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The Archive

November 2005

Indecent exposure case dropped against ex-AC Milan doctor
30.11 || webmaster

Source: (Singapore)

English prosecutors have dropped charges of indecent exposure against the former team doctor of Italian giants AC Milan after his alleged victim decided not to give evidence.

Armando Gozzini, 45, had pleaded not guilty to exposing himself to a masseuse while staying at a Manchester hotel before his club played Manchester United in the Champions League on February 22.

The case was abandoned after the complainant -- who is protected by anonymity under English law -- discovered a family member had been diagnosed with cancer so was unwilling to give evidence, a court in Manchester was told on Wednesday.

Gozzini, who left the Serie A club at the start of the current season, was bound over for 12 months, meaning he promises to be on good behaviour for a year.

He risks losing up to 500 pounds (732 euros, 863 dollars) if he breaches the peace.

Gozzini's solicitor, Michael Brunskill, said after the hearing: "Dr Gozzini is delighted that the decision has been taken to drop the case.

"He has always maintained his innocence of any wrongdoing and if there had been a trial he would have maintained his innocence throughout.

"He was not guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever and he is delighted that the case is now over, enabling him to resume his life with no stain on his character." — AFP

Vieri happy with San Siro strike
30.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri has expressed his relief at finally opening his account for Milan at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Vieri was desperate to score a home goal following his summer switch from Inter and grabbed only his second for his new club in the 3-1 win over Brescia on Tuesday.

"It was really important for me to score, especially as I have hardly played recently," he said after the Coppa Italia win.

The Italian international returned to the starting line-up after a month on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

But his goal has put the outfit within touching distance of the Italian Cup quarter-finals after finishing off a Manuel Rui Costa assist.

"I must thank Manuel as he finally gave me a good pass which I could benefit from," joked the 32-year-old.

Vieri’s return to the score-sheet will now increase the pressure on boss Carlo Ancelotti for him to select the striker.

Despite stiff competition from Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino, Vieri is confident he will get his chance this term.

"I know that the Coach makes his decisions game by game," continued the ex-Atletico Madrid forward.

"I just train hard with the same desire as ever and remain at the total disposal of boss Ancelotti."

Milan set sights on Zebina
30.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are looking to revitalise their defence with the purchase of Juventus full-back Jonathan Zebina in the summer.

The Frenchman is surplus to requirements at Juve after spending most of the season out injured and asking for a pay rise.

That request was deemed to be excessive by the club directors and they have already looked to replace him by netting Willy Sagnol from Bayern Munich on a free transfer for next term.

Zebina has been identified as an ideal player to begin the rebuilding process for a Rossoneri defence in urgent need of rejuvenation - the entire rearguard, Alessandro Nesta excepted, are now in their thirties.

The former Roma defender is still only 27 and has won titles with both the Giallorossi and the Italian champions.

The San Siro side, meanwhile, are prepared to allow goalkeeper Christian Abbiati to make his loan stay with the Bianconeri permanent in exchange for the Frenchman.

Zebina, who has become a regular for France under Raymond Domenech, is a versatile player who is just as comfortable playing in central defence as he is at right-back.

To this end, Milan have not given up on their pursuit of another French international, Lyon full-back Anthony Reveillère.

Coppa win delights Ancelotti
30.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with his side’s 3-1 win over Brescia on Tuesday night. "All in all it was a good game," he said.

The Rossoneri took a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Manuel Rui Costa and Alberto Gilardino before Andrea Alberti pulled one back for the visitors. Christian Vieri then made it 3-1 to the home side.

"We could have controlled the end of the match better," said Ancelotti. "But all in all it was a good game."

Rui Costa put the home side ahead with a ferocious first-half strike to make amends for an earlier miss and his Coach was relieved to see him finally hit the net.

"He has been unlucky in several games, including the last match against Lecce," he added. "This time he managed to score and I think he is happy about that."

Vieri combined well with Gilardino and also broke his drought to score only his second goal of the season, leaving Carletto with something of a selection quandary for Saturday’s match against Chievo.

"For a striker, scoring goals is important," continued the former Parma tactician. "He needed to get 90 minutes under his belt and he moved very well. I’ll have selection doubts until the end of the year."

Brescia Coach Rolando Marin was reasonably pleased with his team’s efforts but criticized the Serie B outfit for admiring the opposition too much.

"We wanted to give a good account of ourselves and, partly, we managed to do that," he said. "But we stood by and watched too much.

"We’ll have to approach the second leg with the same attitude and try to work hard without thinking too much about the score-line," he added. "We’ll try and turn the result around although we know that against Milan that won’t be easy."

Andrea Alberti was pleased with his goal for the Rondinelle and admitted feeling a bit overawed at being marked by Alessandro Costacurta.

"I scored an important goal and gave it my all," said the young striker. "It was a great feeling playing against Costacurta. A few years ago I was watching him on television."

Coppa Italia: AC Milan 3:1 Brescia - match report
29.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri marked his comeback with a goal in Milan’s 3-1 Coppa Italia victory over Serie B side Brescia.

Vieri made his first appearance in a month and was partnered by Alberto Gilardino for this Coppa Italia encounter with Serie B surprise qualifiers Brescia. Lino Marzoratti was given a rare start alongside Alessandro Costacurta – 20 years his senior.

Gilardino held up the ball for Gennaro Gattuso, who drilled just wide, while a Johann Vogel strike from distance stung Federico Agliardi’s palms. Marek Jankulovski’s splendid solo run brought another tough save out of the goalkeeper, as Milan piled on the pressure early on.

Manuel Rui Costa wasted the clearest opportunity so far on 22 minutes, firing straight at Agliardi from close range. The Portuguese midfielder made up for the error soon after with a fierce drive from the edge of the box that slotted into the top corner.

Omar Milanetto’s free kick was saved, but the first half was one-way traffic and, after another Vogel effort was parried, Gilardino nodded in Rui Costa’s corner kick to double their lead.

However, Brescia found a way back into the tie straight after the restart, as Milanetto’s set-piece reached Stankevicius for a precise header. Once again, the Rossoneri have conceded a goal from a dead ball situation.

Agliardi rushed off his line to close down Vieri before Gilardino redirected a wayward Vogel shot just past the post. Carlo Ancelotti’s men restored their two-goal cushion thanks to a comeback goal from Vieri. Rui Costa was again involved, his through ball freeing the striker to turn and place a right-foot shot into the bottom corner.

Vogel and an Andrea Pirlo free kick skimmed the woodwork, but only a tricky save from Zeljko Kalac on Mannini prevented Brescia grabbing another crucial away goal in the final minute. The second leg will be played at the Stadio Rigamonti on December 8.

Milan 3-1 Brescia

Scorers: Rui Costa 26 (M), Gilardino 40 (M), Stankevicius 48 (B), Vieri 69 (M)

Milan: Kalac; Marzoratti, Simic, Costacurta (Stam 77), Kaladze; Gattuso (Pirlo 46), Vogel, Jankulovski; Rui Costa; Gilardino (Ardemagni 64), Vieri

Brescia: Agliardi; Martinez, Di Biagio, Zoboli (Turato 46), Dallamano; Stankevicius, Piangerelli, Hamsik; Milanetto; Alberti (Possanzini 60), Salgado (Mannini 77)

Ref: Rizzoli

Vieri back for Brescia tie
29.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri has been selected to start in Milan’s Italian Cup match against Brescia this evening.

Vieri, who injured his knee while training with Italy last month, will be making his first appearance for the Rossoneri in exactly four weeks.

The 32-year-old is currently fourth in the pecking order of strikers at the San Siro, behind Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Filippo Inzaghi, and the former Inter man will be eager to impress Coach Carlo Ancelotti against the Serie B side.

Vieri has managed just one goal in six games for the Rossoneri, but will be hoping to emulate the feats of Hernan Crespo last season.

The Argentine was similarly playing second fiddle to his rival strikers in November of last year when he scored twice against Palermo in the Italian Cup to kick-start a fine season, which culminated in a two-goal salvo in the Champions League Final.

Another player eager to do well will be Matteo Ardemagni, a product of Milan’s youth system, who has been given a chance to play up front alongside Bobo in a side to which Ancelotti has made nine changes from the weekend. Only Rino Gattuso and Manuel Rui Costa remain from the win over Lecce on Saturday night.

Brescia on the other hand have only rested one player, Davide Possanzini – who will be replaced by Andrea Alberti - and, according to President Luigi Corioni, are expecting to win through to the quarter-finals.

"I’m not expecting to see a second-string side out tonight," he said. "We’re counting on getting through."

Rondinelle Coach Rolando Maran is not quite as bullish, but is nevertheless hopeful of getting something from the game.

"It’s a great honour for us to come back to the San Siro," he said. "It’s a sort of prize so we will ensure we enjoy the evening.

"We must do our best to cause problems for Milan," he added. "We will try to get a result because, you never know, we might surprise them in the return leg."

Milan probable: Kalac; Marzoratti, Simic, Costacurta, Kaladze; Gattuso, Vogel, Jankulovski; Rui Costa; Ardemagni, Vieri.

Brescia probable: Agliardi; Turato, Di Biagio, Zoboli, Dallamano; Anderson, Milanetto, Hamsik, Del Nero; Alberti, Salgado.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna)

Gila ready for title fight
29.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

In-form Milan striker Alberto Gilardino has said that the title fight with Juventus will go all the way down to the wire.

Gilardino explained that despite Juve’s incredible start to the season, in which they have managed 12 wins from 13 matches, he is confident in his own side - who have only lost twice themselves this term and already beaten the League leaders.

"This is a good moment for the team and for myself," he said. "We are, and I am, playing well. I’m in form and I’m pleased with my contribution to the side.

"We won’t let go of Juve, we have no intention of doing that whatsoever," he added. "We’ll be stuck to the Bianconeri until the very end. It will be a fight all the way until May."

Gilardino was disappointed not to score against Lecce on Saturday night and his replacement, Filippo Inzaghi, netted the winner in the last minute.

Gila, though, bears no ill-feeling towards Superpippo, or indeed any of his other fellow strikers.

"I’m the youngest one," he continued. "So I have the chance to learn from the others, which is a positive and very important thing."

Milan travel to Chievo on Saturday in the hope of closing the gap on Fabio Capello’s men, who have a very tough match away to third-placed Fiorentina.

"We never underestimate the matches that seem easier," he added. "We have got a job to do, then we will see how the others get on."

Before the weekend, though, there is the matter of tonight’s Italian Cup match against Brescia, in which Carlo Ancelotti is expected to rest a number of first-choice players.

AC Milan reshuffles team for Italian Cup match against Brescia
28.11 || webmaster


MILAN, Italy (AP) - Strikers Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino will lead a reshuffled AC Milan in Tuesday's Italian Cup match against second-division Brescia at San Siro stadium.

Vieri, who moved from crosstown rival Inter Milan in the off-season, has played only part-time for Milan, while Gilardino is expected to make up for the goals missed in Sunday's league match with Lecce. Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi, who scored an injury-time winner against Lecce, will be rested in the first leg of the third-round match.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said he needed to rotate players as a result of injuries and the busy schedule of his team in the Serie A, Champions League and Italian Cup.

Australia goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac will start his first full match in place of No. 1 Dida, and Marek Jankulowski and Johann Vogel, usually substitutes, will play in midfield.

Regular midfielders Kaka and Massimo Ambrosini are sidelined with injuries.

Dario Simic, veteran Alessandro Costacurta, Kakha Kaladze and Lino Marzoratti start on defence in absence of injured Brazilians Cafu and Serginho.

Milan captain Paolo Maldini is a questionable starter.

"At this stage, the competition has little appeal but it will become very interesting in the next rounds," Ancelotti said.

He warned that Brescia, relegated to the Serie B last season, is dangerous on the road.

Brescia coach Rolando Maran said his team "will try to limit damage at San Siro and hope for a good result in the second leg" at home.

On Wednesday, Parma will host Inter and Udinese will be at second division Atalanta as four of the eight third-round matches are played this week.

On Thursday, the Fiorentina-Juventus first leg will be a rehearsal of Sunday's Serie A match between the third-place Florentine team and the league leader.

Ronaldinho wins Ballon d’Or
28.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona ace Ronaldinho has succeeded Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko as the European Footballer of the Year.

The Brazilian becomes France Football’s 50th Golden Ball winner after netting more votes, cast by a select group of European based football writers, than Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool.

Ronaldinho was awarded 225 points, Lampard 148 and Gerrard, who captained his side to Champions League glory over Milan, gained 142.

Arsenal forward Thierry Henry – formerly of Juventus – was fourth, just ahead of previous winner Shevchenko.

Rossoneri teammate Paolo Maldini was the highest placed Italian in sixth, with Inter’s Adriano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Juve coming in seventh and eighth respectively.

Ronaldinho becomes the third Brazilian to win the award for his performances at the Nou Camp, after Ronaldo in 1997 – who subsequently joined Inter – and Rivaldo in 1999.

The Samba star also won the 2004 FIFA Player of the Year and the inaugural FIFpro prize earlier this year.

AC Milan 2:1 Lecce - match report
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Pirlo 3 (M), Konan 66 (L), Inzaghi 94 (M)

Pippo Inzaghi popped up with a last-gasp winner after Lecce had given Milan quite a scare at the San Siro.

The Rossoneri got back on track in the Champions League midweek with a 4-0 stuffing of Fenerbahce - in which Andriy Shevchenko got all the goals - but had to repeat the trick in Serie A following their 3-1 loss at Fiorentina. Kaka and Marcos Cafu were out injured, so Manuel Rui Costa and Jaap Stam stepped in.

Lecce ended a run of five consecutive defeats with last week's 3-0 win over Siena, but had lost all six of their away games so far this season. Jaime Valdes recovered from a slight knock to start in the ambitious trident attack.

It took less than three minutes to break the deadlock, as Andrea Pirlo curled in a splendid free kick from 28 metres that left Vincenzo Sicignano standing. The ball went in at the far post and the goalkeeper did not even have the opportunity to move.

Soon after, Manuel Rui Costa unleashed two fierce drives that skimmed the upright. At the other end, several shots were charged down before Erminio Rullo drilled off target.

Alberto Gilardino gathered Serginho's cross and sprung the offside trap, but a crucial defensive intervention prevented him beating the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.

Gilardino again found himself alone in the Lecce area on a Rui Costa through ball, but in going round Sicignano he narrowed the angle too much and rolled it wide of an empty net.

Shevchenko also found space and his shot was kept out by Sicignano's feet, then a Clarence Seedorf overhead kick was off target. The Lecce 'keeper also had his palms stung by another effort from the Ukrainian.

Gilardino again sprung the very high Lecce offside trap and drew Sicignano off his line, but the lob was well over a totally open goal and the opportunity wasted.

Another Pirlo free kick was well held, then a poor clearance came out to Gennaro Gattuso for a powerful strike that shaved the upright.

After the break, Alex Pinardi fired well wide of the target, but Milan were dominating and Shevchenko dribbled past three players before rolling across for Gilardino, when perhaps he could've gone for goal.

Moments later the Ukrainian ran on to a lifted Pirlo pass from midfield and the Lecce defender did jist enough to put him off and allow Sicignano to clear. Then Serginho's impressive solo run ended with a shot deflected inches past the upright.

Serginho limped off with a bruised knee and made way for veteran Billy Costacurta in the left-back role.

Rui Costa skipped past a defender inside the area and his shot was kept out by Sicignano's outstretched foot. However, Milan paid the price for wasting so many scoring opportunities.

Lecce equalised when Dida hesitated to come out for a deflected Vucinic header and Axel Konan dived on to the loose ball to tap in from six yards.

Shevchenko's scuffed volley was wide and another Rui Costa effort from distance was smothered. Pippo Inzaghi replaced Gilardino, while Lecce went for broke with young striker Cozzolino.

Marek Jankulovski was Milan's final substitution to give them a more attacking push in place of Gattuso. But it was Lecce who nearly snatched the lead in the final minutes, as a powerful Cristian Ledesma piledriver skimmed the crossbar.

At the other end less than 60 seconds later, Jankulovski shaved the upright with a similar strike from 20 metres, as there was the sensation the game could go either way during five minutes of stoppages.

Inzaghi smartly held up the ball for Alessandro Nesta, whose volley was fingertipped off target by Sicignano's reaction save.

The drama wasn't over yet and the San Siro crowd erupted when Pippo Inzaghi toe-poked in the winner with just over 60 seconds left on the clock. Inzaghi combined with Pirlo and was at full stretch to tap in at the back post.

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho (Costacurta 63); Gattuso (Jankulovski 79), Pirlo, Seedorf; Rui Costa; Shevchenko, Gilardino (Inzaghi 73)

Lecce: Sicignano; Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Rullo; Camorani (Giorgino 83), Ledesma, Pinardi (Marianini 76); Valdes (Cozzolino 73), Konan, Vucinic

Ref: Tombolini

AC Milan vs. Lecce - match preview
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Lecce will be hoping to find their true selves when they meet at the San Siro. Both sides have had mixed fortunes in recent matches and will be keen to prove that they have now found their top form.

The Milanese giants had produced some great performances as victory over Juventus and a 5-1 mauling of Udinese showed that they were not going to let Lo Scudetto slip away from them once again. But disaster struck last week as a below par performance in Florence wiped out their previous hard work. They will need to return to their best against a seemingly rejuvenated Giallorossi, especially with both Massimo Ambrosini and Marcos Cafu missing through injury.

Lecce ended their barren streak in emphatic style with a 3-0 demolition of Siena in Week 12. Before that they had lost five consecutive matches without scoring a single goal, but looked much more like their old selves for the visit of the Bianconeri.

The Tuscan side had no answer to the combination of Jaime Valdes, Axel Konan and Mirko Vucinic and if they can make that form stick, then they should move clear of their precarious position in the relegation zone even if Valdes is injured for this match. With last season’s star-man Vucinic looking back to his explosive best, then they could well start by upsetting the odds against a downhearted Rossoneri.

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

Lecce (probable): Sicignano; Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Rullo; Camorani, Ledesma, Marianini; Konan, Vucinic, Pinardi

Ref: To folllow

Ancelotti respects Rui Costa
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti will keep many of the players who excelled in Istanbul when Milan face Lecce, including Manuel Rui Costa and Dario Simic.

“The more quality a player has, the more he suffers at being left out. Rui Costa is one of these examples,” explained the tactician. “If he is always ready to impress, the credit has to go to his talent and professionalism. His teammates all appreciate him for those qualities.”

The Portuguese star has barely set foot on the field this season, but Kaka’s injury during the first half of Wednesday’s 4-0 thrashing of Fenerbahce opened the door for a good performance. Rui Costa will have the chance to build on that against Lecce this evening, as the Brazilian remains sidelined with a bruised hip.

“Gennaro Gattuso also picked up an injury in Istanbul, though I hope he can recover in time. I haven’t decided the front two either, as Andriy Shevchenko’s status is under review and Christian Vieri has a muscular problem.”

Marek Jankulovski and Johann Vogel are challenging to replace Gattuso in midfield, while either Alessandro Nesta or Paolo Maldini will be rested so that Simic and the returning Jaap Stam can start in defence.

“Stam is fit and has fresh legs, so he could play in the centre. Simic was precise and focused throughout the Champions League game, but above all I was impressed by his character.”

Milan fell five points adrift of Serie A leaders Juventus with last week’s defeat to Fiorentina and must get back on track against relegation strugglers Lecce.

“They are a very pacey team, especially now that Axel Konan and Mirko Vucinic have rediscovered their form,” warned Ancelotti. “We played some good quality football in Florence, even if we shot ourselves in the foot with a few errors. We need to learn how to keep a game in the balance, as we can strike at any time.”

Lecce launch trident against Milan
26.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lecce have lost all six of their away games this season, but Silvio Baldini insists he’ll field a trident attack against Milan.

“All we need to get a result at the San Siro is the kind of luck we had against Cagliari and Siena,” said the Coach ahead of Saturday’s match. “We saw tapes of their defeat to Fiorentina and identified some weak points, while we are sticking to the 4-3-3 system. It’s the tactic that most suits my players.”

“In truth, good fortune isn’t all we have going for us now. Our recent performances showed that we are more aggressive, put our opponents under pressure and moving off the ball. I wish we’d attached a step monitor to Mirko Vucinic, as you would’ve seen the difference from previous games!”

The 3-0 victory over Siena last week ended a run of five consecutive defeats, but their away form remains a problem with just one goal scored and 13 conceded.

“We need to continue along this path, as our position in the table demands it. We know we’re facing a great side like Milan, but that is the joy of Serie A, that you get to take on world class players. I’ve already beaten the Rossoneri during my time at Empoli, as we won 1-0, so I hope to manage a repeat of that with Lecce.”

AC Milan may help Indian soccer
24.11 || webmaster


Impressed by the passion for the game in India, Italian soccer powerhouse AC Milan would consider extending assistance for raising the standard of football in the country.

"AC Milan will consider that [helping India improving its soccer standard]. We cannot confirm it, but will definitely consider to do something in the future," Milan's goodwill ambassador for the ongoing tour of its junior side, Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo said in Kolkata on Wednesday.

"For us, it was a big surprise to see the passion for the game in this country. I would love to come here again," the celebrated former Brazilian World Cup winner said after the match against the Bengal Under-21 side at the Salt Lake stadium.

Stating that the country is known for its strength in cricket and hockey, the Brazilian said: "I hope it does well in football also in the future. India can build relations with European soccer clubs to achieve that".

Impressed by the aggressive display by Bengal colts, who sprang a surprise winning in the match against AC Milan's juniors, 2-1, Leonardo said: "India should go for exchange programmes like Japan did to succeed in world football".

Shevchenko earns Van Basten comparison
24.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti and Adriano Galliani claim Andriy Shevchenko has reached Marco van Basten’s level, but he thinks he could've done better tonight.

“We needed the very best Milan performance to play in these circumstances, as between the fiery home crowd and the difficult situation in the table, this was a tricky match,” said the Coach after their 4-0 victory.

Despite this victory, which put them on top of Group E with eight points, passage to the knockout stage is still in the balance and they welcome Schalke 04 in their last match.

“We’d been doing well throughout the last few weeks and only stumbled at Fiorentina, but we’re still not in a position to make calculations for the final game.”

Andriy Shevchenko became only the fifth player in Champions League history to score four in one game. The first was Milan’s Marco Van Basten on November 25 1989 against Goteborg, then Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi, Dado Prso for Monaco and Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United against Sparta Prague.

“Shevchenko did great work, but his teammates also did well to put him in those scoring positions. I was above all impressed with the performances of those who don’t often get to play, like Manuel Rui Costa and Dario Simic.”

Shevchenko made history and became the current Champions League top scorer with seven goals, leapfrogging past Ronaldinho.

“It’s not easy to score four goals in one game, but the most important thing was the three points and that the team put in a great performance,” said the Ballon d’Or winner. “We struggled a little in the first half, but played with intelligence and had another 10 chances to score. I could have broken the record and grabbed five or more, but the goalkeeper did well and kept the result down.”

The Ukrainian analysed his first two goals and how he came to put them past the Fenerbahce shot-stopper.

“There was a lot of mud around the area and I knew it could get stuck, so I was very careful taking it forward and tried to steer it between the ‘keepers’ legs. My favourite was the second, as I dummied the defender and shot with my left foot.”

Rossoneri vice-president Adriano Galliani had a similar view of this crushing victory and of Shevchenko’s position in this club’s history.

“van Basten remains van Basten, but I think tonight’s four goals bring Sheva onto his level. He really is a phenomenon with 53 goals in European competition,” said Galliani.

“If there’s a player I want to thank it is Simic. He rarely plays, but always trains hard and is ready when needed. He is the ideal player I want in my team. I hope now the media can drop this endless harping on about the nightmares of Istanbul. We also won here against Besiktas, so not everything goes wrong in this city.”

Simic was the first to admit that his patience at Milan has not come naturally to him. “It is in all honesty very difficult to find consistency when you haven’t played in three months,” said the Croat. “You need a lot of belief in yourself to hang on in those circumstances and keep going. I must thank my teammates, the club psychologist and the church for helping me through the troubled times.”

Fenerbahce 0:4 AC Milan - match report
23.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Shevchenko 16, 52, 70, 76 (M)

Andriy Shevchenko scored a record four goals to demolish Fenerbahce and put Milan's Istanbul demons to rest.

The Rossoneri returned to Istanbul for the first time since their Champions League debacle against Liverpool and faced another crunch match for their European future. After picking up just two points from their last three games, a positive result against Fenerbahce was increasingly crucial to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the knockout round. They had beaten the Turks 3-1 in the Group E opener with a Kaka brace and Andriy Shevchenko strike.

With Jaap Stam suspended and Marcos Cafu injured, Dario Simic stepped in at right-back, while Alberto Gilardino was chosen to partner the returning Shevchenko. The pressure was also on Milan following their 3-1 defeat at Fiorentina on Sunday. Fenerbahce boss Christophe Daum was missing three Brazilians, the suspended Fabio Luciano and Marco Aurelio plus the injured Alex, but fielded ex-Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah.

Despite the cold and driving rain, the Turkish crowd whistled en mass every time a Milan player touched the ball. Umit drilled over the bar from distance and a Serkan cross-shot was chargd down.

A perfectly timed Alessandro Nesta challenge cut off Tungay inside the area, but despite the early pressure, it was Milan who broke the deadlock after 16 minutes.

A poor Nicolas Anelka pass was intercepted in midfield by Clarence Seedorf and immediately slipped forward for Shevchenko. The Ballon d'Or winner used his pace to run half way up the pitch and slide a precise finish under the goalkeeper. It was his 50th goal in continental competition between the Champions League and UEFA Cup.

However, there was bad news as Kaka limped off with a hip injury to make way for Manuel Rui Costa.

There was a fine team move with Serginho leaving a defender behind and Rui Costa touching back for a Seedorf strike that was held well by Volkan. Moments later, another Seedorf volley tested the goalkeeper after combining with Gilardino.

Fenerbahce created a good opportunity that was closed down by Nesta's header, but Milan could've been 2-0 up, as Gilardino's header on a Simic cross thumped the near post.

Rui Costa ballooned over the bar and Mehmet Yozgatli blazed well wide under no pressure on the edge of the box. Fenerbahice pushed forward on the stroke of half-time and Paolo Maldini intercepted a great Tuncay run.

Shevchenko doubled Milan's lead six minutes into the second half with another splendid effort. Shevchenko gathered Gilardino's pass on the edge of the box and unleashed a wonderful curling finish into the bottom near corner. It was a goal out of nowhere.

The Turks fought back and Dida flew to push a fine Onder effort over with his trailing hand.

However, Volkan required a fantastic reaction save to prevent Shevchenko completing his hat-trick, his feet keeping out the Ukrainian's glancing header on a Serginho cross.

Shevchenko thought he had a third on the hour mark by springing the offside trap, but Volkan stuck out a hand to push the ball off his foot, then Serkan and Onder required two goalline clearances to keep out the ex-Dynamo Kiev man and Gilardino.

Sheva was a nightmare for the Turkish defence and again found himself one-on-one with Volkan for an outstretched foot to block, but again it was Anelka who had given away the ball.

The hat-trick was almost inevitable and Shevchenko completed it at the end of another fine team move. Seedorf set Serginho running and his low sweeping pass across the face of goal came to the Ukrainian for a tap-in at the back post.

Rui Costa's half-volley, again on a cross from the left, stung Volkan's palms and the goalkeeper smothered another Shevchenko effort. Gilardino scuffed his finish after finding space inside the area and was replaced soon after by Christian Vieri.

Vieri made an immediate impact, even if it was Shevchenko who got an incredible fourth goal of the night. Seedorf was again the provider and Vieri pulled away two defenders before crossing for Shevchenko to tap in at the back post.

There was a curious moment in the final minutes when Rui Costa's shirt was torn in two by Deniz and the Fenerbahce defender handed the rags back to him.

Seedorf wasted a golden opportunity to make it 5-0 when he blazed wide from a delightful chipped Rui Costa pass. Shevchenko had a stoppage-time penalty appeal waved away and Vieri just avoided a missile thrown from the crowd.

Fenerbahce: Volkan; Serkan, Servet, Onder, Deniz; Selcuk (Arslan 28), Umit, Appiah; Yozgatli (Nobre 57), Tuncay; Anelka

Milan: Dida; Simic, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso (Vogel 80), Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà (Rui Costa 20); Gilardino (Vieri 75), Shevchenko

Ref: Hauge (Nor)

Defiant Ancelotti remains cool
23.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is not feeling any pressure ahead of Milan’s tough away fixture against Fenerbahce. "I’m going nowhere," he said.

Ancelotti’s Scudetto hopes suffered a setback on Sunday when his side lost to Fiorentina and now he risks making a similar backwards step in Europe - at the very scene of the devastating Champions League Final defeat to Liverpool in May.

The Rossoneri are second in a very tight Group E, two points behind PSV Eindhoven, level on points with FC Schalke 04 and just one ahead of the Turkish side.

As far as Carletto is concerned, though, neither he nor his side are feeling the pressure – despite the pressure cooker atmosphere of the notorious Saracoglu Stadium.

"This game has arrived at an important stage in the season coming straight after the game in Florence," he said. "But this side has always performed in big games.

"Our aim is not to get to the last match in the group up to our necks in it," he added.

"We don’t want to be left having to win at all costs, but neither do we feel under pressure to have to win this game."

The memories of May will be hard to shake for the Rossoneri and this match represents a real test of character for both players and Coach.

The 46-year-old tactician, though, refuted any notion that two straight defeats would represent a crisis.

"This is an important match but not a decisive one," he declared. "Even if we get the worst possible result I won’t lose my job. I’m going nowhere."

Ancelotti was greeted by hosts bearing bunches of flowers at the airport in a PR move to appease security concerns following last week’s violent scenes following Turkey’s World Cup qualifier defeat to Switzerland, but will not find their Turkish opponents so welcoming tonight.

In order to avoid any nightmares from repeating themselves, the boss has opted for the in-form Alberto Gilardino to partner Andriy Shevchenko in attack, with Kaka and Andrea Pirlo in close offensive attendance.

In defence, Paolo Maldini – making his 150th European appearance – partners Alessandro Nesta in central defence, as they look to thwart the threat of Nicolas Anelka and former Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah.

Dario Simic steps in for the injured Marcos Cafu at right-back with Jaap Stam out suspended.

Sheva shakes off Istanbul nerves
22.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko prepares to face Fenerbahce in Istanbul and insists the city of their Champions League nightmare can become a dream.

“The match in Istanbul will be very important. Of course, we can’t forget what happened here in May, but we will not let it affect us,” said the striker.

Milan lost the European Cup Final to Liverpool in this city after throwing away a 3-0 lead and they must return to take on Fenerbahce in tomorrow night’s Group E showdown.

The Group is evenly balanced with just two games to go, as PSV Eindhoven lead on seven points ahead of Milan and Schalke on five and Fenerbahce have four.

“We must look forward, not back, and play with heart,” continued Shevchenko. “Let us not forget, I’ve played in this stadium with the Ukraine and we beat Turkey 3-0, so I have happy memories of the place.”

The pressure is increasing on the Rossoneri after their 3-1 Serie A defeat to Fiorentina, which has left them five points adrift of leaders Juventus.

“We paid the price for our mistakes at the Stadio Franchi. Fiorentina played very well, but we also created plenty of scoring opportunities and fought until the final whistle. This attitude will be necessary in Turkey and it’s good that we have the chance to prove ourselves in an important match so soon after the Viola loss.”

Milan on the defensive
22.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are ready to dive into the transfer market as early as January in order to cure their ailing defensive problems.

Their defence has been a suspect area for some time, but has gone largely unnoticed due to the excellent offensive performances of Milan’s attack and the superb midfield cover provided by the likes of Rino Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf over the last three months.

Unfortunately, though, time waits for no man and the 3-1 reverse at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday revealed a few creaking bones in the midst of the visitors’ rearguard.

Paolo Maldini’s knees are beginning to betray him at last and he, like the 33-year-old Jaap Stam and the 35-year-old Marcos Cafu, can no longer be expected to play at full-back in these, their advancing years.

Billy Costacurta is nearly 40, Kakha Kaladze has been the modicum of inconsistency and Alessandro Nesta has found himself having to put out too many fires on his own.

With Carlo Ancelotti’s men suddenly haemorrhaging goals, new blood is required at the back and with some urgency.

Udinese’s 21-year-old Brazilian Dias Felipe has been on the wanted list for some time, but the San Siro side are also looking at Andrea Barzagli and Cristian Zaccardo of Palermo.

Rosanero chief Maurizio Zamparini said recently that Juve were favourites to sign his players in the summer, but since then his side have disappointed again.

He singled out his Italy internationals for particular criticism yesterday, implying that he might prefer to be rid of them in January.

"If things don’t change by Christmas," he fumed. "I’ll take the necessary measures."

With Milan eager to build on their recent defeat of Juventus, they are willing to act sooner rather than later in order to close the five-point gap on the League leaders.

The Champions League is also a tournament they are hoping to progress in and, to that end, Chievo’s Davide Mandelli has entered into the reckoning.

The reliable 28-year-old has been a mainstay in the Chievo side over the last two seasons and, with no European experience to his name this season, the stopper would also be eligible for European Cup football.

Di Vaio makes San Siro call
22.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Valencia’s Marco Di Vaio has reiterated his desire to join one of the Milan clubs in the New Year.

The former Parma player has been linked with the San Siro giants and is openly looking for a switch to northern Italy.

"Moving to that city would be an important step in my career, I would be very happy to join either Inter or Milan," he told Repubblica Radio on Monday.

"I hope things can work out even if it really doesn’t depend on me right now."

Di Vaio, an Italian international, is currently in Spain following his switch to Valencia in the summer of 2004.

However, his La Liga stint hasn’t been the happiest and he’s desperate for an Italian return after losing his place in the side.

"My situation worsened after the sacking of boss Claudio Ranieri," he continued. "There is no way that I can continue like this.

"I’m looking for a solution with Valencia which will suit all parties involved."

Ancelotti Rues Disallowed Goal
21.11 || Seamus

The Milan coach blasted the linesman for disallowing a ‘regular’ goal against Fiorentina.

Carlo Ancelotti attacked the referee decision of not awarding the possible 2-2 goal against the Viola, in a match which the Tuscan side then won 3-1.

“It’s strange to me that Rodomonti, ten metres away from the action, did not say anything, whereas the assistant referee, who was 40 metres away, saw everything. He intervened, but according to me there was no push, but if there was, it was so he could free himself from being held back. But usually these interventions don’t happy, and this time we were quite penalized."

Milan have now been reached by Fiorentina in second place, as the Rossoneri’s gap from league leaders Juventus increased to 5 points.

Fiorentina 3:1 AC Milan - post-match comments
20.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cesare Prandelli: “I must thank these extraordinary players who showed such courage and strength. They make the job of any Coach so much easier. Every week they manage to find new energy and motivation to keep on improving. We put in a great performance with the help of some lucky breaks. It is our objective for the season to avoid relegation. Once that is achieved, then we can look at other aims.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “We had a perfectly good goal disallowed. The referee had not intervened at all, as the decision was made by the linesman. He was too far away to judge if it was a push and, even if Alberto Gilardino did shove Marco Di Loreto, it was only to release himself from a shirt-tug. The 3-1 result flattered Fiorentina, as we deserved more.”

Fiorentina 3:1 AC Milan - match report
20.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Toni 10, 86 (F), Gilardino 25 (M), Jorgensen 46 (F)

Luca Toni took his seasonal tally to 15 and Fiorentina's winning streak to five, ending Milan's remarkable run after eight consecutive victories.

The Viola barely avoided relegation last season, but this was a head to head battle between third and second at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Both teams were on super runs, Fiorentina winning their last four and Milan registering eight consecutive victories.

The Rossoneri won both their meetings with the team from Florence last year, including a 6-0 mauling at the San Siro, while Cesare Prandelli faced his Parma protege' Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko returned from injury. Luca Toni was fielded as a lone striker with support from Stefano Fiore, Martin Jorgensen and Riccardo Montolivo.

The Viola threatened on the counter-attack after seven minutes with Martin Jorgensen cutting through the defence, but first Paolo Maldini acrobatically cleared a cross and then Jorgensen's shot was charged down.

It was Fiorentina who took the lead after 10 minutes with Luca Toni's 14th goal of the season, but the Milan defence was at fault for this goal. Serginho lost his man on Manuel Pasqual's free kick and Toni's looping header from seven yards slotted into the far corner.

Milan fought back and Paolo Maldini's effort from a corner kick was going into the far top corner before Marco Donadel's goalline clearance rescued Sebastien Frey.

Clarence Seedorf was lively and his rocket from 30 metres skimmed the frame of the goal, while Alberto Gilardino's first touch let him down on Serginho's pass.

The pressure eventually paid off on 25 minutes, as a sweeping Serginho cross found Gilardino's header between two defenders and the glancing effort floated into the far corner of the net for his eighth goal of the season.

Shevchenko's half-volley was deflected wide of the target, then on 35 minutes his fantastic dipping effort from the edge of the box was inches over the bar.

Toni sprung the offside trap only to narrow the angle too much, while Kaka skipped past three challenges down the left flank and his powerful shot was parried by Frey at the near post.

Although the Rossoneri were taking control, it was Fiorentina who restored their lead within 35 seconds of the restart. Alessandro Nesta slipped when trying to clear a Pasqual cross and Jorgensen was unmarked to tap in at the back post.

Milan introduced former Fiorentina legend Manuel Rui Costa for Seedorf and he was given a warm welcome by the Stadio Artemio Franchi crowd. Marcos Cafu also replaced Stam for a more attacking line-up, while Giuseppe Pancaro took over from Montolivo to shore up Fiorentina.

Shevchenko combined with Rui Costa and Gilardino, but the Ukrainian fired his finish past the post. There were penalty appeals for a handling offence inside the Fiorentina area on 67 minutes and replays show Christian Brocchi blocked Gilardino's close-range attempt with his arm.

The game turned into end to end stuff, as the Viola poured forward on the counter-attack whenever Milan lost the ball, aware that almost all their players were in the home side's half.

Carlo Ancelotti went for broke and threw on Pippo Inzaghi for Kaka, creating a trident attack with Rui Costa in midfield and two attacking Brazilian full-backs.

There was controversy four minutes from time, as Gilardino's diving header on a Rui Costa cross hit the back of the net, but it was disallowed for the ex-Parma man's push on a defender.

Soon after, Fiorentina ensured their fifth win on the trot was safe with Luca Toni's second of the game. A corner kick was touched on by Pirlo and Pancaro, but Dida was left stranded and Toni sprung the offside trap to nod in.

Fiorentina: Frey; Ujfalusi, Di Loreto, Dainelli, Pasqual; Brocchi, Donadel (Pazienza 73); Fiore (Pazzini 83), Montolivo (Pancaro 67), Jorgensen; Toni

Milan: Dida; Stam (Cafu 64), Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Rui Costa 61); Kakà (Inzaghi 74); Shevchenko, Gilardino

Ref: Rodomonti

Prandelli ready for Rossoneri
20.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cesare Prandelli has warned his Fiorentina players that you have to be “ready for anything” when welcoming Milan to the Stadio Franchi.

“This is one of the toughest fixtures in the calendar,” said the Viola boss ahead of this afternoon’s big match between second and third.

“You have to know how to interpret the situation from moment to moment, whether that means piling on pressure or covering the open spaces. We must be solid in every area and work as a team. We’ll play them on level terms and will spring something on them at the right time.”

Only three points separate the two sides and Fiorentina hope to cause a shock by maintaining their 100 per cent home record.

“The internationals came back from their tests this week with the right spirit. We thought we’d rest them on Thursday, but they wanted to train anyway and prepare for this match in the best possible way.”

Both sides are looking to find the chink in the armour, as Milan have won their last eight Serie A games and Fiorentina four on the trot.

“Carlo Ancelotti has talked about their problems defending from set-pieces, but I don’t think it’s a major weakness,” insisted Prandelli. “All teams concede goals on dead-ball situations and counter-attacks, and Milan are no different.”

The Viola have the luxury of having nothing to lose, as whatever the result of today’s game, they will remain in third place thanks to their five-point buffer from Inter.

“In general we have to appreciate what we’re doing on a day to day basis, as if we don’t do that then we won’t be able to enjoy what we’ve achieved at the end of the season.”

Ancelotti confident in Florence
19.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has analysed Fiorentina’s new structure, but warns that Milan want to recapture the top of the table.

“The Viola are the surprise side of the tournament so far and will play with real enthusiasm,” explained Ancelotti ahead of Sunday’s showdown at the Stadio Franchi.

“They have changed radically from last season with a new Coach and players. I think this will be a very important match for them, not only as a challenge for second place, but also to see how they measure up to Milan.”

Only three points separate these teams and both are on winning streaks – four on the trot for Fiorentina, eight for Milan – so something has to give on Sunday afternoon. It’s believed Cesare Prandelli will change his tactics for this tie, leaving Luca Toni upfront as sole striker supported by Martin Jorgensen and Riccardo Montolivo.

“Fiorentina have a very linear squad structure,” insisted Ancelotti. “They rely heavily on Toni’s quality, have a solid defence and midfield with attacking wingers. It’s a classic 4-4-2. Toni is having the kind of form at the moment where everything he touches turns to gold and I can see Montolivo coming in to give them extra midfield support.”

The Rossoneri realise they are torn between winning this crunch match in the Scudetto race and preparing for their crucial Champions League trip to Fenerbahce on Wednesday.

“The squad is doing well both physically and psychologically, so we want to continue our winning streak. The fact that Juventus face a difficult test at Roma and could slip up, allowing us to recapture the top of the table, is an important motivation.”

Ancelotti also hit back at Billy Costacurta, who suggested this week that players inevitably stop listening to their Coach after four or five years.

“It is true that a tactician must be creative to keep his side motivated, but the players need to work at it as well. We have to live this sport on a daily basis and I can assure you that the squad is on my wavelength.”

Andriy Shevchenko, Christian Vieri and Marcos Cafu are in the squad travelling to Florence, but Swiss international Johan Vogel remains at home.

Milan squad: Dida, Fiori, Kalac; Cafu, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Simic, Stam; Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho; Inzaghi, Gilardino, Shevchenko, Vieri

Toni calls on Fiorentina fans
19.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luca Toni believes Milan are one of the best teams in the world right now and thinks Fiorentina’s passionate crowd can restore some balance.

“The Rossoneri have won their last eight on the trot and will come here looking for a ninth,” warned the current Capocannoniere.

“We will try to do our best against one of the strongest sides in the world. They are technically gifted, but with our grit and the support of our fans, I think we can hurt them. The fact that we’re so high up the table means we can afford to go for broke.”

The Viola may have only avoided relegation in the last round of the 2004-05 campaign, but this clash is between second and third in the Serie A table.

“Alessandro Nesta is the best defender in football today and it will be an interesting duel between us, but he’s accompanied by Paolo Maldini, Serginho and Jaap Stam. This is a remarkable squad, though at the same time, I am not the only Fiorentina player. I believe Riccardo Montolivo can cause them a lot of problems.”

All eyes will be on Toni after his 13 goals in 11 Serie A games. He has taken that form on to the international scene as well, scoring in Italy’s 3-1 friendly victory in Holland.

“It was a wonderful evening against one of the World Cup favourites, so to score in that arena was a special moment. There is a little pressure on me, but it’s not a problem as it means I’m on form. We should all stay calm, as you need balance to succeed in this sport.”

Toni was playing alongside Milan’s Alberto Gilardino in Amsterdam and the comparisons between the two have dominated the headlines going into this game, especially as Fiorentina have lost the only two ties this season in which he has failed to score.

“I am not really more decisive than Gilardino. A lot depends on the fact that recently I have been playing as a lone centre-forward, whereas Alberto has been partnered by another striker with support from Kaka. With so many players in attacking roles, the responsibility and the pressure is shared out.”

Gilardino hails mentor Prandelli
18.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ahead of Milan’s visit to Florence, Alberto Gilardino has only kind things to say about Viola Coach Cesare Prandelli. "He made me the player I am today," he said.

Prandelli spotted Gilardino’s striking potential when he was boss of Verona and insisted on signing him for Parma in the 2002-03 season, despite a poor return of just five goals in 39 appearances for the Gialloblu.

The 23-year-old played understudy to Adrian Mutu and Adriano whilst at Parma, but, after Mutu left for Chelsea and Adriano was sidelined through injury, Gila’s career took off.

He scored a remarkable 23 goals in 34 games – one fewer than his current Milan colleague Andriy Schevchenko.

Not to be outdone, however, the Biella-born marksman equalled his tally the following season and earned himself an £18m move to the San Siro.

Gilardino is unsure about whether or not he will be selected to face Prandelli’s side this weekend, but he is philosophical about it.

No longer in competition for places with Adriano and Mutu, now it is merely Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi and Christian Vieri who are fighting him for two starting spots.

"I don’t know whether or not I will play," he said. "But, in any case, it will be a spectacular match. I’m fit and well, but if I’m not selected it won’t be a problem."

Perhaps the Italy international doesn’t want to upset his former mentor by adding to the seven goals he has already notched this term.

Prandelli has guided a Fiorentina side that was cannon-fodder last season to third in the table this time around and Gila, perhaps more than anyone, will be happy to see him doing well.

"He made me the player I am today," he admitted. "I will never forget what he did for me."

Vogel dreading return to "hell"
18.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Johan Vogel will be dreading a return to Fenerbahce with Milan next week after the violence experienced with his national side.

Vogel played in Switzerland’s dramatic World Cup qualifier in Turkey on Wednesday, which resulted in his side scraping through on away goals after losing 4-2 on the night.

But the game ended in violent confrontation between players at a hostile Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

Stephane Grichting ended up being rushed to hospital after ugly scenes in which the unused substitute was allegedly attacked by Turkish players.

"I’ve never been so scared on a football field," admitted Swiss captain Vogel. "It’s not something I would want to go through again.

"Running off the pitch so we wouldn’t be hit by objects thrown after qualifying for the World Cup is not a wonderful thing."

But Vogel must return to the same stadium next week, with his side in desperate need of a win to improve their chances of progressing beyond the group stages of the Champions League.

Vogel’s compatriot Valon Behrami was equally scared at the outbreaks of violence and the Lazio player said that the Turks had been attempting to intimidate them from the start.

"It was hell," said the young midfielder. "Already before the match we were subjected to intimidation. Then, at the final whistle, all hell broke loose.

"It’s completely untrue that we provoked them," he added. "In the tunnel there was all sorts going on. Our opponents were there, but so were a lot of other people - stadium officials, I think – who started kicking and punching us."

FIFA have said they are going to launch an investigation into the incident and President Sepp Blatter has threatened Turkey with expulsion from the 2010 World Cup.

"If you ask me what the sanctions can be, they can go from a warning to the suspension of the Federation," he said.

"I can tell you this, not as a Swiss, but as the President of FIFA that we will act here and we will act tough."

Milan dismiss Ballack move
17.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have insisted that Bayern Munich captain Michael Ballack is not on their transfer wish-list.

The Rossoneri are one of numerous clubs linked with the German international, who will be available on a free transfer in the summer.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani admits that he admires the midfielder, but insists he won’t be joining the outfit after the World Cup Finals.

"Ballack is a great player, but he doesn’t interest Milan," Galliani told the club’s website on Thursday.

"That is because we already have players like Kaka and Manuel Rui Costa in his role, men who we have total faith in."

It’s unclear at this stage which shirt Ballack will be wearing next term after extension talks with Bayern collapsed.

The likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter and Juventus have been associated even if Franz Beckenbauer believes Ballack should go elsewhere.

"Much as I want him to stay, I feel he will probably leave," stated the Bayern Munich President. "If he does, the decision only makes sense if he goes to Real Madrid.

"I know United and Milan are also in the hunt, but Michael will only be improving himself by going to Madrid. Anywhere else and it will not be a step up."

Milan have also been linked with Arsenal defender Lauren and Barcelona sensation Ronaldinho today.

Milan ponder Lauren option
17.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are reportedly looking at bringing Arsenal defender Lauren to the San Siro next season.

With the Rossoneri rearguard in need of wholesale rejuvenation, Lauren has been identified as a possible replacement for Marcos Cafu - who is approaching his 36th birthday and almost certainly in his last year at the club.

Lauren has a wealth of European and international experience and Milan have been keeping close tabs on the 28-year-old, whose consistency and determination is highly valued by Coach Carlo Ancelotti.

The latter has also been linked with emerging Azzurri stars Massimo Oddo of Lazio and Cristian Zaccardo of Palermo, but is seriously contemplating an approach for the Cameroon ace, whose contract expires in 2007.

The Spanish-born right-back, who can also play in midfield, has been a key figure for Arsenal Coach Arsène Wenger during his five years at the club and has appeared in the Premier League Team of the Year on three occasions.

Fossa dei Leoni disbands
17.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

One of the oldest and most renowned of Milan’s organised supporter’s clubs, the Fossa dei Leoni, has been disbanded.

Following a series of protests about the conduct of certain ‘group leaders’ after the Milan-Juve match on October 29, the decision was made to dissolve the party on Tuesday night.

The news will come as a blow to Milan fans, for whom Fossa dei Leoni was an integral part of their team’s legendary vocal support in the Curva Sud end of the San Siro.

Formed in 1968 – the year of Milan’s ninth Scudetto win - Fossa Dei Leoni became one of the most famous Ultras groups in Italian football and an integral part of the history of the Rossoneri.

But of late their attitude had became increasingly aggressive and culminated in the ‘War of the Utras’ against Juve’s ‘Vikings’, which took the form of outbreaks of violence at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium last month.

"That match caused problems and situations that shouldn’t occur in ‘our’ world, in the world of the Ultras," explained Giancarlo Capelli, leader of another of the club’s Ultras group - ‘The Rossoneri Brigade’.

"The dissolution of that group came as a result of a whole series of increasingly negative situations," he continued. "It’s a shame because they had been around for 37 years."

With Italy looking to solve their occasional episodes of football violence ahead of the 2012 European Championships, which they are hoping to host, the disbanding of the Lions’ Den will be seen as a positive step by UEFA.

Capelli was at pains to point out that, despite the demise of one group of Ultras, the show will nevertheless go on.

"The Curva will go on all the same," he confirmed. "There are other Ultras groups and everybody is welcome in the Curva Sud.

"The Rossoneri Brigade and other fan bases in the Curva Sud will always be there and in fact we will be more united than before, although I fully understand the sadness and regret that people are feeling at the moment. I feel very low and bitter myself."

AC Milan U18 in India on November 23rd
17.11 || webmaster


Agostino Pinna, consul general of Italy in Kolkata, said, "The festival would be held across five cities including Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. The famous AC Milan Under-18 football team, would participate in the festival."

The team would play against the Bengal Under-21 national champion team on November 23, said Subrata Dutta, secretary of The Indian Football Association (IFA).

Fiorentina vs. AC Milan - match preview
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan travel to the Stadio Artemio Franchi looking for their ninth consecutive League win, but they will have to stop in-form Fiorentina striker Luca Toni in the process. Milan, two points behind leaders Juventus, will approach the match with no shortage of confidence having defeated the front-runners in Week 10 and mauled Udinese 5-1 in Week 11.

Fiorentina will prove a serious test for Ancelotti’s men. The Viola have won their last four games, beating Ascoli 2-0 in Week 11, and in Toni possess the most prolific striker in Europe. Toni, allegedly a target for Bayern Munich, scored for the Azzurri against Holland last weekend and Milan will have to be at their best to stop the giant marksman adding to his staggering tally of 13 Serie A goals this season.

The hosts have a painful history against Milan. It was at the hands of the Rossoneri that Fiorentina suffered their record home defeat in 1992, losing 7-3. The Viola fared little better last season and will be eager to avenge their 6-0 and 2-1 defeats.

After a fairytale start to the season, the next three weeks will be a true test of Fiorentina’s progress as Cesare Prandelli’s men must face Milan, Roma and Juventus. The Fiorentina Coach will be able to call on a strong side for the challenge. Guilherme Do Prado, Christian Maggio and Alessandro Gamberini are still sidelined, but Marco Donadel returns from suspension to face his former club and there are no new injuries.

Carlo Ancelotti receives a boost with the news that Andriy Shevchenko is available for his first game since the Week 8 clash with Palermo. He will most likely link up with Alberto Gilardino who will be looking to put one over his ex-boss at Parma. Only Cafu is unavailable after international duty. Given the embarrassment of striking riches, Christian Vieri may find himself in the stands once more.

Fiorentina (probable): Frey; Ujfalusi, Di Loreto, Dainelli; Pasqual, Brocchi, Donadel, Fiore, Montolivo, Jorgensen; Toni

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

Rui Costa still loves the Viola
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa may have left the Stadio Artemio Franchi in 2001, but his heart remains in Florence and he’ll be torn when Milan visit on Sunday.

“Last season I finally got to play against Fiorentina and it was such a strong emotional moment for me,” the Portuguese star told RadioBlu. “This year will be different, as both teams are fighting for the top of the table. I’ll be moved, but will do everything to help my side.”

Third take on second in this showdown that also sees the two most prolific teams in Serie A face off. Few expected Fiorentina to do so well, but Rui Costa is proud of his former club.

“The Viola have a solid infrastructure behind them and that’s how they managed to achieve so much in a year. The secret to their success is this wonderful city, as Florence supported them through every crisis.”

Rui Costa wore the captain’s armband during his final term here, but his No 10 jersey now belongs to Stefano Fiore.

“Fiore is a talented young player who has achieved a great deal and he’s appreciated for what he is doing. As for comparing Luca Toni to Gabriel Batistuta, it’s an easy link to make because they both find it so easy to score goals, although they have different characteristics.”

Rui Costa has struggled to live up to expectation following his move to the San Siro, and the 33-year-old spends more time watching football than playing it nowadays.

“I am personally a fan of the beautiful game and therefore of players like Fiore, Toni and Riccardo Montolivo. Coming back to what I regard as my second home will be an emotional moment, as there is a mutual love affair between myself and the city of Florence. It’s a love that will never pass, but on Sunday I must concentrate to give something to the club I play for.”

Dida sure of "improving" Milan
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nelson Dida is full of confidence in his side ahead of two highly significant fixtures in Milan’s season. "We’re improving with every game," he said.

Milan have some very difficult ties coming up, starting with back-to-back away trips at Fiorentina and then Fenerbahce in the Champions League.

Both could determine the Rossoneri’s season. Defeat to the Viola, who are flying high in third place, will deflate the confidence that has grown over the course of the season and culminated in the recent win over League leaders Juventus and then the 5-1 thrashing of Udinese.

Defeat in the Champions League, meanwhile, will threaten their European campaign and deprive Carlo Ancelotti’s men of the opportunity to amend the wrongs of last May’s penalty shoot-out pain in Istanbul.

But losing is not something Dida or his teammates are contemplating, nor is the return to Turkey. As far as he is concerned, his side is on the up and taking every game one at a time.

"First, we’ll think about the match against the Gigliati, which will be a tough one," he said. "We will go there, as always, with the intention of winning, which won’t be easy.

"The same goes for the Champions League," he added. "We really, really want to stay in that incredible competition."

In order to get off to a winning start in Florence, Dida will have to contend with their in-form Italy striker Luca Toni. Tonigol is the leading scorer with 13 Serie A goals already this season and, crucially, his side have never lost when he has netted.

"We know that he’s done well for them and is still playing well," agreed the goalkeeper. "But we are very confident."

Milan’s defence may be the oldest in the League but, after Juventus, it is the best in the Division and the South American shot-stopper is most happy when they are keeping him out of the action.

"I prefer to be a spectator and cheer my teammates on," laughed the Brazilian. "If there aren’t any shots coming at me it means everyone is happy - my teammates, the Coach and the fans.

"Obviously, it’s down to me to be ready when the ball does come in my direction."

Prandelli plans Milan surprise
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Third take on second on Sunday when Fiorentina welcome Milan and Cesare Prandelli insists the Viola will go on the attack.

“We know that on paper we cannot compete with the Rossoneri, as they have quality all over the field, but we have the great advantage of having nothing to lose,” smiled the tactician. “We know that we can do well in this match and that the history of football is full of surprises. There’s respect and admiration, but never fear.”

Prandelli’s men have won their last four Serie A games on the trot and have a 100 per cent record at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, so confidence is at an all-time high.

“We are certainly feeling the tension ahead of this game and will try to reach Sunday with the same mental approach that has taken us this far. We read and hear the Press talk, but when it comes to stepping on to that field, we know what has to be done.”

Fiorentina have undoubtedly been the surprise outfit of the season so far and are five points clear of Inter in third place. A victory would put them on level terms with the mighty Milan, but they also face ties against Roma and Juventus over the next fortnight.

“We must take this one game at a time and remain concentrated, taking advantage of whatever weak points we can find in their armour. If we can limit Andrea Pirlo, then perhaps we can create a few more problems for the Rossoneri, although I’ve seen that he can change position to avoid a marker. We’ll need to keep open and adaptable.”

Prandelli comes face to face with Alberto Gilardino for the first time since he left Parma, and the £17m rated striker this week thanked his former boss for kick-starting his career.

“I thank Alberto for the compliments, but a Coach can only achieve great results with the help of great players. In my view, Fiorentina has those players.”

There’s no doubting who the key player is for the Viola, as Luca Toni is Capocannoniere with 13 goals in 11 games and Fiorentina have lost the only two matches in which he has failed to score.

“Many people are amazed by how well he is doing, but we have always believed in Luca,” insisted the Coach. “Palermo put him on the market and none of the big clubs made an offer, so we dived in there. To be honest, I think he can do even better.”

Six players have been suspended for Serie A Week 12. They are Federico Cossato (Chievo), Diego De Ascentis (Livorno), Antonio Langella (Cagliari), Paolo Dellafiore (Treviso), Gianluca Falsini (Siena) and Nicola Legrottaglie (Siena).

Billy gets Carlo’s goat
16.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has demanded an explanation from Billy Costacurta about comments he made about him recently. "He’ll have to explain himself," said the Milan boss.

Ancelotti, who was attending a charity match in Padova on Monday night, was interviewed by Italian television programme Studio Sport and made it clear that he was unhappy with the 39-year-old’s forthright remarks, revealed by Football Italia last week.

Costacurta said: "After four or five years, a Coach loses his charisma in the dressing room.

"The problem is not whether or not Ancelotti has lost his motivation, but whether or not the players have.

"The history of Milan bears this out - look at Arrigo Sacchi or Fabio Capello, for example."

Coming from such an experienced and loyal player, and in the aftermath of comments made by President Silvio Berlusconi suggesting Marco Van Basten should eventually boss Milan, Carletto is understandably unimpressed with his former teammate from his own playing days at the club.

"It isn’t true that after five years the cycle of a Coach is over," he said.

"Billy will have to explain those comments to me. I’ve known him for years, but I’m not sure I understand what he’s trying to say."

Costacurta, who is in his last season with the Rossoneri, can expect a frosty reception from his boss when the two next cross paths at Milanello.

Seedorf in burglary scare
15.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Armed robbers surprised Clarence Seedorf and his family when they broke into his home on Thursday night.

The attack took place at the Milan midfielder’s luxury villa in Robecco sul Naviglio, in the western outskirts of the city, while he was relaxing at home with his wife and young daughter.

The intruders, who are thought to be of Slavic origin, were armed with knives and forced the Dutchman to hand over money and jewellery believed to be worth somewhere in the region of £70,000.

The thieves then made off with their takings without harming the player or his family.

The incident bares similarities to the ordeal experienced by Inter’s Juan Sebastian Veron who was burgled in London in 2004, after being threatened by a machete-wielding intruder who threatened to scar his daughter for life.

Sheva backs Golden Maldini
15.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has backed Milan teammate Paolo Maldini to succeed him as the European Footballer of the Year.

The legendary stopper is one of five Italians up for the award and Shevchenko believes the legend could finally get his hands on the Golden Ball.

“I would give it to Paolo Maldini,” he told Studio Sport on Monday afternoon. “He is a great captain and a great man.”

However, the 37-year-old believes he will again miss out on winning one of the most coveted prizes in the game.

“It’s very flattering to be short-listed but I don’t think it’s been one of my finest seasons,” Maldini conceded.

“I think these prizes are normally awarded to players who have won big trophies and I don’t think anyone is going to forget Istanbul in a hurry.”

The other Italian players short-listed for the prize are Milan’s Andrea Pirlo, plus the Juventus trio of Gigi Buffon, Mauro Camoranesi and Fabio Cannavaro.

Bobo bound for Betis?
15.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri continues to be linked with a move to Spain in January, with Real Betis the favourites to sign the forward.

Betis are in the market for a striker following the loss through injury to Ricardo Oliveira and boss Serra Ferrer has identified the Italy striker as his primary target.

Vieri is not enjoying regular first-team action under Carlo Ancelotti and the 32-year-old is desperate to play first-team football in order to enhance his chances of playing in the World Cup this summer.

There is also stiff competition for places with the national side, but it seems that Marcello Lippi is a big fan of the Milan marksman, who was due to start against Holland on Saturday before injury ruled him out of both that match and this Wednesday’s clash with the Ivory Coast.

Bobo would have no trouble settling in Spain having enjoyed a prolific season just before the 1998 World Cup in France.

He bagged 24 goals in as many matches for the Mattress Makers and may view a move to Seville as an opportunity to further impress Lippi.

Milan’s director general Ariedo Braida continues to deny that the former Inter and Lazio striker is set for a move abroad, but it seems that directors of the Andalucian outfit and Vieri’s agents have already been in contact.

I’ll play on until 2007, vows Maldini
14.11 || scharatz

Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Paolo Maldini has announced that he will keep playing until 2007 despite his advancing years.

Maldini, who has enjoyed a long and glittering career that has lasted nearly 20 years, has said that the motivation and desire to play for his club is still as strong as ever.

"I will leave in 2007 when my contract runs out," the Rossoneri captain told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"I enjoy it every day, I still have the desire to train hard and stay fit and I’m very attached to the shirt.

"I can’t imagine a life without football yet and so I fully intend to keep going."

Maldini, who retired from international football after winning a record 126 caps for his country, has yet to show any real sign that age is taking its toll and is a leading candidate to win the Ballon d’Or next month.

"It’s very flattering to be short-listed but I don’t think it’s been one of my finest seasons," he added with typical modesty.

"I think these prizes are normally awarded to players who have won big trophies and I don’t think anyone is going to forget Istanbul in a hurry."

Maldini scored the first goal in that incredible Champions League Final defeat in May – and it is just that sort of inspirational contribution which has led Coach Carlo Ancelotti to keep selecting him this season.

The 37-year-old has played 12 matches and scored twice in all competitions already this term.

When the veteran defender does eventually hang his boots up, though, another Maldini will be waiting in the wings to keep the family reputation alive at the San Siro for a third generation.

In the same way that Paolo followed in the footsteps of father Cesare at Milan, so his son, Christian, is learning the ropes having also signed for Ancelotti’s men recently at the ripe old age of eight.

"At the moment all he needs to think about is having fun," said the peerless No 3. "Although, even at eight years of age he already has the pressure of the Press on him – they see him as the new Maldini.

"I’ll be happy if he has a career like mine, the same way I followed my father, but he’s still just a boy and all that counts is that he enjoys himself."

Milan join Ballack bidding war
13.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Michael Ballack will be a free agent at the end of the season and Milan have joined Manchester United, Real Madrid and Inter in the race to sign him.

The German international’s current deal with Bayern Munich expires in the summer and he has already stated his intention to move abroad.

Europe’s biggest clubs are queuing up to sign the 29-year-old on a free transfer to strengthen their midfields and, according to German newspaper ‘Bild’, Milan are the latest addition to that list.

It’s claimed that rivals Inter have the upper hand following a meeting between director Gabriele Oriali, Bayern President Karl-Heinz Rumenigge and agent Becker, which is said to have taken place earlier this week.

Patron Massimo Moratti is eager to capture this prestigious signing, as the current Inter squad is struggling in Serie A and has fallen off the Scudetto pace.

With Juan Sebastian Veron threatening to return to Argentina as early as January, that makes it even more important that the Nerazzurri find a replacement.

However, Milan are now making their own bid for Ballack, further strengthening one of Europe’s best midfields.

Inzaghi cools World Cup talk
13.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is quickly finding his form after almost two years out injured, but has cooled talk of an Azzurri recall for the World Cup.

“Am I going to be in the squad going to Germany? Let’s not rush ourselves here,” insisted the Milan star on Radio Deejay.

“Everyone needs to take this sort of discussion very slowly, because I have been out of action for a long time. I still find it tough to play two games a week.”

The 32-year-old striker has been beset by a series of injuries over the last 24 months, but has finally recovered and has been on increasingly impressive form for the Rossoneri, scoring one in five appearances in all competitions this season and setting up two in the 5-1 win over Udinese.

“I have never lacked for affection and support from the club and fans, which has allowed me to relax and find my way back to full fitness without feeling the pressure.”

Inzaghi hasn’t made an appearance for the Azzurri since a 4-0 victory over Azerbaijan on October 11, 2003, in which he scored two goals.

Vieri "offered" to Espanyol
13.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Benchwarmer Christian Vieri is desperate to leave Milan and has been “offered” to Espanyol, according to the Spanish outfit.

“Vieri has been offered to us,” technical director Cristobal Parralo was quoted as saying in Spanish newspaper ‘Sport.’

“A representative spoke to us about a loan deal and we have received word from several sources that Vieri wants to leave Milan. We need to evaluate the financial terms before taking the matter further.”

It would be a return to La Liga for Vieri, who was top scorer with 24 goals in as many games during his only term at Atletico Madrid in 1997-98.

He had been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid before choosing a shock free transfer across the city to Milan in the summer.

However, the former Inter star has struggled to find space in a Rossoneri jersey, more often than not relegated to the bench or even the stands behind Alberto Gilardino, Andriy Shevchenko and the recovered Pippo Inzaghi.

“This is not the time to talk about bringing Vieri here,” continued the Espanyol director. “Nobody can doubt his quality, but our Coach first needs to request him as a reinforcement and then we must evaluate the economic viability of the move.”

Vieri is back in Milan after leaving the Italy camp with a knee injury, missing out on the friendlies against Holland and the Ivory Coast.

This isn't the only transfer link in the Press, as there were claims he would be handed to Chelsea in exchange for Hernan Crespo.

Gilardino gels with Toni
12.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino is confident he can create a scintillating Azzurri partnership with Luca Toni against Holland this evening.

“This is a friendly, but it’s one of those really important matches, because squaring up against such a good side gives you an idea of what condition you’re in,” noted the Milan striker.

Following injuries to Christian Vieri and Francesco Totti, the favourites to start upfront in Amsterdam are Gilardino, Serie A Capocannoniere Toni and Alessandro Del Piero in a supporting role.

The squad was split into two for a game between ranks that ended 2-2 in their final training session on Friday, with Gilardino, Toni, Del Piero and Vincenzo Iaquinta all finding the target.

“Toni and I make a great partnership, as we have already found our rhythm together and have gelled despite the fact we’re quite similar as strikers. Of course the result will be important, but above all it is the quality of the performance that counts.”

Fiorentina star Toni may have netted 13 in 11 games, but Gilardino is also on fine form after scoring two in Milan’s 5-1 thrashing of Udinese last weekend.

“I have scored seven goals in Serie A this season and according to the Press I am now an all-new Gilardino,” smiled the £17m summer signing from Parma. “I felt the same before these goals, but in any case, criticism can spur you on to do better.”

Costacurta 'closes' Ancelotti era
11.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Costacurta has launched a surprising broadside at his Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti, claiming “he’s lost his charisma.”

Costacurta, who is in his last season at the San Siro after a glittering 20-year career with the Rossoneri, knows a thing or two about playing under big league Coaches, but his comments about Ancelotti will come as a surprise to many.

“After four or five years a Coach loses his charisma in the dressing-room,” he said. “The problem is not whether or not Ancelotti has lost his motivation but whether or not the players have.”

Billy has only played four games under Ancelotti this season, but it is difficult to tell whether or not his frustration has led to him questioning his Coach’s authority.

The veteran defender obviously believes every tactician has a shelf life and, although Ancelotti has been a good servant to the club, he feels that his has come to an end.

“The results of this season have shown the good work that the Coach has done,” added the 39-year-old. “But it is a physiological fact that after several years the side pays less attention to their Coach. The history of the club bears this out: look at Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, for example.”

Sacchi and Capello both enjoyed successful stints at the club of four and six years respectively before each returning for a final, less impressive season.

Costacurta lived through both regimes and is well-placed to give an inside opinion on the inner workings of the Milan giants, especially as he also played alongside former midfielder Ancelotti.

Ancelotti is in his fifth season at the club and is contracted to stay until 2007, after which he is expected to take over the national team.

President Silvio Berlusconi is already planning Carletto’s eventual successor and has expressed an interest in Holland boss and former Milan idol Marco Van Basten.

Although Van Basten himself has denied having any plans to come back to Italy, Costacurta hinted that he would be in favour of a return of his former teammate. “Marco is good at everything he does,” he said. “He is proving that with Holland.”

Vieri is latest Italy casualty
11.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri is out of Italy’s upcoming friendly matches against Holland and the Ivory Coast after picking up a knee injury in training.

Vieri sustained the problem while working with his international teammates at Coverciano yesterday and, after being examined by doctors today, was sent home to recover.

The 32-year-old is the third player to hobble home from the Italy base camp in as many days after Angelo Peruzzi and Francesco Totti also hurt themselves while preparing with the Azzurri.

This latest injury is sure to fuel the growing row that is developing between Italian clubs and the national side.

Although Vieri is expected to recover in time for Milan’s League visit to Fiorentina next weekend, Carlo Ancelotti will take a dim view of one of his strikers possibly having to miss a crucial match as a result an injury suffered preparing for a friendly, which most club Coaches deem to be pointless.

Juventus boss Fabio Capello has been particularly outspoken about losing players through injuries picked up while on international duty.

He recently had to make do without the services of Lilian Thuram and Patrick Vieira for this reason and the £14m former Arsenal captain again aggravated a persistent groin problem with France this week.

Milan set to snap up Helguera
11.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have emerged as the front runners to sign Real Madrid defender Ivan Helguera.

Helguera, who has yet to renew his contract with Los Merengues, will be a free agent in the summer and the Rossoneri are favourites to capture his signature ahead of Liverpool.

Real Madrid have already had two meetings with the player and his agent to discuss a new deal, but so far Helguera - who can also play in midfield - has refused to entertain the notion of a two-year contract on reduced terms.

With the Galacticos also unsure about who will be in charge of team affairs next season, it is looking increasingly likely that the 30-year-old will be signing a pre-contractual agreement with one of last year’s Champions League Finalists.

The international could be persuaded to link up with fellow countrymen Luis Garcia, Xavi Alonso and Fernando Morientes under Rafa Benitez’s Spanish revolution at Anfield, but Milan are in a position to offer the personal terms more likely to lure the player to Italy.

Carlo Ancelotti needs to replace a creaking back line that includes Billy Costacurta, Dario Simic, Jaap Stam, Paolo Maldini and Marcos Cafu, all of whom are well past their 30th birthdays.

With a defensive exodus anticipated in the summer, Ancelotti is said to be after one young defender and one experienced stopper available on a free.

While Udinese's Dias Felipe has been targeted as the former, Helguera certainly fits the latter requirements.

Maldini thankful for break
10.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Paolo Maldini has welcomed the present Serie A break thanks to the international schedule.

The pause has interrupted the Rossoneri’s run of eight straight top-flight wins, but the veteran insists his outfit will be ready to continue their pursuit of leaders Juventus.

"We are prepared to carry on where we left off," Maldini stated on Thursday. "This period will be of real use to the few of us who have remained here at Milanello.

"There is also less stress about for those internationals who are only playing friendly games during the next week."

The San Siro giants are undoubtedly the most in-form team in the Division, but they do face some tricky tests when club football takes centre stage again.

Milan will travel to Florence to play high-flying Fiorentina, before revisiting Istanbul when Fenerbahce will threaten to give them another Champions League nightmare.

"We know that Fiorentina are a great side who are full of enthusiasm," continued Maldini who was quick to highlight their main threat.

"They can also count on Luca Toni who has already scored 13 goals in 11 games.

"We will need to be really alert. Even if it is vital that we firstly concentrate on this game and then think about that fundamental clash in Turkey."

Milan really need to win their last two Champions League group games, against Fenerbahce and Schalke, after their shock 1-0 reverse at PSV Eindhoven.

Donadel ready for Milan revenge
10.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marco Donadel is looking forward to exacting revenge on Milan, when they visit Fiorentina in 10 days.

Donadel came through the youth set-up at Milan and had hopes of one day breaking into the first team at the San Siro.

The midfielder did get to star for the Rossoneri, but unfortunately for the 22-year-old, only ever played for them once.

"They treated me like a parcel," he said of his former side on Thursday.

The midfielder was farmed out on loan to Lecce and Parma, but it was Fiorentina who showed their faith by signing him in January 2005 after a brief spell at Sampdoria.

Donadel has made a huge impact in the Viola’s revival and has even been rewarded for his efforts with the captaincy of the Italy Under-21 side.

"I owe everything to this club," added Donadel. "Sporting director Pantaleo Corvino and boss Cesare Prandelli believed in me and showed great faith, unlike Milan.

"The directors here have built a compact squad, which is ambitious and united, while Prandelli is one of those Coaches that everyone would love to have – he pays attention to the slightest detail."

Milan miss out on Felipe
10.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan target Dias Felipe has signed a new contract with Udinese that will keep him at the club until 2010.

The news will come as a welcome relief to Friulani fans as their side are presently going through a bad spell of results and another contract wrangle was the last thing they needed.

The recent dispute between Vincenzo Iaquinta and the outfit had a hugely detrimental effect on the club, who lost three straight matches after dropping the Italy striker following his refusal to extend his previous deal.

Felipe, although still only 21, has already made 62 appearances for the Bianconeri and had been compared favourably to Milan legend Paolo Maldini.

Indeed, the Rossoneri have been monitoring the progress of the placid Brazilian and had considered him an ideal young centre-back to replace the likes of Billy Costacurta, Dario Simic and Jaap Stam, who are all likely to leave in the summer.

"The South American has shown that he is a great player," said Udinese chief Giampaolo Pozzo.

"He is still young and sometimes has lapses in concentration, but he is excellent and I have no doubt that from now on he will go from strength to strength."

Milan will now have to look elsewhere for rearguard reinforcements – or part with a substantial amount of money to prize him away from the north-east of Italy.

Vieri out - Crespo in?
10.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Christian Vieri could be on his way to Spain and replaced at the San Siro by Hernan Crespo.

According to Spanish daily Diario Sport, Vieri is being touted to numerous clubs in La Liga, with Espanyol the favourite among them to capture the services of the striker.

Vieri has not had the best of starts to the season at his new club and has scored just once for the Rossoneri.

A further source of displeasure for the 32-year-old is that he is not first choice under Carlo Ancelotti and is growing frustrated at watching on from the sidelines - and sometimes even the stands.

At this stage in his career and with a last chance to appear in the World Cup fast approaching, the Italy international is eager to play regular football.

He is therefore said to be in favour of a move to Spain, where he enjoyed a successful year with Atletico Madrid, scoring 24 goals in as many matches during the 1997-98 season.

Should Bobo leave for the Barcelona-based club, Milan would be keen on welcoming back Crespo from Chelsea.

The Argentina striker, who was hugely reluctant to end his loan spell at Milan and return to London this summer, has hardly played for the Blues this term and allegedly had a huge falling-out with Jose Mourinho recently.

Although he has denied any rift with his Coach, it seems clear that Crespo would relish a return to Milan, where he enjoyed a successful spell last year.

"You must not believe I'm going to leave in January," the former Lazio and Parma man said.

"I am very happy here. The group of players is great and the manager is great. And when you play in a great team it is normal that you do not always have a place.

"Of course I am frustrated. I know that I am at Chelsea, if I want to play for a small team then I will always get 90 minutes. But when you play at a big team like Chelsea you need to be patient. The season is still early."

His wife and family still live in Italy.

Empoli key in Gilardino revival
9.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Alberto Gilardino has said that the match against Empoli was the ‘turning point’ in his season.

Gilardino scored twice in the 3-1 win at the Stadio Castellani last month, and his strikes were crucial as they brought his side back from a goal down and then put the Rossoneri in front against the Tuscan side.

"Empoli was the turning point," said the striker on Wednesday. "Afterwards I finally felt good both physically and psychologically."

Milan were without Andriy Shevchenko for the Empoli match and, with Juventus their next Serie A opponents three days later, a win was essential to keep morale high.

For Gila it was clearly a tie in which he proved he could step into the not inconsiderable boots of the legendary Ukrainian.

The 23-year-old, who signed from Parma in the summer, took a while to settle in at the San Siro but, despite intense competition for places, has a fantastic strike-rate with his new club.

"I’ve scored seven goals so far this season," said the Italy international. "But I should have scored more – against Siena, for example."

Gilardino only netted at the San Siro for the first time this weekend, thanks to his brace in the 5-1 win over Udinese, but having managed 23 goals in each other his last two seasons, it seems the Biella-born marksman is well on his way to plenty more in the red and black of Milan.

"My goal tally could be better, but I’m pretty satisfied with my progress and I’d like to thank my teammates because the whole team has been a great help to me," he concluded.

Kaka makes Totti call
8.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan forward Kaka has spoken of his desire to play alongside Roma captain Francesco Totti.

Kaka, who is enjoying a fantastic spell at the club since joining in 2003, is a huge admirer of the Italian and feels that the two would complement each other as a strike-force.

"It would be fantastic to play together," he said. "We’re the same kind of player. We’re always looking to score great goals to entertain people."

But far from hinting at a possible move away from Milan, the 23-year-old was at pains to point out that he had no intention of plying his trade at the Stadio Olimpico.

"I want to stay here until at least 2010," declared the Brazilian. "Totti would have to join me at the San Siro."

In his interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the South American also revealed his belief that the Rossoneri are a much-improved side this season.

"This Milan team is stronger than last year’s," he added. "It’s more experienced, more mature and more prepared."

Kaka may be right. Following their win over Juventus two weeks ago, the giants have closed the gap on the League leaders to two points and have since battered Udinese 5-1.

Their Champions League progress is far from assured, though, and if they are to erase the painful memories of last May’s Final defeat to Liverpool by winning the tournament this year, Kaka and Co need to negotiate tricky ties against Schalke 04 and Fenerbahce.

Milan's "Mind Room" for improvement
8.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are planning to steal a psychological march on their rivals with the introduction of a Mind Room.

The Mind Room is a private area to which Milan players will be able to repair in order to recover from the strain and the stress of their exertions during matches.

There will be enough space for eight players to fully stretch out on specially-designed ergonomic armchairs for 20 minutes and recover more quickly from the mental effort that kicking a ball around for 90 minutes demands.

As well as being able to put their feet up, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will watch relaxing images such as aeroplanes in flight and sailing boats adrift on the ocean.

But all is not as it seems at the San Siro. As the players describe what they see, club psychologists will monitor their psycho-physical functions, heartbeat and brainwaves via electrodes attached to their bodies in scenes alarmingly reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.

Milan appear to be pulling out all the stops to try and get the best out of their players by introducing carefully thought out programmes and ideas to cover every imaginable discipline.

In 2002 the Rossoneri unveiled Milan Lab, an advanced scientific programme designed to optimise the physical condition of their players.

They are also currently working on a computer programme in America which monitors the movement of players on the field of play during training and football matches, in order for the club’s tacticians to better analyse the performance of their players.

With the physical and tactical side covered, Ancelotti is now aiming for his charges to show significant mental and psychological improvement.

Milan have shown a certain fragility in this department over the last two seasons. In 2004 they squandered a 4-1 lead from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Deportivo La Coruna by losing the second leg 4-0.

Even worse was to follow last season when they lost in the Champions League Final against Liverpool after cruising to a 3-0 half-time lead in Istanbul.

The Mind Room is to be initially introduced only after matches but, if successful, will also be extended to players after they have finished their daily training.

Ancelotti dismisses "title rivals" Inter
7.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan's Carlo Ancelotti has ruled city rivals Inter out of the championship race, adding that Fiorentina pose more of a title threat.

After another disappointing result for Inter at the weekend, Ancelotti’s damning verdict is that the Nerazzurri are out of the Scudetto hunt for yet another season.

"It will be very hard for them to get back into the running," he said. "Now, it’s Fiorentina we need to think about.

"If we lose in Florence when the championship restarts after the international break, the Viola will be the second-strongest side in the League."

Carletto’s words will do little to help Roberto Mancini’s cause in holding on to his ever-more precarious managerial seat at the blue end of the San Siro.

Inter’s draw with Lazio, compounded by wins for Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina means that the Nerazzurri have slipped to 10 points behind the table-topping Bianconeri and eight behind Ancelotti’s men. Even Fiorentina are now five points ahead of Mancini’s side.

Inter haven't now won for three matches and, although they have all been hard games, few people really consider a side beset by disciplinary problems and dressing-room unrest to be genuine title contenders.

The powers that be at the San Siro have so far backed Mancio to the hilt, but unless there is a sudden about-turn in his fortunes, time will surely run out on the 40-year-old tactician who has so far failed to break the Juve-Milan duopoly of the Italian game.

Gila focused on Juve chase
7.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino has said he is delighted to have finally scored at the San Siro, but insists Milan’s victory over Udinese was more important.

The summer signing celebrated for the first time in front of his own fans on Sunday by netting a brace in the 5-1 win.

But Gilardino maintains that keeping in touch with leaders Juventus, who are two points clear, was the key element of the game.

"I am really happy with my goals, yet the victory was all that mattered," said the Italian international.

"We just need to think about winning each game from now and simply see in May where we will finish."

Gilardino was fielded in tandem with Pippo Inzaghi at the Stadio Meazza and Gila was keen to praise his colleague.

"Pippo had a great game today even if he didn’t score," added the former Parma hero. "He worked hard for the team and was really decisive."

The former Under-21 international has found life tough at Milan, especially the competition for places in the Rossoneri attack.

"The Coach has four great strikers at his disposal and he decides who is the best option," he added.

"I think that is only normal even if it is also obvious that we want to play in every game that comes.

"However, you have to accept the rotation system if you really want to achieve great results in a season."

Gilardino is actually Milan’s top scorer in Serie A so far with seven goals, two clear of Andriy Shevchenko.

AC Milan 5:1 Udinese - post-match comments
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti: “This was our best performance of the season so far and everything went to plan. It’s difficult to find words to describe it. Everyone played their part and it was nearly perfect. This team is growing, although it’ll be tough to improve upon this in the future.”

Serse Cosmi: “We didn’t even take part in this match. It was torture – a Milan monologue. There was no resistance. We should just shelve this quickly and take advantage of the break for international duty to recharge our batteries. At this stage, we definitely need it.”

AC Milan 5:1 Udinese - match report
6.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Gilardino 25, 53 (M), Seedorf 37 (M), Pirlo 45 (M), Iaquinta pen 60 (U), Kaka 77 (M)

This was a five-star Milan performance for their eighth consecutive Serie A win and Carlo Ancelotti's Scudetto ambitions are clear.

The Rossoneri closed the gap to two points after last week's 3-1 victory over Juventus, but have been struggling in the Champions League and finding it tough to balance the two competitions. Christian Vieri was in the stands and Andriy Shevchenko still out with a heel injury, so Pippo Inzaghi partnered Alberto Gilardino upfront. The main change was in the full-backs, where both Brazilians made this an extremely attacking squad.

Udinese experimented with a new 4-4-2 system with Vincent Candela stepping back into defence, a tactic that became necessary after their spectacular 4-3 defeat at Werder Bremen on Wednesday. Goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis was out with a muscular problem, so 27-year-old Gabriele Paoletti made his Serie A debut.

Milan nearly opened the scoring within the first minute, as Inzaghi nodded Gennaro Gattuso's cross just past the far post.

Paoletti blocked a long-range Andrea Pirlo effort that bounced just in front of the debutant, but there was bad news for Udinese when Christian Obodo suffered a knee injury after a clash with Pirlo.

Paoletti made a hash of his punch on Pirlo's cross, but Inzaghi was penalised for pushing the goalkeeper.

Milan hit the back of the net on 22 minutes with Gilardino after a fine combination between Seedorf and Kaka, but it was correctly disallowed for the ex-Parma man's offside position.

The celebration was only postponed by a couple of minutes, as Gilardino netted the opener soon after. Inzaghi put in the low cross and his teammate rolled Felipe to sweep in from six yards. It was Gila's first goal at the San Siro.

The Rossoneri went off on the counter-attack and Kaka's angled drive with the inside of his foot skimmed the woodwork, then Paoletti pushed away a tricky Serginho effort at the near post.

Udinese fought back and Nestor Sensini was left totally unmarked to gather a corner kick, but his shot was smothered by Dida. Antonio Di Natale's effort was also blocked by the goalkeeper.

Milan were playing great football and scored their second with a smart team move. Inzaghi protected the ball and pushed it into the path of the on-rushing Clarence Seedorf, who drilled a precise finish from 10 yards.

Moments later, Kaka combined with Seedorf and the Brazilian's half-volley was charged down by Felipe's body.

Andrea Pirlo scored a free kick against Juve last week and repeated the trick, wrong-footing the goalkeeper with a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Kaka and Gilardino combined until Pirlo's attempt from the edge of the box was deflected wide of the target.

The Rossoneri were on fire and made it 4-0 with Gilardino's second of the match. It was another fine team move, this time Seedorf setting Serginho running down the left and his cutback reaching Gilardino for a simple tap-in.

Kaka really should've made it five soon after, but misplaced his lob and had another good opportunity blocked. David Di Michele came on for the final 35 minutes with a trident attack for the Stadio Friuli side.

Udinese were given the chance to get back into the game when Gattuso was penalised for his challenge on Vincenzo Iaquinta. The striker got back up to convert the penalty.

The visitors wanted another spot-kick for Alessandro Nesta's challenge on Iaquinta, but this time the referee waved play on. Dida then had his palms stung by a Di Michele pile-driver from the edge of the box.

Former Udinese star Marek Jankulovski came off the bench to face his old teammates.

Kaka grabbed Milan's fifth goal with an all-Brazilian combination. Serginho deserves much of the credit for this strike, as he sprinted past several defenders from the centre-circle and his fierce effort was parried into the path of Kaka for a simple tap-in.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Jankulovski 65); Kakà; Inzaghi (Rui Costa 71), Gilardino

Udinese: Paoletti; Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe, Candela; Pinzi, Obodo (Motta 14), Mauri, Muntari (Di Michele 52); Iaquinta, Di Natale

Ref: Pieri

Jankulovski faces Udinese friends
5.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marek Jankulovski will take on his former Udinese team-mates for the first time and outlines the problems Milan could face.

“It will be a difficult game, because Udinese are an excellent squad, but we need the three points to confirm our strong moment of form,” said the Czech international.

“The Friuli side can create real problems upfront with players like Vincenzo Iaquinta, David Di Michele and Antonio Di Natale. We must do well to close down the spaces.”

Jankulovski spent three years with the Bianconeri before his summer move to the San Siro, although he spent the first few months on the sidelines after fracturing his ankle in the Coppa Italia encounter with Roma.

“My ankle problems are over now and at the moment I don’t need surgery to remove the metal plates,” said the versatile left-sided player. “I can play in defence, where I started the season, but recently I have been training for the midfield slot.”

Jankulovski scored an own goal for Udinese in this fixture last season, where Milan emerged with a 3-1 victory, but will be wearing the Rossoneri jersey this time around.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have won their last eight Serie A games on the trot and are looking to close the gap further on leaders Juventus after cutting it to just two points.

Rossoneri keen on Nelson
5.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Benfica defender Nelson is the latest name to add to Milan’s ever-growing shopping list.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in Portugal over the last two years.

After an eye-catching season for Boavista, Benfica bought the full-back for just over £1m as a replacement for Luis Miguel, who left the Portuguese club for Valencia in the summer.

The step up in class has only served to bring the best out of the Cape Verde Islander, who has risen to the challenge of playing for a bigger club and also excelled in the Champions League.

Milan scouts watched the quicksilver wide man play against Estrela Amadora on 22 October, and again in their following League match, and are thought to be weighing up an offer.

The Rossoneri are on the look-out for players to inject new life into Milan’s ageing defence and, with Marcos Cafu in his last season at the San Siro, potential replacements for the former World Cup winner include Cicinho, Willy Sagnol and Antoine Reveillère.

It seems that £3.5m would prove too great an offer for the Eagles to resist for their latest star, who is contracted to the capital club until 2010.

AC Milan vs. Udinese - match preview
4.11 || Seamus

Udinese will visit a Milan side full of confidence when they meet at the San Siro. The Rossoneri’s victory over Juventus put them back within touching distance of their Scudetto rivals and blew the title race wide open. Ending the Bianconeri’s 100 per cent record must have given the players a huge boost and the Udine outfit will be cursing their bad luck to face Milan at this point. They are now just two points behind La Vecchia Signora and will be very aware that should they win and their rivals lose to high flying Livorno, then they will go top of the table for the first time this season.

Udinese’s rocking boat seems to have reached calmer waters recently, seeing them achieve draws against Ascoli and Palermo. The Zebrati will need to improve upon this new found form if they want to get a result from one of the hardest matches they will play all year. They are still suffering from their erratic start to this campaign and so are still just outside of the top half of the table. A win in this match could well see them cross that divide, but they will have to do it without Cesare Natali, Mirko Pieri, Paulo Barreto and Jose Luis Vidigal. After the return of Alessandro Nesta against Juve, Milan have an almost injury free squad to choose from. Their only absentee is long-term victim Massimo Ambrosini.


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

Udinese (probable): De Sanctis; Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe; Zenoni, Pinzi, Obodo, Mauri, Muntari; Iaquinta, Di Natale

Ref: To follow...

Berlusconi reveals bomb threat
4.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi claims to have been targetted by a suicide bomber in a football stadium.

Berlusconi, who is also the Italian Prime Minister, revealed in an interview with Conservative newspaper Libero that the threat on his life happened at a football match.

“I am the subject of a direct threat," he said on Friday. “A suicide bomber in a stadium aiming at me."

Mr Berlusconi, who was present at the San Siro on Saturday night to watch his side beat Juventus, didn’t reveal where the incident took place but did express concerns that Italy may soon be the subject of terrorist attacks.

Ever since Italy sent troops to Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, many Italians have feared an attack on their country.

Berlusconi, who has always rejected this theory in the past, now seems genuinely concerned for both his own safety and that of his fellow countrymen.

"It's not about me,” he continued. “This is about Italy. We are exposed to deadly terrorist attacks."

Tellingly, Berlusconi claimed on television recently that he tried to dissuade US President George Bush, whom he is due to meet tomorrow, from invading Iraq.

In addition to stating that he never wanted war in the first place he also urged that his words be heard across the Arab world.

These are troubles times for Italy’s foreign office, which is also experiencing deteriorating diplomatic ties with Iran, whom they have requested be ejected from the UN over remarks by its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel be “wiped off the map”.

With the Winter Olympics set to take place in Turin early next year fears are growing that the event may be chosen as a terrorist target.

Milan clubs rejected Toni
4.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini has revealed that Milan and Inter turned down the opportunity to sign Fiorentina striker Luca Toni in the summer.

The Stadio Barbera outfit gave both Milan clubs the option of signing the prolific goalscorer when it became clear he wanted to move on in the close season.

“Before I sold him to Fiorentina I offered him to Milan and Inter,” said Zamparini. “But it is easy to speak with hindsight.

“If Alberto Gilardino had scored as many goals as Toni up to now we wouldn’t be talking about it - but that’s the great thing about football.”

While Gilardino has scored four goals for the Rossoneri this term, Tonigol – as he is already affectionately known as to Viola fans in homage to the great Gabriel Batistuta or ‘Batigol’ – has been in the form of his life.

The former Brescia and Palermo marksman has already netted 12 times in 10 games for Fiorentina this season.

He has been receiving rave reviews for his excellent all-round game and even managed a hat-trick for the national team.

Meanwhile, Zamparini also hinted that a former Viola player could be on his way to the Rosanero.

Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo, who has been out of favour and unsettled at the San Siro since the arrival of Julio Cesar, has been linked with a move to Sicily.

“Toldo might be coming here, yes,” confirmed the Palermo chief.

Milan go techno
3.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are working with American researchers on a computer project to improve their tactical awareness during matches.

The Rossoneri have sent two researchers to Boston to help develop the programme which tracks the exact movement of players during the course of a match.

Once completed, Carlo Ancelotti will be able to monitor the movement of his players in real time both during matches and training sessions and identify more easily which players have strayed from their allocated positions.

Steve McClaren successfully introduced similar technology during his time at Manchester United, after studying American methods adopted by NFL teams and placing cameras in various parts of the ground to better understand his side’s movement.

Sheva faces Istanbul curse
3.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko realises Milan must face their demons in Istanbul, as anything less than a win at Fenerbahce could put their Euro campaign in doubt.

“The defeat in Eindhoven complicated matters,” he confessed after the 1-0 defeat at PSV. “At this stage, if we don’t win our final two matches then it would only be right that we fail to qualify.”

Nonetheless, there were recriminations from the San Siro camp after a debatable late penalty shout for Serginho was ignored by Graham Poll.

“The referee whistled in PSV’s favour all night and I was close to the penalty incident, so I can confirm it was clear,” explained the Ukrainian. “PSV are a side that defend a great deal and wait for their opponents without running too many risks. We had our chances to score, but it wasn’t easy against a team that clammed up like that.”

The Rossoneri slipped down to third place in Group E after picking up just two points from their last three games against Schalke 04 and PSV. Their final two clashes are away to Fenerbahce on November 23 and at home to Schalke.

“We must win to qualify, but also to prove that we are a great side that can aim for the Champions League trophy. It will be an important trip to Istanbul, but we must stop talking about this so-called curse. We didn’t make any huge mistakes against PSV and tried to score an equaliser until the end, but we didn’t manage it and will make up for that in the next game.”

Milan’s fate is once again set to be decided in Istanbul, the city where they lost the Champions League Final against Liverpool in May. Shevchenko is working his way back to full fitness after suffering from a heel injury and played the final minutes of their PSV defeat.

“I tried to do what I could and now hope to be fully recovered for this weekend’s Serie A tie with Udinese. I still have pain and cannot play 90 minutes.”

Ancelotti confident of qualification
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti claims Milan should’ve had a last-gasp penalty against PSV, but insists they are on track to qualify.

“Everyone thought it was a pretty clear penalty and he went straight for the man, totally ignoring the ball, but we have to accept the result and realise we have a very good chance of through this round,” he said after their 1-0 defeat in Eindhoven. “We will qualify and are satisfied with the effort we put in tonight.”

The incident saw defender Lamey hold back Serginho as he ran into the area, but English referee Graham Poll waved play on.

This defeat comes just days after the Rossoneri crushed Serie A leaders Juventus 3-1 and was a markedly inferior outing.

“I don’t think this was a step back, as it was a very different game and we went behind early on, doing everything possible to get back into it. Obviously there are regrets, but this was not a bad Milan performance.”

Milan have now picked up just one point from their last two Champions League games against PSV, failing to score a single goal, and conceded Jefferson Farfan’s early goal after a double error from Kakha Kaladze and Dida.

“After the goal, PSV focused only on defending and counter-attacking, which made it even more difficult for us to find space. Against Juve we were the ones who took the lead and could therefore control the tempo, but here we had to pour forward and run a few more risks, but we attacked for 90 minutes.”

Guus Hiddink also troubled Ancelotti last season, when only an away goal allowed Milan to qualify for the Champions League Final.

“Hiddink has a very simple way of playing football, man-marking all around the field and then concentrating on the counter-attack,” explained the tactician.

The Rossoneri have now slipped to third place in Group E. It’s a very balanced selection of teams, as PSV are on seven points, Milan and Schalke on five and Fenerbahce – the Italians’ next opponents in Istanbul – have four.

“We have two games left and will try to win both of them, even if I doubt that will even be necessary considering the situation in the Group.”

Van Basten rejects Milan talk
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Holland Coach Marco Van Basten has dismissed suggestions that he will be the next Milan boss.

The Dutchman was part of the Rossoneri’s great side of the late eighties and early nineties before an ankle injury cut short his playing career.

He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest strikers to play the game and is now showing his coaching excellence with the Dutch national side.

They are yet to lose in his 18 month spell in charge and, inevitably, that has led to talk that he will replace Carlo Ancelotti as Milan Coach in the summer.

“I have a contract until 2008 with the Dutch FA,” the tactician told the Corriere Dello Sport newspaper.

“I'm not looking to go anywhere before that date. After the World Cup I intend to stay in Holland – I've made an agreement.

“However, I'm really happy each time I see and meet people who worked and won with me.

“It was a great period of my life at Milan. Each time I meet with a few of my friends, teammates or officials it's always a special moment. It's a pleasure meeting them – but that is all.”

Video evidence angers top duo
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Juventus have reacted with frustration to the news that four incidents from their game on Saturday night are to be reviewed with a view to disciplinary action.

The moments in question are Lilian Thuram’s alleged elbow on Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi apparently punching Giorgio Chiellini, while Adrian Mutu and Pavel Nedved reportedly stamped on Alessandro Nesta and Genarro Gattuso (pictured) respectively.

The Rossoneri were 3-1 victors thanks to goals from Clarence Seedorf, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo.

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti was dubious that any review was necessary. “As far as I’m concerned there was nothing that would merit video evidence,” he told the Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Even Gattuso, one of the victims, was against the decision, saying: “I didn’t see anything needing a replay.”

While those on the Milan side appeared apathetic, Juve transfer guru Luciano Moggi reacted with sarcasm. “I’ve got nothing to declare, like customs – they can do what they want.”

Stam happy in Milan
2.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Jaap Stam has dismissed reports suggesting he could be set to return to Holland in the summer.

It has been reported that the Dutchman’s agent has claimed the former Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven defensive rock wants to return to his homeland so he could dedicate more time to his family.

However, the 33-year-old – dismissed in Milan’s Champions League clash against PSV last night – has been quick to deny such rumours.

“I feel good at Milan,” he stated. “I have a contract that binds me to the Rossoneri for another two years and I intend to respect that. I'm staying at Milan and I have nothing more to add to that.”

Stam arrived at the San Siro in 2004 after initially moving to the peninsula with Lazio for £16.5m in 2001.

Despite winning the treble while at Old Trafford, he fell out with boss Sir Alex Ferguson after releasing his autobiography, which had suggestions in it that he had been ‘tapped up’ before joining the club.

PSV Eindhoven 1:0 AC Milan - match report
1.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Farfan 12 (P)

A double error from Kakha Kaladze and Dida saw Milan fall 1-0 in Eindhoven, while Jaap Stam saw red.

The Rossoneri had mixed memories of Eindhoven, as in last season's Champions League semi-final they lost 3-1, but still managed to qualify thanks to Massimo Ambrosini's stoppage-time away goal. Andriy Shevchenko missed Saturday's Scudetto showdown victory over Juventus with a heel injury and was still unable to start tonight, while Marcos Cafu flew back to Brazil on compassionate leave.

The two teams drew 0-0 at the San Siro a fortnight ago, but PSV had their top scorer Vennegoor of Hesselink back from suspension. Milan's only change from the Juve victory was Christian Vieri replacing Pippo Inzaghi upfront, but there was a tactical adjustment to a more classic 4-4-2 system.

There were chances for both sides in the opening couple of minutes, as Philip Cocu's header and a Vieri volley were comfortably held. Vennegoor of Hesselink nodded a corner kick over after Dida was left stranded.

PSV broke the deadlock after 12 minutes thanks to a double Milan error. Kakha Kaladze's weak backpass header was intercepted by Jefferson Farfan, who placed a powerful finish between Dida and the near post. The goalkeeper could perhaps have done better in his attempt to save.

Gattuso was booked for a late challenge on Simons, but Milan went close to an equaliser when Andrea Pirlo's free kick settled on to the roof of the net.

But it was PSV who could so easily have made it 2-0 moments later. The crossbar came to Dida's rescue when Alex got his head to a whipped-in free kick from the left.

Clarence Seedorf unleashed a rocket from 25 metres that skimmed the near post, then Alessandro Nesta charged into the area and had his shot charged down.

PSV goalkeeper Gomes horribly fumbled Seedorf's corner kick twice, but there was no Milan poacher to pounce on the loose ball and he was able to bat it out for a corner.

The Brazilian goalkeeper made another hash of a Pirlo free kick moments later, but a sea of legs couldn't push the ball through and Vieri was eventually caught offside.

Gomes made up for his errors by getting down to parry Vieri's shot, redirecting a wayward Seedorf effort from eight yards. Kaladze then cut back and Vieri thumped it first time, but off target.

On the stroke of half-time, Cocu's cross-shot dipped just past the upright with Dida keeping guard. Cocu then aimed a volley inches wide of the near post.

Carlo Ancelotti made two bold changes at half-time, introducing attacking left-sided players Marek Jankulovski and Serginho for Kaladze and the overly-aggressive Gattuso, who risked a second booking on more than one occasion.

Jankulovski fired a half-volley wide within seconds of coming on and Gomes rushed off his line to close down Vieri on the penalty spot, but at the other end Farfan's deflected cross caused problems.

On 51 minutes Dida was at full stretch to fingertip Beasley's fierce right-foot strike out of the bottom corner of the net.

Seedorf scored a deflected goal against Juventus on Saturday and nearly repeated the trick, but this time his strike looped on to the roof of the net rather than under the crossbar after ricocheting off Cocu.

From the resulting corner, Vieri's header went into the path of Gilardino, but Gomes bravely dived on to his feet to smother from six yards.

PSV's first substitution was Michael Reiziger, who was a Milan flop in 1996 and did not last long in Serie A.

Dida only managed to parry a viciously dipping Cocu effort from distance and Vennegoor of Hesselink was closed down at the last moment.

At the other end, Paolo Maldini nodded Pirlo's free kick over the bar with his back to goal. Vieri's looping header on a Gilardino cross was comfortably saved.

There were concerns for Gilardino when he clattered into Gomes as the goalkeeper came rushing out to clear the ball, accidentally elbowing the ex-Parma man on the back of the head.

Andriy Shevchenko came on for the final 17 minutes in place of Gilardino. With his first touch of the ball, the Ballon d'Or winner curled a powerful and accurate free kick that was fingertipped out of the top corner with some difficulty.

PSV hardly attacked at all in the second half, instead protecting their lead and clogging up all the spaces to frustrate Milan. However, the Rossoneri were left in 10 men for the last seven minutes when Jaap Stam slipped and dragged down Beasley for his second bookable offence.

The confidence was now with the Dutch outfit and 17-year-old Aissati's rising strike skimmed the crossbar.

Nonetheless, there was controversy on 87 minutes when Serginho ran into the area and fell under pressure from Lamey, who had his arm pulling back the Brazilian's shoulder, but the English referee waved play on.

Moments later, Vieri couldn't quite get Serginho's cross under control at the back post, then Serginho slipped as he had space to fire in Pirlo's low cross after a Vieri dummy.

PSV Eindhoven: Gomes; Ooijer, Alex, Lamey; Afellay (Reiziger 58), Simons, Cocu; Aissati; Beasley, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Farfan (Addo 84)

Milan: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze (Serginho 46); Gattuso (Jankulovski 46), Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà; Vieri; Gilardino (Shevchenko 73)

Ref: Poll (Eng)

Sheva eyes PSV return
1.11 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko could return to the Milan starting line-up for the Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven this evening.

The Ukrainian striker has been sidelined since suffering a heel injury against Guus Hiddink’s men on Matchday 3.

Sheva will travel to Holland and train with the squad ahead of the Group E encounter. A decision will be made on whether he will play after the training sessions.

The Rossoneri have coped fine without their leading scorer, picking up nine points from the three Serie A matches in his absence.

Shevchenko, though, foresees this match as being one of their toughest of the season – but very different from their table-topping Serie A clash with Juventus at the weekend.

“It will be like a chess game, with a low tempo. They are very aware of defending this season,” said the 29-year-old.

“I don’t expect an intense game like we had with Juventus but a very tactical encounter. We have to lift the rhythm to make it difficult for them.”

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti has several injury concerns ahead of the return match with PSV.

“We’ll see how Shevchenko is,” said the tactician. “We also need to check on Filippo Inzaghi’s fitness and that of others but I don’t think the side will change that much from Saturday’s line-up.”

Milan were handed a shock 3-1 defeat at the Philips Stadium in last season’s Champions League semi-final and a stern and defensive PSV side held them to a 0-0 draw a fortnight ago in this season’s competition.

Ancelotti is under no illusion about the test the Rossoneri will face in Eindhoven.

“They will play possession football but we have to play our own game and show the same character we did on Saturday evening against Juventus,” noted Carletto.

“To break the deadlock we’ll have play intensely and with character. The group is very tight and a win will be make a big difference,” he said.

Milan lead the table going into the game but only by a point from PSV and Fenerbahce, with Germans Schalke bottom on two points.

Milan (probable): Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Seedorf, Gattuso, Pirlo; Kaka; Gilardino, Vieri (Inzaghi)

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