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The Archive

February 2012

Pato injury drags on
29.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato is also expected to miss this weekend’s clash with Palermo, as the Milan forward’s muscular problems continue.

‘The Duck’ has missed most of the season due to a series of recurring thigh injuries and picked up a new one during the first half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Juventus.

Pato has not taken part in full training yet this week, so is very unlikely to recover in time for this weekend’s game against Palermo.

Alessandro Nesta and Kevin-Prince Boateng are also not expected to make it, so Daniele Bonera should start in central defence in place of the suspended Philippe Mexes.

Maxi Lopez will undergo further tests on Thursday to see if he is ready for his comeback, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available after the end of his three-match ban.

Prandelli: 'Cassano wants Euros'
29.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Cassano “wants to be ready for Euro 2012 and is very determined,” confirmed Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli.

The tactician said in his press conference yesterday that he will “wait to the last minute” to bring Giuseppe Rossi and Cassano to the tournament, despite the fact neither has played yet this year.

Cassano underwent heart surgery after suffering a mini-stroke in November, but paid visit to the Italy squad ahead of tonight’s friendly with the USA.

“Antonio came to see us and passed on all of his enthusiasm,” revealed Prandelli.

“He wants to be ready for Euro 2012 and is very determined. The three months to the tournament could feel huge and could feel very brief.

“I have only one worry, that in such a tight season I’ll be delivered injured players. I don’t think such an intense wrestling match for the Scudetto can cause problems for the Nazionale. I know the players and realise in these situations you reach June with plenty of fuel in the tank.”

Nocerino praises former club Palermo
29.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Antonio Nocerino will come up against his past this weekend when the Rossoneri travel to Palermo.

The midfielder left the Stadio Barbera in the summer for just €500,000 given that he had a year left on his Palermo deal.

“I’m happy to be at a club like Milan, playing for the Rossoneri would be a dream for everyone, but if I am here then it is because of Palermo,” he told Milan News.

“Palermo gave me the opportunity to grow and I will always be grateful to the Rosanero and their fans who were always close to me.”

The 26-year-old has been a revelation at San Siro after scoring eight goals in 23 League games. He’d only netted six top-flight goals in his entire career during spells at Juventus and Palermo before 2011-12.

Meanwhile, there are whispers emerging from Sicily which are suggesting that Palermo may line up with a 3-5-2 system at the weekend.

Serie A? Balotelli no, Pogba maybe
29.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mino Raiola says that Mario Balotelli is staying at Manchester City, while United’s Paul Pogba would only move to Italy for first team football.

The agent represents both players and discussed their futures with Tuttosport on Wednesday morning.

“Balotelli wants to stay at City,” the representative noted. “He’s happy there and there are no Italian clubs who are tempting him.”

Milan are known to be big admirers of the former Inter player who has again been left out of the Italy squad for disciplinary reasons.

Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli has introduced a strict code of ethics into the national set-up and stated on Monday that he expects a call from Balotelli.

“Why should Mario phone him?” responded Raiola. “For what? So he can cry and moan about not being selected?”

Turning to French teenager Pogba, the agent insisted that the player would only consider a switch to Serie A for one reason – to play.

“We firstly have to discuss a possible renewal with United, then we could talk to other clubs if needed.

“However, if he arrived in Italy, then it would be to play immediately and not to mature.”

The midfielder, 18, is understood to be on the radar of Juventus and Milan.

Blanc blasts Mexes
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes picked up a three-match ban for punching Marco Borriello in the ribs, but also earned criticism from France manager Laurent Blanc.

Mexes had broken his way back into Les Bleus and was even considered for the role of captain in a friendly against Germany.

“What Mexes did was a gratuitous act and it is absolutely not acceptable,” said Blanc in a press conference.

“He has to realise that by doing things like this he damages himself and above all the team. Should he repeat this sort of behaviour at Euro 2012, I’d send him straight home.”

Mexes was caught on camera aiming a rabbit-punch in Borriello’s ribs during the 1-1 draw between Milan and Juventus.

Although given a three-match ban, Mexes attempted to defend his actions.

Gattuso back in training
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There is good news for Milan, as Gennaro Gattuso returned to full training with his teammates today.

The midfielder has not played an official game since he was diagnosed with the paralysis of an optic nerve in September.

He had been close to a comeback in January, only to suffer a further setback with an eye infection.

There are now hopes Gattuso could still play this season, as he took part in the full training session today.

The Rossoneri are training with reduced ranks due to the 13 stars away on international duty this week.

Daniele Bonera, Maxi Lopez and Clarence Seedorf trained with their own separate schedules, while Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano worked only on the exercise bikes.

Ibrahimovic: 'AC Milan - Juventus a football tragedy'
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw the Sulley Muntari phantom goal in Milan-Juventus as “a tragedy for football,” as the controversy rages on.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw was an ill-tempered affair dominated by the Muntari goal that was not awarded in the first half despite it crossing the line.

“The fact Muntari’s goal was not seen by the linesman is a tragedy for football,” commented Ibrahimovic while on international duty with Sweden.

“I was more disappointed than angry after the game. Everyone could see it was a goal, so not to give it in that situation...

“You can make a mistake with an offside, but not for a goal like that.”

Juventus also had a goal disallowed for Alessandro Matri’s incorrect offside call.

Ibra was not taking part in that game because he was completing his three-match ban for slapping Salvatore Aronica.

“Opponents do anything to stop me. You do learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them, but I couldn’t say for sure if I’d never do it again. There is always so much tension on the field.”

Milan teammate Philippe Mexes has also been suspended for three rounds when he was caught on camera punching Marco Borriello in the ribs.

Budan warns of referee pressure
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo’s Igor Budan sees the referee for Saturday’s clash between the Rosanero and Milan as likely to come under unparalleled pressure.

Both sides go into their Week 26 clash off the back of strong complaints against match officiating. Where Sulley Muntari had a clear goal incorrectly disallowed during the Rossoneri’s match with Juventus, Budan’s team were equally despondent at the standard of refereeing during their 4-1 defeat to Siena.

A red card in the first minute to Federico Balzaretti was soon followed by a controversially awarded penalty to the Robur, much to the disdain of Palermo.

Croatian striker Budan, who has recently returned to fitness and form for the Renzo Barbera outfit, believes the climate going into the weekend will see the referee placed under intense scrutiny.

“Saturday will see the most significant pressure put on the referee.

“They always say that we must leave them in piece, even if we also have pressure on us. We have to accept as players, they are like us.

“Technology? I am in favour of it. Today, the errors will be accepted, but we could help ourselves with such things. You could start putting a referee behind each goal, as they do in European competition.”

Pogba puts Juve and AC Milan on hold
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paul Pogba won’t consider reported offers from Juventus and Milan until he’s held further talks with Manchester United.

The teenage midfielder is out of contract in the summer and the two Italian giants have shown an interest in the 18-year-old.

“It is a precarious situation and a difficult moment,” the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, told The Independent. “It is up to the boy to make some decisions.

“We know there are some clubs interested in him, but Manchester United want him to stay.

“The club give the indication that they want to keep him and we are talking contract terms. There is willingness from both parties at the moment.

“We must finish first with Manchester and after that we will see other options – if they are there.”

Pogba moved to Old Trafford from Le Havre in 2009.

Banned Mexes on the defensive
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Philippe Mexes has defended his actions against Juventus which led to a suspension. “I get hit too.”

The defender was yesterday banned for the Rossoneri’s next three League games after striking Marco Borriello in an off-the-ball incident during Saturday's 1-1 draw.

“These things shouldn’t happen, that is clear, but there was nothing vicious in it,” stated the French international.

“I suffer a few blows too during games, but I don’t go down to the ground and start rolling around…”

The 29-year-old has made nine League appearances for the Rossoneri this season after recovering from knee ligament damage.

He will miss Milan’s games against Palermo, Lecce and Parma.

You can see the Mexes-Borriello incident below. Football Italia is not responsible for the content of YouTube clips.

Van Bommel may extend with AC Milan
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel could sign a new deal with Milan at the end of the season, his agent has suggested.

The 34-year-old will be out of contract in June and he’s been heavily paired with a return to former club PSV.

“Milan and Mark have matured a lot together,” Mino Raiola told De Teelegraf. “In principle, the intention is to continue.

“We’ll only ponder other situations if Milan don’t consider Mark as part of their plans or if the player’s family want a return to Holland.”

Van Bommel may be heading towards the end of his career, but his 20 League appearances this season underline that he is very much in the thinking of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“I saw Mark play against Juventus,” Raiola continued. “I think he is the best player in his position in Italy.

“I think only personal reasons could see him end his adventure with Milan.”

The Dutchman joined the Diavolo in January 2011 from Bayern Munich.

El Shaarawy happy with AC Milan life
28.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy insists that he never considered a move away from Milan – even while he initially struggled to win the faith of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

The summer signing from Genoa, who part-own the youngster, was being tipped to leave Milanello at the start of this year given his problems in breaking into the team.

However, as the season has progressed, El Shaarawy has started to feature more heavily for the Diavolo.

“I want to stay at Milan for some time to come,” the Italian Under-21 international told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I never wanted to leave when I wasn’t playing,” he added. “There are so many champions here that I was learning so much from them in training.”

The forward, who spent last season on loan at Padova in Serie B, is seen as a potential star of the future.

“Given my characteristics and technique, I feel a bit like Robinho,” continued the 19-year-old. “When it comes to speed and breaking into space, I’m a bit like Alexandre Pato.”

The youngster, two goals in 14 League games this term, was inevitably questioned on the Sulley Muntari goal against Juventus which wasn’t awarded.

“I was on the bench and I could see that it had gone in by half a metre,” he explained. “The linesman was level with the play.

“Perhaps he was concentrating on whether Muntari was onside or not. That can be the only explanation for the error.”

Platini: Buffon went overboard
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Michel Platini has offered his two cents on the ongoing controversy surrounding Gianluigi Buffon’s post-Milan-Juventus comments.

After the top-of-the-table clash, which finished 1-1 but was overshadowed by the controversy of Sulley Muntari’s missed legitimate goal, Buffon said that even if he knew the ball had crossed the line, he would not have admitted so to the referee.

The Italy captain has been criticised for lacking responsibility in his choice of words and even as the goalkeeper and his national Coach Cesare Prandelli defended them on Monday morning, former Juve legend and current UEFA President Platini is the latest to suggest he was unwise.

“Buffon has gone too far with his words and between Turin and Milan there should not be war. If the referee had asked him and he had said ‘no’, then that would have figured him to be a liar.

“If I had scored a goal with my hand and the referee had asked me, I would have said I had scored it with my hand. Maradona didn’t do it? No-one asked him.”

Thiago Silva: Barcelona are interested
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Thiago Silva has admitted that he knows Barcelona want to sign him, but the defender has also insisted that his focus is only on Milan’s future.

The influential 27-year-old centre-back, who has captained the Rossoneri on more than occasion this season, has reportedly attracted the attention of defending Spain and European champions Barca.

“I do not know what will happen in my future,” the Brazilian told Catalan-based publication Mundo Deportivo.

“Through some friends and the Press I know that Barcelona are interested in me, but for now there is no concrete offer.

“I leave these questions to my agent, but at this time my only thought is to return Milan to being champions of Italy again.

“The Catalan team are the best in the world, even if they are not going through the happiest of times right now. Every player dreams of playing at a big club like Barcelona.

“I am only focused on Milan. They are a company that allowed me to fulfil my dream, namely to play in a great team.”

Mutti doesn't fear AC Milan backlash
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Botolo Mutti does not think that any extra media attention on Week 26 opponents Milan - or the referee - will affect his Palermo side’s preparations.

Attention is likely to be on the match officiating in the fall-out to the Rossoneri’s weekend 1-1 draw with Juventus, in which Sulley Muntari had a clear goal incorrectly disallowed.

Next in line for Massimiliano Allegri’s men is a trip to the Renzo Barbera to face Mutti’s side.

“I do not fear the controversy surrounding Milan,” offered Rosanero Coach Mutti on Monday.

“Certainly they are attracting strong media interest by virtue of certain episodes that occurred against Juve.

“We should think only about building our game like we always do, with tranquillity.

“At home we have always done well, but at the same time, we know that we will face a team that has great motivation and a very strong technical structure to it.”

Palermo have equally spent the aftermath of the weekend protesting about the quality of match officiating after some contentious decisions went against them in a 4-1 defeat to Siena.

Mexes banned, Pirlo, Muntari acquitted
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Philippe Mexes has received a three-match ban after video evidence found him guilty of punching Juventus’ Marco Borriello at the weekend.

French centre-back Mexes was caught on camera punching former Roma teammate Borriello in the ribs, on the blind side of both the referee and his assistants, during Saturday’s clash between Milan and Juve.

After investigation, the No 5 has been handed a three-game ban and will now miss the Rossoneri’s fixtures with Palermo, Lecce and Parma.

Meanwhile, teammate Sulley Muntari and Juve midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who were both also under investigation for alleged off-the-ball clashes, have both been cleared and will not face any action.

Muntari had seemingly been caught on camera twice lashing out at Stephan Lichtsteiner, whilst Pirlo reportedly elbowed Mark Van Bommel.

Juventus - AC Milan on March 20th
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The second leg of the Italian Cup semi-final between Juventus and Milan will take place on Tuesday 20 March.

The tie at the Juventus Stadium will kick off at 20.45 local time, with the Old Lady 2-1 up from the first leg at San Siro.

The other semi-final between Napoli and Siena (1-2) has been scheduled for Wednesday 21 March.

Allegri calm after the storm
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has looked to inject some calm following the furore in the aftermath of the Juventus clash.

The game ended 1-1, but only after Milan had scored a ghost goal and the Old Lady were denied of an onside Alessandro Matri strike.

“There was anger because it was an important game,” the former Cagliari tactician stated on Monday afternoon.

“Certain episodes take place during games and they need to be faced with serenity. Referees make mistakes.

“I’m disappointed with what took place, but I have nothing against the match officials. There was an error, but the game was well officiated.

“We could have done without the post-match tension-induced statements. We’re disappointed, but I don’t want to create more tension.”

The Italian media today are focusing heavily on Gigi Buffon’s claims that he wouldn’t have told the referee that Sulley Muntari’s goal should have counted had he realised the ball was over the line.

“I don’t want to say anything about that,” the Coach noted. “I’d rather just talk about football. The referees need to make decisions therefore the responsibility is theirs.”

AC Milan - Juventus: Now the bans
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Milan-Juventus tie is set to be played out again on Monday as the sporting judge will rule on a number of controversial incidents.

While the red card handed to Arturo Vidal and the yellow to Simone Pepe during the 1-1 draw will see them banned for the next 90 minutes, they may not be alone.

Rossoneri stopper Philippe Mexes risks a three-match suspension after TV footage seems to show him punch Marco Borriello at the start of the second half.

Footage has also emerged of Sulley Muntari getting physical with Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner during the tie.

Meanwhile, Milan are claiming that Andrea Pirlo of Juventus elbowed Mark Van Bommel on two separate occasions during the encounter.

There is also a risk that Juventus boss Antonio Conte and Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani could be punished in some way for their argument during half-time.

Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini and Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus also exchanged strong opinions at the end of the game.

El Shaarawy handed U-21 call
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan teenager Stephan El Shaarawy has been added to the Italian Under-21 squad for this week’s friendly against France.

The forward has been selected by boss Ciro Ferrara after Roma youngster Fabio Borini was promoted to the full squad yesterday.

The Azzurrini will play France in Cannes on Tuesday, while the full side will come up against the USA on Wednesday in Genoa.

El Shaarawy is still just 19 and has one U-21 cap to his name. In 14 Serie A games this season, he has netted two goals.

Thiago Silva calls for more assistance
27.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Thiago Silva says three match officials are not enough for the big games after the events of Milan-Juventus on Saturday evening.

The fiery Scudetto clash at San Siro ended 1-1, but the Rossoneri should have gone 2-0 up in the first half after a Sulley Muntari goal was not awarded – despite the ball clearly being over the line.

“I’m disappointed with what happened against Juventus,” the Brazilian international told Sky Sport Italia.

“I’m stunned by the mistake of the linesman. I saw the ball go in from where I was in the middle of the pitch and he was in a position where he could see everything…

“I’m in favour of the use of TV replays or officials behind the goals – we have to have them in the big matches.”

Although the centre-back criticised the referee and his assistants, he refused to blast Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon who clawed the ball away.

The Rossoneri have reacted angrily to the Juve No 1’s post-match claims that even if he thought the ball had crossed the line, he wouldn’t have told the referee.

“Had I been him, I would have done the same,” Thiago Silva continued.

AC Milan 'stronger than injustice'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi blasted Juventus and the officials. “Our mission is to be stronger than envy, misfortune and injustice.”

The former Italian Prime Minister was in the stands for last night’s 1-1 draw, which saw both teams have perfectly good goals disallowed.

“We did not agree with the decision to suspend Zlatan Ibrahimovic for three games, robbing us of his presence against Juve,” Berlusconi told journalists.

“Ibra was only guilty of a little tap and the judges should’ve taken into account that this match was putting the two protagonists of the season against each other. It would’ve been opportune for each side to have their best men available.

“As for the goal, I am more disappointed than angry. The result was falsified by that incident. If we’d gone 2-0 up, the situation would have been very different.

“Was the referee conditioned by Antonio Conte’s comments during the week? I really think so, yes. In any case, it was a mistake and I absolutely do not want to believe in a plot against Milan.

“I have a great deal of faith that Milan can win the Scudetto, because our mission is to be stronger than envy, misfortune and injustice. Milan had the right to a positive result.

“The goal that wasn’t given was absolutely clear for all to see, even without the photographs and video evidence. I have always encouraged the use of technology in football and it would be opportune for referees to have the option of watching the replays in big decisions.

“The Sulley Muntari incident confirms that technology in football would lead to less injustice in football.”

Abbiati: 'Goal would've changed game'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati and Urby Emanuelson believe the ‘phantom’ goal would’ve changed the game in Milan-Juventus.

The Rossoneri were 1-0 up in the first half when the linesman failed to spot Sulley Muntari’s header cross the line.

“We played so well and inevitably felt the fatigue in the second half,” said Emanuelson.

“However, if Muntari’s goal had been given, then on 2-0 it would’ve been a different game, opening up a lot more space.

“We remain confident for the Scudetto, because we played very well despite missing so many players.”

Goalkeeper Abbiati agreed that the Muntari incident weighed more heavily than Alessandro Matri’s late goal that was incorrectly ruled offside.

“We are disappointed with the result, but not too downhearted because we know that we played well,” said the former Juventus shot-stopper.

“In the locker room I saw that my teammates were sad, but also convinced they had proved a victory was deserved.

“Obviously, if we had gone 2-0 up in the first half, then it would’ve been a whole other game. I don’t know if we would have won, but it’d still be a different situation for us.

“It’s a shame, although a point against Juve is not to be sniffed at.”

Buffon: 'On Muntari's goal...'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gianluigi Buffon reveals even if he had realised Sulley Muntari’s effort had crossed the line, he “certainly wouldn’t have told the referee!”

Juventus fought back for a 1-1 draw against Milan last night, but when it was still 1-0 the officials failed to spot Muntari’s header go into the goal before Buffon batted it away.

“I have to be honest, it was all moving so quickly that I didn’t realise the ball had crossed the line. Mind you, even if I had realised, I certainly wouldn’t have told the referee!

“We are happy with this point against a team that remains the favourite for the Scudetto and who created so many problems for us for 65 minutes.

“It wasn’t a great start to the game for us and Milan always managed to pin us back, so after the break we changed a few things and it went better, especially in the final stages.”

Antonio Conte had a row on live television with Zvonimir Boban, who claimed the two refereeing errors could not be considered equal.

However, Buffon seemed to go against his Coach and agree with the former Milan star turned pundit.

“We were certainly helped by the incidents. The linesman’s error on the Milan goal had a specifically different weight on the game and the way it played out.

“Having said that, the club was right to point out that it’s abnormal we have only received one penalty all season considering the way we play football. That is an incontrovertible fact.”

Nocerino: 'Juventus regret me'
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Nocerino has been a sensation for Milan this season and hopes “someone at Juventus is feeling regret at seeing me play like this.”

The midfielder scored against his former teammates in last night’s 1-1 draw at San Siro.

“What did this goal mean to me? You can see it in my celebration,” smiled Nocerino.

“I was so fired up and had this anger within me that I wanted to let explode. I spent 11 years at Juve before being set aside without much of an explanation.

“Fortunately I went to Palermo, where I was able to grow, and now I’m very happy at Milan. I’m convinced someone at Juventus is feeling regret at seeing me play like this.”

The 1-1 draw was packed with controversy, as Sulley Muntari’s header had crossed the line, while Alessandro Matri had a goal incorrectly ruled offside.

“We played a great game against a great team. In the first half we scored two goals and the match could’ve changed if we had gone 2-0 up.

“I still don’t understand how the referee and his assistants didn’t give the goal. We then continued and created more chances, but controlling the game with a two-goal advantage is a whole other situation.”

Matri enjoyed AC Milan revenge
26.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri admits it was particularly special to score against his former club and “perhaps it’s lucky my goal was disallowed.”

The striker came off the bench to net the equaliser in last night’s 1-1 draw with Milan, but before that was incorrectly flagged offside.

“The important thing is we were able to bring home a point,” said Matri. “Perhaps it’s lucky my goal was disallowed, as that evened out the one Sulley Muntari was not given in the first half.

“The performance was pretty good, although we all realised it was not the usual Juventus out there.

“My goal is worth a great deal, but not for the Scudetto. A defeat would’ve been a heavy blow, but we maintain our unbeaten record, which means a lot to us.”

Matri grew up in the Milan youth academy, but was never given much consideration at the club.

“It was a special atmosphere for me, as it was the first time I had played such an important match. It meant a lot to me to be here.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:1 Juventus - goals/highlights
25.2 || webmaster

Conte: 'AC Milan deserve praise'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Conte admitted “Milan deserved more” than a point, but engaged in a row on live TV because “both refereeing errors were equal.”

Juventus had spent weeks protesting at the controversial refereeing decisions that went against them, so there was huge pressure on the officials during tonight’s 1-1 draw.

The linesman, Romagnoli, made two errors when he failed to see Sulley Muntari’s header cross the line, then flagged Alessandro Matri offside.

“First of all we must praise Milan, as they played for an hour at the highest level and put us under pressure with our own weapons. Where I see that we went wrong, it’s also because they made us go wrong.

“Of course it’s tough to keep up that tempo and they collapsed at a certain point, while our substitutes brought fresh legs and allowed us to equalise.

“Let’s leave the Scudetto talk alone after this game. Anyone who saw this match realises Milan were wonderful, while Juve were lucky. We have a long way to go and Milan are a very strong team who proved it again today despite their many absentees.

“I compliment my lads for hanging in there and eventually snatching a draw at the end. That fightback showed our 24 games unbeaten are not down to luck, but also heart and hard work.”

Conte blamed the media and also accepted some responsibility for the tension around this fixture.

“These things happen. What I am disappointed by is that this game was fired up too much by everyone, both those within it and outside of it. The atmosphere in my view was not good for sport. It’s a shame, but the match is decided within the pitch and too many things happened this week.

“The most wonderful thing about all this was the match itself. The rest needs to be improved by everyone, including myself.

“The officials made two big mistakes again this evening. What can I say? These things happen and we take note one was in our favour and the other against us. We hope that the errors all even out at the end of the season for all the teams.”

However, Conte engaged in a row with former Milan star Zvonimir Boban, now a Sky Sport Italia pundit, when discussing the two incidents.

“I find it unacceptable that you can compare the two and say one error was more damaging than the other. Both goals were incorrectly disallowed and are therefore equal. What, was our goal not worth as much? I see no difference whatsoever. They were both mistakes.

“You always manage to make it into controversy, even when we come here very openly. For the last week we have been bombarded by questions and controversy, so the temperature was raised far too much.

“Admittedly, Milan deserved more from the match in terms of performance, but there were incidents against both teams tonight.”

The two eventually made peace and Conte apologised for using harsh words during the debate.

Allegri: 'Result falsified'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Massimiliano Allegri mocked Juventus after a phantom goal. “It falsified the result. I am entertained by all this.”

The Rossoneri had been leading 1-0 when Sulley Muntari’s header was flapped out by Gigi Buffon, but only after it had crossed the line.

“I had fun, as it was a wonderful game that Milan played very well. Unfortunately there was that incident that certainly falsified the result. Either the line was drawn wrong and was a bit too big… We have to accept it,” said Allegri in a sarcastic tone.

The 1-1 draw came after weeks of Juve directors, players and Coach Antonio Conte protesting at unfair treatment from referees.

“There’s no need to see the replays. It was pretty obvious from all round the stadium. The referee pointed to the centre-circle then it all just kept on going.

“Apart from everything, this incident certainly damaged us as we would’ve gone 2-0 up and that is a different match. This is a sign that perhaps someone ought to stay quiet. I am entertained by all this. In any case, it’s better to talk about the football.

“Juventus are unbeaten until now and are doing some great things. Tonight we chose to put pressure on them as high up the field as possible and take away their spaces. We kept up the tempo for most of it and got tired at the end, but wasted three or four great counter-attacks.

“This was an important turning point in the campaign, we put in a wonderful performance and I’d like to think the chances of winning the Scudetto are now 50-50.”

Alessandro Matri also had a goal incorrectly ruled offside in the final stages, but Allegri points out they cannot be compared.

“Muntari’s goal would’ve made it 2-0. Matri’s would’ve made it 1-1, so it’s a different situation entirely.”

Alexandre Pato disappointed, while replacement Stephan El Shaarawy brought more of an attacking threat.

“Pato was not 100 per cent fit, as he had a muscular twinge during the first half, so rather than risk I preferred to replace him.

“El Shaarawy gave us great intensity and could’ve done better with a few chances. I am happy with the spirit shown by the team and we will now relax a little, then begin again.

“We had a spell during the season where we felt a little mentally tired, such as the derby and against Lazio.”

There were also problems at half-time, as Vice-President Adriano Galliani reportedly shouted at the referee in the tunnel and then left San Siro due to "blood pressure problems."

Robinho: 'Error can decide Scudetto'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho has warned the officials that the ‘phantom goal’ denied to Milan tonight “can decide the Scudetto. It was so clear!”

Gigi Buffon scooped a Sulley Muntari header out, but only after it had clearly crossed the line by at least 20cm.

“It was so clear and it’s incredible the goal has not been given. This can decide the Scudetto,” blasted Robinho on Sky Sport Italia at half-time.

After 45 minutes, Milan are leading Juventus 1-0 with Antonio Nocerino’s deflected strike.

“Now we have to stay calm and get back on to the field with the same determination we showed in the first half.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:1 Juventus - match report
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Nocerino 15 (M), Matri 83 (J)

Antonio Nocerino and Alessandro Matri secured a 1-1 draw, but both Milan and Juventus were denied evident goals in a controversial encounter!

The two top teams went head-to-head in this Scudetto showdown and it was particularly special for Andrea Pirlo and Marco Borriello against their former club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost his appeal against a three-match ban, joining the injured Maxi Lopez, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Merkel, Antonio Cassano, Rodney Strasser and Gennaro Gattuso. Alexandre Pato got a rare start with Robinho and Urby Emanuelson.

Antonio Nocerino couldn’t get enough power to a volley at the back post, while Leonardo Bonucci was robbed for an Urby Emanuelson shot deflected wide.

Bonucci’s wayward pass was intercepted again in midfield, so Nocerino unleashed a screamer from 20 metres that took a decisive deflection off the same defender to leave Gigi Buffon stranded.

Thiago Silva bravely charged down an Arturo Vidal snapshot with his crotch, while Robinho forced a corner from Andrea Barzagli as he tried to go past him at the by-line.

From that corner, Buffon palmed a Mexes header off the line, then Sulley Muntari had the follow-up from a couple of yards that the goalkeeper again scooped away, but replays clearly show it was well over the line. Nonetheless, play continued and Juve nearly scored at the other end, as Christian Abbiati had his palms stung by a Marcelo Estigarribia strike.

Pirlo fired wide from a huge distance, but the Bianconeri were struggling, so after 37 minutes switched from the 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 system. Andrea Barzagli went into the book for tripping Emanuelson as the Dutchman surged forward on the counter-attack in the final third.

Thiago Silva’s free kick was straight into the wall, but the Mark Van Bommel follow-up skimmed a coat of paint off the upright.

A poor clearance fell to Vidal on the edge of the box for a chest and volley inches wide. At half-time both sides made changes, as Stephan El Shaarawy and Simone Pepe replaced Pato and Estigarribia.

However, within 60 seconds of the restart Mexes was caught on camera punching Borriello in the ribs in an off the ball incident. The referee did not spot it, but Mexes will undoubtedly be penalised using video evidence.

Robinho seemed to be tripped on the very edge of the box by Vidal, but the referee was right there and waved play on. Robinho also threaded a smart through ball that Muntari just failed to control when clear on goal.

Emanuelson’s pass was sending El Shaarawy through, but Barzagli’s crucial sliding tackle stopped him short.

Juventus finally created an excellent scoring opportunity on 68 minutes, as Chiellini rolled the ball across the face of goal for Fabio Quagliarella, but Abbiati managed to parry from point-blank range.

Moments later Abbiati flapped a cross off the head of Vucinic, but in the final 15 minutes Vidal had to limp on as there were no more substitutions.

Alessandro Matri ran on to a through ball and put it in the net, but the offside flag was incorrectly raised and the goal did not stand. It was the same linesman who got it wrong with the ‘phantom’ goal.

There was a huge risk on the counter with three Milan men after Pirlo’s poor free kick, but Barzagli performed a decisive sliding tackle to stop Robinho on the edge of the box.

With seven minutes to go, Juventus equalised in spectacular fashion. Pepe got down the right and crossed for Matri, who got in front of Thiago Silva and volleyed a powerful right-foot strike at the near post.

In the final minutes it was end-to-end stuff, but Vidal was shown a straight red card for going through the back of Van Bommel. Moments later, Pepe risked another red when he went through Robinho, but got away with a booking.

Luca Antonini knocked down a cross for Muntari, but Buffon smothered at his feet from six yards. There was an ugly scuffle after the final whistle, as both Chiellini and Massimo Ambrosini had to be dragged away by teammates.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari; Emanuelson (Ambrosini 71); Pato (El Shaarawy 46), Robinho

Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia (Pepe 46); Quagliarella (Matri 70), Borriello (Vucinic 53)

Ref: Tagliavento

Sent off: Vidal 88 (J)

Maldini blasts AC Milan and Juventus
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini has blasted Milan for refusing to hire him as he is “an independent mind,” then hammered Juventus for “whining” about referees.

The Rossoneri legend was expected to continue his career at San Siro, but has not been called in due to reported disagreements with Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“I don’t think I’ll go back to Milan,” he told the Corriere dello Sport. “I am seen as a problem because I have an independent mind. The club’s choices are perfectly legitimate, but let us avoid hypocrisy. They said ‘he’s one of us and is always welcome,’ but that’s not the truth.”

Maldini had also been linked with a job at Paris Saint-Germain with former teammates Leonardo and Carlo Ancelotti.

“I was in Paris to visit Leonardo, but I don’t want to be a Coach. Mind you, going abroad makes you realise just how little teams know about how to defend.”

The former Milan captain was asked about tonight’s big game at San Siro.

“With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended, it’ll be a faster Milan side looking more to counter-attack. I don’t understand the justice system, though, as last season he received a two-match ban for much the same thing and this time it’s three. Salvatore Aronica did something similar and was not punished at all.

“As for Juventus, they need to stay calm, as whining about every half-a-shout for a penalty isn’t the kind of thing a big club does.

“In order to beat them, you need pace. Had I been at Milan, I wouldn’t have let Andrea Pirlo join Juventus, as he should’ve gone abroad to Chelsea. Tonight’s game could be decisive for the Scudetto, even if only in psychological terms.”

Nesta out of AC Milan - Juventus?
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports emerging that Alessandro Nesta might not even be fit enough for the bench in tonight’s Milan-Juventus showdown.

The veteran defender has been struggling with injury in recent weeks and was expected to be back in the central partnership with Thiago Silva this evening.

However, reports from the Milanello training ground this afternoon suggest Nesta has failed a fitness test and might not even be able to stay on the bench.

This means Philippe Mexes steps in to the centre-back slot.

Milan are already missing Kevin-Prince Boateng, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Mario Yepes, Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso, Alexander Merkel, Rodney Strasser and the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Nedved: 'Juventus penalties are a fact'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pavel Nedved returned to the penalty controversy ahead of tonight’s Milan match. “It’s a fact that referees are conditioned against Juventus.”

The club engaged in a very public war of words with officials over the past few weeks, claiming there were numerous refereeing errors in their recent games.

“We don’t want favours, but only equal treatment,” counsellor Nedved told Sky Sport Italia.

“It’s a fact that referees are conditioned against Juventus. After 2006 we received very few penalties in our favour. That’s not normal.

“In recent years we changed everything and are working to bring this club back to where it belongs. My objective is not to be liked, but to win and that is all.

“I believed it before and am even more certain now that we’ve got a world class Coach on the bench. Antonio Conte is doing exceptional work.”

Nedved also commented on the fact Zlatan Ibrahimovic misses tonight’s Scudetto showdown due to suspension.

“It’s a shame he is absent, as he’d add to the spectacle. With him on the field, fans and neutrals would certainly have been more entertained.”

Aquilani: 'AC Milan stronger than Juventus'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani assures “Milan are stronger than Juventus, but we have to prove it on the pitch” in tonight’s Scudetto showdown.

The midfielder has played for both clubs and is injured for this game, but spoke to the Gazzetta dello Sport on the fixture.

“What do I envy Juve? Just their unbeaten record. There are many talents in their squad, but I’d point out Claudio Marchisio, who is very strong and we have a good rapport.

“I hope Alexandre Pato will be the decisive man for Milan, as he has enormous capabilities, but due to injury this season he hasn’t yet expressed himself at his best.

“I think Milan are stronger than Juventus, but we have to prove it on the pitch,” continued Aquilani.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also misses out, as an appeal against his three-match ban for slapping Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica was rejected.

“A three-game suspension was too much, especially as there was no equal treatment for Aronica. Having said that, we didn’t get too worried about losing Zlatan, as we did well even without him.

“This is not a decisive match for the Scudetto, because there are so many rounds left to go, but it can be a turning point for the season.

“I thought Juventus would be in the title race, as they invested so much in recent years, but I didn’t expect them to be unbeaten in February. Antonio Conte has given them solid organisation, but it’s the players who make the difference.”

Moggi's AC Milan - Juventus tips
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luciano Moggi gave his predictions for Milan-Juventus. “The Rossoneri run the biggest risk with their many absentees.”

The former Juventus director general spoke to RadioCalciomercato about tonight’s big Serie A match.

“It was already a fixture in the past that decided important things like a Scudetto or Champions League.

“This time it won’t be so decisive because there’s a long way to go to the end of the season, but it will be very important in psychological terms. Neither side wants to lose its positive streak.”

Milan are without Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to his ban, joining the injured Kevin-Prince Boateng, Maxi Lopez, Alberto Aquilani, Clarence Seedorf, Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso, Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser.

“Ibrahimovic was suspended for Juventus when they earned that famous 1-0 win here in 2005, but the ‘luxury reserve’ ended up scoring in the shape of David Trezeguet.

“In my view, anyone would want Zlatan on the field at all times, so he is an important loss for Milan. Boateng is another serious blow, so the Rossoneri run the biggest risk with their many absentees and missing those stars will also make the others feel less confident.”

Antonio Conte was a midfielder when Moggi was at the helm of Juventus and has now become a very successful Coach who is still unbeaten this season.

“As a player he had already shown signs of potentially being a good Coach. After all, he won two Serie B tournaments as a tactician and always showed he could bring something to the players.

“Besides which, he has the Juventus DNA and knows off by heart what we repeated every day – that you can make up for any lack in quality with mentality.

“Are there any comparisons with my Juventus? My side was a bit better! Don’t forget the 2006 World Cup Final looked like a Juve training session with the number of our players out there for Italy and France.

“We had Trezeguet and Adrian Mutu on the bench, so it’s impossible to make a comparison, but I have to say this current team is a surprise for everyone.”

Robinho: 'I can't wait!'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho can’t wait for tonight’s Milan-Juventus clash. “I can picture the three points and if I were to score...”

The Brazilian is expected to start in attack, especially as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended and Maxi Lopez injured.

“I can picture bringing home the three points and if I were to score then that would be even better,” he smiled.

“I am relaxed, as I worked well during the week and trust I can put in a good performance. I’ve been feeling better recently.

“We are a great side with many important players. Now we hope to have Alexandre Pato back to his best too, as we need him at 100 per cent. When he’s on form, we are even more dangerous.

“As for Ibrahimovic’s absence, there’s no point causing controversy now, so let’s not talk about it.”

Robinho was also asked by Sky Sport Italia what he thought of Massimiliano Allegri.

“He is a great Coach. When we lose, he gets angry, but the team is always with him and follows his every suggestion.”

Del Piero: 'The San Siro effect'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

“Playing at San Siro is an honour and a privilege,” wrote Alessandro Del Piero ahead of Milan-Juventus.

The Bianconeri captain should know, as he has featured in this stadium many times and goes into the Saturday evening Scudetto showdown.

“Playing at San Siro is an honour and a privilege,” read Del Piero’s official blog.

“When you step on to the San Siro pitch for the first time, you understand that maybe you’ve really made it.

“At San Siro the world is seen better upside down, or should I say overhead (like on May 8 2005).

“San Siro is the home of champions. Among them all, I single out one: for me it will always be Paolo Maldini’s arena. He is world class, a friend and an example for all.

“The night before a match at San Siro, you really cannot think of anything else. Like me, right now.

“See you tomorrow, Alessandro.”

Vidal: 'We beat AC Milan twice'
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus star Arturo Vidal considers “Milan to be the Scudetto favourites, but we beat them twice this season and can do it again.”

The midfielder is looking forward to Saturday night’s title showdown at San Siro and hopes the Bianconeri can make it three in a row.

Juve won 2-0 in Turin in Serie A earlier this term and beat the Rossoneri 2-1 in Milan for the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

“I consider Milan to be the Scudetto favourites, but we beat them twice this season and can do it again,” smiled Vidal.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng won’t be there, but we mustn’t underestimate anyone. I’d also point out very strong players like Robinho and Ignazio Abate.

“Antonio Conte should be given credit for constructing a team that always plays to win and doing so in a very short space of time.”

Boateng out of Juventus game
25.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin-Prince Boateng has not recovered in time to face Juventus, but Alessandro Nesta and Philippe Mexes are in the Milan squad.

There were major doubts over the Ghanaian after he limped off during the 4-0 Champions League win over Arsenal last week.

He was making his comeback in that tie and suffered a relapse, so without returning to full training today, he won’t be risked for the Saturday night Scudetto showdown.

However, Alexandre Pato is in the side after his fitness concerns, joining Nesta and Mexes.

Naturally, Zlatan Ibrahimovic misses out, as he lost his appeal against a three-match ban for slapping Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica. Maxi Lopez is also sidelined.

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Ely, Mesbah, Mexes, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes, Ambrosini, Emanuelson, Muntari, Nocerino, Van Bommel, El Shaarawy, Inzaghi, Pato, Robinho

Matri doesn't see a title decider
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri agrees that Milan-Juventus will not decide the destination of the Scudetto, and reveals he bears no grudges towards his former employees.

The Rossoneri host Matri’s Juve on Saturday night, but like a number of pundits and figures central to proceedings, the striker does not see the game between the League’s top two sides determining where the title will end up.

“I am calm as I am for all other games,” Matri reassured Mediaset on Friday.

“Of course there are great expectations for it is a game between the leading sides, a major challenge, but we want to approach it with a peaceful mindset.

“I do not think it will be decisive, the championship is long, but it is an important game.”

Matri began his career with the San Siro outfit, but only made one senior appearance - in May 2003 - before developing as a more accomplished player elsewhere.

“These are decisions made by clubs. I have had a very broad route through the game, whilst Juve has also believed in me.”

Matri is contention to start the game alongside one of Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic.

“Since the beginning of the season there has been competition, but as long as it is healthy then it is good that it is there, because it is the case not only at Juve, but all teams.”

Conte: AC Milan more than Ibrahimovic
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Conte has warned his Juventus players not to relax against Milan just because Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be playing.

The 30-year-old Rossonero had appealed to have his three-game suspension for a sending off against Napoli reduced so he could play in Week 25, but that was turned down on Thursday.

Whilst admitting that he didn’t expect that outcome, Conte believes it still doesn’t change Juve’s preparations going into the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night.

“You know, the obligation is to win, one wants to win, there is no doubt, with or without Ibra, beyond if you are playing for Milan or another club,” Conte insisted to the gathered media on Friday.

“Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail. Nothing changes if there is Ibrahimovic or there is no Ibrahimovic, this is beyond doubt. We should not change anything at all in the attitude or desire to look for victory - this will be the case for us, as it will be for Milan.

“From a tactical point of view, certainly Ibrahimovic gives Milan more reference points than others, he gives a point of reference to us as well as Milan.

“But we are prepared and nothing changes the way in which we have prepared all week. I will, yesterday in training, when we look at the opposing team, we had anticipated an attack of Robinho and Ibra.”

Conte was asked again about the Swede’s absence and if his side could relax in facing a Rossoneri team without the striker.

“I think it would be stupid to relax, because Milan is not just Ibra. This was demonstrated in their previous two games, perhaps in the greatest moment of difficulty in Udine when without a great player like Ibrahimovic they won on a field that we had only drawn on and all others had lost on.

“Milan-Juventus is definitely at this time the most anticipated game of the year. There can be no release of tension because we face a Milan who have the badge sewn on to their jersey, who is ahead of us in the standings and is considered by us to be the strongest in the League.”

The Coach is rumoured to be considering using the 3-5-2 formation on Saturday night.

“It’s inevitable, that I, as was the case at the beginning of the week, have a particular idea in mind. I have an initial idea, then it is inevitable that I see in the week if this idea is supported by what I see with my eyes, then the physical state of the players and their desire and attitude in training.

“But in my head, for sure, from the first day I am working on something, I already have it in mind when training. If it is supported by what I see, then I’ll go with it.”

Having already beaten Massimiliano Allegri’s side in the reverse League fixture and again in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final, Conte was asked if he truly believed that the Bianconeri are underdogs this weekend.

“Let’s not forget, they beat us in the Trofeo Berlusconi. Milan are a strong team - us, as I have said, have reached an important step, to be competitive again. I had set myself this step, I set myself several steps, but the most important was to become competitive again.

“I think we have achieved this and this is a beautiful thing and should be a source of pride and satisfaction for the players, for me, for the club and for the fans.

“Look, quite frankly, it would be nice to open up a gap between us and third place. I do not know if this will happen based on what we do against Milan. It’s inevitable that I’d like to selfishly that the top two cut themselves off.

“But we know that the Italian League is very competitive, there are teams like Udinese, Lazio, Roma and Inter.

“That said, we look to ourselves, which is most important, we look forward and try to do the best we can, starting tomorrow night, which is the first game in which we face.”

Allegri targets three big points
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has underlined how important victory against Juventus could be on Saturday. “Winning ugly would do.”

Although the tactician insists the result of the tie won’t be pivotal in the title race, he knows that three points could go a long way.

“I don’t think the match will be decisive,” he said on Friday afternoon. “However, it is clear that a win for either side would change the balance of the championship.

“I’d like to play badly and win. I’d sign for that today if that was offered to me. We are playing well right now though and we’ll need to put in a great display.

“We’ll have to try to win, even without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, because it is an important game at the top of the table. Who wins will see their chances of the Scudetto increase.”

The League leaders – they have a one-point advantage over Juve who have a game in hand – will be without their star striker after Ibra’s appeal against his ban failed.

“It’s always better to have a champion like him on the field of play,” the former Cagliari tactician continued.

“I personally took the news about his ban well in the sense that we can’t do anything about it. It was a judicial decision and we have to calmly accept that.”

Ibra won’t be the only player missing as Allegri confirmed fitness issues with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Maxi Lopez.

“Boateng and Maxi Lopez won’t be in the team. Alexandre Pato will definitely play. Sulley Muntari could feature from the first minute. I still haven’t decided between Antonini or Mesbah at left-back.

“Pato? I expect him to make a convincing return. He’ll start in an important game and he’ll be motivated to do well.”

Allegri was inevitably asked about Andrea Pirlo, the Italian international who left Milan for Juve in the summer.

“Pirlo was a decision made seven months ago, it’s an old story. He’s doing well at Juventus, but I didn’t doubt his quality. He’s a reference point for the Bianconeri and we’ll look to limit him.”

Milan beat Juve in this summer’s Trofeo Berlusconi tie, but the Old Lady have defeated them in the League and Cup so far this term.

“We were disastrous against Juventus in Turin and, despite that, we only lost the game five minutes from the end,” Allegri noted.

“Juve are very aggressive and we lost in the Cup to them because of two mistakes. Tomorrow will be a different game.

“We’re ready to play a great tie against a team that deserves their position in the table when you look at the numbers. They have the best defensive record and haven’t lost in 23 games.”

Juventus director has a dream
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta is hoping for Andrea Pirlo to make the difference in Saturday’s Scudetto clash with Milan.

The playmaker spent 10 years with the Diavolo before he joined the Old Lady in the summer on a Bosman once his contract expired.

“I dream of winning at Milan with two goals from Pirlo,” the official told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.

While the Rossoneri opted against offering the 32-year-old a new deal, Juve didn’t hesitate in building their side around him.

“We contacted Pirlo as soon as the rules allowed us to,” Marotta added. “Aside from his technical qualities, Andrea is also fundamental in the changing room given his charisma and experience.

“The only doubt about him was regarding his fitness, but, apart from his last season at Milan, he’d always played more than 30 League games a season.”

While Pirlo will face his former teammates, the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be unable to come up against his ex-side.

“We’re indifferent to Ibrahimovic’s absence,” the former Sampdoria director continued. “Unfortunately Milan remain very strong with or without him.

“The tie remains very difficult. It’ll be fascinating, but tough…”

Plan B for Ibrahimovic-less AC Milan
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho has admitted that Milan will have to change their game plan against Juventus given the ineligibility of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The striker, scorer of 15 League goals this term, is banned for Saturday night’s Scudetto showdown at the Stadio Meazza.

“When Ibra plays he’s always close to the penalty area and we have to adapt to his game,” the Brazilian noted.

“However, when he is not available then we have to play differently. He’s a great player, but we’ll now have to find some alternative solutions.”

Robinho is expected to start the game alongside Alexandre Pato in attack tomorrow evening.

Juventus have the best defence in Serie A this season, having conceded 14 goals in 23 games so far.

Chiellini: AC Milan not just Ibrahimovic
24.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are still a force to be respected despite the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, says Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini.

The two teams will meet at San Siro on Saturday, but the Swede has been ruled out after he failed to get his three-match ban cut on appeal.

“Milan have so many champions in their squad,” the Italian international told Sky Sport Italia. “Therefore I don’t think too much will change for them with Ibra absent.

“They have already shown that they can deal with his absence in these last few games. Whoever replaces him will just be even hungrier to prove their worth.”

The Diavolo beat Udinese 2-1 and Cesena 3-1 without the former Juve and Inter man. Ibra was suspended after he slapped Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica in the 0-0 draw with Napoli.

Prandelli: AC Milan - Juventus not decisive
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli sees Milan’s clash with Juventus this weekend as fascinating and important, but not a game that will decide the League title.

The two sides meet at San Siro on Saturday night locked in a season-long title race. Currently the Rossoneri hold top spot over second place Juve by a point, but the Bianconeri are unbeaten and hold the advantage of a game in hand.

Echoing Milan Coach Max Allegri’s words on the weekend's game, Azzurri boss Prandelli sees a significant game ahead, but not one that will necessarily determine the destination of Lo Scudetto.

“For me, it’s too early to say it will be a decisive game, these are two teams who will fight to the end for the title,” the 54-year-old told Eurosport.

“They are two teams that have demonstrated consistency and who have a well-defined identity on the field. This year’s Serie A is fascinating, because it will be ongoing right up to the end.

“It will be a very balanced game, a game in which Milan will try to lower the pace and keep hold of the ball, and one that Juventus will try to accelerate. The transition will be key to this meeting.”

Prandelli reserved special praise for Juve’s Antonio Conte, who has yet to lose a game in charge of the Old Lady.

“Conte is fantastic, extraordinary, he has introduced the right spirit to the club, which he had when he was captain of Juventus, and in no time. He has involved all of his players in Juve’s project too.”

Former Fiorentina Coach Prandelli also believes that Milan are stronger than critics are acknowledging.

“There are many who claim Milan depend on the individuals - I do not agree because the team did very well in these last two seasons, collecting good results.

“This means that even just on the viewpoint of tactics, things are working properly. The fantastic match in the Champions League against Arsenal also indicates that it is not just a team full of excellent players, but also one strong with perfect organisation.”

Ibrahimovic to miss Juventus match as appeal is rejected
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be available to face Juventus on Saturday after Milan lost an appeal against his three-match ban.

The striker was handed the punishment after being dismissed in the Week 22 0-0 draw with Napoli for slapping Salvatore Aronica in the face.

Having already missed the games against Udinese and Cesena, the Diavolo today made their case for the suspension to be reduced from three to two ties – thus making him available for this weekend.

Milan argued that Ibra’s gesture was not violent conduct, but one of an unsporting nature.

In seven Serie A games against former club Juventus, while playing for Inter and Milan, Ibrahimovic has scored just one goal versus the Old Lady.

The 30-year-old has netted 15 Serie A goals in 19 games this season. That is one more than the combined League goals of Juve’s Alessandro Matri, Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella, Alex Del Piero and Marco Borriello.

Lippi opts for AC Milan duo
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have more accomplished centre-backs than Juventus despite what the stats say this season, insists Marcello Lippi.

The Old Lady have conceded just 14 goals in 23 games, while the Diavolo have been pierced on 21 occasions in 24 League matches.

However, ahead of Saturday’s Scudetto clash at San Siro, Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning Coach would rather have Milan’s central defenders in his side than the stoppers from Turin.

“Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta have something more than Juventus’ centre-backs at this moment in time,” Lippi told Sky Sport Italia.

Nesta is back in training and could replace Philippe Mexes, alongside Silva, in the starting XI for this weekend’s clash.

Juve, meanwhile, are set to keep faith with a three-man defence consisting of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Lippi won five Scudetti with Juventus during two separate spells with the Italian giants.

Mexes included in France squad
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Philippe Mexes has been named in the France squad for next week’s friendly against Germany.

The stopper, signed by the Rossoneri in the summer, has returned to action this season after rupturing knee ligaments while with Roma last April.

Robinho's 10 year AC Milan pledge
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho has committed his long-term future to Milan despite his mixed performances so far this season.

The striker is contracted to the Diavolo until 2014, but he has his eyes on a much longer stay at Milanello.

“I’m really happy at Milan,” the 28-year-old told La Stampa. “If it was up to me then I would remain here for another 10 years.”

Robinho joined the club from Manchester City in 2010 after a loan spell in Brazil with Santos.

He scored 14 goals in 34 Serie A games during his first season, but has grabbed just four in 19 appearances this time around.

Nevertheless, he has found some form of late and is expected to start in Saturday’s Scudetto showdown against Juventus.

“If we play like Milan then we can’t be stopped,” continued the South American. “The Juve game will be decisive, more from a psychological point of view rather than for the League table.”

Robinho, should Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ban be confirmed, could be partnered by Alexandre Pato in attack – another Brazilian who has had his form and injury problems this term.

“He’s a phenomenon,” Robinho added. “There are periods when things go badly, it happened to me too. However, boss Massimiliano Allegri showed me some faith and I was able to improve.”

Barzagli crowns Thiago Silva
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus’ Andrea Barzagli may be a part of the tightest defence in Serie A, but he concedes that Milan’s Thiago Silva is on another level.

The 30-year-old has played in every single minute of the Old Lady’s campaign so far this season and is one of the reasons why they’ve conceded just 14 goals in 23 Serie A ties.

However, ahead of this weekend’s showdown with the Rossoneri, he’s outlined his admiration for the Brazilian international.

“Thiago Silva is, without a doubt, the best defender,” the former Wolfsburg man told La Repubblica. “I’m some way off him.

“He has everything that is needed, like his teammate Alessandro Nesta who remains one of my favourite players.

“Our defensive strength? It is the team that makes the defence. If the goalkeeper saves everything, the midfield covers and the attackers press then you are at a good starting point.

“We are all a lot more aggressive this season and we aren’t that bad if we are all around the international set-up. I’m playing well, I feel secure.”

Turning to Saturday’s San Siro clash, the stopper is adamant that the home team are in pole position for the points.

“If we say that Milan are favourites then it is because we are looking at their players, at their CVs. Who wouldn’t say that Milan are stronger?”

As it stands, the Rossoneri will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic even if his ban could be overturned on appeal.

“Things will change for Milan, not us, if he plays or not. They are more predictable with him, even if he himself is unpredictable.

“They move more as a team without Ibrahimovic.”

Ancelotti on AC Milan - Juventus
23.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti says he can’t predict the outcome of Saturday’s Scudetto clash between Milan and Juventus.

“It’s hard to say how it will end,” Ancelotti, who has bossed both sides, told Tuttosport in an interview on Thursday.

“Milan have some expert players, men who are used to winning these types of games. However, Juve will arrive at San Siro with great enthusiasm.”

Reigning champions Milan lead the standings given their one-point advantage over a Juve side who have a game in hand.

“Milan have maintained the same level as last season,” the former Chelsea tactician continued.

“Juventus, though, have quickly grown thanks to the work of boss Antonio Conte, the arrival of important players and the management of Andrea Agnelli.

“Enthusiasm and the new stadium has done the rest. The climate that has been created, the clear objectives and the style of football are helping every player to give even more.”

One player in particular who is helping the Juve cause is Andrea Pirlo, the Bosman summer arrival from Milan who Ancelotti knows well.

“Andrea is always the same,” the tactician noted. “Everyone hails the technical qualities of him, while his character and personality are undervalued.

“He is one of the few players who immediately understands what you tell him. Actually, a lot of the time you don’t have to say a word to him.”

As it stands, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to be suspended for the game – although an appeal may see him become available.

“If I was at Milan then I would hope to have him in the team,” Ancelotti stated. “Saying that, the Rossoneri have illustrated that they can be dangerous without the Swede.

“You play in one manner with Ibrahimovic, in another without him.”

Ambrosini contract talks on hold
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini will have to wait until the end of the season before being told whether he will be handed a new contract at Milan.

The midfielder, who will be 35 in May, signed a one-year deal at the end of the last campaign and the same scenario may happen this time around.

“There is nothing to report on the contract front,” agent Moreno Roggi told Milan News. “There won’t be any time soon either.

“If the player does renew his contract at the club then that will only happen at the end of this present campaign.

“We are only in February now and it is too soon to discuss this situation.

“There is a certain bond between Ambrosini and Milan, but everything will be examined calmly at the end of the season.”

The former Italian international, who was signed by the Rossoneri in 1995 from Cesena, is understood to be of interest to Genoa.

Ambrosini, who could be available on a Bosman in June, has scored one goal in 15 Serie A appearances this term. He’s also been used four times in the Champions League.

Thiago Silva hails Van Persie
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Thiago Silva says he would welcome the arrival of Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie at Italian giants Milan.

The Dutchman has been paired with a possible summer move to San Siro as there is some doubt over his future with the London club.

“He is a champion and all champions are good for Milan,” the Rossoneri centre-back told the Corriere dello Sport.

“An added bonus is that he has something different in his game and not just because he is a left-footed attacker.

“He has the ability to make defenders dizzy with his movements which are always towards goal,” added the Brazilian.

“In that sense he reminds me of Pippo Inzaghi, who, like Van Persie, can do damage on the field of play.”

AC Milan back driver Ibrahimovic
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have defended Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his car struck a woman outside of the club’s training ground on Tuesday.

The unnamed female in question, who claims to be a journalist, received treatment for a hand injury at hospital after it was caught by Ibra’s wing-mirror as she stood in the middle of a road.

The Rossoneri today issued a brief note insisting that the Swedish international striker could not be held responsible for what occurred.

There are suggestions that he could face a police inquiry given that he failed to stop after the incident.

Thiago Silva surprised by Juventus
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Thiago Silva admits that he has been surprised by Juventus’ emergence as a Scudetto contender this season.

The two teams will meet at San Siro on Saturday with the Rossoneri one point clear of the Old Lady at the top of the table, even if the Bianconeri have a game in hand.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect Juve to be this strong,” the Brazilian told the Corriere dello Sport on Wednesday.

“The Bianconeri have illustrated that they have a squad of quality guided by a really strong Coach in Antonio Conte.

“They are doing really well, but we can beat them.”

The Italian giants have already clashed competitively on two occasions this season – with Juve winning 2-0 in the League and 2-1 at San Siro in the Italian Cup.

“We have to reduce the amount of errors we make against them,” the centre-back continued. “We’ve always made too many against Juve and that is odd.

“Juve are a dangerous side to face because they are able to score against you after each mistake you make.

“They are a really quick team on the counter-attack too and they have a different mentality to all the other sides we have faced.”

Former Milan star Andrea Pirlo could be the man that the Rossoneri will have to keep quiet this weekend.

“We have to keep an eye on everyone, not just him,” Silva continued. “Saying that, Andrea is the element of the team which their play goes through.”

Conte faces attacking dilemma
22.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus boss Antonio Conte will reportedly use a 3-5-2 formation against Milan – but who will play up front?

The tactician has fielded a variety of systems so far this season, yet it is being suggested that he has opted for a three-match defence rather than a 4-3-3 shape ahead of this weekend’s Scudetto clash.

As a result, the tactician will now have to decide whom he uses in attack given the Old Lady’s recent problems in that area.

After two consecutive 0-0 draws, Conte fielded Marco Borriello and Fabio Quagliarella from the start in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Catania.

Tuttosport is today reporting that Mirko Vucinic, who began on the bench last week, is in pole position for a starting shirt.

However, it is unclear at this stage who will partner the summer signing from Roma. The possibilities are: Quagliarella, Borriello, Alessandro Matri or Alex Del Piero.

Milan, Napoli, Lazio, Palermo and Roma have all scored more League goals than the Bianconeri’s 36 so far this term.

Leaders Milan and Juventus, currently a point behind with a game in hand, will meet at the San Siro on Saturday night.

Montolivo 'agrees' AC Milan switch
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Rumours continue to push want-away Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo towards a summer Bosman switch to Milan.

The Italian international is widely known to be leaving Florence in the summer on a free transfer after seven years with La Viola. Whilst he enraged club officials during the breakdown of contract negotiations in late 2011, the player remained at the Artemio Franchi over the January transfer window.

Reports within a week of the winter window closing suggested that the 27-year-old was on the verge of agreeing to a Bosman switch in July to Milan.

Florence-based radio station Lady Radio led such rumours then and today have now claimed that the 31-times capped midfielder has finalised negotiations with the Rossoneri on a €2.5m-a-season, four-year contract, with the option for a fifth also available.

Agnelli: AC Milan are favourites
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Agnelli is another who believes that Milan are favourites for the upcoming League clash with Juventus this weekend.

Following on from Beppe Marotta’s claims that Juve are the underdogs for Week 25’s clash, Agnelli also sees the odds favouring the Rossoneri.

The Bianconeri President, however, still sees one advantage that his players take into the crucial encounter between the League’s current first and second-placed sides.

“I realise that there will be a bit of nervousness, that many people in the League at this time are trying to protect their interests,” reflected Agnelli on Tuesday.

“We have the rare honour - we are very relaxed.

“We approach Saturday’s game knowing that Milan are favourites because they are the current champions of Italy and they are already in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so surely the Rossoneri are favourites.

“We’re going to make it a great game, it’s been so long they truly competed.”

Zambrotta future put on hold
21.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gianluca Zambrotta doesn’t yet know whether he will be offered a new contract by Italian champions Milan.

The veteran, who turned 35 on Sunday, is only tied to the Rossoneri until June 2012 and it is unclear what his future will be.

“There is nothing new to report and I doubt there will be any time soon,” agent Marcello Bonetto told Milan News.

“Milan have quite a few players whose contracts are expiring, so I think we’ll have to wait until the end of the season to see how much and how well Gianluca has played.

“Zambrotta wants to continue playing, though, as he has no thoughts of retiring. Now we must see what Milan’s plans are.”

The 2006 World Cup winner, formerly of Juventus and Barcelona, joined the Rossoneri in the summer of 2008.

“Zambrotta could move on – even opt for a move abroad,” the representative added. “However, he won’t join a small club because he doesn’t deserve that.”

Allegri: 'Juventus important but not essential'
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has backtracked slightly on the importance placed on Week 25’s top-of-the-table clash with Juventus. “It’s important, but not essential.”

The Rossoneri will meet Antonio Conte’s Bianconeri a point and a place above them in Serie A. Whilst at the weekend he described the clash between the Division’s top two sides as ‘likely to decide the title race’, Allegri had somewhat downgraded the game’s importance by Monday afternoon.

“The challenge on Saturday is very important, but it is not essential,” the Coach told radio station RTL 102.5 on Monday. “The controversy? I believe it is part of the game, it is normal for the teams at the top.”

The latter comment was in reference to Juve’s recent complaints over the quality of refereeing.

Meanwhile, Allegri’s side will welcome back Andrea Pirlo to San Siro. The playmaker spent a decade with the Rossoneri, but left last summer on a Bosman to join Juve, who he has been in excellent form for recently.

“He’s an extraordinary player. In Turin he has found a new motivation and certainly those 10 years at Milan were not a failure. His quality is not up for debate.”

Nor too, according to Allegri, is Alexandre Pato’s quality.

“Pato has not been a disappointment, this is absolutely not true. Unfortunately he has suffered several injuries in the last two years.

“Now he is better, on Sunday I rested him as a precaution. He’s a great professional and on Saturday he will be available again to the team.”

Milan will find out on Thursday if Pato will be partnered in attack with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the club’s appeal to reduce his three game ban to two is heard.

“Ibra is a good guy, a generous guy. It shows in his way of thinking, playing and especially in the fact that he is always at the forefront in defence of everything and everyone. I think he is an important player, who is doing well at Milan and fortunately arrived when I arrived.”

Jankulovski forced to retire
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Napoli, Udinese and Milan winger Marek Jankulovski has retired from football at the age of 34 due to injury.

The Czech Republic international, who spent over a decade in Serie A and made over 250 appearances in the Italian top Division, has called time on his career in light of ongoing injury problems.

Having left Milan last summer after six years at San Siro, the left-sided player returned to his first club Banik Ostrava. However, the player suffered a knee injury in his first appearance for the club in October and has now stepped away from the game due to the recurring nature of the injury.

“Stopping is painful,” reflected Jankulovski in confirming the news on Monday. “But I am still happy with what I was able to do.”

Jankulovski won four major honours with Milan, represented his country at three European Championships and a World Cup and was named Czech Player of the Year in 2008.

Marotta: Juventus are the underdogs
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will be favourites in Saturday’s Scudetto showdown with Juventus, says Bianconeri official Beppe Marotta.

The two teams meet at the San Siro with the Rossoneri currently sitting at the top of the table thanks to a one-point lead over the Old Lady – who have a game in hand.

“Milan will start the tie as favourites,” director general Marotta stated on Monday afternoon.

“They are the reigning Italian champions and are one of the eight strongest sides in the European game.

“Nevertheless, we are proud of what we have managed to achieve in these years in order to become competitive again.”

As it stands, Milan are set to be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic given that he was banned for three Serie A games.

However, the San Siro giants have appealed against his suspension and he could be back in time for the weekend.

“I won’t try to predict whether Ibrahimovic will be eligible or not,” Marotta continued. “I haven’t seen the appeal documents so I can’t comment on it.”

Bonera sees Udinese turning point
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s win at Udinese in Week 23 resuscitated the Rossoneri’s season, says defender Daniele Bonera.

The Diavolo were 1-0 down with 13 minutes to go in Udine, only for Maxi Lopez and Stephan El Shaarawy to turn the game around with late goals.

That win – after a loss to Lazio and draw with Napoli – was then followed up with comprehensive victories over Arsenal in the Champions League and Cesena at the weekend.

“We’re a healthy squad regardless of what other people have been saying,” the former Parma player commented.

“Half an hour from the end against Udinese we looked like a team resigned to our fate, but we turned that game around, we beat Arsenal and now Cesena as well.

“Now we have Juventus, another tough match, and we’ll do everything to win it.”

The Italian champions returned to the top of the table on Sunday after ensuring a 3-1 win at the Stadio Manuzzi.

“We played a good game, an excellent first half, then we suffered a bit in the second half but what counts is the victory,” Bonera added.

“Cesena’s League position is a lie. We didn’t manage to score immediately but, after the first goal, things got easier.”

Milan and Juventus meet at San Siro next Saturday. The Rossoneri are a point clear of Juve at the top, but the Old Lady do have a game in hand.

Gattuso desperate for AC Milan future
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso insists he’s willing to play for free in return for a new contract at Italian giants Milan.

The 34-year-old hasn’t played since the opening League game of the season because of an eye problem.

And given that his contract is set to expire in the summer, there have been suggestions that he could move on or even quit the game completely.

“The people who know me are aware that I live for football,” he told Milan Channel. “I’m 34 and I’m too young to retire.

“I miss the adrenaline of action and I’m even prepared to play for free – I’ve already told Vice-President Adriano Galliani that.

“It is not a question of money, I just want to get back to doing what I love.”

Gattuso is suffering with an optical nerve issue that requires an unspecified amount of time to fully heal.

“If it was up to me then I’d be back on the pitch right now, but I need to see what the doctors say,” he continued.

“My illness is strange and a hard one to defeat.”

Siena explain Inzaghi snub
20.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Siena have revealed the background to their failed attempt to sign Milan veteran Pippo Inzaghi last month.

The Tuscan minnows made a final deadline day offer for the 38-year-old, only for the striker to commit his future to the Rossoneri.

“We had been thinking about Inzaghi for quite some time,” Siena President Massimo Mezzaroma told SportItalia.

“We intensified our actions in the last few days of the window because we thought that he may decide to come and give us a hand.

“I believe that he thought about it for a long time and, in the end, that it was a difficult decision for him to make.”

Inzaghi has been left frustrated by his lack of use at Milan so far this season given that he has made just five League appearances and one in the Coppa Italia.

Serie A: Cesena 1:3 AC Milan - comments
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Daniele Arrigoni: “We were always under pressure in the first half and in thrall of Milan. The second period was different, but recovering that gap was going to be difficult.”

Massimiliano Allegri: “We’re on top of the table and have a week to prepare for the game with the Bianconeri. It would be better to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but I don’t expect anything from the appeal.”

Allegri: 'Decisive AC Milan - Juventus'
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri is back on top of the table after winning in Cesena and admits next week’s Milan-Juventus “may well decide the title.”

The Rossoneri’s 3-1 victory at the Stadio Manuzzi this afternoon allowed them to leapfrog Juve in the leadership role, although the Bianconeri have a game in hand.

“We’re happy to be up there, even with an extra match played. Now we have a whole week to prepare for Saturday’s big clash and I am certain we’ll put in a great performance,” said the Coach.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat out the second in his three-match ban, but Milan have lodged an appeal.

“If Ibra is available, then he will play against Juventus. If he isn’t, then we have others who can do well. All we can do is wait for the result of the appeals process.

“On Saturday it will be a fascinating encounter that may well decide the title.”

Allegri was not entirely content with today’s 3-1 result in Cesena, even if Sulley Ali Muntari scored on his debut.

“The lads put in a great performance up until the third goal, then we allowed Cesena too much of the initiative and sat back, as we just stopped running in attack.

“Urby Emanuelson has great technique and does not often give the ball away. Other than the goal, Muntari also played well and is highly motivated, as he wants to forget the recent negative spell of his career.”

Serie A: Cesena 1:3 AC Milan - goals/highlights
19.2 || webmaster

Serie A: Cesena 1:3 AC Milan - match report
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Muntari 29 (M), Emanuelson 31 (M), Robinho 55 (M), Pudil 65 (C)

Sulley Muntari scored on his Milan debut in a confident 3-1 victory away to Cesena, as Urby Emanuelson and Robinho were also on target.

The Rossoneri’s enthusiasm was sky high again after beating Udinese and then a midweek 4-0 demolition of Arsenal in the Champions League. They were still at the centre of an injury crisis, though, as Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta, Philippe Mexes, Clarence Seedorf, Rodney Strasser, Alexander Merkel, Mario Yepes, Gennaro Gattuso, Alberto Aquilani and Antonio Cassano were out. Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued his three-match ban, so Maxi Lopez partnered Robinho.

Cesena missed Djokovic, Vangelis Moras and Steve Von Bergen, but above all needed a boost after throwing away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at 10-man Lazio.

Muntari received his Milan debut after moving on loan from Inter in January. With practically his first touch the Ghanaian smashed a long-range effort not far off target. Moments later he went even closer, spinning round from nine yards to drill wide.

Urby Emanuelson stung Francesco Antonioli’s palms with a left-foot strike from distance. The Dutchman’s first-time pass sent Massimo Ambrosini clear through the middle, but fired straight at the goalkeeper from point-blank range.

It was a siege on the Cesena goal from the very start, though after 15 minutes Cesena began to emerge from their own half.

Muntari marked his debut with the opening goal. Thiago Silva’s fierce free kick bounced off Antonioli’s chest into the path of the midfielder for a tap-in from a couple of yards.

Moments later it was 2-0, as Emanuelson gathered from Robinho and smashed a powerful long-range left-foot shot past Antonioli.

Cesena finally had their first effort on target when Christian Abbiati turned Vincenzo Iaquinta’s header out for a corner. They changed their tactics so Adrian Mutu became the trequartista behind Iaquinta.

Antonio Nocerino struck the side-netting from a tight angle. Just 40 seconds after the restart, Gianluca Comotto’s ball over the top found Mutu totally unmarked, but the Romanian’s header was over the bar.

Mario Alberto Santana won back possession to roll across for Iaquinta, but the former Juventus striker scuffed his finish, as Cesena were far more attacking in this second half.

However, it was Milan who got the goal, as Robinho sprung the offside trap and beat the goalkeeper with an angled drive. He was in acres of space through the middle of the Cesena defence from Ignazio Abate’s pass. The Rossoneri players went to the touchline to celebrate with Gianluca Zambrotta, as it was his birthday.

Mutu did get the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed for an offside position.

Cesena finally got one back with January signing Daniel Pudil’s debut Serie A goal. A poor Daniele Bonera clearance on the cross from the right fell to Pudil on the edge of the box and his angled half-volley bounced in front of Abbiati on its way into the far bottom corner.

Iaquinta’s powerful free kick whistled just over the crossbar, but Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench and almost immediately pounced on a defensive error, but his finish from a tight angle was deflected over the bar by Antonioli’s shoulder as the goalkeeper bravely rushed off his line.

Cesena had a great scoring opportunity on 82 minutes, as Iaquinta sprung the offside trap on a Mutu chipped pass and his splendid volley was well beaten away by an alert Abbiati.

Pippo Inzaghi got a run-out in stoppages for Milan. El Shaarawy very nearly scored at the end, turning just wide under pressure.

Cesena: Antonioli; Rossi, Benalouane, Rodriguez; Comotto, Santana (Martinez 82), Colucci (Guana 71), Parolo, Pudil; Mutu, Iaquinta

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Nocerino, Ambrosini (Van Bommel 51), Muntari; Emanuelson; Maxi Lopez (Inzaghi 91), Robinho (El Shaarawy 77)

Ref: Valeri

Serie A: Cesena vs. AC Milan - lineups
19.2 || webmaster

Cesena: Antonioli; Rossi, Benalouane, Rodriguez; Comotto, Santana, Colucci, Parolo, Pudil; Mutu, Iaquinta.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson; Maxi Lopez, Robinho.

Pirlo: 'I'm ready for AC Milan reunion'
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo is already looking ahead to next week’s clash against his old club Milan. “I won’t be emotional, as the game is too important.”

The midfielder spent 10 years at San Siro, but scored his first goal in a Juventus jersey during last night’s 3-1 win over Catania.

“I am happy and the goal was important, as we were trailing at the time. We always put in strong performances against the smaller clubs, but lately were unable to score.”

Next weekend there is a head-to-head for the Scudetto against Pirlo’s former teammates.

“The return to San Siro will be exciting, but I won’t be emotional after that, as the game is too important. I don’t think we are the favourites for this match.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to miss out due to his ban, although Milan have lodged an appeal to have it reduced.

“I hope all the strongest players can take part,” added Pirlo.

Arrigoni won't change for AC Milan
19.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Daniele Arrigoni hopes Cesena can catch Milan off guard this afternoon, but won’t adjust his tactics. “I’ve chosen my path and am sticking with it.”

The Rossoneri are fresh from thrashing Arsenal 4-0 in the Champions League, but visit the artificial turf at the Stadio Manuzzi.

“We’ve got to reach 40 points and secure our safety, taking every opportunity that comes our way,” said the Coach.

“I have no intention of changing tactics against big clubs like Milan. I’ve chosen my path and am sticking to it. Milan are missing some key players, but I’d say the replacements are more than impressive.

“It was important to come together during the week and focus on fitness work, as our schedule has been shaken up recently.

“I spoke to the players for a long time and we’ve got to believe that we can win, even when things start to go wrong.”

It is an issue for Cesena, who were leading 2-0 away to 10-man Lazio last week only to lose 3-2.

“We mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that just because we have Adrian Mutu and Vincenzo Iaquinta, then we’ll get points. Results are achieved by the whole team fighting for every ball.”

Montolivo: 'No AC Milan deal'
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Riccardo Montolivo’s contract with Fiorentina expires in June, but he denies having a deal with Milan. “I don’t know what my future will be.”

The midfielder refused an extension and will therefore be a free agent in the summer, but while he was heavily linked with Inter, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Roma, the general belief is that he’ll end up with the Rossoneri.

“At the end of the season I will very likely leave Florence, albeit with great disappointment,” Montolivo told children ‘interviewing’ him on a visit to a paediatric hospital.

“There has not been any offer from Milan, so I don’t know what my future will be.”

The children also asked whether money or passion was the deciding factor in his career.

“Money is important in life, but without the passion you have within you right from childhood, it would all be over.

“You must never give in and always believe in your dreams. I dreamed of Serie A and I did it.”

New Boateng injury
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have announced that Kevin-Prince Boateng picked up a thigh injury during the 4-0 win over Arsenal.

The Ghanaian made his comeback from a long lay-off in that Champions League game, scoring the opener with a sensational volley.

However, he limped off during the second half and it seems as if the injury is more serious than previously thought.

“A.C. Milan confirm that after the Arsenal game Kevin-Prince Boateng was diagnosed with a muscular problem in his left thigh,” read a statement.

“Over the next few days the prognosis will be established following more medical tests.”

Meanwhile, Alberto Aquilani and Mathieu Flamini resumed training with the full squad today.

Alessandro Nesta, Alexandre Pato, Boateng, Clarence Seedorf and Philippe Mexes miss tomorrow’s Serie A match with Cesena.

Angry Allegri stokes AC Milan fire
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri rings the changes against Cesena, including Sulley Muntari, but still urges Milan to maintain “the same spirit” that saw them crush Arsenal 4-0, even if it means getting angry.

The Rossoneri will be without several stars for tomorrow’s Serie A game, not to mention the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Alessandro Nesta’s knee is playing up, but he will be available against Juventus,” explained Allegri in his press conference.

“Alexandre Pato has a muscular problem and there’s no point risking him, the same goes for Kevin-Prince Boateng. Philippe Mexes will be ready in three or four days.

“I’m not sure who will start between Luca Antonini and Djamel Mesbah, while Massimo Ambrosini replaces Mark Van Bommel and Muntari makes his debut in the Milan jersey. Robinho had his best game of the season against Arsenal.

“We need to approach Cesena with the same spirit and motivation that we had against Arsenal. We mustn’t get this wrong, as we’re facing an organised side with a strong strike force that always creates something good on home turf.

“I don’t think my lads are tired after Wednesday’s game. We need balance and a concentrated team. How am I feeling? Angry. That’s because when things are going well, you need to maintain your concentration with even more grit and determination than usual.”

Allegri also commented on Juventus Coach Antonio Conte’s complaints about refereeing errors going against the Turin giants.

“I don’t believe the referees are affected by any sort of pressure. We can all make mistakes, so just as I can pick the wrong line-up or substitutions, they can miss a penalty incident.”

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Piscitelli, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Ely, Mesbah, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes, Ambrosini, Cristante, Emanuelson, Muntari, Nocerino, Van Bommel, El Shaarawy, Inzaghi, Maxi Lopez, Robinho

Ibrahimovic: 'AC Milan's best performance'
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels the 4-0 demolition of Arsenal was “Milan’s best team performance” and praised Thiago Silva as the “best defender in the world.”

The striker was on target with a penalty in Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg encounter, while Kevin-Prince Boateng and a Robinho brace rounded out the scoreline.

“Everyone said it was easy because we won 4-0, but if you look back at the game it really was not so simple,” Ibra told

“Normally we tend to relax when 1-0 or 2-0 up, so we can control the match, but we continued pushing. We kept it in top gear for the full 90 minutes. I’ve been at the club for a year and a half now and this was probably Milan’s best team performance in my time here.”

Zlatan also revealed why he did not join Arsenal when they first contacted him in 2000, still playing in Sweden for Malmo.

“Arsenal came to me and said they were interested, so I went to London. However, when I arrived I got the sensation Arsene Wenger saw this as a trial run. I would not have turned up for an audition. I thought they wanted to convince me to join them. In my view, you either want a player or you don’t.

“In any case, I made the right choice at the time and I am happy now, as it is still the right choice.”

Ibrahimovic had words of advice for a current Arsenal star, Robin van Persie, who could well leave in the summer.

“I’m sure van Persie will do great things wherever he plays. Naturally, if you don’t win anything at club level for a few years then something does trigger inside you. Inevitably, you feel that desire to win. If you don’t feel that instinct, then I’d never want you in my team.

“Milan have the best defender in the world: Thiago Silva. Believe me, I’ve played alongside people like Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who are all fantastic, but Thiago Silva is like all of them put together. He has everything a defender needs to become the leader of a team. I can’t understand why people don’t praise him more.”

The Rossoneri now dive back into the Scudetto race and are top of the table, even if Juventus have a game in hand.

“Last season we’d pick up the points we needed even when not playing well. This year that isn’t happening. Taking home a result when not at your best is an important quality. We also had some strange injuries that ruled players out for a long time.

“Juventus are certainly doing well, but we must not forget they play only once a week, whereas we play every three days. It makes a big difference.”

San Siro turf to go artificial?
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

It’s reported Milan and Inter will finally replace the notoriously awful San Siro turf with a ‘mixed’ artificial pitch from 2013-14.

The clubs had already considered the possibility of using an artificial playing surface, as since the third tier was added to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in 1990, the air flow means the grass does not grow effectively.

It has to be re-laid repeatedly throughout the year, but remains very choppy and causes the ball to bounce in an uneven manner.

According to Tuttosport newspaper, Milan and Inter have found a different solution to the artificial pitch that is used by Cesena and Novara in Serie A this season.

The new system to be introduced in 2013-14 would be only semi-artificial, so the grass is real, but growing on a synthetic surface.

Milan inaugurated a new ‘super-synthetic surface’ in their Milanello training ground yesterday, where the foundation is made of natural earth and the artificial grass is attached to it.

AC Milan thrashing 'will haunt' Wenger
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confessed the 4-0 thrashing to Milan is the kind of result “you take with you until the last day of your life.”

The San Siro hammering was the biggest European defeat in the history of the Gunners and left them needing to win 5-0 in the second leg in order to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals.

“It never gets out of your system because you take it with you until the last day of your life,” admitted Wenger on Sky Sports.

“You can find 100 explanations why we had a poor performance and an off day. We lost against a good Milan team, not an exceptional one. Unfortunately we were punished severely.

“It is important not to dwell on that too much, instead focus on the next performance, respond in a positive way and ensure we have the mental qualities to be at this club.

“We have put together a good series of results and we can consider that night was just an off day.

“We are focused on what we have done well recently because we go into a battle now where we need confidence, belief and great commitment.

“We are in fourth position in the Premier League and we have an opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. It is important that we are up for that and do not feel sorry for ourselves.”

Abbiati: 'That van Persie save!'
18.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati cannot disguise his satisfaction at pulling off a great save against Robin van Persie. “It was like a weight off my shoulders.”

The goalkeeper was crucial in the 4-0 Champions League victory over Arsenal on Wednesday evening, performing a spectacular reaction save on van Persie.

“I celebrated like crazy after that save, because it was like a weight off my shoulders,” Abbiati told Milan Channel.

“I was coming off an unlucky period full of injury problems. Making a save like that really fired me up.”

Now the Rossoneri hope to take that enthusiasm through to Sunday’s trip to Cesena.

“It won’t be easy, as Cesena are a good side who really strengthened over the January transfer window. Their artificial turf could cause some problems, but in any case we have to play the same way we did against Arsenal, by attacking them from the first minute.

“As for next week’s game with Juventus, we won’t think about that for now. One step at a time and from Monday we’ll concentrate on the next test.”

Seedorf out for a month
17.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have been dealt another injury blow as Clarence Seedorf has been ruled out of action for a month after picking up an injury midweek.

The Dutch veteran was forced off early on in the Rossoneri’s Champions League first leg clash with Arsenal on Wednesday night. Tests have now revealed the full extent of his complaint, with a strained hamstring diagnosed and likely to keep the No 10 out of action for at least a month.

His is not the only new injury concern for Coach Massimiliano Allegri, as Philippe Mexes also reportedly left training this week with a suspected sprained ankle.

The 4-0 win over Arsenal saw Kevin Prince Boateng and Alexandre Pato both return from recent lay-offs, but in preparing for the weekend trip to Cesena, Allegri is still without more than half a dozen first-team names, as well as the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mexes in doubt for Cesena
17.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes is a doubt for the game against Cesena after the Milan stopper limped out of training.

The summer signing from Roma quit today’s session early and Sky Sport Italia are reporting that he may have sprained his ankle.

Mexes, 29, is starting to feature more and more for the Rossoneri after recovering from knee ligament damage he sustained in April.

The Frenchman, who appeared in the midweek 4-0 win over Arsenal, has played in eight Serie A games so far this season.

Shevchenko impressed by AC Milan
17.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan ace Andriy Shevchenko has praised the Diavolo for the way they destroyed Arsenal in the Champions League.

The Rossoneri put one foot in the last eight of the competition thanks to a 4-0 first leg win over the London club in midweek.

“Milan’s spirit impressed me,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “As did their conviction and their assuredness which they displayed throughout the game.”

Although the Ukrainian concedes that his ex-club are not one of the favourites to lift the trophy, he does believe they have a chance.

“Barcelona and Real Madrid are at the top of their game right now, but a lot of things could happen in this competition.”

Shevchenko, now at Dynamo Kiev, had seven successful years at Milan before his 2006 switch to Chelsea. He also spent the 2008-09 campaign on loan with the Diavolo.

Muntari: AC Milan a step up
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sulley Muntari has revealed his delight in recently completing a cross-town transfer from Inter to rivals Milan this January.

The Ghanaian international, who represented his country in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, was speaking for the first time to the media on Thursday as a Rossoneri player, after the winter switch.

“I am very excited to have passed from Inter to Milan,” the former Udinese man declared.

“It is incredible and a major step forward for my career. This team is unique, one of the best in the world.

“I arrive with much enthusiasm to do well and win. I will do my job and the Coach will then decide where to play me, but I’m totally available.

“Am I in the best team in Italy? No, I’m in the best team in the world.”

Muntari has chosen the No 14 shirt, reportedly in honour of former Diavolo man George Weah.

Van Bommel admits to PSV option
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel has admitted that he could leave Milan for PSV Eindhoven at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old is in the last year of his contract at San Siro and there have been suggestions of a return to PSV.

“I’ve been contacted by PSV and there is mutual interest from both sides,” stated the central midfielder.

“There is a possibility that it may happen, but there is nothing 100 per cent certain at this point in time. PSV and Milan will decide.

“For now all that I am thinking about is doing well for the Rossoneri.”

Milan will only discuss contract extensions with players who are coming to the conclusion of their agreements at the end of the season.

Van Bommel, formerly of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, spent six years with PSV before his 2005 exit.

Maldini unlikely to join PSG
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cesare Maldini doesn’t believe that son Paolo will take up a coaching role with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Reports from France had suggested that the Italian legend would move to PSG in the summer to become the side’s defensive Coach.

Father Cesare, though, doesn’t believe such an hypothesis has anything to do with footballing reality.

“I know that he was a guest of PSG director Leonardo a little while ago and that he keeps in touch with boss Carlo Ancelotti,” the former Italy tactician told Sky Sport Italia.

“I don’t know for sure what Paolo will do in the future, but I doubt that he’ll look after the defenders in Paris.

“You can do anything in life, but I don’t think that is what Paolo aspires to.”

Cesare, who like Paolo played for Milan, would rather see his boy take up some sort of role with the Rossoneri.

“I’d like to see him work for the club as he wore their shirt for a lifetime. Milan are a symbol in the Maldini household.”

Mexes calls for AC Milan focus
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes has urged his Milan teammates to not be carried away by the wave of enthusiasm after the 4-0 win over Arsenal.

The Italian champions breezed past the Premiership outfit in the first leg of their Champions League tie last night.

Although delighted with the performance and the result, the French international centre-back is remaining calm.

“It all becomes a lot easier when all of the side work hard by chasing back and playing football like we did,” the Bosman arrival from Roma stated.

“A 4-0 win at home is pleasing, but we have to remain focused as that is necessary in order for us to achieve beautiful things.”

Mexes started the Stadio Meazza tie given that Alessandro Nesta wasn’t fit enough to be named in the starting XI alongside Thiago Silva.

“I’ll give my best in an effort to repay the faith that the club have put into me,” continued the former Auxerre stopper.

Milan signed Mexes while he was recovering from knee ligament damage.

Berlusconi: AC Milan better than Juventus
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Soon to be Milan President Silvio Berlusconi insists his side are a stronger outfit than title rivals Juventus.

Berlusconi made the claim after Juve drew 0-0 at Parma, while his Rossoneri demolished Arsenal 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League tie.

“We’ve never had any doubt about retaining the Scudetto,” the former Italian Prime Minister told Sky Sport Italia.

“We are convinced that we are superior to Juventus – even if we do have respect for the excellent squad that they have.”

The Diavolo, who currently lead Serie A over Juve, put on a show last night and Berlusconi was obviously delighted with the performance.

“You have to be pleased when you win in such a manner,” continued the politician. “It was a perfect display in attack and in defence where we gave nothing away.

“Let’s hope we can put in a repeat in the return game.”

Berlusconi was also questioned about the club’s failure to sign Carlos Tevez from Manchester City in January.

“I didn’t want his arrival,” Berlusconi claimed. “We have excellent alternatives in attack such as Stephan El Shaarawy, who is a little champion, and Maxi Lopez.

“And let us not forget about the return of Alexandre Pato, a player who we expect a lot from.”

The Milan owner was then asked about the possibility of returning as President of the club.

“My daughter Barbara is putting pressure on me to do that,” he admitted. “I don’t think you can say no to family.”

Wenger feels it's over
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal’s hopes of knocking Milan out of the Champions League are all but gone. “Statistically it's too big a deficit.”

The Gunners had never lost by four goals before in their 222 European games (excluding qualifiers), but were hammered 4-0 at San Siro in the Champions League.

“Statistically it’s too big a deficit,” said Wenger when asked whether his men can turn this around in the second leg.

“We'll try of course but the result is massive for them, very difficult to turn and we cannot do worse than tonight.

“A defeat can happen when you play well but defensively we were poor, we were never in the game and it is a big shock.

“It's a big concern because we were in trouble with the same problem over the top, slow to read the game, slow to respond, and of course it was a big problem for us all night.

“We had to chase the game early because we lost the ball in areas that you cannot afford at this level.”

Ibrahimovic enjoys triumph over Arsenal
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits “you don’t get to beat 4-0 Arsenal every day” and reveals why he let loose with such a loud celebration.

The Swede converted a penalty to complete the Champions League rout this evening and screamed at the top of his lungs.

“You don’t get to beat Arsenal 4-0 every day,” smiled Ibra. “My shout was one of positive anger, as I was happy with the result and the great performance.

“We played tactically very well, even if nobody expected us to put in such a fantastic performance.

“Having said that, we should’ve scored a few more goals, because they are important in Europe over two legs. At least this result does give us a good advantage for the second game.

“There’s a long way to go until the Final, but we have to take it one match at a time and see where we end up.”

Ibrahimovic has an amazing record in domestic titles in Holland, Italy and Spain, but has never won the Champions League.

“It’s not an obsession for me, but it is the trophy I’d like to win and we’ll see at the end of the season if I’ve achieved that.”

Allegri: 'I wanted more goals'
16.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri still wasn’t entirely content with Milan’s demolition of Arsenal, as “we could’ve won 6-0 and ought to take our chances.”

The Rossoneri crushed the Gunners 4-0 in the first leg of tonight’s Champions League Round of 16 tie at San Siro.

“Tonight we had so many chances, especially after going 4-0 up. We could’ve won 6-0 and ought to take our chances when they appear, above all in Europe,” said the Coach.

“I hoped to add some more to the result, because we have to take the opportunities. The result is good, but it would’ve been better to score a few more and definitively end the tie. Now we need a goal in London to relax.

“The team played almost perfectly, attacking our opponents from the start on all areas of the pitch. In terms of concentration we got it all right and the side showed the right spirit of sacrifice to win.

“We must always play this way in Europe and Italy so we can win every trophy.”

Robinho bagged a brace, while Kevin-Prince Boateng scored a screamer and Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty.

“Robinho is a important player and proved that in the past. This season he started without much training work behind him, so he is only now finding his form.”

Champions League: AC Milan 4:0 Arsenal - Crudeli
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Champions League: AC Milan 4:0 Arsenal - goals/highlights
15.2 || webmaster

Szczesny: 'Ibrahimovic among greats'
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic as “up there as one of the best strikers I've played against.”

The Gunners were shot down 4-0 at San Siro in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 encounter.

“We didn't have the best of games but we have to give credit to Milan who punished us on every goal,” Szczesny told ITV.

“They were the better team on the day. They are the best attacking players in the world and playing against Ibrahimovic, he's up there as one of the best strikers I've played against.

“We have to keep fighting and get our confidence back now.”

Robinho: 'It's not over yet'
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brace hero Robinho isn’t resting on his laurels, as he warns Milan “need the same grit in the second leg” after thrashing Arsenal 4-0.

The Rossoneri have a foot in the Champions League quarter-finals following their magnificent performance at San Siro.

“Certainly things are looking good, but we need the same grit in the second leg too,” Robinho told RAI Sport.

“We cannot allow our opponents anything. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an extraordinary player with his assists and tricks, so I am happy for him.

“We know that we have the quality to fight on all fronts and will try our best.”

The fact Juventus were held to a 0-0 draw by Parma today means Milan are still top of the Serie A table, although the Bianconeri do have a game in hand.

Champions League: AC Milan 4:0 Arsenal - match report
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Boateng 16 (M), Robinho 38, 49 (M), Ibrahimovic pen 79 (M)

Milan absolutely dominated Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League clash, winning 4-0 with Kevin-Prince Boateng, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a Robinho brace.

The Rossoneri hoped to break their curse of three consecutive Champions League exits at the Last 16 stage to English opposition. The injury crisis was beginning to calm down, as Kevin-Prince Boateng returned to the starting XI, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was able to play because his three-match ban only applies to Serie A. Arsenal missed Per Mertesacker, but welcomed back Kieran Gibbs after four months out.

Clarence Seedorf hit the side-netting from the edge of the box, but the Dutch veteran immediately picked up an injury. He tried to run it off, but eventually had to be replaced by Urby Emanuelson. Just moments after stepping on to the pitch, Ibra knocked down a Boateng pass for Emanuelson to drill wide.

Milan took the lead thanks to a moment of magic from the returning Prince. He chested down a ball over the top and let it bounce before smashing the right-foot shot on the volley from a tight angle in off the underside of the crossbar.

Antonio Nocerino attempted a not dissimilar attempt, but this time it was just over the bar from the edge of the box.

Ibrahimovic pounced on a Thomas Vermaelen error to go clear, but was closed down by the goalkeeper and rather harshly the referee too.

Robinho also went on the counter after another Vermaelen error, but again could not finish off the move by rolling across to Ibra because Laurent Koscielny intercepted.

Milan doubled their advantage when Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap down the left and pulled back from the by-line for the simplest of Robinho headers into the ground from seven yards.

The Ibrahimovic diving header from Boateng’s curling cross was blocked off by Bacary Sagna using his body as a shield from point-blank range. Arsenal had to make a substitution too, as Koscielny came off.

In first half stoppages, Boateng broke away down the right and his screamer hit the side-netting. Luca Antonini rushed through the middle of the Arsenal defence on to an Ibra pass, but Wojiech Szczesny bravely rushed off his line to charge down in a heavy collision. The defender was rather harshly booked, as it seemed to be a clean attempt on the ball.

After the restart Thierry Henry replaced a quiet Theo Walcott for his final game, as he returns to New York Red Bull tomorrow. Substitute Johan Djourou was at full stretch to intercept an Ibrahimovic pass for Boateng in the six-yard box.

However, Milan made it 3-0, as Vermaelen slipped again to leave Robinho the space to pick his spot, firing low at the near post from the D.

Boateng’s first touch let him down when going past Gibbs, then Antonini went on the counter and fired well wide with his weaker left foot. Robinho’s shot was charged down in the area when he probably should’ve rolled across to Ibra.

Aaron Ramsey’s header was over the bar from a corner, but had a great chance on 65 minutes when Henry flicked up a pass for Robin van Persie’s stunning volley, but Christian Abbiati pulled out an equally impressive save.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Gibbs, moving Vermaelen into left-back. Another van Persie volley was easier for Abbiati to smother at the near post.

Djourou tripped Ibrahimovic after the Swede changed direction to go past him and the referee pointed to the spot. Zlatan stepped up to take it himself and buried it despite Szczesny getting the right angle.

Alexandre Pato also made his comeback after another thigh injury, replacing Robinho for the final minutes. Abbiati needed another good save on van Persie’s downward header, but Emanuelson wasted the chance for a fifth by ballooning off target. Pato had a good opportunity with the final kick of the game, but was denied by a one-handed Szczesny save.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Thiago Silva, Mexes, Antonini; Van Bommel, Nocerino, Seedorf (Emanuelson 12); Boateng (Ambrosini 70); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (Pato 83)

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny (Djourou 44), Vermaelen, Gibbs (Oxlade-Chamberlain 66); Song, Rosicky; Walcott (Henry 46), Ramsey, Arteta; van Persie

Ref: Kassai (HUN)

Champions League: AC Milan vs. Arsenal - lineups
15.2 || webmaster

AC Milan: Abbiati - Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini - Seedorf, Van Bommel, Nocerino - Boateng - Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

Arsenal: Szczesny - Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs - Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Song, Walcott - Van Persie.

AC Milan archive Tevez until June
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have refused to comment on whether Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez is still a transfer target.

The Rossoneri attempted to sign the Argentine during the transfer window, but eventually admitted defeat.

The Diavolo agreed personal terms with the South American, but their request to take him on loan was rejected by City.

“Tevez? Now is not the time to be thinking about the transfer market,” Vice-President Adriano Galliani told Sky Sport 24. “We’ll start to do that in June.”

The focus at Milan right now – and understandably so – is on tonight’s Champions League first leg tie against Arsenal.

“What counts is winning this evening,” continued the former Lega Calcio chief. “That is really important as we haven’t got past the last 16 stage for four years now.

“We want to go as far as possible in the competition.”

Gattuso accepts Champions League snub
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso accepts that Milan were right to leave him out of their Champions League squad.

The midfielder was omitted from the UEFA list given that he’s missed most of the season because of an eye injury.

“I was disappointed that I wasn’t included, but I would have made the same decision,” he told the Corriere della Sera. “I’m suffering because I can’t play.”

The veteran, 34, hasn’t featured since the opening game of the season against Lazio due to an optic nerve issue that needs time to heal.

Even if Gattuso returns to full fitness by the end of the season and Milan progress in Europe, he won’t be eligible for any Champions League ties for the remainder of the campaign.

Maldini set for PSG role?
15.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Serie A influence at Paris Saint-Germain could get bigger in the summer with the arrival of Paolo Maldini.

According to a report in Le Parisien, the 43-year-old could be hired as a defensive Coach to work under boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti and Maldini were former teammates for Milan and Italy, while ex-Rossoneri midfielder Leonardo is PSG’s sporting director.

Maldini has admitted that he would like to get involved in the game again following his retirement in 2009.

He recently vented his frustration that Milan had not offered him any sort of job after serving the club as a player for almost 25 years.

Wenger sees Ibrahimovic threat
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsene Wenger is full of admiration for Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of preparing his Arsenal team to face the tall Swede’s Milan in the Champions League.

The Rossoneri welcome Wenger’s Gunners to San Siro on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Last 16 European Cup tie.

Talking ahead of returning to the ground that his team beat Milan on in 2008 at this same stage of the competition, Wenger identified the key threat in the opposition - Ibra.

“He is a great player,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website. “If you look at his record, at what he has won, he has his own personality based on a strong belief in himself.

“That is a quality at the top level that can sometimes be seen as over-confidence but I don't think he is because he turns up with performances in the big games.

“That's why I believe he was at the Arsenal training ground before his career. Before he moved to Ajax we were interested in him, and he made a great career.”

Looking ahead to Wednesday night’s encounter, the Frenchman cited the similarities he sees in the two clubs.

“Together we have a very balanced team!” he joked.

“Basically they have the same philosophy, that means they look after their players, they have a family attitude towards the way they treat the players, and we have exactly the same.

“They do it by keeping their players a bit longer and we have done it with some younger players but basically the philosophy is not so different.”

Thiago Silva respects Arsenal firepower
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Thiago Silva has underlined that there is more to Arsenal than just Robin Van Persie.

The Dutchman is having a campaign to remember with the Premiership club, but the Brazilian international insists the London outfit are not a one-man team.

“Arsenal are a great side and we have to watch everyone and not just Van Persie,” stated the centre-back. “We have to monitor all of their players because they are all quality.

“If you talk about just one player today then maybe tomorrow it will be another one who has grabbed the headlines – we have to be careful about everyone.”

So who else should Milan need to keep an eye on in tomorrow’s Champions League first leg tie? Thiago Silva was in no doubt as he highlighted the ability of Thierry Henry.

“He's a player who’s had a great history, not just with Arsenal but also with France,” continued the defender.

“We must be careful because in every game where he comes on he does well. If you give him a little space he will certainly score, he has incomparable quality.

“Arsenal have a great squad of players, but so do we,” the South American continued. “It will be a great spectacle for the public.

“We hope to do well tomorrow – also so that we can ease the pressure on ourselves for the second leg, but we know either Van Persie or Henry could decide the match in one moment.”

Allegri looks to Ibrahimovic
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri is expecting Zlatan Ibrahimovic to make an impact in the Champions League tie against Arsenal.

Ibra is currently serving a three-match Serie A ban, but he will be available to face the Premiership giants tomorrow.

“Ibra never gives up, not even in training,” the tactician stated on Tuesday afternoon as the Swede looks to lift the European Cup for the first time.

“The Champions League is not an obsession for him though. He’s serene, he’s in form, he’s in good physical and mental shape. He’ll have a great game tomorrow.”

The Rossoneri have been struggling with injuries recently, but Allegri hopes to recover a few big names players for the first leg tie.

“We’ve only had two training sessions since the last game. I still need to see who I’ll have and who will be missing.

“It is important to have Kevin Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Christian Abbiati back, but it will be hard to see Boateng and Pato from the start.”

Milan went out at this stage to Tottenham last season, but the former Cagliari boss is in confident mood.

“I’m optimistic, very optimistic,” he declared. “We gave too much space to Spurs last season. Not conceding at home will be an advantage.

“We want to do better in the Champions League than we did last year, but that Tottenham tie shouldn’t affect us.

“We know about the strength of Arsenal, they play excellent football, they are an excellent collective with excellent individuals.

“We’ll have to be very alert in defence, but this is not just one game. This will be played over 180 minutes.”

Teenager Stephan El Shaarawy has proved himself in recent weeks and there is a chance that he could make his Champions League debut.

“Stephan is doing really well. He’s growing, but he is just 19 and he has to be allowed to mature even if he has great quality and an eye for goal.”

AC Milan possible lineup: Abbiati (Amelia); Abate, Nesta (Mexes), Thiago Silva, Zambrotta; Ambrosini, Van Bommel, Nocerino; Seedorf (Boateng); Ibrahimovic, Robinho

Flamini respects Arsenal threat
14.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mathieu Flamini knows it will be tough for his Milan side to overcome former club Arsenal in the Champions League.

The two teams meet in the first leg of their last 16 clash at San Siro on Wednesday as the competition resumes following its winter break.

“Arsenal are an opponent to be respected,” the midfielder, who left Arsenal for Milan in 2008, told Sky Sport Italia.

“It won’t be an easy game for us. They play some beautiful football and have been doing so for many years now.”

Flamini, 27, has yet to play so far during this campaign after damaging knee ligaments in pre-season training.

“I’m feeling good, even if I am not at 100 per cent,” the French international continued.

“Milan, up until now, have done some great things, but now we need to give the very best of ourselves.

“This is a crucial stage of the season for us and we are required to sprint.”

The Italian champions returned to the top of the table at the weekend to lead Juventus by two points. The Old Lady, however, have two games in hand.

AC Milan's Arsenal options boosted
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have been encouraged by the return of a number first-team names to training ahead of the Champions League meeting with Arsenal this week.

The Rossoneri face the Premier League side on Wednesday in the Last 16 of UEFA’s premier competition with the likes of Kevin Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Christian Abbiati all back to full training at Milanello on Monday.

The quartet sat out the weekend’s 2-1 win at Udinese, alongside nine other teammates through injury or suspension. All four are now expected to play a part on Wednesday night, easing Coach Massimiliano Allegri’s selection fears ahead of the European encounter. Last season saw Milan eliminated at the same stage of the competition to Arsenals’ cross-town rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Mathieu Flamini and Sulley Muntari will also be back to full training by Tuesday, but neither are in contention for the Gunners’ visit as they are not on the club’s Champions League squad list.

Ibrahimovic drops Champions League obsession
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ahead of Milan facing Arsenal in the Last 16 this week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is no longer preoccupied with winning the Champions League.

Ibra has played in the competition for the likes of the Rossoneri, Barcelona, Inter and Ajax, but has never won the competition.

The year he left Inter they went on to win it, whilst either side of his year at Barcelona did the Catalans win the competition.

Speaking to UEFA’s official magazine on the premier European competition, the Swede claims his personal record in the competition doesn’t bother him anymore.

“The Champions League? I’m happy even without having ever won it. Many years ago my goal was to win it at all costs.

“If you make winning something too important, you will only end up not winning it.

“Now I point to all the trophies that I can win and if I do win the European Cup then great, and if I don’t win it then I don’t.

“And this does not diminish my career because I did everything I could.

“If I retire today I would say that I am very happy with my career.

“You win titles because you play with champions - they are the people that allow you to win, it is not an individual matter.

“My goal has always been to become a player who was as complete as possible. I believe I have achieved that, I know what I can do and I am ready to sacrifice to succeed.

“You do not win because you are number one, but because the team is number one.”

Natali on his way to AC Milan too
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Riccardo Montolivo could be joined by Fiorentina teammate Cesare Natali at Milan before the start of next season.

Both players are expected to leave Tuscany in the summer on free transfers once their contracts expire in June.

While midfielder Montolivo has reportedly already agreed terms with the Rossoneri over a move, it is being claimed today that Natali in on the verge of a San Siro switch too.

The former Torino centre-back, 32, has scored one goal in 18 Serie A games for the Viola so far this season.

Ambitious Paloschi eyes glorious future
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan-owned Chievo striker Alberto Paloschi has set himself some big targets for the future.

The Italian Under-21 international is currently focused on keeping his club in the top flight, but he has other long-term hopes.

“I’m never content with myself because I know that I can always do better,” the 22-year-old told L’Arena.

“I’m trying to steal the secrets of Pellissier as he is a reference point for me. He’s a great player.

“I want to finish the season in double figures and that would be a very satisfying achievement for me,” he continued.

“I also one day hope to finish a campaign at the top of the scoring charts and break into the full Italian national side.”

Paloschi, who spent last season at Parma and Genoa, has four goals in 17 Serie A games for the Verona outfit so far.

Chievo have the option to sign a 50 per cent share in the player at the end of the present campaign.

Chievo are in action tonight when they face Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.

Amelia expects AC Milan - Juventus duel
13.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Juventus will be fighting for the title until the very last day of the season, says Marco Amelia.

The Rossoneri returned to the top of the table with a win at Udinese. They are two points clear of the Old Lady, but Juve do have two games in hand.

“It will be a nice duel with Juventus and I think it will last until the very end of the campaign,” the Diavolo goalkeeper noted.

“They won’t give up as they have the desire to start winning trophies again. We, meanwhile, want to confirm the Scudetto which we won last term.

“It’s battles like this one which stir up desires for victory.”

The 29-year-old, currently the club’s first choice while Christian Abbiati is sidelined with injury, also revealed his hopes for the future.

“I want to win the Champions League with Milan,” he added. “However, one day I hope to play for Roma and be a protagonist.”

Amelia grew up on the Giallorosso youth system but has never played in Serie A for his hometown club.

AC Milan stars recover for Arsenal
12.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s injury crisis is easing in the lead-up to the Arsenal clash, as Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alessandro Nesta resumed training today.

The Rossoneri were missing 13 players for Saturday’s 2-1 victory away to Udinese due to a series of setbacks that have hit the squad.

The good news going into Wednesday’s Champions League knock-out match is that several stars are regaining their fitness.

Today Pato, Boateng, Nesta and Mathieu Flamini resumed training with the full squad, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mark Van Bommel’s Serie A bans do not apply to Europe.

Mario Yepes and Alberto Aquilani are also moving closer to a recovery, though they continue a personalised training regime.

Serie A: Udinese 1:2 AC Milan - highlights
12.2 || webmaster

Maxi Lopez: 'AC Milan dream come true'
12.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Maxi Lopez’s first goal in the Milan jersey was “a dream come true. I’m happy for myself, but above all for the team.”

The Argentine arrived over the January transfer window from Catania after the Rossoneri failed in their bid to sign Carlos Tevez.

He came off the bench this evening to score one goal and set up another for Stephan El Shaarawy in the 2-1 win away to Udinese.

“It was my dream to score for Milan and today that dream came true,” beamed Maxi Lopez.

“I am happy for myself, but above all for the team, because we needed to get this result after an unfortunate run of games.

“I dedicate this goal to my family and all my teammates, as they were very kind when I arrived at the training camp.”

Maxi effectively changed the game, as when he came off the bench Milan were losing 1-0 and had barely managed a shot on target.

“In the locker room we realised that we could not drop more points along the way like this, so we stepped on to the field for the second half in a much more determined manner.

“Apart from the haircut, I do have a lot in common with El Shaarawy. He is a lad who is learning and I’m sure he will be a treasure for Milan.

“Right now we are top of the table and want to stay there until the end of the season.”

The Rossoneri are in front of Juventus, who have two games in hand, as their encounters with Parma and Bologna were snowed off.

Allegri hails AC Milan spirit
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri feels Milan’s “spirit made the difference” as they fought back from a goal down to earn an impressive victory in Udine.

“I think the team put in a good performance,” said the Coach after their 2-1 win at the Stadio Friuli.

“We started well, but were penalised by Udinese’s first scoring opportunity. In the second half we were more courageous, confident and shook off the tension.

“We had been worried considering recent results, but knew we had to do well against Udinese. Our spirit made the difference and we attacked particularly well towards the end.”

This was the first Milan game without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who begins his three-match ban, but Maxi Lopez came off the bench to score one and set up another for Stephan El Shaarawy.

“Of course Ibra’s absence is sorely felt, though today we had players with different characteristics,” explained Allegri.

“Maxi Lopez gave us depth and did very well today. I don’t know if the result is crucial, but it is certainly important. For now we are top of the table and must await Juventus.”

The Rossoneri are temporarily the Serie A leaders, but Juve have two games in hand, as their trips to Parma and Bologna were snowed off.

Serie A: Udinese 1:2 AC Milan - match report
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Di Natale 19 (U), Maxi Lopez 77 (M), El Shaarawy 85 (M)

Maxi Lopez came off the bench to score his first Milan goal and set up Stephan El Shaarawy’s winner, ending Udinese’s unbeaten home record.

This was a head-to-head battle for second place, as only three points separated the teams. Zlatan Ibrahimovic began his three-match ban, while Mark Van Bommel was also suspended. The injury list included Christian Abbiati, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta, Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso, Mario Yepes, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano, Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser. Udinese missed Andrea Coda, Giampiero Pinzi and Paulo Vitor Barreto.

There was no snow at the Friuli, but it was extremely windy, which made play difficult for the two teams. Milan’s last win here was in 2008 and Michele Pazienza crucially intercepted Robinho’s cross as Stephan El Shaarawy was pulling the trigger.

Udinese broke the deadlock with their first real scoring opportunity. Antonio Di Natale completed a give-and-go with Gelson Fernandes and the snapshot from just inside the area took a decisive deflection off Thiago Silva to loop over Marco Amelia.

Mauricio Isla went on a promising solo run before aiming a weak finish at Amelia, while Di Natale skipped past Philippe Mexes only to attempt an audacious lob at the near post.

A misplaced midfield pass sparked an Udinese counter-attack that Di Natale scuffed wide when totally unmarked. A promising Milan attack fell apart on the edge of the area when Robinho tripped up over the ball. The first real shot on target from the Rossoneri came after 43 minutes with Mexes firing straight at the goalkeeper.

There was a great chance in first half stoppages, as Danilo waited for SamirHandanovic to come out and gather a cross, allowing El Shaarawy to pounce and volley off target.

After the restart, Antonio Nocerino just failed to get his head to a wayward Urby Emanuelson effort.

Massimo Ambrosini accidentally fell on top of Isla, as the Chilean went down awkwardly and seemed to bend his knee, so was stretchered off in evident pain. There are fears there could be ligament damage.

It was so nearly 2-0, as Di Natale rolled the ball across for Pablo Armero, but Djamel Mesbah got back for an absolutely decisive intervention to stop him tapping in undisturbed from nine yards.

Armero went on the counter into the box, but Ignazio Abate sprinted at his shoulder to put him off. Maxi Lopez came off the bench to form a Milan trident. The Argentine thought he’d earned a free kick, but the referee waved play on and Udinese went on the counter, as Amelia was at full stretch to palm away a Maurizio Domizzi angled drive.

From that corner, Amelia fingertipped a looping Danilo half-volley that was heading under the bar. However, Udinese were caught out from their own corner this time, as Handanovic only pushed an El Shaarawy strike into the path of Maxi Lopez for his first goal in a Milan jersey.

It was so nearly 2-1 for the Rossoneri moments later when El Shaarawy pounced on a Mehdi Benatia error in the area, but Robinho and the ‘Little Pharaoh’ both kicked at the same time and the scuffed shot allowed Danilo to clear off the line.

Amelia beat away an Armero snapshot after Seedorf lost possession in midfield, but Milan struck on the counter again.

Maxi Lopez sprung the offside trap on a long ball from midfield and rolled across for El Shaarawy to smash his first-time shot under the bar from eight yards at the near post.

Udinese poured forward and Amelia had his gloves stung by an Almen Abdi half-volley from a tight angle.

Udinese: Handanovic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Isla (Pasquale 61), Pazienza (Torje 88), Fernandes, Armero; Abdi; Di Natale (Floro Flores 75)

AC Milan: Amelia; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Emanuelson, Ambrosini, Nocerino (Maxi Lopez 66); Seedorf; El Shaarawy, Robinho (Bonera 88)

Ref: Bergonzi

Serie A: Udinese vs. AC Milan - lineups
11.2 || webmaster

Udinese: Handanovic, Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi, Basta, Isla, Pazienza, Fernandes, Armero, Abdi, Di Natale.

AC Milan: Amelia, Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah, Emanuelson, Ambrosini, Nocerino, Seedorf, El Shaarawy, Robinho.

Conte slams AC Milan attitude
11.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Conte said Juventus were ready to play in Bologna before it was snowed off and blasted Milan. “Clubs and players must set an example.”

The Bianconeri boss held his press conference just before the announcement came through that Sunday’s trip to the Dall’Ara had been postponed.

“We’re waiting for news from Bologna. We prepared the game and are ready to step on to the field, but my idea is always that fans must be able to watch a spectacle. Therefore we need to be in the right conditions to guarantee that,” said the Coach.

The main talking point in the absence of football is the bitter row that exploded between Milan and Juventus after the Coppa Italia semi-final.

Giorgio Chiellini protested that Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be punished for an altercation with Marco Storari, while the Rossoneri accused the defender of ‘telling tales.’

“Chiellini simply replied to questions from the journalists,” noted Conte. “As for the rest, certain attitudes on the field are not good for football.

“These are things that can provoke reactions and we must always act responsibly. Clubs and players must set the example.”

The teams also go head-to-head in the Scudetto race as well as the Coppa Italia.

“We won the first leg and are now the favourites to reach the Final of the Coppa, but when it comes to the Scudetto it’s a different story. There’s a long way to go and we’ll be battling till the very end, while a lot will depend on the other teams who get into the race. I am not so certain it will be just Juve and Milan for the title.”

Conte was also asked about Fabio Capello, who resigned as England manager this week and is reportedly heading to Juventus as a director.

“I worked with many great tacticians, but never had the good fortune to work with Capello, a person I respect very much. I am very happy with the club and we are all doing extremely well.”

Guidolin expects 'real AC Milan'
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Francesco Guidolin is not convinced that Milan are weak going into their Week 23 clash with Udinese on Saturday night.

This weekend sees the Rossoneri certainly without eight first-team members through injury, with a further three players’ involvement only up for last-minute evaluation. Added to this starting XI of absentees are the suspended duo Mark Van Bommel and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Even with the unenviable list of unavailable at Milan and their recent three-game winless run in League and Cup, opposition Coach on Saturday night Guidolin remains unconvinced that Massimiliano Allegri’s men will be that affected.

“Milan deservedly won the League last season and wherever they play they try to control the game immediately,” he said on Friday.

“I think they are a team that can compete with the biggest in Europe, while we express good football but can improve more and more.

“We are taking part this season as protagonists, but to remain on top and try to move forward in Europe is hard and expensive. You say that Milan are not themselves with their absences? I tell you that I expect the real Milan tomorrow.

“I care about tomorrow and I know that that if we are not focused, attentive and good, it will be very tough because I do not trust this ‘uncertain’ Milan.

“In fact, I think it is a team of pride and quality and you can say whatever you want but I will not fall for it. I expect a tough and difficult match. Everything else is just talk.”

Such talk was from Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini, who this week stated that where his team need to react to their recent poor form, that Udinese do concern him.

“In preparing for the game I will mention Ambrosini’s interview,” revealed Guidolin.

“He is a guy I had the chance to train as a boy and that was smart. What you see are the words of a leader at Milan, a man of great charisma in Allegri’s dressing room.

“Since it is also not just Ambrosini saying this, I am expecting a competitive Milan team instead.”

AC Milan boss Allegri: What crisis?
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan tactician Massimiliano Allegri has dismissed talk of a crisis at the club ahead of their tie at Udinese.

The Rossoneri have been struggling recently after losing to Lazio and drawing 0-0 with Napoli in Serie A. They then lost 2-1 at home to Juventus in the Cup on Wednesday.

“There is no crisis,” he stated. “Absolutely not. I’m sure that we will fight against Juventus for the Scudetto until the very end.

“We have the same anger as they do, but we need to play with more attention.

“We are battling on all fronts, but it is at times like this when you have to talk little and work a lot to start winning games.”

The San Siro giants are also in the middle of an injury crisis which isn’t helping the former Cagliari tactician. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic.

“We’re serene and we are starting to get injured players back,” continued Allegri on Friday afternoon.

“Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Kevin Prince Boateng could be back for the game against Arsenal in the Champions League.

“It will be an important game against Udinese, but the squad is calm.

“We’ve analysed the defeats and we have to give more in terms of intensity and the brand of football we want to employ. We need to do that to start picking up points.”

Another problem has been posed by the three-match ban handed to Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he slapped Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica.

“He knows that he made a mistake, but it wouldn’t be right to get on his back.”

Udinese, tomorrow’s opponents, are a quality side at home given that they have won 10 of their 11 games at the Friuli. Juve, thanks to a 0-0 draw, are the only outfit to have stopped them.

“They are a quick team who are very capable on the break.

“Tactically speaking, we’ll have to show patience but also be alert in defence. They play some nice football and it will be tough for us.”

Milan squad - Goalkeepers: Amelia, Roma, Piscitteli.

Defenders: Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Mesbah, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta.

Midfielders: Ambrosini, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, Cristante, Innocenti.

Forwards: El Shaarawy, Inzaghi, Maxi Lopez, Robinho.

Handanovic not on AC Milan radar
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan sporting director Ariedo Braida insists that his club have no need for Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

The Slovenian international, 27, has been linked with the Rossoneri on numerous occasions in the past, but the Diavolo insist he is not on their wish-list.

“It’s not true,” the official told Udineseblog. “We have Christian Abbiati at our club. In my opinion, Christian is the best goalkeeper in Italy after Gigi Buffon of Juventus.

“We are fine as we are in goal.”

Udinese and Milan will meet on Saturday evening, but Abbiati hasn’t been included in the squad because of injury.

Marco Amelia will thus takes the gloves at the Stadio Friuli.

Goalkeepers: Amelia, Roma, Piscitteli.

Defenders: Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Mesbah, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta.

Midfielders: Ambrosini, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, Cristante, Innocenti.

Forwards: El Shaarawy, Inzaghi, Maxi Lopez, Robinho.

Juventus stand by Chiellini
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus have defended Giorgio Chiellini after he was attacked by Milan for his comments about Zlatan Ibrahimovic in midweek.

The Italian international claimed that Ibra had slapped goalkeeper Marco Storari after Juve’s 2-1 Italian Cup semi-final win at San Siro on Wednesday.

Although television replays seem to suggest that is what happened, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani, plus players Massimo Ambrosini and Marco Amelia, have criticised Chiellini.

“Chiellini wasn’t telling tales,” Juventus director general Beppe Marotta told Sky Sport Italia. “He is a great player and a man with great principles.

“All he did was respond to the questions of the journalists after the game,” Marotta underlined amid suggestions that Chiellini was trying to get Ibra banned for the return leg in Turin.

“Neither he nor Juventus intend to judge what occurred and what the TV images show. We won’t be lodging any sort of complaint.

“We know that Milan are a strong side, with or without Ibrahimovic, and the Coppa Italia tie is still open to any result.”

Juve are unbeaten so far this season and the League leaders have defeated the Rossoneri twice in two games.

“What we have done so far is beyond our expectations,” the former Sampdoria official continued.

“We radically renewed the club and the technical staff, including the players, when Andrea Agnelli became President 18 months ago.

“There are only five players left from the 2009-10 season.

“Today we are up there thanks to boss Antonio Conte and his players, thanks to the work culture of all the club.

“We are happy with what we have done so far and we look to the future with serenity.”

Emanuelson set for exit?
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Urby Emanuelson has four months to save his Milan career, according to transfer speculation in the peninsula.

Although the 25-year-old has played in 26 games across all competitions for the Rossoneri this term, he may be made available for transfer at the end of the season.

Boss Massimiliano Allegri has used the youngster as a left-back, a midfielder and a trequartista this term.

Emanuelson was signed in January 2011 after Milan handed Ajax almost €2m for his services. He’s contracted to the San Siro until 2014.

It is being claimed that he could make a switch to the Premier League over the summer if the Diavolo receive an acceptable offer.

Galliani slaps down Chiellini
10.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani is the latest man from the Milan camp to criticise Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus after he called for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be banned.

Chiellini used the post match interviews after Juve’s 2-1 Coppa Italia win at Milan on Wednesday to claim that Ibra had slapped Marco Storari at the end of the game.

Milan players Massimo Ambrosini and Marco Amelia yesterday hit out at the stopper for his words and Galliani has now joined them in condemning the Bianconero.

“I’ve seen the images and there was nothing there,” the Vice-President told Milan Channel. “Storari behaved a thousand times better than Chiellini.

“It’s a shame as I know Chiellini and I admire him, he’s an intelligent guy.

“However, I can’t understand why such an important player, an international, needs to hope that TV evidence will be used to ban Ibrahimovic from the second leg.

“It seemed like he was a kid at school who goes to the teacher to tell tales. It’s not nice and I didn’t like it.”

Ibra was handed a three-match Serie A ban this week after he was dismissed in the game against Napoli on Sunday – for slapping Salvatore Aronica.

Amelia: 'Juventus reaction infantile'
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia accused Juventus of having “an infantile reaction” to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s row with Marco Storari.

Giorgio Chiellini went to the media room after the final whistle of last night’s 2-1 Coppa Italia victory and demanded video evidence, claiming Ibra had slapped Storari.

“Looking at the footage, it’s less of a slap than Ibra telling Storari he wasn’t fair by denying he’d touched a shot for a corner and only admitting to it after the match,” Amelia told Radio Sportiva.

“Therefore he just prodded him with a finger to show that Storari had done the wrong thing, but this enormous chaos emerged out of nothing, followed by an infantile reaction from Juve.”

Ibrahimovic is at the centre of controversy just days after receiving a three-match Serie A ban for slapping Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica.

“In my view, the Napoli gesture wasn’t so serious either, as it was a discussion during the game and it ended there. I saw no real violence.

“I saw Chiellini arguing with Mauro Tassotti and I told him to stop it, as he was trying to stir up trouble over nothing.

“Everyone is afraid of Zlatan, because he’s so big and has this scary look in his eyes, but if they think they’re going to wind him up by provoking him then they are unfair. He apologised to everyone for his red card against Napoli.”

Ambrosini: 'Chiellini must not tell tales'
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini has hit out Giorgio Chiellini for accusing Zlatan Ibrahimovic of slapping Marco Storari last night.

The Juventus defender drew attention in a post-match interview to a clash that he saw between Ibra and Juve’s goalkeeper at the end of the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg yesterday.

Video evidence suggests that the Swede did hit out at Storari, but where Ambrosini admits that if true then Ibra deserves punishment, he has accused Chiellini of stirring up trouble unnecessarily so.

“I think Chiellini should avoid taking these stands,” the 34-year-old angrily suggested.

“They are nasty things, out of place, and I mind because then you attempt to raise certain tones.

“You say that it is fair to raise them, but it does not seem funny to go into the Press room and call for television proof.

“If there is action taken against Ibra? If he has made a mistake then he must pay, but do not go into the Press room and tell tales or say certain things because that is something that should not be done.”

The captain then reflected on the current predicament the team find themselves in, as the Juventus defeat last night confirmed a winless run of three games.

“We must learn from yesterday’s defeat for the sake of the rest of the season. At this moment there are differences between us and Juve and we must understand what they are as we have time to fix them.

“We must find the bite that last year enabled us to win the League and play out a great season.”

The Rossoneri face Udinese at the weekend and then Arsenal in the Champions League in midweek.

“Who do I fear most between Juve and Arsenal? I am currently concerned about the game with Udinese, which is the nearest. It is decsive as early February has shown it takes something more than now, we cannot let another game pass without showing that there is a change of course.

“I think that Juve right now has an extra point and a game in hand and will contend with us to the end. I think Conte and the players know how good their chance is of winning.”

Revenue drops for AC Milan, Inter and Juventus
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan report here.

The latest Football Money League report reveals Milan, Inter and Juventus all suffered drops in revenue in 2011 but that it was a good year for Napoli.

The annual report, carried out by financial analysts Deloitte, reveals the top 20 club revenues in European football each season and for another consecutive campaign, the top positions belong to Real Madrid and Barcelona, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich close behind.

Where Milan held on to their position in the table as having the seventh highest total annual revenue in Europe and Inter moved up a place to having the eighth highest, both clubs suffered a slight decline in money earned.

The Rossoneri generated €8.9m less in 2010-11 than they managed in 2009-10, whilst the Nerazzurri’s earnings fell by €13.4m over the same period. Similarly, Juventus dropped three places to 13th in the Money League with a €51.1m fall in total revenue.

All three clubs have been hit hardest by the new and more even distribution of television broadcast rights for Serie A games. Milan and Juve both saw broadcasting revenues drop by around €40m between 2009-10 and 2010-11, whilst Inter also took a €13m hit in this area.

However, it was not all bad news for Serie A sides, with Roma enjoying a healthy growth of over €20m to a total €143.5m revenue last season, whilst Napoli were one of three newcomers to the League this year, taking 20th spot with a €114.9m revenue, thanks in a large part to a 52 per cent increase in matchday revenue.

This is the first year that the Partenopei have broken the €100m barrier and they are anticipated to move even higher up the table next year due to 2011-12’s participation in the Champions League.

The Deloitte Football Money League 2012 (total revenue for 2010-11)

1. Real Madrid €479.5m

2. Barcelona €450.7m

3. Manchester United €367m

4. Bayern Munich €321.4m

5. Arsenal €251.1m

6. Chelsea €249.8m

7. Milan €235.1m

8. Inter €211.4m

9. Liverpool €203.3m

10. Schalke €202.4m

11. Tottenham Hotspur €181m

12. Manchester City €169.6m

13. Juventus €153.9m

14. Marseille €150.4m

15. Roma €143.5m

16. Borussia Dortmund €138.5m

17. Lyon €132.8m

18. Hamburg €128.8m

19. Valencia €116.8m

20. Napoli €114.9m

Barbara Berlusconi: Have faith in AC Milan
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barbara Berlusconi has appealed to the Milan fans to get behind their team as they struggle to find form in a crucial run in the season.

Defeat to Lazio and a draw to Napoli in the League was followed last night by a first-leg semi-final defeat at home to Juventus in the Coppa Italia, raising suggestions again of a crisis within the Rossoneri.

However, as Massimiliano Allegri’s team prepare for the trip on Saturday to face another title rival in the form of Udinese, Berlusconi - club President Silvio’s daughter and a member of club’s board of directors - appealed to the fans to have faith.

“The team needs to feel the support of our fans. This should not be a time of controversy and criticism. We are in an important stage of the season.

“The coming weeks will no doubt be decisive. We are still on course to still achieve all our goals, this was information we had at the start of the season.

“There is no lack of good news. [Stephan] El Shaarawy is proving to be a promising footballer and some of our players are now reaching a good level of form.

“In general, however, this is a difficult period to go through, many of our players are still unavailable and we are playing every three days, so it is difficult to recover.

“But, even so, I ask everyone for their support and confidence.”

Did Ibrahimovic slap Storari?
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Giorgio Chiellini has accused Zlatan Ibrahimovic of slapping Marco Storari at the end of last night’s Milan-Juventus Coppa Italia tie.

A scuffle between the striker and the goalkeeper developed at the final whistle following the Old Lady’s 2-1 win.

“What happened at the end with Ibra? Nothing with me, but the same thing that happened on Sunday between Ibrahimovic and Salvatore Aronica occurred with Storari,” the defender told Sky Sport Italia.

“I hope that someone saw it and the TVs picked it up. These things can happen when emotions run high, but it is right that people are punished for their mistakes.

“These things don’t kill anyone, but the gesture was the same as Sunday’s. I don’t know why it happened as we were only discussing things…”

Ibra was sent off at the weekend after he lashed out at Napoli's Aronica during the Serie A 0-0 draw at the Meazza. He’s been banned for three League games as a result.

Turning to the game itself, the 27-year-old was delighted with what his troops did on a cold Milan evening.

“The display was the most important aspect,” he continued. “We changed eight of the 11 that featured against Siena, but everyone played really well.

“The new players, Simone Padoin and Martin Caceres, managed to fit in perfectly. This is the test that shows this team has great determination and tactical organisation.

“The Coppa Italia is a primary objective, especially when considering the fact that we’re not playing in Europe.”

Caceres scored twice in the win. Stephan El Shaarawy netted for the home side.

Allegri: 'Too many defeats'
9.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has urged Milan to “stay calm” after their Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus, even if “we have lost a few too many times recently.”

The Rossoneri are struggling in Serie A and this evening fell to a 2-1 home defeat in the semi-final first leg.

“We conceded the second goal in a very naive way. It’s a shame to lose a game that we had played well in the second half, although Juventus did too,” Allegri told RAI Sport.

“After the equaliser we pushed forward with too much passion and were punished on the counter-attack. The qualification for the Final is an uphill struggle now, but nothing has been compromised.

“We have lost a few too many times recently, but must stay calm and confident of our own abilities, especially as we have an injury crisis on our hands and many players cannot rest the way they ought to.

“There is no pressure on us, because I know the strength of my squad. We’ve got to continue working to emerge from this situation.”

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 1:2 Juventus - match report
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Caceres 52, 83 (J), El Shaarawy 62 (M)

Martin Caceres scored a magnificent brace to give Juventus the 2-1 away victory against Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

These two sides are battling for the Scudetto and also go head-to-head in the Coppa. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for three Serie A games, but that does not apply in other competitions, so he was able to start alongside Stephan El Shaarawy. Antonio Conte’s Juve were still unbeaten and gave Caceres and Simone Padoin their first starts since joining in January, while Andrea Pirlo returned to San Siro as an opponent after 10 years.

El Shaarawy ran on to a long cross-field Daniele Bonera pass and flashed the shot across the face of goal. Marcelo Estigarribia had a couple of chances, but twice fired off target, the second time just wide of the far post after shaking off Philippe Mexes.

Emanuele Giaccherini’s shot took a deflection off Mexes that looped it up, but Marco Amelia did well to fingertip it out from under the crossbar.

Alessandro Del Piero took advantage of a Mark Van Bommel error only to be forced out for a corner.

After the restart, Juventus confirmed their strong performance by taking the lead. Amelia was at full stretch to palm away a Borriello angled drive, but could do nothing on the Caceres follow-up in front of an open goal. As this is the Coppa Italia and a two-legged affair, it could well count as an away goal.

Milan fought back with Storari palming away a fierce Ibrahimovic free kick, but Clarence Seedorf’s set piece was well off target. Del Piero smashed an angled drive across the face of goal to skim the far post, but Milan equalised moments later.

Massimo Ambrosini knocked down a Luca Ambrosini cross for El Shaarawy to side-foot home from six yards.

Del Piero dribbled into the box and hesitated, eventually stopped short by Mexes. Conte changed both strikers simultaneously, introducing Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic.

Ibrahimovic had the ball in the back of the net, but the whistle had already gone for a handling offence as he controlled the deflected Van Bommel shot from the edge of the box. Ibra then pounced on an Andrea Barzagli error and fought his way past Leonardo Bonucci, but Giorgio Chiellini threw himself at the finish from close range.

Juve also threatened a second, as the Vucinic shot was only parried by an uncertain Amelia and Ambrosini dived in to prevent Quagliarella completing the chance. Vucinic also turned between a crowd of defenders, but couldn’t get the final touch.

Caceres made a spectacular return to the Juventus jersey, as he completed his brace with a wonderful strike. The Uruguayan pounced on a poor clearance and curled a magnificent finish into the top corner that left Amelia rooted to the spot.

El Shaarawy's attempt was deflected off target by teammate Robinho and after the final whistle there was a scuffle between players.

AC Milan: Amelia; Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Emanuelson (Robinho 61), Van Bommel (Maxi Lopez 86), Ambrosini; Seedorf; Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy

Juventus: Storari; Caceres, Bonucci, Barzagli; Chiellini, Giaccherini, Pirlo, Padoin (Marrone 69), Estigarribia; Del Piero (Quagliarella 67), Borriello (Vucinic 67)

Ref: Mazzoleni

Coppa Italia: AC Milan vs. Juventus - lineups
8.2 || webmaster

AC Milan: Amelia, Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Urby, Van Bommel, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy.

Juve: Storari, Caceres, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Padoin, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Estigarribia, Borriello, Del Piero.

Muntari jumped at AC Milan chance
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sulley Muntari says he didn’t hesitate when given the opportunity to leave Inter for San Siro rivals Milan.

The Ghanaian international joined the Rossoneri on loan last month after struggling to get a game with the Nerazzurri.

“I wasn’t the first player to change shirts but not city,” the midfielder told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday.

“It seemed like an excellent opportunity for me and I accepted it straight away.”

Although the transfer was wrapped up late in the winter window, Muntari was expecting the switch to happen.

“I had already spoken to Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri before the African Cup of Nations,” he continued.

“I was then welcomed to the club by Vice-President Adriano Galliani and director Ariedo Braida.”

Muntari, 27, joined Inter from Portsmouth in 2008 and spent part of last season on loan at Sunderland.

The ball-winner follows in the footsteps of players like Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf who swapped Inter for Milan.

Bologna monitored Maxi Lopez
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Maxi Lopez has revealed that Bologna were interested before he signed a deal with Milan.

The Argentine joined the Rossoneri on loan last month after the Diavolo finally admitted defeat in their attempts to sign Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

“When the Milan deal was still not totally wrapped up, I met Bologna Vice-President Maurizio Setti,” Andrea D’Amico told Odeon TV.

“We spoke and he told me that Bologna could be interested in the player if his move to Milan collapsed.

“It was just an intention though and nothing more than that.”

Lopez, 27, has made two League appearances for the Diavolo since his switch from Sicilian club Catania.

No Bayern or AC Milan yet for Chivu
8.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter’s Cristian Chivu has not been in contact with Bayern Munich or Milan – but he would consider a switch to either club.

The Romanian is free to talk to any team he wants given that his contract at the Stadio Meazza will end in June 2012.

However, the player’s agent Victor Becali has told FC Inter News that they are still waiting for the Nerazzurri to reveal their plans for the defender.

“We have never spoken to Bayern Munich and there is no agreement with Milan, not even an offer,” Becali noted.

“If those clubs do arrive then we will think about it, but it is too premature at this stage of the season.

“We are waiting to see what Inter will offer us and then we will have our say. Our meeting with the Nerazzurri will be at the end of this month.”

It’s unclear whether the Beneamata will offer the former Roma and Ajax man a new deal.

Guidolin wants 'ruthless' Udinese
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Francesco Guidolin tells Udinese they need to be “more ruthless” if they are to defeat Milan on Saturday and progress in the Europa League.

The Friulani slipped back in Serie A after their 3-2 defeat to Fiorentina on Sunday, but hope to face a tired and injury-ravaged Rossoneri side.

“We have the chance to work all week, but I’d have preferred to be in the Coppa Italia semi-final instead of Siena,” confessed the Coach.

“I suppose we have to take advantage of this, but it might not make a difference anyway, as Milan are accustomed to playing every three days.

“As for our game with Fiorentina, we did very well in the first half and the main problem was we failed to double our lead. I don’t think it was an issue of fatigue.

“We had the opportunity to go 2-0 up and damage the confidence of our opponents, but we’ve got to be stronger, nastier, more clinical and ruthless. A team like Fiorentina needs to be given the knock-out punch earlier, as they have strong players and can fight their way back into a game.

“It’s a shame that once again we threw away points on our travels, as I tried to help the squad improve their attacking mentality away from home, but we aren’t repeating the results of last season. Perhaps it’s an issue of concentration and focus.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for three games after slapping Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica, so misses Sunday’s encounter with Udinese.

“It is beyond doubt that Ibrahimovic is a crucial and decisive player for Milan, but I am convinced the team has many resources to draw upon,” continued Guidolin.

“In some circumstances they clung to him, but Milan are packed with champions, are the Scudetto holders and in terms of quality have the best side in Serie A. I’m sure they can push through any absence.

“I see Juventus and Milan as the favourites for the title this season.”

Allegri sees no AC Milan crisis
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ahead of the Coppa Italia semi-final with Juventus, Max Allegri declares Milan are not in crisis and defends Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his weekend dismissal.

Defeat to Lazio and a draw at home to Napoli may see the Rossoneri still just a point behind League leaders Juve, but they have now played a game more than their Turin rivals.

Ahead of welcoming Antonio Conte’s side to San Siro in midweek for the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, Allegri looked to first deny that the red half of Milan is struggling.

“Right now we have to stay calm and focused on what we do in the field,” began the Coach. “Without getting distracted by what is said outside of Milanello.

“This is not a moment of crisis. There have been some bad results but also on Sunday Juventus drew at home and we are therefore still in line.”

The former Cagliari Coach is still wary of the threat Juventus represent on Wednesday night.

“The first thing that catches the eye is that they are team with character, all the players show this with their availability and nature and this competition is their first chance to win something important.

“If after 20 rounds they have not lost then it means that Juventus have excellent quality.

“They are doing well but in the end to win a Scudetto it is always the same, you need to reach around 82-83 points.

“Tomorrow will be important for us to win or at least do well in, so as not to endanger the chance of progressing to the final. We want to get to the final of the Coppa Italia.”

Allegri prepares for the match with Ibrahimovic available, but he is facing doing without him for the team’s next three League matches after the Swede’s red card for violent conduct at the weekend.

“Ibrahimovic has paid a little bit for everyone,” he reflected in defence of his forward.

“Unfortunately Ibra has made a not-so-wonderful gesture in going to the defence of Nocerino. We have seen similar incidents in games go unpunished, but we are hopeful on the appeal.

“We can cope without him now as apart from Cassano and Pato, everyone is available, so I am not worried.”

Where counterpart Conte refused to comment too much on the situation with Ibrahimovic, Allegri showed no qualms in stirring the pot with regards Beppe Marotta’s complaints from the weekend.

The Bianconero director general’s statements on Monday have caught attention in the Press, after he suggested that referees need to be better assigned to games.

“I do not know what has prompted these statements from Marotta, but at Milan I have a different style,” commented the 44-year-old tactician.

“Here we talk about helping referees, instead of raising a fuss at the first unfavourable decision.”

'Maxi Lopez is ready to step up'
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent to Maxi Lopez has given a ringing endorsement of his client, stating that he is ready to fill the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan.

Ibrahimovic is set to sit out League clashes with Udinese, Cesena and Juventus after being handed a three-game League ban for his dismissal against Napoli on Sunday.

Lopez, who joined on an initial loan deal this January, has so far only featured from the bench, but his agent believes he is prepared to make the step up to replace Ibra in the starting line-up, if called upon.

“Should Maxi be called up by Max Allegri then he will give his best,” enthused Andrea D’Amico to

“He is a physical player, has great talent, both technically and physically and he will undoubtedly make a contribution to the build-up passages of play, and beyond.”

D’Amico also represents Gennaro Gattuso, but was reluctant to confirm or deny reports that the player is looking to renew his Rossoneri contract.

“At this time the renewal is the least of his problems. Our desire is to get him feeling good and then we will see about the rest, particularly as to the man’s regards.

“Then with Milan we will see about the rest - the Rossoneri is his home and the club have been absolutely fantastic in these difficult times.”

'Ambrosini will not retire'
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini will only discuss a new contract with Milan once the season is over, but his agent confirms that retirement is not an option.

Il Diavolo’s captain will be 35 at the end of May and will have just completed his 17th season with the San Siro outfit.

His current contract is due to expire in the summer, but unlike last year where he expressed unhappiness at having to wait until mid-May to extend for a year, his representative has confirmed this time, he wants to wait.

“We’ll discuss his future with the club only after this season, but the situation is calm,” Moreno Roggi told SportMediaset on Tuesday.

Roggi was then asked if the player would consider retiring, should an offer not come in from the Rossoneri.

“Absolutely not, this is something that is made up. Nor is anything true with regards links to other clubs, like Genoa.”

Conte targeting Coppa Italia final
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Conte has declared that Juventus will do everything to beat Milan in the Coppa Italia, even as he confirms first-team changes will be made.

The two sides, currently locked in the Serie A title race, are preparing this week for the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final, scheduled at San Siro for Wednesday evening.

Ahead of the hotly-anticipated clash, Conte has promised that he and his players will give their all to progress through.

“I actually would have preferred a weaker opponent,” he told the assembled Press on Tuesday afternoon.

“Let me be clear, however, that tomorrow’s match is important beyond the team we face, because it is the semi-final of the Coppa Italia.

“We want to reach the final, as well as to take on Milan now. The opportunity to progress is equally spread between the two teams because playing home and away in this meeting counts for a lot in terms of performance.

“To win a European competition for example, you have to be good but also lucky, because if you are in a period of poor form, you can get away with facing less-equipped opponents, whilst in the League usually the best team is rewarded for their continuity.”

Conte has confirmed that he will ring the changes for the clash, from giving run-outs to each of the club’s January signings to handing Marco Storari a go in goal again.

“He is playing his part in the right way and the least I can do on my part is thank him for what he is doing. He is a great professional and a great goalkeeper who is giving me a big hand on and off the field.

“The new signings have come to represent not only alternatives but points of strength.

“Moreover, Caceres has been at Juventus before, I’ve worked with Padoin at Atlanta, whilst Borriello has now been here for a month.

“Therefore when they play they can contribute, because we need them to, straight away.”

However, it may still be too early to expect involvement from the forgotten man Elijero Elia.

“Elijero has grown since he arrived. He is starting to understand what we want from him and he is close to becoming a more complete player. He is entering a new type of mentality and a new way of working and is starting to show in training some of the features that led us to buy him.

“I expect him when the time is right to become a reliable player in all the points that you say I do not see in him on the field, and it will be when you least expect it.”

The two clubs also meet later in the month in the League. Before they do, though, the Bianconeri face three further League tests in what is proving to be a cramped fixture schedule through February. Specifically, the postponed clash with Parma is scheduled for a week tomorrow.

“The rearranged fixtures are destabilising, because there are programs of work we have planned out for months in advance, and instead, you find yourself having to review things a little because you have to try to retrieve items that are already planned out.

“There was meant to be a week of work between Bologna and Catania, and yet now we have to play against Parma…

“We are experienced a tough winter, you still don’t know what will happen tomorrow of even in the next round of League games, but the call is always the same - to be in a position to offer the best show possible.”

Ibrahimovic ban is harsh, says Inzaghi
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi feels that the three-game Serie A suspension handed to Milan teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic is excessive.

The Swede was banned yesterday after he was red-carded in the Napoli game at the weekend for slapping Salvatore Aronica.

“I was hoping that he would only get a two-game ban,” the veteran noted. “Three seem to be too much. I don’t think it was a violent gesture.

“I’m disappointed for Ibra because, apart from being a good friend, I know how important he is for Milan. We’ll miss him.”

The unavailability of Ibra for the games against Udinese, Cesena and Juventus could now open the door for the hardly-used Inzaghi.

“Will I now get a chance? That’s a question that you shouldn’t be asking me,” he noted. “I’m ready, I’m in good shape and I hope to be of use.

“However, it is clear that there are other players here like Stephan El Shaarawy who is doing well and also Maxi Lopez who has fitted in well.

“Let’s hope we can make up for Ibra’s absence.”

Galliani: 'AC Milan aren't favourites'
7.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has shot down Antonio Conte’s claims that the Rossoneri are favourites for the Scudetto.

The Juventus boss recently suggested that the Diavolo were in pole position for the title despite the fact that his Old Lady side lead the standings.

“Conte is being crafty when he says certain things,” Galliani told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “He’s saying as much to keep the attention off his side.

“I don’t see why we would be favourites. With all these injuries that we have at the minute we can’t be any more…”

After placing the Bianconeri in pole position for the title, the San Siro official seemed to rule out an Inter recovery in the championship.

“Sport is made up of cycles,” he noted. “Perhaps they’ll return to winning ways in a few years from now.”

Juve lead Milan by a point in the standings, but the leaders also have a game in hand. Inter are fifth, nine points behind the Bianconeri.

Terim eyeing Montolivo and Flamini
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Fiorentina and Milan Coach Fatih Terim is targeting summer moves for midfielders Mathieu Flamini and Riccardo Montolivo.

The newly-appointed Galatasaray tactician, who spent a year in Florence and five months straight after that at San Siro, is reportedly eyeing moves for players from both his former Italian employers in June.

The reports suggest that even if Montolivo is understood to have agreed to join the Rossoneri this summer on a Bosman, Terim is keen to meet with Adriano Galliani to negotiate the release of one of the two midfielders to his club.

Ibrahimovic: 'I messed up'
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has apologised for getting himself sent off at the weekend, but has faith in his teammates to do well in his absence.

After striking Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica and receiving his marching orders on Sunday, Ibrahimovic was hit with a three-match ban on Monday, which rules him out of clashes with Udinese, Cesena and Juventus.

Milan are planning to appeal, with the belief that it is similar to last season’s incident between the Swede and Bari’s Marco Rossi, which was reduced on appeal from three to two games.

Receiving the Tapiro d’Oro award, a mock award handed to players who have tripped up in some way or another, Ibra apologised.

“I did a stupid thing. It happens, it happens. I have to learn when I am wrong. I don’t need the television pictures to know what I did. I messed up.

“I have confidence in the team. They will do well without me.”

Ibrahimovic gets three-match ban
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been suspended for three games – so he’ll miss Milan’s big clash against Juventus.

The striker was handed the punishment this afternoon following his red card against Napoli on Sunday. He was dismissed for slapping Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica.

Ibra will thus miss the Rossoneri’s next three League games against Udinese, Cesena and the Scudetto encounter against former club Juventus.

However, Milan will appeal against today’s sentence after yesterday claiming that the striker’s gesture didn’t warrant more than a two-game stop.

Ibra’s record against former club Juventus is not great. In seven Serie A games versus the Old Lady, he’s scored just once.

Montolivo already signed for AC Milan?
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

According to whispers in Tuscany, Milan have agreed personal terms with Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina.

The Italian international will leave the Viola at the end of the season on a free transfer once his contract expires.

A move to Milan has been touted for months and, according to Lady Radio, an agreement has been reached.

Montolivo, who is now free to talk to other clubs, will reportedly sign a four-year deal at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. There will be an option for a fifth campaign.

The former Atalanta player will allegedly net at least €2.5m a season after tax, but bonuses could see that figure rise.

AC Milan will be handed new striker
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Agent Mino Raiola has revealed that he will deliver a new striker to Milan before the start of next season. Will it be Mario Balotelli?

Raiola, who represents players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester City ace Balotelli, made the claim while talking to TeleLombardia.

“I didn’t have a strong forward for Milan in the winter window, but I will have one to offer Milan in June,” he noted.

That statement is expected to add fuel to the fire that Balotelli, a Milan fan, could be on his way to San Siro.

The Rossoneri have admitted in the past that they do admire the Italian international striker, a player who has a past with city rivals Inter.

Raiola was also asked about the Milan future of Ibrahimovic after some whispers suggested that the Swede was coming to the end of his Rossonero career.

“Zlatan has no problem here at Milan and I can assure you that he will remain,” continued the representative.

Capello on Scudetto
6.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Fabio Capello gives his views on the Scudetto race.

“Juventus and Milan remain the favourites for the title,” he told RAI 1 television.

“Juve do not just have grit, but also remarkable team spirit. Milan possess greater class, but without Zlatan Ibrahimovic they could really lose something. This is why I say Juventus are the favourites.”

Capello had been heavily linked with both the Roma bench and Inter over the summer.

“Roma deserve faith, as there are always risks when there is a new project, but with hard work and good fortune you can go far. The Giallorossi still have defensive problems, though.

“I don’t know anything about reported links with Roma, even though I have an excellent rapport with Franco Baldini.

“As for Inter, we did have talks, but nothing came of it and that’s long gone now.”

Capello was at the helm of Juventus during the Calciopoli years, so the two Scudetti he won at the club were wiped off his CV.

“I continue to maintain Luciano Moggi is absolutely the best director in Italy along with Antonio Giraudo,” he said, referring to the two figures at the centre of that scandal.

Ibrahimovic gesture 'not violent'
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are confident Zlatan Ibrahimovic “will not receive more than a two-match ban,” therefore ensuring he’ll be able to face Juventus.

The Swede was sent off during today’s 0-0 draw with Napoli for slapping Salvatore Aronica in an off-the-ball incident.

If it is considered to be a ‘violent gesture,’ then Ibra will be given an automatic three-game suspension.

“I am reading catastrophic opinions on this, but there was no violence,” assured Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“Therefore, I believe Ibrahimovic will not receive more than a two-match ban. I also spotted Aronica’s gesture towards Antonio Nocerino that started the incident, but the referee did not.”

The Rossoneri’s next three Serie A games are against Udinese, Cesena and Juventus.

It is a curious repeat of last season, when Ibra’s red card against Fiorentina ruled him out of the Scudetto showdown with Inter.

Allegri: 'Ibrahimovic deserved red'
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan can be “satisfied” with their point against Napoli, accepting Zlatan Ibrahimovic “deserved the red card.”

The Rossoneri were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Ibra was caught slapping Salvatore Aronica on the side of the head in an off the ball incident.

“It was important to put in a good performance against a team that was able to put us under pressure,” said the Coach of this 0-0 draw.

“Then we went down to 10 men and in any case did not stop playing attacking football. The point has given us back our spirit that we need to target the Scudetto.

“Of course we have to improve in certain situations, but we didn’t run many risks even with a man down.

“I cannot argue with the referee’s performance. I hadn’t seen anything at the time, but watching the footage you have to say Ibra deserved the red card.”

Juventus also failed to win this weekend, drawing 0-0 with Siena, so the gap remains one point although the Bianconeri have a game in hand.

“Juve aren’t breaking away, because even if they win that other match, the gap is not a concern.”

Serie A: AC Milan 0:0 Napoli - match report
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan were held to a 0-0 home draw by Napoli, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost his head with a red card.

Both sides were in need of a boost, as the Rossoneri were falling behind leaders Juventus after their 2-0 midweek defeat to Lazio, while Napoli were 14 points off the pace. The injury crisis intensified with Alessandro Nesta joining Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Alexandre Pato, Mario Yepes, Alexander Merkel, Mathieu Flamini, Gennaro Gattuso, Rodney Strasser and Antonio Cassano. Gokhan Inler was dropped in favour of Blerim Dzemaili due to poor form.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had timid penalty appeals in the opening minutes for his shoulder-to-shoulder with Hugo Campagnaro, while Morgan De Sanctis smothered a Clarence Seedorf snapshot. At the other end, a smart Juan Zuniga slalom forced a corner, from which Edinson Cavani’s header was charged down. Mark Van Bommel was booked and will therefore be suspended against Udinese.

Marek Hamsik’s blockbuster stung Christian Abbiati’s palms, but a defensive howler let the Christian Maggio cross through for Ezequiel Lavezzi, who opted to hit the side-netting rather than roll back for an unmarked Cavani.

Antonio Nocerino’s effort was charged down from close range, while Cavani failed to take advantage of a misunderstanding between Abbiati and Ignazio Abate.

The injury crisis went from bad to worse, as Abbiati picked up an injury and made way for Marco Amelia at half-time. Robinho has become known for missing sitters this season and he added another to the list, as Ibra knocked on a long ball and the Brazilian somehow passed it wide of the near post with only Morgan De Sanctis to beat.

De Sanctis smothered a downward Robinho header on the line as both the Brazilian and Seedorf went for the cross. The Dutchman also hit a half-volley over the bar and Robinho almost made the most of a defensive error, but Salvatore Aronica’s sliding tackle prevented the danger.

Ibrahimovic chested down a long ball to turn Aronica and placed his curler that De Sanctis palmed out for a corner.

However, Ibra lost his temper and reduced Milan to 10 men, not to mention earning no doubt a lengthy ban. The Swede was mid-argument with a group of players and reached round the back of Nocerino’s head to slap Aronica on the side of the temple, earning a red card.

Cavani completely mistimed his header under pressure from Abate on Lavezzi’s cross to the back post. Even with 10 men, Massimo Ambrosini went close with a header deflected just wide from a corner.

The Rossoneri had another excellent scoring opportunity on the rapid counter-attack, but Robinho’s screamer was acrobatically saved by De Sanctis at the near post.

AC Milan: Abbiati (Amelia 46); Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Emanuelson, Van Bommel, Nocerino; Seedorf (Ambrosini 76); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (Maxi Lopez 86)

Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica (Pandev 81); Maggio, Gargano, Dzemaili (Inler 76), Zuniga; Lavezzi, Hamsik; Cavani
Ref: Rizzoli

Sent off: Ibrahimovic 64 (M)

Serie A: AC Milan vs. Napoli - lineups
5.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC MILAN: Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Emanuelson, Van Bommel, Nocerino, Seedorf, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

NAPOLI: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Gargano, Dzemaili, Zuniga, Lavezzi, Hamsik, Cavani.

Mazzarri: 'Bring on AC Milan'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Walter Mazzarri prepares to face Milan and expects Napoli “to give a response” at San Siro, wiping away recent disappointment and refereeing errors.

The Partenopei are now 14 points off leaders Juventus and were furious at the annulment of a valid Goran Pandev goal in the final minutes of their 0-0 draw with Cesena.

“The Rossoneri are not accustomed to losing, just like all the big clubs, so they’ll be determined to prove themselves after Wednesday’s defeat to Lazio,” said Mazzarri.

“We must not forget that in previous matches they had won almost at a canter. We need the perfect performance to get a result, but I expect Napoli to give a response.

“At the same time, we can’t say our campaign is already over. There are many games to go and we want to pick up as many points as possible. Our first objective is to climb back up the standings.

“Pocho Lavezzi is in great shape and I am confident he will have a wonderful game. He needs to do well not only in attack, but also when out of possession, because everyone has to give something extra against Milan.”

Napoli beat the Rossoneri 3-1 at the San Paolo earlier this season and conquered Inter at San Siro, so hope to continue causing upsets.

“We know each other well by now. I have a few options in my mind to surprise Milan and we must hit them in their weak spots. I won’t give any clue on who will start, as I don’t want to provide my opponents with an advantage.”

The Coach is still fuming after those recent refereeing errors and reportedly asked his club to put together a dossier of mistakes.

“It’s a shame, as we create so many chances, work so hard and then don’t convert much. We’ve got to improve in this respect. However, at the same time I cannot just ignore the effect of refereeing errors. If they cost us points in the table, it’s only right to note them.”

Napoli squad: De Sanctis, Rosati, Colombo, Aronica, Britos, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Fernandez, Dossena, Maggio, Hamsik, Zuniga, Dzemaili, Gargano, Inler, Cavani, Lavezzi, Pandev, Chavez, Vargas.

Nesta misses AC Milan - Napoli
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta is out of tomorrow’s Milan-Napoli match due to a muscular problem, adding to the lengthy list of injuries.

The veteran defender did not take part in today’s game between ranks at Milanello and is not in the squad for the Sunday afternoon kick-off.

Nesta joins absentees Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano, Mario Yepes, Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser.

There is no room for Pippo Inzaghi either.

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Ely (53), Mesbah, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Cristante (34), Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, Van Bommel, El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Maxi Lopez, Robinho.

Cassano return 'June at the earliest'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Cassano “could return to the playing field in June,” says the Milan and Italy star’s neurosurgeon after an operation on a congenital heart defect.

The forward was taken ill on the flight back from Rome and rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a mini-stroke. On November 4, he had surgery to correct the heart defect that had caused the stroke.

“He is progressing well and all according to plan,” neurosurgeon Nereo Bresolin told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Let’s say the first phase of his rehabilitation has been completed. The tests showed there is still a trace of the stroke, but that is bound to disappear over time.

“There is a schedule that needs to be followed and the lad is still on blood-thinners, so he can only have solo training sessions for the moment. He cannot risk bruising or trauma.

“His positive spirit was evident right from the first day he arrived in hospital. He’s in good humour and the psychological aspect is very important during the recovery process.”

There were hopes Cassano would be able to play before the end of the season, but that seems unlikely, which also damages his Euro 2012 target.

“I think it is possible for him to be playing in June, but not beforehand. I heard some talk about April as a comeback date, but that is too early.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan not so bad'
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri prepares Milan for tomorrow’s big game against Napoli, but insists their recent poor results “do not make for a disappointing season.”

The Rossoneri have already lost twice in 2012 against Inter and Lazio, confirming their dismal record against the big clubs.

“It’s a shame for those defeats, but they absolutely no not make for a disappointing season, because we are in the Coppa Italia semi-final, the Champions League second round and are one point behind this time last year.

“I thought about this, but at the end of the season if we are on top then we won’t look at how many points we picked up against Juventus, Lecce or Chievo. Winning a head-to-head such as the one with Juventus on February 25 would fire us up, but what really counts is the Scudetto on May 13.

“When a team loses, it’s normal that the Coach is the first in the dock, but we have been through worse. We need balance, as the side hasn’t lost its quality or become mediocre from one week to the next.

“There are some absentees who don’t allow me to make certain decisions, but I am in any case happy with the squad at my disposal. Everyone has an opinion in football, but the important thing is to have a balanced outlook both when things are going well and going badly.

“I can also confirm there is absolutely no problem within the locker room. Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic belly-aching? We’ve got a supply of antacids.”

There have been reports that Milan are Ibra-dependent, which is a worry considering February is traditionally his worst month.

“Ibra had a great year with him, Pato and Robinho scoring 45 goals between them. This season we’ve been without Pato and Robinho for a long while, so it’s only to be expected most of the goals are down to Ibrahimovic. Fortunately, the midfield has been very supportive.”

Napoli have also been on poor form recently and were furious after Goran Pandev’s goal was disallowed in the final minutes of their 0-0 draw with Cesena.

“They have great qualities, both as individuals and a collective, while Napoli have the characteristics to climb into the important spots of the table,” continued Allegri.

“We will play with two strikers tomorrow. Luca Antonini is more likely to start than Djamel Mesbah, but at the moment this is the only big question mark for me.

“Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alberto Aquilani are unlikely to recover in time to face Arsenal, so I don’t want to create any false hope. They’re doing everything they can, but this is a difficult time.”

Gattuso 'understands' AC Milan snub
4.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso “absolutely understands and shares” Milan’s decision to take him off the Champions League list.

The midfielder has not played an official game since the opening Serie A meeting against Lazio on September 9.

He was diagnosed with sixth nerve palsy, a condition that affects the sight and movement in one eye, and it’s not yet clear when he will be back on the playing field.

“It was a decision that Gennaro absolutely understands and shares,” agent Andrea D’Amico told TMW.

“Milan and Gattuso have always moved in the same direction. We thank Milan for the support they are giving him.

“He hopes to recover as soon as possible so that he can repay all those who have shown him such affection.”

Gattuso was removed from the Champions League squad along with Antonio Cassano, who has been out since October following a stroke and surgery to correct a congenital heart defect.

AC Milan will learn from mistakes
3.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

As Mark Van Bommel passes the halfway mark to 1000 career games, he promises that Milan will learn from their defeat at Lazio.

The Rossoneri’s 2-0 reverse to Le Aquile on Wednesday ensured that they remain a point behind Juventus, but have now played an extra game.

Talking to Milan Channel on Friday, tough-tackling Van Bommel admitted that the team are keen to not repeat their mistakes in what is an important run of fixtures.

“This year, just like last, Milan-Napoli is a key game in the Scudetto race. After losing to Lazio we do not want to lose any more points in the standings.

“We are facing Napoli, Juventus, Udinese and Juventus again - I consider this period the most important in our season and I also want to score a goal.

“We are not happy when we don’t win because we know we fall further behind Juventus. The reaction has been positive and the squad knows it is important to learn from the defeat, so as to return to winning.”

Van Bommel also took time to reflect on a more positive element to the game in Rome, as it saw the Dutchman reach 500 career appearances.

“When I started as a footballer, I never thought of succeeding in reaching more than 500. I should be happy because I have suffered with injury and 500 is a good number.

“In my career I have played with many champions, but the name of the strongest is that of a player called Luc Nilis.

“We were at PSV and he was our playmaker with excellent feet. He knew how to take penalties, free-kicks and corners very well, but then his career was interrupted by a serious injury in which he also risked losing his leg.

“The hardest game I have ever played in? The World Cup final in 2010. The Netherlands did not play very well, but I know that we could have beaten Spain.

“When I get older I would love to be a Coach, but there is still time before that.”

AC Milan vs. Napoli kick-off moved
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Lega Serie A has moved Roma-Inter, Milan-Napoli and Cesena-Catania this weekend to 3pm Italian time in a bid to avoid losing them to the weather.

The three fixtures were originally all scheduled as Week 22’s evening kick-offs but will now all be played in the middle of the afternoon. Cesena-Catania and Roma-Inter will still both be played on Saturday, whilst Milan-Napoli will happen on Sunday afternoon as part of the main block of weekend games.

President Maurizio Beretta has taken the action to move the three fixtures having seen the midweek round of games hit by four postponements as heavy snow and freezing conditions took hold of the country.

Adriano Galliani had earlier requested that Milan’s home fixture with Napoli be rearranged due to the potentially dangerously low temperatures that fans will have had to watch it in at the original time of 8.45pm local time.

Zamparini: TV dictates us
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Maurizio Zamparini has weighed in on the fixture-rescheduling debate sweeping Serie A as a result of midweek postponements.

The FIGC and Players Association (AIC) have both advocated that the quickest step to be taken to avoid a repeat of Week 21’s four postponements would be to reorganise the fixture schedule.

Meanwhile, the Lega Serie A are also reportedly considering moving all kick-offs this weekend to 3pm Italian time in order to alleviate immediate pressure.

However, Palermo President Zamparini suggests debate is only being had because of Milan’s involvement.

“Return to just Sunday matches because the weather is too cold? Absurd. They are only talking about it because Milan have asked,” said the Udine-born businessman, in relation to the fact Adriano Galliani has requested that Milan’s fixture with Napoli be postponed.

Weather forecasts predict temperatures on Sunday evening at San Siro to go no higher than minus 8.

“Had Atalanta asked to cancel our game, nobody would have spoken about it. Since it is Milan, at least half the country is listening, that’s what annoys me.”

Even so, Zamparini does agree with Galliani.

“We must avoid avoid playing in the evening and plan winter games for the afternoon. It makes no difference to me if we plan these things at the start of the season or we change according to the conditions.

“I must say, also, that in recent years things have improved. I remember games being played on ice without much complaint.

“Playing games in August? You’ll have to see if the corporations want us to play football in August.

“TV dictates where and when we all play, besides it is what they pay for television rights that keeps money coming into the game.”

Serie A move weekend kick-offs?
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Lega Serie A are reportedly considering moving all the weekend’s fixtures to mid-afternoon in an attempt to avoid postponements.

The midweek round was hit by four postponements as heavy snowfall and below freezing temperatures hit the north of the country.

Siena, Bologna and Parma’s stadiums were closed due to safety concerns, whilst the conditions also got the better of Atalanta’s attempts to host Genoa.

More snow and even colder temperatures anticipated in parts of the country at the weekend, prompting Milan’s Vice-President Adriano Galliani to request to the League’s President Maurizio Beretta that their Sunday evening fixture with Napoli be rearranged.

Reports in Italy are suggesting that Beretta is considering sanctioning that all the weekend’s Serie A fixtures are moved to 3pm Italian time kick-offs on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Players’ Association (AIC) chief Damiano Tommasi specifically backed Galliani’s request to cancel the game at San Siro, where predictions have the temperature as no higher than eight below zero.

“If the forecasts are correct then it is better not to play that Milan-Napoli game. It would be advisable with the foresight of the weather predictions to avoid calling it off when everyone is at the stadium.

“The fixture schedule is very busy and inconveniences are always the same. We have never addressed this issue in an effective manner and according to me, spreading the games from August to June would at least limit the damage.

“The players are the last to be consulted and it is wrong to accuse us of wanting to call off games.”

Tevez: 'Situation almost comical'
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlos Tevez has complained about Manchester City’s handling of his transfer saga this January. “There were offers…”

The Argentine forward, City’s top goal-scorer in each of the previous two seasons, was talking having failed to leave the English side during the January transfer window.

Linked with Inter and Paris Saint-Germain, Tevez failed to secure a move after a transfer fee could not be agreed with his desired option Milan. The Rossoneri reportedly wanted the player on loan, City were keen for a full sale.

“I think this situation has become almost comical,” spouted Tevez to Kicker magazine. “I wanted to leave City and I had offers from other clubs, both from Italy and Spain.

“But in the end it all collapsed because City rejected every offer they received. They say I cost a fortune and they do not sell me, not even give me a loan.

“I really have no idea what will happen in the coming months.”

The 27-year-old revealed that he had written to the club to request that he be sold in the winter transfer market.

“I sent a letter to the club in which I said I wanted to leave. In recent days I also contacted the Premier League to appeal the fine imposed on me by City.

“Now I’m waiting for a response. Talking to the League is my only option at this time.”

City have reportedly fined the player more than €10m during his self-imposed exile in Argentina and are set to fine him again for failing to return at the end of January.

“There were offers from Milan, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain. But in the end they have done nothing.

“Although there was interest, and these people wanted to see me play football again.”

The Argentine international hinted that he will look into ways to return to playing between now and the summer transfer window.

“Of course there were personal aspects to this story. I wanted to be closer to my children who live in Argentina. So I took the situation to hand.

“Now I must talk with the management at City. Let’s see what happens. Of course I would return to play football, but at this time, I have to settle for playing golf, or taking part in testimonials, such as my friend Martin Palermo’s one.”

Inzaghi too old for Parma
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Parma have insisted that Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi was too old to be considered as a January transfer target.

The veteran striker, 38, was linked with a switch to the Gialloblu last month given his uncertain future at San Siro.

“No, we were not after Inzaghi,” director general Pietro Leonardi noted. “We tried to bring in players from a certain age group for the future.

“We signed Roma striker Stefano Okaka, a player who clearly has potential for improvement.”

Inzaghi rejected numerous offers, including a tempting deadline day approach from Siena, in order to remain at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Meanwhile, the Stadio Tardini official dismissed suggestions that they were ready to sell Daniele Galloppa.

“Never,” he responded. “We always said that he would stay. He is part of the future here and is indispensible for our project.

“There were never any talks over a possible sale.”

Fiorentina were paired with the 26-year-old midfielder in January.

Allegri: 'Defeat healthy for AC Milan'
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri admits Milan played “a terrible game, but the defeat to Lazio can do us good.”

The Rossoneri could’ve gone top after Juve’s match with Parma was snowed off last night, but they fell 2-0 at the Olimpico instead.

“We played a terrible game against a team that did not allow us much, but this is not giving the all-clear to Juventus,” said the Coach.

“The campaign is still long and there will be time to discuss these things. I believe the defeat can do us good and help us to grow.

“Lately, despite winning, we haven’t had the same grit that we need to win the Scudetto. This is why I believe the defeat can be healthy.”

The result did show a definite trend this season, as Milan have lost to all the big clubs: Juventus, Napoli, Lazio and Inter.

“Unfortunately these are the statistics and so we have to improve our mentality when playing against the top teams. It’s not that we work less harder, but we do have a different mental attitude compared to other games.”

There was controversy, though, as Stephen El Shaarawy wanted a penalty for an Andre Dias handling offence, but it’s unclear why the linesman advised the referee against it.

“I believe he said it was El Shaarawy’s handling offence and not the Lazio defender. He changed the referee’s mind, as the penalty had originally been given.”

Replays show that Dias punched the ball off El Shaarawy’s chest.

AC Milan change Champions League list
2.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have added Maxi Lopez, Djamel Mesbah and Stephan El Shaarawy to their Champions League squad.

January signings Lopez and Mesbah are new additions, while El Shaarawy had originally been left out of the European line-up.

Ex-Genoa midfielder Alexander Merkel is Milan’s youth product, so finds a space on the B List.

Taken off the squad are Taye Taiwo – who moved to QPR – and long-term absentees Antonio Cassano and Gennaro Gattuso.

Pippo Inzaghi still finds no space for the Champions League.

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Roma; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, De Sciglio, Mesbah, Mexes, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Yepes, Zambrotta; Ambrosini, Aquilani, Boateng, Emanuelson, Merkel (B List), Nocerino, Seedorf, Van Bommel; El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Maxi Lopez, Pato, Robinho

Serie A: Lazio 2:0 AC Milan - match report
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Hernanes 76 (L), Rocchi 85 (L)

Lazio took their chances and Milan did not, as Hernanes and Tommaso Rocchi sank the Rossoneri 2-0.

This was a huge game in the Scudetto race, as the Rossoneri had the chance to close up on leaders Juventus. They were in the middle of an injury crisis with Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Aquilani, Mario Yepes, Gennaro Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser unavailable. Lazio had problems too, as they missed Cristian Brocchi, Libor Kozak, Stephen Makinwa, Emiliano Alfaro, Lorik Cana and Stefano Mauri.

Antonio Nocerino’s header was well parried by Federico Marchetti, while Francelino Matuzalem’s daisy-cutter was just wide. Strangely, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was playing in a slightly deeper role than Robinho and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Marchetti rushed out of the box to nod a dangerous ball away from Ibra. Lazio threatened from a corner that flew past the crowd of players, nobody able to finish it off, while Christian Abbiati smothered a Hernanes snapshot.

El Shaarawy ran on to an Ibra through ball and got round Marchetti, staying on his feet despite some contact, but by then the angle was too narrow to score.

Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap in midfield, but hesitated and it rolled out of play rather than set up an unmarked El Shaarawy. The Swede blamed a divot in the turf for his error and glared daggers at it.

There was controversy within 120 seconds of the restart, as El Shaarawy burst between two Lazio defenders and wanted a penalty for an Andre Dias handling offence. The referee discussed it with his assistant and suggested El Shaarawy was to blame, but replays clearly show Dias punching the ball off the Under-21 international’s chest.

Massimo Ambrosini’s header skimmed the crossbar and Lazio lost Dias to a suspected thigh strain. Christian Abbiati flapped at an Abdoullay Konko cross-shot and Tommaso Rocchi was furious, as he felt Stefan Radu was tripped just inside the area by Thiago Silva, but the referee insisted the Brazilian had not actually moved, so the Lazio player ran on to his leg.

Nocerino’s screamer was beaten away and Robinho threaded through for Ibrahimovic, who surprisingly hesitated so the chance went begging.

However, just as Milan were pelting the goal with attempts, it was Lazio who scored on the counter-attack. Hernanes got his sixth goal of the season by running on to a smart Rocchi flick and anticipating Alexxandro Nesta to flash the angled drive across Abbiati as he fell to the ground.

Hernanes nearly made it 2-0 with another well-taken angled drive on Rocchi’s dummy, but it skimmed the base of the far post.

Milan gave Maxi Lopez his debut, but Lazio doubled their lead with Rocchi’s 99th Serie A goal. Senad Lulic got to the by-line and pulled back for Rocchi, who smashed it first time into the near top corner from six yards.

Ibra wasted another chance in a really off day for the Swede, placing the daisy-cutter across the six-yard box to go wide.

Antonio Candreva received his Lazio debut just 24 hours after completing the move from Cesena.

Lazio: Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Dias (Stankevicius 51), Radu; Gonzalez, Ledesma, Lulic, Matuzalem; Hernanes (Candreva 88); Rocchi (Rozzi 92)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Ambrosini (Emanuelson 66), Van Bommel (Maxi Lopez 79), Nocerino; El Shaarawy (Seedorf 66); Robinho, Ibrahimovic

Ref: Damato

Serie A: Lazio vs. AC Milan - lineups
1.2 || webmaster

LAZIO: Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Dias, Radu; Gonzalez, Matuzalem, Ledesma, Lulic; Hernanes; Rocchi.

AC MILAN: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Ambrosini, Van Bommel, Nocerino; Robinho; El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic.

Klose doubful for AC Milan clash
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Miroslav Klose is a late doubt for Lazio’s midweek clash with Milan, adding to Edy Reja’s selection headache in attack.

After the sales of Djibril Cisse and Giuseppe Sculli, the failure to secure a replacement in the transfer market on Tuesday and the injuries to Libor Kozak and Emiliano Alfaro, Reja’s attacking options were already limited.

Klose is understood to be struggling to recover from an impact injury sustained at the weekend away to Chievo. Whilst just taking a knee to his thigh, it is thought likely to rule the 33-year-old out of Week 21’s home match with Milan.

If Klose does miss the game, Reja is left with just one fit striker to face the defending champions, in Tommaso Rocchi.

FIGC, AIC advocate calendar changes
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Both the Italian FA (FIGC) and Footballers’ Association (AIC) are keen to rearrange the fixture list so as to avoid future Serie A postponement chaos.

Heavy snowfall has hit the north of the peninsula this week and has already caused the cancellation of three top-flight matches from Week 21’s midweek round of games.

Tuesday’s match between Parma and Juventus was called off just an hour before kick-off much to the anger of Beppe Marotta and Antonio Conte.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina’s trip to Bologna and Siena’s meeting with Catania have also been called off. The remaining seven games are set to go ahead, but Udinese-Lecce is likely to be played in below freezing temperatures, whilst there are predictions that the chaos caused by the weather could spread to the weekend’s Week 22 games.

Milan have already requested that their Sunday meeting with Napoli be postponed.

Vice-President of the Italian FA Demetrio Albertini admitted that the current situation is not one that should be repeated.

“It is the time to change something and we must have the courage to do so,” he declared on Wednesday.

“Almost all the stadiums in Italy are old now, unfit to provide decent accommodation for players or the public in adverse weather conditions.

“Pending their renovation, and it will take years, a viable solution is to start the season in August and possibly expand the winter break, to avoid the coldest period.

“One summer night is certainly more feasible than a unpleasant winter, just see how they follow friendlies in August.”

The former Milan and Italy midfielder continued his point, whilst also responding to those who might criticise such an idea.

“We want to respect the players and the fans, even those that watch a bad game on TV, because it is played on a disgraceful playing surface.

“Some are saying that abroad it is different, but this is not true. Those who say that we cannot predict certain weather conditions, I respond that the winter in the centre-north of the country is unlikely to be mild.

“This situation must change, but without creating division, instead coming to a shared belief with benefits for all.

“Already, for example, during the winter break, many teams travel abroad to heat. We could allow for a longer winter break so as to play the friendlies that would be lost in August.”

This last comment was taken further by President of the Italian Footballers’ Association Damiano Tommasi, who is equally keen to put forward a rearrangement of the fixture list.

“We are certainly experiencing a unique situation from a meteorological perspective,” said the former Roma man.

“But we should definitely review the fixture calendars, perhaps by increasing the number of games played when the climate is better.

“It would safeguard the quality of the show - to play on a frozen pitch or in the fog, is not the best for those who play or care for the sport.

“The numbers speak for themselves - the majority of injuries occur in cold weather.

“Approval for the law permitting stadium development goes on for so long, but this is not the only possible solution.”

AC Milan ask for Napoli postponement
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has asked for Sunday’s evening game against Napoli to be postponed.

The official has written a letter to Serie A Lega chief Maurizio Beretta requesting the game – set to kick off at 20.45 local time – be re-arranged because of the poor weather which has already seen three midweek games called off.

“All the forecasts for the next few days, and the weekend in the particular, predict prohibitive weather conditions, those that we have not seen for 27 years,” he wrote.

“In Milan there will be snow and temperatures between -8 and -10.

“In these conditions, I strongly believe that playing the Milan-Napoli game is inopportune due to the extreme conditions.

“I thus ask you to postpone the game to a different date in which we will be able to play in climatically normal conditions.”

Ancelotti drops Pato hint
1.2 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has intimated that Paris Saint-Germain will make a new bid for Milan’s Alexandre Pato in the summer.

The French giants actually agreed a fee with the Rossoneri for the striker in January, but the player turned down a switch to Paris.

“There is an attacker in the future of PSG and Pato is a great attacker,” the tactician told the Corriere dello Sport.

Pato wasn’t the only forward that the club went for after they also tried and failed to sign Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

“His priority was Milan,” the tactician said of the Argentine who ended the month still as a City player.

“When we negotiated for him his requests were so high that in the end it was actually us who didn’t accept.”

One player who the capital outfit did sign though was Thiago Motta, the Inter midfielder who completed his switch on Tuesday.

“Our transfer policy was aimed towards experience and quality – the club did great work. Our signings were also made for the future and we are already thinking of next season.”

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