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The Archive

March 2010

Dzeko denies talk of move to Italy
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko has categorically denied stating that he wants to move to Italy this summer.

The Bosnia international has been strongly linked with Milan since the end of last season when they made Wolfsburg an offer that was firmly rejected.

Dzeko is expected to be the subject of much transfer speculation this season after scoring 16 goals in the Bundesliga.

He was top scorer last year with 30 goals in 40 appearances.

Speaking to Sport Bild, Dzeko said: “I never said that I absolutely want Italy.

“If the right offer comes in then I will say yes.”

There have been claims that Milan might use Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as collateral in any bid for Dzeko.

The Rossoneri face significant competition from Chelsea and Bayern Munich in the race for his signature.

Ambrosini demands final push
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini has asked his team-mates to make one final push for the title as the end of the season approaches.

The Rossoneri have slipped up of late, missing the opportunity to overtake Inter after three matches without a win in Serie A.

Speaking to the Milan Channel, Ambrosini said: “Our season has been positive but we must give the best of ourselves from here until the end.

“We mustn't feel sorry for ourselves because of the injuries and the lack of luck, but we must look forward.

“On an athletic level, Inter are superior and going forward in the Champions League might give them new motivation.

“Instead, Roma, with respect to us, might only have two more games to play than us.”

Ambrosini was referring to Roma still being in the Coppa Italia at the semi-final stage.

Milan are back in action at the weekend when they travel to Cagliari.

Sergio Ramos linked with AC Milan
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Spanish newspaper AS believes Milan are hoping to sign Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos this summer.

The 23-year-old Spain international is apparently seen as the long-term successor to Paolo Maldini, who retired last season.

Ramos is under contract at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2013, but negotiations have already started for an extension.

The former Sevilla youngster is said to be demanding €6m a year, prompting even Real to balk.

AS understands that Milan are putting feelers out in Spain and might make use of the good relationship they have with Madrid from the Kaka deal last summer, although the latter's injury problems might have caused things to change.

Meanwhile, the Italian media believes such a deal is distinctly unlikely as Milan are in the process of a cost cutting exercise and have already signed a pre-contract with the much more modest but nevertheless effective Mario Yepes from Chievo ahead of next season.

AC Milan want to keep Ronaldinho
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are keen to stave off interest in star player Ronaldinho by offering him a contract extension.

The former World Player of the Year has performed well this season even though Dunga has neglected to call him up to the Brazil squad for recent friendly matches.

Milan have been impressed with his much-improved work ethic and commitment to the cause, prompting Adriano Galliani to reward him.

Ronaldinho's existing deal is worth €8m a year and runs until June 2012.

Galliani would like to add two more years to his contract, but under the condition that, in line with Milan's cost cutting efforts, Ronaldinho slashes his wages by €2m.

Ronaldinho's brother who also acts as his agent is due in Milan after Easter and will sit down with Galliani to iron out an agreement.

AC Milan on Lukaku's trail
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are weighing up a bid for Anderlecht's promising young striker Romelu Lukaku, who has already been likened to Didier Drogba.

The 16-year-old Belgium international has scored 15 goals in 27 appearances and became the third youngest goalscorer in the history of a UEFA competition when he found the net against Ajax in the Europa League in December.

Milan are in the market for a centre-forward this summer, but they have been linked with more established names like Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko.

However, such is the hype surrounding Lukaku, Milan are inclined to move quickly to beat off competition from Europe's biggest clubs.

Anderlecht declared Lukaku unsellable just a few days ago, but Sport Mediaset understands that Milan are preparing a €15m bid that should be accepted.

The Rossoneri have already done some shopping ahead of next season, signing Colombian centre-back Mario Yepes from Chievo.

AC Milan have regrets, says Ambrosini
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini admits that his team-mates have a number of regrets after missing another opportunity to reel in title rivals Inter.

The Rossoneri could only draw 1-1 at home to Lazio last night and were therefore unable to take advantage of Inter's 2-1 defeat to Roma on Saturday.

Leonardo's side now haven't won for three matches and may come to rue this negative period at the end of the season.

Speaking after last night's match, Ambrosini said: “I have seen sad faces and great regret because there was the desire to finish on a high.

“But it's not a negative moment for us, we are third in the table,” he concluded.

Milan are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Cagliari.

Leonardo: 'Anything can still happen'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo insists Milan’s poor run of results doesn’t cut them out of the title race. “In seven games anything can happen.”

The Rossoneri had the chance to go within a point of leaders Inter, but a 1-1 home draw with Lazio has knocked them back to third place.

“Are Roma or Inter the favourites for the Scudetto? Milan,” assured the Coach who has picked up two points from the last three games.

“It is a strange season with many surprises in terms of form and results. It is very difficult to predict a lot of outcomes.

“In the seven remaining games, anything could happen, even something extraordinary.”

It was another disappointing performance from Milan, who were missing Andrea Pirlo, Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and late addition Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

“All we were missing tonight was the finish, but in the second half we went so close to the victory. Today things weren’t coming naturally to us, but the team and the grit was all there.”

Of the three Scudetto contenders, Milan have arguably the toughest run-in with trips to Cagliari, Sampdoria, Palermo and Genoa as well as home ties against Catania, Fiorentina and Juventus.

“We have only seven games left to play in seven weeks and that is the first time we’ve been in that situation.

“Inter have a squad that allows them to handle several competitions, while Roma are in a state of grace right now, but we also put together a long run of positive results a few weeks ago.”

There are question marks over whether Leonardo will remain on the bench next season after public disputes with President Silvio Berlusconi.

“I will talk about the future when it is more important than the present. This squad has done extraordinary things this season and in seven games something else extraordinary could still happen.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:1 Lazio - match report
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Borriello pen 18 (M), Lichtsteiner 33 (L)

Milan have once again wasted the chance to close on Inter, as Marco Borriello's penalty only earned a 1-1 with Lazio.

The Rossoneri knew a win would put them within a point of leaders Inter after last night's result in Rome, but were themselves coming off a 1-1 with Napoli and midweek 1-0 defeat in Parma. There was also a decimated squad with Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo suspended, joining the injured Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta, David Beckham, Christian Abbiati, Amantino Mancini and Oguchi Onyewu. Lazio had won two on the bounce and stuck with Mauro Zarate alongside Tommaso Rocchi.

Lazio famously have a terrible record in this stadium and haven't won here in Serie A since September 3 1989.

In the opening 120 seconds there was a great chance for Milan when Marco Borriello set up Ignazio Abate for a shot that was straight at Nando Muslera.

Clarence Seedorf played in a trequartista role and drilled just wide of the near post, but Zarate also threatened with a volley on to the side-netting.

On 16 minutes there was a fine team move which concluded with Seedorf's rocket palmed out of the far top corner by Muslera.

As the move continued, Mathieu Flamini was tripped by Aleksandar Kolarov, who stood in the Frenchman's way with his leg outstretched. The referee awarded a penalty and, despite Muslera getting a hand to it, Marco Borriello put the spot-kick in the back of the net.

Dida took the sting out of a Stefano Mauri piledriver, but Lazio did equalise soon after.

Luca Antonini tried to clear a long ball over the defence, but it just struck the Lazio players from point-blank range and Stephen Lichtsteiner was alert to prod it in from six yards.

Dida nearly gifted Lazio a second, as he flapped wildly at a corner to put it on to the feet of Andre Dias, but was able to grab it at the second attempt.

Zarate skipped round Gianluca Zambrotta and Massimo Ambrosini down the left channel to fire straight at Dida. Soon after Mauri's through ball released Rocchi, but ex-Lazio legend Giuseppe Favalli's diving tackle did just enough to send him wide and Kolarov blasted the follow-up over.

After the break Borriello hit an angled drive at Muslera, but Luca Antonini wasted a wonderful scoring opportunity. He burst forward by riding two challenges and was clear on goal, but smashed his shot on to the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.

Seedorf blasted over, then Inzaghi ran on to an Antonini cross-field pass and pulled it back for Borriello, who was unable to keep his shot down on the turn.

Lazio should've been 2-1 up on 69 minutes, as a free kick was whipped to the back post for the unmarked Andre Dias who incredibly volleyed over from seven yards.

Ambrosini's header was wide of the back post from a corner. Ambro's run down the left channel prompted timid penalty appeals when his cross was charged down by Lichtsteiner's arm, but the two players were only inches away.

Kolarov's defensive header towards Muslera was intercepted by Abate, but he spun round too quickly from seven yards to lash it over the bar and the chance went begging.

Milan: Dida; Zambrotta (Jankulovski 77), Thiago Silva, Favalli, Antonini; Abate, Ambrosini, Flamini; Seedorf; Borriello, Inzaghi (Zigoni 77)

Lazio: Muslera; Dias, Stendardo, Radu; Lichtsteiner (Biava 88), Brocchi, Ledesma, Mauri, Kolarov; Zarate (Foggia 83), Rocchi (Cruz 56)

Ref: Tagliavento

You can watch match highlights on Free Soccer Highlights.

Leonardo: 'We're still in it'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo is confident Milan can resume the Scudetto race against Lazio, but loses Christian Abbiati.

“We’re still up there,” insisted the Coach after a 1-0 defeat at Parma on Wednesday night.

“So many times this season we have been cut out of the loop and got back in. We’ve had tougher moments than this and I trust the team will react against Lazio.”

Milan have a decimated squad, as Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo are suspended, while goalkeeper Abbiati is the latest addition to an injury list with David Beckham, Alessandro Nesta, Alexandre Pato, Daniele Bonera and Kakha Kaladze.

“It is a worrying problem for Abbiati. I think the tendonitis is down to being out of action for a year and then immediately returning to intensive training,” reasoned Leo.

Nelson Dida steps in between the posts for tomorrow night’s game, where we could see a trident attack of Clarence Seedorf, Marco Borriello and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

“I don’t know who we’ll miss more out of Pirlo and Ronaldinho, but we need to create a style of playing that puts their replacements in the best condition to deliver.

“We have played in many different styles this season. The 4-2-fantasia worked brilliantly for 18 games, but it is only effective when all the players are in good shape. As we slow down, it becomes more difficult to move the ball around quickly.”

Milan could’ve been top of the table a week ago, but have now dropped to third place, behind Roma on goal difference.

“Football is more about passion than logic. We all try to understand, but it’s very difficult to find the right balance. We’re right behind the leaders and that is positive.

“Tonight Roma and Inter go head-to-head, so something will happen there, we need to be ready to take advantage.”

The 1-1 draw with Napoli and 1-0 defeat at Parma put a spanner in the works and prompted President Silvio Berlusconi to question Leonardo’s future.

“My future is not important,” insisted the tactician. “I am only focused on the next eight games. I have a very direct rapport with the President and it’s natural there will be debate. I’m happy about that, as I say what I think and I listen to what others have to say.

“I am not worried and only think about the present, that is my philosophy.”

Reja: 'AC Milan should be scared'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Edy Reja tells Lazio they are not out of the tunnel yet, but can end a 21-year taboo against Milan tomorrow night.

“There’s always a first time, here’s hoping it can be this one.”

The Biancocelesti haven’t conquered San Siro since 1989, but are coming off a run of two consecutive victories.

“It’s better that Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo are suspended, but it’s not as if they’ll be lacking in quality. Plus Milan will be more robust physically.

“Lately they haven’t been in the best form, but we must not lower our guard, as we’re facing a side that is motivated and angry. They will give it their all because they can no longer afford to slip up.”

The Rossoneri had the chance to go top of the table a week ago, but after one point from two games have slipped to third place.

Lazio were in dire straits before notching together back-to-back victories over Cagliari and Siena, their first wins since Valentine’s Day.

“The team is well aware that the difficult moment has not yet passed, but a bit of optimism is normal after such a long period of darkness,” continued Reja.

“If we maintain this psychological approach then we cannot help but improve. When we play at that tempo, even Milan ought to be scared of us.

“I want to see the same performance. We need to push them all over the field with intensity, so we don’t give Milan time to think. We’ve got to cut them off, take back the ball and hit them with pace.

“This line-up is doing well and I don’t think I will change the starting XI from last Sunday. The only potential change comes from the fact Sergio Floccari has now recovered, though we want to be sure he’s 100 per cent fit before risking him.”

If Floccari does play, then it is likely that Mauro Zarate will be the one to take his place on the bench.

Berlusconi 'pained' after AC Milan defeat
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Silvio Berlusconi says he was 'pained' when Milan missed the opportunity to overtake Inter at the weekend.

Inter drew with Palermo on Saturday, meaning Milan only had to beat Napoli the following day to take top spot.

However, all they could muster was a draw and Wednesday's round of games saw them slip four points behind as Leonardo's side lost to Parma while Inter won 3-0 at home to Livorno.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Berlusconi was asked for his reaction to the missed opportunity.

“I am sad, actually pained is the right word,” he said.

“But I have to say that Milan have been hit by grave injuries, for which, in every ambit of the formation, we have been missing crucial players: Nesta in the centre of the defence and then there have been others: Beckham in midfield and Pato up front.

“When you take away three champions of this weight, it's no longer the same team.”

When asked if he thought Leonardo would remain in his job, Berlusconi replied: “I hope so. Everyone has their own ideas. There are also some disagreements between a Coach and a President, but it's not logical to disclose them.

“In the conversations with the Coach, I always say my position and he tells me his. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't.

“But he is a Coach and I am no longer even a President. I am someone who suffers like all the Milan fans when Milan don't win like we expect them to do and I put in the money,” he concluded.

Panini: Ronaldinho is going to World Cup
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Panini have anticipated Brazil boss Dunga calling up Milan star Ronaldinho for his World Cup squad this summer.

Dunga has repeatedly snubbed the two-time World Player of the Year in qualifying and recent friendly matches.

His decision has sparked controversy back home in Brazil, especially as Ronaldinho has performed well for Milan this season.

According to Il Corriere dello Sport, the daughter of the man who compiled the Panini album photographed the Brazil page and posted it on Twitter.

Fenerbahce full-back Andre Santos was also included even though Dunga has 'forgotten' him since the Confederations Cup last summer.

Leonardo to leave AC Milan?
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Leonardo would consider quitting the Italian giants if he was offered the Brazilian national job.

A report in the Corriere dello Sport today suggests that the Brazilian Football Federation have Leonardo’s name on a shortlist of potential new Coaches.

Carlos Dunga, the former Pescara and Fiorentina player, is unlikely to be in charge for the 2014 World Cup which is set to be staged in Brazil.

Leonardo’s efforts with the Rossoneri this season have been noted in his homeland following his maiden managerial appointment.

Despite no coaching experience, Leonardo was handed control of the Diavolo after Carlo Ancelotti left for Premiership side Chelsea last summer.

Leonardo had a difficult start to the campaign and did risk the chop before turning the Rossoneri into surprise Scudetto contenders.

Had they beaten Napoli last weekend they would have gone top of the table, but a draw and a subsequent loss at Parma has seen them slip to four points behind Inter.

Leonardo did admit earlier this term that Milan would be the only club side that he would lead in his career, but he did have dreams of bossing his national side too.

Should Leonardo walk in the summer then Milan could turn to Massimiliano Allegri after his fine work at Cagliari.

Other contenders would inevitably be former Milan heroes Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Billy Costacurta.

OFFICIAL: AC Milan sign Yepes
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Chievo Verona defender Mario Yepes has officially reached an agreement with Milan and will be playing for the Rossoneri starting from June 2010.

The Colombian defender has had a fantastic season so far and there were several clubs ready to snap him, since his contract with the Clivensi runs out soon.

But the Rossoneri looked more determined and offered a two-year contract for an overall wage over the 24 months of £1.6m.

Milan had already agreed the transfer a couple of days ago but only today the defender was able to put pen to paper on his new contract.

The 34-year-old already lives in Milan and is said to be enthusiastic about the opportunity to play at San Siro.

Chievo will receive no compensation for this transfer.

Galliani rules out Balotelli interest
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has categorically denied being interested in signing Inter striker Mario Balotelli.

The Italy Under-21 international hasn't even been on the bench for Inter's last four matches after a spat with Jose Mourinho.

He sparked even more controversy earlier this week when he accepted and then tried on a Milan shirt with his name and number on the back while being set up on Italian TV show Striscia la Notizia.

As a self-proclaimed Milan fan, there have been reports that Balotelli would accept a move to the Rossoneri.

However, any deal seems unlikely given the rivalry between the two sides and Balotelli's profile as a top prospect.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Galliani said: “I will answer all the questions in the world except those regarding Balotelli, who is not our thing.

“We haven't signed him. He still has three years left on his contract with Inter. Let's not joke about this.

“We have nothing to do with this story,” Galliani concluded.

Ronaldinho linked with Flamengo
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian side Flamengo are giving serious thought to making a bid for Ronaldinho in the summer, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Milan playmaker is out of contract at the end of next season, but it's unclear whether he will choose to see out his existing deal.

Ronaldinho has spoken of his desire to stay at Milan, but the former World Player of the Year has also expressed his wish to return to his homeland.

La Gazzetta understands that Ronaldinho's brother, Roberto de Assis, has been in touch with Flamengo's Vice-President on at least two occasions.

Any deal is tied to the World Cup in South Africa because if Dunga were to call up Ronaldinho to the Brazil squad then his price would be too high for Flamengo.

The 30-year-old former Barcelona star would have the chance of hooking up with former Inter striker Adriano whose goals fired Flamengo to the Brazilian League title last season.

Abbiati accepts blame for defeat
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati blames himself for his side's crushing defeat away to Parma last night.

The 32-year-old scuffed his clearances and Parma profited, as Jonathan Biabiany reacted to one of them in the 90th minute and flashed a shot across from the right, which Abbiati couldn't handle.

Valeri Bojinov was there to pick up the loose ball and fire it into an empty net to give Parma all three points.

All told, it meant Milan slipped further behind Inter in the title race, as the Nerazzurri won 3-0 against Livorno and extended their lead to four points at the top of Serie A.

“Parma's goal was my fault,” Abbiati grimaced.

“As for us, we'll continue to fight until the end. We still believe,” he concluded.

Leonardo: 'AC Milan will bounce back'
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo insists Milan will not suffer a psychological setback after their defeat at Parma. “We always reacted and will do again.”

The Rossoneri could've gone top of the table on Sunday, but with a 1-1 draw against Napoli and tonight's 1-0 loss at the Tardini, they have fallen four points behind Inter.

“We're on level terms with Roma now and you can see they are a team in great shape. They have talent and the good fortune to have many players on form at the same time,” said the Coach.

“Tonight we played a first half below par and struggled a great deal to emerge from Parma's pressure. Even when we had the ball, we didn't quite have a clear idea what to do with it.

“After the break we were hungrier and created some great chances. We thought of a different performance, as the idea was to pass the ball around and reach the box with the ball to feet.

“We were unable to do it, as we weren't very sharp and struggled this evening.”

Tension also got to the players, as Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo will be suspended against Lazio.

“There's no point thinking about Lazio now. We have to stay calm. It is the fifth defeat in 30 games and we have achieved important things.

“We're second on level points with Roma, four points from Inter and 11 clear of fourth place. This means the team has done a great deal.

“We had many difficult moments this season and I think in my debut year I have experienced more or less everything, but the team always reacted in the right way at the right time.

“We have our objectives, there are eight games to go and we will keep on taking it one match at a time.”

There is still a chance for Milan to get back into the title race, as Inter and Roma go head-to-head on Saturday evening.

“Something will happen there, but we have got to focus on our own games and our own football.”

Serie A: Parma 1:0 AC Milan - match report
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Bojinov 89 (P)

Valeri Bojinov gave a potentially fatal blow to Milan's Scudetto ambitions at the end of an awful performance that also saw Andrea Pirlo sent off.

The Rossoneri wasted the opportunity to take the leadership with last week's 1-1 home draw with Napoli, but remained only a point behind. Alexandre Pato limped off in that game, joining David Beckham, Alessandro Nesta, Kakha Kaladze and Daniele Bonera, but Marco Borriello returned in a Christmas Tree formation. Parma were back on track after notching up nine games without a win, but missed Blerim Dzemaili and Milan-owned Alberto Paloschi.

Milan were unbeaten here since 2003, stringing together three wins and two draws. However, Parma had a great chance in the opening 15 seconds! A long ball bounced for Hernan Crespo to hit the half-volley on to the crossbar.

Clarence Seedorf just failed to get on the end of Ronaldinho's slide-rule pass, while Mathieu Flamini blasted over from the edge of the box.

Daniele Galloppa fired his daisy-cutter wide from distance and Christian Abbiati comfortably dealt with Stefano Morrone's snapshot.

On the stroke of half-time Alessandro Lucarelli rose to nod a corner kick into the arms of the Milan goalkeeper.

Ronaldinho curled just over the bar from the D and another effort was smothered from much the same position.

Pippo Inzaghi replaced Borriello and immediately caused panic in the Parma penalty area when running on to a Ronaldingo through ball, but Antonio Mirante rushed out to smother at his feet.

A brawl broke out on 77 minutes with a mass argument on the touchline between the two teams, earning yellow cards for Ronaldinho and Morrone.

Inzaghi's header was straight at Mirante with a ball over the top, but it was Parma who pounced with a last-gasp goal at the Tardini.

Abbiati's awful clearance was put back in, he was at full stretch to parry Morrone's angled drive, but only into the path of Valeri Bojinov from point-blank range.

To make matters worse, Andrea Pirlo was sent off in stoppages for a reaction foul.

Parma: Mirante; Zambrotta (Abate 59), Thiago Silva, Favalli, Antonini; Gattuso (Huntelaar 74), Pirlo, Flamini; Seedorf, Ronaldinho; Borriello (Inzaghi 65)

Milan: Abbiati; Zenoni, Paci, Zaccardo, Lucarelli; Valiani, Morrone, Galloppa; Jimenez (Antontelli 85); Crespo (Bojinov 74), Biabiany

Ref: Morganti

Sent off: Pirlo 91 (M)

You can watch match highlights on Free Soccer Highlights.

Berlusconi open to signing Balotelli
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Silvio Berlusconi has reacted positively to news that Mario Balotelli accepted a Milan shirt during a sketch on a satirical show on Monday.

The 19-year-old's actions have not gone down well in the Inter dressing room and he was excluded from the Nerazzurri's squad to face Livorno this evening.

Balotelli is a self-proclaimed Milan supporter and even went to watch the Rossoneri play Manchester United in the Champions League in February.

Asked about Balotelli's affection for Milan and the prospect of him joining the club during a phone in on Telelombardia, Berlusconi said: “I don't know, don't ask me.

“Anyway he has a very nice face. A red and black face.”

Balotelli's situation has become so bleak at Inter that it wouldn't be surprising to see him orchestrate a move away from the Nerazzurri this summer.

He recently hired Mino Raiola to represent him, which drew a few gasps, as he is the agent who helped Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to Barcelona.

Leonardo defends Balotelli shirt gesture
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo has defended Inter striker Mario Balotelli after he pulled on a Milan shirt during a TV prank yesterday.

The 19-year-old was confronted in a café where he was presented with a red and black jersey replete with his name and number on the back.

When he thought the cameras weren't looking, Balotelli, a self-proclaimed Milan fan, pulled on the shirt and tried it on for size, sparking controversy among Inter fans.

“I haven't seen the TV show. The people who make it referred the incident to me. Knowing (the presenter) Staffelli, I believe that it was a joke and we don't need to give importance to this episode.”

Leonardo then turned his attention to tomorrow's match against Parma in Serie A.

“Parma are a team who work a lot. In tomorrow's game a lot will depend on how they play. Guidolin's lads are good at running, above all at home.

“Milan must maintain their own style of play like we have done for a long time and did in flashes during the last game against Napoli, hopefully this time capitalising more on our chances.”

The Brazilian then reflected on Milan's injury crisis, which has seen Alexandre Pato, David Beckham and Alessandro Nesta confined to the treatment room.

“Every team suffers various injuries and they can find themselves in a similar situation to ours. Today's football brings injuries because there are many games, which are played close together.

“The injuries are not always easy to manage. At times they arrive at unexpected moments and almost always when the player is in a good moment of form.”

As for the title race, Leonardo added: “The situation in the table makes us happy. It's a great thing, but we have not forgotten our position at the start of the season.

“I see the team focused on our play. We are thinking about ourselves, not what happens on other pitches.

“There are nine games left until the end of the season. There are 27 points available and there will be important games for all the teams.

“Until now this team has said its peace and these nine games will tell us if this group has the chance of making the final sprint,” Leonardo concluded.

Inzaghi promises to stay at AC Milan
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi has promised to stay with Milan, but he warns that he is unwilling to stay on the bench as much as this season.

The 36-year-old striker has made just three starting appearances in the current campaign, scoring twice, the most recent being Sunday's equaliser against Napoli.

Inzaghi's current deal is up for renewal and there were claims that he might leave Milan and join Parma in a bid to play more regularly.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Super Pippo was asked why he has played so little this season.

“It's the Coach's decision. He is the one who must decide. Everyone gets angry if they don't play. But my anger was not tied to the Coach's decisions: Even he wants the good of Milan.

“My anger depended on the impossibility of being able to do something for the team. If you feel fine and can't show it on the pitch, you feel sorry for yourself and the team. And on Sunday, I was happy to have helped Milan get out of an ugly situation.”

When asked if he would be prepared to wait every five months for a starting appearance, Inzaghi replied: “Well, I hope not. Sure I will always train with the same commitment in the hope of convincing the Coach to make me play. Otherwise I will wait my turn, like always: The good of Milan comes before everything.”

Addressing his contract situation, Inzaghi said: “I have two certainties. The first is that I would like to finish my career with Milan: It's logical that I try and beat the goalscoring records in the European competitions with Milan. And then, Milan are also a part of me.

“But the second certainty is that I will work hard not to have another season like this one: I don't demand to play all the time, but I would like it if I were told what role awaits me.

“It's one thing to feel useful to the team and another to play every five months. I am not asking for guarantees, but clarity. I have suffered being out of the team. And if I stay, I want to be considered important with facts,” he concluded.

Sacchi: 'Roma and AC Milan have a chance'
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan's legendary former boss Arrigo Sacchi insists that his old side together with Roma have a chance of winning the Scudetto this season.

Both teams are running Inter a lot closer than usual and Milan could have even overtaken them on Sunday only to muff their lines and draw at home to Napoli.

Inter now have a one-point lead on Milan and a four-point cushion over Roma with nine games remaining this season.

“Everyone asks if Milan and Roma can win the championship,” Sacchi wrote in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It's possible, even if everyone knows that Inter's quality is superior. The Nerazzurri can raise the bar where the others can't arrive.

“But the Rossoneri, helped by the experience of a great club, the ability of Leonardo and Tassotti, and the players, could achieve something that seemed unthinkable in October.

“The draw with Napoli should not demoralise the side that is going beyond every logical prediction.

“Even Roma could insert itself (in the title race) if they find the concentration and motivation that allows them to increase the technical and tactical qualities of the squad.

“The championship, thanks to the Champions League, is open to any solution. I hope that it all serves to make the fans return to the stadiums and to forget our difficulties,” he concluded.

Pato muscular tear confirmed
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that Alexandre Pato suffered another tear to his right thigh muscle.

The striker has barely set foot on the field in 2010 and made his comeback in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Napoli.

However, he lasted only 10 minutes before pulling up and calling for a substitution.

“AC Milan announce that Pato underwent medical tests to discover a first degree tear in the right femoral bicep, at the junction with the tendon,” read the statement.

“In the next few days Pato will undergo further tests.”

It is not clear how long he will be out for this time, but reports suggest anything up to three weeks.

It is the latest relapse for the young Brazilian, who has been dogged by muscular problems this season.

Since the start of January, he has suffered four different injuries, all relapses in roughly the same area.

Inzaghi: I'd do anything for AC Milan
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi says he would do anything for Milan after scoring his side's equaliser against Napoli yesterday.

The 36-year-old's header sealed a 1-1 draw for the Rossoneri as they missed the chance to overtake Inter at the top of Serie A.

Inzaghi has rarely featured from the start this season and there were reports that he might leave in the summer in a bid to play regular first team football.

However, his comments after last night's match appear to rule out any talk of him leaving San Siro.

“I would do anything for this shirt and for my part I always try to make myself ready,” Inzaghi told Milan's official website.

“I am happy to have returned to playing as a regular. I tried to exploit all the assists from my teammates to the best of my abilities.

“I am satisfied because physically I am well. It's been a long time since I played, but anyway I have always felt great affection around me. Also the banner that the fans dedicated to me was a testament to the great respect for me.

“All the team wanted to win and overtake Inter in the table and then dedicate it to Beckham and Nesta. Anyway, we're happy with the performance. We gave everything and the fans at San Siro realised it and they were close to us throughout the game.”

Pato suffers injury relapse
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have suffered yet another blow as Alexandre Pato can't seem to shift the problem he is having with his thigh muscle.

The 20-year-old Brazilian made his comeback after seven games out of action on Sunday afternoon, but had to come off against Napoli after just a quarter of an hour.

“It disappointed me,” Leonardo said after the game.

He then clarified his comments, adding: “I meant to say that the situation disappointed me.

“To have to substitute him so soon and change the nature of the game has not been easy.”

Having left the pitch in tears, La Gazzetta dello Sport understands Pato felt a pain 10cm further down his right thigh.

Milan's medical staff appear dumbfounded after considering him 100 per cent fit again.

Pato will undergo a scan this morning, but a similar one late last week revealed there to be nothing wrong.

His fragility has now led to comparisons with Dejan Savicevic.

Ronaldinho: 'We can still take title'
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ronaldinho points out “it's never easy against Napoli and there are still nine games to give our best.”

Milan would've been clear at the top of the table for the first time in 16 months if they had won today, but were pegged back to a 1-1 draw.

“We know that it's never easy against Napoli, but we still have another nine games to give our best,” he told Sky Italia television.

“We've got to continue in this vein and keep our feet on the ground. We must always think positive and therefore we do.

“There's a long way to go yet and many points up for grabs, so of course we can think about the Scudetto.”

Inter remain one point ahead, but Roma have also closed the gap on the leaders to just four points.

“What were we lacking to beat Napoli? Just the second goal, as we created quite a few chances.

“We've got to look at what we have achieved so far this season and continue at this level, keeping the top spot within our sights.”

Leonardo: 'It's a strange season'
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo feels this is “an anomalous campaign” with Inter, Milan and Roma all capable of winning the Scudetto.

“This was certainly a chance to prove our football, which is what we did,” he said of the 1-1 with Napoli.

A victory this afternoon would've put them top of the table, but Inter remain one point clear of the Rossoneri and four from Roma.

“We pushed hard and always looked for the victory, going very close. To win the Scudetto we need many things.

“The team again showed it was competitive against a side of great quality and pace. You can win or draw, but I don't think today was going to decide the title.

“I think it is an anomalous campaign. For a long time Inter have been consistently at the top. Milan are bursting back in with the desire to battle and great character. There is a lot of talent in the side, but we often push beyond that with our grit.

“Roma had a fantastic run to get back into the running and are now trying to maintain that level to stay up there. Inter remain the favourites, because they are still in front.”

With Alessandro Nesta and Daniele Bonera injured, the defence ran some huge risks and gave away the opener when Massimo Oddo clattered into Christian Abbiati.

“We have a way of playing that the club likes, the players like and even if we run a few risks, that is our identity and we'll stick to it,” insisted Leonardo.

“Obviously changes to a defence are difficult and we've been forced into them by so many injuries. I think the defence did fairly well today, though admittedly there was some confusion at that moment with Alexandre Pato waiting to come off.”

The young Brazilian striker lasted only 10 minutes before limping off with that recurring muscular problem.

“I don't know what happened to Pato. It's the same leg that he hurt before and he asked to be substituted, so we need to check it out carefully. It's a shame, as this situation is now dragging on for some time.

“He has this muscular pain that irritates him. He was able to train hard for 10 days, with the team for the last three, and he was fine. Today after 10 minutes he felt this twinge and we need to track down what's causing it.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:1 Napoli - match report
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Campagnaro 13 (N), Inzaghi 26 (M)

Milan do not take the leadership after Hugo Campagnaro pounced on a howler to earn a 1-1 at San Siro.

Considering how badly the season was going only a few weeks ago, it's remarkable that a win here would put the Rossoneri top of the table after Inter's 1-1 draw at Palermo last night. Napoli had been in the top four, but now stuttered after two consecutive defeats and not a single victory in seven rounds.

The season is over for David Beckham, Oguchi Onyewu and most likely Alessandro Nesta, who were joined on the treatment table by Massimo Ambrosini and Daniele Bonera. Alexandre Pato returned with Pippo Inzaghi and birthday boy Ronaldinho. The visitors were without Salvatore Aronica, Andrea Dossena and Fabiano Santacroce.

Thiago Silva's angled drive was deflected to flash across the face of goal and Gianluca Grava intercepted Ronaldinho's ball for Inzaghi, but it was Napoli who pounced on an extraordinary howler!

Ezequiel Lavezzi sprung the offside trap to pull back into the centre for Hugo Campagnaro. Christian Abbiati would've got to it, but Massimo Oddo clattered into his goalkeeper to leave a completely empty net!

Milan also lost Pato to yet another injury, making way for Amantino Mancini. It was nearly 2-0, as Mathieu Flamini performed a crucial tackle on Fabio Quagliarella when clear on goal and Abbiati smothered the follow-up.

Napoli were now extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. Lavezzi zipped forward to exchange passes with Christian Maggio, his volley palmed round the base of the near post.

Milan equalised with the veteran Inzaghi in his rare start. A throw-in allowed Ronaldinho to sweep a perfect cross to the back post for Inzaghi's free header, as he had squirmed free from his marker.

Quagliarella got in front of Oddo to nod a Walter Gargano free kick inches wide of the near post, as Abbiati was rooted to the spot. Marek Hamsik and Quagliarella had audacious efforts from distance. Ronaldinho exchanged passes with Oddo for a dipping shot that did not surprise Morgan De Sanctis.

Abbiati flapped meekly at a cross, but was fortunate Leandro Rinaudo could not take advantage of it, partly thanks to Andrea Pirlo on the line to clear.

After the restart Mancini's weak effort failed to trouble De Sanctis, but there was a golden opportunity for Seedorf. His cross-shot flashed all the way across the face of goal, only grazing the legs of both Mancini and Inzaghi!

Ronaldinho's brilliant footwork down the left set up Inzaghi for a toe-poke that De Sanctis beat away with his trailing leg from a couple of yards.

This game was absolutely wide open and Abbiati needed a great reaction save to fly out and smother Quagliarella's volley from point-blank range.

At the other end a very similar incident, as Seedorf threaded through for Mancini and De Sanctis came flying out to parry with his face and chest at the near post.

Campagnaro nodded a free header over, although the offside flag saved his blushes.

In the final minutes De Sanctis fumbled a Pirlo free kick and was fortunate nobody was there to tap in the rebound.

Milan: Abbiati; Oddo (Antonini 62), Thiago Silva, Favalli, Zambrotta; Flamini, Pirlo, Seedorf (Huntelaar 80); Pato (Mancini 14), Ronaldinho; Inzaghi

Napoli: De Sanctis; Grava, Cannavaro, Rinaudo, Campagnaro; Maggio (Dossena 85), Gargano, Pazienza; Hamsik (Denis 88); Lavezzi, Quagliarella (Cigarini 76)

Ref: Bergonzi

You can watch match highlights on Free Soccer Highlights.

Ronaldinho's birthday wish
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ronaldinho turns 30 today and asks for a special birthday gift. “A win and a goal, so Milan can go top of the table. Too much?”

“Inter remain the favourites for the Scudetto, as they have been winning for a long time and are still at the moment in front,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“What do they have more than us? They are at the top of the table. Perhaps Milan have greater motivation, though.

“It has been a long time since we won the title. We want it, chase it, desire it.”

The fact that Inter are the only remaining Serie A side in the Champions League could well affect their fitness in the final stages of the campaign.

“They still have Europe to focus on and many games to be played. It is possible they’ll run out of energy.”

The Nerazzurri have already slowed down considerably with just one win from their last six Serie A games.

Last night they were held to a 1-1 draw at Palermo’s Stadio Barbera.

Galliani: 'Don't mention the title!'
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan could go top this afternoon, but superstitious Vice-President Adriano Galliani tries not to think back to 1999.

Inter’s 1-1 draw with Palermo last night means a victory over Napoli would make the Rossoneri the new Serie A leaders.

“Let’s not talk about it, let’s leave it. We can discuss this next week,” said a superstitious Galliani when pressed on the subject by Sky Sport Italia.

Milan were trailing by double figures only a few weeks ago, so can they stage a similar comeback to the one that saw them pip Lazio to the title in 1999?

“No, I don’t want to hear any analogies to that,” said Galliani. “The only one, maybe, is that this weekend I gave Christian Abbiati a prize to mark his 200th match.

“I reminded him that the first was against Perugia, when he was third choice and bumped up to first. He was instrumental in that Scudetto run.”

Galliani was a little more forthright when asked about a bid for Chievo defender Mario Yepes.

“It’s true there is an interest in him, but he wants to wait until Chievo are safe from the threat of relegation.”

Leonardo: 'Mourinho is courting controversy'
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo hit back at Jose Mourinho’s jibes about Milan closing the gap to one point. “There’s controversy around everything.”

Inter’s lead at the top of the table has been shredded and this week Mourinho hinted that “suspicious” refereeing errors had been responsible.

“It’s a shame that this has turned into the level of a pub argument,” replied Leonardo.

“I hope that soon in Italy we can create a culture of respect and ethics similar to the one in the Champions League. Unfortunately they’re like different worlds.

“Calciopoli means it will take some time, as there is still this culture of suspicion and controversy is stirred up over everything. It would be wise to all calm down a bit and look at the Champions League or World Cup as an example to follow.”

Milan have the opportunity to catch or even leapfrog the leaders this weekend, as they welcome Napoli and Inter travel to Palermo.

“We must be very careful,” said Leo of the game.

“Walter Mazzarri’s side have a very strong run of results, some of them spectacular, and so I don’t believe Napoli are going through a crisis. Even in defeat they still play great football and have so much talent.

“The key will be their defence. If they go with three or four at the back, it’ll change the whole structure of the team.”

Alexandre Pato, Massimo Ambrosini and Marco Borriello should return, although the latter is still in doubt after a flu virus, so Pippo Inzaghi could start.

The comeback from such a huge gap to challenge for the title reminds Leonardo of the 1998-99 campaign, when Milan won the title on the last day despite Lazio’s dominance.

The analogies from that season are visible, as in both years we did not start out aiming to win the Scudetto. In 1999 we started to reconstruct and ended up being competitive for almost the entire season.

“Towards the end we did well to win seven on the trot. In 1999 there was the core of Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban to keep the side afloat. This year we have even more key players who hold the team in place.”

Mazzarri faces AC Milan taboo
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Walter Mazzarri is confident Napoli can break their San Siro taboo against Milan on Sunday afternoon.

The Partenopei have so far lost all five trips to this stadium since President Aurelio De Laurentis took over.

“Milan are one point from the top of the table and this means they are a great squad, but the duel with Inter has nothing to do with us,” said the Coach.

“We will take on this fixture with the utmost determination and will not let ourselves be affected by San Siro, even if the Rossoneri are in good shape.”

Napoli were challenging with Milan for a top four finish up until a few weeks ago, but are without a victory in almost two months and have lost two on the bounce.

“Everything seems to say Milan are the favourites,” added Mazzarri. “We have character and won’t let the atmosphere, prestige of our opponents or pressure of the occasion affect us.”

Fabio Quagliarella was dropped for last week’s 2-1 defeat to Fiorentina, but should be back alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi.

“Fabio looks to be back in great shape and I expect a wonderful performance from him. Pocho will have more tactical freedom than his teammates.”

Beckham writes AC Milan heartfelt letter
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham has written a heartfelt message to his Milan teammates wishing them luck in the coming months.

The 34-year-old suffered a snapped Achiles tendon last weekend and will be out for the remainder of the season, bringing his second loan spell at the club to a premature end.

He flew to Finland earlier this week for an operation and his surgeon confirmed that the England international would unfortunately miss the World Cup.

Milan boss Leonardo received a message from the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star this morning and he chose to read it out at training today.

“To the Coach and to all my friends, I want to wish you good luck for the rest of the season and I hope you bring home the title.

“I would also like to thank all of you for the support and the affection that you all showed after the game against Chievo.

“You really moved me and I know that I have true friends at the club.

“I hope to play with you again and be a part of this wonderful team. Once again thanks for your affection and good luck.

“Ciao, David.”

Berlusconi: AC Milan can catch Inter
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi believes his side can catch Inter and win the Scudetto this season.

The Rossoneri currently lie second in Serie A just a point behind their rivals.

They are back in action on Sunday when Napoli travel to San Siro.

“I believe in the Scudetto,” Berlusconi said during a political meeting.

“The team has to believe in itself until the end. It would be a shame not to do it now.”

Milan are undefeated in eight games in Serie A and have nothing else to play for after being knocked out of the Champions League and the Coppa Italia.

Leonardo's side has been decimated by injuries though.

Alessandro Nesta faces a battle to be fit in time for the last two games of the season, while Alexandre Pato is still possibly a match away from making his return from a thigh problem.

Borriello deepens AC Milan injury crisis
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan suffered a blow earlier today after it emerged that Marco Borriello might miss this weekend's clash with Napoli.

The 27-year-old striker, who has scored nine goals in Serie A this season, was sent home from training this morning with a fever.

His condition will be evaluated again tomorrow, but Leonardo already has enough to worry about with injuries decimating his team.

Alexandre Pato might make his return against Napoli, but there are reservations about whether he should be rushed back from a thigh problem.

Things are beginning to look desperate at Milanello as Thiago Silva is the only recognised centre-back available and will most probably be partnered with Giuseppe Favalli on Sunday.

Leonardo's two first choice full-backs, Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini are also involved in a race to be fit in time for what could be a decisive match in the title race.

Milan are now just one point behind League leaders Inter and need to keep the pressure on if they are to have any chance of winning the Scudetto this season.

Yepes set to join AC Milan
19.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are hoping to tie up a deal for Chievo centre-back Mario Yepes this summer, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Rossoneri are planning on reinforcing their defence ahead of next season, as they are short of numbers at the back.

Milan tried to sign Yepes four years ago when he was playing in France for Paris Saint Germain.

The 34-year-old has spent the last two years in Verona where he is a firm fans' favourite after helping Chievo survive last season.

Yepes has recently started talks with Chievo about a contract extension, alerting Milan to his availability.

La Gazzetta understands that Yepes is flattered by Milan's interest and would like to explore their offer.

He travels to and from Milan every day as his family currently live in the city, so a move to the Rossoneri would obviously suit him for more than just professional reasons.

Del Piero's message to Beckham
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Del Piero hopes to end his London taboo against Fulham and sends a message to David Beckham.

“I am so sad at what happened to Beckham,” wrote the Juventus captain on his official website.

“With two months to the World Cup and in the thick of the Scudetto race, it’s really difficult to come to terms with such a serious injury that in a few seconds takes it all away.

“I am particularly saddened for David because I know him well. He’s a good guy, a great professional and above all someone who is propelled by the unstoppable passion for football and sport.

“This is what allowed him to stay at the top for many years, accepting new challenges and winning them. Dear David, I am convinced this will be another challenge you’ll win.

“Hang in there and good luck. We’ll meet again on the pitch.”

Beckham has been told he won’t play again for six months after tearing the Achilles tendon during Milan’s 1-0 win over Chievo.

Del Piero knows all about serious injuries, as it could be argued he never quite recovered from a devastating knee injury in 1998.

Nesta promises speedy return
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan centre-back Alessandro Nesta is confident that he will be able to play some role in the final part of this season.

The 33-year-old went under the knife on Monday to repair a tendon in his right knee.

It was first thought that we had seen the last of Nesta in 2009-10, but speaking at a clinic in Rome, he is optimistic about his chances returning in just over a month's time.

“Before the operation we thought it would be difficult for me to return before the end of the championship,” Nesta admitted.

“Instead, during the operation we have seen that there was still a piece of tendon attached, so the absence should be shorter.

“Like always, I will now roll up my sleeves and put myself to work,” he concluded.

Milan have something of a crisis in defence at the moment, as Thiago Silva is the only fully fit centre-back aside from utility player Giuseppe Favalli.

Alarm bells ring in AC Milan defence
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alarm bells are ringing in Milan's defence as Thiago Silva is the only player 100 per cent fit for this weekend's clash with Napoli.

Alessandro Nesta, his partner at centre-back, went under the knife on Monday to repair a tendon in his knee. The veteran is expected to be out until the last two games of the season at the very least.

Daniele Bonera has also strained a muscle while Milan's two preferred full-backs Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini are both in a race against time to be fit for Sunday.

The problem for Milan boss Leonardo is the distinct lack of alternatives on the bench.

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands that Gianluca Zambrotta has only just returned from a long spell on the sidelines. Whether he is match fit or not remains to be seen.

Kakha Kaladze has remained on the fringes of the squad ever since he attacked the club earlier this year while Marek Jankulovski is also out for political reasons after refusing to move to Inter during the January transfer window.

Oguchi Onyewu, the American centre-back who was signed from Standard Liege in the summer, was brought in to bolster the squad, but he won't be back until next season after suffering a serious knee injury.

For now, it looks as if Leonardo will have to play Giuseppe Favalli with Thiago Silva until Bonera is back as expected for the trip to Cagliari on April 4.

But if Thiago Silva were to get suspended then the Rossoneri would be in full emergency at this critical juncture of the season.

Official: Beckham out for six months
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that David Beckham will be out of action “for six months” rather than four.

The midfielder underwent surgery after snapping his Achilles tendon during Sunday night’s 1-0 win over Chievo.

Reports initially stated he would be back in action within four months, but the official Milan website has a bleaker view.

“The plan predicts a complete recovery in six months, at the end of which he can return to playing football,” read the update.

“Today Dr. Sakari Orava visited Beckham and everything is going well. The rehabilitation programme starts immediately.

“For the first two weeks the player must not put weight on the injured leg, after which he can partially and progressively do so until the sixth week.

“At that point he can begin specific therapy in the swimming pool.”

Nesta could be back sooner
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan centre-back Alessandro Nesta could be back sooner than expected from knee surgery, according to Professor Pier Paolo Mariani.

The 33-year-old went under the knife yesterday to repair a tendon in his right knee. Mariani also found that Nesta's meniscus was torn.

Speaking after the surgery, which lasted just over an hour, Mariani said: “Nesta will be discharged in a couple of days. He will have to remain immobilised for two weeks with a cast.

“At the end of this period, he will begin a period of re-education and we foresee his re-entry into athletic activity within 30 days.”

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands that Nesta now has a chance of making Milan's final two games of the season against Genoa and Juventus, which could prove crucial to the title race.

“Nesta is a great professional even in recuperation,” Mariani concluded.

AC Milan face battle for Astori
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will face a battle to bring young defender Davide Astori back from Cagliari, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 23-year-old has matured this season and Milan would like him back this summer to replace the veteran Giuseppe Favalli whose contract will not be renewed.

However, Milan sold 50 per cent of his rights to Cagliari for €1.5m at the end of last season and the Sardinian outfit do not intend to let him go without a fight.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has recognised how much Cagliari value Astori and has offered double that figure to obtain full ownership of the player's contract.

However, Cagliari President Massimo Cellino has reportedly turned the bid down.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Cellino said: “I want to keep Astori and I am willing to put €5m on the plate to sign him outright.”

His comments haven't led to a deterioration in the relationship between Cagliari and Milan. The two clubs have an excellent relationship after doing business for Alessandro Matri.

Milan are now expected to raise their offer before the end of the season.

Totti supports Beckham and Nesta
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roma captain Francesco Totti has wished both David Beckham and Alessandro Nesta speedy recoveries following their operations yesterday.

Totti has been pretty much out of action since December after the area around his knee needed cleaning to stop it becoming inflamed.

He has been attending the clinic where Nesta had his knee surgery on Monday.

“It's never nice when the opponents hurt their colleagues, above all when they are great professionals and men who are admired for the work that they do every game and in every move,” Totti said.

“David Beckham and Alessandro Nesta are among these people. They are two players whose worth isn't up for discussion but both have been recently injured.”

Having suffered a serious injury before the 2006 World Cup, Totti had some advice for Beckham.

“They are difficult moments. You want to recover as soon as possible. You only want to wear your colours again, for the club and for the fans, and instead you must be patient.

“I want to send them my best wishes for a speedy recovery. I know very well what they will have to do to get back as soon as possible,” he concluded.

Albertini excited by Serie A
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan ace Demetrio Albertini revealed he did not expect the Serie A season to have such a thrilling finale.

With Inter leading the table, but Milan and Roma following at a short distance, everything is set for a memorable finale.

“I really didn't expect it because Inter are a great team, better equipped than their rivals,” said Albertini.

“But this is the beauty of Serie A. Everything is yet to be decided and there will be really exciting races for the title, qualification to Europe and survival.”

Back in 1999, Albertini won the Scudetto with Milan on the last weekend against Lazio. Despite being a Rossonero, he wishes Inter all the best in Champions League.

“In my opinion the European competition remains the most fascinating,” he added.

“I am sure Inter will give their best and I hope they will make it to the Final.

“It is a pity though that Mario Balotelli will be unable to contribute to their qualification against Chelsea. He is so talented.

“Still I respect the decision of Jose Mourinho.”

Nesta has knee operation
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that their influential defender Alessandro Nesta is undergoing knee surgery at a clinic in Rome.

The 33-year-old tore a tendon in his right knee during training last week and had to decide between going under the knife and playing through the pain barrier.

He visited the Villa Stuart clinic in Rome last week for a consultation with Pier Paolo Mariani who has recently operated on Roma captain Francesco Totti.

A statement released on Milan's official website this morning read: “Every Milan fan is with Sandro Nesta, who is at the Villa Stuart clinic for an operation on his knee, which is being performed by Professor Mariani and Milan doctor Massimo Manara.”

Nesta is expected to be out for just over two months, making it unlikely that he will figure in Milan's final games of the season.

The Rossoneri could really use Nesta at the moment after cutting the gap at the top of Serie A to just one-point with a crucial victory over Chievo on Sunday evening.

AC Milan should forget Dzeko
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ernesto Bronzetti, the Italian football agent who often advises Milan, has warned the Rossoneri off signing Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko.

Milan made the Bosnia international their No 1 transfer target last summer, but having just won the Bundesliga, Wolfsburg didn't feel obliged to sell him.

The 23-year-old is widely expected to leave this summer, but with a number of clubs interested, he is unlikely to come cheap.

“It's an auction,” Bronzetti said. “He'll go to whoever has the means. He is an exceptional centre-forward.”

Mindful of Milan's current policy of spending less, Bronzetti advised them to focus their attention on signing Palermo duo Simon Kjaer and Javier Pastore.

“I recommend Kjaer to the big clubs. As for central midfielders, I recommend Pastore.

“Milan are very close to Inter and anything could happen if they were to win their next few games even if I still see Inter as the favourites for the Scudetto.

“This will be the month of truth,” he concluded.

Capello will wait for Beckham
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

England manager Fabio Capello insists that he will wait for David Beckham ahead of this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

Beckham tore his Achilles tendon while playing against Chievo last night and is now expected to be out for five or six months.

The 34-year-old former England captain will fly to Finland this morning to see Dr Sakari Orava, a specialist in foot injuries.

Beckham had joined Milan on loan from LA Galaxy to play regularly at the highest level so he would remain in contention for a place in Capello's World Cup squad.

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands Capello called Beckham last night.

“I will wait for the test results,” Capello told the pink paper. “I wished him a speedy recovery.”

Asked about Beckham's prospects of making the World Cup, he said: “I will wait for him.”

Galliani: 'Beckham can stay with AC Milan next year'
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has told David Beckham that he is welcome to return to the club next season.

The former England captain suffered a snapped Achilles tendon against Chievo last night and now looks set to miss the World Cup in South Africa.

Beckham will fly to Finland this morning where he will meet a specialist, but his spell on the sidelines is likely to be six months.

Quoted in La Repubblica, Galliani reportedly told Sky Italia: “He will probably be out for five or six months.

“I have seen him suffering. I embraced him in the dressing room and told him that if he wants, he can also be with us next year.

“These incidents blur the joy of victory. Beckham has come to Milan to get Capello to call him up.

“Unfortunately, this is football, but David has a great strength of character.”

Asked about Beckham's specialist, Galliani said: “He is a luminary in his field.”

Beckham out for six months
15.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham will fly to Finland for surgery on his Achilles tendon and “be out for five or six months,” confirmed Milan.

The England star is out of the World Cup after tearing the tendon in his left leg during the 1-0 win over Chievo.

“He will probably be out for five or six months,” explained Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani on Sky Italia television.

“I saw him in real pain, he was suffering. In the locker room I hugged him and assured if he wants to, he can stay with us next season.”

Beckham is set to fly out to Finland for surgery with Dr Sakari Orava, “a leading specialist in this field,” on Monday or Tuesday.

Orava has already performed operations on athletes such as Didier Deschamps, Josep Guardiola, Haile Gebrselassie and Merlene Ottey.

It is the second massive blow for Milan in a few days, as Alessandro Nesta’s season is also over after tearing a tendon in his knee.

“These are two world class players,” continued Galliani. “Beckham came to Milan in order to be called up by Fabio Capello for the World Cup.

“Unfortunately this is football, but Beckham has immense mental strength.”

Considering he turns 35 in May, this could even be a career-ending injury for the midfielder who is on loan from LA Galaxy.

Season over for Beckham
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham’s season is over and he’ll probably miss the World Cup after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

The England star twisted his left ankle strangely during the final minutes of Milan’s 1-0 win over Chievo this evening.

He limped heavily off the field and was stretchered off in evident pain and above all in tears.

“He understood straight away that it was a serious problem and he said so immediately. It’s such a great shame,” said Leonardo.

“This injury has been a heavy blow for him and for us. Unfortunately the party is ruined.”

He will not be able to play for Milan again this season and it is extremely unlikely that Beckham will recover in time for the World Cup in South Africa.

Game on, says Seedorf!
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf assures Milan “will fight for the Scudetto to the bitter end” with rivals Inter.

His 91st minute screamer beat Chievo 1-0 this evening and put the Rossoneri within a point of the Serie A leaders.

“I am very happy because it was really tough tonight,” confessed the Dutch midfielder.

“We played to win, although Chievo made it difficult for us at every turn. We made an important step to close the gap and now Inter know we are only a point away.”

It was a much-needed boost after Wednesday’s 4-0 Champions League humiliation by Manchester United.

“This team knows how to react to difficulty and admittedly seeing Inter lose 3-1 at Catania on Friday helped us to shake off the Champions League hangover.

“We will fight to the bitter end for the Scudetto. Next week we take on a tough side like Napoli, but must continue pushing and things will get very interesting at the top of the table.”

Milan face a difficult test next weekend, but so do Inter, who visit fourth-placed Palermo at the Stadio Barbera.

Di Carlo: 'Chievo deserved more'
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mimmo Di Carlo feels Chievo “deserved more” from this game, but gave credit to Milan for getting the win with 10 men.

The Flying Donkeys had arguably had the better chances and even had a goal controversially ruled offside in the first half, but capitulated to Clarence Seedorf’s stoppage-time stunner.

“I am pleased that the team reacted after last week’s defeat to Bari. I was interested in the performance and on that front we delivered with tempo and aggression,” said the Coach.

“The result does not provide the just reward for the efforts of my squad. In the first half especially we had more chances than they did, so Milan had a bit of luck and also quality.

“Seedorf’s goal was extraordinary, it’s one of those strikes that makes this sport so wonderful to watch.”

The Rossoneri were down to 10 men by that point, as David Beckham had limped off with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“We have to also compliment Milan, as they believed even with 10 men and went looking for their luck at the end. We remain happy with our own performance.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:0 Chievo - match report
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Seedorf 91 (M)

Clarence Seedorf's stoppage-time screamer beat Chievo to put Milan within a point of the leaders, but David Beckham has a potentially serious injury.

It was an odd week for the Rossoneri, who were humiliated 4-0 at Manchester United, but here had the chance to move within a point of leaders Inter. Alessandro Nesta has been ruled out for the season with a torn knee tendon, joining Alexandre Pato, Daniele Bonera, Luca Antonini and Oguchi Onyewu on the treatment table. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was shelved, so David Beckham completed the trident attack and Giuseppe Favalli stepped in at centre-back.

Chievo's Nicolas Frey was suspended with Elvis Abbruscato and Fabio Moro injured. In the opening 30 seconds Sergio Pellissier was incorrectly flagged offside when one-on-one with Christian Abbiati. Ronaldinho's deflected strike whistled wide of the near post.

Beckham got a nasty cut to his cheek when Giampiero Pinzi didn't see him coming up behind him and went to hoof the ball, scratching him with his studs.

Marco Borriello had penalty appeals for a challenge just inside the box, but he challenged Mantovani to win back the ball and then couldn't get to the Beckham pass because their legs were still entangled, so not really a foul.

Andrea Pirlo's free kick dipped over the bar and Beckham's curler was deflected for a corner.

Milan created a great chance on 24 minutes when Borriello was leaning back to get his header on Beckham's cross, forcing Stefano Sorrentino to flap it off the line with two touches.

Davide Mandelli received an inevitable booking for hauling back Borriello's jersey as he launched a counter-attack. From that free kick, Ronaldinho got it through Luciano's legs to whizz past the base of the near post.

Christian Abbiati smothered a De Paula strike, but a poor clearance at the other end landed to Ambrosini, whose shot flashed across the face of goal.

Chievo had the best chance of the game so far, as a long Pinzi cross found a towering Mantovani header at the back post that looped over Abbiati and thumped the crossbar.

The Flying Donkeys put the ball in the net on the stroke of half-time when Abbiati parried a Pinzi snapshot into the path of Yepes to tap in, but he was flagged for an extremely close offside position.

Ignazio Abate had picked up an injury just beforehand and limped off to make way for Massimo Oddo, adding to the crisis at the back.

Milan were still thoroughly uninspired and sluggish after the restart, as Ronaldinho's header was well wide.

Chievo tore their defence apart when Pellissier broke the offside trap and Abbiati came tearing out, missing the ball, but he did enough to force the striker wide and allow Thiago Silva to get back for a goalline clearance.

Borriello's shot was charged down, but on 56 minutes Ronaldinho curled a wonderful right-foot effort round the defender to crack against the far post with Sorrentino beaten.

Pippo Inzaghi replaced Gennaro Gattuso and a weak Borriello shot was smothered after more good work from Dinho, who until this stage had been anonymous.

Chievo were still in it too, as De Paula drilled just wide from 20 metres out. Pinzi had a free header from eight yards, but couldn't keep it on target in a wasted opportunity.

Luciano's volley flashed across the face of goal, then Oddo's poor clearance gave Marcolini a chance that Abbiati smothered at the near post.

Inzaghi went very close to opening the scoring, as he dribbled between two defenders and the ball got away from him when in the six-yard box under pressure from the goalkeeper.

Luciano again drilled wide after bursting through the static defence, while Simone Bentivoglio just failed to get the decisive touch on a ball across the box.

Borriello knocked the ball down for Ronaldinho, but he dragged it wide of the near post from a very promising position.

On 83 minutes Ronaldinho flicked the ball over the top for Beckham, who scuffed the shot and allowed Sorrentino to smother at his feet.

Milan kept pushing and Inzaghi got past his marker down the right channel only for the angled drive to take a deflection from a last-gasp challenge.

However, they effectively went down to 10 men, as Beckham limped heavily off the field with three minutes to go and all the substitutions completed. He seemed to pull up when twisting strangely and has a suspected left ankle problem.

Another last-ditch sliding tackle from Morero cut off Inzaghi as he was pulling the trigger after shrugging off Yepes.

It looked like they couldn't find a way through, but in stoppages Clarence Seedorf unleashed a screamer from the right side that flew across the face of goal and into the far top corner. The Dutchman smashed the right-foot strike to kickstart the Scudetto race.

Chievo desperately poured forward and Abbiati got down to block an Ariatti effort. Ronaldinho nearly got a second with a mazy run and his shot parried at the near post for a corner with practically the last kick of the game.

Milan: Abbiati; Abate (Oddo 44), Favalli, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta; Gattuso (Inzaghi 57), Pirlo (Seedorf 78), Ambrosini; Beckham, Borriello, Ronaldinho

Chievo: Sorrentino; Sardo, Mandelli (Morero 79), Yepes, Mantovani; Luciano, Rigoni, Marcolini (Bentivoglio 79); Pinzi; Pellissier, De Paula (Ariatti 72)

Ref: Morganti

You can watch match highlights on Free Soccer Highlights.

Di Carlo hopes for Euro AC Milan
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Chievo Coach Mimmo Di Carlo hopes to see the same Milan side that struggled so badly at Old Trafford.

“We will try to get a result, seeing as we have never beaten Milan before,” said the Flying Donkeys boss.

“To do that we need Chievo to be at 100 per cent, hoping that Milan are not. We must be efficient, fast and for luck to go our way.”

There could be a psychological setback for the Rossoneri after their 4-0 thrashing at Manchester United this week knocked them out of the Champions League.

“I expect them to be angry, fired up and ready to pour all their energy into Serie A, as they must do now. They’ll really have a point to prove.

“Milan have immense quality, experience and the ability to handle difficult times. Setting aside the game at Old Trafford, I haven’t seen them playing badly recently at all.

“Here’s hoping we see Milan at 70 per cent of their capabilities, while Chievo play at 150 per cent!”

Milan also have injuries to contend with, as they are missing Alessandro Nesta, Alexandre Pato, Oguchi Onyewu, Luca Antonini and Amantino Mancini.

Chievo are without Elvis Abbruscato, Davide Moro and the suspended Nicolas Frey, but welcome back Luciano, Mario Yepes and Michele Marcolini.

Coach Di Carlo also returns to the touchline after sitting out a ban under new rules barring blasphemous swearing.

“It takes common sense and balance with these rules. In any case, I’m glad to be back on the bench,” said the tactician.

Chievo squad: Miskiewicz, Sorrentino, Squizzi, Jokic, Mandelli, Mantovani, Sardo, Morero, Yepes, Ariatti, Pinzi, Iori, Bentivoglio, Luciano, Marcolini, Rigoni, Bogdani, Granoche, De Paula, Pellissier

Official: Season over for Nesta
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta will go under the knife on Monday and his season is effectively over, confirmed Milan.

The defender discovered a torn tendon in his right knee and the club had given itself 48 hours to decide whether he’d have surgery or go for a riskier operation-free treatment.

“Nesta will undergo surgery on Monday March 15. The operation will be performed by Professor Mariani,” read the official statement.

It means that the 33-year-old will take around two months to recover, effectively ending the current campaign as far as he is concerned.

This also ruins Marcello Lippi’s hopes of talking him out of international retirement for the World Cup in South Africa.

There is more bad news for the Rossoneri, as Daniele Bonera limped off at half-time in their 4-0 Champions League defeat with Manchester United.

Tests have confirmed a strain in the thigh muscle of his left leg and “the prognosis is of 10-15 days.”

Luca Antonini, Alexandre Pato, Amantino Mancini and Oguchi Onyewu are also out of Sunday night’s game with Chievo.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Abate, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Oddo, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Beckham, Flamini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Adiyiah, Borriello, Huntelaar, Inzaghi, Ronaldinho.

Berlusconi angry over Nesta injury
14.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi is reportedly furious after Alessandro Nesta’s knee injury, which could’ve been avoided.

The defender discovered a tear in the tendon of his knee and noted it “probably happened in two incidents, initially with Atalanta and then against Roma it was the final straw.”

Despite this, he flew to Manchester and only pulled out of the match with United the day before their Champions League clash.

Now it is very likely Nesta will require surgery that’ll rule him out for the rest of the season, but medical staff suggest it could’ve been avoided.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, President Berlusconi called knee specialist Professor Mariani and discovered more in-depth tests would have spotted the problem, preventing it from getting to this stage.

Milan have often declared their Milan Lab is state of the art, but the spate of recent long-term injuries for Nesta, Alexandre Pato, Gianluca Zambrotta and Massimo Oddo have put the medical staff under scrutiny.

Leonardo must reshuffle to construct a defence for Sunday night’s game with Chievo, as Nesta, Daniele Bonera and Luca Antonini are out of action.

Veterans Giuseppe Favalli and Zambrotta should make their comebacks.

48 hours to decide Nesta's fate
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The next 48 hours will decide whether Alessandro Nesta has surgery for a torn knee tendon, confirmed Milan.

The defender picked up the injury the day before their 4-0 drubbing at Manchester United and scans revealed it to be serious.

“AC Milan announce that decisions regarding the therapeutic options for Nesta will be made within the next 48 hours,” read a statement.

The 33-year-old could go under the knife, which would require a two-month lay-off and effectively end the season for him.

Another alternative is to work on strengthening the knee and that would keep him out for four to six weeks.

However, there are no guarantees the treatment without surgery would completely resolve the problem.

The Rossoneri medical staff are said to be heartened by the fact Nesta is walking around without the aid of crutches.

Nesta tears knee tendon
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan centre-back Alessandro Nesta has revealed that a tendon in his knee has been torn after a scan this morning.

The 33-year-old injured himself in training before Wednesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.

His knee swelled up and at first it was thought he had torn the meniscus.

However, further tests conducted at Rome's Villa Stuart today showed that he has in fact torn the popliteo tendon in his right knee.

Speaking outside the clinic, Nesta said: “I have a torn tendon. We will judge whether to operate or undergo a conservative course of therapy.

“This tear probably happened in two different games and for this reason I will stop and evaluate whether to have an operation or not.

“Perhaps I will manage to play again before the end of the season if I have the operation,” he concluded.

Hernanes flirts with move to Italy
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sao Paulo's star midfielder Hernanes wouldn't say no to a move to either Juventus or Inter, according to his agent.

The 24-year-old, who has been likened to Andrea Pirlo, looks set to move to Europe this summer despite Sao Paulo's attempts to keep him.

The Brazilian outfit rejected big money bids from Barcelona and CSKA Moscow last year, leaving Hernanes frustrated.

He has also been linked with Milan.

“It's obvious that no player would ever say no to teams of Juve's and Inter's calibre,” Augusto Pena explained.

“However, the important thing at the end of the day is that there is a club willing to satisfy Sao Paulo's demands, which should be around €15m.”

Tuttosport understands that such a figure might be beyond Juventus's reach.

Galliani: 'Berlusconi loves AC Milan'
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has denied claims that Silvio Berlusconi is growing tired of owning the club.

Berlusconi apparently turned off the TV on Wednesday night when Milan went behind against Manchester United.

Speaking outside the Lega Calcio's offices this morning, Galliani said: “I read about it in the newspapers. He is in love with this team.”

Galliani also rejected talk of Leonardo leaving Milan at the end of the season to then take over Brazil following the World Cup.

“It's new to me. We hope not, but he has a contract with Milan.”

Finally, Galliani outlined what the Rossoneri's objectives are this season now that they are out of the Champions League.

“Our objective is the championship. The Champions League is now behind us.

"Now we want to do well thanks to the support of our fans who did not even protest at our performance against Man United. They were great,” he concluded.

Nesta injury adds to AC Milan woes
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta’s knee problem could be serious, adding to an injury crisis for Milan’s defence against Chievo.

The veteran pulled out of last night’s 4-0 Champions League defeat with a problem in his right knee and will see specialist Professor Mariani at the Villa Stuart clinic on Friday.

“I fear Nesta’s injury could be serious,” confessed Coach Leonardo.

Reports of the problem suggest either the meniscus ligament or a trauma to the kneecap itself.

He will certainly miss out on Sunday’s Serie A match with Chievo, as will three quarters of the Milan defence.

Luca Antonini was also in the stands at Old Trafford with a recurring thigh strain, while Daniele Bonera limped off at half-time with a calf problem.

Alexandre Pato was hoping to recover from his thigh strain in time for the Manchester United game, but instead his return is put back even further and he won’t train with the team until next week.

This leaves very few options for Leonardo, who can bring back Gianluca Zambrotta from a long injury lay-off.

Giuseppe Favalli is expected to partner Thiago Silva in central defence.

Atletico Mardid consider Huntelaar bid
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Atletico Madrid are giving serious thought to a bid for Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar this summer, according to the Spanish Press.

The 26-year-old Dutch international has been on the fringes of the Milan side this season, and while his goal to game ratio is very good, his performances against Manchester United in the Champions League have been heavily criticised.

Huntelaar was given a four in La Gazzetta dello Sport's ratings this morning and his exit this summer now seems increasingly likely.

Marca understands that Atletico have drawn up a short list of players capable of boosting their options up front this season.

Huntelaar's name is listed among those of Giuseppe Rossi and Roberto Soldado.

There was a great deal of interest in the former Ajax starlet during the January transfer window, mostly from Tottenham and Stuttgart, but Milan rejected claims that they were looking to sell him.

Some feel the Rossoneri will look to use him as collateral in the summer, possibly part exchanging him with Wolfsburg for Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko plus cash.

Costacurta dreams of replacing Leonardo
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta has revealed that it's his dream to replace Leonardo at San Siro.

The former centre-back was a member of Carlo Ancelotti's coaching staff two years ago and then had a brief spell in charge of Mantova.

While making his intentions clear, Billy was also keen to point out that he thinks Milan made the right decision in appointing Leonardo last summer.

Speaking to Il Sole 24 Ore, he said: “My relationship with Milan has always been great, so much so that I went to Rome to watch the lads play and travelled back to Milan with them later.

“Let's say that it's my dream to be Leonardo's successor. Naturally when he's won at least two Champions League titles.”

Asked to give his opinion of Milan's season, he added: “If they had not lost important points at the beginning of the season, Milan would have been even more competitive.

“But the coaching change, the cuts imposed by Galliani and the decision to hire Leonardo have all been very shrewd moves. As usual when Galliani takes a decision, he doesn't get it wrong. In short, Milan can still believe.”

Juventus join race for Hernanes
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus are looking to reinforce their midfield this summer with the signing of Sao Paulo's highly rated young star Hernanes.

The 24-year-old has already been linked with Milan and is looking to move to Europe at the end of this season.

Sao Paulo have turned down bids from Barcelona and CSKA Moscow in the past, testing Hernanes' patience.

He is expected to fetch around €20m, a figure that may price him out of Juventus' budget after last year's spending spree.

Tuttosport understands that the versatile No 10, who has been compared with Andrea Pirlo, is a key part of Juventus's reconstruction process.

The Bianconeri are preparing to make wholesale changes at the end of the season, as Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli looks set to replace Alberto Zaccheroni on the club's bench.

Galliani' 'I knew we'd lose'
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani admits he knew they'd lose when injuries piled up yesterday, but attacked Italy's finances.

“I knew it was going to go badly yesterday afternoon. We had taken Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Luca Antonini in the squad, but all three of them pulled out with injuries on Tuesday,” he said of the 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

“Without such important players and taking on a Manchester United side of such quality, it was always going to be extremely difficult.

“I don't think it will affect our Serie A form. Leonardo already did very well in the locker room to reassure the players.”

With Fiorentina and Milan's exit from the Champions League and Inter facing a tough test with Chelsea next week, Italy risks losing its fourth berth in the competition to the Bundesliga.

“The problem is the stadiums. Other nations had tournaments recently and revamped their arenas, as it changes the type of fan you get and the income,” insisted Galliani.

“Unfortunately in Italy the councils still own the stadiums and insist on keeping it that way. I wish I'd made this statement after a win and not a 4-0 defeat, as the point remains the same. We need to revamp the stadiums. I don't know how long it will take.

“We have remained the same, it's everyone else who has changed. Just think that in Bologna, Bergamo and several others we still have stadiums from the 1920s with open stands and nobody for some reason is allowed to change them.

“If Milan had 100m Euros more per season then we'd build a squad like this, too.”

Galliani has repeatedly called for changes to the structure of Italian football, starting from clubs building their own stadiums and the individual sale of television rights.

“Real Madrid and Barcelona buy everyone because they do not have to share the income from their television rights, whereas in Italy we have to spread the wealth with the smaller clubs.”

Van Der Sar: 'Early goal the key'
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Edwin Van Der Sar feels Milan had no chance after Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United the early lead.

“The first goal was the turning point, as after that Milan had to score three at Old Trafford and that is very difficult,” the goalkeeper told Italian television RAI.

“We are organised in defence and also strong up front. Milan had some chances in the first half, so we are happy to be in the next round.”

The Rossoneri would always have had problems turning around the 3-2 home defeat from the first leg.

“We discussed Milan, but the manager said it was more important the way we played. We needed to keep the tempo high for the first 15 minutes especially and that is how we broke through, making it very difficult for them.”

Rooney has scored 30 goals this season in all competition and it seems as if Manchester United have only got stronger since selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

“We play differently now. Milan also lost Kaka, another exceptional player, but Rooney has done better than last season and scored four against Milan.

“He even got three headers in the two ties despite not being very tall, so timing is crucial. Rooney has specific characteristics.

“I've played with Zinedine Zidane, Pippo Inzaghi and Ronaldo, but he has an immense hunger for football and wants to do everything in every game.”

Leonardo: 'Psychological defeat'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo gave credit to Manchester United and confessed “the psychological aspect” was crucial in Milan's collapse.

“I think there are many things to analyse and it's not the right time. Apart from the fact the first half could've been a different result, but it was a clear victory for Manchester tonight and that is obvious,” he said of the 4-0 defeat, 7-2 on aggregate.

“We knew it took an incredible performance to overturn the first leg, but Manchester United got off to a very strong start and scored an early goal.

“This match was strongly affected by the psychological approach of the two teams. I don't think it can affect us in Serie A, as the team is very mature and we will discuss it between ourselves.

“This side has done some great things this season, including in the Champions League, and we are doing very well in Serie A with a four-point gap from the lead. I think we should consider this match for what it is and that goes for the first leg too.”

It was always going to be tough to overturn a 3-2 home defeat, but it became even trickier once Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta and Luca Antonini were ruled out through injury.

“In all honesty, straight after the home game I had a strong belief, as the way we played was very good, aside from the result,” maintained Leonardo.

“Here the game started in a strange way and we were faced with a team on a great night with real talent who expressed themselves. The 4-0 has to be tied to the fact we needed three goals and so the belief drained out of us.

“We cannot deny that the Champions League was one of our targets. This is a heavy defeat against one of the main contenders for the title and are in great shape right now.”

With Pato absent, Leonardo opted for the same trident attack of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Marco Borriello and Ronaldinho that played in the 0-0 at Roma.

“I chose my line-up for Roma, but we also had in mind to experiment something that could be useful this evening. We needed to score early, get back from a deficit and make a real impact without Pato.

“I don't think it was a tactical issue tonight, as many things happened over the last couple of days that affected our preparation.”

He also explained why Clarence Seedorf replaced Daniele Bonera at half-time, mere seconds before Wayne Rooney scored his second.

“We were losing 1-0 and knew we had to score three. I introduced Seedorf, who is not fit to play 90 minutes yet, to push the team up. Bonera got an injury, so he had to be one of them and I opted to put Massimo Ambrosini in defence so we wouldn't lose any more substitutions.”

Leonardo was treated to a glass of wine after the final whistle by Sir Alex Ferguson.

“Obviously for the man who lost the wine will taste a little more bitter. Unfortunately it's football and one wins, one loses, but friendship, fair play and recognising the qualities of the other team is important.”

Beckham thanks Old Trafford
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

David Beckham thanked the Old Trafford supporters for giving him a warm welcome on his first game back in seven years.

The former Manchester United star came off the bench during Milan's 4-0 Champions League defeat this evening.

“It's a disappointing night because we lost the game but coming back here is always special,” said Beckham.

“I got an absolutely incredible reception from the United fans, and I have to say thank you.”

He had not stepped on to this pitch since his last appearance for United on May 3 2003.

Champions League: Manchester United 4:0 (7:2) AC Milan - match report
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Rooney 13, 46 (MU), Park 60 (MU), Fletcher 87 (MU)

Milan are out of the Champions League after Wayne Rooney's brace sparked a comprehensive 4-0 defeat by Manchester United. Decimated by injuries, it was one-way traffic at Old Trafford and equals their worst ever Champions League loss.

The Rossoneri tried to keep their confidence up, but it was almost Mission: Impossible at Old Trafford. Unlucky to lose the first leg 3-2 on home turf, they lost Alexandre Pato and Alessandro Nesta to injury, while David Beckham was on the bench for his first trip here since his final appearance on May 3 2003. Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini got the nod with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the trident attack. Manchester welcomed back Wayne Rooney, but Wes Brown, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, John O'Shea, Michael Owen and the suspended Michael Carrick were out.

United had never lost a European home match by more than a one-goal margin. Rooney scored twice in the first leg and drilled wide in the opening minutes after Antonio Valencia dispossessed Marek Jankulovski.

Gary Neville fired over, as it was clear United wanted to get an early goal and put the tie beyond doubt. However, on eight minutes Milan went close too, as Andrea Pirlo's free kick was flicked on by Nani and Ronaldinho nodded it inches wide.

Moments later, Huntelaar's first touch let him down on a smart Thiago Silva ball over the top. Christian Abbiati palmed a swerving Nani effort round the near post when it was probably going wide anyway.

Rooney remarkably scored two headers at San Siro and he struck again at Old Trafford. Neville came down the right and placed a cross for Rooney's glancing header into the far bottom corner.

It meant Milan now needed to score three goals and that they had conceded in their last 12 European games, a new club record. Edwin Van Der Sar spilled a Pirlo strike, but Marco Borriello was unable to get on the loose ball.

Flamini's shot was charged down, but the belief had visibly drained from the Rossoneri, who couldn't raise the tempo. Darren Fletcher thumped a snapshot wide when given far too much room on the edge of the box.

Clarence Seedorf came on for the second half in place of Bonera, so Ambrosini went into centre-back. It was a risky move from Leonardo and failed immediately.

Within a minute of the restart Rooney had scored again with his 30th of the campaign, his fourth past Milan. Nani intercepted a pass in midfield and rolled it across the box for Rooney to prod past the on-rushing Abbiati into an empty net.

Ignazio Abate sprung the offside trap on a Pirlo pass, but Huntelaar turned the header well over from six yards.

Abbiati flapped a Nani cross away from the waiting Valencia, but Ji-Sung Park scored a third with an angled drive from close range after a Paul Scholes through ball. It is only the third time Milan have conceded six in a two-legged tie, the others in the 1959-60 Champions Cup against Barcelona and the 1972-73 European Super Cup with Ajax.

Beckham was introduced once the tie was long over, replacing full-back Abate. He earned a warm welcome with cheers from the fans who chanted his name and Becks seemed visibly moved. Rooney and Neville were also given an early rest, while Pippo Inzaghi came on for the ineffective Borriello.

Flamini drilled a sudden screamer from 25 metres that took a deflection off Inzaghi to trouble Van Der Sar, but the veteran goalkeeper stuck out a foot to parry.

Ronaldinho's sliding tackle on Rafael earned him a yellow card and he will be suspended for Milan's next European match, which will be in 2010-11.

Beckham's fierce volley from outside the box forced a tough save out of Van Der Sar, as it was heading under the bar. The former Juventus goalkeeper also smothered a Huntelaar effort.

Substitute Darren Gibson blasted over from Valencia's assist, but United made it 4-0 in the final minutes. A long Rafael ball over the top for Fletcher totally unmarked at the back post to nod past a stranded Abbiati. It matched Milan's worst ever result in Europe after a 4-0 at Deportivo La Coruna in 2003-04.

The Rossoneri could've had a consolation goal in stoppages, but Beckham's cross whipped past everyone, only grazing Inzaghi's knee.
Manchester United: Van Der Sar; Neville (Rafael 66), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Scholes (Gibson 72), Park; Valencia, Nani; Rooney (Berbatov 66)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate (Beckham 64), Bonera, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski; Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Huntelaar, Borriello (Inzaghi 68), Ronaldinho

Ref: Busacca (Swi)

For match highlights check out Free Soccer Highlights.

Pato and Nesta in stands
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Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta and Alexandre Pato aren’t even on the bench for Milan, but Mathieu Flamini is preferred to David Beckham.

The Rossoneri face the arduous task of overturning a 3-2 home defeat from the first leg and have several injury problems to deal with too.

Pato has not recovered from a thigh strain in time to start, while Nesta was also struggling with a meniscus twinge.

It is Beckham’s first return to Old Trafford as an opponent since he left the club in 2003, but he is again dropped to the bench, where he has been ever since the first leg.

Former Arsenal midfielder Flamini wins the battle with Gennaro Gattuso to be in the starting XI.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar completes the trident attack with Ronaldinho and Marco Borriello, while Daniele Bonera moves to centre-back for Nesta.

Manchester United are pleased to welcome back Rooney, who bagged a brace of headers at San Siro in the first leg, after recovering from his knee problem.

Wes Brown broke a bone in his foot and will be out for four to six weeks, joining the injured John O’Shea, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and Anderson.

Michael Carrick is suspended following his red card in the first leg.

Manchester United: Van Der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Scholes, Park; Valencia, Nani; Rooney
Manchester United bench: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Rafael, Evans, Obertan, Gibson, Diouf

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski; Flamini, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Huntelaar, Borriello, Ronaldinho
Milan bench: Dida, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Seedorf, Zambrotta, Favalli, Beckham

Ronaldinho's World Cup confidence
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Source: Football Italia

Ronaldinho is confident that he can win back his place in the Brazil squad for the World Cup. “I can even play in midfield.”

The Milan star will take to the field in tonight’s Champions League clash with Manchester United.

He has recently been snubbed by Seleçao boss Carlos Dunga, who also dropped teammate Alexandre Pato.

“If I continue to play well with Milan, then I will be part of the squad,” assured Ronaldinho on a Brazilian radio station.

“My objective is to prove I’m going through a good period of form and can help Brazil in the World Cup.

“Since the age of 15 I have never had an entire season without wearing the gold jersey of the Seleçao.

“In some cases I was even able to wear the captain’s armband. I always try to give my best for Brazil.”

Dinho is even willing to accept compromises in order to make it to South Africa this summer.

“I have no problems playing in midfield and have already done so. I just need a few days of training to get used to the role.

“My objective is to take part in both this summer’s edition and the next World Cup in Brazil. I am very optimistic and only think positive.”

Nesta in doubt for AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Milan are sweating on the fitness of Alessandro Nesta ahead of this evening's all-important clash with Manchester United.

The 33-year-old centre-back, who has been back to his best this season, is concerned at the rate his knee has swelled up since yesterday's flight to Manchester.

The Rossoneri's medical staff believes it could be a problem with his meniscus and may recommend that he sit out this evening's second leg at Old Trafford.

If Nesta becomes unavailable, Leonardo will move Daniele Bonera into the centre of defence where he will partner Thiago Silva.

Marek Jankulovski and Ignazio Abate will be his full-backs.

Milan need to win by two clear goals if they are to overturn a 3-2 deficit recorded in the first leg at San Siro.

Pato 'unlikely to make it'
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Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato “is unlikely to make it” against Manchester United, admits Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

The Brazilian is a major doubt after pulling a thigh muscle 10 days ago, but is in the squad travelling to Old Trafford.

“I don't want to be the kind of director who gives the line-up the day before, but I think Pato is unlikely to make it,” confessed Galliani.

“In that case I think that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Marco Borriello and Ronaldinho will play.”

That trio started in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Roma, only the latest game in which David Beckham has been dropped to the bench.

Gennaro Gattuso was suspended for that Serie A match, so will he return or will it be Mathieu Flamini?

“Leonardo will resolve the enigma. I can certainly say that on the right we have Beckham, the great Gattuso and Flamini who did very well on Saturday. We have three options.”

The Rossoneri lost the first leg 3-2 on home turf, so winning away to Manchester United is a very tough ask indeed.

“Is it impossible? We believe that we can play our game,” insisted Galliani.

“At least this was the sensation we had after our performance in the first leg. We lost, but undeservedly so and played better than Manchester United.”

Leonardo: 'Victory is not impossible'
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Source: Football Italia

Leonardo has told Milan “victory is not impossible. We believe” in an Old Trafford miracle, but hints David Beckham could be benched.

The Rossoneri lost the first leg 3-2 on home turf and must win at least 2-0 to knock out Manchester United tomorrow evening.

Beckham started that match against his former club, but ever since has missed out on the initial XI.

“Beckham always gives football something very special, whether he is on the field or not,” said the Coach.

“Having him available at any moment of the match is important. I also realise more than ever that in this stadium he is seen as an icon.”

If Alexandre Pato recovers in time to start, then it is very likely Beckham will be left out.

“My confidence in tomorrow’s game comes from our recent performances and how we already played in the first leg at San Siro. I don’t think Manchester United will change much from that tie.

“We need an important result at Old Trafford and so the psychological aspect will be crucial. It’s not easy to prepare a game like this, but we have different alternatives and will try to make the most of them.”

Milan had done very well for the opening hour of the first leg, but did not translate that into goals and fell apart when Wayne Rooney scored twice in quick succession.

“There is no anger about that game and obviously we must distinguish emotions from logic,” continued Leonardo.

“The sensation was positive from the performance and there can be some regret, but the logic dictates we can repeat the good things we did in that game.

“I would like to repeat in its entirety the match in 2007 when it ended 3-0 for Milan, as that was called ‘the perfect game.’ However, that was a completely different situation, especially as we were playing at home.”

Brown misses AC Milan, but Rooney fit
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Source: Football Italia

Wayne Rooney has been passed fit to face Milan, but Manchester United lose Wes Brown for several weeks.

The striker scored twice at San Siro and has been struggling with fitness levels lately, rested for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wolves.

24-year-old Rooney took part in training on Tuesday and is fit to take on Milan at Old Trafford tomorrow night.

"He was extremely doubtful, but he's shown a rapid improvement since Saturday morning and he's okay," revealed Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, defender Brown is out of action for some time after breaking a bone in his foot.

"Unfortunately Wes has had a career blighted by long term injuries and he's got another one.

“He's broken a bone in his foot and will be out for four to six weeks. I hope we can get him back for some of the season."

Michael Carrick will also miss out due to a ban, while Ryan Giggs is recuperating from injury.

Rafael relishes Ronaldinho battle
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Source: Football Italia

Manchester United's young Brazilian full-back Rafael says he is looking forward to playing against Ronaldinho on Wednesday night.

The 19-year-old struggled to cope with Ronie in the first leg in Milan a fortnight ago, but is once again tasked with keeping him quiet.

'It was a great privilege for me. It made me feel that the manager really trusts me by giving me the opportunity to play in this type of match,” Rafael said.

“It's a great feeling knowing that the manager believes in my ability to play at this level.

“Last year I had a lot of good opportunities to play in the first team, so I was frustrated earlier this season to be injured.

“I thought that I would have a big chance to try to play in the team a lot this year. But now I am back playing in good shape.”

United have a 3-2 aggregate lead from the first leg and remain the favourites to progress to the Quarter-Finals.

Galliani has confidence in AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani believes his side has what it takes to beat Manchester United tomorrow evening.

The odds are stacked against the Rossoneri as they have to overturn a 3-2 deficit from a fortnight ago.

“I believe that we can do it. Elsewhere this year, we have already won in Marseille and at Real Madrid who finished top of the group,” Galliani explained.

“Sure if we had beaten Zurich, we would have met Lyon and perhaps it would have been simpler.

“In Rome at the weekend, we weren't intimidated by a sold out stadium and kept things in hand for the majority of the game.”

Finally, he reiterated just how important it is for a club like Milan to win the Champions League.

“There are 52 or 53 Leagues in Europe, but only one team can win the Champions League,” he concluded.

Lippi backs AC Milan to go through
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy boss Marcello Lippi believes Milan can go through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League if they have faith in their abilities.

The odds are stacked heavily against the Rossoneri as they have to overturn a 3-2 deficit at Old Trafford tomorrow evening.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lippi rejected claims that Milan are fighting a lost cause.

“We believe in Leonardo and he will do well. It's only right to do so if you think again to the absurd game that they lost and the fact that they should have won with three goals.”

The 61-year-old who won the Champions League with Juventus also backed Fiorentina who have a slightly better chance of beating Bayern Munich at the Artemio Franchi tonight.

“Fiorentina lost 2-1 in Munich, but they didn't deserve to for an absurd refereeing decision. Now 1-0 is enough. This evening will have to go well,” he concluded.

Berlusconi: 'I want a possessed AC Milan'
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Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi wants his players to perform as if they are possessed against Manchester United tomorrow night.

The Rossoneri need to score twice to overturn a 3-2 deficit recorded in the first leg at San Siro a fortnight ago.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Berlusconi said: “I won't give you percentages, I'll only say that Milan can do it if they believe. And Milan believe in themselves because they fear no team in the world, not even Manchester United. Actually, it's the others who have to fear us.

“We have to play a game worthy of the great Milan because it will take a possessed Milan in which everyone lifts their game without the minimum distraction until the last second.”

Asked to reveal who he thinks will prove decisive, Berlusconi said: “Ronaldinho, because he is a man of great class, capable of making the difference with his magic.

“But he has to convince himself into playing further forward.”

Berlusconi then denied giving Leonardo any advice before the game.

“I like the system with Borriello and Huntelaar, it's a formula that works, but I don't want to feed other arguments.

“It's not true that I suggested it to Leo. It was, just like always, Leonardo's decision taken with full autonomy. It seemed to me that against Roma the experiment worked.”

Finally, Berlusconi had a few words for David Beckham who returns to Old Trafford for the first time as a player since he left the club in 2003.

“He has played a lot in Manchester and will want to do himself proud in front of his old fans.

“Beckham is always important for the geometry that he gives to the play and for his tactical intelligence.”

Beckham excited at Old Trafford return
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Source: Football Italia

David Beckham has revealed his excitement about returning to Old Trafford for the first time as an opponent.

The superstar left Manchester United in 2003 for Real Madrid but, despite four years at the Bernabeu and two loan spells at Milan, it is only this year that he has faced his former team.

Milan head into Wednesday's clash as underdogs after they lost 3-2 at home in the first leg, thanks to Wayne Rooney's headed-double.

Beckham told Milan's TV channel: "If I play on Wednesday I won't be frightened but I will be excited because I played in that stadium for many years.

“I know what it means to be a Manchester United player and I know what it means for opponents to play there.

"I'm sure Rooney will play. I think he's had some problems in the last few days but he had the whole weekend to recover.

"He's a fine player and he'll want to participate in the match. Alex Ferguson will certainly use the best possible formation."

And Beckham reserved special praise for his former mentor in the build-up to the enticing encounter.

"Alex Ferguson gives a lot of advice to players and he's one of the best football coaches,” he added.

"He protected his players but he made me understand when I was making a mistake."

Pato will fly to Manchester
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have received a significant boost as Alexandre Pato will fly with the squad to Manchester tomorrow morning.

The 20-year-old Brazilian striker has been undergoing treatment on a thigh strain and is a doubt for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.

He had a scan this morning to determine whether he would be fit in time for Wedensday and Tuttosport understands that Milan's medical staff are satisfied with his progress.

It remains to be seen whether Pato starts at Old Trafford.

The general sensation is that Leonardo will keep him on the bench and start with Marco Borriello and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar up front.

Milan need to score two goals and mustn't concede if they are to overturn United's 3-2 aggregate lead recorded at San Siro nearly a fortnight ago.

Borriello expects difficult test
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Marco Borriello admits that it will be difficult for his side to go through to the Champions League Quarter-Finals on Wednesday.

The Rossoneri need to score twice if they are to overturn a 3-2 deficit conceded in the first leg at San Siro.

Speaking to Milan's official website, Borriello said: “A very difficult challenge awaits us on Wednesday in Manchester.

“We will go to Old Trafford conscious of our own means after the game against Roma in which we managed to dominate in a great stadium, showing that we know how to play good football.”

La Gazzetta dello Sport understands that Borriello will partner Klaas-Jan Huntelaar up front against United.

Alexandre Pato is undergoing a scan on his thigh this morning to determine whether he will fly to England with the rest of the team tomorrow.

Ronaldinho still dreams of Brazil
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan star Ronaldinho is still dreaming of going to the World Cup this summer, according to his brother who also acts as his agent.

The former World Player of the Year is widely considered to be back to his best, but Brazil Coach Carles Dunga decided to exclude him again for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland last week.

Speaking to SporTV, Roberto De Assis said: “Like all Brazilians know, I am supporting Ronaldinho because he can participate in another World Cup.

“He is working well in anticipation of receiving a call up.

“Every athlete at this level thinks about this opportunity. In Ronie's life, his dream has always been that of wearing the Brazil shirt.”

Ronaldinho has 87 caps for the Selecao. He was a member of the Brazil side that won the Copa America in 1999 and the World Cup in 2002.

Pato's fate to be decided
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will find out whether Alexandre Pato will be fit for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The 20-year-old Brazilian pulled up with a thigh injury against Atalanta on February 28 and hasn't played since.

While Pato's condition isn't as bad as first thought, he is due to undergo a scan this morning that will determine whether he flies with the team to England tomorrow.

Pato trained a little yesterday, taking a jog around the pitches at Milanello.

Il Corriere dello Sport understands that Leonardo is hopeful of having Pato on the bench at Old Trafford.

He has scored 12 goals in 17 starting appearances this season.

Milan have to overturn a 3-2 deficit if they are to progress to the Quarter-Finals of Europe's premier club competition.

Ronaldinho is reborn, says Leonardo
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Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Leonardo believes that Ronaldinho is finally back to his best after a couple of years off form.

The former World Player of the Year has been excellent this season, creating 15 goals for his teammates.

Speaking to ANSA, Leo said: “Ronaldinho has spent two or three years in obscurity, but today he is the most important player at Milan and Dunga should call him up.

“Ronaldinho has a wonderful story. He was the best. He personified the Brazilian that everyone loves.

“But then he had some difficulties. He was silly. He gave up. He stopped training and lived two or three years in the shadows.

“Now he is training again. He works hard and is concentrated. He is a leader.”

Ronaldinho is expected to play a crucial role in Milan's Champions League clash with Manchester United on Wednesday.

The Rossoneri are 3-2 down on aggregate and need to score twice at Old Trafford if they are to reach the Quarter-Finals.

Lippi's faith in AC Milan and Fiorentina
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy boss Marcello Lippi hopes Milan and Fiorentina can “do what they have already done” to overturn the Champions League deficit.

The Rossoneri lost 3-2 on home turf and travel to Manchester United next week, while the Viola lost 2-1 away to Bayern Munich.

“Clearly those who won the first leg have a better chance of going through, but I hope that Milan can do what they have already done in the past,” Lippi told Stadio Sprint.

“We all wish Milan the best and to repeat the kind of performance that saw them win at Real Madrid, even if it's not easy to score two goals in Manchester.

“Fiorentina can also turn this around, as is often the case for teams who play the second leg at home.

“All they need is a 1-0 victory, so they require just a bit of luck and not the same shocking refereeing errors of the first leg.”

Bayern's winning goal was clearly offside, one of several Tom Henning Ovrebo decisions that infuriated Fiorentina.

The official for the Stadio Artemio Franchi match on Tuesday evening is Spanish referee Undiano Mallenco.

When asked who he tipped to lift the trophy come May, Lippi looked to the Bernabeu.

“This year I bet on Real Madrid. They have bought so many champions and are really starting to look like a team now.”

Pirlo: 'We should've won'
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Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo feels Milan “lost two points” in their draw with Roma, as now Inter could break away at the top.

The Rossoneri are momentarily three points behind the Serie A leaders, but a victory against Genoa this evening would extend that gap to six.

“We lost two points. It was a game we could have and should’ve won,” mused Pirlo after the 0-0 at the Olimpico.

“We put in a strong performance and it’s a real shame we weren’t able to bring home the victory.”

The only team celebrating this result is Inter, as it effectively slows down both the potential Scudetto contenders.

“Our title hopes depend on what Inter do against Genoa. In any case, we should’ve won and were unable to do so because we failed to score a goal.

“Now we have to start looking ahead so we can focus on the next game with Manchester United.”

Beckham on 'difficult' Manchester United task
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Source: Football Italia

David Beckham admits “it’s difficult” to overturn the first leg defeat at Old Trafford, “but there’s a chance we can beat Manchester United.”

The England star could well be benched for his first trip to the Theatre of Dreams since he quit the club seven years ago.

“Of course it’s possible. For me personally it’ll be a special match, it’ll also be special for Milan if we win the match and qualify.

“It’s difficult to win there, even more so to win 2-0, but Milan are a special team with great players and we’ll give it our best.

“It’s difficult, but if we play our football, then we have players who can score goals. We’re good at going forward and good in defence. There’s a chance we can beat Manchester, but it’s difficult.”

Alexandre Pato will start if he recovers, while on Saturday evening Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was preferred in the 0-0 with Roma.

“It’s not a good result, but not a bad one,” said Becks of the Roma stalemate.

“It would’ve been worse to lose here, but we’re disappointed of course as we felt we were the better team and created better chances. We just couldn’t score tonight.”

Leonardo 'bitter' at missed opportunity
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo admits he is “bitter” at the Olimpico stalemate and looks ahead to Manchester United with more options at his disposal.

“My team did deserve a little more. We struggled in the opening 15 minutes, then took control of the game and created numerous chances,” he said of the 0-0 away to Roma.

“The second half saw us try to score in every conceivable way and I was impressed with our consistency.”

Leo used Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to complete the trident attack rather than David Beckham in the absence of Alexandre Pato.

“I am very happy with the experiment. It's not easy to ask a player to adopt a different role, although I did urge him to be a centre-forward when in possession. Huntelaar worked very hard and did well tactically, he had a great game.

“The team is very involved in these decisions that can change the way of playing for several individuals. It's no secret that I discuss it with the squad. At the end of the day I make the decision, but I do talk it over with them.

“The team impressed and it's a shame we didn't win, as we did have more of the ball. I can't deny there is a little bitterness at the result. It's just a pity we couldn't get the goal.

“I am increasingly impressed with the movement of the midfielders. Against teams that mark us closely, they understand that they need to stretch the opposition and today Mathieu Flamini worked very hard in that respect.”

Milan must now overturn the 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in the Champions League.

“I have many certainties with this squad. I have made enormous demands of them and they almost always responded. We honestly believe we can get through, I'm not just saying that to fire up the team,” insisted Leonardo.

“It is extraordinary to go to Old Trafford in order to win big and we must play the way we know how, whereas Manchester United have the pressure of keeping hold of their advantage.

“I think we cannot change our approach too much, regardless of how many goals we need to score.

“There are alternatives, such as Klaas playing in a new role, so I have to evaluate every player and their form before making decisions.

“What I can confirm is that we will go out there to really play for the victory.”

Serie A: AS Roma 0:0 AC Milan - match report
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan dominated for long periods at the Olimpico, but were unable to make it count, as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Roma.

Third welcomed second in a head-to-head for Champions League places and the chance of keeping their Scudetto hopes alive. Gennaro Gattuso was suspended with Alexandre Pato, Clarence Seedorf and Amantino Mancini injured, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was surprisingly picked to complete the trident attack rather than David Beckham. Roma welcomed back David Pizarro and Julio Sergio, while Luca Toni was only fit for the bench and Francesco Totti missed out.

Roma were unbeaten in Serie A since October 28 and Milan had won five of their last six games. Mathieu Flamini was lucky to avoid a booking after 14 seconds for a studs-up challenge on Simone Perrotta.

Daniele De Rossi drilled wide from the edge of the box after riding two tackles, then Julio Baptista's sudden snapshot was heading into the near top corner before Christian Abbiati got his palms to it.

Marco Borriello nodded Daniele Bonera's cross wide. A corner was cleared to the D where Luca Antonini smashed it over the bar. John Arne Riise's clearance hit teammate Juan, but Roma were fortunate that no Milan players were able to pounce on the error.

On 29 minutes Borriello ran on to a Ronaldinho slide-rule pass, but horribly scuffed his shot wide when in a great position. Andrea Pirlo's cross was just beyond Huntelaar, while Nicolas Burdisso risked an own goal when he acrobatically cleared a cross over the bar from six yards.

Baptista's trap and shot was off target on the counter, but the Rossoneri were seeing more of the ball now and pushing almost all their attacks down the right flank.

After the restart Ronaldinho nutmegged Marco Cassetti and Antonini skipped a tackle to cross, but eventually Borriello was offside when his glancing header came to Julio Sergio.

Another dangerous Antonini cross went past Riise and he was fortunate Flamini was unbalanced to fire wide at the back post. Milan were dominating now, as Ronaldinho threaded through for Borriello and the shot across the face of goal was just past Huntelaar.

On 54 minutes Borriello skipped past Juan and smashed an angled drive at the near post, but Julio Sergio somehow deflected it wide off his knee. From the corner Massimo Ambrosini's header was over.

Huntelaar tried to knock it down for Borriello rather than go for goal himself and allowed Burdisso to clear from the penalty spot.

Thiago Silva held his ground to intercept a dangerous Vucinic counter and Roma introduced Luca Toni for Baptista, his first appearance since suffering a calf strain on January 23.

Toni earned a free kick just outside the box, but Riise's rocket was deflected and Abbiati anticipated Burdisso. Abbiati smothered a Perrotta snapshot from distance, as Roma now only pushed forward on the counter.

Milan had an extraordinary chance on 70 minutes. A misunderstanding between Riise and Julio Sergio let Huntelaar through, but the goalkeeper did well to backpedal and block the Dutchman's chip.

Beckham and Ignazio Abate replaced Antonini and Flamini, who both had slight muscular problems.

Roma's best opportunity saw Vucinic allowed a free header on Riise's cross from the left, which flashed past the far post with Abbiati scrambling. Thiago Silva acrobatically cleared a De Rossi cross with Toni waiting.

Pippo Inzaghi replaced Borriello and Ronaldinho nodded Beckham's cross inches past the far post.

Ambrosini was livid when he went down in the box, as he felt that he had been brought down by Rodrigo Taddei, but the referee waved play on. Replays suggest he may have trodden on his foot, then Ambrosini made the most of it.

Huntelaar should've won it for Milan at the 89th minute! Pirlo whipped in a cross to the edge of the six-yard box for Huntelaar to nod wide under pressure from Burdisso.

Deep into stoppages Riise went on the counter and thumped an absolute screamer that Abbiati palmed out from under the bar. The resulting corner had Juan nodding over.
Roma: Julio Sergio; Cassetti, Burdisso, Juan, Riise; De Rossi, Pizarro, Taddei, Perrotta, Baptista (Toni 58); Vucinic

Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini (Abate 71); Flamini (Beckham 71), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Huntelaar, Borriello (Inzaghi 78), Ronaldinho

Ref: Tagliavento

You can watch match highlights on Free Soccer Highlights.

Ranieri sees nervous AC Milan
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roma boss Claudio Ranieri feels his men have the upper hand this evening. “Milan have the pressure to win weighing on their shoulders.”

“What do we have more than Milan? We are relaxed,” smiled the Giallorossi tactician.

“Milan had declared they wanted to win the Scudetto and are the ‘anti-Inter,’ so to keep that idea alive they have got to beat us.

“It is further motivation for them, but the pressure to win is also weighing on their shoulders. We have the strength of knowing we’re doing well and should continue along this path.”

David Pizarro and Luca Toni are back in the squad after injuries, although the striker is not 100 per cent fit following a long lay-off.

“Toni is in the squad, so I only include players when there is no risk. His physique means he struggles more as a substitute, so he could give more from the start.”

Milan are forced to do without Alexandre Pato, Amantino Mancini, Clarence Seedorf and the suspended Gennaro Gattuso.

“I hope they’ll be weakened, but the truth is that Milan are built to resist such issues,” added Ranieri.

Roma were beaten 2-1 at San Siro back in Week 8, despite Jeremy Menez giving them the lead after just three minutes.

“We hope to take back what we lost that day. Our black streak started then with three consecutive defeats against Milan, Livorno and Udinese.”

Roma squad: Andreolli, Juan, Mexes, Pizarro, Vucinic, Taddei, Motta, Faty, De Rossi, Riise, Baptista, Perrotta, Tonetto, Cerci, Julio Sergio, Burdisso, Toni, Doni, Brighi, Cassetti, Menez.

Leonardo picks Beckham in Rome
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo believes tonight’s big game with Roma “is worth more than three points” to Milan and prepares David Beckham.

“This is a direct confrontation between two teams who have had a similar path in this campaign,” said the Rossoneri Coach.

“Both started out with a great deal of difficulty and now find themselves close to the top of the table.

“In terms of the standings, this game is worth more than three points. It can bring the two teams closer together or create a more impressive gap between them and take us towards Inter.

“Roma have had an incredible string of results lately and always go on the attack, much like Milan. They play good football and have important players like Luca Toni and David Pizarro back in the squad.”

Milan were expected to start Amantino Mancini, but he has pulled out with a muscular injury to join Alexandre Pato on the treatment table.

This means that Beckham should take over in the trident attack with Ronaldinho and Marco Borriello. Clarence Seedorf is also injured and Gennaro Gattuso sits out a ban.

“There are key moments in a campaign,” continued Leonardo. “This weekend we play against the third place side in Serie A, then on Wednesday we face Manchester United.

“It’s going to be an interesting few days. Milan are in good shape, both mentally and physically prepared for these challenges.

“They are different in that at Old Trafford we’ll have to overturn a 3-2 first leg defeat, whereas the Roma game is only a stepping stone in the season, so it won’t be decisive.

“What I can say is that Milan will maintain their style in both encounters. When facing teams that like to play, it actually allows us to make the most of our own football.”

Milan squad: Abbiati, Dida, Roma; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Favalli, Jankulovski, Nesta, Oddo, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta; Ambrosini, Beckham, Flamini, Pirlo; Borriello, Huntelaar, Inzaghi, Ronaldinho

Leonardo: Saturday won't be decisive
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Leonardo doesn't believe tomorrow's match against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico will have a decisive bearing on the title race.

The Rossoneri are four points adrift of League leaders Inter and need a victory if they are to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

Leonardo has a real selection headache, as Amantino Mancini, the former Roma attacking midfielder, isn't able to replace the injured Alexandre Pato.

Speaking at a pre-match Press Conference, Leo said: “We have alternatives. We have to see how we go about arranging ourselves for this game, but what's important is the availability of the players.

“Mancini had a week to work. He reported a muscle injury in Udine and now, after a week of work, he feels a general fatigue.

“His absence is a question of precaution. We decided that he would carry out a period of training instead.”

As for Pato's condition, Leo added: “It's difficult to evaluate when the player doesn't manage to do certain things in training.

“Pato's injury is not so bad, but he has some muscular bruising, even if it is only a little. We have to make an evaluation after tomorrow, on Sunday, on how to manage his injury.”

We can't lose, says Borriello
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marco Borriello has warned his Milan team-mates that they cannot lose this weekend's match against Roma.

Milan sit in second place just four points behind leaders Inter and three ahead of the Giallorossi, meaning Saturday's encounter in the Eternal City will play a pivotal role in the Scudetto race.

Whichever team comes out on top will gain a huge boost in confidence going into the final 11 games of campaign, explaining why Borriello is convinced Milan must not lose the fixture.

“It's a direct clash and it will be vital not to lose it,” said the 27-year-old.

“Roma are a great team and will have home support.

“We, however, have shown, right away and in the most important dates, that we know how to get a result - see Madrid, Turin and Florence.

“Second place? With four points from 12 games to play and retrieve, it is not really the case.

“It's a matter of respect for the fans, for the community, but also for ourselves.

“We believe in the Scudetto and we will try until the end.”

With the Roma-Milan match taking place on Saturday evening, a Rossoneri victory would mean Jose Mourinho's side's lead would be cut to just one point ahead of their game against Genoa.

Play me against Man Utd, says Huntelaar
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has pleaded with Leonardo to play him against Manchester United at Old Trafford next Wednesday.

The 26-year-old, who scored in midweek for Holland, has the best goal to game ratio at the club, but has only started on six occasions.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Huntelaar said: “At the beginning it wasn't easy. My teammates spoke and I didn't understand anything.

“What's more I played the first games with a formation that was difficult for me. If we play with two strikers, one close to the other, I can't find myself.

“I have to be a little further forward or a little behind. That way I can do more. Leonardo didn't need my advice, but I can express my thoughts.”

Looking ahead to the Champions League clash with United, Huntelaar said: “I would like to play with two strikers plus Pato and Ronaldinho.

“We have to score at least two goals. We have to surprise them. They will think that the Italians will wait. If we attack them, we have a good chance.”

Asked if he agreed with those who say he can't play with Marco Borriello, the former Ajax youngster replied: “We have already done well together. It's not true that I only good for scoring goals. I like to move around.

“I work a lot for the team, but in the last few months I have understood that at times what I do doesn't get the consideration it's worth.”

Borriello: "Mario, come to AC Milan"
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan forward Marco Borriello has sent a clear message to Mario Balotelli to come and join him at the Rossoneri.

The 19-year-old's problems with coach Jose Mourinho have been well documented, and a summer switch to the Nerazzurri's arch rivals has been mooted in recent weeks.

And it seems fellow Italian forward Borriello has been doing his best to convince the troublesome teenager, who has the potential to be a world-class forward in the coming years.

“I want the Inter player in a Rossoneri shirt. He's very nice, a boy of heart,” said Borriello.

Whether or not Balotelli would actually be allowed to leave Inter remains to be seen, but with Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev all ahead of Balotelli in the pecking order, a move cannot be ruled out.

Balotelli would not be the first player to cross the Rossoneri - Nerazzurri divide, as players such as Clarence Seedorf and, most recently, Amantino Mancini have proved in the past.

Pato fit for Old Trafford?
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato could recover from his thigh twinge in time for the trip to Manchester United, say reports.

The Milan star pulled up during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Atalanta and it was at first feared he had a serious thigh strain.

Tests showed no real lesions to the muscle and it’s a race against time to be ready for Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford.

According to Sky Sport Italia, ‘The Duck’ is doing well and a final decision will be made on Monday before the squad flies out to Manchester.

Milan must overturn the 3-2 home defeat from the first leg to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

If Pato does not recover in time, then Leonardo looks set to use David Beckham on the right flank.

It will be the first time that Beckham has played at Old Trafford since leaving Manchester United seven years ago.

It’s likely that Amantino Mancini will take the role against Roma on Saturday, as he is ineligible for the Champions League.

Tagliavento officiates Roma vs. AC Milan
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Referee Paolo Tagliavento, who prompted Jose Mourinho’s handcuffs gesture, will officiate the big game Roma-Milan.

The whistle-blower sparked furious protests from Inter when he sent off two of their players in the first half of a 0-0 with Sampdoria.

However, many rushed to his defence and pointed out the decisions were correct and, if anything, very brave at San Siro.

Refereeing designator Pierluigi Collina has come down on the side of Tagliavento by handing him another huge and potentially difficult game.

Roma welcome Milan in a packed Stadio Olimpico in a head-to-head for second place and to keep Scudetto dreams alive.

Abate believes in the Scudettothe
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Ignazio Abate thinks his side have a right to believe in the Scudetto as they are just four points behind League leaders Inter.

The Rossoneri travel to the capital on Saturday where they are due to face third placed Roma in a match that they absolutely must win to remain in the title race.

Speaking to Tuttosport, Abate said: “Inter deserved to win the derby matches, but the season isn't decided in just two games.”

The 23-year-old also hinted that he might step in for Alexandre Pato this weekend, playing in a more advance position than usual.

“I have been studying David Beckham. I can replace Pato,” he concluded.

Beckham has often played on the right-hand side of Milan's attacking trident since his arrival in January, acting more often than not as a first defender.

Thiago Silva demands Roma scalp
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan centre-back Thiago Silva believes his side must beat Roma on Saturday if they are to have any chance of winning the Scudetto this season.

The 25-year-old Brazilian also insists that the absence of his compatriot Alexandre Pato will not handicap Milan at the Olimpico.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “It's a shame. Alexandre was a lightning bolt recently. He was ruthless even in our training games.

“I read that we might get him back in time for the match against Manchester United… we hope so. His speed can be decisive against Ferguson's side.

“Even if United will start from a favourable position, they cannot just think about defending. And if you leave Pato a metre, he strikes you like lightning.”

Asked if Ronaldinho's exclusion from the Brazil set up has affected him, Silva replied: “It doesn't seem to me that he is sad. He always smiles in training and creates magic.

“He can leave his mark against Roma. Hopefully with a goal from a free kick.”

Turning his attention to Roma, Silva admitted that it was a topic of conversation while on international duty earlier this week.

“I said to Julio Baptista: we have to win at the Olimpico. If we get three points against Roma then we can win the Scudetto.”

Galliani has Baptista fixation
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has revealed that the club likes Roma's versatile striker Julio Baptista.

The 28-year-old Brazil international isn't always a regular for the Giallorossi, but he attracted great interest from League leaders Inter during the January transfer window.

Galliani also admitted that Roma President Rosella Sensi knows of Milan's admiration for Baptista.

Speaking to Tele Radio Stereo, Galliani said: “During Baptista's time in Spain we asked Real Madrid about him in vain. He is a very versatile player.

“I like him and Rosella Sensi also knows that I do,” he concluded.

Baptista may yet be sold in the summer as Roma look to make Luca Toni's move from Bayern Munich permanent.

If he does come on the market again, Milan will face significant competition from Inter as Jose Mourinho rates him highly.

Borriello acknowledges competition
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marco Borriello says he is well aware of the competition he faces in persuading Marcello Lippi to take him to the World Cup as one of Italy's strikers.

The 27-year-old Milan star started for the Azzurri against Cameroon last night, but found it difficult to make an impact as the game ended 0-0.

“I know that I am in competition with Gilardino and Pazzini, not with Amauri because Amauri isn't here,” Borriello explained.

“I have grown a lot with respect to the European Championship also as a man. I have three months left in Serie A to continue doing well and win a place in the World Cup squad.”

Asked if he felt that his Milan teammates Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato would be there in South Africa, Borriello said: “I am sorry that they are not going to the World Cup.

“I hope it doesn't influence their morale.”

Borriello is back in action on Saturday when Milan take on Roma in a match that could have a crucial bearing on the title race.

Galliani: 'Roma and AC Milan are the best'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani believes that Saturday's match between Roma and Milan will see the two best teams in Serie A.

Milan need to beat third placed Roma if they are to remain in touch with League leaders Inter who enjoy a four point cushion at the top of Serie A.

Alexandre Pato and Francesco Totti will be missing when the two sides meet, but Galliani still believes the game will live up to its billing.

“Pato and Totti will be missing from the spectacle. Pato is a great champion and his absence will create some problems for us,” Galliani explained.

“We hope to be able to get him back in time for Manchester, but on Saturday someone will step in for him and Milan will do well.

“The two teams will entertain also because they tell me that the stadium is sold out. The big games don't worry me. I am only happy to live through them.

“Roma and Milan play wonderful football and the two sets of supporters should be satisfied because at the beginning of the season everyone would have settled for second or third place, which is worth automatic qualification for the Champions League.”

Beckham will return to MLS
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder David Beckham will return to the LA Galaxy after the World Cup this summer.

Don Garber, the head of Major League Soccer, also said that Beckham had been a success in the United States.

The former England captain joined Milan for a second spell on loan in January.

“David will be back after the World Cup, no doubt about that. He's one of the most popular people on the planet and he plays for LA Galaxy,” Garber explained.

“That in itself has shown the world we are serious in that we have one of the great international players in our league.”

Beckham is currently on international duty with England ahead of this evening's friendly against African champions Egypt.

England manager Fabio Capello personally recommended Beckham play for Milan so that he could keep playing at a high level ahead of the finals in South Africa.

Ronaldinho: 'I believe!'
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ronaldinho feels he is getting back to his best at Milan and believes in both the Scudetto and Champions League.

The Brazilian was in dire shape when he left Barcelona in the summer of 2008, but after a long time to settle into Serie A is finally delivering the goods.

“I’m happy with my season and at the moment everything is going really well,” he told Sky Italia television.

“I was rarely on the bench, I’ve been pretty consistent and that is what I expected. The whole campaign is wonderful.

“It’s not just down to me, but the whole team. In order to play well I need the full-back or Massimo Ambrosini to help me. It’s a team sport and they work hard to ensure I have the freedom to do my own thing.”

The Rossoneri are now only four points off Serie A leaders Inter, but face Roma on Saturday in a head-to-head for second place.

“Now we are even stronger mentally with that four-point gap and believe in the Scudetto. We must never lose our faith.

“The same goes for the Champions League, as I always think positive. It is very difficult to overturn a 3-2 defeat going into Old Trafford, but it’s not impossible to beat Manchester United there.

“This Milan can go far. I am happy, things are going well for me and that helps Milan to be stronger too.”

Alexandre Pato will miss the Roma match and most likely the second leg with Manchester United too after suffering a right thigh problem.

“We are accustomed to playing together and know each others’ movements. Of course if Pato returns quickly then that’s better, but we also have Amantino Mancini, David Beckham and Ignazio Abate who can take his role.”

Ronaldinho has lifted the World Cup, the Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year award, Champions League and Liga title.

“My objective is to win everything that I have already won before. I know how wonderful it feels to win and I want to do it all over again.

“Of course I am thinking of the Brazil side and want to be there, but I know it’s only through playing well with Milan that I can prove to the world I deserve to be in the Seleçao.”

Pato reassured by thigh tests
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato’s tests have reassured Milan that he has “no real lesions to the thigh muscle,” but he’ll miss the showdown with Roma.

There were fears the striker could be out for several weeks, if not a whole month, after he dramatically pulled up clutching the back of his right thigh.

The injury occurred during the 3-1 win over Atalanta on Sunday afternoon and he had been running on goal when suddenly stopping in his tracks.

This evening Milan’s official website confirmed medical tests found “no real lesions in the thigh muscle.

“There is a distraction of the right femoral bicep.”

Further tests are required on Monday to see how the healing process is progressing, but Pato will definitely miss this weekend’s big game with Roma.

It is a huge match for the two sides, as it represents both a head-to-head for second place and Milan’s chance to keep their Scudetto hopes alive.

The biggest fear when Pato pulled up was that he had suffered a thigh strain that would rule him out of the Champions League trip to Old Trafford on March 10.

The Rossoneri need to overturn a 3-2 home defeat to Manchester United in order to reach the quarter-finals.

Lippi still disappointed with Nesta
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy boss Marcello Lippi has made no secret of his disappointment that Alessandro Nesta will not be coming out of international retirement.

Lippi revealed yesterday that the Milan centre-back had given him a strong signal that he would not return to play for the Azzurri.

Nesta's decision is a dignified one, as he doesn't want to take a place away from a player who featured regularly through World Cup qualifying.

He also has fitness concerns after only just coming back from a long spell on the sidelines with a terrible back injury.

Speaking at Italy's training camp in Coverciano, Lippi said: “His decision not to return has disappointed me a lot. But I still hold out hope.”

The World Cup winner then turned his attention to Mario Balotelli who he called the future of Italian football yesterday.

Asked if Balotelli is the new Cassano in the sense that he'll cause a selection headache, Lippi replied: “All the coaches have them: Capello with the Terry affair, Dunga with Ronaldinho and Pato.

“Balotelli does well to think about the Under-21s who risk not qualifying for the European Championship.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow night's friendly against Cameroon in Monte Carlo, Lippi added: “They are a strong team and we could face them again in the last eight of the World Cup.

“We will present ourselves but in disguise, like at carnival, because we have many players absent. But I am not worried.

“For now, I console myself and think that those who are out now will have more energy to spend in South Africa,” he concluded.

Galliani furious with Calciopoli claim
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has reacted furiously after a journalist accused him of being the man pulling the strings in Italian football.

Even the 2006 Calciopoli scandal and the downfall of Luciano Moggi haven't stopped people speculating about what goes on behind the scenes.

Asked if he were the so-called 'Great Manipulator', Galliani replied: “You're out of your mind.”

He then entered the League's headquarters in Milan without answering another question.

Inter boss Jose Mourinho has brought up the subject of Calciopoli recently.

The Special One said that he felt ashamed on taking the Inter job at first because he would be supporting his family with money still tainted by Italian football's recent scandal.

Mourinho has questioned recent decisions made against his side, such as those to change the fixture list at Milan's behest and the number of red cards his players have received.

Brazil can win without Ronaldinho
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazil boss Dunga has railed against criticism of his decision not to include Milan playmaker Ronaldinho in his latest squad.

'Dinho will be conspicuous by his absence in tonight's friendly against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley.

The 29-year-old former World Player of the Year has returned to playing at the highest level this year and with a degree of consistency as well.

He has scored nine goals and made 15 assists so far this season, persuading many that he should go to the World Cup this summer even if just in the role of an impact substitute.

Asked about Ronaldinho's exile from the Brazil squad, Dunga joked: “The absent players are always the best and the entire world wants to have an opinion of those who aren't called up to the Selecao.

“Nothing about this is new for me on the eve of the World Cup. The questions and answers are always the same. The pressure on a Coach like me is always strong.

“Some newspapers want to impose their players, but I will go forward down my path,” he concluded.

Pato could be back for Manchester United game
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan received a boost last night when tests revealed that Alexandre Pato's injury is not as bad as first thought.

The 20-year-old Brazilian was magnificent at the weekend, scoring twice against Atalanta, but then pulled up quite suddenly.

At first glance, it looked as if Pato had twisted his right thigh muscle and would definitely miss next week's Champions League second leg against Manchester United.

However, a scan performed yesterday showed that the striker's thigh muscle had merely contracted, meaning that, while he will miss this weekend's clash with Roma, Pato should be on the flight to Old Trafford.

Further tests will be carried out today, but in the meantime Amantino Mancini will take Pato's place against Roma.

If Pato's condition deteriorates, Milan will then have a selection headache, as Mancini was not included in the Champions League squad list, so he can't participate against United.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, David Beckham would play in Pato's place at Old Trafford alongside Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Marco Borriello in attack.

Nesta turns down Lippi
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Alessandro Nesta has turned down the chance to come out of international retirement and join Marcello Lippi's Italy squad.

Lippi has spoken to Nesta on several occasions over the last few months to try and convince him to return to the fold.

However, the 33-year-old doesn't want to put his fitness at risk or take a place away from someone who participated in the qualifying campaign.

“He told me, I believe in a definitive manner, that he doesn't feel like it,” Lippi revealed.

“I am sorry. I wanted to give a spark. But I respect his decision.”

Italy are in action in Monte Carlo this week where they face Cameroon in a friendly as part of their preparations for the World Cup.

The Azzurri will wear their new strip for the first time ahead of the finals in South Africa.

I deserve Italy call up, says Borriello
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Marco Borriello believes he deserved his call up to the Italy squad for this week's friendly against Cameroon.

The 27-year-old has scored nine goals this season, but his general all round play has won him praise.

It's the first time Marcello Lippi has called up Borriello.

The former Genoa striker last appeared for the Azzurri under Roberto Donadoni in June 2008.

“I expected the call up and it arrived. I am now collecting the fruits of what I planted in the past. I am happy for this opportunity,” Borriello smiled.

“I will now have a chance to get Lippi to know me better, but the road to the World Cup is still long.”

Asked to explain why Milan play better with him up front than with Pippo Inzaghi or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, he replied: “They are different from me because, above all, they are penalty area strikers.

“Perhaps with me in the middle Milan manage to play better. Moreover, I am helped by the fact that I have already played in a trident during my time with Genoa and the movements that Leonardo asks of me are very similar to those that Gasperini wanted.

“But now I have the luck of having two teammates of the calibre of Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato by my side,” he concluded.

Beckham has boots issues
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder David Beckham has revealed that he had to change his boots during yesterday's 3-1 victory over Atalanta.

The former England captain appeared to struggle early in the first half. He then walked over to the sidelines and changed into a more comfortable pair.

“I had some problems in the first 20 minutes then I changed my boots and it went better,” Beckham explained.

“We faced the game well and got the three points. It's important because we have to try and put pressure on Inter.

“The match against Roma next weekend is difficult, but if we want to be at the top we have to show that we know how to beat strong teams.”

Beckham will return to England today where he will train with the national team ahead of this week's friendly with Egypt.

He will of course be back again the following week when Milan travel to Old Trafford to face his former club Manchester United.

“It will be emotional. I have many friends in Manchester. I am a fan of United and I would never like to see them lose, but this time logically it's different. And I hope that we will manage to go through.

“It's difficult but not impossible,” he concluded.

Leonardo has Pato hopes
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo hopes that Alexandre Pato's injury is not as serious as first feared and looks ahead to the clash with Roma.

Pato scored twice before pulling up with a suspected thigh strain during Milan's 3-1 win over Atalanta.

“At the moment we are quite worried about him, but perhaps it's not all that serious. We hope for the best,” said the Coach.

“Today we had our problems and were unable to start with the right tempo, but this has been a very stressful few weeks for the team.

“We were intelligent in hitting them at the right moment and then pushing up the field for the rest of the game.”

Ronaldinho failed to convert a penalty for the second week running, although Marco Borriello did tap in the rebound.

“Ronaldinho did very well today and he is in a great period of form. He gives us a constant alternative and the extra man in any area of the field.”

The Rossoneri are still four points off leaders Inter, but are now three in front of Roma, who they face next week.

“It will be a wonderful and very tough game. It's yet another opportunity to make a difference in the table,” concluded Leonardo.

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