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The Archive

January 2005

Sheva out for 15 days
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan, who today released Fabricio Coloccini, have revealed that Andriy Shevchenko will be sidelined for just 15 days.

There were fears that the Ukrainian could be out for a lengthy period after picking up a muscle injury in the 1-0 loss to Bologna on Sunday.

But the striker today underwent tests which suggested that he will be absent from duty for just two weeks.

Sheva will definitely miss the game against Messina on Wednesday night and the away trip to Reggina.

The former Dynamo Kiev ace will also be unavailable for the February 9 international against Albania.

The European Footballer of the Year should return for the clash against Cagliari on February 20 – and subsequently the tie against Manchester United in the Champions’ League.

Milan do have their offensive problems at this moment in time, given that they have failed to score in their last four games.

They also have limited attacking options as Pippo Inzaghi is also out for another week, leaving just Jon Dahl Tomasson and Hernan Crespo fully fit.

Meanwhile, Argentine stopper Coloccini has signed for Deportivo La Coruna until the summer of 2011.

The defender, who has rarely featured this term, has enjoyed spells in La Liga with Alaves, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.

Milan targets Baronio
31.1 || webmaster


AC Milan are considering Chievo Verona midfielder Roberto Baronio for the summer market.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti wants an alternative to prime playmaker Andrea Pirlo and after 18 months of consistently good form, Baronio is being discussed by the defending champions' technical team.

An offer is already being put together, with a cash plus player bid being mooted. A preliminary bid being considered by Milan is £3 million plus the loan of a young player.

Chievo already have midfielder Paolo Sammarco on-loan from Milan and could be offered total ownership of the 22 year-old, plus a cash component, in exchange for 28 year-old Baronio.

Shevchenko suffers serious injury
31.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has been diagnosed with a relatively serious muscular injury, confirmed the Milan website.

“Shevchenko has a large hole in the tibial muscle of his right leg,” announced chief of medical staff Dr Jean Meersseman on the site this evening.

“The ankle is not swollen, but it is very painful and we can only make a more accurate diagnosis tomorrow.”

The European Player of the Year was carried off during today’s 1-0 home defeat to Bologna after an accidental clash with opponent Alessandro Gamberini.

The defender’s studs clattered into Shevchenko’s ankle as he prepared to shoot, tearing a hole in the muscle at the top of his foot.

It is particularly bad timing for the Rossoneri, who have already been forced to do without Filippo Inzaghi for the entire season, while Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson have struggled for form.

It isn’t yet clear whether or not Shevchenko will recover in time for the Champions’ League clash with Manchester United on Feb 22.

Coloccini set for Depor
30.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Argentine international defender Fabricio Coloccini is set to join Primera Liga club Deportivo La Coruna on loan from AC Milan, after the Serie A giants gave him permission to negotiate.

The proposed loan move to the Riazor can end up a permanent deal considering the plethora of quality defenders at Milan currently ahead of Coloccini.

Despite reports of a number of interested clubs including Tottenham Hotspurs, the player's agent Fabricio Lombilla revealed Deportivo is his client's desired location.

"We hope that there are no problems so that Fabricio can travel to La Coruna on Monday," said Lombilla.

"Milan do not have any money problems and they have accepted the terms of payment that have been proposed by Depor."

"They only lack small details and we hope to solve those problems so that Fabricio can come to the club."

"Now is the right time for him to play regularly for a big club. Fabricio put pressure on Milan because he really wants to join Deportivo," added Lombilla.

AC Milan 0:1 Bologna - match report
30.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Locatelli 27 (B)

Milan hit 19 goals at Pagliuca's net, but were unable to get past him as Bologna inflict the Rossoneri's second consecutive defeat and leave them eight points adrift of leaders Juventus.

The Rossoneri were still reeling from their shock 1-0 defeat to Livorno last Sunday, and the midweek 3-2 Coppa Italia win over Udinese only highlighted their latest defensive worries.

Paolo Maldini returned to central defence in order to replace the suspended Alessandro Nesta, while Bologna's injury crisis continued with Mourad Meghni, Igli Tare, Giacomo Cipriani, Carlo Nervo and Nicola Legrottaglie all sidelined, but new signing Marco Ferrante was on the bench.

Andriy Shevchenko pushed forward from the start and nodded Serginho's cross just wide, then Gianluca Pagliuca got down well to block his piledriver from distance and he wasted a good chance set up by Dhorasoo.

Vikash Dhorasoo thought he had opened the scoring with a spectacular volley from the edge of the box, but the goal was harshly disallowed for a handling offence.

Kaka really should have scored on 20 minutes when he skipped past his marker on Hernan Crespo's cutback, but he hesitated and Andrea Sussi performed a crucial tackle.

Serginho was given the left-back role after impressing in the Coppa Italia midweek, but he touched a good opportunity wide from close range.

Bologna were locked down in defence and concentrated only on the counter-attack, which broke the deadlock after 27 minutes. Tomas Locatelli combined with Zagorakis, including a delightful backheel from the Euro 2004 winner, before driving home with his left foot from the edge of the box with the Rossoblu's first effort.

There was more bad news for Milan, as just before half-time Shevchenko picked up a knock to his ankle from Gamberini and was replaced by Jon Dahl Tomasson. The San Siro supporters were concerned at the sight of the European Player of the Year being carried off the field.

Tomasson's glancing header was not far off the near post from Marcos Cafu's cross, but the push forward left more room at the back and Claudio Bellucci fired a great chance over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

In the second half, Crespo was on the floor surrounded by two defenders, but still managed to swing in a shot that was well saved by Pagliuca, then he nodded Serginho's cross off target.

Milan were laying siege to Bologna's net, but the Rossoblu clammed up around the penalty area. A Pirlo free kick came out to Cafu and his strike took a deflection off Christian Amoroso to push the ball inches past the far post.

Pagliuca flew to punch a Pirlo free kick off Massimo Ambrosini's head from six yards, then Zagorakis needed a goalline clearance to stop Ambrosini equalising from a Manuel Rui Costa centre.

Pagliuca parried a Cafu strike as the entire second half was played in the Bologna area, then Gamberini toe-poked the loose ball clear before Tomasson could pounce.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso (Ambrosini 62), Pirlo, Dhorasoo; Kakà (Rui Costa 70); Shevchenko (Tomasson 42), Crespo

Bologna: Pagliuca; Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Nastase; Zagorakis, Colucci, Amoroso (Giunti 77), Sussi; Locatelli (Loviso 90), Bellucci (Ferrante 93)

Ref: De Santis

AC Milan vs. Bologna - match preview
29.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan return to the San Siro to take on Bologna, still reeling from that defeat away to Livorno last Sunday.

Back in Week 2, the Rossoneri managed a 2-0 win at the Dall’Ara thanks to strikes from Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka. Carlo Ancelotti needs to get his side back on track and only three points will do to give Milan any chance of keeping pace with Juventus at this stage.

Dario Simic is out for another month, while Serginho and Kakha Kaladze are still sidelined with their long-term problems. Alessandro Nesta was sent off in their last outing and is suspended, so Giuseppe Pancaro should return to the defence. Pippo Inzaghi could feature after he returned to training following ankle surgery.

Bologna have been dogged by patchy form this season which has seen them slip into the lower half of the table, although they did snatch a precious win last week against Cagliari. Carlo Mazzone has a whole host of injury problems with Fabio Petruzzi, Mourad Meghni, Giacomo Cipriani, Nicola Legrottaglie, Carlo Nervo and Igli Tare all sidelined. In this state of emergency, Carletto will have to use a bit of imagination to pick his starting XI.

Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Pancaro, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Kaka, Crespo, Shevchenko

Bologna (probable): Pagliuca, Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Sussi, Zagorakis, Colucci, Giunti, Amoroso, Locatelli, Bellucci

Spurs to land Coloccini
29.1 || webmaster


Tottenham are on the verge of sealing a deal for AC Milan defender Fabricio Coloccini today.

The Sun says Spurs coach Martin Jol hopes the 6ft 1in AC Milan stopper turns into as big a success at White Hart Lane as Spurs legends Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.

Coloccini expects to wrap up a loan move today with a view to a Ł3million permanent switch in the summer.

Milan retire Maldini jersey
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

After Diego Maradona and Gigi Riva, Milan have now announced that nobody will wear Paolo Maldini’s Number 3 jersey once he retires.

The Rossoneri captain has spent his entire club career at the San Siro and won every trophy available, so when he hangs up his boots, that shirt will be alongside them.

“Paolo will go on playing for many years to come,” assured Vice-President Adriano Galliani this evening. “He represents the history of this club and when he decides to stop, his shirt will be retired.”

Maldini, who marked the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut this month, is not the first Milan star to be granted this honour, as his old teammate Franco Baresi’s Number 6 jersey was also retired.

It is becoming something of a trend in Serie A, with Napoli retiring Diego Armando Maradona's Number 10 and Cagliari putting aside Gigi Riva's 11 shirt.

“It is very satisfying and I did secretly hope for this gesture, because I think I gave a great deal to this team over the years,” said the captain. “The club has always been kind and respectful, which is a rare thing indeed in this business.”

The press conference was called due to a new DVD out in Italian shops looking back at Maldini’s career and an interview with the man himself.

“I opened up here even if I am a very reserved person,” he explained. “I consider myself a normal guy and the respect I have from others is the best aspect of my career.”

Maldini also looked at the current situation, as the return of Jaap Stam has pushed him out to a more demanding left-back position and seemingly damaged Milan’s defensive set-up.

“I am a central defender and Carlo Ancelotti knows that full well,” warned the 37-year-old. “He also knows I would never refuse to help the team and I did play as a left-back for many years. Such a great player as Stam can never damage a team and our overall approach remains the same.”

Meanwhile, there is some good news for Milan, as Pippo Inzaghi’s injury is not as bad as at first feared. The striker underwent surgery for a fractured metacarpal bone in his right hand and reports suggest he’ll return earlier than the predicted two to three weeks.

More surgery for Inzaghi
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has lost Pippo Inzaghi to injury yet again – but this time for just three weeks.

The striker returned to first team action last night following an absence of close to 100 days as a result of ankle surgery.

But the striker will require another operation, as he fractured a bone in his right hand during Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Udinese in the Coppa Italia.

"I do need surgery but you should all remain calm," he stated as he left a Milan clinic this evening.

"I’m not sure exactly how long I will be unavailable for but I will be back soon. I’m in a good frame of mind and the Milan fans shouldn’t worry."

Serginho signs Milan extension
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Serginho has been rewarded for his goal against Udinese last night with a new contract.

The Brazilian would have been available on a free transfer in the summer but he has today penned an extension until June 2007.

"I feel important to the squad and I am happy when I succeed in making my contribution," he told the club’s website after the 3-2 Coppa Italia win over Udinese.

The South American is nothing more than a squad player at Milan these days but he’s happy to be of use when he can.

"Those who play less have to be ready, this is very important," he continued. "The moment will arrive for everyone to play.

"We are all professionals and we know that the secret to a great team like Milan is that we must stay strong and respond when we are called upon by the Coach."

New injury blow for Inzaghi
28.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi could be set for another spell on the sidelines after the Milan man fractured his hand.

The striker returned to action last night after spending the last 98 days out following ankle surgery.

However, he may now be set for more time on the treatment table after breaking a bone in his right hand.

The Italian was sent for x-rays following last night’s 3-2 Coppa Italia victory over Udinese which found nothing.

But the former Juventus ace had further tests on Thursday as he was still experiencing discomfort this morning.

The outfit have yet to decide whether the player needs surgery. If that is the case then he will be unavailable for the next two to three weeks.

Milan prepare Ronaldinho bid
27.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are reportedly planning a £40m swoop to sign Barcelona sensation Ronaldinho in the summer.

The Brazilian is a known favourite of Vice-president Adriano Galliani and the Italian champions are pondering an offer.

Stories circulating in Italy on Thursday claim that the San Siro club are ready to offer £25m, plus the services of Jon Dahl Tomasson and Fabricio Coloccini.

The Danish forward, valued at around £10m, has been linked with the Nou Camp outfit for some time.

Meanwhile, young centre-back Coloccini rarely features for Milan but has proved himself in Spain during loan spells at Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.

However, Milan could also be forced to make another sacrifice if they attempt to sign the South American.

Whispers claim that Ronaldinho’s proposed arrival could force the Rossoneri to forget about keeping Hernan Crespo.

The Argentine striker, currently on loan from Premiership giants Chelsea, wants a permanent move in the summer.

Milan may also face some stiff opposition for the attacking talent given that Inter, Man Utd, Chelsea and Real Madrid would also be keen if he was made available for transfer.

Middlesbrough move for AC Milan defender Coloccini
27.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Middlesbrough have made a move for AC Milan defender Fabricio Coloccini.

The Mirror says Boro boss Steve McClaren is trying to take the tough South American on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent signing at around Ł2million.

Coloccini will quit Milan this summer and is available now with Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna also looking for a similar deal.

AC Milan 3:2 Udinese - match report
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ambrosini 17, 67 (M), Di Michele 21, 37 (U), Serginho 84 (M)

Pippo Inzaghi made his comeback in a five-goal thriller against Udinese, but despite the 3-2 victory Milan risk a quarter-final exit.

These two teams already met at the San Siro ten days ago when the Rossoneri emerged 3-1 winners in that Serie A tie, but both were defeated at the weekend.

Stefano Mauri and Serginho fired early efforts over the bar, but the deadlock was broken after 17 minutes when Massimo Ambrosini rose to nod in a Serginho cross.

However, it didn’t last long, as soon after Kakha Kaladze gave away a needless free kick near the corner flag and David Di Michele’s scuffed volley beat Christian Abbiati at the far post. It was his eighth Coppa Italia goal with the Friuli club, equalling their all-time top scorer in this competition Zico, but was also a valuable away strike.

Udinese were very organised and now in a position to frustrate Milan, but Manuel Rui Costa was able to blaze an effort just wide of the far post and Di Michele responded with a similar shot.

Fabricio Coloccini was disappointing throughout and was caught napping on Kaladze’s pass. Dino Fava pounced and his attempt was parried, but Abbiati could do nothing on Di Michele’s follow-up.

The Rossoneri were behind on their home turf and hit back with Serginho’s deflected angled drive and looping header.

Coloccini was made to pay for his costly error, as the Argentine was replaced at half-time by Alessandro Nesta.

Udinese were no less threatening and Fava dribbled past two defenders on the counter-attack before seeing his finish smothered by Abbiati.

Serginho was effectively playing as a striker and brought a good save out of Morgan De Sanctis with his free kick,

Pippo Inzaghi made his comeback after ankle surgery with his first appearance since October 20, replacing Kaladze for the final 20 minutes and earning a standing ovation from the San Siro crowd.

He nearly scored within a minute of his entrance, almost reaching Rui Costa’s cross from six yards, but it was Ambrosini who equalised moments later on Serginho’s centre. Inzaghi drew the defenders away during that move and was brought down in the process.

Mauri gave Abbiati a scare with a fierce drive from distance that skimmed the woodwork, then Inzaghi was booked for striking Rui Costa’s cross with his hand instead of his head.

Serginho had been threatening throughout the game and turned the tie around with a splendid free kick curled into the far post from 20 metres, completing Milan’s fightback from 2-1 down to 3-2 up.

The Rossoneri were about to further extend their lead a minute later, but the upright prevented Ambrosini celebrating his hat-trick of headers.

A desperate Mirko Pieri challenge stopped substitute Kaka going clear on goal as Udinese held on to the scoreline that still gives them a great chance of qualifying on March 16.

Crespo recalled to Argentina squad
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) -- AC Milan striker Hernan Crespo has been recalled by Argentina for their friendly international against Germany next month.

Coach Jose Pekerman also named Spain-based midfielders Juan Roman Riquelme, who has been in fine form for Villarreal, and Pablo Aimar in an all European-based 20-man squad.

Argentina face Germany in Duesseldorf on February 9.

Crespo last played for Argentina in a World Cup qualifier against Paraguay in June and, having missed the Copa America in July, has recently returned to form at Milan following his loan move from Chelsea in the European off-season.

World Cup playmaker Aimar, who has been plagued by injury, has missed Argentina's last 14 matches including the Copa America.

He last appeared against Brazil in June. Argentina will use the match as a warm-up for World Cup qualifiers away to Bolivia and at home against Colombia at the end of March.

Goalkeeper: Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid)
Defenders: Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza), Gonzalo Rodriguez (Villarreal), Diego Placente (Bayer Leverkusen), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Fabricio Coloccini (AC Milan), Leandro Cufre (AS Roma), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal), Lucas Bernardi (Monaco), Pablo Aimar (Valencia), Aldo Duscher, Lionel Scaloni (both Deportivo Coruna), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Espanyol), Leonardo Ponzio (Real Zaragoza), Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso (both Inter Milan)
Forwards: Luciano Galletti (Real Zaragoza), Javier Saviola (Monaco), Hernan Crespo (AC Milan).

Milan ponder Gilardino bid
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that Parma youngster Alberto Gilardino is a possible summer transfer target.

The Italian international, 23, has been hotly linked with the Rossoneri and the club have admitted an interest.

"We are closely following both Gilardino and Marek Jankulovski of Udinese," director general Ariedo Braida told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Gilardino, who was linked with Roma and Juventus last summer, is expected to be sold by the Tardini outfit at the end of the season.

Czech international Jankulovski is also expected to move, with some reports suggesting he’s already agreed a four-year contract with Milan.

Braida also confirmed that the champions intended to make Hernan Crespo’s loan move from Chelsea permanent. "We will sort out the Crespo situation," he underlined.

However, there could be some high profile departures at the San Siro, starting with reserve ‘keeper Christian Abbiati.

"I’m not aware that he wants to leave," explained Braida. "If he asks us to be sold then we will talk about it.

"It is true that he doesn’t play a lot and I understand his situation given that the role of a goalkeeper is rather unique."

Abbiati is an Italian international but has spent the last two seasons as No 2 behind Brazilian shot-stopper Dida.

Ancelotti: Inzaghi is ready
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is back in the squad for the Coppa Italia and Carlo Ancelotti admits the Milan star is ready for his return.

“If I’m bringing him along it certainly isn’t just so that he can make up the numbers on the bench,” commented the tactician.

The Italian international has been out of action since undergoing ankle surgery in October, but it’s a recurring problem that has left him practically sidelined for a year. He scored in a training session this week as is set for his official comeback in Wednesday’s Coppa quarter-final with Udinese.

Inzaghi’s return comes at the right time for the Rossoneri, who fell five points behind leaders Juventus with their shock 1-0 defeat at Livorno.

“Perhaps we defended a little too deep on the decisive free kick, then lost concentration after that goal. However, that was a moment in the season that is now behind us and we must move on.”

Ancelotti hopes to get his team back on track in the Coppa Italia, a trophy they won in 2003 and reached the semi-final last season.

“We are already at an advanced stage of the competition and believe that with our squad we are capable of going all the way in Serie A, the Champions’ League and Coppa Italia,” he insisted.

“I will rotate the squad for this tie, but not because we underestimate the challenge involved. It is precisely because we want to maintain a balance between all three tournaments.”

“I also want to see proof that the Livorno defeat left no psychological hang-ups on the players,” added Ancelotti, “though Udinese will be eager as they also lost on Sunday.”

Alessandro Nesta could play in defence, as he will be suspended for next week’s Serie A encounter with Bologna.

Serie A welcomes artificial pitches
26.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Italian Football Federation has confirmed that Serie A clubs could be playing on synthetic pitches as early as next season, much to Milan’s delight.

“We have to ascertain whether the new generation of synthetic playing fields affect the environment and players’ performances,” explained FIGC chief Franco Carraro.

“Once that has been verified, I think an artificial pitch can be used in the top flight from next year without problems.”

The ban on so-called ‘plastic pitches’ has been lifted by UEFA for its international club competitions, opening the door for League football to use this type of ground.

Milan and Inter have long been calling for the chance to refurbish the troubled San Siro playing surface with one that would not require regular ‘refills’ with plots of grass flown in from Germany.

“The UEFA decision is bases on the notion that it is better to play on a good artificial pitch than a mediocre natural one,” added Carraro.

The Rossoneri were first to react after this announcement and pointed out this would be every bit a technical issue as an economic one.

“Playing on an artificial field means it is totally straight all the way through,” said Coach Carlo Ancelotti. “There are no holes and no bumps, so the ball runs quickly and true. It’s the perfect environment for technically gifted players who like to pass the ball around.”

Kaka opts for Milan future
25.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan sensation Kaka has no intention of leaving the San Siro for a switch to Premiership leaders Chelsea.

"It is pleasing to know that a club like Chelsea, and other European teams, are interested in me," said the Brazilian. "However, I am a Milan player and Milan is my home."

The South American is widely regarded as one of the best attacker midfielders in world football right now.

That has inevitably seen him become one of many top players associated with the Stamford Bridge club given their immense spending power.

"What would happen if Chelsea made a massive offer? It would be up to Milan to decide even if I would prefer to stay here," he added.

Kaka joined Milan in the summer of 2003, even though Chelsea did also show an interest at the same time.

He arrived in Italy as a virtual unknown but quickly settled and was a key figure in the Rossoneri’s march to the title last season.

Kaka named best player in Italy
25.1 || webmaster

Source: AP

MILAN, Italy (AP) - AC Milan won five of the nine honours handed out Monday at Italy's annual player's association awards ceremony.

Brazil midfielder Kaka, who scored 10 goals in his first season in the Serie A and directed the team's attack, won both the overall best player award for 2004 and top foreigner honours. "He's a model player and he doesn't even have the face of a soccer player," player's association president Sergio Campana said of the 22-year-old's young-looking features. "Every mother would like their son to be like him."

Other members of the defending champions honoured were captain Paolo Maldini for best defender, Carlo Ancelotti in the coaching category and striker Andriy Shevchenko for the best goal of 2004, scored against Parma last January.

The awards are voted on by all of the players in Italy's top division.

AS Roma captain Francesco Totti won the best Italian player award for a seventh time, Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon repeated as top goalkeeper and Parma's Alberto Gilardino was named best young player.

Pierluigi Collina was elected best referee for the sixth time.

Inzaghi back on target
24.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi marked his return to full training with two goals in a practice match on Monday afternoon.

The striker underwent a second ankle operation in late 2004 but is now close to making a full recovery.

The Italian passed a final medical consultation last week and he today joined his teammates at the club’s Milanello training base.

He worked with the rest of the squad with no problems and ended the day netting twice past Christian Abbiati.

The return of Inzaghi is a welcome boost for the champions who lost 1-0 at Livorno on Sunday.

That game underlined that the Rossoneri do have troubles on the road, as they’ve scored just nine out of 35 goals away from the San Siro this term.

Milan haven’t scored or won on their travels in the League since December 4.

Whispers suggest that Inzaghi could be fit enough to start on the bench in the outfit’s next League test against Bologna.

Livorno 1:0 AC Milan - match report
23.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Colombo 28 (L)

Corrado Colombo has sealed Milan's first away defeat of the season and left them five points adrift of leaders Juventus.

Two former Rossoneri teammates face off on the sidelines, as Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Donadoni were key to the 'Grande Milan' of the 1980's and 90's. He had started his Serie A Coaching career with last week's 3-1 win over Messina, but Milan were eager for a victory to further close the gap on leaders Juventus.

Massimo Ambrosini stepped in for the suspended Andrea Pirlo in the Milan midfield, while Vikash Dhorasoo was chosen ahead of Clarence Seedorf. Surprisingly, Igor Protti was again left on the Livorno bench in favour of Corrado Colombo.

The visitors had a strong start with a save on Kaka, but Jaap Stam was called into a crucial intervention as Colombo came sliding in from close range. The conditions weren't too conducive to attractive play as there was heavy rainfall on the Stadio Picchi.

There was controversy on 16 minutes when Cristiano Lucarelli dribbled past Alessandro Nesta, then fell under Dida's challenge. With the goalkeeper down two shots were charged down by defenders, but replays suggest Dida did not make contact with the ball.

Milan were having the better of the early play and Dhorasoo set Kaka moving for the Brazilian to run past three defenders and his low drive thumped the base of the upright.

However, it was Livorno who took the lead after 28 minutes. The Milan defence was caught ball-watching as Dida saved a Jose Luis Vidigal header from Passoni's free kick, but could do nothing on Colombo's follow-up from six yards.

Crespo had the opportunity to draw level less than a minute later when he sprung the offside trap, but he tried to cut back on to his favoured foot and the chance went begging.

The referee got on the wrong side of both teams, as Milan were livid that Crespo was not awarded a penalty for Fabio Galante's shirt-tug.

Livorno nearly doubled their lead with an identical move to the goal, but this time Dida was ready with a brilliant fingertip reaction save on Galante's header.

The Tuscans had an even clearer opportunity within a minute of the restart as Stam was keeping Vigiani on side, but he somehow drilled wide of the target with only Dida to beat.

It was an extremely tense encounter and after 51 minutes Andriy Shevchenko and Alessandro Lucarelli were both booked for their scuffle. The Ukrainian appeared to be nudged as he watched a cross come in and got back up to push his marker away.

Vigiani wasted another golden opportunity on the counter-attack and Crespo's headed goal was disallowed for a push on Alessandro Lucarelli.

Igor Protti came on and nearly made it 2-0 for Livorno as Cristiano Lucarelli held up the ball for the veteran, but his low drive was smothered by Dida.

Milan's Brazilian goalkeeper was again forced into a splendid reaction save on Cristiano Lucarelli's deflected angled drive and protected the loose ball from Protti.

Moments later the Rossoneri were furious with the referee as Shevchenko was brought down by goalkeeper Marco Amelia and their penalty appeals were waved away. He had lifted Seedorf's pass over the 'keeper and Amelia did not make contact with the ball.

Milan's day was made even worse in stoppages when Alessandro Nesta was sent off for a second bookable offence as he brought down Protti. From the position Dida fingertipped Cristiano Lucarelli's free kick on to the crossbar.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Maldini; Gattuso (Seedorf 46), Ambrosini (Rui Costa 75), Dhorasoo; Kakà; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson 65)

Livorno: Amelia; Galante, Vargas, A Lucarelli; Balleri, Doga, Vigiani (Grauso 69), Passoni, Vidigal; Colombo (Protti 61), C Lucarelli

Ref: Farina

Sent off: Nesta 93 (M)

Pride, Passion, Prestige (Maldini related)
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Reuters (via The Electric New Paper - Singapore)

IN these days of football mercenaries, when a player will kiss his club badge as a sign of loyalty one week then leave the next when a better offer comes along, Paolo Maldini is a rarity.

Ever since becoming AC Milan's youngest debutant 20 years ago on Jan 20 1985, aged 16, the classy defender regarded as the best of his generation has stayed loyal to his hometown club.

His extra-ordinary commitment to the team his father, Cesare, played for has been rewarded with a sackful of silverware, including seven league championships, four European Cup/Champions League titles, two Inter-Continental Cups, four European SuperCups and the Italian Cup.

Maldini is also Italy's most capped player, having made 126 appearances for the Azzurri, before retiring from the international scene following the disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign in Japan and South Korea.

He was on the losing side in the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil and the European championship final against France, six years later.

Cynics could argue that Maldini might have left AC Milan had the club not enjoyed so much success, but he has been the perfect role model for any aspiring young footballer.

Still happily married to Venezuelan model Adriana Fossa after more than 10 years and the father of two sons, he has steered clear of the pitfalls that so many players fall victim to.

The Milan fans acknowledged Maldini's two decades of service on Sunday by giving him a standing ovation and unfurling a massive banner which read: '20 years at Milan, 20 years of history - Thank You Paolo!'.

The legs may not be as fast as they were when legendary sweeper Franco Baresi took the young Maldini under his wing, but the sprightly 36-year-old is showing no sign of calling it a day.

'I have been thinking about what to do once I retire and I haven't come to a decision yet,' he told the Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy's best-selling newspaper.

'The best thing would be to find myself some kind of job within the world of football, but I have no desire to become a coach.


'I have always said I won't do it - you suffer too much.

'If I decide to play on (after my contract ends in 2006), it will not be for financial reasons or because I have set myself a target of a certain number of victories.

'It will be because of the desire to train hard and enjoy myself.

'This is the sport that has given me so much.'

Maldini may have won everything on offer at club level, but as an individual he has been overlooked.

He has never been voted Italian footballer of the year, European Footballer of the Year, or the World Player of the Year.

Despite this lack of personal recognition, there has been no shortage of tributes from those who know 'Il Capitano' best.

Pancaro extends with Milan
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Sports Network

Milan, Italy (Sports Network) - AC Milan gave defender Giuseppe Pancaro a contract extension Friday that will keep the veteran with the club until 2006.

After playing six seasons with Lazio, the 33-year-old joined the Rossoneri in 2003. Pancaro, an Italian international, has made 12 Serie A appearances this season. AC Milan also gave defender Alessandro Costacurta a contract extension earlier this week. The Rossoneri are two points behind first-place Juventus in the Serie A standings.

Emerson distances Milan
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Emerson insists leaders Juventus are not afraid of Milan closing the gap, but Gianluca Zambrotta is out of tomorrow’s match with Brescia.

“We are not afraid of the Rossoneri,” assured the Brazilian after their lead was cut to two points. “We respect them and although they believe they are the best, we have the same confidence in our own potential.”

There have been some visible chinks in Juve’s armour over the last few weeks, conceding avoidable late goals to draw at Parma and Cagliari.

“It is always comforting to be at the top of the table, but we know that there is no more margin for error. These two points can be crucial, as I recall when I was at Roma we lost the Scudetto to Juve by one.”

Emerson was on target with his first Serie A goal for the Bianconeri in Cagliari last week, though he has also been suffering the strains of their packed calendar.

“It’s a shame about that late goal, as we didn’t have time to get back into it. For a little while I wasn’t able to train properly,” he explained, “but I have recovered from that shaky period. I am now ready and able to work for the team in whichever way Fabio Capello requires.”

Several other players have fitness worries at the moment, as Gianluca Zambrotta and Alessio Tacchinardi are not expected to even be on the bench for Sunday’s match with Brescia. The fullback is struggling with a calf strain, while the midfielder bruised his wrist during the Coppa Italia exit to Atalanta.

“A team cannot always be at the top of its game throughout a season,” noted ‘Il Puma’. “Despite only drawing at Cagliari, we did prove that we are on form and still on top of the table. I think people enjoy putting Juve down.”

Alessandro Del Piero should get back into the starting eleven alongside David Trezeguet, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be allowed to rest.

“Everyone wants to play and Del Piero trains hard every day to improve. Capello has always been great with star players, as he makes his choices based on the good of the team and talks to his men. He’s not as tough a Coach as people like to make out.”

Donadoni faces Rossoneri freinds
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roberto Donadoni won every trophy with Milan and now takes on his former teammates in only his second Serie A match as Livorno Coach.

“It is my job to put sentimental matters aside for this match,” conceded the 41-year-old. “I, and the side, must remain concentrated on the task at hand and picking up some very important points.”

The ex-midfielder wore the Rossoneri jersey from 1986 to ’99, pausing for two years with his spell at the New York Metrostars, clocking up 18 goals in 284 games.

He won six Scudetto titles, three European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, three European Supercups and four Italian Supercups – many of them alongside Carlo Ancelotti, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta.

“We all had great fun together during those successful years. Now Ancelotti is a world class Coach and there is no denying it."

"Paolo still has a few more years left in him, but I am truly astonished to see Billy out there every week," concluded Donadoni. "I’m very happy for him, as it isn’t easy to keep your body in shape.”

Costacurta surprised many this week by signing an extension to his contract that will keep him at Milan until after his 40th birthday.

He isn’t the only one, as the San Siro outfit has confirmed that defender Giuseppe Pancaro has penned a new deal holding him until June 30 2006.

Ruud could be ready for Milan clash
22.1 || webmaster

Source: Ireland Online

Ruud van Nistelrooy is on course to make his comeback from injury in Manchester United’s Champions League tie with AC Milan next month.

The Dutch striker has been sidelined for almost two months by an Achilles injury but he has been responding well to treatment in Holland and it is hoped he will return ahead of schedule to face the Italian side on February 23.

Van Nistelrooy, who remains top scorer for the Red Devils this season with 14 goals in all competitions, will fly back to Manchester on February 15 to undergo a week of intense fitness training in a bid to be fit for the vital tie.

Manager Alex Ferguson told the Daily Mirror: “I spoke to Ruud yesterday and he is doing great. He is doing power running and feeling no pain at all. Hopefully the AC Milan game will be the target.”

Inzaghi gets green light
21.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi could return to first team action in a few weeks after he passed his medical with flying colours.

Inzaghi was checked over by Professor Martens in Antwerp this morning, who was happy with the striker’s recovery from ankle surgery.

The former Juventus ace had two operations on his left ankle in 2004, but has already started light training, and can now concentrate on battling for his place in the side again.

The surgeon confirmed that the work the Italian has already done is helping his comeback and boss Carlo Ancelotti will soon have him at his disposal once more.

Ancelotti fires Juventus warning
21.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti today warned his team that they are in for a tough photo-finish for the title.

"This one is going to the wire," stated Ancelotti, who was Coach of closest rivals Juventus between 1998 and 2001.

"A contest of these dimensions won’t be decided easily. The two squads are firing on all cylinders and its going to be tough for both sides. No one intends to give up."

The Milan boss was speaking after a benefit game played against Cervia, the proceeds of which will go to tsunami victims in Asia.

The Rossoneri ran out 5-2 winners, with Andriy Shevchenko bagging a brace. Jon Dahl Tommasson, Serginho and Cristian Brocchi also got on the scoresheet.

Milan, the reigning Italian champions, are currently just two points behind leaders Juventus.

Chelsea wants £10 mil. for Crespo
21.1 || webmaster


Chelsea have told AC Milan they must cough up £10 million if they want to sign Hernan Crespo to a permanent deal.

The Italians are only offering Ł5m for the on-loan Argentine hitman, who cost Blues Ł16.8m from Inter two years ago.

Chelsea, who are still paying Crespo Ł70,000 a week, thinking Milan are trying it on and are determined to make them pay.

Chelsea, Real Madrid rival AC Milan for Gilardino
20.1 || webmaster


Parma are ready to hold talks with representatives from Chelsea and Real Madrid over the future of striker Alberto Gilardino.

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While AC Milan remain favourites to land the Italy international in the summer, Chelsea and Real are also in the frame as Parma prepare to cash in on their young star in the summer.

With Hernan Crespo on his way to AC Milan, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will have officials register his interest in Gilardino in the coming weeks. While Real GM Arrigo Sacchi also plans to return to his old club to ask for the youngster.

AC Milan turn to Porto fullback Seitaridis
20.1 || webmaster


AC Milan are considering a summer move for Porto right-back Giourkas Seitaridis.

The Greece international has impressed Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani, who has sent chief scout Cesare Maldini to track the Euro2004 winner this season.

Seitaridis only joined Porto in the summer from Panathinaikos for £2 million, but his value has now jumped to over £6 million.

Milan are considering the Greek as a replacement for 35 year-old Cafu. Along with Seitaridis, Reggina's Giandomenico Mesto is also being monitored as a potential successor for Cafu.

No Milan exit for Tomasson
20.1 || webmaster

Source: ITV Football (UK)

The Magpies, and French Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, have been linked with a move for the Denmark international, who has found himself behind the likes of Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo in the pecking order at the San Siro this season.

However, the 28-year-old signed a four-year extension to his current deal with the Rossoneri in the autumn, and his representative Emile Miedema insists that his client is settled at the Serie A club.

"He renewed his contract (until 2009) in September and he is very, very happy at the club, in the city and he has a good relationship with the trainer (Carlo Ancelotti)," Miedema told PA.

"I know about all of the interest, and he could go to France, Spain or England if he wanted, but he is with the perfect club.

"I am called by agents (representing other clubs) all the time, and every time I put the offer to Jon he says the same thing - he is not interested.

"The other week we received an offer from a team in Spain which would have added 500,000 euros (£347,000) onto his salary, but Jon said that it is not about the money.

"Marseille showed an interest in the summer and again in the winter, but Newcastle have not made a serious enquiry.

"Unless something very strange happens and Milan go and buy two strikers, he does not want to move on.

"He is playing a lot of football, scoring goals and he has a great life in Milan."

Tomasson spent one season on Tyneside earlier in his career, when he was signed in 1997 by then Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish to partner Alan Shearer up front.

However, Shearer suffered a serious knee injury which left Tomasson isolated in attack, and after just three league goals in 17 games, he signed for Dutch outfit Feyenoord, where he restored his predatory reputation before moving on to Milan in 2002.

"It was just a case of Jon being very unlucky that year," Miedema added.

"He really liked the club (Newcastle) and the place, but when Shearer got injured the strategy changed and he was up front on his own, and he is not a physical striker.

"He needs a strong player alongside him, like Ebbe Sand for Denmark or Shevchenko at Milan. Luck was just not with him that year."

Serie A dominates UEFA side
20.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Half of the players in UEFA's ideal squad for 2004 play their trade in Serie A, including two Italian internationals.

The first-choice XI was voted for by visitors to the website and five members of the side can be found in the Peninsula.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Milan defender Alessandro Nesta are the only Azzurri players, but there are a further three Serie A stars.

They are Rossoneri fullback Marcos Cafu, who has had a career renaissance since moving to the San Siro, and his teammate Andriy Shevchenko.

The Ballon d'Or winner is joined by last year's European Player of the Year, Pavel Nedved of Juventus and the Czech Republic.

The other members of the ideal eleven include four Premiership players, Maniche representing Porto and Barcelona's Ronaldinho.

As for the Italy squad itself, it remains tenth in the FIFA World Rankings with 738 points. Brazil are again the leaders ahead of France, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Spain, Holland, Mexico, England and Portugal. users' Team of 2004: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus FC and Italy), Cafu (AC Milan), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea FC and Portugal), Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan and Italy), Ashley Cole (Arsenal FC and England), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC and Portugal), Maniche (FC Porto and Portugal), Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona), Pavel Nedved (Juventus FC and Czech Republic), Thierry Henry (Arsenal FC and France), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan and Ukraine)

Coach: José Mourinho (Chelsea FC)

Costacurta signs with Milan till forties
19.1 || webmaster

Source: Reuters

MILAN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - AC Milan defender Alessandro Costacurta has signed a contract extension with the Italian champions that will take him past his 40th birthday.

Costacurta's current deal expires at the end of this season but Milan said the former Italy international, who will turn 39 in April, had signed a one-year extension.

Costacurta made his debut for Milan in October 1987 and has been with the club ever since, winning four European Cups and seven Italian league titles.

The central defender, who can also play at full-back, made 22 appearances during Milan's title winning campaign last season.

Although the oldest player on Milan's books, Costacurta is not the longest serving. That honour belongs to captain Paolo Maldini who on Thursday will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut.

Livorno vs. AC Milan - match preview
19.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Two former Rossoneri teammates are on the benches of the Stadio Picchi, as Roberto Donadoni and Carlo Ancelotti were part of Il Grande Milan.

Livorno have been something of a problem for Milan this season, holding them to a shock 2-2 draw at San Siro in Week 1. Despite slipping into the bottom half of the table, the Tuscan team still seems to be winning its battle for survival.

The arrival of new Coach Donadoni last week saw Livorno produce a convincing 3-1 victory over Messina, and Milan’s visit presents a mouth-watering opportunity to take more points off the reigning Champions.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be keen to continue their excellent run of form which has seen them win six out of the last eight games. Donadoni has a full squad available for the tie, whilst Ancelotti is still without injured parties Pippo Inzaghi, Dario Simic, Serginho and Kakha Kaladze. Andrea Pirlo is suspended, and should be replaced by Massimo Ambrosini in midfield.

Livorno (probable): Amelia, Galante, Vargas, A Lucarelli, Balleri, Vigiani, Passoni, Grauso, Doga, Protti, C Lucarelli

Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Maldini, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Kakà, Crespo, Shevchenko

Pippo plans February return
18.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s sidelined striker Pippo Inzaghi hopes to return to the Rossoneri line-up in February.

The player has been out injured for most of the season but is now back in training and almost ready to challenge for a first team place.

"I want to get back to my best," explained the forward. "According to my plans, I should be back on February 8 but I’m hoping to make it even sooner.

"I am aware that a one-legged player is no good to anyone, so I need to be 100 per cent fit."

Inzaghi has been on the treatment table for some time after he had a second operation on his ankle, a problem which has plagued him for almost a year.

But the former Juventus striker, 31, is now eager to be a part of the Scudetto race against his old club.

"It’s going to be a fight with Juve right to the end," Inzaghi admitted. "I’m thrilled with how well Milan are doing so far. Let’s hope that fortune smiles on us."

Pippo is in his fourth year at the club, following four successful seasons in Turin with the Bianconeri.

He helped the Rossoneri to the Serie A title last season and a Champions’ League triumph in 2002-03.

Mourinho wins Crespo adulation
17.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has praised Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho but insists he doesn't want a Stamford Bridge return.

The South American is currently on loan at the San Siro and is hoping to make the move permanent.

"Mourinho was very kind to me and was sorry I left because he said he’d followed me since I was at River Plate," the Argentine told Radio Radio.

"But since it was Milan, he understood and let me go. He’s very capable, very prepared, and makes you do a lot of work with the ball.

"I’m not at all surprised by what he’s achieving at Chelsea. I can only speak positively about the man."

Although Crespo clearly respects Mourinho, he’s adamant that he wants to be bossed by Carlo Ancelotti next term.

"I don’t know what the London club are thinking but I’ll do everything to convince them that I should stay at Milan," Crespo concluded.

Dhorasso makes his mark at AC Milan
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Reuters

PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) - AC Milan's French international midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo is making his mark with the Italian champions after a quiet start in Serie A.

"I've just played three games in eight days. (Clarence) Seedorf, who is someone in this club, has been left on the bench," Dhorasoo told French sports daily L'Equipe on Sunday.

When he arrived from French champions Olympique Lyon in the close season, Dhorasoo faced a tough fight for a place in a midfield usually occupied by Italy internationals Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso and Dutchman Seedorf.

He saw little first team action until this month but has played in Milan's last three games, a 5-2 win over Lecce and a 0-0 draw at Palermo in Serie A and a 2-0 victory over Palermo on Wednesday in the third round of the Italian Cup.

But Dhorasoo, who began his first division career with Le Havre and has been capped three times by France, says he is not competing against anyone in the Milan squad.

"Having been picked by them is a huge source of pride," he said. "Everything happening to me is fabulous.

"I am just so pleased to be part of this great team.

"I believe in my game, in my qualities. The other day, I heard an Italian journalist say 'Dhorasoo? I never saw him play like he does now'.

"But I'm playing the same way I did with Lyon."

AC Milan in talks with Lecce for Cassetti
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lecce favourite Marco Cassetti admits he's open to AC Milan's advances. Milan made a move on Friday evening after a Lecce representative was spotted at the San Siro.

Promising winger Cassetti has long been linked with a move to a bigger club, including Juventus and Inter, but 2005 seems the right time as he has already scored four goals for the Southerners as the sit mid table in the second half of the season.

"It's wonderful to see my name in the same sentence as Milan," said the 27-year-old following the latest newspaper speculation.

"I train here and gladly play for Lecce, but I feel that I am ready for the big step up in my career. To read that a club like the Rossoneri is interested in me provides great motivation to do even better."

It is reported that a deal in January may be struck for the summer, as Milan have also appear to have signed Marek Jankulovski from Udinese for £4 million.

Cassetti now joins Alberto Gilardino (Parma) and Jankulovski who are expected to be unveiled as January signings but will arrive at the Guiseppe Meazza in the summer.

AC Milan 3:1 Udinese - post-match comments
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti: “It was a very entertaining game and a tough one as far as we were concerned. I am satisfied with the way the team reacted to going 1-0 down, as we suffered under pressure and maintained our shape. The four defenders we had today are formidable, but there are other options for Milan.”

Luciano Spalletti: “I am disappointed as we could have done more, though Milan were fantastic and deserved the victory. We created some great scoring opportunities and should have taken more of them. I don’t need any January reinforcements and just hope all our stars stay until the end of the season.”

AC Milan 3:1 Udinese - match report
16.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Di Natale 9 (U), Shevchenko 31 (M), Jankulovski og 53 (M), Kaka' 89 (M)

Milan put the pressure back on leaders Juventus with this confident victory over third-placed Udinese in a very entertaining game.

Udinese were in third place and closing fast on Milan going into this unexpected Scudetto showdown. The Friuli outfit has won in two of its last three trips to the San Siro and Carlo Ancelotti has only ever beaten them once, losing another three encounters.

Jaap Stam made his comeback after ankle surgery, pushing Paolo Maldini into his old left-back position. This week the captain marks the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut, which curiously was also a match against Udinese. The visitors had to reshuffle their squad after David Di Michele and Sulley Ali Muntari were suspended.

The pitch was in appalling condition and made the two teams' fast-paced passing game rather difficult. Milan had the better of the early play, but it was Udinese who took firs blood after nine minutes with a stunning effort from Antonio Di Natale.

The former Empoli forward gathered Iaquinta's pass with a classy turn and half-volley into the top corner that was simply unstoppable.

Iaquinta was again involved soon after, holding up the ball for Di Natale's angled drive that was this time on the side-netting.

Milan now found it difficult to break down an organised Friuli outfit with weak shots from Gennaro Gattuso and Hernan Crespo.

The equaliser finally came on the half-hour mark when Kaka's low cross went past Crespo, but reached Andriy Shevchenko totally unmarked at the back post for a tap-in.

That goal woke the Rossoneri up and they could have taken the lead soon after, as Shevchenko's floated cross found Kaka's header, but he incredibly hit the upright from less than six yards.

Clarence Seedorf really should have made it 2-1 before the break, somehow firing over the bar with De Sanctis rushing off his line to close him down.

For all Milan's attractive play, it was an own goal that gifted them the lead on 52 minutes. Seedorf's relatively harmless cross was accidentally nodded into his own net by Marek Jankulovski - who this week has been heavily linked with a move to the San Siro.

Udinese didn't let their heads drop and Iaquinta's razor-sharp free kick squeezed past Dida and on to the base of the upright.

Valerio Bertotto cleared Marcos Cafu's low cross before it could reach Shevchenko, then De Sanctis performed a fine reaction save on Crespo and Kaka's counter-attack was charged down by Felipe.

Jon Dahl Tomasson sprung the offside trap and brought another fine save out of De Sanctis, then on the resulting corner kick Kaka nodded over.

Udinese threw on the trident attack with Dino Fava for Stefano Mauri, but Milan still had the better of the play and made the result safe in the final minute. Tomasson and Shevchenko combined on the counter-attack before Kaka rushed through the centre to sidefoot home.

Milan: Dida; Cafu (Costacurta 88), Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Ambrosini 80); Kakà; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson 77)

Udinese: De Sanctis; Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe; Mauri (Fava 78), Pinzi, Pizarro, Pazienza (Pieri 64), Jankulovski; Di Natale, Iaquinta

Ref: Trefoloni

Maldini marks 20 years of Serie A
15.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

This week Paolo Maldini will mark the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut and looks back at his career highs and lows.

The defender, son of Milan and Italy legend Cesare Maldini, had his first taste of Serie A football on January 20 1985 at the age of 16 and spookily enough it was against Udinese – the same team he’ll face almost exactly two decades later.

That tie ended 1-1 at the Stadio Friuli, but the Rossoneri will be hoping to celebrate with a victory that’ll keep them close on Juve’s tail.

“I have been thinking of my future for the last two or three years, but I can’t make a decision,” said the 36-year-old. “The best thing would be to create another role for myself within this sport, but I’ve always said that it’s too stressful to be a Coach and I haven’t changed my mind in that respect.”

So Paolo won’t be following in the footsteps of his father, who Coached both Milan and the Italy squad, but that decision is a few years off as he is determined to continue this glittering career.

“The secret of my success is the willingness to put in the hard work,” he explained to the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’. “I still enjoy training and putting in the hours on the pitch. It’s that day to day aspect of football I’ll miss the most when I retire.”

In 20 years he has faced every top name in the sport, but singles one opponent out for praise more than any other, and it is for a surprising reason.

“Undoubtedly Diego Armando Maradona. He was the greatest and was respectful of everyone, regardless of whether they were top stars or an average squad player. He was repeatedly kicked around and never complained, which is a far cry from today’s strikers!”

Despite the years going by, the Milan captain has already played 1,530 minutes of football in the current Serie A season – more than any of his teammates – and will return to his old left-back role so that Jaap Stam can start in central defence.

“Paolo deserves every accolade there is,” commented his Coach and former teammate Carlo Ancelotti. “Apart from the trophies, he’ll be remembered for being a perfect gentleman and symbol of fair play in every occasion. He represents a milestone in the history of football.”

Jankulovski heading for Milan
14.1 || Seamus

Udinese midfielder Marek Jankulovski has reportedly agreed a £6m transfer to champions Milan.

An agreement has allegedly been struck between Rossoneri chief Adriano Galliani and Udinese President Giampaolo Pozzo.

The Czech international, who has yet to officially sign, will finish this season at the Stadio Friuli before moving to the San Siro.

Milan are understood to have offered him a four-year deal which will see his salary rise to around £1m a season.

Rossoneri fans will get a close look at Jankulovksi, who was also linked with Juventus and Inter, at the weekend when Udinese arrive in Serie A.

In other transfer news, Roma and Juve are engaged in a tug of war over Vicenza’s Massimo Bonanni.

The capital side co-own the midfielder but the Bianconeri have recently made an offer for the player.

"I met with Roma sporting director Franco Baldini a few days ago and he said he doesn’t want Bonanni to be sold this January," stated Vicenza director general Sergio Gasparin.

"This probably means that nothing will happen before June. Juventus? We haven’t sold our share in Bonanni to them."

Arsenal chasing Abbiati
13.1 || webmaster


Arsenal's chief scout Steve Rowley was in Italy last night for AC Milan's Coppa Italia tie with Palermo.

Its understood Rowley was taking in the performance of Milan's reserve goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, whose agent is good friends with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger.

The 27-year-old Abbiati has fallen out of favour at San Siro after the Brazilian Nelson Dida established himself as the first choice.

As a consequence Abbiati has also lost his place as Gianluigi Buffon's cover in the Italian national team and has not been included in Marcello Lippi's squad since August 2004.

"Abbiati is one of the goalkeepers in Arsenal's list but Milan will not sell him if they don't find a good replacement first," said Abbiati's agent Claudio Vigorelli.

Marseille line up Tomasson loan
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marseille are close to sealing a loan move for Milan’s Jon Dahl Tomasson, according to La Provence.

The French side failed in an attempt to sign Tomasson last summer but newly-appointed President Pape Diouf feels he might have more luck now, with the striker struggling for regular football at the San Siro.

The former Feyenoord ace, 28, has dropped behind Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi, Kaka and Hernan Crespo in the Milan pecking order after scoring just two goals in 15 matches this season.

Milan are reportedly prepared to let Tomasson go out on a six-month loan provided Marseille pay his entire salary, and Diouf is heading out for talks this week.

Meanwhile, Coach Philippe Troussier is still looking for a replacement for Bixente Lizarazu, despite the arrival of Nigerian teenage left-back Taye Taiwo.

Roma’s Vincent Candela has emerged as a potential target, along with Rangers’ Grégory Vignal.

AC Milan 2:0 Palermo - match report
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Brocchi 19 (M), Tomasson pen 77 (M)

Milan have comfortably qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Palermo, while Samp go through despite defeat to Torino.

These two teams had already faced off on Sunday in Sicily, but in that instance the 0-0 draw had proved costly for Carlo Ancelotti’s hopes of retaining the Scudetto.

The second-string team fared better at the San Siro, as after just 19 minutes Christian Brocchi opened the scoring with a fierce drive from 25 metres that bounced in front of goalkeeper Santoni.

Nonetheless, there were again some worrying scares for the Rossoneri in the first half, as Jaap Stam showed he is lacking match fitness by losing sight of Ferri and the Palermo man’s strike cannoned off the upright.

Mariano Gonzalez also went close with an acrobatic volley and Mario Alberto Santana’s attempt was saved, while at the other end Massimo Ambrosini and Jon Dahl Tomasson wasted good chances.

The qualification was put beyond all doubt when Terlizzi brought down Tomasson and the Dane converted the resulting penalty to put Milan through 4-1 on aggregate, where they’ll meet the winner of Udinese-Lecce.

Zebina snubbed Milan duo
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jonathan Zebina has revealed that he snubbed moves to both Milan clubs in favour of Juventus.

The defender left Roma on a free transfer in the summer, opting for a switch to Turin rather than the San Siro.

In an interview with France Football magazine, the stopper described how he almost signed for Milan but Carlo Ancelotti wanted him to deputise for Jaap Stam.

"I also refused Inter when they offered me a ridiculously low contract," explained the right-back.

"In the end I chose Juventus because they promised me a French boss but then Fabio Capello arrived instead – a Coach who I rate highly."

The Turin giants were expected to hire Monaco tactician Didier Deschamps before Capello was offered the job.

Since signing for Juventus, Zebina has been capped for his country and credits the move to the Old Lady for raising his international profile.

Ancelotti blames crass clubs
12.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

If every club was as organised as Milan, then fewer Coaches would be sacked, according to Carlo Ancelotti.

“Unfortunately, life as a Coach in Italy isn’t easy,” said the Rossoneri boss. “Your career is in the hands of directors who don’t always have the knowledge to judge your work as a tactician and that is a shame.”

His comments came after two Serie A managers were fired in the space of 24 hours, as Livorno sacked Franco Colomba and Siena’s Gigi Simoni was given the boot.

Ancelotti was also alerted to an interview given by Roberto Mancini last week, in which he said that it was more of a challenge to win trophies at Inter than in the “easy” environments of Juve and Milan.

“Winning at Juventus was certainly extremely difficult for me,” smiled the eternal runner-up on the Turin bench.

“If these two clubs are consistently successful then there is a reason behind it, above all their plans put in place early and carried through to their natural conclusion in an organised fashion. Also, they choose Coaches that they trust, even in difficult times.”

Mancio said that he would never take charge of Milan, but would Ancelotti accept the switch to the other side of the San Siro?

“I am a strange Milan fan, as I don’t dislike Inter,” he said. “But, as a former Rossoneri player, I think it would be like cancelling part of my history if I joined our rivals. The Nerazzurri supporters wouldn’t much appreciate my presence either, so it’s best to leave everything as it is.”

Zebina wary of Milan surge
11.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus defender Jonathan Zebina believes his team need to rediscover their form quickly or risk being overtaken by Milan.

Fabio Capello’s side re-established a four-point advantage over Milan at the top of Serie A at the weekend, but Zebina still feels they will have their work cut out to clinch the Scudetto.

"It’s obvious that the Rossoneri are better than anyone right now," the 26-year-old told France Football magazine.

"They are going through the same exceptional period that we had at the start of the season.

"When we played them on December 18 they dominated the game, so in the end, a draw wasn’t a bad result for us.

"We weren’t good that night. We didn’t impose ourselves and we allowed them to slowly take control of the spaces and the game which could have been fatal."

The Frenchman, who has established himself as the Juventus right-back following a summer move from Roma, added: "We still have our destiny in our own hands and it’s up to us to re-find our rhythm quickly so that we maintain our advantage."

Sheva fears Udinese threat
11.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are desperate to shake off an Udinese curse which has seen the Friulani win two out of their last three League games at the San Siro.

"If we want to win the Scudetto, we have to win on Sunday," remarked Andriy Shevchenko.

"It’s a really crucial tie for us because we lost two home games against Udinese in recent years, and we want revenge."

The Bianconeri, just five points behind Milan in third, were the only outfit to beat the Rossoneri at the Giuseppe Meazza last term.

Shevchenko also spoke about his side’s title rivals this term. "The return of David Trezeguet is important for Juventus," he added.

"But we must not forget that Inter have narrowed the gap between themselves and us in the last couple of games."

Meanwhile, Udinese are reinforcing their squad thanks to the January transfer window.

The club have acquired Brazilian defender Gustavo Lazzaretti de Aroujio, a 20-year-old with an Italian passport.

They have also taken a young Japanese goalkeeper on trial, Eiji Kawashima, who plays between the sticks for the national Under-20 side.

Ancelotti abdicates Winter crown
10.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have lost the Winter Champion crown to Juventus, but Carlo Ancelotti claims he was happy with the performance.

“The team played well and we knew that we were facing a tough opponent,” noted the Rossoneri boss following the Sunday evening stalemate.

“We had our scoring opportunities and our objective remains to play well and be determined. It doesn’t matter if Juventus are the Winter Champions, as what counts is being top at the end of the season.”

The Bianconeri will now top the table at the halfway point regardless of what the results are next week, as the four-point lead is insurmountable.

Palermo are more than happy with the point and believe they could have beaten the reigning Italian Champions.

“If we had sneaked a victory then there would be no doubts we deserved it,” said Coach Francesco Guidolin.

“The two teams both created interesting chances, but were lacking something in the accuracy department. It’s a shame, as towards the end we had some promising counter-attacks that were wasted.”

The Sicilians catch fellow new boys Cagliari in joint seventh place on 26 points, so their bid for a spot in Europe next season continues.

Palermo 0:0 AC Milan - match report
9.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Rossoneri have fallen four points adrift of leaders Juventus after a surprise stalemate in Palermo.

Milan needed a victory if they were to keep the gap from Juve at two points, but were forced to do without the suspended Alessandro Nesta, while Alessandro Costacurta was able to play despite suffering from a shoulder problem. Hernan Crespo marked his 200th Serie A appearance in the Stadium where he scored his first official goal for Milan in November's Coppa Italia tie. The second leg of that fixture is next week.

Palermo brought back the system that proved so successful in the 3-0 win over Cagliari, with Franco Brienza and Lamberto Zauli supporting Luca Toni. Eugenio Corini and Fabio Grosso also returned to the squad after a one-match ban, but Simone Barone was suspended.

Andriy Shevchenko and Toni had early chances, Dida at full stretch to capture the Italian's low drive. Kaka then struck a chip just over the bar, while Milan just about managed to clear a Corini free kick.

Gennaro Gattuso celebrated his 27th birthday, but marked it with a yellow card for a foul on Zauli.

Costacurta may be 38 years old, but he proved decisive with a smart challenge on Toni in the area as he was preparing to turn.

Palermo could not have closer to an opening goal than on 33 minutes, as Dida flew to palm Stefano Morrone's rising drive out of the top corner with some difficulty.

Moments later the action moved to the other end, where chaotic defending on Crespo and Shevchenko saw Gattuso's effort deflected out for a corner.

The second half started on a similar vein, as Dida rushed off his line to pluck the ball off Toni's feet after a defensive error. Soon after Paolo Maldini had to fling himself at Zauli's angled drive following good work down the left flank.

Matteo Guardalben got behind a powerful Shevchenko free kick, while the Ukrainian set up Kaka with a delightful first touch, but the ball squirmed away from the Brazilian at the crucial moment.

Guardalben was forced into a tricky save on Shevchenko's swerving free kick and there were no Milan players ready to tap in the loose ball.

Palermo introduced Mario Alberto Santana to give more creativity in midfield and he had a good chance soon after stepping on to the field, but couldn't keep his shot down.

The Rossoneri were slowly beginning to increase the pressure and on 65 minutes Kaka held off a shirt tug from Grosso to get his angled drive in and Guardalben fingertipped it an inch past the upright.

The Palermo goalkeeper was again called into action on a deflected Andrea Pirlo free kick, then at the other end Toni's header turned Fabio Grosso's taut cross just wide.

Toni attempted a bicycle-kick when a turn and volley might have been better, but Milan were improving with time and a defender charged down Kaka's diving header.

The Stadio Barbera did not bring Crespo luck this time, as he made way for Jon Dahl Tomasson in the final ten minutes. Another substitute, Clarence Seedorf, wasted a golden opportunity to grab the win when he fired Shevchenko's pass over the bar with only the 'keeper to beat.

The Dutchman was more accurate soon after, but Cristian Raimondi did well to charge down the fierce shot, then one of his scissor-kicks was off target.

Palermo: Guardalben; Zaccardo, Barzagli, Terlizzi, Grosso; Mutarelli (Raimondi 82), Corini, Morrone; Brienza (Santana 58), Zauli (Gonzalez 71); Toni

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Costacurta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso (Seedorf 66), Pirlo, Dhorasoo (Ambrosini 77); Kakà; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson 80)

Ref: Rodomonti

Milan have Oddo interest
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lazio defender Massimo Oddo is understood to be a summer transfer target for Milan.

The Italian champions are monitoring the stopper’s situation given his uncertain future in the capital.

Although many expect Oddo to remain at the Olimpico during the January transfer window, an exit at the end of term is likely.

The right-back, who is an international regular under boss Marcello Lippi, is admired by both Juventus and Inter.

However, the Rossoneri have now joined the race for the highly-rated former Verona star.

They are actively looking for a new right-sided player after also taking an interest in Lecce’s Marco Cassetti and Giandomenico Mesto of Reggina.

Oddo is unlikely to reject a switch to Milan given that he’s been a fan of the club since he was a boy.

The 28-year-old is also already familiar with the Milan set-up given that he started his career there as a youth team player.

Palermo vs. AC Milan - match preview
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan hope to continue their fine form and further close the gap on Juventus, but they face a trick trip to Sicily.

The Rossoneri are without doubt the form team in Serie A at the moment and have scored 11 goals in their last two home games, while they remain unbeaten on their travels. The 5-2 drubbing of Lecce highlighted the growing rapport between Kaka, Hernan Crespo and European Player of the Year Andriy Shevchenko, but Alessandro Nesta was dismissed in that game and will be replaced by veteran Alessandro Costacurta.

This is a Stadium that brings Crespo luck, as it was here in November that he finally scored his first goal for Milan in their 2-1 Coppa Italia victory. Curiously, the second leg of that fixture will be played at the San Siro next week, so the teams will meet twice in the space of three days.

Palermo will clearly be hoping to improve upon that Coppa result and recover from their surprise 1-0 loss at Reggina midweek. Eugenio Corini, Fabio Grosso and Lamberto Zauli return from suspension, though Simone Barone is sidelined this time around. Coach Francesco Guidolin should bring back the 4-3-2-1 tactical system that so impressed in their pre-Christmas 3-0 triumph over Cagliari, so we should see an entertaining and attacking game.

Palermo (probable): Guardalben; Zaccardo, Terlizzi, Barzagli, Grosso; Raimondi, Corini, Morrone; Brienza, Zauli; Toni

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Costacurta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Dhorasoo; Kaka; Crespo, Shevchenko

Ref: Rodomonti

Ancelotti in no hurry
8.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have closed the gap to just two points, but Carlo Ancelotti is in no hurry to take the leadership – or push Jaap Stam into a comeback.

“I am not interested in being the Winter Champion,” said the Coach as the battle to be top at the halfway point heats up.

“Nothing has changed for us, as our objective is to pick up six points in our next two games. However, it remains a two-horse race for the Scudetto, as I doubt both clubs will lose their momentum so much as to allow Inter back into the running.”

The Rossoneri are on fine form at the moment, scoring 11 goals in their last two home ties and taking advantage of Juve’s slip at Parma, but they face the more difficult Week 18 encounter in Palermo.

“The Sicilians are a very organised and aggressive side that is doing very well this season. We will field Kaka, Hernan Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko upfront, but there might be some changes in midfield.”

Vikash Dhorasoo is likely to keep his spot after a splendid performance in the 5-2 drubbing of Lecce midweek, while Alessandro Costacurta steps in for the suspended Alessandro Nesta.

Milan were expected to bring Jaap Stam on to the bench for the first time since he underwent ankle surgery, but the Dutchman has not even made the trip to Sicily.

“We thought it best not to rush him,” explained Ancelotti. “Stam will return in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia tie – also against Palermo – just as we had planned all along.”

The medical staff has been key to the San Siro giants’ form this season, as Crespo has rediscovered his scoring touch after months of specialist treatment.

“Crespo has real quality and, although there are times when he has trouble making the most of it, this is something that does not disappear overnight. It is our job to do everything in order to make him relax and work to the peak of his potential.”

The Argentine was something of a flop at Chelsea, but he has blossomed under the guidance of his former Parma Coach.

“There have been other players who came here with problems and resolved them with the help of our staff,” continued Ancelotti. “It is not a coincidence, as Milan are a very organised club with the kind of structure that makes everything flow beautifully.”

Milan squad:

Gk: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori

D: Cafu, Costacurta, Maldini, Coloccini, Pancaro, Esajas.

M: Ambrosini, Brocchi, Dhorasoo, Gattuso, Kakà, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf.

F: Crespo, Shevchenko,Tomasson

Shevchenko lifts Golden Ball
7.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has spoken of his delight after he was handed the Golden Ball at the San Siro.

"It was wonderful to be awarded the trophy in front of my own fans," he said. "It was a real thrill to be given such an ovation."

The European Footballer of the Year was presented with the trophy before the 5-2 win over Lecce.

"This has really been a very special day for me and I celebrated it in the best possible manner," he added.

"We played really well as a team and I enjoyed myself out there. We are a great side and I hope we can continue on this road."

Shev scored in the victory but also delivered two wonderful assists for Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson to score.

"I couldn’t have asked for more," concluded the Ukrainian. "I dedicate this win to my parents, my wife and my son."

Dhorasso proves his worth
7.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Vikash Dhorasoo was always confident that he would prove himself to be a good signing for Milan.

The Frenchman has taken his time to settle at the San Siro but he is now starting to impress for the champions.

"I wasn’t scared of playing in a new League such as the Italian one," he said. "I knew it was going to be tough but I was also aware that I would have to be patient."

Dhorasoo initially struggled to get a game under Carlo Ancelotti but he’s really caught the eye recently.

His latest fine display came in yesterday’s 5-2 defeat of Lecce, after he was handed a rare starting shirt.

"I started a match at the San Siro for the first time and I’ll never forget that moment," added the 31-year-old.

"I have to be satisfied with the victory but also with my own individual performance during the game.

"It is fantastic to perform in front of these fans, supporters who stayed close to me during the difficult times."

Dhorasoo, who was linked with a January switch to Benfica, joined Milan in the summer on a free transfer from Lyon.

Crespo eyes Milan future
7.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has again insisted that he would like to stay with Italian champions Milan.

The striker is currently on loan from Chelsea but is eager to remain at the disposal of boss Carlo Ancelotti.

"I want to stay here on a permanent basis," he stated. "That is the most important thing to me right now."

The Argentine moved to the San Siro in the summer after experiencing an unhappy spell in the Premiership.

Although he did struggle at first this season, the former Lazio and Inter ace seems to be now back to his best.

That fact was underlined on Thursday when he netted a hat-trick in the 5-2 destruction of Lecce.

Yesterday’s victory has now seen the Rossoneri cut Juventus’ lead at the top of the table to just two points.

AC Milan 5:2 Lecce - match report
6.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Crespo 23, 36, 57 (M), Shevchenko 51 (M), Bojinov 77 (L), Cassetti 85 (L), Tomasson 89 (M)

A five-star Milan performance put paid to Lecce's hopes of causing an upset, as Hernan Crespo bags a hat-trick.

Milan ended 2004 on a high with a 6-0 drubbing of Fiorentina and fine performance against leaders Juventus, though they remained four points adrift of the top spot. Their clash with Lecce, perhaps the most entertaining side in Serie A this season and playing without suspended defender Suleymane Diamoutene, was sure to be an action-packed encounter. Zdenek Zeman, who has never won in this stadium, surprisingly opted to leave Valeri Bojinov on the bench.

There was a special occasion for the San Siro supporters before kick-off, as Andriy Shevchenko was presented with the European Player of the Year award and did a lap of honour with the Ballon d'Or held aloft.

Hernan Crespo just failed to get on the end of Shevchenko's low cross after five minutes, but Vincenzo Sicignano was called into a great save on Kaka's strike from the edge of the box following more impressive build-up from the Ukrainian.

The Lecce goalkeeper was at full stretch to block Crespo at the end of a good team move. The Rossoneri were piling on the pressure and took the lead after 23 minutes. Rullo's error allowed Kaka to run free, rolling a perfect cross for Crespo to tap in at the back post.

Kaka was again the provider soon after, but this time Shevchenko's rapid turn and volley was inches wide, then the former Dynamo Kiev star forced Sicignano to bravely rush off his line.

Kaka was inspired this afternoon and set up Crespo for his second of the game. This time the Brazilian marauded down the left and rolled across for Crespo, who dribbled round the 'keeper and deposited the ball into an empty net.

It was nothing short of a siege on Sicignano with shots raining in from Andrea Pirlo, Shevchenko, Kaka and Marcos Cafu.

Pirlo was set to make it 3-0 in the final minute of the first half, but the woodwork kept out his curling free kick from the edge of the box.

Shevchenko grabbed the third of the day, a fine way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or. A long Pirlo free kick found Sheva's header at the back post, though once again Lecce's defending was disappointing.

Shevchenko also showed his generosity on the hour mark, springing the Lecce offside trap and choosing to roll across for Crespo to complete his hat-trick rather than going for glory himself.

Alessandro Nesta saw red for a last man foul on substitute Bojinov, even though Paolo Maldini was very close by. It proved an important moment, as Bojinov fired in from that free kick on the edge of the box.

Lecce staged an unlikely comeback in the closing minutes, as Marco Cassetti's angled drive from a Bojinov assist was the second goal they put past Dida.

However, Shevchenko made sure the result was safe by springing the offside trap and rolling across for the umarked Jon Dahl Tomasson to tap in Milan's fifth. The Rossoneri have now scored 11 goals in their last two home games.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta,Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso (Brocchi 73), Pirlo, Dhorasoo; Kakà (Rui Costa 64); Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson 60)

Lecce: Sicignano; Cassetti, Paci, Stovini, Rullo; Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona (Eremenko 81); Babù, Bjelanovic (Pinardi 46), Konan

Ref: Trefoloni

Sent off: Nesta 71 (M)

Jankulovski unsure of future
5.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Udinese’s Marek Jankulovski says he knows nothing about reports linking him with a move to Milan.

The Czech international is expected to be sold in the summer and the champions are believed to be in pole position for his services.

But the former Napoli player, who is also being monitored by both Inter and Juventus, insists nothing has been decided.

"I’ve read the stories that Milan are very close to my signature but I don’t know anything about them," he stated.

Jankulovski was expected to leave the Stadio Friuli in August but remained after a proposed move to Juve fell through.

He recently extended his contract with the Bianconeri but he is still likely to be off at the end of the season.

"Juventus, Milan or Inter? It is difficult to say that one team is better than the other," he continued.

"If it was down to me then I would possibly choose Juventus, so that I could play alongside my great friend Pavel Nedved."

Zeman fears Milan mauling
5.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zdenek Zeman says his Lecce side will go out to attack Milan at the San Siro, but has concerns over their Christmas hangover.

“I get the impression my players aren’t psychologically ready for this test,” warned the veteran Coach. “It seems as if the Christmas holidays distracted them, even if we are fine physically.”

The Southerners have stuttered of late, going into the Winter break with a 4-1 home defeat to Sampdoria, so this trip to face the reigning Serie A Champions will not be a walk in the park.

“The main problem for us against Milan will be their habit of playing in the opponents’ half with rapid changes of position,” continued Zeman. “We play the same way, so it will be an entertaining and hard-fought encounter.”

The former Roma and Lazio boss has never won in this Stadium and is willing to put his money on the Rossoneri.

“We are taking on a team packed with quality and great Champions. I am not anti-Juventus, but I do believe Milan will probably win the Scudetto again this season.”

Lecce goalkeeper Vincenzo Sicignano was more confident going into this game, though with their defensive record he could be in for a busy afternoon.

“We will not put up any barricades,” assured the shot-stopper, “but neither can we charge in there like bulls in a china shop. Milan may have a great defence and goalkeeper, but Lecce’s attack is the second most prolific in Serie A.”

Milan vs. Lecce - match preview
5.1 || Seamus

While everyone may be focusing on the Rome derby this Thursday, there are several other matches which are very intriguing, with Lecce’s visit to the San Siro being one of them.

Ah, a new year is upon us, and with it comes a chance to carry over what you achieved in the previous twelve months, or an opportunity to start fresh.

Milan was arguably in the best form of any side in Europe at the end of last year. After their lone loss of the season at the hands of Messina in September, the rossoneri have won nine of the thirteen matches since then. In the next to last match of the year, Milan destroyed Fiorentina 6-0. Clarence Seedorf opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Seven minutes later, Giorgio Chiellini made it even more difficult for Fiorentina, when he scored an own goal to give Milan a two goal advantage. Andriy Shevchenko celebrated his selection as Ballon d’Or winner with a goal seven minutes after halftime, and strike partner Hernan Crespo added another in the 60th. “Sheva” was not done, however, and scored his second goal in the 73rd. Clarence Seedorf scored the final tally in the 82nd minute. The next match was the much anticipated trip to Turin to take on Serie A leaders Juventus. The match ended in a scoreless draw, but Milan were the better of the two sides, and came within inches of scoring on more than one occasion.

Lecce began the season well, climbing up the Serie A table and knocking on the door of the Italian heavyweights. But rather than ending 2004 with a bang, they finished with a whimper, and have allowed more goals through the first half of the season than any other side. Although they defeated Livorno in early December, their last win before that was back in late October. The victory versus Livorno was followed by a 3-3 draw away to Lazio. Lecce went into halftime with a 2-0 lead after Babu and Valeri Bojinov scored in the 10th and 32nd minutes. Tommaso Rocchi pulled one back for Lazio five minutes after the break, and Paolo Di Canio leveled with a penalty in the 68th. Babu grabbed the lead back for Lecce with a quarter of an hour to go, just two minutes after that goal Di Canio earned a draw for the home side. In their last match of 2004, Lecce were demolished on their home pitch by Sampdoria, 4-1. Francesco Flachi gave the visitors a 2 goal lead, by scoring on a penalty in the 38th and another goal in the 50th. Serbian Mirko Vucinic cut the deficit with a goal shortly after in the 53rd, but Max Tonetto restored the advantage in the 61st minute. Vitali Kutuzov finished off Lecce with the fourth goal for his side in the third minute of second half stoppage time.


As has been the case nearly all season, Milan is still without the services of Dutch defender Jaap Stam and striker Filippo Inzaghi. Other than that, manager Carlo Ancelotti has a pretty much full squad.

Lecce will have a full compliment of players for this match, and it will be necessary to come away from Milan with anything.


Kaka (Milan):

The Brazilian attacking midfielder was starting to show the terrific form he displayed the previous season, and he will be anxious to get on the pitch and continue his improvement.

Valeri Bojinov (Lecce):

The eighteen year old Bulgarian has scored nine Serie A goals so far this season, and will need to add to that tally to earn points for his side.


Milan (4-3-1-2):
Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Crespo, Shevchenko

Lecce (4-3-3):
Sicignano; Cassetti, Paci, Stovini, Rullo; Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona; Babu, Bojinov, Pinardi


Despite the layoff, Milan will pick up right where they left off in 2004 and get 2005 off to a great start.

Milan 2-0 Lecce

Joel Whitehead

Tomasson won't take a back seat
5.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jon Dahl Tomasson has recovered from a back injury and claims he is not falling back in the Milan pecking order.

“These last few months have been difficult for me,” said the Danish international. “I was never 100 per cent fit and bore the brunt of a great deal of criticism. But I feel that negative period has passed now.”

The former Newcastle and Feyenoord hitman picked up the slack last season during Pippo Inzaghi’s on-going injury worries, but with the Italian coming back in February and Hernan Crespo settling into his stride, will he find room at the San Siro?

“I have not set myself any particular individual goals. My only objective this year is to do my best for the team. Besides, I am not the fourth-choice striker, but rather a member of a large squad that is full of quality.”

There have been strong reports in Spain that both Barcelona and Valencia are preparing bids for Tomasson, especially with Parma’s Alberto Gilardino lined up for Milan.

“I am very happy with the Rossoneri,” he assured, “and consider this to be the best club in the world. Of course the interest from such great sides fills me with pride, but Milan is Milan.”

Since joining the outfit in 2002, Tomasson has won the Scudetto, Coppa Italia, Champions’ League and European Supercup, but he still isn’t satisfied.

“Winning the title was wonderful, but I can’t get the thought of our Intercontinental Cup defeat out of my mind,” he said of the penalty shoot-out loss to Boca Juniors. “I want that trophy, so clearly to get the chance again we’ll just have to win the Champions’ League.”

Milan will stage a ceremony ahead of Thursday’s Serie A clash with Lecce in which Andriy Shevchenko will be handed the European Player of the Year award in front of the home fans.

Milan receive Inzaghi boost
4.1 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan ace Pippo Inzaghi is just a month away from full fitness after he resumed training on Monday.

The striker took part in a light running session at the club’s Milanello base today following his recent ankle surgery.

Inzaghi has been plagued by the problem for almost a year but the Rossoneri are hopeful that the second operation, carried out in November, was a success.

If everything goes as planned for the Italian international, then he should be available for selection in the next 30-40 days.

There was further good news for the champions as both Jaap Stam and Jon Dahl Tomasson completed training.

Stam also had ankle surgery but he should be back to full fitness for the January 23 tie against Livorno.

Tomasson, who picked up a back problem before Christmas, will be available for Thursday’s match against Lecce.

Bazzani to replace Inzaghi?
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Source: Football Italia

Fabio Bazzani’s row with Sampdoria has escalated and he could move to Lazio in exchange for the similarly unsettled Simone Inzaghi.

Italian international Bazzani was Samp’s top scorer last season with 13 goals in 32 games, but so far in the current campaign he has managed a meagre tally of two.

Coach Walter Novellino has even gone so far as to publicly lambaste his centre-forward for sluggish performances, threatening to leave him on the bench if things don’t improve and in Wednesday’s friendly match with Sanremo he was dropped in favour of Fausto Rossini.

Newspapers in Italy have blamed this slump in form on his upcoming marriage to TV starlet Alessia Merz, who lives in the Capital.

This makes it increasingly likely that Bazzani will request a transfer to Rome and Lazio are ready to provide the perfect solution.

Simone Inzaghi’s rapport with fans and teammates has always been somewhat tense, but a series of arguments with Paolo Di Canio have put his position in serious doubt.

New Coach Giuseppe Papadopulo wants a strong centre-forward for his squad and Bazzani would fit the bill, filling the void left by Valencia-bound Bernardo Corradi, while Inzaghi could start again at Sampdoria.

Milan derby for Samuel swoop
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Source: Football Italia

The two San Siro giants are said to be clashing on the transfer market in a bid to bring Walter Samuel back to Serie A in a £17.6m deal.

It has been just six months since the defender left Roma for Real Madrid, but he has struggled to settle at the troubled Bernabeu club.

The arrival of new director of football Arrigo Sacchi has sparked massive changes, starting with the signing of Brazilian Coach Wanderley Luxemburgo, and there are set to be more developments during the January transfer window.

Inter were already in the running for Samuel’s signature when he opted for Madrid, so with their own defensive worries and the lack of viable replacements for Fabio Cannavaro, they are leading the race to bring him back to Italy.

On the other hand, Milan would bring in the Argentine to strengthen an already impressive – but extremely veteran – back-line that currently includes Paolo Maldini, Marcos Cafu, Giuseppe Pancaro, Jaap Stam and Billy Costacurta.

The Rossoneri might find it difficult to raise the ready cash, but would have a direct link to the Madrid hierarchy through their former Coach Sacchi. Other options for Samuel would be Juventus and Chelsea.

These aren’t the only Spanish rumours crossing the continent, as there are reports Jon Dahl Tomasson is being courted by Valencia, opening the door for Milan to bring in Parma’s Alberto Gilardino immediately rather than in the summer.

Stefano Fiore has never made his mark at the Mestalla and his January return to Serie A is almost certain with Inter in pole position for the former Lazio midfielder.

Cafu calls for Robinho
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Source: Football Italia

Milan are still in the running for Brazilian prodigy Robinho and his Selecao teammate Marcos Cafu has begged the club to make a move.

“Whoever snaps up Robinho will be making the deal of a lifetime,” said the fullback. “He is a great champion who really can make the difference in any team.”

The Santos youngster was voted Brazilian Player of the Year by local newspaper ‘Placar’ last week and has been tracked by every major European club, including Real Madrid, Inter and Chelsea.

He won’t leave his current side until June due to the Copa Libertadores, but the transfer market is wide open after a pre-contract agreement with Benfica was declared “without worth” by Robinho’s agent.

Meanwhile, Cafu has also been keeping an eye on other potential Milan signings back in his homeland.

“I definitely suggest that we rush to buy a young Figueirense lad called Piriquito,” assured the 34-year-old World Cup winner. “He is a right-back with good feet and real pace. He’s not the new Cafu, as he runs a lot more than me!”

Moggi wants Milan rematch
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Source: Football Italia

Juve struggled against the Rossoneri this month and lost in 2003, but Luciano Moggi hopes to meet Milan in the Champions’ League Final.

“I would like to face them again in Istanbul on May 25,” said the Turin giants’ director general. “It would be our chance for revenge after our Old Trafford defeat and of course a triumph for Italian football. It’s never nice to lose a trophy on penalties.”

Marcello Lippi was still in charge when Juventus lost the shoot-out in 2003, a defeat that evidently still stings the Bianconeri’s consciousness.

To clash in Europe would be a crowning achievement for both clubs, but in the meantime it’s almost certain the Scudetto is now a two-horse race between them.

“I don’t think any other team could possibly break back into it now,” added Moggi, “even if the season still has a long way to go and many obstacles to encounter.”

Their disappointing performance in the 0-0 draw with Milan before the Christmas break led newspapers to claim there will be massive changes in the squad over the January period.

“I was very satisfied with our overall show in 2004,” insisted the transfer guru. “Nobody will be signed next month, as we already have four or five strikers available. However, we have received requests for Nicola Legrottaglie, Igor Tudor and Mark Iuliano.”

It’s widely believed that Legrottaglie will join his former Chievo mentor Gigi Del Neri at Roma, possibly in exchange for an option on Milan target Cristian Chivu.

Ancelotti wants more from 2005
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Source: Football Italia

The year has seen Milan take the Scudetto and top their Champions’ League qualifying group, but Carlo Ancelotti is not satisfied.

“We must always work with the credo that we can do better,” warned the Coach in his final press conference of 2004. “It’s difficult to improve upon this side, but we have to try and with that effort it’s very likely we will.”

The tactician was considered to be a ‘loser’ up until 2003, but in the last 18 months he has lifted the Champions’ League, Scudetto, European Supercup, Italian Supercup and Coppa Italia.

“It has been a very positive year for this club and we aim to do even better in 2005. My happiest memory of the last 12 months has been winning the Serie A title, while the worst was our defeat in La Coruna.”

The Rossoneri were leading 4-1 from the first leg of that Euro tie, only to succumb 4-0 to Deportivo and crash out of the competition.

Milan are back in the running for the Champions’ League and Scudetto, even if they are still four points adrift of leaders Juventus.

“I think the Winter break has come at the right time for Juve as they were flagging a little,” said the former Bianconeri boss. “However, the essential quality of the two squads are identical.”

2004 will also go down as a sad date in the Milan calendar, as President Silvio Berlusconi resigned this week due to the new laws on conflict of interests.

“I am sorry that Berlusconi has left the Presidency, especially as I knew how much he cared about this role. He will always stay close to this club and I think that someone in his family will take over, although for the moment we don’t know who that will be.”

It’s reported the ‘goodbye’ could be nothing more than a temporary gesture, as Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi revealed plans to introduce a new law allowing him to take nominal charge of the football club as well as keeping his political career on track.

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