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The Archive

December 2001

Real promise third summer sensation
30.12 || webmaster

Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano has promised the club's fans another major signing in the summer, despite the massive outlays on Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in the past two seasons.

The Spanish champions have broken the world transfer record two summers running with the arrivals of Figo from Barcelona, in 2000, and Zidane from Juventus in 2001.

And Valdano said at the weekend that Real fans can expect another major signing in the summer of 2002.

He refused to reveal any names on Real's hit-list but said: "Another great player will come who is capable of meeting the needs of the team.

"There aren't that many great stars on offer at the moment...but there will be another star signing for next season," he told Spanish newspaper Marca.

Real have been linked with several world class players in recent months, including AC Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko, Lazio defender Alessandro Nesta and Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira.

Luis Figo caused an uproar when he left Barcelona for arch-rivals Real Madrid in the summer of 2000. He initially struggled to settle in at the Bernabeu but then led the club to the Spanish title and to the semi-finals of the Champions' League.

Zidane, a £47 million purchase from Juventus in the summer, suffered even more problems adapting to life in the Spanish capital. However, after a spluttering start to the season, Real are now second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Deportivo La Coruna, and on course to reach the last eight of the Champions' League.

Kaladze in rescue mission
30.12 || Tom

Sunday 30th December 2001

AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze has returned to Georgia in another attempt to find his kidnapped brother.

Levan was kidnapped on May 23, 2001, in a suburb of the Georgian capital Tbilisi and the police have had no luck finding the gang responsible or their victim.

Kaladze admitted at the weekend that his family were at the point of despair as, after initial contact and demands, there has been no word from the gang for weeks.

The AC Milan defender told "It has now been seven months since they kidnapped my brother and I have come back to Tbilisi to pray that I will be able to spend New Year with him.

"My father has told me that the kidnappers have not contacted him for a long time and they have not contacted me either.

"We don't know what to think anymore and it is a very difficult situation for the whole family and all our relatives.

"But we are trying to be positive and I hope that Levan will be released soon," he added.

Kaladze became the most expensive player in Georgian history when he joined Milan from Dinamo Kyiv for £10 million in January 2001.

Rui Costa refuses to take Milan blame
30.12 || Tom

Sunday 30th December 2001

Injury-plagued AC Milan midfielder Manuel Rui Costa has hit back at critics blaming him for the club's inconsistent form.

The Portugal midfielder was expected to lead Milan to the top of Serie A after joining in the summer following years of exquisite performances for Fiorentina.

However, he has struggled with injuries and has failed to reproduce his Fiorentina-form with the Rossoneri.

But, while the playmaker accepts that he has not been at his best so far, he is furious with critics who claim that he is the problem with the Milan teamt.

"It's incredible. I have already had more injuries at Milan than I had in seven years while playing with Fiorentina.

"But I am not the reason Milan are having problems. I may be one of the problems but not the only one. I am often accused when I am completely innocent," he said on Sunday.

He also admitted that he has found it difficult to adjust to life in Milan.

"When I had problems in Fiorentina everything was easier because I knew the team, the club, the city and its supporters.

"I am still finding my feet in Milan but I am fortunate to have a very good coach in Carlo Ancelotti, who talks a lot to me.

"He wants me to return to my best but also knows that he has to wait, exactly like he did at Juventus with Alessandro Del Piero.

"I have to find the confidence I lost a bit in the last year and I am sure that the AC Milan supporters will be able to see the real Rui Costa.

"I only hope that 2002 will give me what I lost in 2001," he added.

Milan are currently fifth in Serie A, five points behind leaders Internazionale, and still have a chance of winning the Scudetto.

Rui Costa, will also represent Portugal in this summer's World Cup, where he will face South Korea, USA and Poland in Group D.

Rui Costa eyeing successful return
29.12 || Tom

29 December 2001 (Teamtalk) -- Manuel Rui Costa is hoping to put his injury problems behind him when he returns for Milan after stating "this has not been a lucky year for me."
The former Fiorentina midfielder injured ligaments in his left foot during Milan's Serie A clash with Verona last week.

However, Rui Costa is not letting the injury get him down, and said: "During these days of vacation I am trying to recover both physically and mentally.

"This has not been a very lucky year for me."

The midfielder is currently recuperating at home in Portugal and added: "Things did not go like we wanted them to. It's suffice to say that I have suffered more injuries in four months at AC Milan than I did in seven years at Fiorentina.

"However, I am hoping that this New Year will see the return of the player everyone used to like."

Inzaghi injury boost
28.12 || webmaster

AC Milan top-scorer Filippo Inzaghi has received a massive boost with the news he should be able to abandon his crutches in the New Year.

The player will still miss a large part of this season after his serious knee injury, but the news marks a big step forward in his recovery.

At the moment, however, the question of whether Inzaghi will be able to take part in this summer's World Cup or not, remains unanswered.

Even if his recovery goes according to plan, Inzaghi will not be back in training before the end of February or the beginning of March, and with the Italian national team getting together for an early training session on May 17, Inzaghi will not have much time to get back into shape.

Even though he has been a first choice for Italy over the past four years, coach Giovanni Trapattoni has already said that he will only choose players who are 100 per cent fit.

Roma and Inter peaking too soon, says Ancelotti
28.12 || Tom

Friday 28th December 2001

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Internazionale and Roma have hit top form too early in the championship race and remains confident his side will catch the early pacesetters.

"There is no doubt that Inter and Roma are playing the best football in Italy at the moment," he admitted. "But they are two teams already at their best. AC Milan and Juventus have not shown their top form yet."

Milan are seven points behind Serie A leaders Inter, but Ancelotti claims the Rossoneri are getting stronger.

"There is certainly more to come from us," continued the former Parma boss. "We should not have dropped two points against Piacenza at the San Siro, but I believe that will start to happen less and less in the New Year.

"I am especially confident that we will be stronger now that Massimo Ambrosini and Jose Mari are back," he explained. "They are really important players for us – especially Jose Mari, who has a lot of responsibility now that Filippo Inzaghi is out.

"Also we have not yet seen the real Manuel Rui Costa. We really need him and it is unfortunate for us that he has had so many injury problems this season.

"When he is back - hopefully in the next three weeks - we will find the continuity that we need to mount a title challenge," he added.

Shevchenko Bags Best Goal Of 2001 Award
27.12 || Tom

12/23/2001. Milan's Andriy Shevchenko was presented with the Best Goal of 2001 Award at the Italia 1 TV channel Guida al Campianato ceremony on Sunday.

The award recognised the peerless strike when Milan hosted Juve on the 9th December. Shevchenko latched onto the ball in the Juve half and left his marker Edgar Davids for dead before tearing past the frantic challenges from defenders Mark Iuliano and Gianluca Pessotto. Forced wide, he then produced a stunning strike from the right which swooped over Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

SA Int.

Syrians want to see Shevchenko
27.12 || Tom

KYIV, December 27 (DSA)- Ukrainian youth national side head coach Anatoliy Kroshchenko informed that the Ukrainian and Syrian federations are negotiating the possibility of organising friendly matches between their Olympic teams in Damask on February 11 and 13. The Syrian side indicated they want to see Ukraine and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko in the lineup. However, the Ukrainian national team head coach Leonid Buryak is unlikely to play Sheva sooner than on March 21 when the Ukrainians are to visit Japan.

Rui Costa suffers ligament damage
26.12 || webmaster

Manuel Rui Costa has injured ligaments in his left foot after a clash during AC Milan's game against Verona - the extent of which is unknown.

A series of tests in Lisbon, Portugal confirmed the player's fate. The x-rays done show no bone damage to the foot, although there is signs of injury on the Portugal international's ligaments and joint capsules.

At this moment in time, it is unknown how long the former Fiorentina man will be out of action for.

Ambrosini joyous after scoring return
24.12 || webmaster

Midfielder Massimo Ambrosini was delighted to vent his frustration after ten months on the sidelines with torn ligaments by scoring on his AC Milan return in the 2-1 win over Verona.

"I felt a rage when I scored but I was happy with the goal and the way I played," he said.

Ambrosini, who made his first start since February, fired home Rui Costa's cross on 57 minutes to give Milan the lead and Cosmin Contra clinched all three points for the Rossoneri after Paolo Cannavaro levelled 20 minutes from time.

"It was important to win this match to stay in touch at the top and I think we deserved it.

"I want to say thanks to the Milan medical staff as they have helped me in the hard times."

Coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "It was magic that he scored a wonderful goal. It was an extraordinary thing to see him on the pitch again after his ten-month odyssey."

He admitted to being made to sweat in the final stages. "Rui Costa hurt his foot towards the end. I had already used three substitutes and we virtually had to withstand Verona's reaction with ten men.

"But it's not a serious injury and he'll be fit again for our first game of the New Year."

Verona boss Alberto Malesani said: "Milan played a good first half but we were as good as them after the break.

"My players wanted the win more than Milan in the end but they scored in the fourth minute of injury time because after a slip-up in defence.

"It's a pity as it would've been nice to go into the break with a good result at the San Siro and we really deserved it."

Ancelotti: "Good but slow"
23.12 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti talks on today's win over Verona: "Milan have played fairly well but slow. Those 3 points are important to keep on being close to the leadership waiting for the come back of Albertini and Serginho," he said.

Milan 2 - 1 Verona - match report
23.12 || webmaster

A last-gasp strike from Cosmin Contra gave AC Milan a 2-1 win over Verona today and kept their Championship hopes alive.

It was a dull first half at the San Siro and an eighth-minute header from Andrei Shevchenko was the only attempt of any note.

However, the introduction of Massimiliano Ambrosini livened up the game and it was he who opened the scoring in the 56th minute with a header.

It was the first time in 10 months that the player had played after suffering a horrendous knee injury last February.

Verona's Paolo Cannavaro was the saviour of the away side when he blocked an Andrei Shevchenko strike on the line in the 62nd minute.

Eight minutes later it was Cannavaro who leveled the scores when he headed in from a corner.

The away side looked comfortable in the San Siro and were the better side in periods.

However, former Alaves star Contra scored in the final minute of the game to send the home fans wild and leave Alberto Malesani's men dreaming of what could have been.

It was unfortunate for the away side as they had deserved at least a point but it is a sign of the top teams that they can play badly and win.

Match Box:
Milan 2 - Massimo Ambrosini 58 ; Cosmin Contra 90
Verona 1 - Paolo Cannavaro 71
HT: 0-0
Milan: Abbiati, Helveg, Chamot, Costacurta, Kaladze, Gattuso, Donati (Ambrosini 46), Pirlo (Javi Moreno 73), Rui Costa, Jose Mari (Contra 79), Shevchenko.
Verona: Ferron, P.Cannavaro, Gonnella, Teodorani, Oddo, Italiano (G.Colucci 84), L.Colucci, Seric, Camoranesi (Montano 65), Gilardino (Adailton 65), Mutu.
Referee: Racalbuto

Photographies Added
22.12 || webmaster

There are now much more hotos into our Photo Gallery --
Today we have added more photos of the following players and staff:
2 x Ancelotti
2 x Javi Moreno
1 x Maldini
1 x Laursen
3 x Rui Costa
1 x Shevchenko
2 x Donati
1 x Inzaghi

Milan vs. Verona - match preview
21.12 || webmaster

Hellas Verona may as well have stayed in Milan and trained on Wednesday night. Malesani’s men played at the San Siro on Wednesday and were comprehensively beaten by Internazionale in what was the Veronese side’s third successive away defeat. During this time, they have scored just two goals and conceded ten! On Sunday, they travel back to the scene of the crime to face off with the other Milanese giant, AC Milan who are far from the shape their city rivals are in. Milan have now only won one of their last six games and have been anything but impressive. Nothing but a win will suffice for the rossoneri if they wish to continue to challenge for the title. League leaders, Internazionale look favorites to pick up three points when they travel to Piacenza and Milan will slip nine points behind them if they fail to win. Hellas Verona on the other hand will be looking to improve on their previous performance at the venue only three days prior and will want to win to put the rubber stamp on a red and black crisis.

AC Milan (last 6 all comps): DWDDLD
Milan have suffered tremendously of late due to the barrage of injuries that have struck the squad. These injuries seem to have taken their toll on the mental health of the squad and morale is very low. However, there was promise in Milan’s second half show at Bergamo and if they can play like that (and maybe give poor Pirlo a full game, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!), they may just pull off an Inter. Home form has been anything but rossoneri-like with two 1-1 draws, two 0-0 draws and a fortunate win over Chievo summing up the last five games. They haven’t won in four games and one wonders what Ancelotti plans to do about it.

Hellas Verona (last 6 all comps): WLWLWL
Verona have been devastating at home of late, beating high flying fellow Veronese, Chievo in a dramatic game and then following it up with magnificent wins over Brescia and Lazio. But, they seem to completely lose their way away from home. They were completely taken apart by Torino and Inter and must improve their away performance if they are to maintain their standing in the table. They will, however, take some heart from the fact that they will play on the same pitch they played on in the last round and will be more used to the playing area than they would have been at any other given time.

AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati, Helveg, Laursen, Costacurta, Kaladze, Gattuso, Donati, Brocchi, Rui Costa, Simone, Shevchenko

Big troubles for Ancelotti! Skipper Maldini is out for two months and will join Serginho, Inzaghi, Albertini, Aliyu and Redondo on the injury list. Kakha Kaladze is expected to deputize for Il Capitano while Donati will replace Albertini. Marco Simone will partner Shevchenko in an attack that will be boosted by the return of Rui Costa. Young Vitaly Kutuzov is also out sick.

Hellas Verona (3-4-3): Ferron, Cannavaro, Gonnella, Teodorani, Oddo, Italiano, L.Colucci, Seric, Camoranesi, Gilardino, Mutu

Malesani will be disappointed to be deprived of Mario Frick and Marco Zanchi due to injury and suspension respectively. Frick has been in good form of late and has formed the ideal partner for Romanian Adrian Mutu, but had to leave the pitch early against Inter earlier this week. Michele Cossato and Giancarlo Filippini are also unavailable due to injury.

Moreno keen to stay at Milan
21.12 || webmaster

Javi Moreno has dismissed reports that he is on his way out of AC Milan, and has declared that he is ready and waiting to help the team out.

Despite his past as the Spanish La Liga's top scorer, Moreno did not get much of a chance to play in Serie A, at least not until Filippo Inzaghi injured himself.

Even now, with Marco Simone and the recovering Josè Mari fighting for a place alongside Andriy Shevchenko, the former Alaves striker has only played bits and pieces of a game.

Nevertheless, Moreno believes he will be able to build a successful career at Milan just like he did in the Primera Liga, and denies any truth in the rumours suggesting he will leave Italy in January.

"Each day I read something new in the papers," he said. "One day I'm about to go to Chelsea and the next day I'm about to sign for Fullham. Then they say I'm about to go back to Spain.

"I am very sorry that things like this get published because I know nothing of this and nobody has talked to me about it.

"I've said this before and I'll say it again now, I'm very glad to be here at AC Milan and I have no intention of leaving in January."

Berlusconi may be forced to quit
21.12 || webmaster

Silvio Berlusconi may be forced to surrender his ownership of AC Milan if the Italian Parliament ask him to relinquish control of the club.

The media tycoon and Prime Minister of Italy owns TV Stations, Book Publishing, Film Producing,

insurances and the ownership of AC Milan, as he had promised during his campaign.

Berlusconi said that leaving AC Milan would be terribly hard for him, but if the law will require

that he'll do it : " The thought of leaving AC Milan makes my heart bleed but if the Parliament will ask me to resign from this post I'll do it."

" In any case, I am convinced that with Adriano Galliani the club is in very capable hands."

Sacchi accepts new role at Parma
20.12 || webmaster

Former Italy manager Arrigo Sacchi has been appointed general manager at Parma, returning for a third spell at the club to work alongside new coach Pietro Carmignani. "I will accept any advice he gives me, Sacchi is a great man," said Carmignani.

Sacchi met Parma owner Calisto Tanzi in his Parmalat office on Thursday afternoon, where he signed a contract tying him to the club until 2004. He will be paid £800,000 a season.

Carmignani, who was appointed until the end of the season following the sacking of Daniel Passarella on Tuesday, will retain control on the training pitch while Sacchi provides his expertise on tactics and player selection.

The pair have experience of working together. Carmignani was a member of the Italy coaching set-up when Sacchi was in charge of the national side between 1991 and 1996.

Sacchi's immediate aim will be to turn around a shocking run of results that has seen Parma fail to pick up a point in their past six Serie A matches.

Parma are at home to fellow strugglers Fiorentina on Sunday and victory would take them level on points with the third-bottom side.

Tanzi had attempted to lure Sacchi back to Parma alongside Carlo Ancelotti following the dismissal of Renzo Ulivieri in October.

But Ancelotti opted instead for AC Milan, where Sacchi has since been working as transfer consultant. Ancelotti had hoped to block Sacchi's return to Parma earlier in the week, but Tanzi's offer was too good to refuse.

Sacchi first joined Parma in 1985, leading the Gialloblu to promotion to Serie B, then to victory over Milan in the Coppa Italia the following season.

That was enough to convince Silvio Berlusconi to bring Sacchi to the San Siro, where he won the Scudetto in his first season in charge, then the European Cup the following season.

Milan won the European Cup again in 1990 and Sacchi was snapped up by Italy, who he took to the final of the 1994 World Cup, only to lose on penalties in the final to Brazil.

Sacchi returned to Parma last season for a short spell as coach, but quit after only 22 days because of stress.

Knee scan gives Maldini all-clear for World Cup
20.12 || webmaster

Italy captain Paolo Maldini will be out for two months after tests on a knee injury revealed he had not damaged cruciate ligaments.

The AC Milan defender was carried off in the first half of Wednesday's draw with Atalanta amid fears he would miss the World Cup.

Maldini, who collided with midfielder Damiano Zenoni on a frozen Azzuri D'Italia pitch, said: "My first thought as soon as I was injured was inevitably about the national team and the World Cup."

News that the injury is not as bad as first feared comes as a huge relief to Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni, especially as Maldini's natural replacement in the side, Udinese captain Valerio Bertotto, recently sustained ligament damage in a Coppa Italia tie against Parma. He could be out for five months.

Maldini announced earlier this season that he would retire from international football after the World Cup. "It is not an easy decision after 15 years wearing the Azzurro shirt," he said. "I hope that I can resist it once I leave."

The San Siro legend became only the second Italian – the first was former national coach Dino Zoff – to win 100 international caps when he played against Croatia in a goalless friendly in April 2000.

He sailed past Zoff's total of 112 appearances in a qualifier against Hungary last September.

Maldini made his international debut in a friendly against Yugoslavia on March 31, 1988, and was the youngest Italian at both the 1988 European Championships and 1990 World Cup.

Barcelona wing-back Francesco Coco is next in the pecking-order for the Italy left-back position.

Atalanta 1 - 1 Milan - match report
20.12 || webmaster

Andrei Shevchenko earned AC Milan a point in the 1-1 draw at Atalanta with a 57th-minute header to cancel out Luigi Sala's first-half opener.

The Ukrainian pounced just before the hour mark and had further chances to win the game for the rossoneri but was denied on a number of occasions by Massimo Taibi in the Atalanta goal.

Sala had put the home side in front with a left-footed strike after 29 minutes, but Milan deservedly hit back after the break.

Atalanta began brightly and Christian Abbiati had to be alert to deny Luca Saudati in the 26th minute. However, following Sala's goal, the visitors upped the tempo in a bid to get back on level terms and Shevchenko was only inches from an equaliser with a free-kick just before the break.

The equaliser eventually came courtesy of Shevchenko, who then should have got his and Milan's second ten minutes later but his left-foot shot was saved well by Taibi.

At the other end, Atalanta thought they should have been awarded a penalty in the dying minutes following a challenge by Abbiati on Cristiano Doni but the appeals were waved away.

Meanwhile, Milan's veteran captain Paolo Maldini picked up what looked to be a serious ankle injury in the 25th minute and had to be replaced by Kakha Kaladze.

Milan throw out Barca bid for Kaladze
19.12 || webmaster

AC Milan official Revaz Chokhonelidze has confirmed that Barcelona want to sign Georgia star Kakha Kaladze, but insists the Serie A side will not let him go.

"Barcelona have contacted the club about the possibility of buying Kakha, but I am sure Milan will not let him go," he said.

The Georgian defensive midfielder was a regular under Fatih Terim, but has spent most of his time on the sidelines since the Turkish coach was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

Chokhonelidze nonetheless rejected talk of a rift between Kaladze and the former Parma coach.

"It is not true that Ancelotti doesn't rate Kakha," he declared. "The reason that Kaladze has not played in the last two league matches is because he is carrying a knock.

"I think he will be back in the team soon. Milan players are always attracting interest from top European clubs. Andriy Shevchenko was targeted by Real Madrid, for instance.

"We have lots of players who are in demand, but I want to say it again, Milan won't sell Kaladze."

The Georgia international joined the Rossoneri for £10 million in January 2001 after impressing for Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions' League.

Barcelona are not the first club to show an interest in the versatile 24-year-old this season. In October, Kaladze told that he was being tracked by Internazionale, Lazio and Juventus.

"I know those teams want me, but playing for Milan is a childhood dream come true and I am not even contemplating leaving," he said.

Kaladaze has made 30 Serie A appearances for Milan to date, scoring four goals. He was voted Georgian player of the year in 2000-01 and has played 31 times for his country.

He started his career at FC Samtredia, before moving on to Dynamo Tbilisi, then Kyiv.

Maldini faces World Cup agony
19.12 || webmaster

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni faces a nervous wait for the results of a scan on Paolo Maldini's injured knee.

The AC Milan captain suffered suspected ligament damage after 26 minutes of Wednesday's draw with Atalanta after colliding with midfielder Damiano Zenoni on a frozen Azzuri D'Italia pitch, and could now miss the World Cup.

"I can't say if we have lost him for a long time or not," admitted coach Carlo Ancelotti. "What I know is that he has injured his knee and that tomorrow he'll do some tests.

"In the next 24 hours we'll know a little bit more about his situation. I just hope that we don't lose him for more than a month."

A lengthy absence would be a massive blow to Milan, but Maldini is also crucial to Trapattoni's World Cup plans.

The veteran defender's natural replacement in the Italy side, Udinese captain Valerio Bertotto, last week sustained ligament damage during his side's Coppa Italia game against Parma. He could be out for five months.

Maldini announced earlier this season that he would retire from international football after the World Cup. "It is not an easy decision after 15 years wearing the Azzurro shirt," he said. "I hope that I can resist it once I leave."

The San Siro legend became only the second Italian – the first was former national coach Dino Zoff – to win 100 international caps when he played against Croatia in a goalless friendly in April 2000.

He sailed past Zoff's total of 112 appearances in a qualifier against Hungary last September.

Maldini made his international debut in a friendly against Yugoslavia on March 31, 1988, and was the youngest Italian at both the 1988 European Championships and 1990 World Cup.

Barcelona wing-back Francesco Coco is next in the pecking-order for the Italy left-back position.

Contra awarded as Romanian Player Of The Year
19.12 || webmaster

Milan defender Cosmin Contra has scooped the award for Romanian Footballer of the Year. The annual poll is conducted by the country's oldest sports newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor. Contra beat Sporting striker Marius Niculae and Ajax defender Cristian Chivu.

Romanian football writers, premier division coaches and club presidents and readers of the paper all have a say in the procedure. Contra scored 50 points, Niculae 45 and Chivu 37. Lecce veteran stopper Gheorghe Popescu came fourth with 24.

Contra made a massive name for himself featuring in Alaves' impressive UEFA Cup campaign which ended in a thrilling 5-4 loss to Liverpool in the final. Milan snapped up the raiding defender in the summer but he is still developing and evolving at the San Siro.

Atalanta 1 - 1 Milan - match summary
19.12 || webmaster

Atalanta 1 - Luigi Sala 32
Milan 1 - Andrei Shevchenko 57
HT: 1-0; Att. 14.000
Atalanta: Taibi, Paganin, Sala, Carrera (Natali 61), Zauri, D.Zenoni, Berretta, Dabo, Doni, Saudati (Colombo 71), Comandini (Orlandini 83)
Milan: Abbiati, Helveg, Costacurta, Laursen, Maldini (Kaladze 25), Contra (Pirlo 56), Gattuso, Donati, Jose Mari, Shevchenko, Simone (Javi Moreno 76)
Referee: Trentalange di Torino

Ancelotti looking to shackle Doni
18.12 || webmaster

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has said he is not taking Atalanta lightly tomorrow, and has heaped praise on their midfield star Cristiano Doni.

AC go into the game on the back of a decisive 1-0 defeat to champions Roma on Sunday, and Ancelotti is aware his side must harness the threat of Italian international Doni - who has been in scintillating form this season - if they are to avoid a similar result.

"Atalanta are a very well organized unit and they have a player like Doni, who's been doing great things lately," he said.

"I believe that he has found his place in Bergamo, the right place to express all of his talent. I think that he is one of the best midfielders in Serie A."

Ancelotti has also talked about Liverpool star and Ballon D'Or winner Michael Owen, saying he prefers Real Madrid's Raul.

"I don't exactly agree with France Football's decision," he added. "I would have chosen Raul instead and I would have put Andrji Shevchenko in the top five. As for Francesco Totti, I believe he probably deserved a higher placing than fifth."

Collocini in hot waters in Spain
18.12 || webmaster

Fabrizio Coloccini could face a hefty ban by the Spanish FA if he is found guilty of aggressive behaviour following Alavés' match with Sevilla.

The Italian central defender, on loan at the Mendizorroza from AC Milan, seemed to have trampled on Sevilla's Francisco Gallardo in the 87th minute of their La Primera game at the weekend.

The incident went unnoticed by referee Alfonso Pino Zamorano - but not by television cameras. The Spanish FA's Competition Committee may consider Coloccini's actions to be "aggressive behaviour" for which he could be banned for between four and 12 games.

The fact that Gallardo was not injured by Coloccini could mean that the Spanish FA are lenient when making a decision regarding the player's fate.

If Coloccini is sanctioned, he will definitely miss the final La Primera game before the season break against Rayo Vallecano next Sunday, along with team-mate Oscar Tellez, who was sent off against Sevilla.

Curiously, Sevilla's Gallardo recently escaped punishment from the FA for his "crotch-kissing" goal celebrations, and Barcelona's Rivaldo was also let off the hook for striking Athletic Bilbao defender José Mari Lacruz.

Deschamps: "Simone is finished"
18.12 || webmaster

Monaco coach Didier Deschamps has hit back at criticism from Marco Simone, claiming the Italian forward is a spent force.

Simone, who is on loan at AC Milan, still has two-and-a-half years on his Monaco contract, but Deschamps has ruled out any possibility of the veteran forward returning while he is in charge.

"On a human level, Marco Simone is a zero," blasted the Monaco coach. "He says I came here to fill my pockets - that's a joke.

"I still had two years of my contract left at Valencia when I retired. I would have earned more in those two years than I'll earn with a four-year contract here.

"As a player I had nothing to prove. By deciding to become a coach I have risked taking a fall. And it's true, since the start of the season, I've taken plenty of blows.

"But Simone created problems at Paris Saint-Germain, then again with my predecessor Claude Puel. He has now made a reputation for himself in France.

"He keeps going on about how happy he is at AC Milan, but he is just a substitute for the substitutes there. He never plays. Maybe he is thinking of coming back to Monaco, but nobody wants him here anymore," snapped Deschamps.

"I am willing to accept criticism, but not from Simone. He has done enough harm already at Monaco. And if he ever denigrates me again, I will see what can be done about it.

"Why is he having a go at me? Because I dared to do what my predecessor couldn't."

Simone has a close relationship with Monaco president Jean Louis Campora, but Deschamps is unconcerned.

"He is always implying that he has friends in high places, which is why he thinks he can get away with it," insisted the former France captain. "If he spoke about me in that way, it is because he thinks there is a door open for him at this club.

"He demolished Puel like that at the end of last season. I think he must feel as though someone at the club is protecting him," Deschamps told France Football.

Simone, 32, has called for the Monaco board to sack Deschamps. "He simply has no idea how to be a manager," claimed the Italian. "I'm really hoping that he will be kicked out, but just by looking at the results you can see that he'll have to go soon.

"I've known quite a few coaches in my time, but I cannot understand how Didier Deschamps was ever appointed by Monaco.

"His management technique is catastrophic. He acts like he is still a player and doesn't distance himself from the squad. That makes it impossible to analyse things," Simone added.

Ancelotti slams ref
17.12 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti believes the referee was wrong to disallow Josè Mari's goal in last night's 1-0 defeat at Roma.

Referee Pierluigi Collina had blown his whistle while Mari was scoring, stating that the Spanish player had committed a foul on Jonathan Zebina who was marking him.

The TV footage appears to leave some doubts about Collina's decision as both players seem to be struggling to prevent the other from taking the ball.

"Collina is a referee with excellent eyesight. With umpires like him we can be sure that everything will always be seen, as a matter of fact he's got such super sight that he even sees things which do not happen," said Ancelotti.

Roma's Zebina is, however, of a totally different opinion.

"Josè Mari elbowed me in the face, and the TV images are clearly showing it," said Zebina.

"Of course this is a type of foul that the referee has to judge but I can say that I have been disturbed while trying to do my job.

"Therefore it is up to the referee to decide. in some games these types of fouls are not regarded as important, in others they are."

The French Defender, however, admits that Collina has done his team a favour.

He said: "Yes, we were lucky yesterday because Collina decided to blow the whistle on this foul. It wasn't a big foul, but it was still a foul."

Boss blames midfield for defeat
17.12 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti says his midfielders were always second to the ball as he suffered his first defeat since he took over against Roma yesterday.

Ancelotti also praised Roma's superiority in midfield saying that they were generally quicker to the ball in Sunday's 1-0 defeat.

He said: "I believe their midfielders have played an impressive match. They were always very quick and fast in taking control of the ball and have succeeded in limiting our offensive play."

"The team's performance has not been very good, as I said especially in the midfield."

AC's main problem, however, was the fact that the rossoneri hardly ever created any serious threat to Francesco Antonioli's goal.

Ancelotti, however, is convinced that the lack of scoring opportunities has nothing to do with losing such an important player as Filippo Inzaghi due to an injury.

"I don't believe that Inzaghi's injury is limiting our offensive play. It may give us problems when it comes to kicking the ball in, but it certainly has nothing to do with creating scoring opportunities," said Ancelotti.

"After all a scorer is the one who has to finalise an attack, not the one who has to create the offensive play."

Meanwhile, having met both Roma and Chievo Verona in the last few weeks, Ancelotti shares his views on what looks like yet another clash for the top of the league between the giallorossi and the veronesi on Saturday night.

"I don't believe it will be easy for either of them to play this game," said Ancelotti.

"We've had to struggle a lot to defeat them. The guys are very fast but I believe that Roma do have the means to neutralize them."

Dropped Collina given Capello backing
17.12 || webmaster

Fabio Capello has come to the defence of Pierluigi Collina after the controversial official was dropped from this week's fixtures. "Everybody can make mistakes," said the Roma coach.

Collina was thrust back into the spotlight after he denied AC Milan a goalscoring opportunity during their top-of-the-table clash against Capello's Roma on Sunday night.

Roma went on to win the game 1-0, leaving the Rossoneri fuming as Collina inexplicably stopped play with Jose Mari bearing down on goal.

Collina will not officiate in Wednesday's fixtures, while fellow referee Gennaro Borriello is also left out of the games made up of the round of games which were originally postponed following the terrorist attacks on September 11.

Borriello was rebuked for a controversial display in the game between Verona and Lazio, but Pierluigi Pairetto, a spokesman for the body in charge of refereeing, insisted there was nothing sinister in the decision.

"It's the usual turnover," said Pairetto, "because there will be three rounds of matches in just one week."

But Capello clearly feels Collina has been punished. "As many great strikers fail to score simple goals referees can also have a difficult day," explained the Roma coach.

"But when a star of mine fails to take a chance I pick him again for the following match. We must do the same with referees – it's not right to stop one of them after a mistake."

Roma 1 - 0 Milan - match report
17.12 || webmaster

Roma drew level with Chievo at the top of Serie A with a 1-0 win against AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night.

Francesco Totti scored the only goal just before the interval to settle an uninspiring match played in sub-zero temperatures.

It was Roma coach Fabio Capello's first triumph over Milan counterpart Carlo Ancelotti, in a game which saw both men taking on their former clubs.

The home side controlled the early stages with Marco Delvecchio squandering the best chance after being set up by Totti. Emerson also came close but his header was saved by Christian Abbiati.

It wasn't until midway through the first half that Milan forced an opening, Roque Junior heading wide after a fine run and cross from Rui Costa.

The breakthrough came on 43 minutes when Marcos Assuncao dispossessed Paolo Maldini before freeing Totti on the right hand side of the box.

His skidding shot took a slight deflection off Jose Chamot and flew past Abbiati. Milan could have got back on level terms straight away but Francesco Antonioli smothered Rui Costa's free-kick.

The visitors pressed more in the second period but Roma still looked dangerous on the break. Indeed, the best chances fell to the hosts with Totti and Cafu both coming close.

Andriy Shevchenko and Roque Junior both wasted good openings late on as Roma held out to take a share of top spot.

Roma: Antonioli, Zebina, Samuel, Panucci, Cafu, Assuncao, Emerson, Lima (Tommasi 70), Candela, Totti, Delvecchio

Milan: Abbiati, Helveg, Chamot, Roque Junior, Maldini, Gattuso, Alberini (Donati 46), Rui Costa, Umit, Jose Mari (Javi Moreno 70), Shevchenko.

Referee: Perluigi Collina (Viareggio)

Booked: Samuel, Delvecchio (Roma); Chamot, Gattuso, Roque Junior (Milan).

Roma 1 - 0 Milan - match summary
16.12 || webmaster

ROME, December 16 (DS) - Roma 1 Milan 0: match summary:
Roma 1 - Francesco Totti 43
Milan 0
Halftime: 1-0;
AS Roma: Antonioli, Zebina, Samuel, Panucci, Cafu, Assuncao, Emerson, Lima, Candela, Totti, Delvecchio
AC Milan: Abbiati, Helveg, Chamot, Roque Junior, Maldini, Gattuso, Albertini (Donati 46), Rui Costa, Umit (Brocchi 62), Jose Mari (Javi Moreno 70), Shevchenko.
Referee: Collina di Viareggio.

Roma vs. Milan - match preview
16.12 || webmaster

Fabio Capello faces his old side AC Milan on Sunday as Roma look to stretch a run of ten games unbeaten in Serie A.

But he has never won a game against a side coached by his counterpart Carlo Ancelotti who enjoyed a glittering spell at the Stadio Olimpico between 1979 and 1987.

"Olimpico is a special stadium for me," Ancelotti admitted. "And the fans still love me."

The links between the clubs run deep. As a coach, Capello is synonymous with Milan's success in the nineties as the Rossoneri picked up four Serie A titles and the European Cup, while as a player Ancelotti is fondly remembered for his time at the Stadio Olimpico.

Having begun his career with Parma, Ancelotti moved to Roma in 1979, and won a Coppa Italia title in his first full season with the club. But it was in the 1982-83 season that he really showed his worth.

As Falcao and Graziani twinkled and dashed in the attacking third, Ancelotti did the leg-work, and there are few who would doubt that he was instrumental in I Lupi's Scudetto, their first since the hotly-disputed title of 1942.

It was Capello who masterminded Roma's next Scudetto, last season, and his side are well placed to repeat the feat, going into Sunday's showdown tucked in behind early pace setters Internazionale and Chievo.

Ancelotti was full of praise for Capello, whose side pipped Ancelotti's Juventus to the title last season.

"I met him many and many times on the pitch and I think he has done very well to win here because Roma is not a simple place to win in football. They deserved to win the Scudetto last year, but then so did my Juve. Both teams had a wonderful season."

"He has won everything and I have never won anything in my coaching career. I think it's time to start."

Capello, of course, has other ideas, but admits to holding a deep affection for his old club.

"I remember with tenderness all the people at the club," he said. "I even coached Carlo Ancelotti, who was really a great player. I spent 20 years of my life with Milan, but now I'm Roma coach and I have to think only of the yellow and red."

As well as Capello, Roma keeper Francesco Antonioli, Diego Fuser and Christian Panucci have all played for Milan.

Panucci, for one, is looking forward to facing his old club again after spells abroad at Real Madrid, Chelsea and Monaco.

"I have a lot of good memories from my four years in Milan, where I won a lot of trophies," he said. "I've no regrets, just gratitude for the club. Today Milan is a different team. They have a different coach and different players, but our coach Fabio Capello knows exactly how to overcome them.

"Marco Simone and Alessandro Costacurta are more than former team-mates – they are the only friends that I have in the football world. [Milan president] Silvio Berlusconi is great and he and [Milan vice-president] Adriano Galliani are the keys to Milan's success. They are people that love that team.

"Now Roma are playing like that great Milan side. Capello has brought Roma his experience of working in the Milan organisation and the ability to stay calm at key moments. He's always the same and always focused on winning.

"We're playing very aggressively, stealing a lot of balls in the midfield, just as Capello's Milan did in the past. I don't want to make any comparisons between Milan, Real Madrid and Roma. I just dream of things continuing as they are – playing in the team and hopefully winning something important."

Ancelotti has added steal to the Milan back line since his return to the San Siro.

Wins over Perugia, Parma and Chievo have kept the Rossoneri within touching distance of the leaders and three wins in six away games this season will ensure that his side travel to Roma with confidence.

Capello's side, however, have made the Stadio Olimpico a fortress. It is now 19 months since Roma last lost at home in Serie A – 2-0 against Reggina on 16 March 2000.

Milan by contrast, have struggled at the San Siro and a terrible penalty decision cost his side victory over Juventus last week, so Ancelotti will be looking to put that right against Roma.

He has every reason to be optimistic. Up against Capello, Ancelotti invariably gets the tactics right. In the six games the pair have gone head-to-head, Capello has never won, with Ancelotti registering three wins and three draws.

The one player Ancelotti will fear above all, however, is Francesco Totti. "He is the Roma's best weapon because he thinks more quickly than the other players," Ancelotti said.

"Capello's Roma are strong team, quick on the break and difficult to get the better of in midfield. But this will be our objective aim on Sunday night.

"My team is in good shape and this will make it more difficult for me as I have so many alternatives."

Milan have been boosted by the return from injury of midfielder Massimo Ambrosini who scored in a training match on Friday, his first game back since suffering an horrific knee injury that has kept him out for the past ten months and at one stage threatened to end his career.

"I was moved training with my team-mates for the first time after so long," he said. "I'm ok now and I can tell you that I didn't expect to be out for ten months when I injured myself in January. I played two weeks with youth team just trying to find the right rhythm."

Ambrosini's life was turned upside down by the injury as his girlfriend walked out on him soon after. But the Italy international returns to the game with renewed determination and a wider perspective on life.

"After this accident I'm a different person, but I won't go into why. When you're not able to walk, everything is put into perspective."

Ambrosini is expected to start on the bench while Alessandro Costacurta misses out through suspension.

"I still have to choose Costacurta's replacement in the centre of defence," Ancelotti confessed. "It could be Martin Laursen or Roque Junior, but I think I will opt for the former.

"I have to choice between Umit Davara and Christian Brocchi for the left side of midfield and I also have to decide between Marco Simone, Jose Mari and Javi Morenom to support Andriy Shevchenko up front."

Roma: (probable) Antonioli, Zebina, Samuel, Panucci, Cafu, Assuncao, Emerson, Lima, Candela, Totti, Delvecchio

AC Milan: (probable) Abbiati, Helveg, Chamot, Laursen, Maldini, Gattuso, Alberini, Rui Costa, Umit, Simone, Shevchenko

Ancelotti dissapointed following match delay
13.12 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti talks about the decision to postpone the match against Lazio: 'I don't think there are many alternative dates, although January 16 looks to be the best one. We were all left stranded, although this can happen in December.

'It's a shame. January was an important month and playing this match won't help'.

Milan vs. Lazio postponed!
13.12 || webmaster

Tonight's Italian Cup match between AC Milan and Lazio, suspended due to a snow storm, will be played on Wednesday, January 9. The 2nd leg will be played seven days later.

Ancelotti confident on Roman double
13.12 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti believes that his team will be able to offer a convincing performance in the games against Lazio and Roma this week.

Milan take on Lazio this evening in the Tim Cup and face Serie A champions Roma on Sunday in the league, but Ancelotti is not concerned by the double-date with the Roman pair.

"I believe we can defeat both Lazio and Roma," he said. "Even though we are going to face the last two Italian Champions. AC Milan have got what it takes to defeat any opponent.

"In the game with Juve on Sunday, the team played a very good second half and has improved a lot and this makes me even more hopeful. Even though Lazio and Roma are teams built to defeat any opponent, I believe that it's going to be a very open contest and AC Milan can definitely play their part."

Ancelotti has also confirmed that neither Paolo Maldini or Rui Costa will step on the field tonight: "I'll make Paolo Maldini rest since he's suffering from a little muscle fatigue and Rui Costa won't play either sine he's got a slight tendon problem."

Ancelotti however denies that he is keeping these players out only because he does not consider this game overly important: "I am not leaving these players out because I'm

underestimating the game with Lazio, which will no doubt be very tough, or because I don't give that much importance to the Tim Cup.

"I am simply keeping them out because these players need to rest, others like Andrei Shevchenko will be on the field right from the start."

Ambrosini set for comeback
13.12 || webmaster

AC Milan and Italy midfielder Massimilano Ambrosini may play his comeback game tonight, 10 months after his cruciate ligament injury.

Ambrosini, is as a matter of fact among the players called by coach Carlo Ancelotti (together with another recovering player, Josè Mari) to play tonight's Tim Cup match against Lazio.

Ambrosini will start for the bench but may get to play a few minutes of the game with the Biancocelesti.

The player had suffered a very serious injury in the cruciate ligament of his knee on February 4th and had to undergo surgery and a very long recovery process.

This is also a good news for Italy's coach Giovanni Trapattoni who had always included Ambrosini in his team before his injury.

Hubner eyes last big move
13.12 || webmaster

Piacenza's in-form striker Dario Hubner has dismissed reports that he is on the verge of a move to AC Milan, but admitted that he does not intend to finish his career at the Leonardo Garilli.

The 34-year-old has netted 12 goals in 13 league outings since his summer move from Brescia, prompting reports that Serie A giants AC Milan have targeted the veteran striker as a short-term replacement for the injured Filippo Inzaghi.

But the Piacenza ace insisted: "I'm not paying any attention to these stories. Players always get attention when they're in form.

"But I've been linked with so many different clubs over the years that it does not affect me anymore."

Hubner, though, admitted that he would jump at the chance to end his career with a top European club.

"At Piacenza I have got everything I could wish for to have a peaceful and fulfilling life," he explained.

"But I would love to have a go at a big club before I finish. I have never had the chance to play at the very top and would certainly consider ending my career at big club abroad.

"I'm 34 now, but I still think that I've got two years at the top left in me. These days, players can go on for longer because of the new training techniques. I just have to steer clear of bad injuries."

Piacenza coach Walter Novellino will be desperate to hold onto Hubner until the end of the season at the very least.

The red-and-whites are just two points above the relegation zone, but Novellino knows the situation would be far worse without Hubner.

"Dario is simply a natural goalscorer," enthused Novellino after Saturday's 2-0 win over Bologna.

"He is a really great player and has a knack of getting on the end of all of our best moves," added the Piacenza boss.

Milan move for Karanka
13.12 || webmaster

Real Madrid has been in talks with AC Milan over the possible transfer of defender Aitor Karanka to the Italian club.

The Spanish club is currently looking for a central defender and that could mean that the future of Karanka is elsewhere.

Karanka's contract runs out in June and Milan could secure his services on a Bosman free transfer in the summer.

Dream draw for Roda
12.12 || webmaster

Roda JC manager George Leekens was thrilled by the prospect of playing Serie A giants Milan in the fourth round of the Uefa Cup. “It's a dream come true,” he said.

“It's a fantastic draw,” the Belgian explained. “I have played Milan during my days at Club Bruges. We even eliminated them back then.

"I have also faced them as a coach, when they fielded great names like Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Franco Baresi. We drew 0-0 over there and we lost 1-0 at home.

“It's special. It's the top drawer and it's a club with tradition. It's an honour to play against them.”

Leekens is aware that qualifying for the quarter finals will now be a difficult proposition, but says stranger things have happened.

“They are two steps up from where we are. However, you never know.

“We will give it our best shot. As an ambassador of Dutch football we will have to give it our all with our small qualities and our many deficiencies. It's a nice draw and we will go for it.”

Although Leekens was initially pleased by the fact that Roda was supposed to travel to Italy for the first leg, his joy proved to be short-lived. The games were switched after it became apparent that Internazionale also drew a home game.

Albertini closes in on Inter
12.12 || webmaster

Demetrio Albertini believes the five-point gap between Milan and table-topping rivals Inter can easily be closed, starting this week in Rome.

The Rossoneri will face Lazio and Roma in the Tim Cup and the Serie A respectively, in what promises to be a crucial week for their ambitions.

However, anchorman Albertini believes his team will be fully up to the task and claims to be unperturbed by the fact his team are still five points behind Inter in Serie A.

He said: "When we defeated Lazio in Serie A a few months ago, they had just changed manager.

"Now however, Alberto Zaccheroni has really improved things for Lazio and the whole team is in great shape."

And the Italian international midfielder admits that the battle will be won by the team who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and dominate in midfield. If Milan can do that, then they will be in a good position to challenge their inter-city rivals.

He added: "We will have to try to take control of the game and play at our best just like we'll have to do on Sunday in the match against Roma.

"The five-point gap that Inter have at the top does not bother us because it can be closed in two games alone."

Contra wary of Lazio threat
12.12 || webmaster

Cosmin Contra believes Lazio have improved immensely this year and Milan's Tim Cup clash with them will be a tough quarter-final encounter.

The 26-year-old defender has seen Lazio recover from their early season problems when Milan beat them 2-0 in September, and admits they will be a different proposition this time around.

He said: "Unfortunately this won't be the same Lazio we defeated back in September in the Serie A.

"Back then both myself and the team played a great match and we surely will try to offer a similar performance this Thursday in the Tim Cup."

The Romanian international, in his first season at the San Siro since joining in the summer from Spanish side Alaves, says Milan must repeat the sort of football they displayed in drawing 1-1 with Juventus on Sunday.

He added: "We must play like we did in the second half of the match with Juve. If we show the same strength and determination that we did have in this game, I believe we'll play well against any opponent."

Berlusconi pays his regards to Peppino
12.12 || webmaster

Italian PM and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has paid tribute to his team's historic but friendly rival Peppino Prisco who died last night.

The Internazionale Vice-President's death has cause a huge sense of mourning throughout Italy, and Berlusconi said: "Everybody at AC Milan's mourns the death of a very smart, intelligent, ironic but always fair opponent.

"He had taken the role of the Anti-Rossonero in a very funny way, without ever going beyond a fair and correct rivalry.

"He was a symbol for Inter Milan but also a key person for all of the Italian Football."

Only days before his heart attack, Prisco celebrated his 80th birthday and said Ronaldo had given him the best present ever by scoring a goal on his comeback from injury.

And Berlusconi added: "From now on the Derby game at the San Siro will never be the

same again, but I like to think that he left us with Ronaldo's goal still in his eyes. For him this must have no doubt been a very nice birthday gift.

"Let's not forget that Prisco has also been a fine lawyer and an example for an entire generation of attorneys.

"I wish to send my condolences and my sincere sorrow for his death to his family, to Inter Milan's President Massimo Moratti, and to all of the fans of the Neroazzurri."

Milan and Parma on Poborsky
12.12 || webmaster

Tomorrow, Giorgio De Giorgis, agent of Pobirsky, will meet Lazio's board of directors. The Czech wants to join Slavia Prague at the end of the season, but AC Milan and Parma are interested.

UEFA Cup 1/8 finals: Milan to play Roda Kerkrade
12.12 || webmaster

Milan AC will play in the UEFA Cup the Dutch side of Roda Kerkrade.

Romario admits Milan interest
10.12 || webmaster

Romario has admitted that Milan have made an enquiry about his availability.

The striker was linked with the San Siro club last week after Pippo Inzaghi was ruled out until April with a knee injury.

"Vasco Da Gama don’t seem set to renew my contract," said the 35-year-old.

"But I’m not too worried because my agent has received a few enquiries about me in the past few days.

"Fluminense, Milan, Santos, Flamengo and Corinthians have all been in touch. And the Milan one seems the most fascinating for me."

The international striker, who was key in Brazil’s 1994 World Cup victory, was already linked with a move to Italy last January when Inter were keen for his signature.

Ancelotti impressed with performance
10.12 || webmaster

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti was happy with his team's draw against Juventus last night, although initially fearing the might of the Turin giants.

He said: "I am quite happy with the performance of my team in the game with Juve.

"I believe we have played rather well and I was really curious to see what my team could do against a very strong opponent such as Juventus."

Ancelotti failed to comment though on the referee's decision to award Juve a penalty-kick that allowed them to level the score after Marcelo Zalayeta seemed to take a dive when he tried to go past Paulo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta, but at least was honest enough to say that he thought the referee was not that impressive.

"I've made up my mind about this but I prefer to keep my opinion to myself. It is my belief however that for about 20 minutes in the second half, the referee did lose control of the situation."

Milan eye Karanka
10.12 || webmaster

AC Milan are reported to be interested in signing Real central defender Aitor Karanka on completion of his contract with the Merengues next June.

According to Italian daily "Tuttosport", Milan see Karanka as the ideal man to replace Alessandro Costacurta next season.

Karanka's demands for a new two-year deal have not been met by Real and his recent omission from the team list could prompt the player to make a summer exit from the Bernabeu.

Ancelotti backs Rui Costa to silence critics
10.12 || webmaster

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has backed out-of-form midfielder Manuel Rui Costa to prove his critics wrong and praised the Portugal star for his performance in the 1-1 draw against Juventus.

The Portugal midfielder has not been able to reproduce the form which saw him become the darling of the Fiorentina fans before his summer move to Milan.

His time at the San Siro has been hampered by injuries and the playmaker has looked short of confidence recently. He struggled to open up the Juventus defence in the 1-1 draw on Sunday night but new AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said that Rui Costa had been crucial to his team's impressive display.

"In the second half he was crucial in controlling the game for our side. We rely on him at the moment because we are waiting for Massimo Ambrosini, Jose Mari and Fernando Redondo to get fit."

Andriy Shevchenko scored a wondergoal in the first half while Juventus equalised from the penalty spot after Paolo Maldini had been adjudged to trip substitute Marcelo Zalayeta.

Ancelotti said: "Discussions about the penalty? No discussions at all. I have nothing to say about it. Marcello Lippi saw the penalty foul he says. Well that's his opinion, I have mine but I keep it to myself."

"Tonight Milan played a wonderful match," Ancelotti continued. "We only struggled a little bit during the first half when they played very well down the left. After the restart we kept control of the match and we deserved to win the match. I was waiting to know what my team could do against a big team and I'm pleased of what we did during the second half."

"I don't worry about the five points we're behind Inter because it is a long time yet until the end of the league," he added.

"What I do worry about is Christian Vieri who is scoring a lot. Now Ronaldo too has started to score.

"But I'm very happy for him and he deserved to recover that way, to score a goal. Of course, I hope he will not score too many so that we can close the gap."

Marcello Lippi's Juventus, meanwhile, are now seven points off the top and he said: "The seven-point gap is a fact but we have to and must want to close this gap.

"The team believe it and so do I. We must get three or four wins to move in on our main rivals.

"We saw a good Juventus tonight despite the fact that we conceded a fortuitous goal. We equalised thanks to a clear and indisputable penalty.

He also praised substitute Marcelo Zalayeta, who came on after Pavel Nedved had suffered an ankle injury and won the penalty.

"Marcelo played a good match increasing our strength on forward," he said.

Milan 1 - 1 Juve - match report
9.12 || webmaster

Scorers: Shevchenko 22 (M), Del Piero pen 47 (J)

This is always a classic tie in the Italian calendar, but this season it had a whole new dimension to it and was topped off by what must be a prime candidate for goal of the season.
Carlo Ancelotti faces his former club, the two sides are battling to chase Inter at the top of the table and want-away star Edgar Davids was given his chance to start a match, albeit only due to Igor Tudor's ankle injury. Filippo Inzaghi would also have taken on his ex-teammates, but knee surgery has put Javi Moreno upfront for Milan.

Juventus had the more aggressive start and Christian Abbiati made a spectacular one-handed save on Alessandro Del Piero's free kick. Milan had difficulty creating a solid approach play but that wasn't a problem for Andriy Shevchenko.

The Ukrainian dribbled past four defenders and chipped Gianluigi Buffon from an almost impossible angle. It was perhaps the best goal that the Milan star has scored in Serie A.

Juve pushed on and three different efforts could not convert a fine Del Piero centre, and while the Bianconeri played well Milan had the best chances. Buffon required a flying save to keep out Umit Davala's header.

There was more bad news for Marcello Lippi as just before the break Paolo Montero limped off with what looks to be a thigh strain. After the break Marcello Lippi brought on striker Marcelo Zalayeta and within the first 30 seconds the Uruguayan international had earned his side a penalty.

It was a controversial decision as the Juventus forward seemed to run into Paolo Maldini, but Del Piero coolly converted to draw level. Tension was sky-high following this incident, especially when a similar challenge occurred at the other end of the field between Shevchenko and Mark Iuliano and two very dubious offside rulings.

Milan dominated the second period and pinned Juve back into their own half. Buffon made a desperate save on Javi Moreno and a fine block on substitute Cosmin Contra. Ten minutes from time Antonio Conte made his first appearance in seven months following a serious knee injury, but despite the late siege there were no more goals.

Milan: Abbiati; Helveg, Costacurta, Chamot, Maldini; Gattuso, Albertini, Umit (Contra 71); Rui Costa; Javi Moreno (Simone 64), Shevchenko

Juventus: Buffon; Thuram, Iuliano, Montero (Zenoni 44), Pessotto; Zambrotta, Tacchinardi, Davids (Conte 79), Nedved (Zalayeta 46); Trezeguet, Del Piero

Ref: Paparesta

9.12 || Kenneth

MASSIMO DONATI has spoken of the change of coaching personnel at Milan and how it has affected his own game as he waits patiently to take over from Demetrio Albertini in the defence.

On Sunday, top of the table Milan face Juventus in Serie A's glamour game and it is one that Donati is looking forward to.

"We want to give a present to (Carlos) Ancelotti, we know that for him it's very important, he's very brave and doesn't show his emotions, but it is normal that he feels like this, he will play against the team that fired him after two seasons," said Donati.

Speaking of the difference between Ancelotti and former manager Fatih Terim, Donati added: "Terim was really very brave, but during training there were tensions, because he didn't know the language perfectly.

"The ideas were wonderful, but it was not easy to explain. The difference is big, now, with Ancelotti. And for me it is better, because Carlo gives more space to the young players like me."

Rui Costa has been hampered by injury and bad form and Donati agreed, saying: "Rui is very angry, he know that he plays poorly and he is the first to want to give more. It is only a question of time, because nobody thinks he is anything less than a fantastic player.

"For me personally, when you only play 20 minutes, it is very hard to show what you can do. You need a few full games and now I can do it (following Albertini's injury). Like this I can play with ease, because I know that I have all the time to show my qualities."

Speaking about how quickly he adapted to life at Milan, after moving from Atalanta, Donati said: "I was impressed. On my first day, all the old players told me loads of things about Milan, about the club, about everything, they try to help. And for a youngster it is very important.

"My time at Atalanta was marvellous, apart from the last month when the team was in a bad shape and the fans were against me, because they thought I was only thinking of Milan. I explained to them it was not true and then things were like before."

Jumping into the controversy surrounding Cristiano Doni and the World Cup, Donati said: "He has to go. He's my friend and he's extraordinary, he is a very big player...the goals that he scores."

Moreno Will Be The New Papin, Says Galliani
9.12 || Kenneth

Javi Moreno’s goal against Sporting Lisbon resolved a lot of problems for Milan and their general manager Adriano Galliani, who is now sure the Spanish striker can fill in perfectly for the long-term injured Pippo Inzaghi.

“Everybody says we need to go shopping around for another striker now that Inzaghi is injured. But why? We have Javi Moreno, who just in the UEFA Cup has the most incredible goal average; nine goals in twelve matches played. With Simone and Kutuzov on the bench, we don’t need to find another forward,” said Galliani.

“A similar situation happened to us back in 1993 when Van Basten injured himself. I remember we were desperate, but then thanks to the goals of Papin, we won the title,” added Galliani.

It is still uncertain whether Moreno or Simone will play alongside Shevchenko against the Old Day of Italian football.

Anelka set for Italy switch?
9.12 || Kenneth

Nicolas Anelka could be on the verge of a move to Italy after his club Paris Saint Germain admitted that they would consider offers for him.

The troubled striker has had a troubled relationship with boss Luis Fernandez who has confirmed that the striker can leave Paris.

"Nicolas is part of the squad," said the Coach. "But if there is someone that wants to leave PSG then we can discuss the matter.

"The door is open because we don’t want players here who have no desire to stay with this club."

The 22-year-old has been linked with both Juventus and Milan who seem to be searching for a new striker following injuries to Marcelo Salas and Pippo Inzaghi respectively.

However, the Frenchman is also of interest to a host of Premiership clubs who remember him for his goalscoring days at Highbury between 1997-99.

Anelka left Arsenal in 1999 when he turned down a move to Lazio to sign for Real Madrid. He turned his back on Spain a year later after failing to settle at the Bernabeau.

Redondo back for Christmas?
9.12 || Kenneth

Reports from Argentina have suggested that Fernando Redondo will be fit enough to return to training just before Christmas.

The classy playmaker hasn’t played a single minute for Milan since his £10m move from Real Madrid two summers ago after picking up a knee injury.

Redondo was set to be back at the start of this season but suffered a slight complication with his problem which has seen him undergo more treatment in the past three months.

The central midfielder is expected to be back at Milanello for December 15. He could make his Rossoneri debut in the New Year.

Milan vs. Juve - starting line-ups
8.12 || webmaster

MILAN (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Helveg, Costacurta,
Chamot, Maldini; Umit, Gattuso, Donati [Albertini];
Rui Costa; Simone, Shevchenko.
(S.Rossi, Roque Junior, Kaladze, Brocchi,
Contra, Pirlo, Javi Moreno).
CT: Ancelotti.

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon; Birindelli, Thuram,
Montero, Pessotto; Zambrotta, Tudor [Davids],
Tacchinardi, Nedved; Del Piero, Trezeguet.
(Carini, Ferrara, Paramatti, C.Zenoni,
Davids, Zalayeta, Amoruso).
CT: Lippi.

Romario for Milan?
8.12 || webmaster

Filippo Inzaghi’s knee ligament injury will keep the striker out of action for the rest of the season and Milan are turning to Brazil for a replacement.

Romario, who will be 36 years old in January, is on fine form and after scoring 21 goals for Vasco da Gama is once again on Serie A side’s wish-list.

Inter had approached the veteran last season but saw the move scotched by then-Coach Marco Tardelli.

Now the 1994 World Cup winner, and his agent Luisinho Moraes, have confirmed that there are a number of offers including an Italian club.

Reports suggest the Rossoneri are behind the bid that would see Romario arrive on a free transfer and sign a six-month contract with an option for another year.

Romario is currently discussing the renewal of his contract with Vasco da Gama, but the club would first hand over the £2.7m still owed to the player.

The other offers have come in from Fluminense and Santos, although the latter side has already admitted its difficulty in meeting his wage demands.

Meanwhile, Milan’s short-term plans to replace Inzaghi also involve a veteran striker. Marco Simone will partner Andriy Shevchenko against Juventus on Sunday evening, pushing aside competition from Jose Mari and Javi Moreno.

Milan vs. Juve - match preview
8.12 || webmaster

A classic of the Italian game, this clash has a touch of added spice this season after the Bianconeri’s decision to fire Carlo Ancelotti in order to bring back Marcello Lippi. Since then Ancelotti has been appointed at the San Siro and seems to be getting things right at Milan while Juve go from one extreme to the other under Lippi.

The Bianconeri’s 3-1 loss at Highbury on Tuesday was a heavy blow to the side that had convincingly beat Bayer Leverkusen and Perugia 4-0 and 2-0 respectively. And after having fielded the same starting XI for all three games – played in the space of six days – Lippi may decide to make a few changes.

Defender turned midfielder Igor Tudor picked up an ankle injury in London and may not recover in time for Sunday. Should that happen then want away star Edgar Davids could get a chance to make a point to Juventus and his former club Milan. The Dutchman admitted that he wants to leave Turin after being left out of the side in recent weeks.

There could also be a change on the right with the possible inclusion of Cristian Zenoni at the expense of Alessandro Birindelli.

As for Milan, the Rossoneri have injury problems. Pippo Inzaghi will be out for at least the next three months after picking up a knee injury. Flying winger Serginho is out for at least two weeks and Ancelotti could opt for just a one-man strike force of Andriy Shevchenko – closely supported by Manuel Rui Costa.

Italian international Demetrio Albertini should return for this game after picking up a number of niggling injuries.

Ancelotti confident against Juve
8.12 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti remains confident that Milan can challenge for the Scudetto, even without the help of Filippo Inzaghi.

The rossoneri manager said: "We have a lot of players in our squad who will be able to replace Inzaghi. Marco Simone, Javi Moreno, Vitaly Kutuzov and later on even Josè Mari will surely be able to prove their worth whenever they're called to step on the field."

Ancelotti in any case, claims not be particularly moved at the prospect of meeting his former team on Sunday: "I am completely at ease with the idea of playing against Juve.

"The boys are ready and willing to give their best to win this match. And in any case it won't be an Ancelotti versus Juve game but an AC Milan versus Juventus Serie A match. An important game, a classic for our championship that both sides will want to win."

Davids to start for Juve after Lippi back-down
8.12 || webmaster

Juventus coach Marcello Lippi will start with Edgar Davids in the team to play Milan on Sunday night. The news emerges after the Holland midfielder threatened to quit the Serie A giants following his recent relegation to the subs' bench.

But Lippi insisted that there was no problem with Davids' inclusion in the starting line-up, saying: "Edgar Davids will play in the midfield, replacing Igor Tudor and this is our only change.

"Edgar expressed his feelings in a civil way and I answered in the same way. That's no problem at all. I'm expecting a great match from him, a solid performance. I have always held Edgar in high esteem and still do that even if I have left him on the bench in some matches. Anyway, I'm sure he will play a great match."

There was great anticipation about Davids' role in the game as he had warned Lippi in midweek that he would leave Juve if was back on the bench for the weekend clash with Milan. The coach responded on Wednesday by saying that he had already done as much as he could to accommodate Davids since his return from suspension.

Lippi was keen to deflect attention from Davids by stressing the return from injury of club captain Antonio Conte.

"The big change will be on the bench: our captain Antonio Conte has finally recovered and is ready to play now. He will play the whole match of the Coppa Italia tie against Sampdoria next Wednesday."

Lippi went on to say that he was unconcerned by fans' dissatisfaction with him. "This is a new situation for me here in Turin," he conceded. "I think that only a small part of our fans are against me: when I walk in the street everybody encourages me and we only need some good results to cancel this kind of feeling.

"Anyway, in the great clubs like Juve you must be ready to face this kind of situation. You have great praise or tough criticism depending on your results.

"It's true that last year Juve had three more points at this time of the season, but three points are only one more win and don't forget we are still in the Champions' League and the Coppa Italia and this is important."

Milan favourites says Shevchenko
7.12 || webmaster

Andriy Shevchenko has said that the game against Juventus will be a tight affair but he believes Milan will be slight favourites for victory.

The two sides clash at the San Siro on Sunday evening and the Ukrainian is looking forward to the encounter.

"Games against Juventus always have a particular atmosphere about them," he said. "It will be difficult to pick a winner but I think we have a slight advantage as we are playing at home.

"The fact that Juve have had two more days rest than us really doesn’t matter too much. Everyone is getting used to playing football every three days now."

Milan arrived back in Italy this morning after the 1-1 draw at Sporting Lisbon, which was enough to see them through to the next stage of the UEFA Cup.

"I thought we played quite well and we confirmed that we are a side with character. Because despite the problems we’ve had recently we still qualified for the next round of the competition," reflected Shevchenko.

The striker also defended Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to field him as a lone striker before bringing on Spanish forward Javi Moreno.

"I had to play on my own and make many sacrifices in the game. But it was something that I was more than happy to do because the side needed to play like that."

He concluded: "Javi Moreno did well considering he’s just returned from a slight injury and he hasn’t been training with us very much recently. I think he can only improve from now on and he can become an important figure in the side."

Italian referees 'dropped' after critical blunders
7.12 || webmaster

Serie A referees Stefano Braschi and Graziano Cesari have been suspended for one match each after poor performances last weekend.

"Coaches drop players for bad games, so it is only right that we do the same," said referees' chief Pierluigi Pairetto. "This will give them pause for thought."

Atalanta chairman Ivan Ruggeri was furious with Braschi over several perceived injustices in his side's 4-2 defeat by Internazionale on Sunday. And coach Luigi del Neri thought Chievo were equally harshly treated by Cesari against AC Milan.

Paolo Bergamo, another member of the referees' panel, agreed that the pair had "a difficult day".

But he added: "We need Braschi and Cesari back on the pitch quickly. Both of them are experienced Serie A referees. Great footballers and coaches make mistakes, too.

"When we judge referees, we look at many factors. One of them is whether their bad performances go on repeatedly over a long period."

Atalanta supremo Ruggeri raged after the Inter defeat: "What I have just seen makes me angry. Inter do not need any favours and I hope Braschi never comes back to Bergamo.

"There were too many situations inside the Inter box that I can't accept. The referee ruled out Luigi Sala's "goal" and changed the match by awarding a penalty for a doubtful foul on Alvaro Recoba.

"Then he didn't give us anything when Comandini was brought down in the box. I think Braschi would do well to retire.

"In 20 years in football, I have never spoken out in this way. But I am really indignant about this match. I invite everybody to take a close look at the TV pictures," Ruggeri added.

Braschi is considered one of the top referees in Italian football, but has often been criticised for his manner with the players and constant frown.

Del Neri, meanwhile, was still fuming on Monday at the decisions by Cesari which, he believes, cost his side three points against AC Milan and top spot in Serie A.

"I never saw a match so badly run by a referee in my whole career," he raged after TV replays confirmed that Filippo Inzaghi's opening goal for the Rossoneri was offside, while a penalty given for a foul on Andriy Shevchenko looked harsh.

"I didn't sleep on Sunday night," Del Neri added. "I went home by car at four o' clock in the morning and I was saddened by the match. I don't think that there is a conspiracy against us, but all the replays clearly showed that we were the victim of mistakes.

"I think that Cesari had a very bad afternoon, but it happened and we have to work to improve ourselves. We are a little club, but we want to play football. Some of the episodes I saw in the San Siro can only damage Italian football.

"But it just means that next time we will have to score four goals instead of two to beat AC Milan," he said.

Milan invited to Real's centenarial tournament
7.12 || webmaster

Real Madrid are planning a special centenary edition of their Trofeo Bernabeu tournament with Bayern Munich, Manchester United AC Milan.

The competition, usually the highlight of Real's pre-season calendar, reverts back to the old formula of a knockout tournament rather than the standard one-game event of recent years.

Real use the popular tournament to show off their side ahead of the new season and next summer's 'Trofeo' looks set to be a classic.

Last August, Hector Cuper's Inter Milan picked up the cup beating the Merengues 1-2 at the hallowed Bernabeu.

UEFA Cup seedings
7.12 || webmaster

Champions' League finalists Valenica, Leeds United, Borussia Dortmund and the Milan clubs are among the sides seeded in next week's draw for the last 16 of the Uefa Cup.

Parma, Lyon, and Feyenoord complete the group of eight seeded teams, with Rangers and PSV the highest profile clubs not to make the elite group.

The seedings are worked out on a Uefa coefficient reflecting their success in the European competitions.

The clubs remaining in the Uefa Cup will be split into two groups of eight which decree who they could play on route to the final in Rotterdam, with the draw for the last 16 pairings on Wednesday and the games to go ahead in February.

Seeded teams:
Valencia, Internazionale, Borussia Dortmund, Leeds United, Parma, Lyon, AC Milan, Feyenoord.

Unseeded teams:
Roda JC, Rangers, Slovan Liberec, PSV Eindhoven, Lille, AEK Athens, Sevette, Hapoel Tel-Aviv.

Milan dedicate result to Inzaghi
7.12 || webmaster

Milan are through to the fourth round of the UEFA Cup and thanks to Javi Moreno’s stoppage-time equaliser at Lisbon, the team also remains unbeaten in Europe this season.

“We dedicate this result to Filippo Inzaghi, who watched the game from his hospital bed,” noted Carlo Ancelotti. The striker is recovering from knee surgery that will keep him out of action for three to four months.

“It was a solid first half performance tonight, although I am a little cross to have seen fear creep into my players after Sporting pulled a goal back,” continued the Coach.

“I put Javi Moreno in because I needed more strength upfront than Manuel Rui Costa could give me. Now we must look forward to Sunday’s Serie A match with Juventus.”

Sporting 1 - 1 Milan - match report
6.12 || webmaster

Milan were the only Italian club who could defend their first leg result and the absence of the injured Filippo Inzaghi made many believe that they would put ten men in defence. However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men maintained their shape with Manuel Rui Costa and Andriy Shevchenko troubling the Portuguese back three.

Christian Abbiati made his first save just two minutes before the break, rushing out to narrow the angle on Niculae, but the striker got the better of the ‘keeper at the start of the second half. Niculae was fortunate to score with a spectacular dipping strike from 30 metres.

Despite conceding a goal the Rossoneri remained calm and held out well under the increasing pressure from the home side. Abbiati continued his personal duel with Niculae and made another flying stop on Cruz’s long-range effort. Javi Moreno came on as a late substitute and after wasting a golden opportunity, the Spaniard turned in Shevchenko’s cut-back from close range. Milan remain unbeaten in Europe this season.

Sporting Lisbon: Tiago; Beto (Quaresma 81), Cruz, Babb; Cesar Prates (Pedro Barbosa 68), Rui Jorge (Tello 77), Joao Pinto, Hugo Viana, Paulo Bento; Niculae, Jardel

Milan: Abbiati; Helveg, Roque Junior, Costacurta, Maldini; Contra (Laursen 87), Gattuso, Donati, Kaladze; Rui Costa (Javi Moreno 71), Shevchenko

Ref: Wojcic (Pol)

Ancelotti: "Do not underestimate Sporting"
6.12 || webmaster

Carlo Ancelotti has warned his Milan side not to underestimate Sporting Lisbon when they take on the Portuguese giants in the UEFA Cup tonight.

Despite the 2-0 win picked up in the first leg at the San Siro, Ancelotti is conscious of the fact that the game against the Portuguese side will not be easy.

He said: "The 2-0 win we obtained in the first match was an important result, but it will be even more important if we don't think that it will be able to protect us and give us an advantage over Sporting.

"Playing against Sporting at their ground means that we will have to be very careful, patient and determined to do well."

Ancelotti however, will have to field a more defensive team due to the fact that with Filippo Inzaghi is injured, Javi Moreno is still not fit to play, and both Vitaly Kutuzov and Marco Simone are ineligible to play in the European Competitions for the rossoneri. In fact Ancelotti only has Andriy Schevchenko left to play up front.

He added: "We will have a more defensive team, that's for sure. But still, that doesn't mean we're going to play only defence.

"We'll try to play this game at our best with the players we have available, trying in any case to achieve a victory."

Freindly with Dinamo Kiev in February
6.12 || webmaster

Dinamo Kiev's Vice President Igor Surkis confirmed that in a day between February 9th and 12th, the Ukranian club will play a friendly match with AC Milan in Italy. Firstly, the two clubs reached an agreement on playing in Ukraine, then AC Milan became worried about the weather conditions during that period in Ukraine and therefore they have decided for the game to be held in Milan.

Costacurta expecting no favours in contract saga
5.12 || webmaster

Milan defender Alessandro Costacurta has vowed to convince new coach Carlo Ancelotti that he deserves a one-year extension to his San Siro contract, which expires at the end of the season. "The fact that he knows me well doesn't mean I deserve a contract," he said.

The former Italy centre-back, who had been linked with a move to the United States, has spent 14 years at the club.

The 35-year-old fell out with Rossoneri boss Fatih Terim after he was left out of the squad for the Serie A trip to Perugia – but after that game ended in defeat, he forced his way back into contention.

And now Costacurta has admitted that he is expecting no favours from his former Milan team-mate Ancelotti. The pair played together in the 1989 European Cup final in which theybeat Steaua Bucharest 4-0, and in 1990, when they won 1-0 against Benfica.

Costacurta said: "I'm working to earn a year's extension to my contract. I hope to convince the coach Carlo Ancelotti. The fact that he knows me well doesn't mean I deserve a contract.

"I want to earn one for my performances. Milan have five great central defenders with different qualities. I believe I can be important to the Rossoneri's future."

The Milan stalwart was linked with a move to New England Revolution, although the Major League Soccer club's manager Fernando Clavijo told the speculation had no founding.

Milan deny new striker claims
5.12 || webmaster

Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani has denied reports that the club will buy a replacement for injured Pippo Inzaghi.

The striker will be out for at least three months after damaging knee ligaments in the 3-2 win over Chievo on Sunday.

"Unfortunately we have been heavily penalised with the injury to Inzaghi," said the Milan chief. "But we will not be entering the transfer market again."

The Rossoneri had been linked with possible swoops for Spurs’ Sergei Rebrov and Lazio’s Darko Kovacevic. But the club seem intent on keeping faith with reserve strikers Marco Simone, Javi Moreno and Jose Mari.

Galliani also confirmed that no one would be sold in the New Year – thus rubbishing claims that Cosmin Contra was set to join Bayern Munich.

"The Romanian is not going anywhere. We have complete faith in him. I would also like to dismiss reports that we are in talks with Parma over Fabio Cannavaro. No one will arrive and no one will be sold."

Jose Mari linked with Spanish return
5.12 || webmaster

AC Milan's out-of-favour striker Jose Mari could be heading back to Spain in exchange for young Real Betis midfielder Joaquin Sanchez.

According to Spanish sports daily 'As', Milan are interested in 20-year-old Seville-born Joaquin, and would be willing to offer Spanish international Jose Mari, not a regular starter for the rossoneri, in a swap deal.

Jose Mari, 22, also from Seville, started out with city rivals Sevilla before a big-money transfer to Atletico Madrid, and his possible signing by 'Los Verdiblancos', despite their need to cover the loss of injured striker Gaston Casas, would be sure to raise a few eyebrows among the Betis faithful.

Joaquin, who scored an excellent volleyed goal against Tenerife on Sunday, has been one of coach Juande Ramos's key players this season, and is being tipped to make his international debut if he continues to show such fine form.

Four-month lay-off for Inzaghi after knee surgery
5.12 || webmaster

Filippo Inzaghi has targeted a return in time to make the Italy squad for the World Cup after learning that he will miss four months following surgery on his left knee. "I am sure I will be in Japan next summer, if Trapattoni wants me," he said.

Dr Andrea Campi, the Lazio medical director and head physician at San Giacomo hospital, found that the AC Milan forward had snapped two ligaments in the knee.

He explained that the injury was not as bad as first feared, but confirmed that Inzaghi, who was hurt during his team's 3-2 win over Chievo on Sunday and left the field in tears, could not expect to be back until the spring.

Milan are looking for a new striker to cover for "SuperPippo", with Serhiy Rebrov thought to be in the frame.

The Ukrainian has rarely featured for Tottenham Hotspur this season and saw his hopes of a run in the side dashed on Wednesday when it emerged that fellow forward Les Ferdinand, who twisted an ankle on Monday, might be back within a week.

Lazio striker Darko Kovacevic, who Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti had in his squad at Juventus, is another possible target.

Milan target new forward as Inzaghi goes for op
4.12 || webmaster

AC Milan are looking for a new striker following confirmation that Filippo Inzaghi needs surgery on his injured knee.

Serhiy Rebrov is thought to be in the frame, although Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko said reports of an imminent deal were "just rumours".

The Ukrainian added: "Serhiy is a friend and a great footballer, but I don't want to say anything about the speculation. I am just a player, so I would be the last one to know anyway. Perhaps you should ask the club president..."

Rebrov has rarely featured for Tottenham Hotspur this season, although he is likely to get a run in the side over the next couple of months as fellow forward Les Ferdinand badly twisted an ankle on Monday night and left White Hart Lane on crutches.

Meanwhile, Inzaghi will have his operation in Rome on Wednesday. Dr Andrea Campi, the Lazio medical director and head physician at San Giacomo hospital, is to carry out the surgery.

Shevchenko said: "I am disappointed for Pippo, but now he has to rest, trust in the doctors and not even think about the World Cup. I am looking forward to his return.

"We will play with only one forward in the Uefa Cup (against Sporting Lisbon) because Javi Moreno is not ready after his injury (the Spaniard was back in training on Tuesday), while Vitali Kutuzov and Marco Simone are not on our Uefa squad list.

"Milan are blessed with so many great players. Now we have to show that an injury need not alter our ambitions."

Inzaghi revealed that the ligament problem sustained on Sunday came just when he felt he was hitting peak form. "I was in a good moment, physically and mentally," he said.

"I hope to find Milan in the same position they are now when I make my comeback. The Scudetto is my first aim for the season.

"As for the clash with (Chievo goalkeeper) Cristiano Lupatelli, I felt a lot of pain, but at first I thought it was just the impact. A few seconds later, I realised it was knee trouble.

"I just want to say thank you to the Milan president Silvio Berlusconi, who called me yesterday, as Umberto Agnelli (the Juventus honorary chief) did later. It is nice that such great people are worried about my health."

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is believed to want a quick replacement for Inzaghi as he is not convinced by the quality of former Alaves forward Moreno or veteran Simone, who returned from Monaco recently.

Kutuzov, a shock signing from Bate Borisov who the Rossoneri beat in the Uefa Cup first round, is considered an interesting prospect, but not ready to play alongside Shevchenko in major matches.

Any move for Rebrov might include an offer of Moreno in part-exchange, although Ancelotti is also thought to be interested in Lazio targetman Darko Kovacevic.

The Yugoslav has declared his intention to leave Rome, possibly for Real Sociedad, but Ancelotti had him in his squad at Juventus and always talked highly of a player who has rarely shown consistent form in Serie A.

Billy: "We can cope without Inzaghi"
4.12 || webmaster

Alessandro Costacurta is convinced that Milan can do well even without Filippo Inzaghi, despite having a tough series of games coming up.

AC face Sporting Lisbon, Juventus, Roma, Atalanta and Verona in December, and Inzaghi's operation, due after he damaged a knee ligament at the weekend, has come as a massive blow to the club.

However, Costacurta said: "I don't know if the next month will be crucial for our season but it will certainly be important and if we could have had all of our players, it would have been much better.

"But we have to do like Inter Milan did so far. Even though they were missing some very important stars, they have been able to top the table nevertheless.

"I believe that we are in great mental and physical shape and in any case crying over spilt milk is no use."

Sheva hopes in speedy Inzaghi return
3.12 || webmaster

Andriy Shevchenko has urged injured teammate Pippo Inzaghi to stay positive after picking up an injury which could jeopardise his World Cup place.

Tests this morning confirmed that Inzaghi did do damage to ligaments in his left knee during the game against Chievo but medics have yet to decided whether to operate.

"I’m saddened by Pippo’s injury. Let’s hope that he doesn’t need surgery," said Shevchenko.

"He just needs to remain calm and positive and be aware of the fact that the whole squad is waiting for him to return when he is ready."

Should Inzaghi need surgery he may be out for up to three months, which would give him just eight weeks to demonstrate to national boss Giovanni Trapattoni that he is ready for Korea and Japan.

However, Shev warned his strike partner to forget about the Finals for the time being. "Inzaghi shouldn’t worry about the World Cup right now. He needs to trust his doctor and stay calm."

Milan take on Sporting Lisbon on Thursday in the UEFA Cup, a game where Shevchenko is expected to play as a lone striker.

"We’ll play against Sporting with just one striker I think. Jose Mari has only just started training again while Javi Moreno is waiting to rediscover his best form. Then there is Marco Simone who is cup tied."

He concluded: "We need to stay concentrated and alert for the whole game. We may be 2-0 up but we need to play as if the score is still at 0-0."

Moreno linked with English move
3.12 || webmaster

Spanish international striker Javi Moreno is believed to have been targeted by English Premiership side Fulham as they seek to score more goals.

Fulham's French manager Jean Tigana revealed that he has tried to sign a striker on loan as cover for the injured French forward Steve Marlet.

The striker in question is believed to be Moreno who is out of favour at the San Siro since his switch from Spanish side Alaves.

Moreno's agent Antonio Jose Alfaro Perez is believed to have received several enquiries about Moreno from Premier League clubs and also Spanish clubs and the player is also very keen to move as (Spain coach) Jose Antonio Camacho has stated quite clearly that if he is not playing he will not go to the World Cup.

However, Milan are unlikely to let Moreno leave, especially as Filippo Inzaghi picked up a knee injury in the 3-2 win over Chievo yesterday.

Inzaghi World Cup hopes on a knife-edge
3.12 || webmaster

AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi faces an agonising wait to discover whether his World Cup hopes have been jeopardised by a knee injury.

Inzaghi damaged ligaments in his knee during the 3-2 win over Chievo on Sunday following a collision with visiting goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli.

After leaving the San Siro in tears, he was initially told that a decision on whether he needed surgery would be made on Monday.

Now that has put back to nearer the end of the week, after tests at the Circolo clinic in Varese.

Medical staff want to see how Inzaghi's knee responds to rest before committing him to surgery which might well rule him out of Italy's World Cup plans.

Even if he doesn't go under the knife, he could be out for up to six weeks, but an operation could sideline him for nearer six months.

"The best-case scenario is that he will be out for five to six weeks," said vice-president Adriano Galliani.

Team-mate Andriy Shevchenko said: "We are all sad for Pippo. He has become reallty important for us, and I will now try and score a goal for him against his former club Juventus next Sunday."

If fit, the 28-year-old Inzaghi is a certainty to be included in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for Japan and South Korea, though he would face stiff competition for a place in the the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will also be without Brazilian midfielder Serginho for up to a month after he sprained his foot. Tests on Monday, however, revealed there was no break.

Tearful Inzaghi faces knee surgery
2.12 || webmaster

AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi will learn on Monday whether he faces a knee operation after damaging ligaments in the 3-2 win over Chievo. "The best-case scenario is that he will be out for five to six weeks," said vice-president Adriano Galliani.

Inzaghi left the San Siro in tears following his collision with Chievo goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli on 62 minutes. Milan finished the match with ten men as they had already used all their substitutes.

"We will know after the tests if he needs surgery," confirmed Galliani.

Italy forward Inzaghi opened the scoring with a 13th-minute header from a Serginho cross, before the Serie A leaders hit back through Massimo Marazzina and Bernardo Corradi.

The game took a new direction in the second half when Milan were awarded a hotly-disputed penalty by referee Graziano Cesari.

Eriberto barely seemed to touch Andriy Shevchenko, who got up to score from the spot. Then the Ukrainian striker headed what proved to be the winner.

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti shrugged off any controversy about the penalty, saying: "There were many important incidents in the match - it looked a clear penalty to me."

Chievo coach Luigi del Neri repeated that the club's only aim is to avoid relegation. "We must not lose sight of the fact that this is our real objective," said Del Neri. "But I am never happy when I lose."

Milan 3 - 2 Chievo - match report
2.12 || webmaster

Scorers: Inzaghi 14 (M), Marazzina 26 (C), Corradi 28 (C), Shevchenko pen 58, 65 (M)

This was the first top of the table clash for Chievo and they were unlucky not to take away at least a point from the San Siro. It was a hugely entertaining and controversial encounter between two teams who favour one-touch football and powerful wingers.

After Bernardo Corradi's impressive drive it was Milan who took the lead. Serginho charged down the left flank and deposited the cross onto Filippo Inzaghi's head, although replays showed the striker was clearly offside.

The Serie A leaders drew level with a fast-paced move that has now become their trademark. Azzurri-hopeful Christian Manfredini raced past Jose Chamot and Massimo Marazzina lifted the ball over the oncoming Christian Abbiati.

Moments later the 'keeper was forced to tip Corradi's header over the bar and on the resulting corner Corradi was left completely unmarked to nod home. It was perhaps the first disastrous defensive error in Carlo Ancelotti's reign and turned the game around completely.

There was further controversy at the dawn of the second half as Lorenzo D'Anna appeared to handle Kakha Kaladze's cross, but the referee waived on. However, soon after Milan were awarded a spot-kick for Eriberto's push on Andriy Shevchenko, although it seemed a frankly harsh decision. Nonetheless the Ukrainian converted the penalty to draw the Rossoneri level.

Moments later Shevchenko met Manuel Rui Costa's long pass to turn the game around once more. There was also bad news for Milan, however, as Inzaghi was carried off the field with an ankle injury. Ancelotti had already made all three substitutions so the Rossoneri played the final 20 minutes in ten men.

It was a siege on Abbiati's goal but they held on to knock Chievo off the top spot. Any claims that the tiny clubs' bubble is ready to burst seem to be rather premature.

Milan: Abbiati; Helveg, Laursen (Costacurta 46), Chamot, Maldini; Gattuso, Donati (Contra 59), Serginho (Kaladze 46); Rui Costa; Inzaghi, Shevchenko

Chievo: Lupatelli; Moro, D'Angelo, D'Anna, Lanna; Eriberto, Perrotta, Corini (Cossato 67), Manfredini (Franceschini 65); Marazzina (Binotto 72), Corradi

Ref: Cesari

Milan vs. Chievo - match preview
1.12 || webmaster

The first real top of the table showdown for Chievo has arrived. The leaders travel to the San Siro to face a team that plays in a similar style: Pushing up on the flanks with Serginho and Cosmin Contra on one side, Christian Manfredini and Eriberto on the other, and provide moments of brilliance from the creative midfielder, be it Eugenio Corini or Manuel Rui Costa.

This should be a very entertaining tie. Carlo Ancelotti’s men will have to do without the suspended Umit Davala but welcome back Alessandro Costacurta and Gennaro Gattuso.

Chievo can form their first choice front two of Massimo Marazzina and Bernardo Corradi after the formers one-match ban. Pit these strikers against Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi and sparks should fly.

Chievo have scored at least two goals in all but one of their matches this season and will hope to continue that run albeit against a defence that is yet to concede a single goal under the guidance of new boss Ancelotti.

Del Neri: "We can defeat Milan"
1.12 || webmaster

Luigi Del Neri has said that he believes his top of the table Chievo can go to Milan on Sunday and win.

When asked whether he would sign for a draw, the Coach said: "No, why should I? We enter every game with the intention of winning and it will be no different tomorrow.

"There are all the signs that we are good enough to play as well as our League position suggests."

Chievo have made an astonishing start to their debut season in the top flight and are leading the table ahead of the likes of Juventus, Inter, Milan, Lazio and current champions Roma.

The Veronese boss added: "On the team line-up I’ll decide at the very last minute. I’m still undecided in attack because Federico Cossato did well last week which has seen him give himself a chance for the Milan game."

Meanwhile, winger Eriberto – the only player in the Chievo squad to have scored against Milan in their career - said: "It’s one of those games where we have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

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