeing his side give away a last minute goal when drawing 1-1 with Fiorentina.

Jose Mari had earlier given the rossoneri the lead but Adriano's late strike earned Octavio Bianchi's side an unlikely point.

"We struggled," lamented Ancelotti. "We should be able to close a match like this out but in the end we just committed suicide.

"A victory in this match would have been useful but we have now lost two important points."

The former Juventus coach also denied that Andriy Shevchenko's substitution had anything to do with the striker's penalty miss.

"I only replaced him for tactical reasons. Andriy is not particularly lucky, these days. He always does well, but struggles to score at the moment. He was very sorry about the missed penalty," he said.

SA Italy

Karanka moves closer to Bernabeu exit
21.1 || webmaster

Aitor Karanka is on the verge of quitting Real Madrid after confirming that the club have yet to offer him a new contract.

"Ideally I will be staying at Real, but the situation here is not improving for me," explained the Spanish defender.

"All along I have been hoping to extend my contract, but everyone – including other clubs in La Liga – know what my situation is. We've got to January now and I've not heard any news from the club. I can't go on ignoring offers from other clubs."

Karanka claimed last month that he had not been treated fairly by the Real directors. The 28-year-old signed for the Spanish champions in 1998, and he insisted that several players who signed since then have received pay rises ahead of him.

"Maybe the directors think that I don't have any right to ask for money, but after the years I have put in I think I am, and I won't step back," said Karanka in December.

The defender, who has been linked with Manchester United, Deportivo la Coruna and AC Milan, is reportedly demanding a new deal worth £1.4 million a year.

Karanka is likely to be given an extended run in the Real side following the injury to centre-half Fernando Hierro, but he insisted: "It may mean more matches for me, but I want the skipper back as quickly as possible.

"Hierro so important for the squad. In the meantime I will do my best if I am called on by the coach Vicente del Bosque. I've learned at Real that I have to be patient. The situation can change at any time."

The former Atletico Madrid ace is set to come face to face with his brother, David Karanka - who plays for Athletic Bilbao - in the Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday, and he admitted that he is relishing the prospect. "It will be a beautiful match for me," he smiled.

"I would have loved it to have been the final because that would have been a real spectacle. But it's a big match for me because the Copa del Rey is the only trophy that I have not won in Spain," he explained.

Too early to write off Milan, claims Ancelotti
21.1 || Tom

Monday 21st January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his side should not be written off as Serie A title contenders, despite dropping two more valuable points at Fiorentina over the weekend.

The Rossoneri succumbed to a last-minute equaliser from on-loan striker Adriano after Jose Mari had put them ahead. They are now fifth in the table, nine points behind leaders and city rivals Internazionale.

"I think we are still in with a chance," said Ancelotti. "We are not playing bad football, but too many mistakes are costing us precious points. We need more consistency if we are to aim for the top."

The chief culprits on Sunday were Andriy Shevchenko, who missed a penalty, and midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, dismissed for hand-ball, leaving Ancelotti to suspect that his side are becoming their own worse enemies.

"We gave away two points," admitted the 49-year-old. "This draw came from our own doing. The result was all down to various incidents: Shevchenko's penalty miss, Gattuso's red card and the final equaliser from Adriano.

"We paid for our own mistakes. Demetrio (Albertini) should have cleared the ball for their goal instead of trying to play his way out of danger.

"Shevchenko is bitterly disappointed and so he should be, but all strikers go through bad patches and he must rise above this."

Fiorentina coach Ottavio Bianchi was equally unhappy with his side, complaining that his players showed the opposition too much respect.

"We played with fear," said the 60-year-old, making his first appearance on the Viola bench since Roberto Mancini's resignation. "Each time we lost the ball we retreated into defence when we should have been putting pressure on them.

"Anyway, I hope that the draw gives the players a psychological boost for the remainder of the campaign."

The cash-straved Tuscan side remain second-bottom in the league, three points away from safety, and face a trip difficult-looking trip to Atalanta next weekend.

Gattuso apologises for sending off
21.1 || Tom

Monday 21st January 2002

AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso on Monday apologised for his sending off against Fiorentina which he believes cost his side three points.

"I'm really sorry," he said. "I left the team with just ten players and we wasted a great chance to stay near the top of the table."

Gattuso was sent off on 75 minutes for his second bookable offence after handling ball.

Only four minutes earlier, with his side leading 1-0 courtesy of Jose Mari's 51st minute strike, Andriy Shevchencko missed a penalty and Adriano's late equaliser compounded a night of misfortune for the Rossoneri.

"I was sent off without even fouling anyone," Gattuso said. "I got my first yellow card because I complained with the referee and the second one after a stupid act."

Gattuso added that, even so, he felt Milan were unlucky not to have won at the Artemio Franchi.

"I have watched the video of the game again and again," he said. "There was [Fiorentina keeper Alexander] Manninger's miracle save on the line off Sheva's header, his second save on the penalty, Serginho failing to touch home when the ball was on the goalline...

"Later on, one minute from the time, we lost the ball and we conceded that goal."

The Milan midfielder, however, insisted that his side would bounce back.

"We are going through a difficult period," he said. "You see other teams scoring thanks to a rebound while the luck continues to go against us.

"Now we have to show character and bounce back. Our aim in the league now appears to be finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions' League, though of course we still have the chance to get back in the race for the title.

"Anyway, we are in still in the running for two Cups and we really want to win something. We'll go into our Coppa Italia semi-final with Juve on Wednesday with complete concentration."

Fiorentina grab point as AC Milan miss another opportunity
20.1 || Tom

FLORENCE, Italy, Jan 20 (AFP)- AC Milan's hopes of winning the Italian first division title were further compromised here Sunday evening when struggling Fiorentina held them to a 1-1 draw with a last-gasp equaliser - by a player on loan from AC Milan's arch-rivals Inter.
A goal from Spanish striker Jose Mari looked like being enough for Milan but when their Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko had a penalty saved by Fiorentina's Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger Fiorentina breathed again.
The sending off of Milan's Italian international striker Gennaro Gattuso further complicated things and then Brazilian Adriano snatched an equaliser in injury time.
It was a fine start for new Fiorentina coach Ottavio Bianchi - another former Inter man who once coached a Diego Maradona-inspired Napoli to the Scudetto. Bianchi is returning to frontline management after five years in more sedate appointments.
But it was more food for thought for AC Milan's Carlo Ancelotti who does not seem to have yet found a formula to make the team he inherited from sacked Turk Fatih Terim in November tick and whose team remain fifth, nine points behind Inter.
Adriano, who scored an injury-time equaliser last weekend on his debut against Chievo, is quickly becoming a talisman for Fiorentina and was in the thick of things early on, having an early appeal for a penalty turned down.
But at the other end Manninger made a brilliant save after he twisted in midair to paw away what would have been an own goal from Emiliano Moretti after the defender deflected a cross from Milan's Romanian winger Cosmin Contra goalwards.
It was 0-0 at half-time but Milan made a breathtaking start to the second period.
Shevchenko's shot was scrambled off the goalline after 51 minutes but seconds later Milan went in front when a cross from their Brazilian winger Serginho was headed in by Jose Mari.p
The Ukrainian's penalty gaffe - the kick was awarded for a foul on the Ukrainian by Moreno Torricelli - and Gattuso's red card kept Fiorentina's hopes alive and in the last minute of ordinary time Serginho missed a sitter for Milan.
It would prove costly as midfielder Demetrio Albertini lost the ball to Argentinian substitute Ezequiel Gonzalez who fed Adriano. The Brazilian beat compatriot Roque Junior before firing past Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and delight fans of the club which remain second bottom of the division.

Win or bust for Milan, says Ancelotti
20.1 || Tom

Saturday 19th January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that his side must beat Fiorentina on Sunday if the Rossoneri are to remain in the title hunt. "It will be a key match for us," he said. "Our season could change if we don't win."

Milan are in fifth place, eight points adrift of league leaders Roma and two points away from a Champions' League berth, but come into the game with confidence on a high following their Coppa Italia quarter-final win over Lazio on Thursday.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, will also be boosted by the arrival of new coach Ottavio Bianchi who takes charge of the relegation strugglers for the first time, and by the form of loan signing Andriano who earned La Viola a point with his late goal against Chievo last week.

"We need to play as we did against Lazio in the Coppa Italia," Zaccheroni stressed. "I really appreciated the way we played last Thursday.

"As for Ottavio Bianchi, he has dedicated his life to football and I believe he's the right man to ensure Fiorentina avoid relegation."

Ancelotti also explained why Rui Costa, who is still suffering from an elbow injury, will not play a part against his old side.

"He is still suffering some pain and nobody wants to risk him again," Ancelotti said. "He came to me this morning and said that he didn't want to be called up for this match, but he'll be with the squad in Florence."

Rui Costa is not the only player who will miss the match against Fiorentina.

Georgian Kakha Kaladze twisted his left knee on Friday and stayed in Milan, forcing Ancelotti to ring the changes in defence. Antonio Chamot will now play at left back in place of Kaladze and Brazilian Roque Junior will partner Alessandro Costacurta in the centre of defence.

AC Milan (probable): Abbiati, Helveg, Roque Junior, Costacurta, Chamot, Jose Mari, Gattuso, Albertini, Serginho, Shevchenko, Simone

Redondo gambles on surgery
20.1 || Tom

Saturday 19th January 2002

Fernando Redondo's career is in the balance after the AC Milan midfielder revealed on Saturday that he has decided to undergo another operation after 18 months out with a cruciate ligament injury.

The Argentinian has hardly featured in a Rossoneri shirt since his £11.25 million move from Real Madrid in July 2000, but hopes had been high that he would be fit to rejoin the squad early this year.

Redondo, however, notified Milan of his decision after a visit to the Mitre hospital in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The club refused to comment officially on the news but a dejected coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted his dismay on Saturday evening.

"I spoke with him before Christmas and he told me he should be here for the end of January," Ancelotti said.

"It's up to him to manage his health. He made a deal with the club, something that nobody has ever done before him – he decided to recover from his injury by himself and agreed to forfit his salary until he was back to fitness.

"All I know is that from the tests he did before Christmas, he was in perfect condition. If he has had some problems after that, I really don't know about them."

Redondo is understood to have called Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani from his home in Argentina on Wednesday to tell him that he had suffered a setback on his road to recovery.

He had been expected in Spain where much of his rehabilitation work has taken place under Alfonso Del Corral and Pedro Chueca, who are part of Real Madrid's medical team.

But he never showed, then phoned Galliani to say he was still experiencing pain in his knee.

The development is a particular blow to the Milan chief, who has steadfastly stood by his signing. He believed that the Argentinian would soon be ready to kick-start his career in Italy after overcoming the complications which set in following the injury.

Earlier this month he said: "The fans should treat Fernando Redondo as our new signing because he is near to returning. If he achieves what he is capable of, and reaches the level of two seasons ago, we can count on a great midfielder."

Redondo offered to forego his £3 million annual salary in September. "I came to Milan to play and Milan must only pay me when that's what I am doing," he said.

A shocked Galliani was full of praise for the veteran.

"I have never seen anything like it during my career as a director," he said. "I have told him not to worry and that he will be here until his contract runs out at the end of the 2002-3 season."

"Fernando is an incredible man. I only hope that our great midfielder will be back soon."

Ancelotti: "Rui decided he wasn't fit to play"
19.1 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti explained to reporters today why Manuel Rui Costa wasn't selected for the match that was intending to pitch the Portuguese star against his former team.

"His injury is still giving him some troubles, and it was he who told me that he wasn't ready. Tomorrow he will train in Florence with the team, but only to improve his condition," said the Rossonero boss.

Ancelotti is hoping his team can build on the momentum achieved through Thursday's Coppa Italia win at Lazio that allowed the Milanisti to progress to the Italian Cup's semi-final round where they will face archrivals Juventus.

"It will be an important test for us. We shouldn't look at the upcoming fixture list, but rather concentrate on one match at a time. I am hoping we can repeat the same performance we produced against Lazio, where we played as I wanted and had the right offensive concentration that we lacked on Sunday against Brescia" said Ancelotti.

Shevchenko to stay - Milan boss
19.1 || webmaster

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is convinced that unlike Zinedine Zidane, Andrei Shevchenko will not move to Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Ancelotti, who lead Juventus up until the end of last season, was still working for the Bianconeri when the gossip about Zizou’s possible transfer to The Merengues started to spread.

Therefore, based upon his past experience, he believes that in this case, history will not be repeating itself with the Ukrainian superstar swapping Italy for the Spanish capital.

Ancelotti says: "We always mock Scheva for the gossip regarding his move to Real but I don’t believe that he will make the same choice Zidane did.

"The difference between these two players is that Zizou actually wanted to leave Juve, but Scheva doesn't want to leave AC Milan."

Jose Mari reveals special celebration
19.1 || webmaster

AC Milan's Spanish striker Josè Mari has revealed he dedicated his goal against Lazio to his father, who was watching back home in Spain.

Josè Mari scored the rossoneri's first goal in the Tim Cup clash against Lazio on Wednesday, in which Carlo Ancelotti's side won 3-2 to qualify for the semi-finals.

After scoring the young striker lifted his jersey and proudly displayed a T-shirt with the words: "Para ti viejo" (for you, old man).

Josè Mari explained why he choose to wear the T-Shirt with the Spanish message: "The reason is very simple. I knew that the game was being broadcast live in Spain, and I promised myself that I would dedicate a goal to my dad, who was watching."

"That's why I was wearing that T-shirt. I wanted to give my father a small long-distance gift."

An emotional Fiorentina return for Rui Costa
18.1 || Tom

Copyright © 2002 Reuters News Service


ROME (January 18, 2002 10:00 AM EST) - AC Milan's Portuguese playmaker Rui Costa returns to Florence this weekend with mixed emotions.

For seven seasons he graced the Artemio Franchi pitch, opening up defenses and creating chances for Fiorentina striker Gabriel Batistuta.

When financial crisis hit the club last summer, however, Rui Costa was one of the most marketable assets and it was no surprise when he was sold to Milan.

With former Fiorentina coach Fatih Terim at the helm, he was expected to create similar chances for Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko, but the manager did not last until Christmas and Rui Costa's contribution was continually questioned in the media.

But Rui Costa, who is likely to be a key figure in Portugal's World Cup campaign later this year, faces his former team mates on Sunday with La Viola still very much in his affections.

"It will be very strange on Sunday and I'll partly be sad, partly happy. There will be many people waiting to applaud me," Rui Costa told the Corriere dello Sport. "I miss the people, I miss the rapport I had with the city and I would love to have that again in Milan.

"If I score I will not celebrate out of respect to the fans.

"We're all professional and I'll greet my former team mates before and after the game. I am honored to have been captain of that team and of that group of players."

Rui Costa is still to find his best form in Milan and it would be ironic if he was to put in one of his best performances against Fiorentina, who are struggling against relegation in 17th place in Serie A.

"I am absolutely certain that I will be as good for Milan as I was for Fiorentina," he said. "Everything went well at the start for me but I know that to be in top form, it's important that my head is right.

"Coach (Carlo) Ancellotti has instilled a good rapport in the team but for now the club are not making the challenge we would have expected."

Whatever happens on Sunday, Rui Costa refuses to rule out a move back to Florence.

"It's possible that I'll return one day to Fiorentina in some form," he said.

Fifth-placed AC Milan has 31 points, eight behind leaders AS Roma, while Fiorentina, who are second-bottom of the standings, have 15 with only four wins in their first 18 league matches.

Copyright © 2002 SportServer

Priceless Shevchenko will stay at Milan
18.1 || Tom

01/17/2002. In an extensive two-hour forum with the Corriere dello Sport, published on the AC Milan Official Website, Milan supremo Adriano Galliani has declared that Ukranian crown jewel, Andriy Shevchenko will not leave the club in the near future.

When asked whether the rumors linking Shevchenko to Real Madrid had any substance, Galliani curtly replied, "We will never sell him. He has no price!"

Even though AC Milan have repeatedly announced the striker off limits and turned down hefty bids from Real, los merengues' Jorge Valdano continues to hope that he will be able to lure the striker away from the red and black club.

While Galliani and Co. have been very subdued about the whole matter, it is clear that there is no deal and that the Madrid side will be wasting their time trying to pry the former cappocanioneri away.

Meanwhile, reports from Spain have confirmed that Real's summer mega-signing will most likely arrive in the form of French midfielder (and strangely, former AC Milan player) Patrick Vieira.

Arjun Devgan

Christian Abbiati: Keeper must always keep his cool
18.1 || Tom

MILAN, January 18 (DS) - AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati believes that his side still preserve chances to emerge as winners in scudetto chase.
"Tying 0-0 Brescia we've missed a great opportunity to show our strong sides. But there's still time to pull ourselves together and fight till this season's final tie."
Abbiati commented on his current form: "When you make a mistake, when you concede a goal, you must start everything anew. I didn't lose my heart after our defeat to Roma (1-0). Every keeper must always keep his cool, that's the most vital to him. I know that everybody in Milan trusts me and I should live up to their expectations."
Commenting on the forthcoming tie against Fiorentina the goalie said: "This tie is crucial both for us and our rivals. We must try to achieve the best possible result and to attain this we must impose our game. The match can prove to be a tough one as Fiorentina are inspired by their draw with Chievo. Fiorentina go through a tough period, but the arrival of a new coach can give the team a necessary impetus. Meanwhile we perform rather well winning three of the 4 previous ties."
The goalkeeper sneered at the World Cup 2002 advertisement, starring Toldo, Buffon and Pagliuca: "I believe I'm not handsome enough to appear in ads. Meanwhile Pagliuca should secure a N3 keeper place for the World Cup trip. The championship will reveal the one who deserves that place. If I'm recalled, I'll be the happiest man alive."

Bierhoff to quit Germany after World Cup
18.1 || webmaster

Germany striker Oliver Bierhoff has confirmed that he will retire from international football after the World Cup.

The 33-year-old told German television on Friday that he will stand down regardless of how he fares in South Korea and Japan in the summer.

"It's the end. Definitively," said the Monaco star.

The former AC Milan hitman also claimed that he has been assured that he will play a major role in the finals, despite falling out of favour during the qualification campaign.

"Rudi Voller has told me that he was absolutely sure that I will be an important player in the World Cup," confirmed Bierhoff.

Bierhoff was axed from his position of Germany captain by Voller following criticism from the former national-team coach Franz Beckenbauer last October.

"I have never understood the nomination of Bierhoff," said Beckenbauer last year. "In the role of captain you have to have authority, and Bierhoff doesn't have any because he has always been an individualist.

"In the national team he comes up against six players from Bayern and to them he can't say anything. The best choice for Germany captain would be Oliver Kahn," he insisted.

A powerful target man, Bierhoff made a name for himself in Italy where he had successful spells at Ascoli, Udinese, where coach Alberto Zaccheroni helped him reach his full potential, and then at AC Milan.

His success in Serie A soon earned him international recognition. The striker played a major role in Germany's success at Euro 96, scoring two goals in the final against the Czech Republic, and has made 56 appearances for the national team.

Bierhoff was Serie A's top scorer in 1997-98 with Udinese, and got 18 in AC Milan's Scudetto winning season in 1998-99.

Milan to face Juve in Coppa Italia semifinal
18.1 || webmaster

Milan and Juventus will face each other in the semi-finals of the Tim Cup, after getting past Lazio and Atalanta respectively.

The Rossoneri inflicted a 3-2 defeat on Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in front of a small crowd of angry fans, after winning 2-1 in Milan last week.

Josè Mari and Javi Moreno, who netted a brace, provided the goals for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Simone Inzaghi and Hernan Crespo reduced the deficit but their goals were not enough to spare Lazio their second knock-out of the season, after their early Champions League exit.

Juventus suffered a 2-1 defeat in Bergamo at the hands of Atalanta last night.

However, due to their 4-2 win in Turin last week, the bianconeri qualified for the semi-finals, and they will line-up against their former coach Carlo Ancelotti and his new side AC Milan.

Daniele Berretta and Ignacio Pià provided the two goals for the bergamachi in the space of three second-half minutes, while earlier on the bianconeri had taken the lead thanks to a strike from Uruguayan forward Marcelo Zalayeta.

In the other semi-final Brescia will face Parma, with the first leg of both semi-finals on January 23.

Spanish pair praise Ancelotti
18.1 || webmaster

AC Milan strikers Javi Moreno and Jose Mari have both spoken of how coach Carlo Ancelotti has supported them through their recent difficult periods.

Moreno, signed from Alaves in the summer, has found first-team football hard to come by, while Jose Mari has suffered with injuries all campaign.

Moreno told the Milan channel of how well he has been treated by the former Juve coach and how he never stopped encouraging him.

"He's always been very caring, I started playing only when he arrived. And he always talked to me, even when I was out with injury. I won't forget it," said the Spanish international.

After netting the first goal in Milan's 3-2 Coppa Italia victory over Lazio, Jose Mari spoke of the difficult period he has had with injury but how Ancelotti had always been by his side.

"I had my knee injured, and I was a bit depressed, but Ancelotti has always been caring and confident in my recovery," he said.

Despite not being particularly well placed in the league at the moment, there seems to be a feel-good factor around Milan at the moment and the Rossoneri will hope to continue where they left off against Lazio, when they travel to Fiorentina on Sunday night.

Milan sign Brazilian defender
18.1 || webmaster

Milan have confirmed the signing of 17 year-old Brazilian defender Clayton Dos Santos Machado. The former Bologna and Campinas junior has been given a contract until 2006.

Lazio drink in last-chance saloon, AC Milan need win and tonic
18.1 || Tom

MILAN, Jan 18 (AFP)
AC Milan and Lazio will this weekend attempt to catch the train to the Italian title before it's too late.
Just over halfway through the season the field appears to be down to just four teams - reigning champions AS Roma, Inter Milan, perennial challengers Juventus and Chievo, the surprise packages from Verona who have been travelling first class all season despite their shoestring budget.
AC Milan and Lazio may be Serie A fat cats but if they fail to take maximum points against Fiorentina and Perugia respectively this weekend they know that - to quote boxing promoter Don King - that they will have two chances of winning the Italian first division title - slim and none.
Milan are eight points adrift of defending champions AS Roma who have only lost once in 18 games.
The Milanese visit a Fiorentina team that will for the first time be under the charge of Ottavio Bianchi, the man who led a Diego Maradona-inspired Napoli to their first Scudetto in 1986-7 and who is returning to front-line coaching after a gap of more than five years.
The addition of on-loan Inter Milan striker Adriano seems to have boosted Fiorentina, however, and the Brazilian will be a thorn in the side of Carlo Ancelotti's side who can afford no further slip-ups if they are to stay in contention for a 17th Scudetto.
But the plight of Lazio is far worse. They are 14 points behind their biggest foes Roma although they do have a game in hand.
Perugia have been a much-improved side of late and will not make it easy at the Olympic Stadium for Lazio whose coach Alberto Zaccheroni has refused to write off his side's title prospects.
Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti visited the team this week to give his under-performing troops a pep talk on how important this week's game is - and that was before they were eliminated from the Italian Cup this week.
Up at the top Roma will be confident of continuing in winning vein against Udinese who have drifted towards the relegation zone since they sacked English coach Roy Hodgson before Christmas.
The club's majority shareholder Giampaolo Pozzo gave new coach Giampietro Ventura the vote of confidence this week - but he is not renowned for his patience and Roma coach Fabio Capello now has all of his strikers to choose from.
Inter Milan host Parma and will hope to profit from any Roma slip-up but the visitors have shown signs of recovery in recent weeks and Inter's only two defeats this season - by AC Milan and Chievo - have both been on home soil at the San Siro.
Juve are running into good form and a home match with Atalanta should be an opportunity to further state their case for what would be a 26th Scudetto for the Turin giants.
Chievo, who like Lazio have a game in hand, will be determined to remain in the vanguard when they host Bologna, another team that still has the slenderest of claims to the title.
Chievo's city rivals Verona host near neighbours Venezia while Brescia meet Torino and Piacenza visit Lecce in matches that only have a relegation interest.
Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)
Saturday: Brescia v Torino
Sunday: Bologna v Chievo, Inter Milan v Parma, Juventus v Atalanta, Lazio v Perugia, Lecce v Piacenza, Udinese v AS Roma, Verona v Venezia, Fiorentina v AC Milan

AC Milan chief rues shifting power in European game
17.1 || Tom

Copyright © 2002 Reuters News Service


ROME (January 17, 2002 09:35 AM EST) - AC Milan's executive vice-president Adriano Galliani has reacted angrily to speculation linking star striker Andriy Shevchenko with a move to Spain as he reflected on a shift in power in European club soccer away from Italy.

Galliani, who effectively runs Milan for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also revealed that Milan had tried but failed to lure Real Madrid's Luis Figo and Francesco Totti of Italian champions AS Roma to the club in the past.

"We will never sell Shevchenko to Real (Madrid). What price does Sheva have? He has no price," Galliani was quoted as saying in Thursday's Corriere Dello Sport.

"It's incredible. In the past Real never came to Milan to look for (Marco) van Basten or (Ruud) Gullit. The market has changed," Galliani said ruefully.

Milan was crowned European champions three times between 1989 and 1994 but Italian clubs have not fared so well in the Champions League in recent years. Juventus was the last Italian winners in 1996.

Galliani said that the money pouring into clubs in other European leagues has meant Italy can no longer compete.

"On the European front, big competitiveness has been influenced by the advent of pay-TV that didn't exist before. Clubs abroad received rivers of money that wasn't there before, especially in England and Spain," he said.

"In the past there were presidents such as Silvio Berlusconi who invested millions from their own pockets. Now it would be unthinkable to consider a squad (in Italy) with the equivalents of champions such as van Basten, (Frank) Rijkaard and Gullit.


"For some time players have preferred to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona or England.

"At one time I even went to Barcelona to buy Figo and then the Portuguese player renewed his contract with Barcelona, doubling his pay. A while back we were close even to signing Totti," Galliani said.

Figo moved across Spain to Real for a then world record fee of $56 million in 2000.

Galliani believes there are other factors that hinder Italian clubs and lamented the dearth of top stars in the Italian game.

"All you have to do is think of the owners of the stadiums. In Italy we don't have anything and we can do nothing. We only pay rent to the city councils," he said.

"Once upon a time our top attacker was van Basten, who won the Golden Ball three times, his number two was (Jean Pierre) Papin, another Golden Ball. Now it's much more difficult.

"Always it used to be that the Golden Ball was won by someone who played for the Italian champions. It's also because now there are Spanish and English teams with lots of money," he said.

The 2001 Golden Ball for European Footballer of the Year was won last month by Liverpool's England striker Michael Owen.

"Real Madrid were unable to win the Champions League from 1966 to 1998. Cycles always exist but recently there have been some considerable changes on the level of economics. It's definitely more competitive economically."

Copyright © 2002 SportServer

Cup win boosts Ancelotti
17.1 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti admits he is pleased with Milan's Tim Cup victory over Lazio, and particularly the manner in which his team played.

"Finally I have seen a very determined and angry AC Milan," said the San Siro coach. "A team that wanted to win and played to do so with a willingness to score and to hurt, of course figuratively, its opponent."

Even though the Tim Cup is not considered such a crucially important tournament anymore, the rossoneri have not been able to win it for over 25 years. Therefore getting to the semi-finals, where they will meet the winner of tonight's Atalanta versus Juve match, is no doubt a good achievement for the Milan side.

Ancelotti added: "This competition is important for us. I've said it many times already. We didn't want to drop out of it and I believe we did all that we could to get this far.

"I believe we played a very good match. Our offensive play has been highly effective. I'm sure that starting from this game we can build something positive for this team."

Atletico reject Javi Moreno talk
17.1 || webmaster

Atletico Madrid sports manager Paulo Futre has denied the club want to sign AC Milan's Javi Moreno on loan as part of a deal for Fernando Torres.

There has been rumours in Spain that Moreno could be included in a deal that would see Atletico hot-shot Torres move to AC Milan.

The Rojiblancos top the table in La Segunda and look certain to gain promotion to Spain's top flight for next season.

But returning to La Primera will mean that coach Luis Aragonés must rebuild his squad and that includes signing a top class striker.

Current strike duo Torres and Diego Alonso are doing fine work for Atletico but as Torres is still just 17 and Alonso finishes his loan spell from Valencia in June, Atletico must move fast to complete a potent attack ahead of the new campaign.

Torres has wowed the footballing community both in Spain and abroad and has received lucrative offers from some of Europe's top name clubs, including Milan.

But Futre assured on Thursday that the youngster will not form part of a deal with Javi Moreno.

"If I have my way, then Fernando Torres will remain at Atletico for many years to come," he told news agency EFE.

"He's under contract and young enough that we still don't know what his limits are. I have full confidence in the lad's capabilities and he'll have more chances to show his worth in La Primera, because the game is much more open."

Regarding the supposed interest in Javi Moreno, Futre continued: "Milan don't want to loan the player out and he's valued at £17million, which is why I can't see him leaving Italy just yet."

But Uruguyan Diego Alonso could be a cheaper option at just £3.75million.

"We're very happy with Diego but he has a clause in his contract that we must obey if we decide to buy him.

"We'll study it later in the season and negotiate if necessary, but now's not the time to think about it," concluded Futre.

Writs fly as Sensi accuses League of favouritism
17.1 || webmaster

Roma president Franco Sensi faces legal action after accusing former League president Franco Carraro of favouring the interests of AC Milan and Juventus. "Sensi is spreading slanderous accusations and I cannot accept that," said Carraro.

Sensi is competing with Parma president Stefano Tanzi for the right to succeed Carraro, but three rounds of voting by Serie A and B chairmen have failed to produce a clear winner, so a new ballot has been called for February 1.

And the lull has given Sensi time to turn up the heat on the former administration.

"They [Milan and Juventus] are accustomed to being in charge of Italian football," claimed the 76-year-old during a league committee meeting. "The new rules I propose would prevent a repeat of the problems during the Carraro era.

"In my tenure, the majority of clubs in this committee would be allowed to share the cash evenly and transparently."

Sensi's remarks indicated that Carraro had colluded with a select few clubs to ensure that the financial rewards from areas such as TV rights remained within the top flight.

Carraro, who is now head of the Italian FA (FIGC), immediately announced he would sue. "I have to defend myself and my image," he said.

Juventus director Antonio Giraudo also revealed that court action was the likeliest outcome. "This attack from Sensi has deeply angered me," he said.

"A president of an important club has considered it opportune to make these gravely offensive remarks that sully the reputation of myself and the club I represent, not to mention other Serie A sides and federation president Carraro.

"I cannot ignore this and will explore every legal avenue to preserve my reputation."

If Sensi is elected, which seems likely as he has the backing of the majority of Serie B owners, he will force clubs with more lucrative pay-per-view TV contracts to hand over larger sums to sides in the lower divisions.

But Milan director Adriano Galliani, also the vice-president of the League, maintained that he would not go along with the plan.

"If Sensi wins this election, then I shall not accept his rules, nor shall I write cheques favouring clubs as part of a policy I do not agree with. I don't know which court on earth could make me do it," he said.

Milan stunned by Redondo setback
17.1 || Tom

Wednesday 16th January 2002

Argentina star Fernando Redondo has stunned AC Milan by revealing he is no nearer to returning despite 18 months in rehabilitation for a cruciate ligament injury.

There are now fears that the £11.25 million midfielder, who is understood to have called Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani with the news from his home in Argentina, will never resume his career.

Redondo, who has hardly played for Milan since damaging the ligaments soon after joining from Real Madrid in July 2000, was thought to be on the road to recovery.

He was expected in Spain on Wednesday where much of his rehabilitation work has taken place under Alfonso Del Corral and Pedro Chueca, who are part of Real Madrid's medical team.

But he never showed, then phoned Galliani to say he was still experiencing pain in his knee.

The development is a particular blow to the Milan chief, who has steadfastly stood by his signing. He believed that the Argentinian would soon be ready to kick-start his career in Italy after overcoming the complications which set in following the injury.

Only last week he said: "The fans should treat Fernando Redondo as our new signing because he is near to returning. If he achieves what he is capable of, and reaches the level of two seasons ago, we can count on a great midfielder."

It is now expected that Milan will step up their efforts to sign Chelsea youngster Sam Dalla Bona.

Spanish fiesta as AC Milan book last-four spot
16.1 || Tom

ROME, Jan 16 (AFP)
AC Milan booked a place in the semi-finals of the Italian Cup here at the Olympic Stadium Wednesday, a 3-2 victory on the night ensuring they beat Lazio 5-3 on aggregate.
Spanish strikers Jose Mari and Javi Moreno were the stars, scoring all three goals between them with Moreno bagging two and Simone Inzaghi replying for Lazio.
AC Milan took the lead on the night after just five minutes, extending their aggregate lead to 3-1.
All the credit was down to their Brazilian winger Serginho who dribbled past Paolo Negro before crossing to the far post where Jose Mari scored from close range.
Midway through the first-half Lazio fans began what was obviously a co-ordinated protest against the poor form of their team as they walked out, leaving their Curva Nord stronghold deserted.
But as they left their side got back in the match with Inzaghi - whose brother Filippo plays for AC Milan but is injured - equalising on the night from close range after a cross by Czech winger Karel Poborsky.
It was not enough to entice the Lazio fans back to their seats and, after the break, the Milan side quickly wrapped up the tie.
It was Moreno, whose injury-time strike had settled last week's first leg, who was the man on target.
He set his sights by hitting the bar and minutes later he raced onto a pass from Christian Brocchi and fired an angled shot past Lazio goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi and just two minutes later the former Alaves forward struck again.
This time Moreno looked suspiciously offside as he raced onto a pass from compatriot Jose Mari and lobbed Peruzzi.
However, Lazio did not lie down and their Argentinian forward Hernan Crespo scored a fine goal after linking up well with Inzaghi.
But it was not enough to keep the tie alive and now Milan can look forward to a semi-final clash with Atalanta or more probably Juventus who take a 4-2 lead into their second-leg match at Bergamo on Thursday.
The line-up for the other semi-final is already decided with Parma and Brescia through.

Ancelotti: Sheva not for sale!
16.1 || Tom

MADRID, January 16 (DS) - Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez keeps on strengthening his squad with European top stars. Among the recent speculations is his interest in Arsenal midfielder Patrik Vieira and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Perez has already been several times linked with Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani, however each time his proposals were rejected.
The Italian side manager Carlo Ancelotti claims that what has happened to Zinedine Zidane will never happen to their Ukrainian international.
Meanwhile, Sheva hasn't scored for four straight games and cannot count on a permanent first team place. Moreover, the manager admitted Shevchenko will have to fight for a regular place with Jose Mari and Javi Moreno.
"Sheva must be patient. He is not depressed at all. It's naturally impossible to score in every game," Ancelotti indicated.

Shevchenko 'not interested' in joining Real
16.1 || Tom

Tuesday 15th January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has claimed he will not allow Andriy Shevchenko to be lured to Real Madrid like former Juventus star Zinedine Zidane. "I do not believe history will repeat itself. Zidane wanted to get away, while Shevchenko does not," he said.

Real president Florentino Perez admitted this week that the Ukrainian was on his wanted list, along with Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, and promised to discuss a deal in the summer.

But Ancelotti insisted on Tuesday night that Shevchenko was happy, despite failing to score in his last four games and an on-field row with team-mate Alessandro Costacurta after the goalless draw against Brescia at the weekend.

"Sheva is not depressed and he not been seduced by the overtures of Real Madrid. He just needs patience to start playing how he was before," he explained.

Milan general manager Ariedo Braida had admitted Shevchenko could be sold to Real if the price is right.

"Florentino Perez knows that Shevchenko is priceless, but it once seemed impossible that Luis Figo could leave Barcelona for Madrid and that Zinedine Zidane could quit Juve," he said.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani confessed in October that Real attempted to buy Shevchenko last summer. "We would be in credit now if I had accepted their money," he said.

Shevchenko signed a one-year extension to his Milan contract in the close-season, committing him to the club until 2006. He has pledged to stay beyond the end of the current campaign.

Ancelotti keen on cup run
16.1 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted his team are disappointed by their recent results, but insists they can turn it around.

"The team is certainly disappointed but not depressed," said Ancelotti, whose team was only able to pick up a 0-0 draw at home to Brescia last Sunday.

Tonight the rossoneri will be at the Stadio Olimpico for the return Tim Cup match against Lazio, a game that Ancelotti wants his team to win at all costs: "We are phisically fit and we have the advantage, having defeated Lazio 2-1 in Milan.

"However, I'm sure that Lazio will create quite a few problems. They're a strong team and they'll no doubt be looking forward to achieving a victory after Sunday's set-back."

He added: "It's an important game for the both of us and I absolutely don't believe this to be a challenge between two disappointed teams.

"What I ask of the boys is to play an aggressive game - I don't want them to think about the victory achieved in the other match.

"We regard this competition as highly important, we always did and we never thought about dropping out of it."

Ancelotti decides attack is best form of defence
16.1 || Tom

Tuesday 15th January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has insisted his side will not sit back in their Coppa Italia quarter-final with Lazio on Wednesday, despite holding a 2-1 first-leg lead.

"We will play an open and attacking match and not think about our advantage," he said.

The game is crucial to both sides, who have struggled to sustain challenges for the Scudetto. "We care about the Coppa Italia and we never thought that this competition is not important," he said.

"Physically we are in good shape and we start in a strong position having won 2-1 in the first leg at the San Siro.

"Lazio will make things difficult because they are always a dangerous team and they will be looking to make up for their weekend defeat against Piacenza.

"It's an important match for us and for them, but I don't consider it a clash between two frustrated teams. It's true that we are a little disappointed about our results in the league, but we are not depressed.

"We must look to play a good passing game because our players are at their best playing the ball and we must give them the chance to express their talent."

Ancelotti's main injury doubt is striker Andriy Shevchenko, who will decide prior to the match whether he is fit to play.

"He may have to be left out because he is suffering from a slight knock, but otherwise he would, of course, play. If he feels up to it, there is no doubt he will play.

"We will play with Sebastiano Rossi in goal and Roque Junior, Martin Laursen, Billy Costacurta and Kakhaber Kaladze in defence.

"In midfield I'll play Serginho on the left and Gennaro Gattuso in the centre, but I still have to decide between Demetrio Albertini and Massimo Donati for the second place in the centre and between Umit Davala and Cristian Brocchi on the right.

"I don't yet know who will play up front – either Sheva, Marco Simone, Jose Mari or Javi Moreno."

Lazio come into the match with coach Alberto Zaccheroni's job on the line.

The weekend defeat to Piacenza has left his club little chance of clinching fourth spot and a back-door entry into the Champions' League, so success in the Coppa Italia has become the priority.

To make matters worse for Lazio, city rivals Roma are steaming ahead at the top of Serie A and the tifosi are expected to voice their dissatisfaction at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

"They have every right," said Zaccheroni. "Our fans are obviously frustrated, just as we are, and I will understand if they decide not to support the team. It's a pity, of course, given that this match is crucial if we are to achieve our target of winning a trophy."

Rui Costa's tip for success
15.1 || Tom

15 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Manuel Rui Costa says AC Milan would benefit from combining techniques used by former manager Fatih Terim and current boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The Portugal international midfielder said: "With Terim we took more risk and we scored more goals but we also conceded more to our opponents.

"With Ancelotti we don't really concede many goals but we don't score as much as we used to either.

"The ideal would be to combine both techniques. But I believe that this situation is the proof that Terim was not the only one to blame.

"Of course the coach is always the one who pays for the team's underperforming because he's responsible for the squad. Ancelotti has never told us to step on the field and draw with Brescia but sometimes these things happen and you can't really explain them."

The midfielder also believes he has been treated unfairly by the Italian media.

"So many lies have been said about me," he claimed. "I never expected to regarded as the leader of the group. I have always respected everybody's role and I know that I can't be considered as important as the veterans, but I hope that in the future I will become important for this team.

"In any case now that I'm out with an injury the team is having the same troubles it had before, therefore the problem wasn't me."

ITALIAN CUP PREVIEW: Juve, AC Milan aiming to set up showdown
15.1 || Tom

By TOM ROSS, Agence France-Presse

MILAN, Italy (January 14, 2002 10:46 PM EST) - Perennial rivals AC Milan and Juventus will hope to set up a semifinal clash in the Italian Cup when they complete their quarterfinal second-leg matches this week.

AC Milan will defend a 2-1 first-leg lead when it travels to Rome Wednesday for a return with Lazio, while Juventus travels to Bergamo on Thursday, but has a 4-2 advantage over opponent Atalanta.

Milan can consider itself lucky to be leading Lazio which - 14 points behind AS Roma in the title race and eliminated from the Champions League - knows this is its last realistic chance of silverware this season.

Lazio had most of the play in last week's first leg, but was undone in injury time when Spanish striker Javi Moreno cracked a winner from a freekick.

But Juventus is far more confident of progressing, and won last week despite fielding what was essentially a second-string team - reserve striker Nicola Amoruso bagging a hat trick.

The tie will see the Zenoni twins pit their wits against each other with Juve's Cristiano, who left Atalanta last summer, facing his brother Damiano, who remains with the Bergamo club.

A two-goal cushion looks enough, although the Turin side knows to its cost that Bergamo is a notoriously difficult place for visiting teams.

But it all points to a semifinal between Milan and Juve, the two most successful teams in Italian soccer history.

The other semifinal will be between Parma and Brescia, which have already booked their last-four spots.

Vieira, Shevchenko catch Real Madrid's eye
15.1 || Tom

Copyright © 2002 Reuters News Service


MADRID (January 14, 2002 01:48 PM EST) - Real Madrid is interested in luring Arsenal's Patrick Vieira and AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko to the Spanish club.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said the two players were on sporting director Jorge Valdano's target list for next season.

"Valdano has very good taste and Vieira and Shevchenko are certainly on his list," Perez was quoted in the sports daily Marca on Monday.

Perez, who was involved in bringing world record signings Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane to the club, made it clear that Real would only add one major signing to its squad before next season.

"It is possible that we will sign a major star next season, but in the most optimistic of cases we will only be signing one such player," he said.

The Real president dismissed speculation that Real was interested in Lazio defender Alessandro Nesta, who recently underwent an knee operation.

"Nesta is a different case, because we have our own Nesta in the club already and that is (Francisco) Pavon," Perez said in reference to the young center back who has emerged from the club's youth ranks this season.

Perez insisted he was not worried by suggestions that signing too many big players could lead to resentment within the squad.

"We want to sign players who will fit in with the culture at Real Madrid and, because of that, we not only consider the sporting side, but also other aspects ... and everyone has seen that with Zidane."

Copyright © 2002 SportServer

Ancelotti upbeat despite draw
14.1 || Tom

14 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is still not giving up on the title despite his team's 0-0 draw with Brescia at the San Siro yesterday.
Ancelotti said after the match: "This last Sunday hasn't been positive for us because we've drifted further away from the top."

"However, we want to keep on going on and we want to fight till the very end of the championship.

"We didn't play a nice first half, we were far too slow to create any real danger to Brescia," the former Juventus coach admitted.

"In the second half, we did definitely better but it wasn't enough. Playing against them wasn't really easy because they play defensively very well. After all, even Roma drew with them.

"I believe, however, that we do have a very competitive group of players, but we haven't really played well against Brescia."

Shevchenko in Milan loyalty pledge
14.1 || Tom

Monday 14th January 2002

AC Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko will not leave the club at the end of the season despite an on-field row with senior player Alessandro Costacurta after Sunday's goalless draw with Brescia.

TV cameras clearly showed the two players quarrelling bitterly at the end of the game, which ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw for Carlo Ancelotti's title-chasing side. The result left them eight points behind leaders Roma.

Skevchenko admitted that the pair were frustrated by the scoreline – but there was nothing more sinister than that. "I never like to lose or draw," he said, "because I have never won anything in my career, so I really feel bad after a match like that."

Costacurta agreed, saying: "It was nothing important between Sheva and me. We are good friends so we can easily speak honestly with each other. One minute later our argument had come to an end and we were friends like we were before."

Shevchenko added: "Billy [Costacurta's nickname] told me some good things on the pitch and I will remember them. The league still has many matches to play and we have a lot of time to get back on top.

"Anyway, I feel very happy with my team and I don't want to leave at all. At the end of the season, I will go on playing with Milan."

Earlier this season, Milan general manager Ariedo Braida admitted that Shevchenko could be sold to Real Madrid if the price is right. "Real president Florentino Perez knows that Shevchenko is priceless, but it once seemed impossible that Luis Figo could leave Barcelona for Madrid and that Zinedine Zidane could leave Juve," he said.

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani had admitted in October that Real had attempted to buy Shevchenko last summer. "We would be in credit now if I had accepted Real's money," he said then.

Last summer, Shevchenko signed a one-year extension on his contract, committing him to the San Siro until 2006.

Rui Costa targets Florence return
14.1 || Tom

Monday 14th January 2002

Portugal star Manuel Rui Costa is determined to make his return for AC Milan much earlier than expected following an ankle injury - and has set his sights on Sunday's showdown with former club Fiorentina.

"I hope to be in condition to play in Florence," said the World Cup hopeful.

It was initially feared that the Portuguese midfielder could be out until late February after club doctors revealed the ankle injury he suffered against Verona late last year was worse than they first thought.

The player himself set the comeback date of February 3, when Milan take on Lazio, but the recovery has gone far better than anticipated.

“Thinks went well enough during the last few days and I hope to join the others in training this week," he said. "I've been able to work on my physical condition over the past two weeks and I feel the injury is getting better and better."

Rui Costa has so far failed to show the form which persuaded Milan to pay Fiorentina £28 million for him in the summer, but believes he will return as a new player after his enforced lay-off.

"In Florence I am sure I can make a new start," he said. "I will certainly do my best to be on the pitch on Sunday evening and I will defend my new shirt with all the pride and professionalism I have."

The Portugal star also confirmed his commitment to Milan in the long term.

“I'm here to stay and help the team win something important. I knew at the beginning it wouldn't have been easy, but I have signed a five-year contract." he added.

Ancelotti Has Not Lost All Scudetto Hopes
14.1 || Tom

01/13/2002. Despite the Brescia scoreless draw allowed Roma to widen the gap separating them from AC Milan to seven points, Rossonero boss Carlo Ancelotit believes Milan still have some chances of winning Lo Scudetto.

"The doors that lead to the Scudetto are still not closed off, but now the situation is more complicated. I didn't expect this result to occur, and I thought our problems netting goals against teams that defend themselves were finished. But we still have chances, even if the comeback is difficult now," said Ancelotti.

SA Italy

Sheva's commitment plea
14.1 || Tom

14 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Andrij Shevchenko has revealed he must give more for the team after teammate Alessandro Costacurta openly blasted his commitment.
Following Sunday's draw with Brescia, Costacurta openly reprimanded Shevchenko in front of the cameras. He accused the Ukrainian of being too selfish during the match, a sentiment that Marco Simone hinted at.

Simone said: "What we must all think of first is what is good for AC Milan. We can't be thinking about ourselves."

Costacurta, however, has explained that he only spoke out against Shevchenko because they are very good friends.

The defender said: "I only have fights with people I care for. My mother, my sister or my brother. Shevchenko to me is like a brother and I certainly wouldn't get mad at him if I wouldn't think the world of him as a person and a scorer."

The Ukrainian, however, has publicly admitted that Costacurta was right in reprimanding him and stated that he and his friend have since talked thing through.

Shevchenko added: "Billy was totally right. I can and I must give more to this team.

"The problem is that at the end of the game I was very disappointed. I'm like this. I can't lose or a draw a match because I feel terribly disappointed afterwards.

"Maybe it's because I am yet to win something important but I just can't stand not winning.

"Billy and I however have talked things through. I know I can do much better and I am still convinced that we can win since the championship is still very long."

Milan 0 - 0 Brescia - match report
13.1 || webmaster

Milan's title challenge was dealt a blow this afternoon when lowly Brescia held them to a terribly dull and boring goalless draw.

Carlo Ancellotti's men struggled to break down a resolute Brescia defence that had the inspirational Luca Castellazzi to thank.

The game started with Milan pushing and probing the Brescia back-line but it was the away team that had the first attempt on goal but Frederico Giunti had his free-kick well saved by Abbiati.

As the home side started to get into their stride, the ever dangerous Andrji Shevchenko was twice denied by the magnificent Castellazzi.

In the second half, Luca Toni had a shot well saved by Abbiati and he was denied two minutes later when he was put through by Giunti.

After this the home side stamped their authority on the game with continued possession but failed to create any real clear cut chances.

A Serginho free-kick and Shevchenko half chance was all that the would be title contenders could muster.

There were boos ringing round the San Siro when the final whistle went and it is clear that Milan must improve if they are to realise their dream of lifting Lo Schudetto.

Brescia remain a point away from the relegation zone but if they show the same character as they did today then they should escape the drop.

Milan boss relives darkest day against Mazzone
13.1 || Tom

Saturday 12th January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he is still haunted by the memory of losing the Scudetto with Juventus on the final day of the 1999-2000 season to Carlo Mazzone's Perugia as he prepares his side to take on the veteran's new club Brescia on Sunday.

"It is a bad memory for me," admitted the Milan boss. "I was the Juve coach and it looked like I would definitely win the title when we travelled to Perugia.

"But they beat us and Lazio went ahead of us to win the league. Mazzone seemed to feel sorry for me on that afternoon and I can believe that he did because he is a very genuine person.

"I doubt that pity will carry over to Sunday, though," he smiled.

But after seeing his side dispose of Lazio in the Coppa Italia in midweek, Ancelotti is quietly confident that they will repeat the trick against Brescia at the San Siro.

"We have to keep going and I believe we will," said the former Parma coach. "It's great to win, but it's also important for the team to be playing well.

"We'll have to be at our best against Brescia because they are a good team. They have not had much luck up until now, particularly with injuries to Roberto Baggio and Federico Giunti," he added.

Ancelotti respects his team and namesake
13.1 || Tom

MILAN, January 12 (DS) - Brescia striker Roberto Baggio is nearly ready to return to field, team head coach Carlo Mazzone has announced.
"He worked hard during the whole spell of the week. I think he will return soon," he said.
Tomorrow Brescia will meet AC Milan, whose coach Carlo Ancelotti has mentioned that he respects his team and namesake.
"Bescia have a lot of injured players. But despite it, their matches against Bologna FC and Roma were impressive," Ancelotti said.
"I believe in Milan. We only need to accelerate our speed," he added.

Milan - Brescia - match preview
12.1 || webmaster

Two Carlitos from Rome come face-to-face when Ancelotti's Milan entertain Mazzone's Brescia in an exciting clash made dull by the absence of some big names. Roberto Baggio, Josep Guardiola, Manuel Rui Costa and Paolo Maldini are only some of the stars that will watch their respective teams from the stands.

Milan will be looking to record their fourth win on the trot while Brescia will be looking to come away with a valuable point. However, while Brescia's problems seem to be taking a toll of them (as evident in their league form), Milan have started to prosper in the wake of theirs. Andrea Pirlo, Javi Moreno, José Mari, Marco Simone and Cosmin Contra are only some of the players who have put in some breathtaking performances of late. Only Pirlo of the aforementioned hasn't scored in the last few games, but he has been one of Milan's finest creating all the chances.

AC Milan (last 6 all comps): DLDWWW
After struggling to cope with the absence of Inzaghi and the poor form of Rui Costa, Milan have got their season back on track with wins over Verona and Lecce in the league and over Lazio in the Coppa. Now, they will look to overcome Mazzone's men and boost their confidence ahead of their Coppa second leg in Rome.

Brescia (last 6 all comps): WLDLLW
Brescia have failed to impress in the league of late winning just one game in nine. However, they seemed to have no problem thrashing Italian champions AS Roma 3-0 midweek in the Coppa to let Milan know what they are capable of.

AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Abbiati; Helveg, Chamot, Costacurta, Kaladze; Gattuso, Albertini; José Mari, Pirlo, Serginho; Shevchenko

It is rumored that Carlo Ancelotti will change his formation to a more creative 4-2-3-1 in this match. It also appears that Ancelotti is putting some sort of rotation policy in place as Simone, Contra, Laursen and Moreno find themselves confined to bench once again. However, this may have something to do with the fact that the entire team has been in form and playing well over the last month or so. Andriy Shevchenko is set to start up front supported by José Mari, Pirlo and Serginho whilst Costacurta will return to the fold to replace Laursen.

Brescia (3-5-1-1): Castellazzi; Petruzzi, Calori, Mangone; Schopp; A. Filippini, Yllana, E. Filippini, Sussi; Giunti; Toni

Tremendous problems for Carlo Mazzone who is missing possibly five of his best players in Roberto Baggio, Guardiola, Esposito, Bonera and Bachini. However, former Milan midfielder Federico Giunti is raring to go and has declared that although he has fond memories of his scudetto with Milan, he will relish scoring a goal. New arrival Mangone will fill in for Bonera in the back while prolific youngster Luca Toni will be the sole striker up front. Albanian international Tare who scored both the goals in thee clubs' previous meeting in the season opener will start from the bench.

Galliani rules out buying Juventus shares
12.1 || Tom

MILAN, January 11 (DS) - AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani denied the information by Gazzetta dello Sport that he has allegedly helped Libyan company Lafico to buy 5.3 % of Juventus FC shares.
"I am in no connection involved in that deal," he said on the club's official website.
"How can I buy another club's shares if I am Milan vice-president?!"

Zaccheroni over Lazio's defeat
12.1 || Tom

ROME, January 11 (DS) - After yesterday's Italian Cup quarterfinal first leg AC Milan 2-1 win over S.S. Lazio, Alberto Zaccheroni commented on his side's disappointing defeat: "The team played on the highest level. We had all chances to score, but perhaps we lack something that can help us to win," the manager said.
Zaccheroni praised Milan striker Javi Moreno whose last minute goal helped his side to secure a victory.
"Moreno was really outstanding. We were unable to mark him. Now we must think of our championship campaign," Zaccheroni added.
In his turn, the winning team's manager Carlo Ancelotti indicated: "When we were ahead 1-0, we had some more chances to score, but we failed to do it. Then the rivals equalized, but in the end Moreno scored, indeed, a wonderful goal."

Sensi faces Tanzi challenge for League presidency
11.1 || webmaster

Parma president Stefano Tanzi has challenged his Roma counterpart Franco Sensi for the presidency of the Italian League.

The Italian League Federation will vote for a new president on Tuesday – and the race to become the chosen one is entering its final stages.

Parma president Stefano Tanzi, who is believed to have the support of Milan, Inter and Juventus, on Thursday announced his intention to replace Franco Carraro by saying: "

"My candidature is not against Sensi. I just want to keep the League solid. This is a difficult moment for Italian football and I'm prepared to make sacrifices in order to help.

"I will meet representatives from AC Milan, Inter, Lazio and Juventus on Thursday as my objective is to link and not to separate," he added.

Sensi, meanwhile, is supported by all the Serie B teams from southern and central Italy.

And the Roma president said: "I decided to put my name forward as I am worried that the big clubs will try and create a European Super League and that could kill some of the smaller teams.

Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti, meanwhile, was critical of Sensi's campaign. He said: "The chief of the Italian League should be some one that can produce concrete results."

Milan 2 - 1 Lazio: Reaction
11.1 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his strikers after the Rossoneri's 2-1 win over Lazio in the Coppa Italia quarter final.

Marco Simone gave Milan the lead only for the biancocelesti to come back through Cesar. Then in the dying embers of the match Javi Moreno beat Lazio keeper' Luca Marchegiani from a free-kick to land the home side an advantage to take to Rome next week.

"Even though we cannot count on Inzaghi, his substitutes are playing very well. Congratulations to all the kids, particularly to Javi Moreno. He always works hard and, when I field him, he's always ready," said Ancelotti in a post match press conference.

"I'm sure we are on the right path. In this period we keep on winning and I'm very happy. The squad is getting better: the defensive part was good, while on the offensive front we managed to be very efficient. This win is a good result."

"A draw wouldn't have been unfair. They hit the post twice, and we were a little bit lucky, but we also tried to win until the end."

Milan and Sunderland interested in Carew
11.1 || Tom

Milan and Sunderland are believed to be interested in signing John Carew after the Norwegian striker's move to Fulham fell through.

The Valencia forward has barely played this season and is eager for first-team football. Last week, he travelled to London to dicuss a proposed move to Fulham but talks broke down with the Premier League club claiming Carew had failed his medical.

According to Tutto Sport, Milan are interested in a player exchange involving Javi Moreno is made little impact since his move from Alaves in the summer.

Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Sunderland boss Peter Reid has admitted that he is interesting in signing Carew.

"I have made an enquiry and the situation is ongoing at the moment," confirmed the Sunderland boss.

Reid has been searching for a long-term replacement for veteran striker Niall Quinn and regards Carew as the ideal foil for the club's prolific marksman Kevin Phillips.

Coppa Italia SF Report: Milan Take A 2-1 Lead Over Lazio
10.1 || Tom

01/10/2002. Former Liga top scorer Javi Moreno sent an injury-time free-kick past Luca Marchegiani to give Ancelotti's Milan a 2-1 first leg lead in the Coppa Italia semi-final clash with Lazio at the San Siro. The decider is next Wednesday.

Lazio started off in a positive and energetic mode and seemed the most likely to score. In the 5th minute Stefano Fiore had enough space to have a crack at goal, but he chose to fuel Crespo instead and the striker's finish lacked any menace. Fiore was again involved in Lazio's threat 5 minutes later only this time pulled the trigger from an angle and although he beat keeper Rossi, the woodwork was in the way.

But Milan were biding their time and moments after a penalty claim was denied, Marco Simone took on Fernando Couto and found enough room to rifle past Marchegiani to take the lead on 23. From this point, Milan assumed more control and although the Lazio defence was breached, their veteran keeper kept them in the chase with a string of trademark blocks.

Good anticipation from Yugoslav engine Dejan Stankovic located Fiore and his clever flick played in Cesar who slotted past Rossi to restore parity. As a closely fought second half wound down, Demetrio Albertini took on the role of agent provocateur in the Lazio box and substitute Moreno's 91st minute free-kick evaded blue and white interception to give the rossoneri a marginal win.

SA Int.

Milan ready for Lazio tester
10.1 || webmaster

Coach Carlo Ancelotti says he is expecting a very tough match tonight when his team come up against Lazio in the Copa Italia.

"We will be playing against a team that will be totally different from the one we defeated back in September," admits Ancelotti.

"Nowadays Lazio are not only a very well-organised unit, but also one of the teams in the best shape.

"We have to watch out for their counter-attacks because they have two scorers like Hernan Crespo and Claudio Lopez who can be very dangerous if they're left alone.

"In any case, we want to do well in this competition."

Ancelotti has also voiced his concern that the Rossoneri must do better in the Serie A. The boss says that the 30 points made in the first half of the season are far from being enough and asks his troops to try to do much better in the remainder of the championship if they are to come away with silverware.

He said: "For a team like AC Milan, this isn't really very good. 30 points are not very much and I hope we'll be able to make at least 40 points in the next 17 games."

Pirlo Relishing Future With Milan
9.1 || Tom

01/09/2002. AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo plans to concentrate his efforts on performing well for the Rossoneri and has put all International thoughts out of his head.

The playmaker was signed from city rivals Inter in the summer but has only just started to feature on a regular basis after initially being left out of the starting line-up by former coach Fatih Terim.

"For the time being it is just important for me to find a level of consistency with Milan," said the 22-year-old.

"I'm trying not to think about the Under-21 European Championships until the end of the season. Firstly it is vital to do something important with Milan.

"I've always maintained that I wanted to stay here because sooner or later I knew that I would get my chance."

He has started the last two Serie A games and was particularly impressive in the win over Verona.

SA Italy

Galliani backs 'new face' Redondo
9.1 || webmaster

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has pledged to keep unsettled midfielder Massimo Donati but warned that there will be no new faces at the San Siro.

"The fans should treat Fernando Redondo as our new signing because he is near to returning," he said.

Redondo has not figured since his £11.25 million move from Real Madrid at the end of July 2000 after a disastrous cruciate ligament injury.

Galliani believes, however, that the Argentinian midfielder will soon be ready to kick-start his career in Italy after overcoming the complications which set in following the injury.

"He will be our real new arrival," promised the Milan chief. "If he achieves what he is capable of, and reaches the level of two seasons ago, we can count on a great midfielder."

Galliani also dismissed any notion that fellow midfielder Donati would be allowed to leave the club on loan, despite complaints from the Italy Under-21 playmaker about his lack of game time.

"I've read his statements, but we won't let him go," said Galliani. "Donati is part of our squad and coach Carlo Ancelotti has all the solutions he needs in every position on our roster."

The news will be a blow to Donati, who on Monday revealed his frustrations to

"Sometimes the need to play is stronger than the desire to be at a big club," he said.

"If Milan come to me and say that they consider it a better solution for me to go on loan to another club, I would consider Atalanta, but I would never make the first step.

"It's up to them to decide my future. I am still happy here," he added.

Ironically, Donati fears that his first-team chances at the San Siro may soon be limited further by the return of Redondo.

"Ahead of me are champions such as Albertini, Ambrosini and Redondo," he said. "I know that, if all of them are in a good shape, I will have no chance of getting into the line-up. But it doesn't mean that I want to leave the club during the January transfer window.

"Obviously it was not nice to hear directors saying things like 'Fortunately we will soon have a playmaker like Redondo back, so all our midfield problems will be solved', but Milan are more important that personal considerations."

Galliani Denies All Rumours
8.1 || Tom

01/08/2002. AC Milan vice President Adriano Galliani has stated that the club will not be negotiating in the January transfer window.

Speculation had suggested that there would again be comings and goings from the San Siro with Massimo Donati and Manuel Rui Costa top on the list of possible departures.

Galliani told the Milan channel: "AC Milan won't be negotiating in January because we are complete in every block of the side. Donati won't be loaned to Atalanta 101% and Rui Costa will stay with AC Milan to show his value. We are waiting for Redondo. If he will be again as he was, he will be our main purchase. Don't forget that in 1999/2000 Redondo was the best player of Champions League".

Albertini issues rallying call
8.1 || webmaster

Demetrio Albertini has challenged his team-mates to follow Roma's example and climb back to the top of the table by the end of the season.

Albertini's idea is very simple. If the giallorossi managed to climb all the way back to the top after their unsatisfactory start of the season, why can't the rossoneri do the same in the second half of the season.

"If Roma, who used to be way behind after the first match-days, succeeded in getting back to the top, I don't see why we shouldn't be able to do the same," he said.

"I believe that we can make it, but we have to concentrate solely on ourselves from now on."

Albertini has also denied that his team considers the upcoming Tim Cup match with Lazio less important than other competitions, saying: "We have always thought that the Italian Cup was important. We never step on the field, thinking that a game isn't worth playing. We always step on the field to try to win."

Injured Nesta slams Milan pitch
8.1 || webmaster

Lazio's Alessendro Nesta has slammed the pitch of the San Siro after getting injured there at the weekend, claiming it does not help players.

Tests on the injured knee of Nesta have not come up with positive results and the star will miss over a month of action.

The results of the tests have confirmed that the player suffered a tear in the meniscus of his right knee during the match with Inter Milan on Sunday night.

The player will have to undergo keyhole surgery later in the week and will be out of action for around four of five weeks.

To Nesta, the San Siro seems to have a curse on him as the Italian international has already suffered a muscle injury on the same pitch in September.

Nesta however believes that bad luck has very little to do with his injuries, he said: "The fields we have here in Italy certainly don't help us playing in winter."

"This is the second time that I come to San Siro and I'm forced to leave the field, injured."

Donati tempted by Atalanta return
8.1 || webmaster

Italy Under-21 playmaker Massimo Donati has admitted he would be willing to return to Atalanta from AC Milan if it meant regular games again. "Sometimes the need to play is stronger than the desire to be at a big club," he told

Donati was linked with a move back to Bergamo in December when Atalanta enquired about his availability.

But Milan vice-chairman Adriano Galliani insisted that the club would first wait to learn more on the condition of injured midfielder Fernando Redondo before agreeing to any transfer.

"If Milan come to me and say that they consider it a better solution for me to go on loan to another club, I would consider Atalanta, but I would never make the first step," Donati told "It's up to them to decide my future. I am still happy here."

Donati has made 12 Serie A appearances this season, but mostly as a substitute as first Fatih Terim then Carlo Ancelotti have preferred Demetrio Albertini and Massimo Ambrosini in the centre of midfield.

The youthful Azzurro has bided his time in his first full season at the club, but concedes he misses a regular starting role. "Considering that I'm young and that I arrived from Atalanta to a big club for the first time, I have played a lot," the 20-year-old admitted.

"Coach Faith Term rated me a lot, but in the end I have played more under Carlo Ancelotti."

Yet with Ambrosini back in the side after a knee injury and Redondo approaching fitness, Donati fears that his first-team chances at the San Siro may soon be limited further.

Milan could also bring in another Atalanta midfield graduate, Sam Dalla Bona, before the end of the month.

"Ahead of me are champions such as Albertini, Ambrosini and Redondo," he said. "I know that, if all of them are in a good shape, I will have no chance of getting into the line-up. But it doesn't mean that I want to leave the club during the January transfer window.

"Obviously it was not nice to hear directors saying things like 'Fortunately we will soon have a playmaker like Redondo back, so all our midfield problems will be solved', but Milan are more important that personal considerations."

Donati was signed by Milan from Atalanta at the end of the 1999-2000 season for £10 million, but was immediately sent back on loan to the club, who had just won promotion.

He made his top-flight debut in a 2-2 draw at home to Lazio on October 1, 2000, and went on to shine that season, playing 26 league games and scoring once to help his side attain an impressive seventh-place finish.

Donati earned a key role in the heart of the Italy Under-21 side in the process.

An outsider for the full Italy squad going to next summer's World Cup finals, Donati could benefit from six months in Bergamo, where he would more readily catch the eye of national coach Giovanni Trapattoni.

Juve and Inter want Coco
8.1 || webmaster

Inter Milan and Juventus have both tabled bids for Barcelona’s left-back Francesco Coco according to declarations from his father and agent.

Nino Coco said on Tuesday that Barca’s star, who is currently on loan from Milan has attracted the interest of the Italian duo.

The news comes just two days after Coco was dropped from the side in favour of veteran skipper Sergi Barjuan against Zaragoza, a decision that could push the player back to his home country.

In the wake of the two offers, Coco senior warned: "Anything's possible but Francesco's situation will be depend on how much Barcelona's coach has in him."

Coco is determined to land a place in the Italian national squad for this summer's World Cup finals but to do so, he must have a regular slot in his domestic club team.

Inter Milan chief Héctor Cúper is keen to have Coco on board for a crack at 'el scudetto' this season but Inter's recent offer for the player was turned down by Barca and it seems highly unlikely that the Catalans will change their mind at such a critical stage of the season. Barca signed Coco at the last minute last summer as back-up for first team choice Sergi, his loan spell with the Blaugranas comes to an end in June.

Jose Mari: "We can still do it"
7.1 || webmaster

Milan's Spanish scorer Josè Mari, back after a four-month lay-off, said Milan can win the title after their 1-0 win against Lecce on Saturday.

The Spanish international made a fairytale return to the team by scoring the winner against the southern Italian team and now says that the title can be won.

The win allows the Rossoneri to keep track of the top teams but still leaves them far from being in the top spot. However, the former Atletico Madrid player is sure that his team still has the chance to climb its way back to the top.

"There are so many games left to play and so many points still to collect that anything can still happen.

"So I do hope that I will be able to keep on scoring and my team will keep on winning."

Meanwhile, ever since Paolo Maldini injured himself, Alessandro Costacurta, another veteran of the team, has taken over the leading role as the club captain and spoke with pride of his team's latest success over Lecce.

He said: "I believe that after the festivities, we had a very tough game that we have won deservingly.

"Maybe that's because we didn't eat or drink like the others did but all jokes aside, everyone in Serie A knows that going to play on Lecce's field is no picnic and winning is even harder but we won and we are of course very happy about it."

Costacurta also said that working at AC Milan has always been a great experience for him: "I believe that our secret lies in the fact that we have a nice group of players who are all very professional just like the coach and the management are."

The Italian defender is optimistic about his team's Scudetto hopes, stating that he is still far from giving up the race.

"If we look at the league table," he says, "I'd have to say that our chances are grim but in the last few years, I have seen many things happen in Serie A and many things change in the second half of the season.

"Therefore I am still hopeful and I want to think positive."

Inter in awe of Beckham brainpower
7.1 || webmaster

Internazionale president Massimo Moratti has admitted that he would jump at the chance to sign Manchester United's unsettled midfielder David Beckham.

"We feel as though we have a very strong squad right now, but I have never been shy of investing money in the club," he said.

"If the opportunity presented itself to buy a great player, then we would be stupid not to take it. We have a good group now, but we can still improve.

"Beckham is a truly great player," added Moratti. "He is so strong and possesses the rare quality of having talent and a great footballing brain."

Beckham would provide ideal ammunition for striker Christian Vieiri, but Moratti insisted that the club were happy to persevere with their out-of-sorts Portuguese winger Sergio Conceicao.

"We are still keeping faith in Sergio," said the president. "I feel there is more to come from him."

Beckham has lost his place in the United starting line-up in recent weeks, but the club's chief executive Peter Kenyon is confident that the England captain will sign an extension to his current contract, which expires in June 2003.

He said: "We have been in discussions with David and his agents for several months and they have been pretty extensive.

"We want him to stay and so does he and we are all hopeful. We are happy we've gone as far as we can and hope he will sign. For all our sakes we would like to get this thing closed," he added.

The 26-year-old recently denied claims that he was waiting to find out who would replace Sir Alex Ferguson as coach at the end of the season before putting pen to paper on a new deal.

"I have not demanded to know who the manager will be," he said. "I would like to know, but I won't delay signing a contract just to find out. Everyone knows I want to stay at United," he added. "This is where I've been brought up and it's a way of life for me."

Ancelotti relieved after new system flops
6.1 || Tom

Saturday 5th January 2002

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted that his idea to play Jose Mari on the right wing with Andrea Pirlo supporting Andriy Shevchenko up front almost cost his side two points against Lecce. "I'm not pleased with the new tactic, but I'm pleased with the spirit," he said after the 1-0 win.

Jose Mari scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes from time to move Milan into third place – but Ancelotti was honest enough to concede that his new formation almost backfired.

"It's true," he said, "we tried something new with Jose Mari on the right and Andrea Pirlo supporting Sheva as a second forward. I'm not especially pleased with the new tactic, but I'm pleased with the spirit and personality my players showed in such a difficult match.

"Lecce played defensively and during the first half they closed all the spaces perfectly. It went a little better for us after the restart.

"Matches lake this have to be played on the wings a lot, but it's true we didn't manage to do that. We scored after a free-kick and we were lucky when Christian Abbiati saved the game at the very last moment of the match.

Ancelotti continued: "It's very difficult winning here in Lecce and this a very important win because it came at a difficult moment for us. I hope this result will give my players the right spirit to go on playing for the league title."

Lecce boss Alberto Cavasin was not so upbeat. His side have picked up just one point from their last four games, and Cavasin wants to reverse that trend. "It's true that we are losing too many points at home and we need the home points to avoid relegation.

"We played a good defensive match and during the first half we shot at goal more than our opponents. They scored from a free-kick thanks to a great technical effort from Jose Mari.

"They managed to score, my players missed their good chances – that's football and there is not much to complain about."

Contra keen for challenge ahead
5.1 || webmaster

Cosmin Contra may have experienced some disappointment in 2001 as Deportivo Alavés lost in the UEFA Cup final and Romania missed out on qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but the new year has started brightly. His continued excellence has seen him named Romanian Player of the Year and selected in the users’ Team of 2001 in the right-back category. But Contra, now with Milan AC, is humble about his personal achievements.

First two awards
Reflecting on his selection in the team ahead of RC Deportivo La Coruña’s Manuel Pablo, Contra said: “You can imagine that I am very happy that my work in 2001 was recognised and rewarded. The year 2001 was special for me, because I won my first two awards of the career. I have not won any championships or national cups, or the UEFA Cup, either with FC Dinamo Bucaresti or Alavés. That's why I think that these awards are a good sign.”

Happy to win
“I want to thank to all those who voted me and I want to express my good feelings for Manuel Pablo,” Contra added. “He is a very, very good player. I don't know if I deserved to win, I don't know if he deserved to win, but I'm happy that I won and I wish him all the best.”

World Cup woe
But the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup still rankles with the 26-year-old. He said: “I will be disappointed when I watch the World Cup matches on television. All day long I hear my Milan team-mates who qualified for the World Cup, talking about their plans and what it will be like there and that just makes me worse.”

'Cannot forget'
”Despite the fact that I am a professional player and I have to concentrate exclusively on my job, I cannot forget that we deserved to be at the World Cup,” Contra said. “But not always the best reach such finals.”

Iordanescu welcomed
Contra, who was snapped up by Milan after starring for Alavés as they reached the UEFA Cup final in their European debut season, has welcomed the return of Anghel Iordanescu as Romanian national team coach. He said: “I started my international career when Iordanescu was national coach and I know that he, or whoever would have came in as coach, would have to confront the same problems: the change of generations and the necessity to obtain good and immediate results.”

'Everybody must trust'
And Contra believes that Romania can bounce back to reach the EURO 2004™ finals. But he told that a changing of the guard has to be accepted. “We can form a national team as good and as strong as the team of the golden generation, which qualified for three World Cups and two European Championships,” he said. “But, to accomplish this, everybody must trust our generation and support it. And, of course, everyone must accept the change of generations.”

'An excellent spirit'
His UEFA Cup disappointment is intermingled with pride at Alavés achievement. “There was an excellent spirit, beginning with the club president and finishing with the last reserve player,” he said. “The co-operation was excellent and the trainer, [José Maria Esnal] Mané, knew how to transform a little team into a great team. More than that, there were young and unknown players, who had the big ambition to become stars. And something like that is vital in order to achieve big things. It was a pity to lose the UEFA Cup final.”

Attacking instincts curbed
Contra has had to rein in his attacking instincts in the Milan system and admits the transition to Serie A has been testing. He said: “It was very difficult, especially in the first month. It was very difficult to adjust to Italian football as I was used to have more action and freedom. But I arrived at one of the biggest teams of the world and had to adjust to a more defensive style of football. Fatih Terim and, after him, Carlo Ancelotti, told me to play more defensively.”

Pleased with start
”But I am pleased with what I achieved here. I have played in almost all games, either as a starter, or as a substitute who came in, and I am sure that, in the near future, Mr Ancelotti will trust me more. I am a professional player and if the trainer says that you must play as goalkeeper, you do as he says. But he knows what he has to do.”

UEFA Cup hope
With the World Cup off the agenda, Contra’s immediate focus is achieving success with Milan. He said: “The struggle is very tight, the championship is long and we have a very good team, capable to win the scudetto. “In the UEFA Cup we are favourites. We have played better in the competition than in the championship, except in the second half of the game versus Sporting Clube de Portugal in Lisbon. It would be great for me to win the UEFA Cup just one year after losing in the final.”

Sights on Scudetto
After a rollercoaster 2001, Contra’s ambitions are straightforward for 2002. He concludes: “My ambitions are to be healthy, to win the scudetto and the UEFA Cup and to have a good start with the national team in the EURO 2004™ qualifiers.”

Lecce 0 - 1 Milan - match report
5.1 || webmaster

LECCE, Italy, Jan 5 (AFP)
AC Milan made a winning start to the year 2002, winning 1-0 at Lecce to move provisionally into third place in the Italian first division which resumes this weekend after the Christmas break.
The victory at the Stadio del Mare was courtesy of their Spanish striker Jose Mari who headed home a late cross from midfielder Andrea Pirlo to lift Milan, fifth at the start of play, above Chievo who nonetheless have two games in hand over the San Siro outfit and Juventus.
Deep into injury time Lecce missed a glorious chance to equalise when AC Milan's experienced defender Alessandro Costacurta conceded the ball and Max Tonnetto raced clear only to fire his shot straight at the legs of visiting goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.
It was a vital three points for Milan - who, deprived of key injured players Paolo Maldini, Filippo Inzaghi and Portugal's Manuel Rui Costa - were far from convincing against their relegation-threatened opponents, the last side from the south of Italy left in the first division.
Jose Mari's decider came after Lecce goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti made a fine flying save to push a shot from AC Milan's Brazilian midfielder Serginho just over the bar for a corner.p
At the other end Abbiati did well to save after a shot from Lecce's Slovenian defender Sebastjan Cimirotic took a wicked bounce just in front of him.
The first half was a dire affair with neither side creating a clear chance.
Lecce's best effort came when Alessandro Conticchio fired just wide while AC Milan had the occasional half chance.
Milan's Argentinian defender Jose Antonio Chamot should have directed his shot on target when played in by Pirlo while Jose Mari's header also missed the mark after a clever floated ball by Costacurta.
AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso fired just over in the closing seconds of the first period.
On Sunday leaders Inter Milan entertain Lazio in the evening match although by that stage they may have lost top spot to defending champions AS Roma who host Torino.

Maldini after missing link
5.1 || webmaster

Italy and Milan star Paolo Maldini has had a long and illustrious career but he feels that the one thing missing is a World Cup winners medal.

Maldini has won 119 international caps during his career and is closing in on Dino Zoff's record, but even though he has achieved so much in the game, he still wants more.

The 32-year-old was in the Italy side that lost on penalties to Brazil in 1994 and has the losers medal, but feels that this Italian squad is good enough to go one step further and give Maldini the ultimate prize. He said: "It has always been my dream to win the World Cup for Italy and I believe that this squad is good enough to do so."

One obstacle that will be in his way is the unique clash between Italy and Paraguay.

It will be the first time that father and son will line up on opposite sides during the tournaments history.

Former Italian boss, Cesere has just taken charge of Paraguay and they are opponents of Italy in the group stages.

Talking about this unique occasion, Maldini said: "It will be very strange for me but I am a professional and I will do best for Italy!"

Pirlo set to start against Lecce
4.1 || Tom

04 January 2002 (Teamtalk) -- Andrea Pirlo is expected to replace the injured Manuel Rui Costa against Lecce as AC look to get back to winning ways in Serie A.
Rui Costa injured ligaments in his left foot during Milan's Serie A clash with Verona in December and will now be replaced by Pirlo for AC's first clash of the new year.

And the 21-year-old hopes this is the game that can help AC turn things around after failing to win any of their last four league games.

He said: "I hope we will be able to start the new year well by winning in Lecce.

"It's going to be a crucial game against a team that plays very good defence and is always quick on the counter-attack.

"It would be very important to score right away because that would probably allow us to come home with a positive result."

AC currently lie in fifth position in the Italian league but their recent run of form, that has seen them lose two and draw two, has put them seven points behind arch-rivals Inter who lead the way.

Milan ban Corriere from training HQ
4.1 || Tom

Friday 4th January 2002

AC Milan have banned Corriere dello Sport reporters from their training ground, citing a series of negative articles about the club.

The newspaper is favoured by Roma president Franco Sensi, who often uses its pages to condemn Milan vice-chairman Adriano Galliani.

Sensi stated just last week: "I don't know if I want to become the next chief of the Italian League because I would have to see Galliani twice a week."

The Milanello ban stems, however, from the controversial match between the Rossoneri and Chievo at the San Siro on December 2.

Milan won the game 3-2, courtesy of a doubtful penalty awarded to Andriy Shevchenko. The Corriere used its front page the next day to claim that referees habitually favour Milan.

As the row simmered, the Corriere published an article just before Christmas suggesting that Shevchenko was sick of carrying the team after Milan's 1-1 draw with Atalanta.

Milan then informed the newspaper, via press chief Vittorio Mentana, that their journalists were no longer permitted to attend training sessions and press conferences at Milanello.

The Corriere is now gleaning quotes from rival publications and the Milan TV channel to maintain coverage of the club.

The ban has not been made public by the Corriere as they fear losing readers, while other newspapers will not report the draconian step as they not want to damage their own relationship with Milan.

The modern-day success of Milan has been built, of course, on cash from the media and communications empire of president Silvio Berlusconi. It is thought he does not know about the ban.

AC Milan Want Romario-Rumor
4.1 || Kenneth

Despite the supposed bid by Napoli fell through last week, Brazilian superstar Romario still has a chance to play in the Italian Serie A for the first time in his career.

A report coming out of Italy this morning indicates red and black giants AC Milan are tracking the Vasco da Gama striker in case their bid for Perugia tower Zizi Vryzas fails.

It is rumoured Romario wants 500,000 euros in exchange for his signature on a short-term contract that expires in June 2002.

Flamengo are also being indicated as seriously interested in acquiring the services of the former PSV and Barcelona wizard.

Dalla Bona's Heading For Italy According To Agent
4.1 || Kenneth

Chelsea's Italian midfielder Sam Dalla Bona is set for a move to Italy, according to his agent Claudio Pasqualin.

"For Dalla Bona, AC Milan are in pole position but the lad is being hunted by all the big Italian clubs," said Pasqualin.

"His contract with Chelsea expires in 2003 so that means he will probably move in January or in the summer.

"I am not excluding a serious deal in the next few weeks."

Chelsea accepted a £5m offer from Venezia in the summer, but the player decided to remain at Stamford Bridge.

Maldini dreaming of World Cup glory
4.1 || Kenneth

Paolo Maldini has admitted that he wants to win the World Cup even if it meant beating Paraguay who are to be Coached by his father Cesare.

"It’s my dream to win the tournament with the Azzurri," said the Milan man.

"I’ve not thought too much about how I would feel if I had to play my father’s Paraguay in the tournament. But it certainly would be a strange feeling."

Paolo is currently out of action after damaging knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw at Atalanta just before Christmas. He’s set to return in late February – early March.

Cesare Maldini accepted to Coach Paraguay for the next six months after he agreed terms with the South American outfit over the festive period.

Ancelotti: 'Redondo will be our 'new signing''
4.1 || Kenneth

Carlo Ancelotti talks about injured players: 'We hope to recover Ambrosini in time for the Italian Cup match against Lazio. And soon, Redondo will be back as well'.

Is 2002 Milan's year?
3.1 || webmaster

This column is written by Rodriguez. You can send him your feedback at

Is 2002 Milan's year? I've said it loads of times, but it is mainly down to fullfilling potential.

The answer is yes, if our current players get together and play to the best of their abilities. It will be even more likely if some of our injured players come back.

We have the best squad in Serie A, so if every team played to their true potential, we, in theory , should win. If people don't agree that we have the best squad, that's fine, but if you compare the top teams, we have a great line up of players to rival the likes of Real Madrid.

Attackers? Sheva is the best, Moreno used to have a habbit of scoring a lot (it's a habbit that will return soon), and Pippo was described by Nesta as "a defender's worst nightmare", and this is not based on his theatrics. Not to mention young talent (Kutuzov, Aliyu etc.).
The only team in Serie A that rivals us in this sense is Inter. Ronaldo and Vieri are the best forward combo in the world while Kallon and Ventola are good understudies. Roma, Juve and Lazio just don't have the same quality up front.

Playmakers? Manuel Rui Costa. When he finds his true best form... enough said. Pirlo is a good sub for him, very good in fact.
Inter may have the best forward combo, but they lack a good playmaker. I'm very glad they sold us Pirlo. Juve can't use Del Piero as a playmaker any more because they don't have enough strikers, Fiore and Liverani of Lazio are not that great, and Roma may have Totti, but he is not as good as Rui.

Midfield? On the wings, Serghino and Contra are a very good pair, but not the best in Serie A. They are second to Roma in that department. Don't need to explain why. Inter's are pretty good, Lazio's are OK too, same goes for Juve.
In the centre, we have the best players. Albertini is amazing, so is Ambro, Donati is going to be one of the best in a few years, and you could say that Redondo is potentially one of the best, if you can imagine him getting near his old form. Roma almost rival us in that respect, it's hard to choose really. Lazio's is potentially excellent with Mendieta, Juve's is poor, Inter are behind Roma because they don't have a player like Albertini or Tommasi who controls the game well.

In defense, Juve are the best, Lazio and Roma follow. Inter are behind them along with us. Even though Carlo has done great things with the defense, I can say it is definitely not the best.

Looking over my very vague comparison, I think in terms of potential of our squad, we are the best, but only just better than Roma. What we have that they don't is great forwards, they just have good forwards.

All these teams are good, and there are no huge differences when it comes to quality of the players, but there are things that will make a difference.

With so many variables it's difficult to say if we can win it this year, but being a fan you must have faith, especially since Serie A is so unpredictable. Whoever wins it this year will be able to say that they had a fair bit of luck on their side.

To answer the question "is 2002 Milan's year?", I don't know yet, it has only just started.

Seriously, if you mean is this going to be the year when we win the Scudetto, of course it is! We are the only magical team because we win games by margins like 6-0 whatever coach or players we have. The Scudetto will be ours this year, because we're Milan.

Forza Milan!

Milan 'just weeks' from £6m Dalla Bona deal
3.1 || webmaster

AC Milan are likely to sign Sam Dalla Bona from Chelsea either this month or at the end of the season, his agent Claudio Pasqualin claimed on Thursday.

"Milan are in pole position and I am not excluding a serious deal in the next few weeks," he said. "But the lad is being hunted by all the big Italian clubs.

"His contract with Chelsea expires in 2003 so that means he will probably move in January or in the summer."

Serie A clubs have until January 31 to do their shopping for this season.

Internazionale are expected to provide the most serious opposition to their city rivals for £6 million-rated Dalla Bona, who has been in sparkling form for Chelsea recently.

Serginho to play through the pain
3.1 || webmaster

Milan's Brazilian star Serginho has declared himself fit for the trip to Lecce, even though he has been warned against it.

The Brazilian has been warned against making an early return to action by doctors, but the player himself has told boss Carlo Ancellotti that he can play if needed.

"I've been out for a month but now my foot is doing OK now," he said. "I feel pain when I run but I'm doing all of the rehab work and if needed I can play.

"It's up to the manager, but I'm ready and I'll give my best."

Rui Costa to miss 1 month
3.1 || Tom

Agence France-Presse

MILAN (January 2, 2002 04:28 PM EST) - AC Milan midfielder Rui Costa will be out of action for one month after injuring his left foot in his side's 2-1 win over Verona on December 26, the club said on Wednesday.

The Portuguese international is due to return for the match against Lecce early next month.

Contra backs Milan for trophies
2.1 || webmaster

Cosmin Contra believes AC Milan are still capable of winning things, and feels they need to start by beating Lecce.

The defender says the team has worked hard in the last few days and is hoping that the New Year will bring them a definite improvement, starting with Saturday's match against Lecce: "We have been working very well in the last few days. We must believe in ourselves and do our best, starting with this Saturday's match against Lecce."

Contra has also confirmed that he has a very good reason for wanting to stay at AC Milan: "I'm staying here with AC Milan because I want to win."

Cannavaro to end season at Parma
2.1 || webmaster

Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro has ended speculation linking him with a £30 million move from Parma after pledging his immediate future to the Serie A strugglers on Wednesday. He then backed new coach Pietro Carmignani to keep the club in the top flight.

"I keep reading about clubs who want to pay £30 million for me, but these are things written only by journalists," he said.

"The reports make me smile. I am confident I will be at Parma until at least the end of the season."

The 'reports' Cannavaro referred to suggested that Parma could cash in on the highly-rated centre-back when the Italian transfer window opened this week. AC Milan were understood to be heading the chase, although their vice-president Adriano Galliani denied any interest.

Cannavaro has, until now, steadfastly kept his options open. "I am not interested in talking about my future, although a decision could be made soon," he declared earlier this month.

The 28-year-old Neapolitan almost left for Lazio in the summer when the Rome club offered £16 million plus Paolo Negro.

Parma rebuffed the advances of Lazio, who went on to sign Holland defender Jaap Stam from Manchester United, but it was thought president Stefano Tanzi was now ready to sell Cannavaro.

But Cannavaro, who signed a new contract until 2006 last summer before rumours of a move surfaced, has now handed Parma a major boost by committing himself to their fight against relegation.

Parma's decision to sack coach Daniel Passarella and replace him with Pietro Carmignani seemed to have helped Cannavaro make up his mind.

"I'm sure Parma have made the right choice with Carmignani," he added. "He has worked here for many years and knows all about the players.

"Now, with him working alongside Arrigo Sacchi, the team is even more confident. I am confident we will start to do well."

Meanwhile, the experienced Sacchi, who was brought in as general manager to help Carmignani, has told the Italian media they should give Parma's coach more credit for any improvement in form.

Sacchi was embarrassed by the praise heaped on him following the recent morale-boosting 2-0 win over Fiorentina. "People were giving me credit I shouldn't get," he said. "I am not the coach of the team, that is Carmignani.

"He decides the way we are going to play and the three points should be down to him and the players. I want respect for the job I do, not someone else's."

Inzaghi sets double New Year target
1.1 || Tom

Tuesday 1st January 2002

AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi has vowed to come back stronger than ever from a knee injury to help his side win the Scudetto – and to play in the World Cup.

"I owe Milan a lot and I have to repay them with goals," said the Italy international.

The 28-year-old former Juventus striker is hoping to play again in March – and is desperate to get back on the pitch.

He injured his left knee during the game against Chievo at the beginning of December and, although it was first feared that he would miss the rest of the season, is now making good progress.

In fact, Inzaghi is still confident of making it to the World Cup.

"I had a wonderful 2001. It was only spoilt by that late injury," he said.

"It came at a bad time because I was feeling at home at AC Milan. But the worst is in the past now and I am making progress all the time. I want to return as soon as possible because I owe it to Milan.

"They desperately wanted me in the summer and I have to repay them with goals.

"I signed a five-year contract with Milan, I am 28 years old and I want to win as much as possible. I know our position is not the best but we have had a lot of injuries.

"And I am confident that we can still win the league and I am very happy that Carlo Ancelotti has arrived at the club. I worked with him at Juventus and I respect him. He can build a strong Milan."

As for the World Cup, 'Pippo' is dreaming of another final against France as the striker is confident that Italy can gain revenge for the Euro 2000 final defeat.

He said: "I hope for a final against France as it could be our revenge for the one we lost in the European Championships. I am sure that Italy have all the abilities to win the World Cup."

Italy have been paired with Mexico, Croatia and Ecuador in their World Cup group.

Van Basten to join management merry-go-round
1.1 || webmaster

Marco van Basten has confirmed he will start a coaching course which could see him move into football management next summer.

"I believe that it's the right time to see whether I can become a good manager," the former Holland forward explained.

The former AC Milan striker will be fast-tracked by the Dutch football federation (KNVB) when the course begins in September.

"It's nice that the course takes a whole season," said Van Basten. "I will now have the time to look around and see what I like. We will wait and see what happens."

The former World and European Footballer of the Year, whose career was cut short by injury, has been considering a return to the top level of the game after seven years of his self-imposed exile.

Van Basten began musing about a comeback towards the end of last year. "I look at the coaching profession as a new challenge," he explained. "It was time to start doing something again. I'm 37, and that's far too young to sit still until the end of the line."

The striking great has been given encouragement by former team-mate and new Ajax coach Ronald Koeman, who promised to help Van Basten establish himself in a coaching role.

Koeman's comments were in stark contrast to his predecessor Co Adriaanse. The former Ajax coach pointed out that there was no guarantee that great players make good coaches – but Van Basten refused to be drawn into the debate.

"It was a conscious decision to say nothing about the subject - and since Adriaanse was sacked I don't have to say anything anymore," Van Basten told Algemeen Dagblad.

It takes coaches in Holland years to get their coaching certificate before they are eligible to take charge of a professional club.

However, the KNVB are willing to make an exception to the rule by offering this fast-track course for former internationals with over 40 caps to their name. Van Basten's former Milan team-mates Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard took advantage of the scheme in 1997, as did Ronald Koeman, Johan Neeskens and Ruud Krol.

KNVB director Henk Kesler confirmed: "We would like to assist our former greats like Van Basten in their aspirations to become a coach."

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