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The Archive

January 2007

Ronaldo begins AC Milan adventure
31.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo has finally completed his move to Milan and flew in this evening with a parting shot at Fabio Capello.

“After four and a half years with Real, an important challenge awaits me with the Milan jersey and I intend to win for this club,” commented Il Fenomeno, who penned a contract until June 30, 2008.

“I’ve always been happy in Madrid and got on with all the Coaches. All except one…” he added in a final swipe at the increasingly unpopular Capello.

“He didn’t want me and I understood that. I am a professional and love football, so I opted for another solution.”

The tactician returned the favour with an equally vicious comment towards the departing hitman.

“I know that Ronaldo is Milan’s now. I wish him well so that he can do what he used to be able to – be a great player,” said the former Juventus boss.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani will stay on in Spain to finalise details of the deal, which are thought to include the loan of Ricardo Oliveira to Real.

As Ronaldo is Cup-tied, this would mean bringing in another striker who is eligible for the Champions League, so the alleged offer of Antonio Cassano would not be suitable at this time.

Confirmation that Oliveira is on the verge of leaving the Rossoneri comes with the news he has not been included in the squad for tomorrow’s Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma.

“We will pay £5m in two instalments for Ronaldo,” explained Galliani. “If Milan qualify for the Champions League in 2007-08, even via the preliminary round, then we would give another £330,000. Of course, we’d be happy to pay that much if it meant reaching Europe!”

The transfer guru also took a moment to give a personal message to President Silvio Berlusconi.

“He maintained his promise, as we have replaced Jaap Stam with Massimo Oddo and Andriy Shevchenko with Ronaldo. Ronie had received other offers, but he was happy to choose Milan. It’s mission accomplished for us.”

OFFICIAL: Ronaldo joins AC Milan
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have confirmed the capture of Ronaldo after the Italian club reportedly agreed to pay £5.3m to Real Madrid.

The two clubs finally reached an agreement this afternoon and the Brazilian has put pen to paper on a contract. He will fly out to Milan at 18.00 hours local time.

The former Inter player, who left Italy for Real in 2002, had already passed his medical and the Milan website have now noted that he has signed until June 30, 2008.

No fee details have been released.

“I know that Ronaldo is now a Milan player,” Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello is quoted as saying earlier this afternoon. “I wish him luck.”

However, talks for Ronaldo took a twist today as Real Madrid also asked Milan for the loan of Ricardo Oliveira.

It is understood that the Italian side have agreed to the proposal even if they would have to find a replacement for the flop before the window closes tomorrow.

Palermo’s Andrea Caracciolo seems in pole position after his agent admitted that he is set to meet with Milan’s sporting director Ariedo Braida.

“I am always very cautious until things are finalised,” said agent Andrea D’Amico to Radio Radio.

“I have been speaking with Milan for a while, because I believe Caracciolo has the characteristics needed to play for an important club.

“There is a chance that he might move to Milan, but nothing is certain. I am waiting for Braida to return to Italy and we will meet.

“Caracciolo is a player who has great potential. He might not have many opportunities to play at Milan, but you must believe in his qualities,” concluded D’Amico.

The striker himself has admitted that he would like to join the San Siro club, although he is not aware of what seems to be going on.

“I would be happy to play for the Rossoneri, but I don’t know anything about this issue,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Palermo have signed Polish striker Radoslaw Matusiak who is expected to pen a three-and-a-half year contract.

The transfer was confirmed by the player’s current outfit Belchatow, who posted a note on their website stating that the 25-year-old, who has scored nine goals this season, will join the Rosanero for £1.4m.

Ronaldo talks to continue
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo is still a Real Madrid player after Milan spent another day negotiating terms over his January transfer.

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani flew to Madrid on Monday, but talks will continue on Tuesday after the official admitted that reaching a compromise has become problematic.

“I have no particular sensation,” noted Galliani at the end of a day when many expected the Brazilian to complete a San Siro move.

“Ronaldo will remain a Real player for this evening. We’ve adjourned talks for today and we have another meeting set for midday tomorrow.

“There are four points which we are still disagreeing on – the price, the form of payment, terms and interest.”

It is believed that Milan are willing to pay around £4.5m, whereas the Spanish giants are looking for something closer to £5.5m.

Ronaldo has already agreed personal terms with the Italian giants and passed his medical on Friday.

Meanwhile, Galliani shot down rumours suggesting that the two clubs were also discussing a possible swap deal involving Ricardo Oliveira and Antonio Cassano.

“That move would be impossible because both have played in the Champions League,” added Galliani.

“We already have Ronaldo, should he arrive, who wouldn’t be able to play in that competition this season.”

Milan only have Oliveira, Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi available for Europe seeing as Marco Borriello has been suspended for failing a drugs test.

Whispers claiming that Real have also taken the opportunity to discuss an option for Kaka were also dismissed.

“We haven’t spoken at all about Kaka,” concluded the former Lega Calcio chief.

Carletto talk motivates Donadoni
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti’s dream of one day sitting on the Azzurri bench doesn’t worry current boss Roberto Donadoni.

The Milan Coach stated that he would be delighted to have the opportunity of working with the Nazionale after the end of his adventure with the Rossoneri.

“He says he would like to become the Azzurri Coach? This means that it’s a wanted job, with great responsibilities,” said the former Livorno tactician.

“Ancelotti is a top-class boss, one of the best around. His words can only stimulate me to do better and better.”

Donadoni then moved on to comment on Antonio Cassano’s difficult situation at Real Madrid and the rumours suggesting the player might join Inter shortly.

“I hope he can find an ideal solution, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wear the Nerazzurri shirt – then again, nothing surprises me any more,” explained the Coach.

“However, at Inter he would have to compete for a spot in the first team, just as in Spain. For his own sake, I think he should choose a club where he could play with more continuity.

“As to Inter, they are doing very well in the League, now they will have to show what they can do in Europe,” concluded Donadoni.

The Azzurri are scheduled to play a friendly match against Romania on February 7 in Siena and will host Scotland on March 28 in their Group B Euro 2008 qualifier.

Oliveira deal for Real?
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Reports in Spain are suggesting that Real Madrid have asked Milan to include striker Ricardo Oliveira in the deal that will bring Ronaldo back to Italy.

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani is flying to Madrid today and is scheduled to meet the Merengues’ officials in the afternoon, when Il Fenomeno’s transfer should be finalised.

The player completed his medical tests in Milan last week and the two clubs now need to clarify the financial details.

Galliani recently confirmed that there still is a £700,000 difference between Real Madrid’s request and what the Rossoneri are willing to offer.

Spanish newspaper AS reported that Oliveira might be part of the deal, as the Galacticos are in desperate need of new blood upfront.

Oliveira has struggled since his summer arrival from Real Betis and might ask Milan to let him leave on a loan deal at least until the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has also been suffering personal problems, as his sister was kidnapped in Brazil in October and has not yet been released.

The player, who has only scored four times in five months, has been granted limited playing time so far and would be even more limited by the arrival of Ronaldo.

Carletto eyes Azzurri job
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that he dreams of one day sitting on the Azzurri bench.

The Rossonero, who is contracted to the Via Turati club until 2008, endured a difficult start to the season and was paired with an exit in June.

The San Siro outfit has now managed to return to winning ways and are only three points shy of a Champions League spot.

“I hope I can someday Coach the Azzurri, I would enjoy a spell with the Nazionale,” said Ancelotti to Radio Anch'io Sport on Monday.

“I know it might not sound nice, because Roberto Donadoni is a friend of mine, but this is a dream I have,” continued the former midfielder.

“In any case, I hope Donadoni does well in the next European Championship and the 2010 World Cup.”

The tactician then moved on to comment on Ronaldo’s likely arrival, as Adriano Galliani will fly to Madrid on Monday to finalise the details of the Brazilian’s transfer.

“Ronaldo fat? I don’t think so, he is just sturdy and has an imposing figure. He is very motivated and I think he has proved that by choosing to come here even if he might earn less.

“He’s a great striker and is very fast. He hasn’t trained much after being dropped at Real Madrid, but he remains an excellent player, who scored almost 100 goals with the Merengues in five years.”

The Coach is also aware that achieving Champions League qualification is the club’s primary objective, although it will not be an easy target to reach.

“The Champions League has always been important for us and it is even more so this year, also from an economical point of view,” he said.

“We are struggling and are not at our best, due to the summer scanal. We had to change our plans and this has caused many injuries, which did not allow us play the first half of the season as we could have.”

Oddo deal pleases all
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Lazio chief Claudio Lotito believes that Massimo Oddo’s move to Milan suited all the parties involved.

The defender joined the Rossoneri during the week after lengthy negotiations between the clubs and made his debut with the San Siro outfit in the match with Parma.

However, the Biancocelesti reacted well to his departure, sealing an important 3-0 win away to Palermo on Saturday night.

“In the end, we got what we wanted and so did Oddo, who had made it clear that he wanted to leave Rome,” explained the President to Sky Sport.

“Lazio had to make a decision and our staff believed that the player could not be fielded as he was not in the right mood.

“Therefore, we decided to sell him at a price that we considered adequate. We found an agreement that pleased Oddo, who grew up with Milan, the Rossoneri and ourselves.

“The player was a target for various sides, but seeing the relationship that I have with Adriano Galliani we decided to grant his wish.

“It wasn’t strange for me to see him in a Milan shirt. I have always stated that we are all important, but no one is indispensable.”

The chief is pleased with his team’s recent performances, as the Biancocelesti are currently fourth in the table, and believes that Coach Delio Rossi’s role has been crucial.

“I like him a lot and I enjoy working with him – he has a great personality and has integrated perfectly into our project, ”said Lotito.

“He does a great job with the players at his disposal and only asks for a few additions. I am glad I signed him, despite everyone’s opinion,” concluded the Biancoceleste.

SuperPippo welcomes Ronaldo
30.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan forward Filippo Inzaghi has insisted that he is pleased with Ronaldo’s arrival as he can only improve the Rossoneri.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani is scheduled to travel to Madrid on Monday to finalise Il Fenomeno’s transfer to the San Siro outfit.

Rumours in Italy suggested that Inzaghi was not happy with the new signing, as he considered the ex-Inter ace a competitor for a spot in the first team.

“Why shouldn’t I be happy? Players who help us are always welcome,” said Inzaghi to Sky Italia after the victory over Parma.

“I’m a Milan fan, so great champions are always welcome in the group. We hope he will give us a big helping hand,” added the striker, who scored the decisive goal against the Ducali.

“Am I still important here? I would like to know which player doesn’t want to be important for his side. I have always received a lot from this club and I would like to repay them in every game.

“Milan are special. Maybe I will not be able to play every match, but that’s ok.”

Inzaghi pointed to the back of his shirt towards the crowd after netting goal No 127 on Sunday, but the 33-year-old denies that he was in any way referring to Ronaldo.

“I have celebrated this way in the past, I just wanted to show the supporters my name – the last thing on my mind in that moment was another player,” explained the former Juve man.

“The number is not a problem, the only thing that counts is to do well. This is a positive moment, I was able to score and I am very happy,” concluded Inzaghi.

AC Milan 1:0 Parma - post-match comments
29.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti: “We achieved this victory with a lot of hard work and strain. In the second half we increased the pressure and I believe the result was deserved. Kaka is our most important player, but physically he’s not in perfect shape at the moment. Massimo Oddo did great work on his debut.”

Stefano Pioli: “The side held up under pressure and we had a few scoring opportunities of our own, but unfortunately were unable to convert them. It’s a shame, as with more concentration we could’ve avoided Pippo Inzaghi’s goal.”

AC Milan 1:0 Parma - match report
28.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorer: Inzaghi 76 (M)

Massimo Oddo was given his Milan debut, but it was Pippo Inzaghi who secured a precious victory over Parma just as he begins to be pushed down the pecking order.

The Rossoneri's week has been dominated by the arrival of Massimo Oddo and Ronaldo, perhaps affecting their concentration in the 2-2 Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma midweek. Parma were also distracted as new President Tommaso Ghirardi took over to replenish the club coffers and sat in the stands, but enthusiasm was also boosted by the stunning debut of on-loan Manchester United youngster Giuseppe Rossi.

Parma hadn't earned a single point at San Siro since 2002 and last won in December 1996. Last season saw a spectacular 4-3 victory for the home side.

Luca Bucci stretched to block a Clarence Seedorf angled drive after four minutes, then Kaka combined passes brilliantly with Alberto Gilardino only for the Brazilian to fire over from close range.

Gilardino's penalty appeals for a handling offence were waved away and as the move continued he had a shot smothered at the near post.

Milan were a little toothless in attack, so when Cristian Brocchi came off injured, Pippo Inzaghi came on to shelve the Christmas Tree formation. Seedorf's cross was intercepted as Inzaghi was ready to tap in to an empty net by Perna's decisive clearance.

Parma also managed to threaten with Dida holding a deflected Igor Budan effort, but straight after the restart the visitors had strong penalty appeals. Ex-Gialloblu defender Daniele Bonera was on the ground when he charged down Budan's shot with his arm, but the referee considered it to be involuntary.

Inzaghi had a strike set up by Seedorf, then SuperPippo's assist just missed the unmarked Gilardino at the back post. The Rossoneri seemed to wake up with Bucci flying to pluck Seedorf's chipped cross off the head of Gilardino, although Oddo earned the applause of the San Siro with a wonderful tackle on Budan inside the area.

Parma held out, so Carlo Ancelotti threw on his final two substitutes, Yoann Gourcuff and Ricardo Oliveira. It paid off, as on 76 minutes Andrea Pirlo's mis-hit free kick was intercepted by Inzaghi, who swung it past the goalkeeper from six yards. Frozen out by Gilardino and Ronaldo, SuperPippo took the opportunity to make his mark by pointing to the back of his shirt towards the crowd.

Milan: Dida; Oddo, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Brocchi (Inzaghi 30); Seedorf (Gourcuff 72); Kakà, Gilardino (Oliveira 72)

Parma: Bucci; Perna, Couto, Paci; Ferronetti (Coly 66), Grella, Bolano (Dessena 75), Castellini; Morfeo, Rossi, Budan (Muslimovic 62)

Ref: Gava

Galliani hails historic AC Milan
28.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Adriano Galliani believes that with Ronaldo and Massimo Oddo, they can rival the ‘Grande Milan’ of the 1980s and 90s.

“We have brought back the stellar Milan of years past. Finally we have been able to replace Andriy Shevchenko with Ronaldo and Jaap Stam with Oddo,” said the Vice-President.

Oddo is set to make his debut this afternoon against Parma, but although Ronaldo has not yet penned his contract, he is already treated as a Rossoneri figure.

“He is so charged up, happy, determined and behaving very well,” continued Galliani on ‘Milan Channel.’

The switch for the former Inter man has caused controversy, but there are details about the deal that will surprise many.

“Ronaldo will earn a little less than he did at Real Madrid and infinitely less than he would had he accepted the offers from Saudi Arabia. That means he is making this move because he wants to work hard and prove himself all over again.”

It has been reported that Il Fenomeno will receive ‘just’ £4m for the next 18 months compared to the £5m he would’ve taken in Madrid.

On Monday Galliani will fly out to Spain to complete the negotiations for the £4m transfer.

“Ronaldo has further cut his wages to ease the talks, so now we are waiting for him on the field. We have made an offer and received a counter-proposal from Real. There is still a difference, but we hope to shave it down.”

The Vice-President also denied that the Brazilian is in bad shape or still suffering from the injuries that have blighted his career.

“He was found to be in good physical condition, better than the medical staff were expecting. The tendon has completely healed and he’ll need one or two weeks of training to be ready.”

Ancelotti welcomes Ronaldo
28.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti says the Ronaldo Effect is already visible with a renewed enthusiasm at Milan.

“It has been an important week for the club with the arrival of a player like Massimo Oddo and hopefully completing Ronaldo’s transfer too,” said the Coach after the Real Madrid man underwent a medical.

“The fact he flew all the way over to undergo tests shows he intends to prove himself, otherwise he wouldn’t have come to Milan. His presence has brought enthusiasm and there will be even more once the deal is finalised.”

The Brazilian was in the stands for Thursday’s 2-2 Coppa Italia semi-final draw with Roma and is expected to sign an 18-month contract on Monday.

Aside from the controversy over the ex-Inter hero’s decision to join the Rossoneri, there is also debate over how long it will take him to reach peak fitness.

“Ronaldo has been a world class player. He has lost a little something, but with some solid training he could go back to a great figure,” said Ancelotti.

“He doesn’t have any structural problems and can quickly recover his form. The claims he’s ‘fat’ are just stereotypical statements. He is robust, not fat.”

The man nicknamed ‘El Gordo’ in Madrid may shake up the squad purely by his presence, as the competition for places upfront intensifies.

“We have four or five strikers that constitute a quality side. I’ll decide with each game who to field. I hope that Ronaldo’s arrival can be a positive stimulus for Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi.”

In the meantime, Milan continue their search for Serie A points against Parma following last week’s 0-0 draw at Lazio.

“The fact the club has found a new owner has relaxed the Tardini environment, having gone through some extremely tough times in recent years,” noted the former Gialloblu boss.

“They have a young squad and the arrival of Giuseppe Rossi has given them new enthusiasm and quality upfront. We’re in good shape physically, though, and I am certain we’ll play well.”

Ronaldo may not be ready, but new signing Oddo could make his Rossoneri debut on Sunday afternoon.

“Oddo will be in the squad, there is no problem there. Paolo Maldini was rested against Roma midweek so he wouldn’t play twice in three days, but he is fine. Kakha Kaladze will be ready in around 10 days, while Alessandro Nesta should return from Miami at the end of the month to begin the rehabilitation process.”

Milan squad: Dida, Storari; Bonera, Cafu, Grimi, Jankulovski, Maldini, Oddo, Simic; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Kakà, Pirlo, Seedorf; Gilardino, Inzaghi, Ricardo Oliveira.

Ronaldo: I'm not finished yet
27.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan newcomer Ronaldo insists he’s not ready for the scrapheap, but has been ignoring calls from Massimo Moratti.

“To all those who say I’m a finished player with nothing left to give – I will prove you wrong,” stated the determined Fenomeno after undergoing a medical at Milanello yesterday afternoon.

With Real Madrid set to release him for around £4m, Ronie assures his choice of Serie A rather than multi-million pound offers from Saudi Arabia and America’s MLS show he still wants to play at the highest level.

The official results of the medical tests have not been announced, so some papers claim he currently weighs 89kg, others a more rotund 91kg.

Either way, a strict diet and training regime is expected for the next month, although he is eager to get started. “I want to make my debut in the Coppa Italia against Roma on Wednesday,” he insisted.

It’s also rumoured that Ronaldo has accepted a considerable pay-cut to join Milan, picking up ‘just’ £4m for the next 18 months compared to the £5m he would’ve taken in Madrid.

The Brazilian’s decision to return to San Siro for the Rossoneri rather than his old club shocked many – not least Inter President Moratti, who dubbed the transfer “absurd” and “in poor taste.”

“Moratti has been calling me on the phone for a month, but I never replied to his messages,” explained Ronaldo in newspaper ‘Il Giornale.’

“I spoke to him as soon as I set foot back in Milan on Thursday, but I don’t know why he said certain things. I’ll have time to clarify the situation.”

Oddo eager to learn
27.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Massimo Oddo is thrilled to be back at Milan and hopes to take advantage of working next to so many top quality players.

The former Lazio defender, who grew up in Milanello’s youth system, joined the Rossoneri on Wednesday after a difficult negotiation between the clubs and cannot hide his desire to play again with the San Siro outfit.

“I was disappointed to leave Milan, now I am finally back and I hope I will be able to improve,” said Oddo, who left the Via Turati club in 1995 to join Serie C1 side Fiorenzuola.

“I am always looking to do better, tactically and as a person. I honestly don’t feel I have arrived, as it’s something I have never felt. I have a great desire to improve and take advantage of being next to so many stars,” continued the World Champion.

The ex-Biancocelesti captain admits that he used to watch the San Siro derbies when he was younger, although the matches between Roma and Lazio have a special meaning.

“I remember when I was at Milan I would always go and watch the derby, but I have to say that the one in Rome is more of an event and more festive. There is nothing else like it.

“One of the reasons that convinced me to move here was the possibility of playing the Champions League. It’s the most prestigious competition and it’s really wonderful for any footballer to play in it,” concluded Oddo.

As he is not Cup-tied, the defender will be available for February’s second round encounters with Celtic.

Maldini hails 'greatest' Ronaldo
27.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Paolo Maldini has welcomed Ronaldo to Milan by stating he’s the greatest player since Diego Maradona.

“I always hoped I would play alongside him. Among the champions I have faced in my career, Ronaldo is second only to Maradona. He always played fair.”

The former Inter and Real Madrid man is ready to complete his move to the other side of the San Siro after undergoing a medical yesterday afternoon. He’s set to pen a contract on Monday.

“We said hello when he came to Milanello and hope to see each other again in the next few days. With his arrival, Milan will take that step up in quality and it’ll inspire everyone from the players to the fans.”

Il Fenomeno has been criticised for his decision to join the arch rivals of the team he played for until 2002, but Maldini insists it was better than the offers from Saudi Arabia and America.

“He made the choice of a champion, not what was easiest or most comfortable. He’s still one of the greatest players in the world.”

Lazio had to sell Oddo
26.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Lazio Coach Delio Rossi maintains that keeping Massimo Oddo at the club against his will would have been counterproductive.

The World Cup winner had made it clear that he wanted to join Milan and finalised his £5m move to the Rossoneri on Wednesday after lengthy negotiations.

“We couldn’t keep him here, the situation was getting worse day after day and something had to be done,” said Rossi on Friday.

“We couldn’t block him as he kept on saying that he would sign for another club.

“If we had decided to keep him here against his will then we would have lost him anyway. Now we will have to understand what to do to replace him.

“We have some alternatives in the squad, but I would also be happy to have a new signing. Nevertheless, it is important that we don’t buy just for the sake of buying.”

Lazio visit Palermo on Saturday night in what promises to be an intense clash between the two Champions League chasers.

“They are a strong side and can compete with anyone, they have five or six players who can make the difference,” added the tactician.

“I don’t think Amauri’s absence will favour us, we mustn’t forget that he started the season as Andrea Caracciolo’s reserve…”

Moratti: Ronaldo at AC Milan "absurd"
26.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Massimo Moratti stated that seeing Ronaldo at the San Siro next to Milan officials on Thursday evening was “absurd.”

The arrival of the Brazilian player did not please Inter’s chief, who had already said that he was not happy about the possibility of Ronaldo joining the city rivals and that Il Fenomeno was returning to the wrong side of town.

“This situation might have seemed absurd until a while ago," said Moratti on Friday.

“This is even more true now that the deal is done, also from an aesthetic point of view. However, we will get over it,” added the oil tycoon.

Ronie sat in the stands with the Milan directors during last night’s 2-2 Coppa Italia draw with Roma.

“Seeing him with them was strange, at least he wasn’t on the pitch. Ronaldo embraced Galliani when he landed at Linate airport? I didn’t see it…,” continued the Nerazzurro.

The President was then questioned on Roberto Mancini’s contract and the rumours suggesting he might replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea at the end of the season.

“His words of praise for Chelsea were an act of kindness, which is usual is these cases. When will the new contract be signed? Are we still talking about this issue?,” concluded Moratti.

Ronaldo: Madrid was hell
26.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo has admitted he’s keen on joining Milan. “Madrid was hell and Fabio Capello a nightmare,” he said.

The Brazilian is on the verge of completing a January switch from Real and he’s delighted that the transfer saga is seemingly close to an end.

“I’m happy to be here in Italy, although I am still a Real Madrid player,” the striker told reporters in Milan on Friday.

“I hope I can do well with this outfit. Madrid is hell for me and working with [Coach] Fabio Capello was a nightmare.”

Ronaldo arrived in the peninsula last night and Il Fenomeno was examined in an Appiano Gentile clinic by Milan Lab doctor Jean-Pierre Meersemann, before moving to Milanello with former Rossoneri star Leonardo.

“How did the tests go? They were fine,” said the player as he left the clinic.

“It is exciting for me to be back. We haven’t finished all the tests yet, but I hope I will soon be a Milan player,” added the 1997 Golden Ball winner.

Not everyone is pleased with his proposed capture though as Massimo Moratti, who was like a father figure for him at Inter, has said he’s disappointed with Ronaldo’s decision to join rivals Milan.

“I don’t want to reply to Moratti,” noted the South American. “There will be time to discuss these things in the future.”

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is expected to fly to Madrid on Monday to finalize the deal which should see Real net around £4m.

Pato eyes Italian switch
26.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Juventus target Alexandre Pato of Porto Alegre has admitted that he is ready for a move to Europe.

The Brazilian talent is seen by many as the new Kaka and has impressed Bianconeri talent scout Pasquale Sensibile, who is currently in Paraguay watching the U-20 South American Championship.

The 17-year-old is valued at £10.7m and reports suggest that Milan have already had a £7m offer rejected.

“I am ready for Europe and an important club,” said the striker whose outfit won the 2006 FIFA World Club Championship. “I want to become the new Ronaldo or Ronaldinho.

“I think my experience with the Under-20 squad has helped me grow from a professional point of view despite my age.”

According to Tuttosport, Serie A leaders Inter have also targeted the player and may make a bid in the near future.

But Juventus could be in pole position given the fact that his agent is Gilmar Veloz, a man they have a good relationship with seeing as he is also the representative of former Juve ace Emerson.

The Bianconeri are also looking at Defensor Montevideo defender Martin Caceres and Edison Cavani of Danubio Montevideo.

Ancelotti: Roma are favourites
26.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti insists Roma are in pole position to reach the Coppa Italia Final after last night’s 2-2 San Siro draw.

The Rossoneri made a lightning start to the tie by going 2-0 up thanks to Ricardo Oliveira and Filippo Inzaghi, but they allowed their opponents back into the game who will now start next week’s return with an away goals advantage.

“We did really well in the first part of the match, but then we weren’t aggressive enough and they took advantage on the counter-attack,” explained Ancelotti.

“Roma are a team who you can’t concede any space to and unfortunately we did.

“The qualification is still open but more complicated. We are forced to go to Rome to win or at least obtain a 3-3 draw.

“The chances of qualification are 70 per cent for Roma and 30 per cent for us.”

Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida was clearly at fault for Roma’s second goal when a David Pizarro shot went straight through him, but the tactician defended his ‘keeper.

“He has just returned from an injury and made a mistake, but these things happen,” he argued. “The pitch was very slippery and we were all unable to play with our usual precision.”

Real Madrid striker Ronaldo was in the crowd ahead of his medical on Friday, but Ancelotti refused to speculate on what his arrival could mean for his side this term.

“I’ll wait until we get the results of his physical before making any comment,” concluded the former Milan midfielder.

Spaletti 'regrets' AC Milan draw
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Football Italia

Luciano Spalletti has praised his men for their Coppa Italia semi-final comeback against Milan – although he insists they could have even won the game.

Ricardo Oliveira and Pippo Inzaghi put the home side 2-0 up in the first 23 minutes, but the Giallorossi kept their Final hopes alive by responding with Simone Perrotta and David Pizarro.

“Milan started very well,” noted the Coach. “We couldn’t find the right balance and Kaka created several problems.

“After their second goal however we got back on track and played well.

“We could have conceded more goals, but instead we offered a good performance. In the second half we had more opportunities and could have won,” added the tactician.

January arrival Christian Wilhelmsson impressed and Spalletti was keen to highlight his contribution.

“He had a great match and gave his all, both in quality and quantity,” he noted. “If he continues like this then I am sure that we will hear about him a lot in the future.

“[Milan boss] Carlo Ancelotti says their chances of qualifying are only at 30 per cent? I don’t agree, they are still 50-50.”

Amantino Mancini was also satisfied with the team’s performance and has called for support at the Stadio Olimpico in the return next Wednesday.

“It’s never easy for us to play at the Stadio Meazza and conceding two goals made things even more difficult, but we reacted well and showed personality,” stated the Brazilian.

“We will have to fight to qualify and I hope the stadium will be sold-out in Rome. Reaching the Final is very important for us.”

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 2:2 AS Roma - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Oliveira 4 (M), Inzaghi 23 (M), Perrotta 29 (R), Pizarro 39 (R)

Milan surrendered a two-goal lead in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final as Roma collected a precious 2-2 away draw.

It had looked as if the home side had one foot already in the Cup Final only to let a deserving Giallorossi outfit back into the tie.

Despite a clear lack of spectators at San Siro, there was a buzz in the air given the presence of Ronaldo in the crowd.

And the Rossoneri benefited immediately from the ‘Ronaldo effect’ as they took the lead in minute four through Ricardo Oliveira.

The Brazilian, whose poor form is a contributing factor to the probable capture of Big Ron, gave his side the edge after a Massimo Ambrosini pass caught out Cristian Chivu.

Oliveira took advantage by converting on goal and firing it low past Gianluca Curci to make it 1-0. However, the striker did perhaps control the ball with his arm in the build up.

Roma had a chance to hit back with Christian Wilhelmsson almost immediately, but his shot from a tight angle finished across the face of goal.

There was only one team in the tie in the opening 25 minutes and Kaka was running the show.

It was his inspired pass which found Marek Jankulovski and the Czech’s cross into the six-yard box was tapped home in typical Pippo Inzaghi fashion to make it 2-0.

Milan nearly made it three when Curci made a meal of an Andrea Pirlo free-kick, before Roma – without the suspended Rodrigo Taddei – finally woke up.

Francesco Totti failed to make contact with a Christian Panucci cross, but the ball fell to Simone Perrotta who nudged it into the back of the net from close range in the 29th minute.

The capital club, despite a decent and dangerous Rino Gattuso effort, grew in stature.

Amantino Mancini wasted a good headed opportunity before Roma made it 2-2 – with a little help from Nelson Dida. David Pizarro fired a central shot from the edge of the area and it went straight through the Brazilian ‘keeper.

The home side clearly wanted to make up for their first half ending and made a bright opening to the second period.

Kaka forced Curci to make a splendid flying save after chesting and volleying towards goal, while Pirlo fired another free-kick just over the bar.

Totti was having a relatively quiet night even if he worried the Rossoneri twice in the space of three minutes. His dead-ball effort drifted wide, but he brought a fine save out of Dida after a stunning 30-yard drive on the hour mark.

Although the action was swinging from one end to the other, both outfits were finding it tough to create any real opportunities as snow started to fall at the Meazza.

Kaka seemed to go missing and as a result, both Dario Simic and Pirlo tested Curci with ambitious long-range strikes which the Under-21 international got well behind.

Roma understandably seemed content with the result given their away goals, but they looked for a winner in the closing stages.

It was the impressive Wilhelmsson who almost made a name for himself but he was denied on three occasions by Dida’s reflexes.

Pizarro had the last noteworthy effort of the night, only to be stopped by Dida. It ended Milan 2 Roma 2.

They’ll meet again in the second leg next Wednesday in Rome to see who will probably meet Inter [3-0 up against Sampdoria] in this year’s Italian Cup Final.

Milan 2-2 Roma

Scorers: Oliveira 4 (M), Inzaghi 23 (M), Perrotta 29 (R), Pizarro 39 (R)

Milan: Dida; Simic, Bonera, Costacurta, Jankulovski; Gattuso (Brocchi 72), Pirlo, Ambrosini (Seedorf 61); Kaka; Oliveira (Gilardino 77), Inzaghi

Roma: Curci; Panucci, Mexes, Chivu, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro; Wilhelmsson (Rosi 88), Perrotta (Cassetti 82), Mancini (Tavano 76); Totti

Ref: Bertini

OFFICIAL: Ronaldo joins AC Milan
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Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that Ronaldo will have a medical on Friday after the Real Madrid player arrived in the Italian city this evening.

The Brazilian touched down at Linate airport just after eight o’clock local time which have confirmed reports that he is on the verge of completing a move to the Rossoneri.

The South American will now undergo a physical at MilanLab before the Italian club look to finalise details with the Spanish giants at the start of next week.

“Thanks to the generosity of [Real] President [Ramon] Calderon, Ronaldo – who is still a Real Madrid player – will have a medical at Milanello tomorrow," said Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“If everything goes well then I will fly to Madrid on Monday to conclude the negotiations with Real.

“I would also like to thank [Milan] President [Silvio] Berlusconi because Ronaldo wouldn’t be here without his approval.

“Berlusconi, seeing as he is the President and therefore the first Milan fan, is hoping that Ronaldo will join us.”

It is still unclear how much Ronaldo will cost the club, but it is thought to be somewhere in the region of £4m to £6m.

Galliani also hit back at Inter President Massimo Moratti who has been critical of the likely switch given the former Barcelona player’s Nerazzurri past.

“This isn’t the first time that a player has left Inter for Milan, I’m thinking of Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo, Cristian Brocchi…

“Anyway, Ronaldo is not an Inter player and hasn’t been for four years. This move is one from Real to Milan, not Inter to Milan.”

Ronaldo will get a close look at his probable new teammates as he is expected in the crowd for Milan’s Coppa Italia tie against Roma later this evening.

Galliani confirms Ronaldo 'move'
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Football Italia

Milan official Adriano Galliani has confirmed that the Rossoneri are still thrashing out a deal with Real Madrid for Ronaldo.

Reports in Italy and Spain suggested that Real had finally agreed to let the striker leave after agreeing in principle to a £4.2m offer by the Rossoneri, stating that the Brazilian would fly to Milan today.

“We are sending a written offer to Real Madrid – we are currently negotiating and we are evaluating all factors,” Galliani told Sky Italia.

“In any case, all decisions will depend on the results of his medical,” added the former Lega Calcio chief.

Galliani had allegedly written to Madrid chief Ramon Calderon on Wednesday, asking him to allow the player to undergo the routine medical tests in Italy before finalising an offer.

The Spanish giants had replied that it was not the normal procedure, and Galliani now believes that there are still many details to clarify before putting an end to the lengthy issue.

“There are many things to do and there isn’t much time. I don’t know if he will be here for the Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma.

“I still hope that he will be sitting next to me later this evening, but we will see,” concluded Galliani.

Ronaldo will arrive in Italy this evening for a medical on Friday.

That theory seems to have been confirmed by Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa.

“Monday or Tuesday could be the day when everything is resolved with regard to a contract,” he stated.

“It all depends on his medical which will be carried out by the MilanLab team. But all the problems with Real have been resolved.”

Moratti annoyed by Ronaldo
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Football Italia

Inter owner Massimo Moratti has admitted that Ronaldo’s imminent move to Milan has annoyed him. “He’s returning to the wrong side of town,” he fumed.

Il Fenomeno controversially walked out on Inter in 2002 after the club aided his rehabilitation, but Moratti had always stated that he had no regrets about the player he signed from Barcelona in 1997.

The former Golden Ball winner is expected in Milan on Thursday afternoon, when he will complete his medical and will then be at the San Siro to see the Coppa Italia semi-final with Roma.

“I don’t see an analogy between today and July 1997, when Ronaldo joined us. The fact that he’s returning to Milan is the only thing in common,” said Moratti.

“This is a return, but to the wrong side of town – and it’s not a nice thing. A transfer of this kind can happen in today’s football, but I can’t say that I like it.

“I admit that I was hoping that the negotiation would fail. However, we are pretty uninterested in this issue, mainly because we don’t need Ronaldo and we can’t interfere in this matter.”

Moratti also stated that Inter still hope that Luis Figo will change his mind and stay beyond the end of this term, despite having committed to Arabian side Al-Ittihad.

“We still hope things might change, even if we are aware that he has agreed to a move. Hope costs nothing,” concluded the Nerazzurro.

AC Milan and Inter indicted!
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Football Italia

Milan and Inter have been indicted by Federal Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi as part of his latest investigation.

Both clubs have been accused of false accounting in order for them to register for the 2004-05 season and Palazzi decided to hand the case to the disciplinary commission after completing his enquiry.

The investigation was launched after goalkeeper Simone Brunelli reported that his signature had been counterfeited in 2003 when he was sold from Milan to Inter.

The unknown 23-year-old player, who is still owned by Inter but has been out of action since 2004 because of an injury, was sold to the Via Durini outfit during the summer of 2003.

However, he only learned about his transfer from the newspapers and received a signed contract at his home only after insisting the club send it to him.

He then discovered that the signature on the agreement was not his and that he was valued at £2m, despite his monthly wage only being £1,700.

Brunelli’s case, as well as a civil enquiry, caused the new Federal investigation to be launched. Milan and Inter will now be judged by the disciplinary commission for objective responsibility in the case.

Nerazzurri official Gabriele Oriali and the goalkeeper himself, who moved to Vis Pesaro on a loan deal in 2005, will also go in front of the commission.

Palazzi also transmitted the file to Federal Commissioner Luca Pancalli, who will be called to assess the situation and decide if the clubs will be handed any punishment.

Milan and Inter have both maintained their innocence. If found of wrongdoing they could be fined or docked points, even if the latter is unlikely according to reports in Italy.

Ronaldo deal edges closer
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Football Italia

Transfer market consultant Ernesto Bronzetti has confirmed that Real Madrid and Milan have agreed terms over Ronaldo’s transfer.

According to newspaper La Repubblica, the Merengues finally decided to let Il Fenomeno leave the Bernabeu after a meeting with Rossoneri official Adriano Galliani on Wednesday night, while El Mundo also confirmed the operation.

“It is true, there is a deal, but I would wait to say that the player has joined Milan,” said Bronzetti, who acted as Milan’s intermediary in the first phase of the negotiations.

“Ronaldo has to yet undergo his medical and then the parties will have to clarify the financial details, which have been agreed to in principle,” added the consultant, speaking to

“There is no hurry. I don’t know if Ronaldo will fly to Milan today, we will see. I have read that Ricardo Oliveira is included in the deal, but that is absolutely not true,” concluded Bronzetti.

Real Madrid however have allegedly dismissed the reports, denying that a deal was finalised.

“There is no agreement with Milan, the news that he will leave for £4.2m is totally groundless,” stated an unknown source inside the club.

Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow have asked for Oliveira, but the deal is unlikely to go through until the summer, seeing as Ronaldo is Cup-tied in the Champions League.

Ronaldo joins Milan – reports
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Football Italia

Milan have reportedly agreed a fee with Real Madrid to sign Ronaldo on Thursday, according to the latest reports.

The two clubs have been negotiating after Ronaldo made it clear that he was determined to terminate his contract with the Spanish giants and wanted to join the San Siro outfit in January.

The parties had initially failed to agree financial terms, as Milan were keen on signing Il Fenomeno on a free transfer, whereas the Merengues were not willing to let him leave for nothing. reports that a deal was finalised early this morning, and Ronaldo is expected to be at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza to watch the Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma.

The website also stated that there are conflicting reports on the striker’s price, as Milan sources suggest the Rossoneri will pay £4.6m, whereas elsewhere it has been reported as £5.7m.

According to El Mundo, Real accepted a £4.2m offer from the San Siro outfit, who had already been paired with the former Inter man last summer, when the Galacticos turned down an £11m offer.

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani had written to Madrid chief Ramon Calderon on Wednesday, asking him to allow the player to undergo the routine medical tests in Italy before finalising an offer.

“This is not the normal procedure, a player can undergo medicals only after he signs a contract, or at least he receives an offer,” replied the Spanish giants via fax.

Galliani, however, met sporting director Franco Baldini again on Wednesday night, finally reaching an agreement.

Milan have allegedly offered the former Golden Ball winner an 18-month contract worth £5.3m, plus his entire image rights worth a lucrative £8m a year – which he previously shared with Real.

Oddo: "At last, Milan!"
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Football Italia

Massimo Oddo has spoken of his relief at finally completing his long-awaited move to Milan.

“I had wanted to return to Milan for some time, so I am very happy to be here,” said the defender.

Lazio agreed terms for the player this week following a drawn-out negotiation process and Oddo signed a contract until 2011 this afternoon.

He made the switch in exchange for £5.5m and winger Pasquale Foggia, who was already on loan at the Stadio Olimpico.

“We are in this trophy room that is rich with so many victories and I remember seeing some of this silverware lifted by the Rossoneri when I was in the youth squad,” he noted at his presentation Press conference.

“Now I want to hold up a trophy, to win with this jersey, and I definitely have strong motivation for this new adventure.”

Oddo was frozen out of the Lazio squad for Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Milan, but is ready to make his debut for the new club against Parma this weekend.

“I am at the disposal of the Coach. I trained up until a few days ago, so I am in good shape.”

It’s reported the right-back wanted to be given the Number 30 jersey, a reminder of the 3-0 triumph Lazio celebrated over Roma in this season’s derby, but it was already taken and he has instead been given the 44 shirt.

“It was a long negotiation process and I always hoped it would be resolved, but I am accustomed to being relaxed and certain only after pen is put to paper.”

Ancelotti’s final countdown
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Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has warned semi-final opponents Roma that reaching the Coppa Italia Final is a major objective.

The Rossoneri welcome the capital giants to the San Siro for the first leg on Thursday and Ancelotti is looking forward to the challenge which the Giallorossi will present them.

“First of all, we can talk about anything except Massimo Oddo, Ronaldo or tomorrow’s starting line-up,” joked Ancelotti as the pre-match Press conference kicked-off.

“The semi-final will be very interesting because we will face a very strong team, one who defeated us in the championship.

“We are also approaching the first objective of the season. Christian Panucci said that Roma want to reach the Final, but so do we!

“We have recovered some of our injured players and we have obtained some good results, considering the fact that we played two delicate games against Fiorentina and Lazio recently.”

Ancelotti admitted that he will field an attacking formation which will include Ricardo Oliveira, who has been linked with a move given his disappointing performances since his summer arrival.

“We will play with three forwards,” noted the tactician. “I believe this game can be a good opportunity for Oliveira’s comeback.

“He is doing well in training, but is having some difficulty in games.”

Ancelotti finally commented on Valon Behrami’s dangerous challenge on Alberto Gilardino during the match against Lazio at the weekend.

“It was the only mistake in a game where the referee did well. It was a very bad foul, but I believe it was due to tiredness and not because of a desire to injure someone.

“It’s not always easy to be objective with fouls. It’s possible to change your opinion on them once you see them on television.”

OFFICIAL: Massimo Oddo to AC Milan
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Football Italia

Massimo Oddo has officially left Lazio for Milan after signing a contract with the Rossoneri until June 2011.

The right-back finally completed his expected transfer after an agreement was found between the two clubs on Monday night.

The Biancocelesti have netted themselves £5.5m and the total ownership of Pasquale Foggia, who had joined the Roman club on loan in the summer.

“Milan have purchased Massimo Oddo from Lazio and he has signed a contract until June 30, 2011,” read an official note on the Rossoneri’s website on Wednesday.

“At the same time, Milan have transferred the total ownership of Pasquale Foggia to Lazio.”

The world champion, who was already paired with a move in the summer, had made it clear that he wanted to head north.

The 30-year-old, who started his career in the Milan youth system, joined Lazio in 2002 after appearing for Monza, Napoli and Verona.

Galliani admits to Ronaldo talks
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has admitted that they are in talks with Real Madrid over their proposed Ronaldo swoop.

Reports in Italy this morning had suggested that Galliani met with sporting director Franco Baldini last night and it seems that negotiations are progressing – although it seems unlikely that a decision will be taken on Wednesday.

“We have started to speak and we are negotiating with Real Madrid, “ said Galliani to Spanish network Punto Radio.

“We are interested in Ronaldo. We spoke to Baldini yesterday and there will be a new meeting today. However, we have not yet discussed the cost of the operation,” added the official.

Milan had insisted that they would only net the player on a free transfer, while Real Madrid wanted a fee of around £5.7m.

However, it now seems that the Italian giants may be ready to get their chequebook out after Real reportedly lowered the South American’s asking price to £4.2m.

Nevertheless, Galliani later told the Ansa news agency that reaching a compromise may take some time over the former Inter hero.

“Ronaldo will not arrive today [Wednesday]. I spoke to Baldini again this morning, but these are initial meetings and the negotiation continues,” he noted.

In the meantime Ronaldo, who has stated that his future is away from Madrid, did not train with the rest of the Merengues on Tuesday.

Italian giants monitor Caceres
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Football Italia

Milan and Juventus are set to do battle on the transfer market for Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres.

The Defensor Montevideo youngster is currently being watched by scouts of both Italian outfits at the Under-20 South American Championships in Paraguay.

The 19-year-old is seen by some as the new Paolo Montero, a former Bianconeri stopper, and his agent is ex-Juventus player Daniel Fonseca.

Fonseca has also allegedly spoken to Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti even if Arsenal are reportedly ready to offer £5m to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

Milan and Juve are also interested in Uruguayan striker Edison Cavani, who is considered by some as the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic and might be included in a deal with his fellow countryman.

The 19-year-old, who impressed in the Apertura tournament by scoring 13 goals and leading Danubio Montevideo to victory, has admitted that he is flattered with the Milan and Juve links.

The striker, who will soon have an EU passport, is valued at £5m and reports suggest that £8.5m would be enough to net both Cavani and Caceres.

Juve are seemingly keen on blocking the duo now, in order to finalise a transfer in June, whereas the Rossoneri might decide to make an immediate offer to bring Cavani to the San Siro this month.

Real demand Ronaldo meeting
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Football Italia

Real Madrid have again warned Milan to talk to them direct for Ronaldo, but Pasquale Foggia wants to leave Lazio.

The Rossoneri have been at the centre of transfer gossip this month with their long-running sagas for Massimo Oddo and Ronaldo.

Now that the defender has been snapped up for £5.5m plus Foggia, the focus turns to Spain.

“The statements Adriano Galliani made in the Spanish and Italian Press lead me to understand Milan would like to sign Ronaldo,” commented director of sport Predrag Mijatovic.

“Yet they still haven’t spoken to Real Madrid. I believe this can be considered a lack of respect.”

Real rejected an £11m offer for Il Fenomeno in the summer, but now the player is determined to terminate his contract so that he can join the Rossoneri on a free transfer.

“We will not let him go without some sort of financial remuneration,” Mijatovic told ‘As’ newspaper.

“I think it is rather strange that Milan and Real Madrid must speak to intermediaries in order to negotiate for a player as important as Ronaldo. Mr Galliani has to do as he did this summer – come here and present a proposal.”

While that situation drags on, the Oddo transfer has been resolved with a late night meeting between Lazio and Milan.

The right-back is set to put pen to paper today or tomorrow to complete the move, but there are problems for the Biancocelesti.

Foggia has been included as part of the deal, although the 23-year-old – who had already been at the Olimpico on loan this season – is not too happy about it.

“Even if Lazio now own the player, he is nonetheless eager to move to another club for the rest of the season,” said his agent Tiberio Cavalleri to Teleradiostereo Sport and RadioSpazioAperto.

“We don’t believe he will be granted much playing time here, also seeing as Lazio just signed Luis Jimenez from Ternana. I don’t think there is much space left for him.”

Foggia appeared 11 times with Lazio scoring one goal, but is aware that he needs to play with consistency if he hopes to improve and might join Sampdoria before the transfer window closes next week.

“The Liguri are favoured in the race to sign the player, although there are also other clubs interested in his services,” concluded Cavalleri.

Seedorf pens new AC Milan contract
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Football Italia

Milan have announced that Clarence Seedorf has extended his contract until June 30, 2011.

The Dutchman has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the San Siro for another four years.

By the time the new agreement expires, he will already have turned 35 years of age and been at the club for nine seasons.

Seedorf joined the Rossoneri from archrivals Inter in 2002, having previously worn the jerseys of Ajax, Sampdoria and Real Madrid.

The Netherlands international made history as the first player to win the Champions League for three different clubs and with Milan has also celebrated a Scudetto, European Super Cup, Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup.

Meanwhile, his latest new teammate Massimo Oddo has said his goodbyes at Lazio’s Formello training ground.

Late last night the two clubs finally reached an agreement for £5.5m plus Pasquale Foggia to bring the right-back up north.

It’s reported that this evening or tomorrow morning he will sign a four-year contract with Milan.

Bronzetti: Ronaldo deal will happen
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Football Italia

Transfer market consultant Ernesto Bronzetti is confident that Ronaldo will join Milan before the end of the month.

The Brazilian is ready to leave Real Madrid and the Rossoneri have reached an agreement with the player, but the Spanish giants are not willing to let the striker leave on a free transfer as requested by the San Siro outfit.

“We are trying to finalise the details and I am optimistic,” said Bronzetti, who is acting as an intermediary for Milan. “I always am even when the chances are limited.

“I am sure that the issue will be solved, in one way or another,” he continued.

Spanish newspaper AS reported on Tuesday that the Merengues are asking for £5.7m to let Ronaldo leave, after having received a lucrative offer from Arabian club Al-Ittihad.

“They want that amount of money? They should ask Ronaldo, not Milan,” added Bronzetti.

“In any case the club officials will meet the player’s agent on Tuesday evening then we will see what will happen after that.”

Meanwhile, Alberto Gilardino has declared that he would be happy to play alongside Ronaldo this season.

“If Ronaldo should come here, we would all be happy to greet him,” the 2006 World Cup winner stated.

“He would be very important for Milan and for all of us. I am sure we would adapt to his proposed arrival.”

Lazio - AC Milan agree Oddo fee
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Football Italia

Lazio defender Massimo Oddo will join Milan after the two clubs finally reached an agreement over financial details on Monday night.

The stopper is heading north after Milan offered £5.5m and the total ownership of Pasquale Foggia, who joined the Biancocelesti on loan in the summer.

The world champion had made it clear that he was keen on joining the Rossoneri, where he started his career in the youth system.

However, negotiations proved problematic seeing as Lazio chief Claudio Lotito initially failed to lower his asking price.

But a move seemed to be in the pipeline after Oddo was excluded from the squad which drew 0-0 with Milan on Sunday night.

The 30-year-old was contracted to the Roman club until 2008 and had landed at Lazio in 2002 after appearing for Monza, Napoli and Verona.

Milan, via a note on their website, have now confirmed that a deal is in place - even if the player hasn't signed yet.

"An agreement was reached last night between Adriano Galliani and Claudio Lotito for the transfer of Lazio’s Massimo Oddo to Milan for 7,750 million euros plus the total ownership of Pasquale Foggia," it read.

"The transfer will only become official once the player signs."

Real demand Ronaldo fee
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Football Italia

Real Madrid have warned Milan that they are not prepared to release Ronaldo on a free transfer this month.

The Spanish giants are ready to sell the Brazilian and Milan have already agreed terms with the player over a contract until 2008.

However, the Italian giants have told the forward that they will only net him if he managed to rescind his contract with the Liga giants.

“It is now out of our hands,” Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani again confirmed on Monday.

“It really doesn’t just depend on us at this moment. If the player frees himself from Real then he’ll arrive, otherwise he won’t.”

But Madrid have hit back this evening with director general Predrag Mijatovic ruling out that option – especially after they rejected an £11m summer bid from Milan for the former Inter sensation.

“One thing is clear, we can’t let Ronaldo leave here for nothing,” the ex-Fiorentina forward underlined.

“We have received some offers for him and we are negotiating.

“The Brazilian is a player who has struggled in recent years, he’s suffered and we have been unable to recuperate him.

“We decided to reject an offer in the summer for him as we were convinced that he would soon find some form.

“Unfortunately things have turned out this way. We’ll see what will happen in the closing days of the transfer window.”

Although Premiership, Arabian and American outfits do want the World Cup winner, Ronaldo himself is only keen on joining Milan.

It’s understood that his agent Fabiano Farah will hold showdown talks with Real officials this evening in a bid to organise a Milan move.

"My future is far from Madrid," stated Ronaldo himself today. "That's because the Coach doesn't want me. How are the talks going? I don't know."

Gilardino injury boost
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Football Italia

Milan were relieved to learn that Alberto Gilardino did not suffer any fracture after a challenge by Lazio’s Valon Behrami on Sunday.

The Rossonero was stretchered off the pitch in agony after the Swiss midfielder stamped on his ankle, although the world champion was able to hop away towards the dressing room after treatment.

The striker worked in the pool on Monday and after a first examination, Milan’s medical staff excluded the possibility of any bone lesions or fractures, as stated on the club’s website.

The staff also confirmed that another examination will take place in 24 hours in order to better assess the ankle’s situation, although the fact that it hasn’t swollen is considered a positive sign.

Gilardino is expected to rejoin his teammates on Tuesday afternoon, when the Rossoneri will resume training, to undergo further medical tests.

Dida pleased with return
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Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Nelson Dida is optimistic about his future after returning between the posts for Sunday’s match with Lazio.

The Brazilian made his Serie A comeback and looked in good shape after being sidelined for two months because of a knee injury suffered in the Champions League match with AEK Athens.

“It was a difficult game, but a point earned away from home is always good,” said the ‘keeper. “I worked well with everyone, mostly with the Milan staff.

“We chose the best way to proceed and now I am finally back on the pitch. I am still adjusting, but everything is slowly returning to normal,” added the player.

The No 1 has yet to sign a new contract with the Rossoneri, as his current deal expires in June, but negotiations have stalled after the parties failed to find an agreement on the financial details.

“What will I do? Now I am here and I will do my best to help the squad finish in fourth or even third place,” he insisted. “After that we will see.

“Ronaldo? He is a good friend. I hope he can play, if not for Milan then at least with Real. It’s never nice for a great player to be sidelined.”

Oddo future uncertain
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Football Italia

Lazio President Claudio Lotito has insisted that Massimo Oddo will only join Milan if the Rossoneri meet his demands.

The world champion has requested a move to the San Siro outfit, but the deal has stalled after the two clubs failed to agree on the transfer fee.

Furthermore, the player was left out of Sunday evening’s match at the Stadio Olimpico against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, as Coach Delio Rossi preferred not to field him.

“First of all, I want to highlight the fact that in life everyone is useful but nobody is indispensable,” Lotito told RAI after the match.

“If Milan are not willing to accept our conditions, Oddo will stay at Lazio. This issue is not a closed one, we are available to discuss this only if we are the ones to set the rules.

“I am a friend of Adriano Galliani, but Lazio have never put Oddo up for sale. Someone asked us for the player and we set a price, which we have already lowered.

"This is how we behave, we do things before making any statements – someone else spoke ahead of time.”

Lotito then moved on to comment on the match, which ended in a goalless draw, despite both clubs needing to earn precious points in the race for a Champions League spot.

“It was a very physical game, Lazio had two clear chances which we didn’t finish, although Dida was decisive with his saves.

“These are strange matches, when both sides are eager to win and in the end no one is able to do so,” concluded Lotito.

Lazio are fifth in the table with 27 points, just one point behind Empoli, who are currently in fourth position for the final Champions League berth.

Ancelotti slams referee Saccani
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has criticised the referee for not red carding Valon Behrami, while Delio Rossi insists Lazio deserved victory.

Alberto Gilardino was stretchered off in the second half after a leg-breaker tackle from Behrami, but referee Massimiliano Saccani incredibly gave a free kick against the Milan striker.

“It was definitely a red card offence. There’s no question about it, the referee made a serious mistake,” commented Ancelotti after tonight’s 0-0 draw at the Olimpico.

Gilardino was seen in some pain hopping off the sidelines with an ice pack strapped to his left leg and more tests will be needed to ascertain the extent of the injury.

“I am not disappointed by the overall performance. We weren’t as organised as usual, but there was a lot of pressure out there.

“We were missing something in the final ball, though I was pleased with the defence. Perhaps there were a few too many mistakes.”

Both sides had chances to win it, although Nelson Dida was forced into the more difficult saves to deny Lazio.

“Tonight my team created more chances than Milan,” noted Coach Rossi. “We deserved to win, but there were some errors on the counter-attack. It was an excellent defensive performance and we mustn’t forget that only four months ago we were in Serie B.”

When viewing the footage of Behrami’s controversial challenge on Gilardino, which bent the striker’s ankle round and left a large mark down his shin, the Lazio boss remained firm.

“It was not a sending off offence,” he insisted.

Dida was Man of the Match on his return from two months out with a knee injury and was satisfied with the result.

“This was always going to be a difficult game, so picking up a point away from home is always a good thing,” said the goalkeeper.

“We worked hard during this time and I was able to return earlier than anticipated because we chose the best way to operate. I need a few more matches to shake off the rust, but everything is slowly getting back to normal.”

Lazio 0:0 AC Milan - match report
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Football Italia

Dida made his Serie A comeback after two months out injured with some decisive saves, but Milan could only draw 0-0 at Lazio with Alberto Gilardino stretchered off.

The lead-up to this match was fraught with tension, as Massimo Oddo was banished to the stands for demanding a January transfer to Milan, so Valon Behrami played right-back. The Rossoneri were also anxiously awaiting news from Ronaldo in Madrid, so the sides had been focusing on everything except football this week.

Lazio had not beaten Milan here in Serie A since February 1998, but the visitors had Zeljko Kalac out injured and Dida still working his way back to full fitness following a two-month lay-off for a knee problem.

Behrami drilled over and Cristian Brocchi's effort from a Clarence Seedorf cross was charged down. Tommaso Rocchi fought his way past two defenders on the edge of the area and his precise low drive was blocked on the line by an attentive Dida.

Milan wasted a great chance when Marek Jankulovski's cross was flicked on for Gennaro Gattuso's diving header that whistled well wide of the target from a promising position.

Cristian Ledesma caught a loose ball from 20 metres and smashed his shot across the face of goal with Dida watching it go by the far upright. Stefano Mauri nodded a free kick over from six yards, but he had pushed Daniele Bonera.

Kaka looked as if he was set to pass to either Marcos Cafu or Gilardino, but instead flashed his shot towards the back post.

Goran Pandev gathered the ball with his back to goal, spun round Bonera and saw his rising shot towards the top near corner deflected over the bar.

Lazio's pressure was growing and a well-worked move on 41 minutes saw Massimo Mutarelli's final shot charged down at the last moment.

They went even closer moments later, as Rocchi found space down the left flank and his precise angled drive was met by a brilliant Dida save. The goalkeeper was at full stretch to fingertip it round the far post.

Angelo Peruzzi was struggling with stomach ache and made way for Marco Ballotta at half-time. He is the oldest ever player in Serie A history at 42 years and eight months, but was alert to smother a Gilardino volley after combining passes with Kaka.

Mutarelli flicked the ball over the defence for Pandev to spring the offside trap, but although the Lazio man got to the sphere first, his chip was over the bar under pressure from the on-rushing Dida.

Ballotta's palms were stung by a Kaka snapshot from distance, eventually controlling it at the second attempt. The Brazilian blasted another effort over from distance, though Dida was also tested by Mauri's sudden strike.

Brocchi found space to unleash a fierce but central drive that Ballotta smothered, as both sides seemed to mainly become dangerous from distance.

However, seconds later Cribari performed a fantastic sliding tackle on Seedorf as he ran into the area with only Ballotta to beat. From the resulting corner another challenge blocked Seedorf from eight yards as Gilardino spun the ball back towards the Dutchman.

There were worrying scenes when Behrami stamped on Gilardino's calf and ankle, a shocking leg-breaker tackle that could well have caused a serious injury. It was a red card offence, yet the referee incredibly gave a free kick in Behrami's favour. The Milan striker was stretchered off screaming, although after treatment he was able to hop away with an ice-pack strapped to his leg.

Pippo Inzaghi and Massimo Ambrosini came on, the midfielder nodding just over from a corner kick.

At the other end, a poor clearance reached Mauri and Dida didn't deal with the ferocious effort very well, pushing it out for a corner when his catch slipped.

Lazio: Peruzzi (Ballotta 46); Behrami (Belleri 80), Siviglia, Cribari, Zauri; Mudingayi, Ledesma, Mutarelli; Mauri; Rocchi, Pandev (Foggia 86)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Brocchi (Ambrosini 82); Seedorf, Kakà; Gilardino (Inzaghi 80)

Ref: Saccani

Costacurta books AC Milan bench
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Football Italia

Billy Costacurta is thinking ahead and hopes to one day replace Carlo Ancelotti on the Milan bench.

“In about nine years’ time I would love to become Milan Coach,” he told RAI Due programme ‘Dribbling’.

“It would have to be precisely nine years, though! Doing it any earlier would cause problems for someone I am very close to, Ancelotti.”

The Rossoneri President Silvio Berlusconi and transfer guru Adriano Galliani have both repeatedly noted that the tactician of the future will be once more a figure from Milan’s past.

Fabio Capello and Ancelotti both wore the jersey of this club during their playing careers and, with Paolo Maldini insisting he has no intention of following in father Cesare’s Coaching footsteps, Costacurta certainly fits the bill.

The defender turned 40 in April 2006, but is still going strong in defence at the San Siro, so his retirement and future career remains on the horizon.

Costacurta also commented on the Calciopoli scandal that forced Milan to begin this season with an eight-point penalty.

“I was astonished by such a harsh punishment. I didn’t see anything serious in the evidence. The penalty certainly affected the team, although I cannot say how much, especially during the difficult moments of a match.”

Oddo frozen out at Lazio
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Football Italia

Lazio have frozen Massimo Oddo out of the squad for Sunday’s match with Milan after he demanded a transfer to the San Siro.

There were question marks on whether or not the defender would play against the team he has publicly declared he wants to join and they were answered this evening.

“It is a technical decision, he is not injured,” explained Coach Delio Rossi. “This is a player in negotiations to join another side, so it is my duty to think only of those who want to stay here.”

However, the tactician also made it clear that this was not simply because Lazio’s opponents this weekend happen to be Milan.

“I think this is the approach we will adopt until the end of the transfer window. Oddo will not play because he has asked to leave, it has nothing to do with the fact we’re facing Milan.”

This is a distinct change of tune from the statements that President Claudio Lotito released to journalists on Friday, insisting he’d continue to play Oddo while he was still under contract.

It could even be good news for the World Cup winner, though, as it makes it even more likely Lazio will release him this month.

Oddo grew up in the Rossoneri youth system and has been at the Olimpico since 2002, notching up 17 goals in 135 games.

It’s believed that Valon Behrami will take over from Oddo at right-back on Sunday, with Sebastiano Siviglia, Emilson Sanchez Cribari and Luciano Zauri completing the defence.

Ancelotti: We don't need Ronaldo
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Football Italia

As Milan anxiously await news from Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti tried to focus his men against Lazio by pointing out Ronaldo’s arrival isn’t indispensable.

“In this situation we will wait until January 31 to see what happens. I don’t have any sensations about what’s going to develop, as it doesn’t depend on Milan,” said the Coach as the saga drags on.

The approach for the Real Madrid star, who is trying to terminate his contract immediately so that he can move on a free transfer, came after Marco Borriello was suspended for failing a routine drugs test.

“Even if Borriello is out, we have three strikers of great quality and there are games in which Kaka can play in a more advanced role. It’s not imperative to have four strikers, so another signing in that department isn’t an emergency.”

Nonetheless, Ancelotti was happy to answer questions during his Press Conference on how Ronaldo would fit into the side.

“He has never played alongside Alberto Gilardino, but if people suggest they are incompatible, then that could motivate them to prove the doubters wrong.”

Real realise Il Fenomeno is hardly concentrated at the moment, so Fabio Capello left him out of the squad for this weekend’s encounter with Real Mallorca.

There has been precious little focus on Sunday’s showdown with Lazio, especially as one of their prime targets is Biancocelesti captain Massimo Oddo.

“To be honest, the transfer market doesn’t interest us much at the moment, as the team is working hard and these rumours leave us all indifferent from a professional point of view.”

Lazio seem to disagree, as it’s reported Delio Rossi could leave Oddo out of this match against his probable future employers.

“From an ethical standpoint, a professional should always be allowed to play. It’s a decision that is up to them,” added Ancelotti.

“We have to concentrate on Lazio, as it’s a very important game for our season and next year. We need to finish in the top four and Sunday’s match is a crucial crossroads in that respect.”

The former Juventus and Parma boss confirmed that Gilardino would play as the lone striker supported by Kaka and four midfielders, leaving Pippo Inzaghi and Ricardo Oliveira on the bench.

Ronaldo 'ferociously determined'
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Football Italia

Adriano Galliani assures Ronaldo is “ferociously determined” to join Milan, but the club refuses direct contact with Real Madrid.

“I hear it said that Real are waiting for my trip to Madrid. I intend to clarify that Milan have no intention of starting negotiations with the Spanish side,” explained vice-President Galliani in today’s ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’.

“The deal only went this far because we were assured Ronaldo is counting on terminating his contract before January 31, so there is no need for our intervention. We’ll wait patiently until that evening when the transfer window closes and it’s up to Ronaldo to let us know if he’ll be free by that date.”

The feud between the two clubs stretches back to the summer, when the Rossoneri reported Real Madrid to FIFA for an illegal approach towards Kaka.

Now it’s claimed that the Merengues are equally furious at this latest snub and are purposefully dragging their heels on the Ronaldo affair, pushing the meeting with his agents back to Monday and setting a £7m price-tag.

“I see Ronaldo determined to join Milan. In fact, he’s ferociously determined,” continued Galliani. “We have had no contact with Real and there will be none, so any transfer gossip that they’ve requested Pippo Inzaghi or any other player is out of the question.”

The Rossoneri are struggling in Serie A, but are willing to play the waiting game for first choice reinforcements Ronaldo and Massimo Oddo.

“There is just one difference between the two cases, as with Oddo we are continuing our advanced negotiations with Lazio President Claudio Lotito, where just £2m separates request and offer. However, we are also willing to wait until the market closes on that deal.

“There is a common philosophy here – if Oddo and Ronaldo arrive at the conditions we have set, then we will all be happy. If not, then we will continue the season with the players we have and clearly we’d be content with that too.”

Moratti snubs Rossonero Ronnie
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Football Italia

Massimo Moratti is upset at Ronaldo’s decision to join Milan, but insists Inter “have better players.”

“We had a past together, but it seems that our present and future are very separate,” sighed the oil baron.

During over two years of injury problems, Moratti stood by him ‘like a father’ and was bitterly disappointed when he demanded a switch to Real Madrid in 2002.

“I haven’t spoken to him in a while, above all because in this time we have bought better at Inter,” added the President in a snide aside.

“He is free to choose whatever he wants and I wish him well as a man. Obviously, I can’t say I hope he does well in his sport right now!”

Now Il Fenomeno is on the verge of joining their hated rivals Milan on the other side of the San Siro.

“It’s not up to me to comment on the situation at another club. I admit it certainly doesn’t make me happy to see a player who was so important for Inter aim to end his career with Milan.

“From a personal level, or at least a professional one, I can understand that this is fuelled by necessity for both Milan and Ronaldo.”

AC Milan await Ronaldo news
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Football Italia

Milan admit they too are waiting to hear whether or not Real Madrid will release Ronaldo.

“We are waiting for news from Madrid,” commented vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“It’s a very difficult negotiation process. We will have to wait and see what happens.”

The Rossoneri have a deal with the player, but the only issue now is the Spanish side, who have not decided what price tag they will place on Il Fenomeno.

A meeting was held today in Madrid between Merengues directors Ramon Calderon, Franco Baldini and Predrag Mijatovic and Ronaldo’s agents Fabiano Farah and Julio Senn.

“From what I heard, Ronaldo is very close to a transfer to Milan,” explained San Siro team manager Silvano Ramaccioni.

“I know nothing more precise than that, but from talking to the directors this was I was told.”

Spanish sources suggest “Real Madrid and Ronaldo are eager to get this situation sorted out as soon as possible.”

The Brazilian former World Player of the Year has also received offers from Saudi Arabian clubs. All transfers must be completed by the end of the window on January 31.

Lotito continues Oddo battle
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Football Italia

Lazio chief Claudio Lotito insists that Massimo Oddo is not for sale and will fight for a new Federal rule to protect clubs.

The World Cup winning defender is keen on leaving the Biancocelesti and the latest rumours suggested that his move to Milan was close, as Coach Delio Rossi was set to exclude him from Sunday evening’s match against the Rossoneri.

“Someone said that Oddo will not play? That is totally untrue,” said a fuming Lotito on Friday.

“I am the only reliable source when you speak about Lazio, any other person knows nothing.

“The player is not for sale. Furthermore, he is a target for one of our direct competitors, which makes things even worse. Therefore, we have to understand if there are any alternatives and if they could integrate into the team from a tactical, moral and psychological point of view.

“In any case, only the Coach can decide if he will play tomorrow or not.”

The fiery patron believes that the clubs are not protected enough, as he thinks that it is fairly easy for players to leave if they decide not to honour their contracts.

“I plan to fight within the Federation, as I would like a rule stating the value of the deals the players sign. At the time being, it seems to me that they are important only for the clubs.

“If a player decides to leave, he can start to complain and will not give his all on the pitch, making the club feel that it is better to let him leave. Things would change if players were forced to pay a high penalty and not play for one or two seasons.”

Lotito then moved on to comment on the match with Milan, which he is aware will not be an easy one.

“The Rossoneri are a strong side. We have built a good team which we hope will do better than last year, but we still haven’t reaped what we sowed,” concluded the President.

Oddo moves closer to AC Milan
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Football Italia

Lazio’s Massimo Oddo is on the verge of joining Milan given that Delio Rossi is set to drop him from the starting line-up against the Rossoneri.

The right-back has been assured of his place in the side so far this term, but Thursday’s training session suggested that the captain would be dropped from the Olimpico clash.

Oddo has made no secret of the fact that he is keen on a move, but the negotiations had stalled after the clubs failed to reach an agreement over the transfer fee.

Biancocelesti chief Claudio Lotito insisted on Thursday that Oddo would not leave, but that may not be in tune with reality.

Not only is Rossi set to ignore the player this weekend, but the capital club’s lawyer is already talking as if a deal has finally been agreed.

“I am sorry that he will leave, but we can’t really place a player under club arrest,” said Gianmichele Gentile.

“I am sure the issue will be solved on Monday, in one way or another. I believe that no one should be penalised by this transfer.

“Oddo has been given an important opportunity from a professional point of view. Lazio gave him a lot, but he has also given a lot to this club.”

According to the latest reports, it seems that Milan will pay £5.7m to Lazio, plus the co-ownership of Pasquale Foggia, who joined Lazio on loan in August.

Ancelotti blasts awful AC Milan
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Football Italia

Milan’s loss to Arezzo in the Italian Cup left boss Carlo Ancelotti fuming – even though they still qualified for the semi-finals.

The Serie B outfit collected a shock and deserved 1-0 win at the Comunale, but the Rossoneri still set up a last four date with Roma thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory.

“I’m happy with regard to qualification,” said Ancelotti. “That was our objective and we obtained it.

“However, I am not happy at all about the game and especially about our performance. We took a step backwards compared to the last match.

“This might be because we are already thinking about Lazio and also because of our physical condition, which is still far from being excellent,” added the former midfielder.

“Arezzo played very well and deserved to win, but luckily we had secured qualification last week.

“Tonight we proved that we still have many problems to resolve. If you do not give your all on the pitch, it is logical that you can’t win.”

Milan will visit the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening and the Coach is aware of its importance in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

“From Friday morning until Sunday we will be working hard in view of the match with Lazio,” he added.

“I was hoping to rest a few players such as Cristian Brocchi and Clarence Seedorf against Arezzo, but I was forced to use them as substitutes.”

The pair were called into action after Giuseppe Favalli and Massimo Ambrosini picked up injuries in the first half.

Coppa Italia: Arezzo 1:0 (1:2 on aggregate) AC Milan - match report
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Football Italia

Scorer: Scorer: Floro Flores 53 (A)

Milan will meet Roma in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia despite a shock 1-0 reverse at little Arezzo. The Second Division outfit put up a brave fight after losing the first leg 2-0 at San Siro last week, but their single goal in the return wasn’t enough to dump a disappointing Rossoneri side out of the competition.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti decided to begin with the in-form Alberto Gilardino and Clarence Seedorf on the bench, opting to field Pippo Inzaghi and Massimo Ambrosini in his starting XI. He did welcome back Nelson Dida in goal though after his two-month injury lay-off.

The Brazilian could be forgiven for thinking that he would be in for a quiet night, but he was kept on his toes from the off. Cavagna and Goretti worried him early on with off target efforts, before Floro Flores tested his reactions on 16 minutes.

Arezzo were undoubtedly the livelier side and they went within inches of taking the lead on 22 minutes. A Floro Flores free-kick from the edge of the box surpassed the wall but also the post with Dida seemingly beaten.

Milan, who lost Giuseppe Favalli and Ambrosini to injury in the first 37 minutes, only showed signs of life in the closing stages. Jankulovski curled a free-kick wide of target, before Bremec saved well after Ricardo Oliveira headed a Seedorf cross towards goal on 43.

Ancelotti wouldn’t have been happy with what he saw in the first period and his mood would have worsened soon after the break. Arezzo threatened within the first 60 seconds with a Floro Flores scissor-kick, before they took a deserved lead thanks to the former Under-21 international.

The striker skipped past Billy Costacurta and as he converged towards Dida, he blasted the ball from the edge of the box that wickedly beat the Brazilian. That goal opened up the tie as it made it 2-1 on aggregate.

Surely that would wake up the Milanese millionaires? Not exactly as the visitors almost conceded a second in minute 57. Goretti’s outrageous chip from 18 yards deceived Dida, but the ball struck the bar.

Milan’s response – after Goretti and Floro Flores had been replaced – came via an ambitious Gourcuff drive and a Seedorf shot, but both were fired straight at Bremec who kept his net ripple free.

As the clock ticked down, the top-flight side started to command ball possession and their patient build up play was almost rewarded in the 80th minute. Oliveira fired in a low cross and Terra’s attempted clearance almost finished up in his own net.

Oliveira had the last significant effort of the night, but Arezzo held on for their first historic – even if worthless – victory over the former European champions.

Arezzo 1-0 Milan(1-2 on agg)

Scorer: Floro Flores 53 (A)

Arezzo: Bremec; Capelli, Conte, Terra, Lombardi; Cavagna, Bricca, Goretti (Martinetti 61), Croce (Di Donato 74); Roselli, Floro Flores (Bondi 68)

Milan: Dida; Bonera, Simic, Costacurta, Favalli (Brocchi 21); Gourcuff, Gattuso, Ambrosini (Seedorf 37), Jankulovski; Inzaghi, Oliveira

Ref: Pantana

Bronzetti expects Ronaldo move
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Football Italia

Real Madrid transfer consultant Ernesto Bronzetti is confident that Ronaldo will complete a January move to Milan.

The South American has been made available for transfer by the Liga outfit and although there is still no agreement between the clubs, Bronzetti sees a happy ending for all.

“My personal opinion is that it will happen and I’m hopeful,” the football agent underlined on Thursday evening.

“There is a negotiation underway between Milan and Real Madrid seeing as the Rossoneri are ready to hand him an 18-month contract.

“All that is needed is for Ronaldo to rescind his contract at Real, even if the Spanish club don’t want to give him away for nothing.

“There have been some bids made by Arabian clubs, but Ronaldo wants nothing more than Milan.”

The San Siro boys were already linked with the former Inter sensation in the summer and Bronzetti has confirmed that bid.

“Real Madrid received an offer of around £11m from [Milan Vice-President Adriano] Galliani,” he added.

“Real didn’t accept though because they were convinced that fee wasn’t enough. I think there will be more talks soon.”

Milan had also been associated with Real enigma Antonio Cassano, but the Italian’s Madrid nightmare looks set to continue.

“I’m 99 per cent sure that Cassano will end the campaign in Spain,” concluded Bronzetti.

Cassano has fallen out of favour with boss Fabio Capello and is also available for transfer this January.

Oddo man out for AC Milan
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Football Italia

Lazio chief Claudio Lotito has insisted that captain Massimo Oddo will not leave the Biancocelesti to join Milan.

The right-back has been paired with the Rossoneri and is keen on moving to the San Siro, but the deal has stalled due to the clubs failing to agree an adequate transfer fee.

“I have always said that we have not put Massimo up for sale. We are still willing to negotiate, although Lazio’s needs remain the priority,” said the outspoken chief on Thursday.

“When we want a player, we do all we can to sign him. I guess Milan are not that convinced about completing this transfer.”

The San Siro boys were also interested in goalkeeper Matteo Sereni before signing Messina’s Marco Storari, but Lazio refused to sell him despite the player’s desire to leave the capital club.

“He didn’t join the Rossoneri because he refused to move on a loan deal. His position has nothing to do with Angelo Peruzzi, who remains our first-choice man between the posts.

“However, we have to plan for the future, because Peruzzi can’t go on forever.”

Lazio host Milan on Sunday evening, when they hope to increase the lead on their direct competitors for a Champions League spot.

“We know that we will face a very strong side – this match and the next one with Palermo are both decisive for the Champions League,” ended Lotito.

Ronaldo's AC Milan desire
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Football Italia

Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has admitted that Milan are the only side he wants to join – but the two clubs are yet to thrash out a deal.

The Rossoneri have reportedly reached an agreement with the player which includes his entire image rights, but now hope that the Spanish giants will release him and had initially asked for a free transfer.

“I am proud to hear that Milan want me, they are the only side I am interested in,” said the player according to Il Corriere dello Sport.

“I am 30-years-old and I want see what I can still do,” added the former Golden Ball winner, a reported target for Arabian side Al-Ittihad as well.

Real Madrid have asked Milan for £5m to let Ronaldo leave immediately, whereas the Rossoneri are only willing to pay up to £2m, a difference which has caused the deal to stall.

Intermediary Ernesto Bronzetti met in Madrid with the player’s agent Fabiano Farah and Merengues’ sporting director Franco Baldini, but the deal is still far from being finalised.

Ronaldo has also offered President Ramon Calderon to leave the club the image rights he owes for the current season, worth around £4.2m, in the hope that this will convince them to let him go.

Adriano Galliani confirmed that Milan will not negotiate with the Spanish outfit, as all conversations are being held by the player and his representatives.

“We will not negotiate with them. If Ronaldo rescinds his contract we will sign him, otherwise he will stay in Madrid,” explained the official, who hopes that the issue will be solved before January 31.

Spalletti eyes Milan semifinal
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Football Italia

Roma boss Luciano Spalletti hopes that his side will meet Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. “It would be a prestigious match,” he declared.

The Giallorossi progressed to the next round after a 2-2 draw away at Parma on Wednesday, winning 4-3 on aggregate.

They will probably face the Rossoneri next in the competition, who play the last quarter-final against Arezzo following the San Siro win last week.

“We arrived here convinced that that we could control the match, but Parma caused us a lot of discomfort,” the Coach told RAI after the match at the Stadio Tardini.

“They scored immediately, but we reacted and had several opportunities. They proved they are a strong side.

“Now there is a good chance that we will meet Milan – this semi-final is prestigious for Roma. We deserved it and I am sure it will be a nice match to watch.”

Newly signed Christian Wilhelmsson was in the starting line-up and impressed Spalletti, who believes the Swedish player will be an asset for the Giallorossi.

“He played very well, he was ready from a physical point of view and immediately integrated himself into the team. We needed this signing to complete the squad,” he said.

“As to Francesco Tavano, he still needs some days to recover his best condition. He hasn’t played for a long time and still needs to train, but I believe he will be ready in a few days.”

AC Milan deny Ronaldo row
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Football Italia

Milan chief Adriano Galliani has denied that the other players are angry at the bid for Ronaldo.

“The whole great family at Milan, from President Silvio Berlusconi to the Milanello security guards, agree. They have all given the OK to Ronaldo’s eventual arrival,” said the transfer guru.

While it has been confirmed that the Rossoneri are in negotiations to bring the Real Madrid and former Inter star back to San Siro on loan, there are rumours that the rest of the squad is unhappy with the switch.

In particular, it’s claimed that Pippo Inzaghi is furious, as it will push him further down the pecking order, already sitting behind Alberto Gilardino.

“If Ronaldo does come, it won’t be signalling the failure of any of our strikers, least of all Inzaghi, the best Italian forward in activity,” added Galliani.

“Ronaldo is an old dream of mine and if it comes true then that’s great, if not we are happy with the players we’ve got. It would be an addition, not a change.”

Meanwhile, Real Madrid Coach Fabio Capello has given his view on this transfer story amid claims Il Fenomeno has asked for his contract to be torn up.

“I see him wearing the Real Madrid jersey,” said the tactician. “While he is here, then he is one of our players.”

Carlo Ancelotti has tried to stay out of the matter and focus on Thursday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final.

“I don’t want to talk about Ronaldo,” he noted in today’s Press Conference. “I am thinking only of Arezzo.”

There is one new signing who could take place in that match, though, as ex-Messina goalkeeper Marco Storari is set to make his debut.

“I am proud to wear this jersey,” he told Milan Channel. “Everyone was very nice to me today and I couldn’t be happier.

“Negotiations started on Monday afternoon, when the Rossoneri found out about Zeljko Kalac’s injury. I have been training well and am ready to give my contribution.”

Dida is also in the squad for the Coppa tie, having recovered from his shoulder injury, and it’s possible he’ll play for at least some of the game.

Milan squad: Dida, Fiori, Storari; Bonera, Cafu, Costacurta, Favalli, Grimi, Maldini, Jankulovski, Simic; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Kakà, Pirlo, Seedorf; Aubameyang, Gilardino, Inzaghi, Ricardo Oliveira.

AC Milan confirm Ronaldo 'bid'
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Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that they are ready to sign Ronaldo – but only if Real Madrid release him on a free transfer.

Reports in Italy over the last few days have suggested that the move could happen and the Rossoneri have now agreed personal terms with the striker.

But the Italian giants have underlined that they are not prepared to pay a fee for the former Inter hero.

“The Ronaldo hypothesis exists, now we are waiting to see what Real Madrid have to say,” said Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Wednesday.

“We are aiming to sign him on a permanent basis, offering him a year and half contract worth less than what I read in the newspapers today.

“The offer involves taking the player on a free transfer,” added the former Lega Calcio chief.

However, such a proposal has not been welcomed by Real who may indeed want to get rid of the player, but still want some sort of cash deal for him.

“We are not ready to allow Ronaldo to leave for nothing,” Real President Ramon Calderon is quoted as saying.

The player’s agent Fabiano Farah has met both parties and he is convinced that the ball is now in the clubs’ court.

“The situation is also clear for Ernesto Bronzetti, who is Milan’s intermediary with Real in the matter,” explained Farah.

“I don’t know if the deal can be finalised before the end of the week though, as the club’s still need to find an agreement.”

Moratti disappointed in Ronaldo
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Football Italia

Inter patron Massimo Moratti admits he’d be upset to see Ronaldo in a Milan jersey.

It’s widely reported that the former Nerazzurri hitman has agreed terms with the other San Siro side, although negotiations with Real Madrid are still on going.

“I am disappointed on a personal level, but as a professional Ronaldo is free to choose whatever he likes,” commented the President who Ronie once described as ‘like a father.’

The Brazilian famously hurt Moratti and the Inter fans when he refused to return to Italy after winning the 2002 World Cup, demanding a move to Real Madrid.

“If this whole story is true, then perhaps he is no longer happy in Madrid and a club that needs a striker piped up. It’s not my business, anyway.”

There had already been rumours that Inter wanted to snap up Il Fenomeno this summer in a transfer battle with their city rivals.

“I like Ronaldo. Would I bring him back? Always. However, we don’t need him right now, while Milan do.”

Both clubs are also embroiled in a battle of a very different kind, as they have been named in an investigation into false accounting to register them for the 2004-05 campaign.

“We are relaxed,” insisted Moratti. “We can explain everything and I knew this investigation was in place. I read a few inaccuracies in the stories that emerged today.”

No Bridge move for Carlo Ancelotti
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Football Italia

Milan director general Ariedo Braida has dismissed rumours suggesting Carlo Ancelotti might move to Chelsea.

Newspaper reports in England had suggested that the Coach may replace Jose Mourinho in the summer, allegedly after a request made to owner Roman Abramovich by misfiring Blues striker Andriy Shevchenko.

“Ancelotti has a contract with Milan and he will stay,” said Braida on Wednesday. “What has been said by the Press is all gossip, the news I have read is totally groundless.”

The Coach is currently contracted until 2008 and has been linked with a move in the past few months, when it was rumoured that the team’s persisting crisis might cause a change on the bench.

The club, however, have confirmed their trust in the tactician even if his position may be put into doubt should they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Mourinho, who is reportedly not on good terms with owner Abramovich, could in turn move to Italy with Milan and Inter possible destinations.

OFFICIAL: AC Milan sign Storari
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Football Italia

Milan have confirmed the capture of goalkeeper Marco Storari from Serie A strugglers Messina.

The Rossoneri made their move for the shot-stopper on Tuesday given that Zeljko Kalac is likely to be out for a month with injury.

Although Nelson Dida is being tipped to start against Lazio on Sunday after his knee problem, there are still doubts over his fitness.

As a precautionary measure, the Italian giants have increased their glove options with the acquisition of the 30-year-old.

Storari has signed a contract at the club until June 2010 even if no details of the fee paid to the Sicilian side have been released.

The goalkeeper has 82 Serie A games under his belt after also appearing for Perugia, Ancona and Napoli.

Borriello facing doping ban
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Football Italia

Milan’s Marco Borriello is set to be suspended after the B sample for his failed dope test also found traces of a banned substance.

The striker tested positive for illegal corticosteroids following the 2-1 home defeat to Roma in Week 11.

Although the player has maintained his innocence, his B sample has confirmed the results of the initial test.

The incriminating substances are commonly used as antibiotics in treating inflammatory illnesses and can be either ingested, injected, or included in creams and sprays.

However, according to doctors, the quantities found in Borriello’s sample were high enough to exclude that the positive result was due to an external use.

Borriello had scored three goals before his precautionary suspension, netting a brace in the Coppa Italia match with Brescia and a goal in the Serie A tie with Cagliari in Week 14.

Ronaldo accepts AC Milan offer
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Football Italia

Ronaldo is on the verge of leaving Real Madrid after agreeing financial terms with Milan, according to reports in Italy.

The Brazilian is ready to leave the Spanish giants and his agent Fabiano Farah met Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Tuesday.

Farah has now flown back to Spain where he is scheduled to speak with Merengues sporting director Predrag Mijatovic about a transfer.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan have offered the former Golden Ball winner a £4m per season contract, plus his entire image rights worth a lucrative £8m a year – which Ronaldo currently shares with Real.

The Rossoneri were initially interested in a loan deal, but have reportedly now decided to make a move to sign the player on a permanent basis until 2008.

Ronaldo is also a reported target for Flamengo, Arabian club Al-Ittihad and the MLS, but he seems interested in playing for one more important European club before ending his career elsewhere.

In the meantime, Real chief Ramon Calderon has renewed his threat of netting Milan star Kaka next summer.

“If I will still be the President in June, it is very likely that Kaka will join this club,” said the official while meeting a group of students on Tuesday.

AC Milan close in on Storari
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Football Italia

Milan are on the verge of signing Messina goalkeeper Marco Storari, according to the latest reports in Italy.

The Rossoneri are in desperate need of a new man between the sticks after Zeljko Kalac joined Nelson Dida in the infirmary with a knee problem.

With the Australian set to be out for a month, the Italian giants want a new shot-stopper before the window closes on January 31.

First-choice Dida, whose deal expires in June, has been sidelined since the end of November – after damaging knee ligaments during the Champions League match with AEK Athens – and is still some weeks away from full fitness.

The club have reportedly contacted Messina, who have confirmed that there is a negotiation underway to bring the 30-year-old to the San Siro.

Milan were also paired with Matteo Sereni, but Lazio have refused to sell despite the player’s desire to leave the capital city club.

Silvio Berlusconi’s outfit were also interested in Livorno’s Marco Amelia, who would favour a transfer but is also a target for Spartak Moscow.

Milan could make a £7m bid for the Tuscan shot-stopper and Germany 2006 World Cup winner.

Ronaldo 'wants' AC Milan move
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Football Italia

Unwanted Real Madrid ace Ronaldo has reportedly sent his agent to Italy in a bid to secure him a January transfer to Milan.

The Brazilian’s stint in the Spanish capital is at an end, at the request of boss Fabio Capello, and a Rossoneri switch is a possibility.

"The situation is different to that of David Beckham as Ronaldo still has another year on his contract after this one," said Real President Ramon Calderon.

"But he is going to be inactive because the Coach has made it clear he doesn't intend to count on him."

Spanish newspaper AS claims that agent Fabiano Farah travelled to Milan on Monday, where he is scheduled to meet Rossoneri officials in order to finalise the move before the end of the month.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani recently said that the club were not interested in signing a striker in January, but the official then back-tracked by revealing that Ronaldo might join.

Ronaldo is also a reported target for Flamengo, Arabian club Al-Ittihad and the MLS, but he still seems keen on playing for an important European club before ending his career elsewhere.

The main issue now remains the financial details of the operation, as Milan are allegedly willing to pay £2m to immediately have him on loan, with an option to buy the former Golden Ball winner at the end of term.

The AS website also suggests that transfer market consultant Ernesto Bronzetti is acting as an intermediary between the parties.

In the meantime, Milan have also targeted striker Pato of Internacional Porto Alegre, despite President Vitorio Piffero recently denying that the 17-year-old was on sale.

The promising Brazilian is contracted to the outfit until 2009 and his rescission clause is set at £14m, but reports suggest that Milan are only willing to offer £8.2m to bring the player to the San Siro.

Oddo rumours distracting Lazio
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Football Italia

Valon Behrami has admitted that the uncertainty surrounding Massimo Oddo’s future is affecting the Lazio squad.

The World Cup winner wants to join Milan this January, but the capital club’s demands are currently deemed as excessive by the Rossoneri.

“I am concerned about the continuous speculation and rumours involving Oddo,” said the midfielder.

“He is worried, because the situation is unclear, and we all know that Milan want him,” added the Swiss international.

“He is our captain and we love him, but I cannot deny that we have been affected by this whole situation.

“In any case, I really hope that all the issues will be resolved in the next few days.”

If Oddo should finally complete his move to the San Siro, Behrami is a contender to replace him at right-back.

“I have played in that role several times for my national team, although my responsibilities there are a little different,” he stated.

“It is honestly a position that I don’t prefer, but if I were useful there for the team then the Coach knows that I am always at his disposal,” concluded the 21-year-old.

Oddo still dreaming of AC Milan
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Football Italia

Lazio defender Massimo Oddo has revealed that he still hopes that his transfer to Milan will be finalised this month.

The world champion has made it clear that he wants a San Siro move, where he started his career in the Rossoneri youth team, but the deal has stalled because of Lazio’s demands.

“I am not 100 per cent serene, but I am a professional and I have always given my all on the pitch,” said Oddo to Sky Italia on Sunday after the 1-1 draw with Siena at the Stadio Olimpico.

“The club knows what my desire is – this is an important opportunity for me, which would allow me to play in the Champions League.

“I am 30-years-old, I cannot ignore this offer and Lazio must remember that my contract expires in a year.

“I don’t want to make any more comments, I am the player and Claudio Lotito the President – I only hope that this situation will end soon,” concluded Oddo.

Coach Delio Rossi confirmed that he is willing to let the player go, but Lotito insists that he needs an adequate offer to convince him to let the captain join the San Siro outfit.

“Lazio have not made anyone for sale, we only said that we were willing to discuss the options which would help the player fulfil his wish,” said the Biancocelesti chief to Sky.

“However, they must convince me and the only way to do so is to make an offer which would allow us to replace Oddo with a player who could increase Lazio’s potential.”

Galliani opens Ronaldo door
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has refused to rule out the idea of signing Ronaldo in the January transfer window.

The Brazilian’s spell at Real Madrid seems to be near an end, after Coach Fabio Capello confirmed that the international could leave immediately.

Galliani stated last week that the former Inter man, also a reported target for Juventus, would not arrive in January as Milan did not need another striker, but the official now seems to have changed his mind.

“Under certain conditions we could sign Ronaldo,” said the Rossonero to Italia Uno on Sunday.

“However, I want to clarify that there are no negotiations underway with Real Madrid. If the Spanish club were to offer him at certain conditions, then negotiations could start.”

Galliani then discussed Nelson Dida’s renewal, as the goalkeeper is currently contracted until June and has yet to extend his deal with the Rossoneri.

“He is a Milan player until June. If he decides to lower his demands he will stay, otherwise we will look for a replacement. We have set some limits that we must respect,” concluded Galliani.

Dida is reportedly asking for £3.5m per season, but Milan are not willing to pay more than £2.5m, which is the wage granted to the other Rossoneri key players.

AC Milan 3:1 Reggina - post-match comments
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti: “These three consecutive victories have put us back in the race for a Champions League spot, even if there are teams above us who have a game in hand. We have discovered consistency in our results and must continue along this path. Next week’s encounter with Lazio is decisive and we must prepare as best we can.”

Walter Mazzarri: “It’s the same as our performance against Inter, we played very well and still emerged defeated from San Siro. Apart from the final minutes, Milan hardly ever troubled us. We made some silly mistakes, especially on the third goal with a gift from our player. Basically, we won it for them.”

AC Milan 3:1 Reggina - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Pirlo 6 (M), Seedorf 35 (M), Bianchi 66 (R), Gilardino 78 (M)

Milan are back with a bang, as they kicked off their 2007 with a victory, although Reggina had the chances to cause an upset.

The Rossoneri's winter break seems to have done the trick and they hoped to kick-start their march on the Champions League places, while Reggina were also fighting back from a Calciopoli penalty and had picked up one point from their previous six Serie A visits to San Siro. The banned Gennaro Gattuso joined Kaka, Alessandro Nesta, Dida and Serginho on the sidelines, but Paolo Maldini and Giuseppe Favalli returned.

Andrea Pirlo was facing the club where he essentially kick-started his career and he opened the scoring with one of his trademark set-pieces. He curled into the top corner with his right foot, leaving Ivan Pelizzoli with no chance, for his first Serie A goal of the season.

Giovanni Tedesco drilled wide from distance for the Amaranto, but they had an incredible chance to draw level on 24 minutes. Zeljko Kalac was left completely confused by a corner kick and flapped Alessandro Lucarelli's header back into the six yard box. Giandomenico Mesto was first to react, but was unlucky to see his finish come off the inside of the upright.

Milan rode their luck and, after a good Pippo Inzaghi header, doubled their lead. Clarence Seedorf in Kaka's usual Trequartista role exchanged passes with Marek Jankulovski to sidefoot home from eight yards.

Pelizzoli prevented Seedorf completing his brace and Reggina should've found a way back into the game in the second half when Tedesco threaded through for Rolando Bianchi, but the totally unmarked striker ballooned wide of the far post from close range.

He made up for it later, as Bianchi unleashed a missile from over 20 metres that slotted inbetween Kalac and the near post for a great goal.

The Amaranto certainly didn't give up and Bianchi's diving header was off target, then moments later Kalac had to perform a stunning save on Tedesco's strike after the goalkeeper's own error in the clearance.

However, just as Reggina were pouring forward, they left space at the back for Milan to get a third. Yoann Gourcuff rolled across for Alberto Gilardino, who lifted the ball over Pelizzoli from a tough angle with his left foot.

The Calabrians kept going and youngster Nielsen came sliding in to balloon Tedesco's low cross well over from eight yards.

Milan: Kalac; Cafu (Simic 72), Bonera, Maldini, Favalli; Brocchi, Pirlo, Jankulovski; Seedorf; Gilardino (Oliveira 88), Inzaghi (Gourcuff 57)

Reggina: Pelizzoli; Lanzaro (Missiroli 74), Aronica, Lucarelli (Giosa 65); Mesto, Tognozzi, Tedesco, Modesto; Leon (Nielsen 59), Amoruso; Bianchi

Ref: Ayroldi

Rossi releases unhappy Oddo
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Football Italia

Lazio Coach Delio Rossi has opened the door for Massimo Oddo’s departure, but will continue to play him as long as his contract stands.

The right-back has made it abundantly clear he wants a January move to Milan, the side whose youth team system he grew up in, but the two clubs continue to haggle over the price.

“I am not sending anyone away, but nor will I keep someone against his will,” pointed out Rossi in his Press Conference.

“For the moment he is a Lazio player, a captain at that, and on Sunday he will play. As for the others, the club will evaluate all offers. This is a big squad and those who haven’t found much space now could have even less as time goes on.”

The fans are unhappy at the lack of big name signings for the Biancocelesti, but Rossi focused on the quality rather than quantity of their players.

“One thing is for sure – we will not sign stars just to cloud the judgment of our supporters. I won’t sell a cat to bring in a dog.”

Strange metaphors aside, the former Salernitana Coach looked ahead to tonight’s clash with Siena at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I am really curious to see how the team gets back on track after the winter break. The last interruption didn’t do us much good, I wonder how this will turn out. We’re coming off a tough week physically in which we played in the Dubai tournament.

“Siena are a tough opponent who give their best away from home. Mario Beretta’s team have already taken points off Milan, after all, but I have faith in my lads. They are professionals and know anything less that 150 per cent is a big risk for everyone.”

Meanwhile, police are investigating after Lazio’s team bags were vandalised. The luggage was daubed with offensive slogans and urine on the way back from their winter training camp in Dubai, passing through Milan’s Malpensa airport and Rome’s Fiumicino.

Lazio squad: 32 Ballotta, 7 Belleri, 85 Behrami, 3 Bonetto, 25 Cribari, 15 Diakite', 83 Foggia, 24 Ledesma, 20 Makinwa, 68 Manfredini, 11 Mauri, 26 Mudingayi, 5 Mutarelli, 22 Oddo, 19 Pandev, 1 Peruzzi, 18 Rocchi, 2 Stendardo, 8 Zauri

Pirlo thanks Amaranto
14.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo realises his career took major steps at Reggina and faces his old club at San Siro this afternoon.

“I gave a great deal to Reggina, but this club also brought me back into the top tier of football,” said the creative midfielder.

“I left that side with a stronger character and more faith in my abilities. Reggina gave me confidence, allowed me to grow from a tactical point of view and made me understand what it means to fight on the field with the spirit of a provincial club.”

Pirlo may be one of the best midfielders in the world now, but he had a tortuous journey to these plaudits.

Brescia gave him his Serie B debut in May 1995, but the move to Inter in 1998 proved disappointing with just 18 appearances and no goals.

He was loaned out to gain more experience at the Stadio Granillo in the summer of ‘99, netting six goals in 28 Serie A games.

Despite this fine show, he returned to Inter and Brescia for another dismal spell spent mostly on the bench, eventually finding his feet at Milan in a cut-price move in 2001.

Kaka forces Ancelotti rethink
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Football Italia

Kaka is out of the clash with Reggina, but Carlo Ancelotti is confident Milan can begin their push towards the top four places.

“It’s a long road towards the Champions League spots, but we are on good form at the moment and must make the most of it,” commented the Coach.

The Rossoneri have lost all hope of the Scudetto after falling 28 points behind leaders Inter, with the aid of an eight-point Calciopoli penalty, but insist they can still catch Catania in fourth following their hard work in the winter training camp in Malta.

“We hope that the work we did can pay off. We have rediscovered our sharpness, fresh legs and the strikers have also found the way to the goal.”

Kaka will be out of action for tomorrow’s meeting at San Siro, as he is still struggling with a foot strain.

“We have decided to give Kaka the time to fully recover so that he can be in top condition for next week’s game with Lazio. Clarence Seedorf will play as a Trequartista instead.”

It’s therefore possible Ancelotti will move to the Christmas Tree formation with Seedorf and Yoann Gourcuff supporting lone striker Alberto Gilardino, although Ricardo Oliveira or Pippo Inzaghi could act upfront instead.

Milan have been at the centre of several transfer rumours this January and the Coach gave his views on some of the big stories.

“If Massimo Oddo does not arrive, then we won’t be tearing our hair out. Antonio Cassano is an excellent player, but we didn’t need someone with his characteristics. Ronaldo is a great champion, but there’s a long way to go until June, so we’ll wait and see.”

It’s reported that the Rossoneri had secured an agreement with David Beckham before he decided to leave Europe for LA Galaxy.

“He would’ve played regularly in my midfield. I’ve always liked him as a player,” added Ancelotti.

Rossoneri 'had won Becks race'
13.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Newspapers claim David Beckham was all set to sign for Milan before Tom Cruise convinced him to join LA Galaxy instead.

Out of contract at the end of the season with Real Madrid, the former England captain had been a target for both San Siro sides.

“If Beckham had stayed in Europe, it would’ve been with Milan. At the end of the day he opted for Los Angeles and informed us of his decision,” stated Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

The ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ insists that the Rossoneri had a deal to bring him to Serie A worth £2.8m per season for three years and including his entire lucrative image rights.

International agent Ernesto Bronzetti reportedly met with Becks and representative Terry Byrne in the Calle Serrano office to discuss the details.

The proposal was ready to be accepted on Wednesday, but a conversation with actor Cruise changed his mind and he plumped for a £128m switch to LA Galaxy.

"I was on the phone to him for about an hour Thursday night and an hour the night before," revealed Beckham.

"Obviously I asked him for his advice because he is a very wise man and a very good friend of mine. It's going to be a big help for us to have friends when we arrive in LA."

Oddo and Iaquinta await AC Milan
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Football Italia

Milan’s bids for Massimo Oddo and Vincenzo Iaquinta are in trouble, but not over, believes the Lazio defender.

“I am following with interest the evolution of these negotiations between the two clubs,” commented Oddo of his long-running tug of war.

“I know that they have been talking to each other for a while and are working towards finding a solution. I hope they can sort everything out as soon as possible.”

The right-back has made it abundantly clear he wants a January move to Milan, where he started his career in their youth system, but the switch has stalled over Lazio’s demands.

“In the meantime, I will give my support to the team with a professional approach, which I have never shied away from.”

Biancocelesti President Claudio Lotito also seemed to suggest the talks with Milan were far from over.

“Oddo’s contract expires in 2008 and that is it. Of course, if he wanted to leave, and this is an option from what I read, we would not block him. We would only need the right offer to let him go,” stated the patron.

Meanwhile, another of the Rossoneri’s long-running transfer sagas could find a light at the end of the tunnel.

World Cup winning striker Iaquinta has been on their wish list for several months and, according to Udinese director general Roberto Zanzi, it’s a deal that could happen soon.

“There is so much talk of Iaquinta, but so far we haven’t received an offer that would convince us to release him in January,” he told Teleradiostereo.

“Milan like him, but there are no talks on right now. We wouldn’t be swayed by a £7m bid, but if £10m were to be proposed, then that would be a different matter.”

Nonetheless, Zanzi urged the Rossoneri to hurry up and make their move if they wanted the hitman mid-season.

“Clearly, an offer for Iaquinta towards the end of the month would probably be rejected, because if Vincenzo leaves then we need time to find an adequate replacement.”

Kalac makes AC Milan sacrifices
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Football Italia

Zeljko Kalac reveals he gave up a trip home to Australia for Christmas and international duty so he could help Milan.

“I am just trying to give my contribution to the side, but when Dida returns from injury, I’ll be ready to step aside,” said the former Perugia goalkeeper.

In Dida’s absence for three months with a shoulder injury, Kalac has defended the posts for the Rossoneri and will again feature against Reggina tomorrow evening.

“I would like to end my career with this club,” he told ‘Milan Channel.’ “I didn’t have my Christmas holidays in Australia because it’s such a long and tiring journey.

“We were also set to go straight to Malta for the training camp and knew I’d require three or four days to recover from the jet-lag, but the team needs me right now and I wanted to be in good shape for them.”

The veteran shot-stopper also took international retirement from the Socceroos after the World Cup.

“I gave up on the national side because you have to really work hard at Milan and I want to be in a position to play my best, but those trips back to Australia would’ve sapped me of too much energy.”

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 2:0 Arezzo - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Gilardino 35 (M), Inzaghi 50 (M)

Milan have one foot in the semi-finals of the Italian Cup after a 2-0 win over Arezzo at the San Siro. Goals from Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi ensured a first leg win which puts the Italian giants in pole position ahead of the return leg.

The home side started the tie as hot favourites given that Arezzo, the only Second Division outfit left in the competition, are struggling at the bottom of Serie B. Yet boss Carlo Ancelotti fielded a relatively strong starting XI for an Italian Cup encounter by opting for a midfield and attack full of regular first team players.

Brazilian Ricardo Oliveira had the first two real opportunities of the game. He was denied on six minutes by a fabulous reaction save by Bremec’s foot, before his 12th minute effort was weakly struck towards the Arezzo shot-stopper.

Arezzo, unbeaten in seven Coppa games – their best ever run, did prove difficult to break down though and ventured forwards themselves at times. Di Donato tried his luck from distance that was easily saved by Zeljko Kalac, before the latter had to rush off his line to deny Volpato after he had outpaced Dario Simic.

Milan had to wait until minute 28 to seriously threaten again with Oliveira and then Pirlo, before taking the lead soon after. Clarence Seedorf expertly played in Gilardino, who rounded the goalkeeper before squeezing the ball in from a tight angle.

That was the Italian striker’s ninth goal of the season, if you include his Azzurri strike against France, and he should have been celebrating his tenth in the 42nd minute. He again combined with Seedorf but, after breaking the offside trap, blasted the ball just over the bar from 18 yards with only the ‘keeper to beat.

That was to be Gila’s last contribution as he was replaced by Inzaghi at the break. And SuperPippo made an instant impact. Seedorf again proved himself to be the assist king of the evening as his ball broke the offside trap and Inzaghi, unlike Gilardino, tucked it powerfully into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

Inzaghi, who this week insisted he would only remain at the club if he was still considered as a key figure, almost made it three just 120 seconds later. However, his left-footed angled drive was blocked by Bremec, who would later deny him again after a close range header from a Seedorf cross.

With his side in control, Ancelotti decided to give new signing Leandro Grimi his debut on the hour mark just hours after he officially became a Milan man. The San Siro hosts tested Arezzo again through Inzaghi and Oliveira before a late scare in minute 79. Terra thought he had got a crucial away goal, but he was adjudged to have fouled Billy Costacurta in the build up.

Milan were then denied a third in the closing stages when a close range Oliveira thunderbolt was superbly blocked by Bremec’s wonderful save. It ended Milan 2 Arezzo 0.

Milan 2-0 Arezzo
Scorers: Gilardino 35 (M), Inzaghi 50 (M)

Milan: Kalac; Cafu (Grimi 60), Simic, Costacurta, Favalli; Gattuso, Pirlo, Gourcuff; Seedorf (Brocchi 72); Gilardino (Inzaghi 46), Oliveira

Arezzo: Bremec; Capelli, Ranocchia (Conte 52), Terra, Lombardi; Bricca (Roselli 75), Di Donato; Bondi, Martinetti, Croce; Volpato (Floro Flores 32)

Ref: De Marco

Grimi signs AC Milan deal
11.1 || webmaster

Football Italia

Leandro Grimi is officially a Milan player after the defender’s transfer was finally completed on Thursday.

The Argentine, signed from Racing Club, has been in Italy since late December but a delay in paperwork meant that the Rossoneri could only tie up the deal this evening.

The 21-year-old has put pen to paper on an agreement until June 30, 2011, and could feature against Arezzo in the Italian Cup later tonight.

Grimi, a left-back, was captured after he impressed during transfer guru Ariedo Braida’s recent tour of South America.

AC Milan duo chase Cassano
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Football Italia

Milan and Inter are both ready to make a summer move for Antonio Cassano, according to the latest reports in Italy.

The former Roma striker is set to leave Real Madrid and has been paired with Inter over the past few days, as confirmed by sporting director Predrag Mijatovic.

Coach Roberto Mancini had recently stated that he would be happy to have the player on his team.

However, club official Marco Branca denied that there had been contact to bring the Bari-born striker to the San Siro immediately, although it seems they might be planning a summer move.

In the meantime Milan, who were one of the first Italian clubs to be paired with Cassano after his problems with Merengues’ Coach Fabio Capello, could join Inter in the race to sign him.

The Rossoneri’s need to sign a new striker might have increased after Filippo Inzaghi’s declared that he might request a transfer if he felt he was no longer a first team player.

The Milan Coach believes that he would be able to manage ‘Talentino’s’ intemperate outbursts and the club might soon make an offer for Cassano, who joined Real Madrid a year ago from Roma in a £3.5m deal.

AC Milan set Dida deadline
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Football Italia

Milan have allegedly given Nelson Dida until the end of January to renew his contract, with just six months left on his current deal.

The club has offered the player a four-year extension until 2011, but the parties seem far from agreeing on the financial aspects of the issue and the negotiations have now stalled.

Dida is reportedly asking for £3.5m per season, but Milan are not willing to pay more than £2.5m, which is the wage granted to the other Rossoneri champions.

The 33-year-old, who has been injured since hurting his knee during the Champions League match with AEK Athens, is close to fully recovery.

The goalkeeper is expected to return between the posts by the beginning of February, but reports suggest that Milan have asked him to decide his future by the end of the month.

Dida is a reported target for Chelsea and Manchester United, although Inter might also be interested in his services.

If he decides not to stay at Milan, the Via Turati outfit will have to look for a replacement, with Gianluigi Buffon the top target.

Chief Silvio Berlusconi’s is a fan of the world champion and lavished praise upon him after the Trofeo Berlusconi last weekend.

AC Milan dream of Adriano
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Football Italia

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi would love to see Adriano link up with Kaka for the Rossoneri – but admits it is unlikely to ever happen.

The outspoken chief was questioned about the club’s plans for the transfer market and admitted that his wish of seeing the two Brazilian stars play together at the San Siro is unlikely to come true.

“Adriano and Kaka together at Milan? It seems an impossible dream,” said the former Prime Minister.

“It would be great to see them play in the same team, but I don’t think that will happen. Furthermore, I would never want to give the impression that we want to buy everyone on the market.”

Berlusconi also stated that the offer made to Lazio for world champion defender Massimo Oddo is adequate and that the Via Turati club is not willing to increase it.

“We made a good offer for the player, now we must just wait and see if Lazio agree. Oddo is a player of a certain age and with a past. Milan made an offer that cannot be raised.”

Vice-President Adriano Galliani and Lazio patron Claudio Lotito had admitted on Tuesday that the switch was far from being completed, as the main issue remained Lazio’s valuation of the 30-year-old.

EXCLUSIVE: Photos Of Birkirkara 0:5 AC Milan
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Source: The Red & Black Forums

Cassius has managed to once again provide us with quality photos with Milan in Malta, this time from the match against Birkirkara. Here they are:

Here's the previous news item with exclusive photos from Malta:,25875,

And here's the full thread about Milan's trip to Malta:

You can register on the forums - if you haven't already - here.

SuperPippo "won't accept bench"
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Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi has warned Milan he may request a transfer if he feels he is no longer a first team player.

“I think I’ll end my career at Milan, as I have always stated was my intention,” said the striker as he flew back from their winter training camp in Malta.

“However, I’ve been an important figure in all my clubs and am accustomed to that type of role.

“If I remain a key member of the Rossoneri, then I’ll stay here, otherwise we will have to see.”

The comments come after Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s hints that he’ll return to the Christmas Tree formation, which would see Alberto Gilardino as the ideal centre-forward backed by two creative midfielders.

With Ricardo Oliveira also pushing for a place, that would push SuperPippo down the rankings at San Siro.

The 33-year-old has been with Milan since 2001-02, scoring 43 Serie A goals in 112 appearances. This season he has netted three in just seven Champions League games.

Inzaghi, Gilardino and Oliveira have all been called up for Thursday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against Arezzo, but Kaka, Dida, Massimo Ambrosini and Serginho are absent.

In other transfer news, Chievo have sold striker Simone Tiribocchi to Lecce in a permanent move.

Milan squad: Facchin, Fiori, Kalac, Maldini, Bonera, Simic, Cafu, Costacurta, Favalli, Jankulovski, Darmian, Gattuso, Brocchi, Seedorf, Gourcuff, Pirlo, Di Gennaro, Aubameyang, Inzaghi, Gilardino, Oliveira.

AC Milan ready for resumption
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Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is confident that the winter training camp in Malta will have breathed new life into their campaign.

The Rossoneri have been away from the peninsula since the start of this month and will fly back to Italy on Wednesday ahead of tomorrow’s Coppa Italia tie against Arezzo.

“The training camp was very positive,” said Ancelotti, whose side defeated Maltese champions Birkirkara 5-0 in a friendly match on Tuesday.

“All the players were very determined and the recent good results have made us more convinced of what we can do.

“We have a solid base to start from now. We have to get back to normal and the match with Arezzo will be very delicate.

“We don’t want to underestimate it and I don’t think there will be drop in the team’s concentration.”

Ancelotti does have some selection problems ahead of the Italian Cup match though. “Kakha Kaladze, Kaka and Massimo Ambrosini will not play,” he explained.

“Kaka will be available for the match against Reggina on Sunday, while Kaladze will be out for another week.

“Ricardo Oliveira will play upfront next to Willy Aubameyang. Filippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino may come on later in the match.”

Newly signed Leandro Grimi made his debut with the Rossoneri yesterday following his move from Racing Club, but the 21-year-old Argentine had a few difficulties.

“We cannot use yesterday’s game as a test, so we can’t judge,” noted the former Juventus tactician.

“Grimi has only had four training sessions with us. He’s got another month to settle in and we mustn’t worry.”

Grimi shines in AC Milan debut
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Football Italia

New signing Leandro Grimi impressed in Milan’s 5-0 friendly victory in Malta, while Pippo Inzaghi bagged a brace.

The Rossoneri hope to rediscover their form in this winter training jaunt in the warmth of the island and have shown signs of recovery.

Maltese champions Birkirkara were thrashed at the Ta Quali stadium in La Valletta in a test ahead of Thuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-finals against Arezzo.

Ricardo Oliveira opened the scoring on Andrea Pirlo’s assist, followed after the break by Clarence Seedorf, long-term injury casualty Giuseppe Favalli and two from Inzaghi.

All eyes were on January signing Grimi and the Argentine performed well when he came on for the second half.

He was focused and eager to impress, but it looks as if the South American will need several weeks before he can be match fit and ready for a Serie A debut.

The 21-year-old left-back was playing his first game in a Milan jersey since his switch from Racing Club was completed.

Milan abandon Oddo move
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Football Italia

Adriano Galliani and Lazio patron Claudio Lotito confess that Massimo Oddo is nowhere near completing his San Siro switch.

“The negotiations for Oddo are high and dry,” conceded Milan transfer guru Galliani this evening.

“There are still a few million between our offer and the request put forward by the Biancocelesti.”

All three parties involved have made it absolutely clear that talks are on for a January move up north, with the right-back confirming he is eager to join the Rossoneri.

However, the sticking point remains Lazio’s valuation of the 30-year-old World Cup winner.

“I have never sold anyone on the cheap,” added Olimpico club President Lotito on Radio Radio.

“Milan asked us if we would talk about Oddo. Considering the player’s request that he make this move because he started his career in the Rossoneri youth system, Lazio agreed to see if there is the possibility of making his wish true.”

Yet negotiations have not gone well and recent meetings between the directors have been disappointing.

“We are friendly with Galliani, but nobody will force us to do anything we don’t want to, nor can then prevent us from taking action we see fit,” added Lotito.

“If we have the right conditions, then we will complete Oddo’s transfer. If not, then we won’t.”

Meanwhile, another Milan target seems to have hit the skids, as Ronaldo’s agent says he has no idea whether Real Madrid have offered him up for sale.

“We haven’t heard anything about these rumours,” insisted Reynaldo Pitta. “I don’t know if there is any truth in them or not, but what we do know is that Real Madrid haven’t informed us of this situation.”

Ancelotti looks to Liga future
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is looking at his future after Milan and puts Spain - where he could replace Fabio Capello - firmly ahead of the Premiership.

“I like Spanish football more than English,” explained the tactician who has won the Scudetto, Champions League, Coppa Italia and European Super Cup.

“If I really have to imagine myself in a place other than Milan, then I think of La Liga before the Premiership.”

These statements do not come as much of a surprise, as Ancelotti has already been repeatedly linked with Real Madrid and Valencia.

He is one of the favourite options to replace another Italian ex-pat, as Capello is struggling badly at the Bernabeu following three defeats in his last four Liga games.

According to newspaper ‘Tuttosport,’ the move would also be a method of buttering up their real target from Milan – Kaka.

Real Madrid were reported to FIFA after what the Rossoneri claimed was an illegal approach towards the Brazilian this summer, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving interviews reiterating their intention of poaching the player.

Valencia are another option for Ancelotti, where he’d follow in the footsteps of another Italian Coach, Claudio Ranieri.

AC Milan derby for Almiron
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Football Italia

Milan and Inter are both interested in Empoli midfielder Sergio Almiron, who is being tipped to leave the Tuscan side this month.

The Rossoneri have eyed Massimo Oddo for their defensive department, but are also keen on signing a midfielder who could eventually replace Andrea Pirlo in his role.

However, they are likely to face stiff competition from their neighbours as Roberto Mancini looks to add further depth to what is already Serie A’s strongest squad.

“Almiron is valued at something around £6m and Empoli would like to sell the player in June,” stated the player’s agent Claudio Vagheggi recently.

“We will not make any pressure on the club to leave earlier, this is what we agreed to when we extended the contract.

“However, if there were the opportunity of moving immediately to join an important club, I am sure he would be pleased.

“We have received an offer from Inter and we do not believe that the price will be a problem. If the Nerazzurri want Almiron, I am sure that £2m will not make any difference.”

Milan have now joined Inter in the race to sign the 26-year-old Argentine, who has also attracted the interest of some Spanish clubs, according to his agent.

The Rossoneri have a slight advantage due to their excellent relationship with Empoli, as proved by the fact that youngsters Lino Marzoratti and Nicola Pozzi were sent to Tuscany on loan.

Galliani shoots down striker talk
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani believes that they do not need to sign a new striker after Willy Aubameyang’s excellent performance in the Trofeo Berlusconi.

The Rossoneri defeated Juventus 3-2 on Saturday in what used to be a traditional August meeting thanks to a late goal by the 19-year-old substitute French hitman.

“Vincenzo Iaquinta? Antonio Cassano? Ronaldo? No thanks, we already have Aubameyang,” said Galliani to Milan Channel after the match.

“We will make no new signings in our striking department – if we decide we need someone else we will move the youngster to the first team,” added the official.

Milan have recently been paired with Iaquinta, who is valued at £8.5m, and reports suggest the Rossoneri turned down an offer from Real Madrid to sign both Cassano and Ronaldo.

“We have found a left-back in Leandro Grimi in January, who is sure to improve, and we are trying to bring Massimo Oddo to the San Siro, but that is where we will stop.”

Milan are waiting to hear what Marco Borriello’s fate will be, as the striker failed a doping test in November and will probably be suspended by the Disciplinary Commission.

“If Borriello will be suspended we have Aubameyang, who is the top scorer for the youth side and an excellent player,” concluded Galliani.

Oddo therefore remains the main target in the January market, as he recently confirmed that he is considering a Rossoneri offer, although his wife would prefer to remain in Rome.

EXCLUSIVE: Photos of AC Milan in Malta
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Source: Cassius @ The Red & Black Forums

If you haven't been following our forums lately, you should be as you're missing out on some goodies.

Cassius, one of our fellow members from Malta, posted exclusive photos with the team on the forums. Here they are:

And here is the full thread (keep an eye on it as there may be more photos coming up):

Also, there's never to late to register and become a forum member.

Clubs line up for Lupoli
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Football Italia

Arturo Lupoli’s FA Cup hat-trick has alerted even more Italian sides, as Inter and Milan join Napoli in the race to sign him.

The 19-year-old was snapped up by Arsenal before Parma – whose youth system he grew up in – could place him under a professional contract in Italian law.

Loaned out to Derby County, his triple against Wrexham this week put him in the headlines right at the time when he has hinted he’d like a return to Italy.

“We will respect what he wants to do,” admitted Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, but now the question is who will take on the young talent?

Napoli have been linked with Lupoli for some time and remain in pole position should they earn promotion to the top flight.

However, his recent form has alerted bigger fish to the bait, as Inter and Milan are interested in picking him up in January at a cut-price deal rather than wait until his contract expires at the end of the season.

Considering Lupoli is a Neapolitan and a lifelong Rossoneri supporter, the battle is set to hot up over the next few weeks.

Cassano: Et tu, Capello?
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Football Italia

Antonio Cassano has bitterly criticised Fabio Capello and Real Madrid, but it’s reported Milan turned down the chance to sign him and Ronaldo in a package deal.

“When Capello left Roma I was the only one to defend him, and believe me that approach cost me a great deal both in terms of friendships and economically. I was forced to leave,” explained the fiery talent.

“The Coach often spoke highly of me when he moved away, but here I made one mistake and he immediately cut me loose.”

Cassano always hailed ‘Don Fabio’ as his mentor, effectively freezing him out of a Giallorossi environment that was horrified by the switch to Juventus three seasons ago, but their reunion at the Bernabeu has proved less that idyllic.

The ex-Bari starlet was substituted at half-time in the 1-0 defeat to Getafe on October 14 and has barely set foot on the field since.

“In at least 10 games I warmed up without ever coming on, and I remember each one,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’.

“I lost 8kg and worked hard, but now I’m the last choice striker. Apart from Ronaldo, who is a level above, I think I’m on a par with everyone else here.”

Yet today Spanish newspaper ‘As’ suggests a shock transfer deal is in the air for the January window. It’s claimed that Real directors offered Ronaldo and Cassano to Milan in a two-for-one package, but Adriano Galliani rejected the proposal because both are Cup-tied in Europe.

Now Cassano is forced to re-evaluate his future and realise not many clubs can afford his £2.8m per season wages.

“Inter or Milan? The Nerazzurri play very well, while the Rossoneri have a lot of problems to resolve and it’s by no means certain I am their solution,” confessed the Italian international.

“I need affection, respect, to feel loved and considered important for a club. At Madrid, I have none of the above. Without these elements, I can’t perform. I have had my smile taken away here. In football terms, I am no longer myself.”

Pirlo sets sights on Europe
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Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo and Pippo Inzaghi are focusing on the Champions League as Milan slowly get back to their old selves.

“We are working well in our Winter training camp. It’s tiring with so much heavy training in a short time-span, but it’s worth it to start the season again on the right foot,” said the midfielder.

The Rossoneri have spent the last few days training in Malta and showed signs of improvement in their 3-2 Trofeo Berlusconi victory over Juventus yesterday evening.

Now Pirlo is looking ahead to the next objective, above all the Champions League clash with Celtic in February.

“Europe is an important goal that we go after every year. This season even more so, seeing as we are still quite far behind in the Serie A standings. The Winter break will really help us rediscover our form.”

Inzaghi was one of the goalscorers in the Trofeo Berlusconi game against his former club and relished the occasion – their only meeting since Juve’s demotion.

“It’s very strange not to see Juventus in Serie A, but next year they will be back among the big clubs and that means some great games,” said SuperPippo.

“When you take on the Bianconeri, it’s always a big match. As for our performance, I was impressed with the effect of the training camp. It’s especially important for those of us who were in the World Cup, as we needed to put more fuel in the old tank.”

Alex sets San Siro date
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Football Italia

Alessandro Del Piero admits he enjoyed facing off against Milan on the grand stage of San Siro again and can’t wait to return next season.

“I really enjoyed myself,” said the Juventus star after the 3-2 Trofeo Berlusconi defeat yesterday evening.

“It was great to come back to San Siro. It’s a fantastic stadium, there’s no doubt about it, and we can be fairly happy with our performance.”

Del Piero had scored the goal that put the Bianconeri 2-1 up, but a late push saw Milan emerge with the silverware in this prestigious friendly postponed from the summer due to Champions League commitments.

It was an important game for the World Cup winner, who has been treading the boards of Serie B this term and relished the opportunity to play in the spotlight.

“Juve still need to improve, but the players must focus on doing well this season and above all performing our duty for this club.”

They may be climbing towards an immediate promotion into the top flight after their demotion in the Calciopoli scandal, but not all is relaxed in Turin.

David Trezeguet and Gianluigi Buffon have confirmed they will only stay with Juventus if they can challenge for the Scudetto straight away, so how does Del Piero see the situation?

“It’s not just them the club has to convince, but me as well! Of course all of us want to fly high and be part of the great side that is Juventus. I’m sure the directors will do everything they can to give us a competitive squad.”

Silvio stands by Ancelotti
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Football Italia

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has tried to reassure Carlo Ancelotti that his job does not depend on conquering the Champions League.

“Ancelotti’s position has never been in doubt,” insisted the patron after yesterday’s 3-2 Trofeo Berlusconi win over Juventus at San Siro.

The Italian media has repeatedly stated this is the end of an era for the Coach and named a series of potential replacements, spanning from Marcello Lippi to Barcelona’s Frank Rijkaard and Holland boss Marco Van Basten.

It’s claimed the only result that will rescue him from the chop is lifting the Champions League in May.

“Ancelotti’s destiny is not tied to any trophy. It is decided by the fact he knows how to lead the team well and has settled in perfectly to a club where he has the respect and affection of everyone,” added Berlusconi.

“He was part of the Milan family as a player and continued that link as a Coach. His position is not up for debate.”

Trofeo Berlusconi: AC Milan 3:2 Juventus - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Inzaghi 29 (M), Nedved 40 (J), Del Piero 67 (J), Seedorf 68 (M), Aubameyang 86 (M)

Teenage hitman Willy Aubameyang sealed Milan’s 3-2 Trofeo Berlusconi victory, as Juventus are left with a defeat and growing injury crisis. Giorgio Chiellini, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Raffaele Palladino suffered new setbacks.

The Rossoneri and Bianconeri faced off for the 16th edition of the Trofeo Berlusconi, but it was an unusual occasion at San Siro. This tie was postponed from August due to Milan’s Champions League commitments and was the first meeting since Juve’s demotion to Serie B.

Pavel Nedved was able to start, as his five-match ban does not apply to this tournament. After two minutes Pippo Inzaghi got in front of Boumsong and Chiellini, forcing Gigi Buffon into a fantastic fingertip save.

Juve hit back with Palladino’s spectacular right-foot volley lashed inches over the bar, but Chiellini limped off with a serious thigh strain early on. Alberto Gilardino chested down the ball and struck it past the post with the outside of his right foot, Inzaghi also turning wide in another good opportunity.

Zeljko Kalac pushed an Alessandro Del Piero angled drive round the upright and from the resulting corner kick Palladino nodded a free header over.

Milan broke through on the half-hour mark from ex-Juve star Inzaghi. They stroked the ball around well and Cristian Brocchi’s low cross was sidefooted in from six yards, thanks in part to Boumsong’s slip.

Gilardino nodded over, but moments later Juventus equalised. Kalac did well to parry David Trezeguet’s tap with his legs, but could do nothing on Nedved’s follow-up. Yet their injury worries continued in defence, as Boumsong also went off with a calf problem, making way for Jonathan Zebina.

Both teams made tactical changes at the break, Daniele Bonera moving to right-back and Yoann Gourcuff behind Inzaghi in a Christmas Tree formation. Buffon flew to tip Clarence Seedorf’s free kick out from under the bar, but when Marcelo Zalayeta was sent clear, Paolo Maldini slid in with a decisive intervention. From the corner kick, Valerio Fiori parried the Uruguayan’s header.

Milan have always struggled on set-pieces and Del Piero was left completely unmarked for a glancing header on Nedved’s free kick. Maldini made way for 17-year-old Darmian – two decades his junior – while Valeri Bojinov came on for Palladino after a suspected sprained knee.

The lead lasted less than a minute, Brocchi flicking a cross into the centre for Seedorf to nod in from six yards and make it 2-2. Former Fiorentina midfielder Brocchi was on fine form and his shot whistled past the post, but it was a new face who made the difference.

Five minutes from time, teenage substitute Willy Aubameyang got behind his marker to nod in Andrea Pirlo’s sweeping cross at the back post.

Milan 3-2 Juventus
Scorers: Inzaghi 29 (M), Nedved 40 (J), Del Piero 67 (J), Seedorf 68 (M), Aubameyang 86 (M)
Milan: Kalac (Fiori 46); Cafu (Simic 46), Bonera, Maldini (Darmian 69), Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Brocchi (Aubameyang 81); Seedorf; Inzaghi (Ricardo Oliveira 78), Gilardino (Gourcuff 46)
Juventus: Buffon (Mirante 81); Birindelli, Boumsong (Zebina 43), Chiellini (Kovac 15), Balzaretti; Palladino (Bojinov 66), Zanetti (De Ceglie 46), Paro, Nedved; Del Piero (Venitucci 87), Trezeguet (Zalayeta 46)
Ref: Rocchi

Oddo man out at AC Milan
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Football Italia

Massimo Oddo may be close to Milan, and his replacement chosen in Christian Terlizzi, but his wife insists he’s staying at Lazio.

The right-back revealed this week that he is considering a “firm offer” from the Rossoneri for a January switch and the media believes it’s only a matter of details now, although there’s another ‘agent’ on the scene who disagrees.

“At the end of the day, I think my husband will stay with Lazio,” said his wife, Claudia Oddo. “We are thinking of having another baby and we’re very happy in Rome.”

Nonetheless, Oddo grew up in the Milan youth system and has made it clear he’d relish a return up north.

Lazio also appear to be accepting life after their captain, as they have already chosen his replacement at right-back.

“My back problems have been resolved with surgery and now I hope to start again from my hometown of Rome,” explained Sampdoria defender Terlizzi.

“Right now my contract is co-owned between Samp and Palermo, but Lazio have wanted me for the past two years. I hope the third is the charm.”

Di Vaio proud of AC Milan interest
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Football Italia

Marco Di Vaio has been hotly linked with a January move to Milan and admits he’d be “proud” of such a transfer.

“It depends on Monaco. I am contracted until June 30, 2008, but clearly if they decided to sell me and Milan showed a concrete interest, then I’d be very proud.”

The former Italian international has been in the French Principality since January 2006 following an 18-month spell at Valencia.

“I was leaving Spain last year and already had a verbal agreement with Monaco when Carlo Ancelotti mentioned the possibility of bringing me to Milan. We didn’t go any further because I was Cup-tied.”

The ex-Parma and Juventus man is available for Champions League duty if he moves in January, although he could go on a free transfer as well.

“This is also possible, but Monaco have to make that decision. Obviously I’d be happy to return to Italy and, especially, to Milan.

“At the age of 30 I want to prove that I’m still a real player and a striker to be considered. I have a great desire to win and get back into the top tier of football.”

His time overseas has not always been fruitful, as the forward himself confirms to the ‘Corriere dello Sport’.

“I am in good shape physically and have been for three rather complicated years in every other respect. I’ve above all had problems gelling with the foreign Coaches I’ve encountered on my travels, although I had no issue with Claudio Ranieri and Francesco Guidolin in La Liga and Ligue 1.”

Deschamps ignores AC Milan
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Football Italia

Juventus Coach Didier Deschamps warns his men against being distracted by the Trofeo Berlusconi. “We must remember we are in Serie B.”

The Bianconeri will face Milan at the San Siro on Saturday in what used to be a traditional August meeting, which was postponed until January 6 after the Calciopoli scandal forced the clubs to reschedule the match.

“This is not a real friendly, a game against Milan is never a training exercise, although what really counts is that we are in top form for the trip to Mantova on January 13,” said Deschamps on Friday.

“We need to keep this game in its context. We are in Serie B right now and that’s all that counts,” added the Frenchman, who does not want his team to believe that promotion has already been achieved.

“There has been a lot of talk about our return to Serie A, but nothing is certain. So far we’ve played well, but what happens from now on will prove to be decisive.

“Our primary objective is to seal our return to the top flight, but there’s still a long way to go. We can’t take any risks.”

The side is without Mauro Camoranesi, Marco Marchionni and Giuliano Giannichedda.

“Playing Milan at the San Siro is always a prestigious occasion, there won’t be any need to motivate the players. We are up against a quality side, in one of football’s most magnificent stadiums, and it’s a good opportunity for us to prepare for the second phase of the season.”

The tactician believes that no big changes should be made during the January market, as the club must wait until the summer to finalise its future plans, although he is sure that the Bianconeri cannot let their key players leave if they wish to be competitive.

“We must maintain the balance in the dressing room. We have chosen a group, everyone is playing their part and we are going to keep things as they are until those goals are achieved. We’ll reassess the situation at the end of the season.”

Several Juve players, including Gianluigi Buffon and David Trezeguet, have stated that they will not commit to the club unless they are sure that a strong side will be built around them.

“To be competitive next season we need to keep our champions at all costs, they are our guarantee for the future. With these players we can build something special, so we are certainly not going to let anyone go.

“Aside from Serie A, our objective is to return to the international stage as soon as possible. With its history and everything this club represents, the world of football needs Juventus,” concluded the Coach.

Juventus squad: Buffon, Birindelli, Chiellini, Kovac, Zanetti, Bojinov, Del Piero, Nedved, Mirante, Piccolo, Balzaretti, Trezeguet, Boumsong, Paro, Palladino, Venitucci, Zalayeta, Zebina, De Ceglie

Ancelotti’s Final countdown
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Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that reaching the Champions League Final will be a tough ask this term.

Although the Rossoneri have spent this week training in Malta ahead of tomorrow’s Trofeo Berlusconi test against Juventus, the Coach has other objectives on his mind.

“We are going to be fighting for fourth spot and the Champions League this season, even if I know that reaching the Final in Europe is almost an impossible task,” noted the tactician.

“Finishing in the top four is something we can obtain, although it is less motivating. We will have to play well to beat Celtic, but we have the advantage of playing away first.”

Milan have had a difficult start to the season, but have the chance to start the New Year in style against the Old Lady of Italian football.

“This match comes after some good training here in Malta and I expect to see the results of our preparation on the pitch,” added Carletto.

“Facing Juventus is always stimulating and it’s a great opportunity to verify the fitness of the players such as Massimo Ambrosini, who is back after a long injury.

“The Bianconeri are a strong team despite what happened in the summer and I believe they would be competitive in Serie A.”

Milan will be without some key players for the tie though. “Neither Kaka nor Kakha Kaladze will play, but will be available for the Serie A match with Reggina,” he continued.

“I am not worried about the final result, but about playing well and avoiding any injuries – it will not be a competitive match so it should be more entertaining.

“All our players are focused and prepared. This training break has been excellent for the squad,” concluded Ancelotti.

Meanwhile, striker Alberto Gilardino insists that he is happy at Milan, despite reports suggesting he might leave the San Siro.

“I am fine at Milan and there is nothing else to say,” said the world champion. “I only hope to score more in 2007, just as I used to do when I was at Parma.

“We really want to do well in the match with Juventus, they are missed in Serie A so tomorrow's game is one that we want to win.”

AC Milan plot fresh Ronaldinho bid
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Football Italia

Milan’s hopes of signing Ronaldinho have been revived after the latest bust-up between the player and Barcelona Coach Frank Rijkaard.

The former Paris Saint-Germain forward skipped the first two training sessions after the Christmas break and showed up late on Thursday morning, citing a delayed flight for his absence.

As a result, an unimpressed Rijkaard forced the Brazilian to train with fellow late arrival Deco away from the rest of the squad in front of 12,000 fans at the Camp Nou.

Milan may now look to take advantage of the situation by making a fresh bid for the South American starlet.

President and owner Silvio Berlusconi is dreaming of seeing ‘Dinho appear in the club colours alongside fellow countryman Kaka.

Reports suggest that the Via Turati outfit are now ready to tempt the Catalan club to sell with a massive £78m offer.

The former Golden Ball winner, who was already associated with a switch to Milan last summer, is contracted to Barcelona until 2010.

The two parties were expected to renew their agreement until 2014, but that deal has yet to be finalised.

AC Milan go for Di Vaio
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Football Italia

Milan are reportedly keen on Monaco striker Marco Di Vaio, who could join the Rossoneri on a free transfer.

The 30-year-old had been mentioned as a target for the San Siro outfit a year ago, as he is liked by Coach Carlo Ancelotti, but negotiations failed because he was Cup-tied.

Di Vaio is currently contracted to the French club until 2008, but has reached an agreement which would allow him to leave as early as January on a free transfer, allowing Monaco to cut his £2.4m salary from the wage bill.

Milan could therefore decide to sign the former Parma man, who would favour a return to the peninsula and could be immediately fielded in the Champions League.

The player’s agent Franco Zavaglia, however, has dismissed all rumours suggesting his client was close to leaving the Ligue 1 side, where he signed a two-year contract in the summer.

“I think an immediate transfer is very difficult, despite the player’s will,” said Zavaglia to news agency GRT.

“Di Vaio has an agreement with Monaco and would prefer to end the season with them before considering the option of leaving.”

The Via Turati outfit have also been paired with both Valeri Bojinov and Antonio Cassano, but it now seems unlikely that either player will move to the San Siro.

Vincenzo Iaquinta of Udinese also remains a target for the Rossoneri, but the £8.5m price tag might force Milan to postpone any move for the world champion until the summer.

Carletto eyes Euro glory
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Carlo Ancelotti has tipped his Milan side to go all the way in the Champions League this term.

The Rossoneri are in Malta for a winter training camp and hope to recover most of their injured players before the championship starts again on January 13.

But their target remains European success after a difficult start to the Serie A season has ruled them out of the Scudetto running.

“We were very happy with the welcome we received at our arrival here, we feel at home because there are so many Milan fans,” said the Coach on Wednesday.

“We are here to work hard, as we have great hopes for 2007. The Champions League is still our main objective and this will not change.

“It is a difficult tournament, but we feel that we can compete with anyone. We have time to strengthen the squad until the end of January, we speak about this every day.

“If we can add some new signings we will do so, but in any case our main goal is to recover the injured players and our best condition as soon as possible.”

Milan will fly back to Italy on Saturday to play the Trofeo Berlusconi, scheduled at the San Siro against Juventus, before returning to Malta until January 10.

“We ended 2006 well thanks to the great sacrifice put in by the players and the match with Juve will surely be motivating, as it has been in the past.

“Juventus have always played in Serie A and they are a side that we miss in the League this year,” concluded Ancelotti.

Oddo confirms AC Milan offer
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Massimo Oddo has confirmed that a January move to Milan is very much on the cards for the Lazio captain.

“There’s no point hiding from the fact,” he told local Lazio-based radio programme ‘La Voce della Nord.’

“There is an important offer from Milan on the table and therefore my future at Lazio is in doubt. In any case, we need to find the best solution for everyone.”

The Rossoneri have been interested in the right-back, who they see as the heir to Marcos Cafu, for several years.

Following his part in the 2006 World Cup victory, Biancocelesti patron Claudio Lotito slapped an £8m price-tag on the 30-year-old and talks stalled, but hopes of a January agreement are still high as far as he is concerned.

“Obviously, I’d like for Lazio to also be satisfied with an eventual deal, so the decision won’t just be a personal one from me.”

It’s believed Milan have offered £4m cash plus the services of talented youngster Pasquale Foggia.

Oddo started his career in the Rossoneri youth system and has been at Lazio since 2002, where he joined from Hellas Verona.

The Biancocelesti will fly out to Dubai for a winter training camp on January 5.

Mexes makes Roma pledge
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Philippe Mexes hopes to remain at Roma for as long as possible – but insists his future is in the club’s hands.

The Frenchman is only contracted to the Giallorossi until June 2008 and has been linked with moves to Milan and Real Madrid at the end of this campaign.

Although honoured to have been associated with such great sides, the Frenchman wants to win trophies in the Eternal City.

“I can only say that I wish to stay, but now it all depends on the club,” explained Mexes on Wednesday.

“Until June I am a Roma player, then we will see. I am very happy here so I do not want to leave, but the club will decide in the end,” added the former Auxerre man.

“I want to stay here for as long as possible as my dream is to win one, two, three titles with Roma.

“I am sure we can compete for the Scudetto until the end of the championship this term. Inter are strong and are seven points ahead of us, but we will not give up.”

Mexes also seemed to confirm rumours that Vincenzo Montella is set for a loan move to England with Fulham.

“I hope he will score many goals in England and also that he one day comes back to Roma,” concluded the Giallorosso.

Inzaghi eyes world domination
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Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi is confident that 2007 could see the Rossoneri crowned champions of Europe and the world.

Although the San Siro giants have made a poor start to the present season, the striker is optimistic ahead of the next 12 months.

“What would I want from the New Year? It would be nice to win the Champions League and maybe net the World Club Cup,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Our squad is very united and this could allow us to win anything. Milan are a group of friends who want to conquer Europe and the world.”

Milan will open 2007 with a clash against Juventus on Saturday as they contest the Trofeo Berlusconi, which was postponed in the summer because of the Calciopoli chaos.

“Saturday’s match has never been just a friendly,” added the international.

“This will be our only chance to play against Juve. They are a great side and I think we all miss them in Serie A.

“It will be a great match and it would be nice to start the year with a goal,” added the former Bianconeri hero.

Inzaghi did make a bright start to the campaign, but he’s struggled to hit the back of the net in recent months.

“With age we all mature and I am not obsessed by scoring goals any more,” insisted SuperPippo. “If I see that the ball does not go in then I try not to get discouraged.

“I have gained much experience and I want to be useful for my teammates just as Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta are – I have learned so much from these two champions.”

Maldini considers retirement
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Football Italia

Paolo Maldini is still considering the idea of retiring at the end of the season. “I will see what happens in the next few months.”

The Rossoneri symbol is in his 23rd campaign with the club and had revealed his intention to retire from football at the end of the season, as he was still suffering from knee problems despite the surgery he underwent in Belgium last year.

“My retirement? I haven’t ruled out the idea, we will see what happens in the next six months,” said Maldini, currently in Malta with the rest of the team for a mini winter training camp.

“At the moment I am feeling fine and the muscular problems are behind me. I am 100 per cent. I will decide what to do in June,” added the legendary stopper.

“This time in Malta will be very important for us in terms of training. The last time Carlo Ancelotti and I were here with Italy, we won the Champions League. If that repeats itself we will have to come back again every winter!”

Maldini was then asked to comment the reports suggesting Real Madrid firebrand Antonio Cassano might join the club.

“It’s difficult to express a judgement on Cassano. We never played together, not even in the Nazionale,” explained the Milan captain.

“In any case, settling into a new club depends a lot on how the person acts when he arrives. Our locker room is democratic and united, there are no veterans who are more powerful than the other players.”

AC Milan prepare Iaquinta bid
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Football Italia

Milan are planning a January move for Vincenzo Iaquinta of Udinese, even if boss Carlo Ancelotti insists that Massimo Oddo is their primary objective.

The Rossoneri had already been paired with the Bianconero during the summer, when the Via Turati outfit were searching for an Andriy Shevchenko replacement.

He was then recently linked with the club again after the giants were ready to offer Udinese the services of Marco Borriello, before he was suspended for failing a drugs test.

However, Milan are now ready to make a cash only bid for the £8.5m valued attacker who would be eligible to play in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti has made no secret of his desire to see Lazio right-back Oddo join his outfit this month.

“I am not worried as there is time until January 31 to sign him,” said the Coach before leaving for Malta, where the side will train for the next week before Serie A resumes on January 13.

“I didn’t expect him to leave for Malta with us, but I have spoken with the club and everything is very clear. We will wait and see what happens.

“Meanwhile, we already have a new player who nobody knows in Leandro Grimi. He is very young and interesting,” added Ancelotti.

Milan will fly back to Italy on Saturday to play the Trofeo Berlusconi tie with Juventus at the San Siro and will then return to Malta to complete their preparation.

Milanese waltz for Lupoli
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Football Italia

A Milan derby is set to be played out on the transfer market for Arsenal owned forward Arturo Lupoli.

The Under-21 Italian international has just six months left on his Arsenal contract and he’s seemingly looking for a return to the peninsula.

A host of Italian clubs are keen, but Milan and Inter have now come forward for the attacker who is on loan at Derby until the end of the season.

“He is liked by Torino, Napoli and Fiorentina, but Inter and Milan have registered their interest in the last few days,” agent Claudio Pasqualin told Teleradiostereo Sport.

“Although he is very young, his contract is set to expire because the player wants to go home, despite Arsenal’s interest in renewing his contract.

“As a result, they are now ready to sell him in January for a small fee rather than losing him for nothing at the end of the campaign.

“The only obstacle is that Derby County, who signed him on loan until June, are still counting on his services.”

Lupoli, who was netted by the Londoners as a teenager from Parma, has been likened to Paolo Rossi by Arsenal ace Thierry Henry.

Gattuso agent closes Manchester United door
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Football Italia

Manchester United have been told to forget about signing Rino Gattuso from Milan at the end of the season.

The Premiership giants have been constantly associated with the Italian international, but his representative can’t see a switch taking place.

“United have made numerous attempts to net Gattuso, but I think I can say that Milan will start the new season with him,” agent Claudio Pasqualin told Teleradiostereo Sport.

The former Perugia, Rangers and Salernitana man joined the Rossoneri in the summer of 1999.

Manchester United have been looking for a new central midfielder for some time and are expected to make a fresh bid for Bayern Munich’s Owen Hargreaves.

Rossoneri look to Eto'o
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Football Italia

Milan look to the present and the future of their transfer strategy with Samuel Eto’o and Ceará on their list.

Barcelona’s Cameroon international hitman Eto’o was named as the prime candidate to replace Andriy Shevchenko in the summer, but nothing came of the sensational £20m bid.

Following his knee injury that ruled him out for several months, he could be tempted to start afresh in Serie A at the end of the season.

According to today’s ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ newspaper, there are plans to revive the transfer negotiations for next year’s determined push back up to their glory days.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri continue their search for a right-back to replace the ageing Marcos Cafu.

While Massimo Oddo has been the number one choice for some time, Lazio’s reticence to part with the World Cup winner has opened the door for other alternatives.

Barcelona’s Manuel Belletti is one potential candidate, but Serginho has come up with an intriguing new solution.

“Ceará is a great player and there is talk of him at Milan,” commented the Brazilian, currently sidelined with a back injury.

Ceará shot to fame during the recent World Club Championship Final in which Internacionale de Porto Alegre beat Barcelona.

The 26-year-old is physically powerful and marked Ronaldinho out of the game in a clean but dogged fashion.

“I said to Ceará before the game that he was about to mark the best player in the world and, some day, he could well become the best wing-back in the world,” commented Coach Abel Braga after the Intercontinental triumph. “Today he is.”

Mexes set for AC Milan?
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Football Italia

Reports from Italy suggest that Milan are willing to offer Kakha Kaladze plus a cash sum in order to sign French stopper Philippe Mexes.

The Rossoneri are looking to strengthen their depleted defence in the January transfer window and with a deal for Massimo Oddo looking complicated it has been suggested they will move for Mexes.

It is rumoured that the Diavoli will have to outbid Juventus, who have allegedly offered the Toulouse-born defender a five-year deal worth around £1.3m per season.

However, Milan may have the advantage in negotiations if they are willing to offer Georgia international Kaladze.

There had been whispers that Milan may chase Barcelona stopper Juliano Belletti should they fail to sign Oddo, but Belletti’s brother Sandro – who acts as his agent – has denied any approach took place.

“I’ve had no contact with Milan,” he claimed. “Juliano has a contract with Barcelona for two more years and will give his all for the club.

“He would only listen to other offers if Barcelona decided to cancel his contract,” he concluded.

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