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The Archive

March 2012

Serie A: Catania 1:1 AC Milan - goals
31.3 || webmaster

Allegri: 'Want to talk about refs?'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri was furious after another ‘phantom goal’ in Milan’s draw with Catania and slammed Juventus. “They ought to shut up.”

The Rossoneri earned a 1-1 scoreline in Sicily this evening, but Giovanni Marchese cleared Robinho’s effort when at least the vast majority of the ball – possibly all of it – had crossed the line.

“It’s very difficult to tell, but it is a goal,” complained Allegri on Sky Sport Italia, who also saw Sulley Muntari’s goal not given against Juve this season.

“It’s not about the referee or linesman, as it is difficult to tell, but the problem is that there are many who keep on talking and ought to shut up.

“Once again this morning I read that someone wants an advantage from the officials,” he continued, referring to Juventus director general Beppe Marotta’s interview.

“We played four balanced games this term and each time there were incidents that went against us. They were with Juventus when the Scudetto seemed to be closed off, in Florence and in Rome with a penalty awarded and then taken away.

“Therefore people ought to shut up. I read yet more talk this morning, but the error on Muntari’s goal is worth the entire tournament. I never cause controversy, but then these people again insist on talking about the referees.

“At this point, clearly I have to join in and talk about refereeing incidents too.”

It was a thrilling encounter with Catania, as the Sicilians rattled the crossbar and had a goal controversially disallowed.

“We threw away too much possession in attack without creating enough chances. In the second half Catania came out very strong, but we stopped playing too early, probably because of the Champions League fatigue.

“It was important to win, but we knew it was going to be extremely tough, because Catania are a great team. At the moment, at least we added a point to our standings.”

Juventus are now five points behind and face Napoli on Sunday evening.

Serie A: Catania 1:1 AC Milan - match report
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Robinho 34 (M), Spolli 57 (C)

It was a thrilling 1-1 draw in Sicily that saw a Milan effort cleared when mostly over the line and Catania’s goal controversially disallowed.

The Rossoneri didn’t have a chance to rest stars ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona, as Djamel Mesbah and Sulley Ali Muntari were suspended, joining the injured Mark van Bommel, Thiago Silva, Pippo Inzaghi, Mathieu Flamini, Rodney Strasser and Antonio Cassano. Ignazio Abate returned from his lay-off at right-back with ex-Catania striker Maxi Lopez on the bench. The Elefantini have been the surprise package of this season and threaten to qualify for Europe. Only Marco Biagianti, David Suazo and Alessandro Potenza were unavailable.

Catania had the first chance at the third minute when Gonzalo Bergessio sprung the offside trap to fire just off target at the near post. Sergio Almiron’s head only skimmed a dangerous cross, but Milan also went very close on seven minutes when Urby Emanuelson went clear and fired straight at Juan Pablo Carrizo’s legs from point-blank range.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic burst forward and chested down a long ball between two defenders, but was closed down by Carrizo with an outstretched foot at the near post from a couple of yards.

Bergessio nodded a Marco Motta cross inches over the bar, then Abate needed a perfectly-timed intervention to stop Bergessio finishing off a smart Francesco Lodi chipped pass through the defence.

Milan broke the deadlock with a wonderful team move. Robinho exchanged passes in a give-and-go with Ibra on the edge of the box and surprised Carrizo by passing it into the near bottom corner from nine yards.

Catania went extremely close to an equaliser, as Alejandro Gomez dispossessed Daniele Bonera in the final third and unleashed a screamer that dipped over Christian Abbiati to rattle the crossbar.

Luca Antonini clattered into Pablo Barrientos on the counter-attack, but the referee waved play on. A central Ibra strike was easily smothered by Carrizo.

Straight after the restart Gomez snuck round the back of the Milan defence to head in a flicked on cross from the left, but it was incorrectly flagged offside. It’s possible Barrientos was offside during the build-up when he flicked on the cross, but the linesman only raised his flag when Gomez got the ball.

Moments later Barrientos thought he’d scored from a pull-back, but Antonini threw himself across the shot to block in front of an open goal. Bergessio fired a free kick just wide, as did Francesco Lodi with a snapshot.

The Sicilians did get their thoroughly-deserved equaliser on 57 minutes, as Nicola Legrottaglie knocked down a corner for Nicolas Spolli to volley in from point-blank range. It confirmed Catania’s excellent form from set plays, as this season they have scored 23 times from dead ball situations.

Ibrahimovic was also incorrectly flagged offside when clear on goal, then Bergessio only glanced his head on a Lodi cross and an Almiron snapshot flew over the bar.

However, just as Catania were pouring forward, Robinho dribbled round the goalkeeper and rolled towards an empty net, beating Spolli and Legrottaglie before Giovanni Marchese managed to clear with the ball halfway across the line. Even replays do not entirely clarify the situation, but the ball did not seem to entirely cross over.

Bonera’s sliding tackle charged down a Mariano Izco strike, but at the other end a fantastic Carrizo save blocked the Philippe Mexes header on the line from a corner as Milan began to pile on the pressure.

Lodi volleyed wide from a poorly-cleared corner, then an Ibra angled drive flashed all the way across the face of goal. Spolli had to intercept for a corner as Stephan El Shaarawy dribbled past the first defender.

Maxi Lopez came on against the club he left in January, Alberto Aquilani making way for an all-attack line-up, while Davide Lanzafame replaced Gomez. Legrottaglie’s header from a free kick was over, then Carrizo had to flap an Ibrahimovic chip out from under the crossbar as it was end-to-end stuff.

Carrizo came flying off his line to smother at Ibra’s feet from a couple of yards. In stoppages an Ibrahimovic volley was charged down by Motta’s arm, but it was across his chest, so could not be considered a penalty. With the last kick of the game, Catania had the chance to win it on the counter, but desperate defending charged down the strike.

Catania: Carrizo; Motta, Legrottaglie, Spolli, Marchese; Izco, Lodi, Almiron (Seymour 92); Gomez (Lanzafame 85), Bergessio, Barrientos (Llama 70)

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Mexes, Antonini; Aquilani (Maxi Lopez 85), Ambrosini, Nocerino; Emanuelson (Boateng 52); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (El Shaarawy 73)

Ref: Bergonzi

Serie A: Catania vs. AC Milan - lineups
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Catania: Carrizo, Motta, Legrottaglie, Spolli, Marchese, Izco, Lodi, Almiron, Gomez, Bergessio, Barrientos.

Catania bench: Kosicky, Bellusci, Seymour, Llama, Ricchiuti, Lanzafame, Catellani

AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Bonera, Mexes, Antonini, Aquilani, Ambrosini, Nocerino, Emanuelson, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

AC Milan bench: Amelia, Yepes, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Boateng, Maxi Lopez, El Shaarawy

Conte: 'Juventus eyes on Napoli and AC Milan'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus Coach Antonio Conte hopes Milan will “shoot themselves in the foot” and could start Marco Borriello against hometown club Napoli tomorrow.

“After this game there will be another eight and I have to say this is going to be a probing test for us,” said Conte ahead of the Sunday evening showdown.

“Napoli have done well to reach the Coppa Italia Final and went so close to the Champions League quarter-finals. In fact, seeing how Chelsea beat Benfica, I believe the Partenopei could’ve reached the semi.

“This club has grown so much and it is thanks to President Aurelio De Laurentiis, who constructed a long-term project that improved year by year. Walter Mazzarri and his players also did something extraordinary and only paid a price for not having that much strength in depth. The Champions League takes a lot out of you, as I know from when I played in it.

“Their strikers can be decisive when given space and are so dangerous. Mazzarri is a great Coach and I respect him. I believe that I am too and will be in years to come.”

Juventus changed their system to mirror that of Napoli in their spectacular 3-3 draw at the San Paolo on November 6, an approach many sides have since taken.

“Strangely, since we played with the 3-5-2 in Naples, everyone has adopted this system. Napoli are an atypical side, as they often over-run you. We will evaluate all options, as we can also play with a 4-3-3.

“Borriello and Fabio Quagliarella could both start tomorrow and are highly motivated to play against their hometown club. Fabio is going through a difficult year, while Marco perhaps would’ve had a different season if he had arrived in June.”

Juventus are in second place and hope to close the four-point gap from leaders Milan.

“If we win tomorrow, then we put second place under lock and key. It would be extraordinary to reach the Champions League without a preliminary round, but we are also keeping an eye open to take advantage of any slip-ups...

“The Scudetto is in Milan’s hands and only they can lose it. Our fixture list is tougher than theirs in the run-in, but if they were to shoot themselves in the foot...”

AC Milan 'have Pato answers'
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato and Milan’s medical staff “found the answers we were looking for” in America and the striker should be ready to face Barcelona.

The Brazilian has struggled all season with recurring muscular injuries and underwent a specialist consultation in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Pato is absolutely fine and I’d say we found the answers we were looking for,” said chief Milan medic Jean Pierre Meersseman.

“We return home with a clearer idea of the situation. Could Pato play on Tuesday against Barcelona? Absolutely, he is ready and will certainly be at Coach Massimiliano Allegri’s disposal.”

Pato has good history at the Camp Nou, having scored in the opening minute of their 2-2 group phase draw.

The second leg of the Champions League quarter-final is on Tuesday evening and the first leg ended 0-0.

Rangers - AC Milan legends unite
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s ‘Old Glories’ including Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Zvonimir Boban played Rangers Legends in front of 47,000 fans.

Supporters flooded to Ibrox on Friday evening to see the friendly match between the now-retired veterans of both clubs.

The Glasgow veterans got the only goal of the game when Ally McCoist came off the bench to nod in a Giovanni van Bronckhorst cross.

Other Milan old boys in this charity match included Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta, Jean-Pierre Papin, Daniele Massaro, Massimo Taibi, Stefano Nava, Angelo Carbone, Stefano Eranio, Diego Fuser, Alberigo Evani, Ibrahim Ba and Gigi Lentini.

Among the Rangers men were Brian Laudrup, Mark Hateley, Paul Gascoigne, Andy Goram, Jorg Albertz, Michael Mols, Arthur Numan and Lorenzo Amoruso.

Barrientos: AC Milan won't change us
31.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pablo Barrientos has warned Milan to expect the same Catania that has played well through recent weeks.

The Elefanti have moved up to seventh in the table after a recent run of form and welcome table-topping Milan in confident mood, as attacking midfielder Barrientos revealed today.

“The mood is very good with Montella,” the 27-year-old declared to the Corriere dello Sport.

“And his skill lies in creating a game that suits our technical qualities.

“We have transmitted a strong mentality and now we have a great identity - we always want to be proactive and we mustn’t change our attitude just because we are facing Milan.”

President Antonino Pulvirenti is urging the players to think of pushing for a Europa League place.

“For now we must keep this low profile and do our best- we must not think of Europe, there’s no rush.

“We will proceed step by step, game by game. I believe that Milan are not an opponent important enough to make us think in any other way.”

Legrottaglie: Title was mine too
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nicola Legrottaglie feels he had a part to play in Milan’s Scudetto success last term – despite appearing in just one game.

The now Catania stopper, who will face the Rossoneri on Saturday, joined the San Siro outfit in January 2011 from Juventus only to be injured on his debut.

“I was there for just six months and I only featured in the match against Lazio, but that Scudetto feels like mine too given my contribution in training,” the 35-year-old told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

The deeply-religious player moved to Sicily in the summer and he’s aware of who will be Milan’s biggest threat at the Massimino.

“Milan have champions in every department,” continued the former Italian international. “But Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a hard guy to mark.

“I didn’t really get to know him that well outside of the pitch, but he is the strongest athlete in Serie A.”

Legrottaglie has scored four goals in 23 games for the Elefanti so far this season.

Cassano waits for medical verdict
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Cassano could get the green light to start playing again when a medical commission assesses his fitness on Monday.

The Italian Federation of Sporting Doctors, consisting of 10 medical experts, will examine his case at the start of next week.

The Milan man hasn’t played since last October when he fell ill on the flight home from Milan’s 3-2 win over Roma.

After undergoing a series of tests, Cassano was forced to have minor surgery to resolve a heart problem.

If all goes well, Cassano, who resumed full training with his teammates on Thursday, could soon be back in action for club and country.

“Until he gets the green light to play then I can’t use him,” boss Massimiliano Allegri said today. “I hope to have him available by the end of the season.”

Cassano is hungry to prove his fitness and form in time for Italy’s Euro 2012 bid.

Allegri: No problem with Berlusconi
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri – on the eve of the game against Catania – insists there is no breakdown in his relationship with Silvio Berlusconi.

The club President was reportedly left disappointed with the team’s performance in the 0-0 draw with Barcelona in midweek.

Allegri, however, has insisted that he has talked with the former Italian Prime Minister since and there are no issues to resolve.

“We spoke yesterday, as we often have during these two years,” Allegri said at his Press conference on Friday.

“I explain the reasons why we play in a certain way and he gives me his thoughts on the team.

“From what he told me, he was happy with the performance. I speak to the President on a weekly basis and he is content with our progress in the championship and the Champions League.”

The Diavolo are currently top of the table, but Juventus have underlined their title hopes with impressive wins over Fiorentina and Inter.

“I’m not thinking about Juventus,” the former Cagliari man continued. “We have four points more and we’ll fight until the end.

“It all depends on us. If Juve haven’t lost this term then it means that they have the quality to win the League. Now it’s just crucial that we stay ahead of them.”

Milan will play Barcelona in the return leg next week, but the Coach is adamant that his side are just focused on Catania.

“To be defensive is not in Catania’s character. They have 42 points and do great things thanks to their Coach.

“They are a very technical side, especially in midfield which combines running with quality. They are quick in attack and solid at the back. It will be tough for us tomorrow.

“We’re in good physical shape and I’ll have a few fresh players tomorrow coming back from injury, like Ignazio Abate.

“This is a particular time of the season, but tomorrow we can only think of Catania. We’ll think about Barcelona from Sunday onwards.”

Allegri has named a 21-man squad, but he’s not taken any risks with Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf.

“Nesta and Seedorf have just returned from injury and they need to carry out specific training,” he said when asked why the pair have been omitted.

“Mark Van Bommel? He has been out for 15 days with a back problem. We’ll have to wait and see if he is available against Barca.

“Alexandre Pato will be back on Sunday from America. His condition is good, if not excellent. We’ll see if he can be available for the next few matches.”

AC Milan name 21 for Catania
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has named a 21-man squad for Saturday’s Serie A game at Catania.

The Rossoneri, who have a four point lead over Juventus, will face the Sicilian outfit without a number of key players.

Mark Van Bommel is still missing, while Alessandro Nesta has also been omitted following his fine display against Barcelona in midweek.

Thiago Silva, Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi, Mathieu Flamini and Antonio Cassano are also still out of contention.

Maxi Lopez, on loan from Catania, does make the cut. Mesbah and Muntari are banned.

Squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Piscitelli; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, De Sciglio, Mexes, Zambrotta, Yepes; Ambrosini, Aquilani, Boateng, Emanuelson, Gattuso, Merkel, Nocerino; El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Maxi Lopez, Robinho.

Montella: Fans can make difference
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Catania boss Vincenzo Montella has asked the home fans to inspire them to victory against Milan on Saturday.

The Sicilian outfit are one of the most in-form sides in the championship and they’ll host the League leaders this weekend.

“We will give our all on the pitch,” Montella stated on Friday. “It will be a difficult match though and the support of the fans will be fundamental.”

Milan ran riot at San Siro in the first tie between them this season when they collected a 4-0 victory against the Elefanti.

“We know how they play,” the former Roma striker and tactician continued. “We can adapt our system to their characteristics.

“We were a bit presumptuous in the first match and I hope that this time the team can transport on to the pitch what we have prepared in training.

“It’s an important match for them, but it won’t be decisive for the title so we won’t be referees of the championship.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic? He’s not the only one we’ll have to stop…”

Catania could come face-to-face with Maxi Lopez, the Argentine who left them for Milanello during the January transfer window.

“I expect that the fans will welcome him back in a great way,” Montella added. “Have I spoken to him? I don’t use the telephone that much…”

Montella also used today’s media conference to comment on his future amidst links with Napoli, Lazio and Inter.

“I think that myself and director Pietro Lo Monaco will both still be here next season.”

Chiellini: AC Milan virtually uncatchable
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini is well aware of how difficult it will be to beat Milan to the Scudetto. “It’s easier on the PlayStation…”

The Old Lady are currently four points behind the leaders in the table and boss Antonio Conte considers the Diavolo as favourites.

“I think the Coach is just being a realist,” the defender told Il Giornale. “The Rossoneri are reigning champions and have four more points than us.

“It is certainly easier to beat them on the PlayStation than it is in real life,” the Italian international smiled.

“We are just taking things one game at a time, keeping our feet on the ground and concentrating on our next task which is Napoli.”

Chiellini, 27, is one of the club’s most influential players which has seen him linked with the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid in the past.

“Well, if you are a footballer then it is inevitable that your name will be mentioned in a transfer story every six months,” he continued.

“I have never received any concrete offers from anyone though.”

Berlusconi wants Barca-style AC Milan
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barbara Berlusconi has defended father Silvio after he was left unimpressed by Milan’s performance in the 0-0 draw with Barcelona.

The club President left the stadium in silence after the Champions League last eight tie ended goalless on Wednesday night.

“My father likes how Barcelona play football and he’d like Milan to do the same, but we have different types of players,” Barbara told the Corriere dello Sport.

“He wasn’t angry after the game, he was satisfied with the result, he just wanted to make some tactical points.

“Now we can do well at the Nou Camp in the return leg. We’ll get some players back and we can get the result that we need.”

The Diavolo will need a score draw or a victory to progress into the last four of the competition. Chelsea or Benfica will await in the semi-final.

Corriere dello Sport link Nesta to Juventus
30.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Corriere dello Sport is today suggesting that Alessandro Nesta could leave Milan for Juventus in the summer.

The veteran stopper will be out of contract in June and he has reportedly been asked by friend Andrea Pirlo to join him in Turin.

The latter made the same Bosman move last year after his deal at the Stadio Meazza was not renewed.

The 2006 World Cup winner was linked with the Bianconeri earlier this year by Turin daily Tuttosport, but now the Rome based publication is running the story too.

Nesta, who celebrated his 36th birthday earlier this month, has been restricted to just 11 Serie A games this term.

The Roman centre-back joined the Diavolo in the summer of 2002 from hometown club Lazio.

Inter open to hybrid San Siro turf
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Inter have stated they are “favourable” towards Milan’s proposal of turning the San Siro turf into a hybrid artificial-natural surface.

The state of the pitch is again in the headlines after Barcelona complained in the Champions League quarter-final.

Both clubs pay to re-lay the turf several times a year, but it is not enough to keep it in decent condition when there are two games per week.

Milan have suggested installing a hybrid surface, with a synthetic base and natural grass on top, which is already used at the Milanello training ground.

“We are favourable to this hypothesis. As far as we are concerned, it is possible,” said Pierfrancesco Barletta, Inter’s representative in the M-I Stadio Srl company that maintains the venue.

“However, we need to consider the timing of transforming the pitch.”

UEFA defend AC Milan against Barcelona
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

UEFA’s director of competition assures Barcelona had no reason to lodge a complaint about Milan’s San Siro pitch.

The Spanish side made an official complaint after last night’s 0-0 Champions League draw, claiming the state of the turf was inadequate. Pep Guardiola also insinuated in the media it might’ve been a deliberate ploy to damage their playing style.

“The pitch in Milan is a recurring problem of the microclimate inside that stadium and there is nothing more the two clubs can do,” UEFA representative Giorgio Marchetti told

“Inter and Milan try to get through the problem by re-laying the turf, but many games are consequently played in less than ideal conditions.

“Having said that, the Stadio Meazza playing surface was acceptable. It’s only normal that there is a difference between acceptable and ideal.

“Everyone already knows about this problem and I don’t know if it can be resolved quickly. Adriano Galliani spoke about a new type of surface, but it’s not up to us to say which is best for the stadium.

“The more games are played, the more the pitch is broken up. In Amsterdam, for example, they resolved their problem, but it’s difficult to find a definitive solution here.”

The San Siro pitch has been a constant problem ever since the third tier and roof of the stadium were built for the 1990 World Cup.

Air does not circulate adequately and the grass doesn’t grow, so Milan and Inter pay large sums of money to ship turf in from Holland every few weeks and re-lay the playing surface.

Berlusconi officially AC Milan President
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Silvio Berlusconi has now officially taken back the role of President at Milan that he had to give up due to conflict of interests in 2008.

The media magnate bought the club in 1986 when it was on the verge of bankruptcy and took the Rossoneri to become the side with the most trophies in the world.

He had to resign as President in 2008 when becoming Prime Minister of Italy, but now that he has resigned from that political role, Berlusconi is again free to take control.

“President Silvio Berlusconi has returned to His club,” wrote a Milan statement this evening.

“The Board of Directors today nominated him Honorary President.”

Effectively Berlusconi was still in charge of Milan, although he left the day to day running of the club to Vice-President and general manager Adriano Galliani.

He recently confirmed his desire to come back to a regular role in football by attending the Parma-Milan match at the Stadio Tardini, the first time he’d been in the stands for an away game since the 2007 Champions League Final in Athens.

AC Milan reply to Barcelona complaints
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have posted a brief statement defending the quality of San Siro’s playing surface, after Barcelona launched an official protest.

The Catalan side complained via the media last night of the poor condition they believed the turf to be in, whilst they also launched an official complaint with the match’s UEFA delegate.

In response to this, the Rossoneri have issued a reply through their official website.

“In reference to the official protest presented to UEFA by FC Barcelona regarding the conditions of the San Siro pitch, AC Milan communicates that:

1) The watering of the field, to be done within one hour prior to the game as agreed in the organisational meeting yesterday morning and per the regulations of the UEFA Champions League in section 14.15, has not been carried out due to the conditions of high humidity on the field.

2) The general conditions of the field, on which FC Barcelona had trained on the night before without raising any questions, have been deemed suitable by both the referee and the delegate from UEFA during their site visit yesterday morning.”

Cassano rejoins AC Milan training
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Cassano’s recovery from heart surgery continues to progress, as today saw him rejoin his Milan teammates for regular training.

Cassano has been out of action since late October, when he suffered a mini stroke upon returning from the Rossoneri’s League game at Roma. Tests revealed a rare heart condition that required surgery and since, a lengthy recovery process.

Mid-January saw the 29-year-old passed fit to resume training, whilst just last week Adriano Galliani spoke of the ‘good news’ he anticipated in relation to the player.

That appears to be Cassano’s return to the main group today at Milanello, where he took part in regular drills with his teammates for the first time since his operation.

Barcelona complain to UEFA
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona have taken their issues with the San Siro playing turf to a higher authority by handing in an official complaint to UEFA.

The Blaugrana were held 0-0 by the Rossoneri in Italy on Wednesday night in a game that Coach Pep Guardiola suggested was affected by the quality of the playing surface.

There were several instances of players losing their footing during the 90 minutes, with an insinuation from the Spanish Coach that it might even have been a deliberate ploy to disrupt his team’s style of play. are today reporting that immediately after the game the club formally complained about the surface to the match’s UEFA delegate Mikalai Varabyov, who then included it in his report. The European body are expected to now ask for an explanation from the Italian champions.

Messi: We deserved to win
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Lionel Messi believes Barcelona were deserving of a win last night against Milan and that the Spanish should have been awarded a penalty.

Messi, who recently became the Blaugrana’s all-time leading goal-scorer and went into last night’s Champions League quarter-final with 30 goals from his last 25 games played in the competition, cut a frustrated figure during yesterday’s 0-0 at San Siro.

The 24-year-old has reflected that his team deserved more than they got from the match and hinted that Milan were fortunate to get away with a first-half penalty claim.

“I’m disappointed, we did not win despite having played a great game,” Messi told the Spanish media.

“We deserved to beat Milan. I didn’t see the action on Sanchez, but according to what my teammates are saying, I think it was a penalty.”

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner also looked ahead to the second leg at Camp Nou.

“The return leg will depend on us, we always play to win, we must play our usual game. It will be a tough game, they are very strong physically.

“However, if we play like last night, we can do it. It will be risky if we concede a goal, then we will need two to qualify.”

Astori hails 'eternal' Nesta
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cagliari stopper Davide Astori was left impressed by the performance of Alessandro Nesta in last night’s Milan-Barcelona tie.

Nesta, 36, was one of the Rossoneri’s star performers in the 0-0 draw with the European champions before he was replaced in the second half.

“I saw an eternal player last night…Alessandro Nesta,” the Italian international wrote on his Twitter account.

The former Lazio symbol was brought back into the Milan side on Wednesday after recent injury. He was needed alongside Philippe Mexes given that Thiago Silva is currently sidelined.

Nesta, who is only contracted at San Siro until the summer, has made just 11 Serie A appearances so far this term.

Bonera hopes in Euro 2012 call
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Daniele Bonera is thinking about a recall to the Italian international squad for Euro 2012.

The 30-year-old has played in 23 games across all competitions for the Diavolo this term and he’s happy with his form.

“Given that I am now playing with a certain amount of consistency, it is inevitable that I can think about at least being under observation,” stated the stopper.

“Coach Cesare Prandelli has demonstrated that he is well aware of what is going and he’s never excluded anybody.

“I will candidate myself.”

The former Parma man, who can play as a centre-back or a right-back, has made 16 appearances for his country.

However, the former Under-21 international hasn’t featured for the Azzurri since a 1-1 draw against Greece in November 2008.

He’s also never appeared in the final stages of any major tournament despite taking part in eight qualifying matches.

El Shaarawy demands perfect AC Milan
29.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will need to be perfect at the Camp Nou if they are to dump Barcelona out of the Champions League, says Stephan El Shaarawy.

The last eight tie is currently still at 0-0 after Wednesday night’s draw at San Siro between the two European giants.

“At the Nou Camp we’ll need to play a perfect game,” the youngster noted. “They’ll attack even more at home and the wide pitch will favour them, but we can cause them problems.”

After making his Champions League debut at Arsenal in the last round, the summer signing tasted European Cup action at the Meazza for the first time.

“It was very emotional,” said the 19-year-old who replaced Robinho in the second half of last night’s game.

“I’m happy with my San Siro debut against a team such as Barcelona and I’m happy with the result too.

“I tried to create a couple of chances but I still gave 100 per cent. There was work to do out there even without the ball, but now we must think of the second leg.”

El Shaarawy, an Italian Under-21 international, is co-owned with Genoa. He’s scored four goals in 24 games across all competitions this season.

Champions League: AC MIlan 0:0 Barcelona - highlights
29.3 || webmaster

Seedorf: 'Barcelona have a weak spot'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Veteran Clarence Seedorf is confident Milan can qualify past Barcelona in the second leg. “Every side has a weak spot.”

The 0-0 result in this Champions League quarter-final means the Rossoneri can go through with a score draw at the Camp Nou next Tuesday.

“This offers us the possibility of qualifying for the next round. They only have to play for the win, whereas we will have two out of three results at our disposal,” said the Dutchman.

“Every side has a weak spot and we can definitely bring home a draw. Italian teams know how to defend, while tonight we alternated moments in which we pushed up and others sitting back.

“I believe we can get through and I respect Barcelona. Are we going to be like Jose Mourinho’s Inter? Don’t forget Milan got there first...”

The Nerazzurri went past Barça in the 2010 semi-final 3-2 on aggregate, but had won the first leg 3-1.

Nocerino: 'Barcelona respect AC Milan'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Nocerino points out Milan “did not allow much to the strongest team in the world and Barcelona respect us too.”

The 0-0 first leg draw leaves qualification from the Champions League quarter-final wide open going into the Camp Nou next Tuesday.

“We played a good game and know they are a great squad. We tried to take advantage of a few of their mistakes and could’ve scored especially in the first half.

“In any case, we did not allow much to the strongest team in the world. Barcelona respect us too, as we are also a big club, so now we’ll gamble with qualification in Spain.

“We will try to play the way we did tonight, limiting errors and trying to score.”

Galliani: 'Artificial turf at San Siro'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani feels “Barcelona are afraid of Milan,” but reveals plans to revamp the San Siro turf with an artificial base.

“It’s a good result, especially considering all the injuries we had and that quite a few players weren’t in good shape, like Alessandro Nesta, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Robinho,” he said after the 0-0 first leg Champions League quarter-final.

“Barcelona started out very tense, as they are afraid of Milan too, I think. We were unlucky in the draw, but Barça could say the same.

“The team battled, showing determination and grit. I particularly appreciated Luca Antonini’s performance.”

Pep Guardiola complained about the state of the pitch, which despite being continually re-laid is choppy and can cause an irregular bounce of the ball.

“We’ve got to change the pitch, installing a hybrid surface with a synthetic base and natural grass on top,” explained Galliani.

“We hope to reach an agreement with Inter, as we’ve already set this up at the Milanello training ground. At the end of the season, if we agree on it, then it can be installed in two months. I will work hard to make this new turf happen.”

Ibrahimovic 'optimistic' in Barcelona
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is “optimistic” about Milan’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals after their draw with Barcelona.

The 0-0 result at San Siro in the first leg of the quarter-final means the Rossoneri can go through with a score draw in Spain next Tuesday.

“We ran very hard today and everyone knows Barcelona have more possession than any other side in the world,” noted former Blaugrana striker Ibra.

“We did well and created quite a few scoring opportunities, but didn’t get it in the net. The 0-0 is a good result anyway and we’ll see what happens.

“We have already played in Barcelona, even without me, so we’ll give it a go and I am optimistic.”

Guardiola 'knew AC Milan's quality'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pep Guardiola said Barcelona “knew Milan’s quality,” but criticised the notorious San Siro turf. “It’s not suited to a football match.”

The Spanish tactician spoke to Italian television after the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final ended 0-0.

“We knew Milan’s quality and not scoring in the away leg is a bit damaging for us. The pitch was slippery and it was difficult to play,” he said.

“It is always a pleasure to play at San Siro. It’s just a shame that this pitch is not suited to a football match. Inter and Milan both deserve a better playing surface.”

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi spoke to Guardiola after the final whistle and complimented him on his style of football.

“What did we say to each other? That remains between us.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan are stronger now'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri said Milan’s draw with Barcelona “gives us strength” for the second leg, but President Silvio Berlusconi was not happy.

The 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final leaves qualification wide open for next week’s trip to the Camp Nou.

“Am I happy? Partly. I have a few observations to make,” noted President Berlusconi, who was seen looking irritated at Barca’s domination of possession.

“I think the President is right, in that at times we played very well and in the first half used up a lot of energy,” replied Allegri on Sky Sport Italia.

“We defended in a very organised fashion. We must be happy with the result, especially as we have two out of three results open to us in the second leg.

“Barcelona have scored in almost all their games, so I must compliment my lads for doing so well. It will be very tough in Spain, but this result gives us strength.

“When Leo Messi went deep, Massimo Ambrosini went to mark him. We’ve got to do better on set plays and high balls into the box, though.”

Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta and Robinho were all making their comebacks to the starting XI after several weeks out with injury, but none of them were able to last 90 minutes.

“I had to make three substitutions due to physical problems. Hopefully some can start to recover for the second leg and others can find better form.”

Bonera: 'Pressure was inevitable'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Daniele Bonera notes it was “inevitable” the Milan defence would be under pressure against Barcelona, “but qualification is still wide open.”

The 0-0 first leg draw in the Champions League quarter-final was a marvellous defensive performance from the Rossoneri, especially as they were missing Thiago Silva and Ignazio Abate.

“It was inevitable we would be under pressure and we had the ball more in defence than in attack, but we did well, qualification is still wide open and that was our objective,” said Bonera.

“On Tuesday we will try to put in another great performance. We know that we have to go there and try to score goals. It won’t be easy, but with unity of intent we will make up for the absentees.”

Bonera played as a right-back this evening, whereas he took the central defensive role against Roma on Saturday.

“I just like playing! With my characteristics, I think I’m better in the middle of the defence. Do I have a chance at the Euro 2012 squad? I just intend to stay in good shape and play consistently, then the rest will follow.”

Antonini: 'Same spirit at Camp Nou'
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luca Antonini was voted UEFA’s Man of the Match and pledged Milan would “play with the same spirit in Barcelona” next week.

The defender’s brave sliding tackles prevented two great Barça scoring opportunities during the 0-0 first leg Champions League quarter-final encounter.

“We had clear chances, allowing Barcelona something, but we played a good game,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I think we could’ve done a bit more in attack and especially in the first half we created the opportunities, but it’s very tough with them. In any case, we are happy with what we did tonight.

“I always watched Barcelona’s stars on television and play them on video games, but Milan proved they can hold out against them.

“We will play with the same spirit in the second leg in Barcelona. We have to repeat this performance next week and are convinced of our qualities. Plus some of our players will return from injury.”

Champions League: AC MIlan 0:0 Barcelona - match report
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan and Barcelona both had numerous chances to score, including a penalty appeal, but the first leg of this quarter-final at San Siro was goalless.

These sides already faced off twice in the group phase with a 2-2 draw in Spain and 3-2 Barca victory at San Siro. This was the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final and the Rossoneri were still dealing with an injury crisis.

Thiago Silva was the latest absentee, joining Alexandre Pato, Ignazio Abate, Antonio Cassano, Alexander Merkel, Gennaro Gattuso, Mathieu Flamini and Pippo Inzaghi. Kevin-Prince Boateng made his comeback from a long injury as a substitute against Roma on Saturday, while Alessandro Nesta and Robinho were thrown straight into the starting XI after a month out. Barcelona missed David Silva, Eric Abidal, Ibrahim Afellay and Adriano, while ex-Udinese starlet Alexis Sanchez partnered Lionel Messi. Cesc Fabregas was benched in favour of Seydou Keita.

Milan got off to a very strong start and should’ve taken the lead after two minutes. Boateng’s shot was charged down and looped into the air on to the foot of the unmarked Robinho, who ballooned the volley over from nine yards.

Christian Abbiati fumbled a seemingly harmless Messi shot and Dani Alves failed to tap in the rebound. From a well-worked free kick, Sanchez went clear and Antonio Nocerino tackled to put him off, then he fell over Abbiati’s arms, but the referee waved away penalty appeals.

Messi did get the ball in the net, but was offside when tapping in a Dani Alves low cross at the back post.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a great chance when Massimo Ambrosini won back possession and Clarence Seedorf slipped a ball through the middle, but the Swede fired straight at the goalkeeper.

Messi and Xavi exchanged passes quickly to burst into the box, but the midfielder’s toe-poke was palmed away by Abbiati. At the other end, Carles Puyol intercepted a dangerous cross to Ibrahimovic and as the move continued Boateng volleyed well over.

Nesta blocked another Xavi shot from the Sanchez cut-back, but when Sanchez burst forward on the counter-attack, he was out-paced by Luca Antonini with a crucial sliding tackle to block as he pulled the trigger.

Seedorf’s volley was wayward at the end of a counter and Victor Valdes could smother, while Andres Iniesta fired wide at the back post.

Just six minutes into the second half, Stephan El Shaarawy replaced Robinho, who went straight to the bench with an ice-pack on his right foot.

Nocerino threatened on the counter-attack, but his cross was blocked by Puyol, then Nesta was booked for tacking down Messi. From that free kick, Messi curled over the bar. The Argentine went on a slalom through the Milan defence before Daniele Bonera forced him out for a corner.

Urby Emanuelson replaced a tired Boateng and with his first touch could’ve scored when clear on goal, but it let him down and the chance went begging.

Substitute Tello hit the side-netting under pressure from Bonera, but Nesta hobbled off in his first game back from a long injury lay-off. Ambrosini flung himself at Messi’s strike to block the shot from eight yards, but from the corner Puyol’s diving header skimmed the far post.

Abbiati came off his line to smother at Tello’s feet. At the 87th minute, Abbiati got a hand to Messi’s angled drive and Tello was ready to tap in from close range, but Antonini came sliding in to block practically in front of the line. Xavi drilled well wide in stoppages.

Barcelona had not failed to score in a Champions League match for two and a half years. Their last blanks in an away game of the knockout phase were fired in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on April 29 2008.

Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Nesta (Mesbah 74), Mexes, Antonini; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Seedorf; Boateng (Emanuelson 67); Robinho (El Shaarawy 51), Ibrahimovic

Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Daniel Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol; Xavi Hernandez, Busquets, Keita, Iniesta (Tello 65); Messi; Alexis Sanchez (Pedro Rodriguez 76)

Ref: Eriksson (Swe)

Champions League: AC Milan vs. Barcelona - lineups
28.3 || webmaster

AC Milan: Abbiati, Bonera, Mexes, Nesta, Antonini, Seedorf, Nocerino, Ambrosini, Boateng, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol; Sergio, Xavi, Keita; Alexis, Messi, Iniesta.

AC Milan's Thiago Silva not for sale
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have made it clear that they would not consider an offer from Barcelona for key defender Thiago Silva.

The Brazilian international has been paired with the European champions with some consistency over the last 24 months.

However, speaking ahead of tonight’s clash at San Siro, Vice-President Adriano Galliani has insisted the currently injured stopper is going nowhere.

“If Barcelona ask for Thiago Silva then I will politely respond that he is not for sale,” the official noted this afternoon.

Barcelona will start their Champions League quarter-final against the Rossoneri as favourites, but Galliani believes in his outfit.

“I always watch Barcelona games, they are a fantastic side and I really like the way they play football,” the former Lega Calcio chief noted.

“They have many champions playing for them and they will be favourites, but, in football, favourites sometimes lose.”

History favours AC Milan against Barcelona
28.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will take on Barcelona this evening in the knowledge that they have never been beaten at San Siro in a quarter-final Champions League tie.

The Gazzetta dello Sport is today highlighting that impressive statistic which shows that the Rossoneri have won 10 and drawn four home games in the competition at this stage of the proceedings.

Barcelona are favourites to progress in the two-legged tie given their ability and the Diavolo’s injury problems.

The two teams have already met twice this season with the game in Spain ending 2-2, while Barca won 3-2 at the Stadio Meazza.

Mexes: 'Stopping Messi...'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes takes over from Thiago Silva in the Milan defence against Barcelona and admits “Leo Messi is hard enough to stop in a video game!”

Thiago Silva’s thigh injury rules him out for three to four weeks, so he is likely to miss both legs of the Champions League quarter-final.

“Losing a player like him is a heavy blow. He is suffering a great deal and unfortunately we now need to do without him, hopefully for as little as possible,” Mexes told Milan Channel.

“Barcelona are the best team in the world and we’ll do everything possible to progress, but sooner or later we had to face them. The quarter-finals will be entertaining games and we will fight to the end for every chance.

“It won’t be easy, of course. Messi is hard enough to stop in a video game! He is a great player and deserves all the respect in the world, but at the end of the day we’ll play the way we always do. We will try to stop him, as everyone in Spain has been failing to do. Here’s hoping!”

Guardiola: 'AC Milan among the best'
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola believes Milan are “among the best teams in the world and will play to win. If we don’t perform, we won’t qualify.”

The Champions League quarter-final first leg is on Wednesday evening and Barça are the favourites, partly thanks to an injury crisis in the Rossoneri camp.

“I expect the best possible Milan, as they have many options and will play to win. They are among the best teams in the world and have some excellent players, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic,” said Guardiola.

Ibra famously clashed with Guardiola during their time together at Barcelona and after a certain point were no longer on speaking terms.

“Ibra had an extraordinary year in Barcelona, helping us in the Liga and the Champions League. Without him we would not have achieved everything we did. He has always done well in every club and I have fond memories of his time at Barça.

“It will not be Ibrahimovic against Barcelona, as we are playing against Milan, the club with the most international trophies in the world. Coming to play at San Siro is an honour.

“If we don’t perform against Milan in the quarter-finals, we won’t qualify. We know that we must do our best, aware that we might or might not go through to the next round, so it is a big test for us.

“Both these sides have great champions, so the team with the most psychological strength over the two legs will qualify. We want to take control of the game and hold on to it in every moment, but it is understandable to go out against Milan.”

These clubs have already clashed twice this season in the group phase, resulting in a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou and a 3-2 Barcelona victory at San Siro.

“This is a great stadium and a wonderful football environment. I am happy to be back in Italy for this challenge. The match on March 2 was very enjoyable, as both sides really pushed to win that night. It’s totally unrealistic to think Milan won’t have scoring opportunities.

“How will we defend? Put seven players on the line, piled up so they go up to the crossbar! Aside from playing with three or four defenders, we have to read our opponents and I think we already know them fairly well. Our main objective is to score, because we know how important an away goal can be.”

Robinho and Maxi Lopez back for Barcelona
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin-Prince Boateng, Maxi Lopez and Robinho are in the Milan squad to face Barcelona in tomorrow’s Champions League quarter-final.

The injury list remains substantial going into the Wednesday night first leg clash at San Siro.

Among those sidelined are Thiago Silva, Alexandre Pato, Ignazio Abate, Antonio Cassano, Mathieu Flamini, Rodney Strasser, Gennaro Gattuso and Pippo Inzaghi, some of whom are not even in the UEFA list.

Mark Van Bommel is banned in midfield, so there are necessarily changes.

The good news for Coach Massimiliano Allegri is that there are more available striking options with both Maxi Lopez and Robinho returning from their lay-offs.

Boateng made his comeback as a substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Roma, while Alessandro Nesta was only fit for the bench at that stage.

Milan squad for Barcelona: Abbiati, Amelia, Antonini, Bonera, De Sciglio, Mesbah, Mexes, Nesta, Zambrotta, Yepes, Ambrosini, Aquilani, Boateng, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Maxi Lopez, Robinho

Allegri: We'll attack Barcelona
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has promised that Milan will attack Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final this week.

The two sides, who are set to face each other at San Siro on Wednesday night, met in the group stages of this season’s UEFA tournament, where they shared nine goals across two games.

In reflecting upon those encounters, the Rossonero tactician believes his side now know how to correctly approach the competition’s defending champions.

“We are relaxed. We arrive as one of the top eight sides in Europe, something that has not happened for four years,” Allegri made a point of saying in front of the assembled Press.

“We know that this quarter-final is very difficult, and so we must be ready. The previous two games were quite different, the first more defensive, the second we played with more belief and tomorrow we will need a performance like that again.”

Barcelona have won 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions, whilst they progressed to this stage of the European Cup thanks to a 10-2 aggregate win over Bayer Leverkusen. Allegri provided some insight into his game-plan to halt Pep Guardiola’s side.

“On a tactical level, today I will try some things. On a psychological level, I think that the game is of great attraction and in itself already provides great motivation.

“Lionel Messi is the tip of a team that plays beautiful football, we have to play against them carefully, minimising mistakes, but still with an offensive mentality, playing with courage.”

Allegri was asked if he would take inspiration from rivals Inter, who defeated Barcelona in the 2009-10 competition’s semi-finals en route to lifting the trophy.

“Would we play like Inter in 2010? For the characteristics of my players, we can hardly play a game as they did two years ago.

“I do not think this team is able to defend well, as the elimination from the Coppa Italia against Juventus demonstrated.

“I’m sorry for the absences that there are, but on a mental level we are fine. Sure, I would have preferred to have all the players available, but the fact remains that the team is ready for this game.”

Ibrahimovic: Two more years at AC Milan
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ahead of facing old club Barcelona on Wednesday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has reaffirmed his immediate commitment to current side Milan.

Ibrahimovic is the Rossoneri’s top goal-scorer this season with 22 League goals from 23 appearances, but recent weeks have seen mild speculation suggest that he is looking for a move away. However, Tuesday has seen the tall Swede state his desire to remain with the Milanese until at least 2014.

“My future is at Milan, I have another two years on my contract,” he told the assembled Press today.

“Italy is my second home. My future is here, I hope to play well in the next two years and then we’ll see if I stay or go away.

“I’m playing at a fantastic club where they love me, my family are happy, all is natural, everything is automatic and I have nothing to prove.”

Ibra was talking ahead of facing former side Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday at San Siro.

“We are ready, we have prepared well. What happens, happens, we hope that good things will happen. We will need to play a perfect match too. They are the strongest in the world.”

The forward was asked about comparisons between former teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“You cannot ask me, I’m fine here, I’m not interested in these things, all that matters is that Milan win.

“The game is important for everyone. Tradition says that Milan has always done well in the Champions League. The story must go forward.

“We have to play as Milan, in attack. Tactics to stop them I do not like. We need to score so as to do well in the second leg. They have an idea in the field that they always follow.

“We are the only Italian side in Europe and after the return leg I hope that we remain so.

“Will I shake Guardiola’s hand? I do not know, we have other things to think about, it’s not a big problem. I do not think about the past.”

Chiellini: Winning only Juventus option
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Giorgio Chiellini has admitted that Juventus may have to win every game they have left this season in order to lift the Scudetto.

Despite convincing triumphs over Fiorentina and Inter in recent weeks, the Bianconeri are still trailing leaders Milan by four points.

“It won’t be easy to win the championship,” the defender commented. “We just have to think about winning our games.

“The rest will be up to Milan because if they continue doing what they are doing then the maths won’t help us.”

Although Juve are unbeaten in Serie A, the Diavolo have collected more victories. Following the loss at Lazio, the Rossoneri have managed two draws and six wins.

While Chiellini is hoping Milan lose the title, he’s supporting the Rossoneri in their Champions League quest.

“Every football fan will be watching Milan-Barcelona,” he continued. “It will benefit all of Italian football that they progress as far as possible given the current rankings.”

Nocerino: AC Milan can topple Barcelona
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Antonio Nocerino is convinced that Milan can get past Barcelona to progress in the Champions League.

Although restricted by injuries, the midfielder has confidence in the skills of his teammates ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final first leg tie.

“This squad always has the ability to make the difference,” he told the Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday.

“When someone is missing, the players that come in always do well. We can hurdle any difficulty, even Barcelona.

“We recovered in the League during an injury crisis and we can continue in the Champions League too.”

Nocerino is expected to start against the European champions and he’s aware of what is at stake for the Diavolo.

“I think it is the most important game of my career,” said the summer signing from Palermo. “I hope it is one of the first of a series of massive ties for me.”

The 26-year-old began the campaign slowly, but he’s been sensational in Serie A after bagging nine goals in 27 League games so far.

“The criticism which I received gave me the strength to improve,” continued the Italian international.

“I’m missing goals in Europe though. I could have scored at Arsenal, but the most important thing for me is to take home points and trophies.”

One of the main reasons behind Nocerino’s unexpected scoring touch has been his link-up play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Ibrahimovic has no reason to envy Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo,” added the former Juventus player. “He’s always won and scored in Italy, the most difficult of championships.

“I’m happy to be his teammate and he’s a prodigy when it comes to assists like Antonio Cassano and Robinho. He’s a simple and normal guy, even if he gets annoyed…”

AC Milan have no chance, says Wenger
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is adamant that Milan don’t have what is needed to win the Champions League this season.

The Rossoneri defeated Arsenal in the last round 4-3 on aggregate, but the Frenchman insists he didn’t see a side good enough to win the ultimate prize.

“Barcelona are the super favourites for the trophy,” Wenger told the Corriere dello Sport on Tuesday. “Milan have no chance of winning the Champions League.

“Milan play well as a team and they can count on a great player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but I don’t think that they are at the level required. They have some weak points.”

The Diavolo will face Barcelona in Milan on Wednesday night in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown.

Abbiati has AC Milan confidence
27.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati insists that his Milan side have a 50 per cent chance of dumping Barcelona out of the Champions League.

The two teams meet at San Siro on Wednesday night in the first leg of their last eight European showdown.

“Our chances of qualification will start at 50 per cent,” the goalkeeper told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “After all, we are Milan.

“We played two excellent games against them in the group stages, even if we did suffer a bit in the match in Spain.”

The Nou Camp tie ended in a 2-2 draw, while Barca won at the Stadio Meazza thanks to a 3-2 victory.

“They create 20 scoring opportunities per game, so we therefore have to take advantage of the chances we have,” added the former Italian international.

“Lionel Messi? I am perfectly aware that he is the best player in the world, but Barcelona are not just Messi.

“He’s a player who can’t be analysed because he is so unpredictable, but the game won’t be Messi against me!”

AC Milan, Napoli tracking Jordi Alba
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have been linked with making a couple of moves in the Spanish transfer market this summer and reportedly share one target with Napoli.

Valencia’s newly-capped international wing-back Jordi Alba and Villarreal’s Bruno Soriano are reportedly identified targets for the Rossoneri once the season is over, according to the players’ shared agent.

“Jordi Alba? It is true, I can confirm that we are in contact with Milan, also for Soriano of Villarreal, who is another represented by me,” Vicente Fores claimed on Monday to

“Initially with the Milan club there has been only brief contact, but I think that within 20 days to a month maximum, we will meet with Braida. I don’t know whether this will be in Spain or Italy.

“Napoli’s interest in Alba? Yes, there have also been talks with the Neapolitans, but it is normal because we are talking about a very strong young man, born in 1989, with a great future ahead of him.

“I stress that he is also followed by Manchester City and Barcelona. A price for Soriano and Alba? I prefer not to dwell on this aspect, it would be unfair for the players’ clubs, Valencia and Villarreal.”

Alba, who only recently made his debut for Spain at left-back, is understood to have a buyout clause in the region of €20m.

Injuries happen, says Galliani
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan insist that they have no regrets about Thiago Silva’s injury as Alexandre Pato flies out to America to see a specialist.

The defender could be out of action for the next month after he picked up an injury in the game against Roma – a match he started despite not being 100 per cent fit.

“There is no disappointment about Thiago Silva,” Vice-President Adriano Galliani noted. “We don’t use a rotation policy because we don’t want to drop points.

“We knew that he had a few problems, but he warmed up. It seemed as if Thiago was OK, but instead…

“There has been a lot of talk about Thiago in the last few days, but nobody knows that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been playing with a bad back.

“Players know that there is a risk of injury in this job.”

A depleted Milan are next in action against Barcelona in the Champions League and Galliani is in confident mood.

“It’ll be a great game and Milan are used to these great occasions. We are still there, amongst the big clubs, then sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

“It would be better to beat them rather than to stop them from scoring. We’ve always played well against them.

“I’ll say that the two games against them this season finished 4-4 with a dubious penalty awarded to them.

“It’s bizarre that over the last two seasons we have been drawn with Real Madrid and Barcelona. It means we are unlucky in the draw, but Barcelona were also unlucky to get us.”

Pato will also be unavailable for the Diavolo after he recently picked up yet another muscle injury. With the club unsure why he’s so prone to those setbacks, he’s been sent to America for tests.

“I expect that he’ll return healed,” Galliani continued. “He’s hopeful.”

Nesta to start against Barcelona?
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta is being tipped to start for Milan against Barcelona in the absence of Thiago Silva.

The latter will miss this week’s first leg tie and the return after being sidelined for the next three weeks with injury.

Nesta, 36, hasn’t been a regular with the Rossoneri so far this season because of form and his own fitness issues.

The former Lazio symbol has played in just 11 Serie A games, one Coppa Italia tie and five Champions League matches.

He’s expected to partner Philippe Mexes in a back-four which will may contain Daniele Bonera and Gianluca Zambrotta.

Ibrahimovic ready for Barcelona
26.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The time has arrived for Milan to underline their ability outside of the Serie A environment, says Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Rossoneri will host the Spanish giants in the first leg of the last eight of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

After winning the Italian title last season and maintaining a four-point advantage over Juventus at the weekend, Ibra is now targeting European glory.

“We are ready for Barcelona,” he told Aftonbladet. “If we want to win international trophies then we have to start winning these types of games.”

Barcelona’s biggest goal threat is Lionel Messi, but Ibra, given his past as a player at the Nou Camp, respects the European champions as a unit.

“We have to stop Barcelona, not Messi, in the same way that Barca will have to stop Milan,” he continued.

Ibrahimovic is in good shape going into the game after netting a brace in the 2-1 win over Roma at the weekend.

“The game against the Catalans will be completely different to the match against Roma…”

AC Milan lose Thiago Silva for a month
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Terrible news for Milan, as Thiago Silva’s thigh strain will keep him out for “three to four weeks, save for complications.”

The defender had already been in doubt before Saturday’s game with Roma, but passed a fitness test to start.

He lasted only 10 minutes and limped off with what has now officially been diagnosed as a muscular lesion to the right thigh.

“The prognosis is three to four weeks, save for complications.”

This means not only does Thiago Silva miss the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona on Wednesday, but he’s also not expected to recover in time for the second leg on April 3.

Ibrahimovic anger at AC Milan injuries
25.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is concerned that Milan have “too many injuries” after Thiago Silva was ruled out of the Barcelona match.

The Brazilian defender limped off just 10 minutes into the 2-1 victory over Roma and is highly unlikely to recover in time for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final.

“I felt in good shape, even if my back has been hurting for a few days. During a game there is far too much adrenaline to think about that,” Ibra told Milan Channel after bagging a brace.

“The important thing is that the team is doing well and so far I can say that my season has been pretty much perfect.

“Now an important moment arrives for us. It’s a shame about Thiago Silva and we hope his injury is not as bad as it looks.

“We already have too many injuries and something has to change, because this is the time of the campaign when we all have to be on the field giving our contribution.

“It’s a difficult game against Barcelona, who are the best team in the world. Obviously they are favourites for everyone, but we’ve got to take our chances. This is football.”

Ibrahimovic also insisted his supposed ‘row’ with Coach Massimiliano Allegri was a thing of the past.

“I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing without the work of my teammates. If they are happy, then I am happy. That’s how a family works and it’s the same for me.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 AS Roma - goals/highlights
24.3 || webmaster

Ambrosini looks to Barcelona
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Ambrosini explains how Milan must work as a unit to get the better of Barcelona after pushing past Roma.

The Rossoneri fought back to win 2-1 this evening, a good way to prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final.

“We’ve got to stop thinking that we can make mistakes, because then unconsciously the idea gets into your head that you can afford to lose games,” said the midfielder.

“Barcelona are the strongest side in the world, it really doesn’t take a magician to tell you that. It will be a very important and difficult match, but also one that will fire us up.

“The Blaugrana have so many weapons at their disposal that we must all work to our very limits, because individuals alone cannot stop them.”

There was bad news when Thiago Silva limped off just 10 minutes into the Roma game with a thigh injury and Massimiliano Allegri already confirmed he won’t be fit in time to face Barcelona.

“That is a heavy blow for us,” added Ambrosini.

Luis Enrique: 'Ibrahimovic was decisive'
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luis Enrique feels he “could not have asked for more” from Roma after their defeat to Milan. “Zlatan Ibrahimovic was decisive.”

The Giallorossi were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, but an Ibra brace turned it around for the 2-1 result at San Siro.

“There is no particular problem to point out and I could not have asked for more from my team,” said the Spanish Coach.

“It was a good game. Ibrahimovic was decisive in the second half, but we played a complete match. I think my central defenders did very well, as Ibrahimovic is extremely difficult to mark.

“I am not 100 per cent happy with the first half performance, as we could’ve done better in keeping possession. We came close to the result, but these games are decided by minor details and we still have to improve in that respect.

“Don’t forget we were playing away to the Serie A leaders and reigning Scudetto holders.”

Milan face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, so will Pep Guardiola call his former Barcelona B manager for advice?

“As long as it’s not too late,” smiled Luis Enrique. “If he calls, then I’ll be the one to ask him for advice!”

Allegri: 'No Thiago Silva for Barcelona'
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri is pleased with Milan’s fightback against Roma, but feels it’s “impossible” for Thiago Silva to recover against Barcelona.

The defender had a problem in the warm-up, then limped off just 10 minutes into the 2-1 win due to a thigh injury.

“I risked Thiago Silva and that’s how it went. He has a problem on his thigh and I think it’s impossible to have him against Barcelona on Wednesday,” said the Coach.

“We played a good first half today and conceded in the only occasion when Roma came forward. We came on to the field after the break with the real desire to turn things around and we achieved it.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a brace, converting a penalty and chipping Maarten Stekelenburg to nod into an empty net.

“Ibrahimovic played a great game today. I think he is among the best players in the world. Daniele Bonera is having a wonderful season and is always ready when called upon.”

The Rossoneri ensure their status on top of the Serie A table, but now prepare for the Champions League quarter-final.

“We are playing against the best team in the world. The two alternatives are to defend and go on the counter, which is difficult, or put in the effort all over the pitch the way we did at San Siro.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:1 AS Roma - match report
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Osvaldo 44 (R), Ibrahimovic pen 52, 83 (M)

Milan fought back from a Pablo Daniel Osvaldo strike to beat Roma 2-1 thanks to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace, but lost Thiago Silva to injury.

The Serie A leaders took this match with former Barcelona B manager Luis Enrique’s men as preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final with the Blaugrana. Luca Antonini was suspended, joining the injured Maxi Lopez, Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi, Robinho, Mark van Bommel, Ignazio Abate, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano and Rodney Strasser. Alessandro Nesta and Kevin-Prince Boateng were only fit for the bench.

Roma welcomed back Francesco Totti, but were without Juan, Nicolas Burdisso, Marco Cassetti, Leandro Greco and substitute goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont. There was the risk of fatigue from the Rossoneri after an extra time Coppa Italia semi-final exit to Juventus midweek, while they hadn't beaten Roma here since 2009.

Maarten Stekelenburg smothered an Urby Emanuelson effort at the near stick, but there was bad news for Milan when Thiago Silva requested a substitution after just 10 minutes due to a slight problem he had in the warm-up. Gianluca Zambrotta came on, moving Daniele Bonera to centre-back.

Stekelenburg fingertipped a fierce Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick out from under the crossbar, then from the corner the goalkeeper rushed off his line to clear from the Swede’s feet. Stephan El Shaarawy’s volley flashed past the far post, Emanuelson blasted over on the counter and a Sulley Muntari effort was charged down.

Bonera blocked a Totti snapshot and Simon Kjaer stood his ground in a shoulder-to-shoulder with Ibra in the box. Muntari again blasted just over and Ibrahimovic’s header was too weak to trouble Stekelenburg.

Milan went very close on 40 minutes, as El Shaarawy’s angled drive cracked off the base of the far post. It ricocheted into the path of Antonio Nocerino, then Ibrahimovic, but Stekelenburg managed to scramble hold of the ball before it could roll over the line.

Aleandro Rosi’s cross found a Borini header that looped past the far stick and Roma took the lead with their first real scoring opportunity.

Borini got away from Muntari at the corner flag and a poor Massimo Ambrosini clearance came to Daniele De Rossi on the edge of the box. His shot was redirected by Osvaldo at full stretch to toe-poke it past Christian Abbiati from four yards.

Straight after the restart a terrible Abbiati clearance was straight at Totti, but the Roma captain opted for an audacious lob that landed on the roof of the net rather than pick his spot to shoot, wasting a golden opportunity.

El Shaarawy’s powerful but central strike was well smothered by Stekelenburg, then Abbiati palmed away a Marquinho angled drive.

However, De Rossi went sliding in with his arm raised to block an Ambrosini shot in the box, so the referee pointed to the spot. Ibrahimovic stepped up and beat his former Ajax teammate by sending Stekelenburg the wrong way.

Boateng made his comeback in place of Emanuelson, while Roma’s double substitution introduced Bojan Krkic and Miralem Pjanic for Borini and Totti.

A deflected Djamel Mesbah effort whistled past the post, but Stekelenburg performed a splendid save at the near stick to deny Ibra’s angled drive after a well-worked Milan move.

Moments later Muntari’s screamer of a volley was fingertipped on to the crossbar by an unstoppable Stekelenburg. The Ghanaian let a knock-down bounce and smacked it on the volley, as even with the Stekelenburg deflection it rattled the woodwork with remarkable ferocity.

Osvaldo failed to make the most of a Pjanic free kick by nodding over, while the Pjanic effort bounced right in front of Abbiati, making the save tricky.

Milan took the lead for the first time in the game when Ibrahimovic ran on to a long ball to leave Kjaer behind, flicked it over an on-rushing Stekelenburg and nodded into an empty net from a couple of yards with an audacious finish.

Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva (Zambrotta 10), Mesbah; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson (Boateng 55); Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy (Aquilani 86)

Roma: Stekelenburg; Rosi, Kjaer, Heinze, Taddei; Gago (Lamela 79), De Rossi, Marquinho; Borini (Bojan 57), Totti (Pjanic 57), Osvaldo

Ref: Mazzoleni

Serie A: AC Milan vs. AS Roma - lineups
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy

Roma: Stekelenburg; Rosi, Kjaer, Heinze, Taddei; Gago, De Rossi, Marquinho; Borini, Totti, Osvaldo

Cafu considers AC Milan - Roma
24.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Roma and Milan star Marcos Cafu reads today’s big clash and insists Luis Enrique’s vision “just needs some time.”

The two teams go head to head at San Siro and the Brazilian was asked to give his view.

“I am following Roma and Luis Enrique’s ideas ought to be respected,” Cafu told Rete Sport.

“The fans and media should not be so quick to judge, as results are not the only things that count. He just needs some time and patience.”

Cafu turns 42 in June and spent most of his career in Serie A, at Roma from 1997 to 2003, then for five seasons at Milan until his retirement in 2008. He won the Scudetto at both clubs.

“Winning a title is wonderful anywhere, but at Roma we won it for the first time in 18 years, whereas at Milan it was more to be expected.

“My children are still big Roma fans. Despite the distance that separates them from Rome now, they never stopped loving those team colours.”

Aquilani Liverpool contract confusion
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There is some confusion over Alberto Aquilani’s contract, as some sources say Milan will buy him outright from Liverpool if he faces Roma tomorrow.

The midfielder was signed on loan with a mandatory clause to buy out the player for €6m when he makes 25 appearances for the club.

Some sources in Italy suggest the 25th game will be on Saturday against his former teammates at Roma.

However, TMW have a different explanation that continues to leave the midfielder’s future in the balance.

“Even if he did play against Roma, Aquilani would not be 100 per cent a Milan player,” insisted TMW director Michele Criscitiello.

“The contract with Liverpool is very precise, as every time Aquilani plays for Milan, it is worth either an entire game or half a game.

“If he starts and comes off again five minutes later, it still counts as a full game. If he comes on from the bench, it will always count as half a game.

“Therefore if we make the calculations on that basis then Aquilani has 21.5 appearances for Milan and if he starts tomorrow it’ll be 22.5 and not 25.

“Aquilani has made 13 Serie A starts and four as a substitute, while in the Champions League he started five and was a substitute in one match. In the Coppa Italia he started against Juventus, so that counts as one game.”

Liverpool signed Aquilani for £18m from Roma in 2009, but spent last season on loan at Juventus.

Boateng back for AC Milan - Roma
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta and Mark Van Bommel back in the squad to face Roma on Saturday.

Boateng has barely played in 2012 due to a series of back and muscular injuries, but makes his return to the Rossoneri side.

Nesta and Van Bommel also end their spells on the treatment table, although the injury crisis does still drag on.

Maxi Lopez, Alexandre Pato, Pippo Inzaghi, Rodney Strasser, Ignazio Abate, Antonio Cassano and Mathieu Flamini are all unavailable.

Left-back Luca Antonini is suspended for tomorrow’s Serie A clash.

This means that Stephan El Shaarawy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are the only available strikers.

Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Bonera, Mesbah, Mexes, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes, Ambrosini, Aquilani, Boateng, Carmona, Emanuelson, Gattuso, Muntari, Nocerino, Seedorf, Van Bommel, El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic

Guardiola analyses AC Milan - Roma
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola confirmed he’ll be keeping a close eye on Milan-Roma to “analyse” his upcoming Champions League opponents.

“We have already played against Milan twice this year, but I will still record the game with Roma to analyse them,” said the Spaniard.

It will be a particularly useful encounter on Saturday, as Roma play the 4-3-3 system under former Barcelona B tactician Luis Enrique.

“Milan are a side with great experience, focused in defence and extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. You cannot underestimate such a strong team.”

The two giants go head-to-head in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

They already faced off twice in the group phase earlier this season, drawing 2-2 at the Camp Nou and Barcelona winning 3-2 at San Siro.

Heinze in, Greco out
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Despite uncertainty all week, Roma have confirmed that Gabriel Heinze will be fit to face Milan this weekend.

Heinze had worked separate from the group through the week’s training sessions in a bid to recover from a knock to his hip that he picked up in Monday night’s win over Genoa.

Already without Juan, Nicolas Burdisso and Marco Cassetti, Luis Enrique was reportedly considering using Daniele De Rossi at centre-back if Heinze proved unfit.

However, this evening has seen the Giallorossi confirm Heinze’s availability for the trip to San Siro on Saturday. He won’t be joined, though, by Leandro Greco, who is suffering with an injury to his right thigh.

Heinze doubt is Roma's headache
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Uncertainty over Gabriel Heinze’s availability for Saturday’s trip to Milan may force Luis Enrique to return Daniele De Rossi to centre-back.

Heinze has worked separate from the group through the week’s training sessions in a bid to recover from a knock to his hip that he picked up in Monday night’s win over Genoa.

Whilst the club have intimated their confidence in recoving the Argentine in time for the San Siro match, Coach Enrique is reportedly considering his alternatives.

However, as the Giallorossi are already without Juan and Nicolas Burdisso, with Marco Cassetti also unlikely to make the Week 29 fixture, it leaves only De Rossi as a possible replacement in the centre of defence.

The No 16 took that position alongside Heinze earlier in the season against Juventus when injury and suspension left the side lightweight at the back.

Allegri thinking of only Roma
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists that his Milan players cannot afford to be anything other than 100 per cent focused on Roma this weekend.

The Rossoneri face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals in midweek, but the Coach has made it clear that only Luis Enrique’s Giallorossi should be in their minds.

“Roma? I hope we win tomorrow,” he admitted on Milan Channel on Friday.

“It will not be an easy match - the Giallorossi have changed their way of playing, they’ve defended much better in the last two games too, where they won 1-0 without conceding a goal.

“They hold possession very well and when not in possession they are improving. They are always dangerous going forward and tomorrow Totti should return.

“We’ll have to play a very good game, both from a technical point of view and in terms of tension and pace.”

Milan’s midweek opponents Barcelona are the side that Roma have attempted to mimic in playing style this season.

“The gaming systems of Roma and Barcelona are more or less the same, it is the Barca players that make the difference, but Roma have Totti and De Rossi, two champions, and they have young players of great value.

“I’m not thinking about Barcelona, tomorrow is a League game, it is the most important right now. Once we’ve played that game then we’ve faced the current top six in the League.

“We must be careful because with Roma, if you are not right on the pitch or take risks, they have quality, speed and good ball possession, and absolutely we must not think about Barcelona.”

Allegri also commented on current injury situation at the club. Alexandre Pato has flown to America for advice on his ongoing injury struggles and Filippo Inzaghi has been ruled out of action for three weeks. Meanwhile President Silvio Berlusconi, who spoke to Allegri last weekend, has reportedly criticised the number of injuries, with scrutiny falling on the team’s training methods.

“He never comments on training methods,” the Coach defended.

“At Parma on Saturday he asked about those who were injured and if the players were tired.

“He tends to protect the players, wants them to rest. However, there are fewer muscular injuries now than it may seem.”

Enrique: Beating AC Milan possible
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Luis Enrique believes his Roma side are capable of beating League leaders Milan, but that it would take ‘a perfect game’ to do so.

The Giallorossi go into the Saturday evening encounter off the back of two 1-0 League wins and actually with a better than average recent record away to the Rossoneri.

However, where Spanish Coach Enrique believes that his team are capable this weekend of collecting what would be a fifth win from their last seven visits to face Il Diavolo, he is under no illusion as to how that can be achieved.

“We can beat a team like Milan,” the former Barcelona B Coach admitted to the assembled Press on Friday.

“But we have to play at 100 per cent, or almost a perfect game, with no errors.

“To win at San Siro would be a major confidence boost, but to do that we have to play at an incredible level.”

Enrique was asked if Massimiliano Allegri’s side might have one eye on the midweek Champions League clash with Barcelona.

“Maybe, but I guess not, they do not make this sort of mistake, they know they are all important matches to reach the end.

“However, I do not know if it will be easier for us to win at San Siro or for Milan to eliminate Barcelona in the Champions League, we’ll see.

“For us, however, the game comes at a good time, we are close to third place. Now begins the fun part of the League, which will determine what we do next year, and this is a motivation for the players.”

Barbara Berlusconi hopes for Roma
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan director Barbara Berlusconi has wished Roma good luck for their project, describing Milan’s weekend opponents as this season’s ‘breath of fresh air’.

The Giallorossi travel to San Siro this weekend to face the team Berlusconi’s father Silvio still holds the position as President at.

On that encounter that could see the Rossoneri stretch their lead at the top of the table to seven points before Juventus play Inter, Berlusconi first took time to speak of the need to win.

“The game may be critical,” commented Berlusconi to ANSA when outside Milan’s headquarters.

“All matches now are going to be critical. Roma are a strong team and are unpredictable, but, I have confidence in Milan, since these past few weeks.

“The team demonstrated in the match with Juventus in midweek through a good performance - they know how to impose their game even when they are playing with many absences.”

On weekend opponents Roma, Berlusconi welcomed the project they have implemented this season, spearheaded by Thomas Di Benedetto’s takeover, Franco Baldini’s focus on youth and Luis Enrique’s tactical changes.

“I want to congratulate Roma because they have been a breath of fresh air in the Italian football scene.

“First, because they have had the courage to bet on young talent. Theirs is a technically ambitious project which, I hope, will bring good results in the medium to long term.

“Besides, with the agreement with Walt Disney and through other commercial operations that I consider interesting and innovative, they show that they understand the future of football clubs.

“The club will be structured as a true entertainment company offering entertainment and services even outside the 90 minutes of a game.”

Stekelenburg fears Ibrahimovic
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is in no doubt as to who will be his biggest threat in the game against Milan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The two teams will meet at San Siro on Saturday and the Dutch international has respect for the Rossoneri hotshot.

“Ibra is really strong and he always scores a lot of goals,” the summer signing from Ajax noted. “He’s won championships for great European clubs and I think he is one of the best players in the world.

“Is he decisive in the championship but not Europe? I don’t think so. I don’t know why that is said. I would always want him in my side.”

The capital club underwent some major changes in the summer and although struggling for consistency, they are still only four points shy of the last Champions League spot.

“We always play to win, Coach Luis Enrique’s football is one that manoeuvres from the back. It’s a little Dutch,” he added. “I like it and I’m at Roma for this reason.

“You can see that the new philosophy is starting to take steps forward after some initial uncertainty, but we had a lot of new players who had to settle.

“Luis Enrique is passionate, obsessive and I like him.”

AC Milan - Juventus clash over unbeaten record
23.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Did Milan end Juventus’ unbeaten record this season on Tuesday night? The two Italian giants, perhaps inevitably, disagree.

The Rossoneri ‘defeated’ the Old Lady 2-1 after 90 minutes in the Coppa Italia, but as the tie was level at 3-3 on aggregate, extra time was needed.

Mirko Vucinic subsequently netted a beauty for La Signora to make it 2-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate which saw Juve reach the Final.

La Gazzetta dello Sport thus classed the game as a draw which suggests Juve are still unbeaten this season, something which Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has disputed.

The former Lega Calcio chief actually wrote a letter to the Gazzetta insisting that Juve did pick up their first loss of the campaign.

“If you take into account the regulation 90 minutes then Juventus were beaten,” Galliani said. “This is a conclusion from article seven of the Italian football rulebook.

“That states that a game is played over two 45 minute periods unless a different time period is agreed by mutual agreement between the referee and the two teams.

“This was not the case and the addition of extra time was derived by the rules of the competition. As a result, Juventus did not maintain their unbeaten record.”

Juventus disagree and director general Beppe Marotta insists that the 30 extra minutes were part of the same game.

“It seems to me that the Gazzetta have explained what counts on a statistical level,” the former Sampdoria official noted.

“When games go into extra time, they count the result at the end of 120 minutes and not the 90. To be honest, that seems only logical.

“After Maxi Lopez made it 2-1, we were not out and we knew that we could count on another 30 minutes of play.

“In the League you would put the ball in the middle and attack furiously straight away, but that wasn’t the case in this game.

“You handle things in a much more relaxed manner because you know that you have more time.”

Bonucci: 'Juventus on par with AC Milan'
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leonardo Bonucci feels Juventus are now joint Scudetto favourites with Milan, but first have to beat Inter “at all costs.”

The Bianconeri are second in Serie A, but knocked the Rossoneri out of the Coppa Italia semi-final 4-3 on aggregate this week.

“I am very happy at this qualification. In the four games that we have played against Milan, we showed that we can keep up the head-to-head,” Bonucci wrote on his official website.

“After all, we beat them twice and drew twice. This must give us strength and belief in our abilities.

“If I always said Milan were the favourites for the Scudetto, then now I can say this: We’re there too!!! And if Milan make a mistake, then we are there.

“As for Sunday night, we have to face Inter, a side I really don’t trust. We’ve got to win at all costs. Of course, at the end of the day may the best team win, as always.”

Pato and Inzaghi injuries
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato will fly to America for a specialist consultation on his injury, while Milan lose Pippo Inzaghi for three weeks.

The Rossoneri continue to struggle with an injury crisis and it seems Pato’s on-going muscular problems are not clearing up.

This afternoon the club announced Pato will be flying to Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday with chief medical staff Jean Pierre Meersseman and Bruno Dominici.

“Pato will undergo medical tests and a specialist consultation with Professor Frederick Carrick at the Life University of Marietta.”

Milan also confirmed that veteran hitman Inzaghi suffered a right thigh strain during the Coppa Italia semi-final with Juventus.

“Save for complications, the prognosis is two to three weeks.”

El Shaarawy: We're superior to Juventus
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy sees his Milan side as superior to Juventus, as the title race enters the final 10 rounds.

The Rossoneri are currently four points ahead of second place Juve in the standings and are defending champions. El Shaarawy, who joined the club from Genoa in a co-ownership deal last summer, believes that the Milanese side are stronger.

“We are aware that we are a good team,” the former Grifone youth player reflected to Sky Sport 24.

“We are doing very well in the League battling against Juventus, but in terms of quality we feel superior. Now we need three points against Roma because then it will not be easy in Catania, on a field where many great men have suffered.”

The Rossoneri were eliminated by their ‘inferior’ Bianconero rivals in the midweek Coppa Italia semi-final.

“We have to win every game. We are satisfied, however, with the performance in the Coppa Italia against Juventus, playing in front of their fans, who are an extra weapon.

“We were happy with the result, but not that we were eliminated. Now, though, we must thing of the two other objectives that are the Champions League and Scudetto.”

The 19-year-old also reflected on how his debut season at San Siro has gone.

“I’m happy with my season at Milan, even if more goals would make me happier. I’m having many opportunities to play and now I’m settled. I love playing with Ibrahimovic, but he is a very demanding champion.”

AC Milan regret failure to net Tevez
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has regrets about missing out on Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

The Rossoneri agreed personal terms with the Argentine in January, but the deal fell through and Tevez returned to action against Chelsea on Wednesday.

“A train like that doesn’t pass for a second time,” the Rossoneri director stated on Thursday afternoon.

“I saw him yesterday and, after six months in which he had not played, he performed as he usually does and changed a game which could be crucial for Manchester City.

“I was in love with Tevez, but destiny decided otherwise, and we are more than happy with Maxi Lopez.”

Milan were ready to finance the move for the South American by sacrificing Alexandre Pato to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, that proposed switch didn’t happen either and the Brazilian has since been sidelined by yet another injury at San Siro.

“He’ll be looked at by an American specialist, but he is a great and will remain with us. He’s an important player at this club.”

Milan went out of the Italian Cup to Juventus in midweek, but they are still four points clear of the Old Lady in Serie A.

“The game against Roma at the weekend is as important as the match with Udinese, it is a fundamental game like the other nine which are remaining,” Galliani added.

“We understood that the championship changed in Udine.”

Milan scored two late goals at the Stadio Friuli to turn a 0-1 into a 2-1 win.

The former Lega Calcio chief also dismissed speculation that former striker Marco Van Basten is a possible future Coach with the Diavolo.

“I’ve never talked to Van Basten, we have renewed the contract of Massimiliano Allegri for two more seasons and he’ll stay here for a long time.

“Van Basten is Van Basten, but the Coach is the least of our concerns.”

Prandelli on Balotelli, Cassano and Rossi
22.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is hoping to have Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi all available for Euro 2012. Earlier in the season there were few football betting tips on such an event and odds are slim nowadays as well.

The Manchester City man’s international career has been halted for breaking the code of ethics imposed by the tactician, while Cassano and Rossi are currently sidelined.

“In my mind, Balotelli is a first team player, but in order for me to keep thinking that way then Balotelli has to prove his form on the pitch, as well as an ability to control his personality,” the Coach noted.

“We have a code of ethics in the squad – rules have to be observed and behaviour respected. Omitting him from the squad is one way of imposing discipline.

“I only know one way of taking a squad forward and that is running it like a family. You have to have rules, otherwise it all becomes difficult. I think of all the players as sons.

“Mario knows our rules, there's no need to repeat them and it's tiring to have to keep coming back to it.”

Balotelli was left out of the squad which lost to USA in February for his violent conduct dismissal against Tottenham earlier this year.

The Roma duo of Daniele De Rossi and Daniel Pablo Osvaldo have also been ignored in the past for on-field misdemeanours.

Meanwhile, the former Fiorentina boss is keeping his fingers crossed that his first-choice strike duo of Cassano and Rossi will soon be back in action.

“I’m counting on recovering both Cassano and Rossi by May. They were important players for me during the qualifiers.”

The Milan man has been sidelined since October after he underwent heart surgery, while the Villarreal ace is hoping to be back in April following knee ligament damage.

Totti will face AC Milan
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Francesco Totti will return to the Roma side this weekend when they take on Milan at San Siro, reports La Repubblica.

The veteran forward missed Monday’s 1-0 win over Genoa with a thigh problem, but he is expected to be back in action on Saturday night.

According to the Rome edition of the newspaper, Roma boss Luis Enrique will immediately throw Totti back into the side.

The 2006 World Cup winner is set to be flanked by Fabio Borini and Daniel Pablo Osvaldo in attack against the League leaders.

Juve's Pirlo respects brave AC Milan
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo has praised the efforts of former club Milan after Juventus eliminated them from the Italian Cup on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri forced the tie into extra time with a 2-1 win over the 90 minutes, but the Old Lady made it 2-2 with Mirko Vucinic netting the goal which takes them to the Final.

“It was a great game and we are happy that we have qualified,” the summer signing from San Siro noted. “However, honour to Milan as they played a great game.”

Having disposed of the Stadio Meazza outfit in the Italian Cup, Juve will now be concentrating on catching them at the top of the table in Serie A.

“Our objective is to try to win each game left in order to remain close to Milan,” continued the 32-year-old.

The Turin giants entertain Inter this weekend, while Milan will face Luis Enrique’s Roma. The Rossoneri are currently four points clear of second place Juve.

Galliani: AC Milan still the best
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan proved a point at Juventus despite their Coppa Italia elimination, insists Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

Having lost the first leg 2-1, the Diavolo forced the Juventus Stadium tie into extra time on Tuesday before Mirko Vucinic fired the Old Lady into the Italian Cup Final.

“Milan played a great game,” the Rossoneri official told Milan Channel after the thrilling encounter. “We won 2-1 in normal time to overturn the deficit from the first game.

“If we have all of our players fit and healthy then we are a lot better than the rest of the sides. Despite our exit, we still won in Turin over 90 minutes.”

Milan were in the hunt for the treble this season, but they’re now concentrating on the League and the Champions League.

“The Coppa Italia has gone,” continued the former Lega Calcio chief. “We are now focusing on the Roma game and our four point lead over Juventus in Serie A.”

Del Piero hails Juventus - AC Milan
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Del Piero enjoyed tonight’s exciting Coppa Italia clash. “Milan and Juventus have always had and will always have great games.”

The captain scored the opening goal in a semi-final second leg that ended 2-2 after extra time, sending the Bianconeri through 4-3 on aggregate.

“We are happy at our qualification for the Final. Milan and Juventus have always had and will always have great games, because they are two huge clubs,” said Del Piero.

“Even after Zlatan Ibrahimovic went off, Milan played very well and forced us into extra time. Thankfully we were then able to find the decisive goal.”

The teams are also doing battle in Serie A for the Scudetto, as four points separate them at the top of the table.

“We will fight on both fronts until the bitter end and I promise we’ll make life very difficult indeed for Milan until the last game.”

Tomorrow evening we will discover who the other Coppa Finalists are when Napoli play Siena.

Allegri: 'AC Milan had no more'
21.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri feels Milan “could not have done any more” after their thrilling Coppa Italia semi-final with Juventus.

“I am happy with the performance, Juventus played well and punished us at the first chance,” said the Coach after a 2-2 extra time draw in Turin.

The result was not enough to put the Rossoneri in the Coppa Italia Final, as they go out 4-3 on aggregate.

“Extra time really weighed on us and I used players who hadn’t featured in a while. It’s a shame, because the lads really could not have done any more. In extra time we were no longer able to pressure up the field and Mirko Vucinic scored a fantastic goal.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in doubt with flu symptoms, but played the first 45 minutes before making way for Maxi Lopez.

“He went off due to a back problem. Maxi Lopez had a wonderful game, as on top of the goal he fought hard and can also play alongside Ibra.

“Marco Amelia said Alessandro Del Piero’s goal included a handling offence, but I’m not sure, so we accept this decision. It’s true I protested at certain points, but it was all down to the adrenaline of the game. The referee did very well and we accept the perfectly right result on the field.

“In any case, I am confident about the future.”

Coppa Italia: Juventus 2:2 AET (4:3) AC Milan - match report
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Del Piero 27 (J), Mesbah 51 (M), Maxi Lopez 81 (M), Vucinic 96 (J)

Milan won 2-1 after 90 minutes, but a magnificent Mirko Vucinic strike in extra time has sent Juventus into the Coppa Italia Final 4-3 on aggregate.

These two sides were battling for the Scudetto, but also went head-to-head in the Coppa Italia semi-final. Juve won the first leg 2-1 at San Siro, but missed Alessandro Matri, Andrea Barzagli and rested Gigi Buffon. Alessandro Del Piero made a rare start, as Andrea Pirlo faced his former teammates.

Milan’s injury list included Alessandro Nesta, Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ignazio Abate, Mark Van Bommel, Antonio Cassano and Mathieu Flamini. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was able to start despite suffering from flu symptoms.

An early Ibrahimovic free kick was charged down by the wall, but Sulley Muntari was booked for a lunging tackle on Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Ibra’s toe-poke angled drive was palmed just past El Shaarawy and the far post by Marco Storari at full stretch. From the corner, Thiago Silva nodded over.

A Clarence Seedorf screamer from distance swerved marginally wide of the top corner, but it was Juventus who took the lead.

Pirlo flicked a ball over Djamel Mesbah for Lichtsteiner, who rolled across for Del Piero from six yards to skip past Marco Amelia and deposit into an empty net.

Mirko Vucinic had another chance on the counter moments later, but the finish was too weak and straight at Amelia. Alberto Aquilani was booked for a very late tackle that propelled Vucinic into the advertising board. The Montenegrin was absolutely livid and, after carrying on his protests for several minutes, also received a yellow card.

Before half-time a Pirlo daisy-cutter was well held by Amelia. In first half stoppages Vucinic took advantage of a defensive error, but Vidal’s header whistled wide with Del Piero just unable to get the final touch at the back post.

Maxi Lopez replaced Ibrahimovic, who had been in doubt before kick-off. Milan immediately equalised, as a long pass from Philippe Mexes found Mesbah’s brilliant diving header from six yards to stun Storari, as he snuck in behind Simone Pepe.

Storari smothered a Maxi Lopez attempt, but Muntari went closer when failing to make strong enough contact with an Aquilani cross under pressure from Lichtsteiner. Moments later at the other end Del Piero skipped past Mexes and pulled back from the by-line for a crucial Thiago Silva intervention.

Vucinic went on a solo slalom only to hit the side-netting from a very tight angle. Another Muntari snapshot was caught with the same fate falling to a Claudio Marchisio strike, while El Shaarawy tried to battle his way through a crowd of Juve defenders but was unable to get his finish away.

Pippo Inzaghi came off the bench to replace El Shaarawy against his former club. Luca Antonini risked an own goal with a defensive volley.

Milan took the lead with a spectacular Maxi Lopez strike. The former Catania man gathered with his back to goal, leaned into Chiellini, spun round to ride a tackle and smashed the fiercre shot under the bar.

It was a goal that put everything level on aggregate, so would take the tie to extra time. Marco Borriello had a great chance to seal the tie for Juve against his former club when springing the offside trap in midfield, but went too wide and fired straight at Amelia.

Seedorf thumped wide from long range, while a Vidal glancing header was into Amelia’s arms. Milan almost won the tie at the 93rd minute with a remarkable run from Urby Emanuelson, but Inzaghi just couldn’t get the tap-in from a Maxi Lopez assist.

Juve did the same at the other end, as Vucinic’s deflected effort beat Amelia to skim the far post. From the corner, Vucinic hammered a powerful strike just over the bar, so it went to extra time.

Within 30 seconds of extra time, Borriello had stung Amelia’s palms and Marchisio fired the follow-up wide. Then Emanuele Giaccherini sprung the offside trap to go clear from a Vucinic through ball, but Amelia plucked the ball off his foot.

Martin Caceres had a strike deflected over from the edge of the box, but Vucinic did put Juventus back in front on aggregate with an absolute blockbuster! He gathered 30 metres from goal and smashed the right-foot screamer into the far top corner past Amelia’s flailing hand.

Juventus assistant manager Angelo Alessio was sent off for dissent, while Vidal was booked for bringing down Emanuelson on a powerful counter-attack. Amelia parried a Borriello shot on the turn at the base of the near stick, while Inzaghi’s first touch let him down on a ball into the box.

Juventus: Storari; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 90), Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Giaccherini, Pirlo, Vidal; Pepe (Marchisio 63), Del Piero (Borriello 73), Vucinic

Milan: Amelia; Antonini, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Aquilani (Nocerino 67), Seedorf, Muntari; Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic (Maxi Lopez 46), El Shaarawy (Inzaghi 77)

Ref: Orsato

Coppa Italia: Juventus vs. AC Milan - lineups
20.3 || webmaster

Juventus: Storari, Lichsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie, Vidal, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Pepe, Del Piero, Vucinic.

AC Milan: Amelia, Antonini, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah, Aquilani, Seedorf, Muntari, Emanuelson, Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy.

Van Basten: 'Conte is a fanatic!'
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marco van Basten gives his verdict on Massimiliano Allegri, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan-Barcelona and the “fanatic” Antonio Conte.

The Rossoneri legend spoke to Sky Sport Italia on the current state of play in Italian football, as Milan and Juventus go head-to-head for the Scudetto and Coppa Italia.

“Milan are doing well, are top of the table and they seem to me to be the strongest side in Italy,” said van Basten.

“Allegri looks like a very good Coach. We met a few times and he is a good man. I don’t know Conte personally, but he seems a bit fanatic on the bench.”

Ibrahimovic is Capocannoniere in Serie A, but has in his career struggled to make an impact in Europe. He’ll face Leo Messi’s Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

“He will start to decide games in the Champions League too, as it’s just a coincidence he hasn’t done as well so far. If you score a lot in Italy, then you certainly have the quality to score goals and make the difference in the Champions League too.

“I think the tie with Barcelona will be very interesting. Pep Guardiola has the best team in the world and it won’t be easy for Milan. However, you’d make a big mistake in underestimating the Rossoneri, especially on home turf.

“Messi is the best player in the world, without doubt. Is he the best ever? I don’t know, but if he managed to win the World Cup, then he would be.”

The Dutch legend has signed to take over Heerenveen in June, but has been linked with a future in Italy.

“Obviously I wouldn’t say no to Milan, but I could say the same about Juventus. We are talking about two big clubs in splendid cities.”

Ibrahimovic too ill for Juventus - AC Milan?
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are conflicting reports on whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be able to play in Juventus-Milan tonight, as he is suffering from flu.

The Swede already missed the recent 1-1 Serie A encounter due to a ban and was expected to take a key role in tonight’s Coppa Italia semi-final.

However, Ibra has been struck down with flu symptoms over the past couple of days and is reported to be running a temperature.

Some media sources suggest he will be in the starting XI anyway, whereas others claim he is not fit enough to feature at all.

Juventus won the first leg 2-1 at San Siro and kick off tonight at 19.45 UK time.

Agent confirms Ederson - AC Milan talks
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ederson’s agent has confirmed that he is in talks with Milan about the possibility of free transfer to San Siro in the summer.

The Brazilian midfielder will be leaving Lyon in June when his contract expires. Already thought to be targeted by Serie A rivals Lazio, reports in the Tuesday Press suggested that Milan director Ariedo Braida would be meeting with Ederson’s agent Antonio Caliendo today.

Caliendo has now confirmed that those talks with Braida with regards to the 26-year-old footballer’s future did take place.

“The dinner went well,” Caliendo told

“We talked about Ederson, who is a player who is very familiar to Braida.

“The choice is up to the player, so at the moment you cannot talk about who has an advantage.

“When all the proposals have arrived, the player will decide his future.”

Reports in France suggest that Lazio have already offered a five-year deal to the Brazilian, whilst current club Lyon, angered by his decision to leave, are reportedly not going to play him again this season.

AC Milan join Lazio in Ederson chase
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have joined the race to sign Ederson on a free transfer once his contract at Lyon expires.

According to TMW on Tuesday, Rossoneri director Ariedo Braida has today held talks with agent Antonio Caliendo about the player.

Ederson has been heavily linked with a possible Bosman move to Lazio at the end of the present campaign.

The Brazilian midfielder, 26, joined Lyon in 2008 from Nice.

Milan have a number of ageing midfielders – such as Massimo Ambrosini, Clarence Seedorf, Rino Gattuso and Mark Van Bommel – who will be out of contract at the end of the season.

AC Milan satisfied with Emanuelson
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan assistant boss Mauro Tassotti has praised Urby Emanuelson for his performances as a trequartista.

The Dutchman has been asked to play as an attacking midfielder behind the strikers and he’s starting to make an impact after some initial difficulties.

“He was criticised quite a bit when we started using him in that role,” the former Diavolo defender told Milan Channel.

“Kevin Prince Boateng has had a lot of fitness problems this term and Clarence Seedorf has been out for a bit too, so we thought the Dutchman could do a job.

“I have to say that we were always satisfied with his performances and we didn’t understand why he was being criticised.

“We always supported him as it was clear that he just needed to feel comfortable in that position.

“He obviously couldn’t totally replace Boateng as they are different players, Boa is much more powerful, while Emanuelson is more dynamic.”

The former Ajax player, 25, has scored two goals in 34 appearances for the Rossoneri so far this season.

Buffon, Matri, Barzagli miss AC Milan
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus Coach Antonio Conte has named a 22-man squad to face Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-finals, with a couple of notable absentees.

Conte, who has confirmed that Alessandro Del Piero will start the second leg clash with the Rossoneri on Tuesday, has not selected Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Matri or the injured Andrea Barzagli for the knockout encounter.

The Bianconeri welcome Max Allegri’s team to the Juventus Stadium leading 2-1 on aggregate from the first leg.

Juventus squad to face Milan: 3 Chiellini, 4 Caceres, 7 Pepe, 8 Marchisio, 10 Del Piero, 11 De Ceglie, 13 Manninger, 14 Vucinic, 17 Elia, 18 Quagliarella, 19 Bonucci, 20 Padoin, 21 Pirlo, 22 Vidal, 23 Borriello, 24 Giaccherini, 26 Lichtsteiner, 27 Krasic, 28 Estigarribia, 30 Storari, 31 Branescu, 34 Marrone

Galliani expects Cassano good news
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani has raised hopes of Antonio Cassano returning to action before the end of the season.

Taking part in a live question and answer session with supporters via Milan’s official Twitter account, the Vice-President responded positively when asked for an update on Cassano’s condition.

The Italian attacker has been out of action since suffering a mini stroke in late October and requiring surgery on a rare heart condition. The Bari-born player has returned to the club’s training centre to continue his recovery, to which Galliani alluded is going well.

“Cassano is well and I hope for some pleasant news shortly,” Galliani tweeted in response to the question, before also being asked about Alexandre Pato’s on-going issues with physical fitness.

“Pato had no accidents in the first two years with Milan but has had many in the following two. We need to understand why.”

Juventus to unleash Del Piero
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus boss Antonio Conte has confirmed that Alessandro Del Piero will start in “the most important match of the season” against Milan on Tuesday.

Del Piero’s 18 appearances so far this term have mainly come from the bench, but the 37-year-old will get a chance in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia against Milan.

“Del Piero will play, he adds something to this team,” Conte said on Monday with his side holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Milan. “I expect a lot from him and Juve.

“It is a game which will allow us the possibility of winning a trophy. Tomorrow we'll play our most important game of the season, but I hope that there are even more important ones to come.”

Despite the high profile nature of the tie, Conte confirmed that he will keep faith with Coppa ‘keeper Marco Storari instead of Gigi Buffon.

“Storari will certainly play as he offers a lot of stability. I would also like to thank Manninger, someone who I class as fundamental to the dressing room.”

Juve and Milan are currently battling for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady tactician insists that is a separate fight.

“Tuesday’s match has nothing to do with the Italian championship. The result won’t affect any of the two teams in terms of the Scudetto.

“I’m not interested in what is going through the minds of those at Milan. I’m only interested in what I need my players to understand.

“At this point in time it is important to get the maximum out of everything, then we’ll see where that will take us.

“If I have no regrets in June then it will mean that we couldn’t have done any more.”

Conte has reverted to the 4-3-3 system in recent weeks, but he’s failed to rule out a change in shape at the Juventus Stadium.

“The 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 are relatively interchangeable. I can also use them during the same game. The attitude is the most important thing.

“For us, during this time of reconstruction, it would be important to take home this trophy.”

Juventus have not won the Coppa Italia since 1994-95.

Juventus possible: Storari; Caceres, Chiellini, Bonucci; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pepe; Del Piero, Vucinic.

Allegri believes in Coppa Italia success
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Coach Massimiliano Allegri is confident his side will be able to fight for a place in the Coppa Italia Final despite injuries.

The Rossoneri are 2-1 down in the two-legged semi-final encounter ahead of Tuesday’s return match at Juventus.

“We’ll look to overturn the deficit in order to reach the Final even if we know it will be tough,” Allegri noted on Monday afternoon.

“I’m calm and convinced that we’ll play a good game despite the absences that we will have,” continued the former Cagliari boss.

“Philippe Mexes will be back after suspension, while Clarence Seedorf is fit again. I’ll have to evaluate Kevin Prince Boateng. However, Robinho and Mark Van Bommel won’t be there.

“Boateng will definitely be ready for the Roma game, while we also want Robinho back for that match too even if there is a lot of work to do.”

Milan are also without Alexandre Pato and Antonio Cassano in attack which suggests that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play – despite the big games coming up against Roma and Barcelona.

“We’ll have to see tomorrow whether he plays or not,” responded Allegri. “I will certainly pick a side that will be good enough to take on Juventus.”

The Italian Cup is thought to be the Diavolo’s least important objective of the season, but Allegri wants to lift every trophy possible.

“The Coppa Italia is a target for us.

“It will be an intense game because both sides will want to progress. It’ll be a competitive match between two teams who are also fighting each other for the title.”

Juventus, who in three games this term have beaten Milan twice and drawn the other, looked impressive on Saturday in the 5-0 win over Fiorentina.

“Antonio Conte’s side are playing well and they proved that they are in good physical shape with the win at Fiorentina. It will be tough tomorrow.

“Our team though is good enough to play in these types of games and in that type of environment.

“Juventus played a lot better than us in the Turin League game. We need to play with our heads and feet.”

Juventus have yet to lose a game so far this season in League or Cup.

Milan possible: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic, Maxi Lopez.

Van Bommel back for AC Milan
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel should be at the disposal of Milan for the Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus on Tuesday.

The veteran Dutchman, 34, missed the 2-0 win at Parma on Saturday evening with a back complaint.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, the former Bayern Munich player has recovered and will be available for boss Massimiliano Allegri.

The Rossoneri are 2-1 down in the semi-final after losing the first leg of the tie at Milan following Martin Caceres' unlikely brace.

Ibrahimovic on Juventus and Barcelona
20.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is hungry to win everything on offer this season – starting with the Coppa Italia return leg at Juventus.

The two teams will meet in the semi-final of the competition at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday with the Old Lady 2-1 up from the first meeting.

“It will be hard to reach the Final, we know that, but we’ll go there with the intention of playing for it,” the striker told Aftonbladet.

“I have a cold and a blocked up nose, I suffered with the low temperature at Parma – but nothing can stop me. I want to be in Turin and I will be there.

“We are at a delicate stage of the season. We have Juventus, then Roma in the championship, but we are also thinking about Barcelona in the Champions League.”

The Rossoneri won 2-0 at the Tardini on Saturday to keep intact their four-point lead over Juve in the League.

“We are happy that we have the advantage of a few points over Juventus in the Scudetto race,” the former Inter man continued.

“We are playing really well at the minute, although that doesn’t include the game at Arsenal in the Champions League.”

Milan’s ability will be tested at the end of this month when they face Barcelona in the last eight of the European Cup.

“If we play in the way we know how then we will have a great chance of getting past Barcelona,” he insisted.

“We don't have any fear. We have already met them before this season and the next two games won't be too different to those encounters. They will be difficult.”

Ibra was also questioned on the chances of him succeeding Lionel Messi as the next Golden Ball winner.

“I just hope to continue doing what I am on the field of play. I want to end the season in the best way possible. Personal honours are a bonus.”

Gattuso 'end of a nightmare'
18.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso admits his comeback after six months was “the end of a nightmare” for the Milan midfielder.

‘Rino’ had been out of action since September 9, when he was diagnosed with the paralysis of the optic nerve.

However, it emerged that the condition was actually myasthenia, a neuromuscular disease that led to fluctuating muscle weakness in the eye.

He made his return for only a couple of minutes in injury time during Saturday’s 2-0 win at Parma.

“It was the end of a nightmare that lasted six months. It’s all over now,” Gattuso told Radio Deejay.

“For four months we worked to treat a condition that then proved to be something else entirely. Now with all the cortisone they’ve been giving me, I’ve been pumped up like a boxer!”

Gattuso had been ready to make a comeback a couple of weeks ago, but it had to be postponed because the dosage of cortisone he had been prescribed was too high for anti-doping tests.

Meanwhile, there is more good news for the Rossoneri, as Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta and Kevin-Prince Boateng resumed training today.

Donadoni hails 'great AC Milan'
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Coach Roberto Donadoni says Parma tried their best at the Tardini, “but Milan are a great squad.”

The Ducali played well for long periods of today’s game, but were beaten 2-0 by a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty and Urby Emanuelson solo effort.

“We played and we tried our best from the very start, but when you play against a great squad like Milan, these things can happen,” said Donadoni.

“If we had been a little luckier in the opening 15 minutes, then we could’ve scored and changed the course of the game.”

The Ducali also hit the woodwork twice throughout the 90 minutes, but the defeat means they remain in the race to avoid relegation.

“Our season begins again next weekend. We have 10 games to go and the chance to do well.”

Allegri believed in Emanuelson
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri explains why he always kept faith with Urby Emanuelson, but hopes for fresh legs if Milan are to win the Scudetto.

The Rossoneri earned a 2-0 victory away to Parma thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s penalty and an Emanuelson solo effort.

“When you pick players, they gain in confidence. Emanuelson played on the right and did very well, while he can also be used as a left-back. I consider him important because he can cover various positions and at the moment he is acting as trequartista.

“He has very clean technique, knows how to pass smartly and this is very important for us. We are clinical and that is an important quality for all teams. However, we were a little more wasteful after taking the lead and that is something we have to work on.”

Now Milan are clear at the top of Serie A, face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final and on Tuesday have the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus.

“We hope Kevin-Prince Boateng can recover quickly, as we have a very busy end to the season and need fresh legs,” continued Allegri.

“We’ve got to try to win every game ahead of us and to do that we need to rotate the squad. We allowed Parma a few chances early on, then we clicked into gear. We still make too many mistakes with the final ball, though.

“It is going to be a difficult game against Juventus, because they won the first leg 2-1 at San Siro, so we have to win in Turin. I hope Fiorentina get a result against Juve tonight, as it would be another small expansion of the gap at the top of the table.”

Serie A: Parma 0:2 AC Milan - goals
17.3 || webmaster

Serie A: Parma 0:2 AC Milan - match report
17.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ibrahimovic pen 17 (M), Emanuelson 54 (M)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s penalty and a stunning Urby Emanuelson solo effort secured Milan’s 2-0 victory away to Parma on Gennaro Gattuso's comeback.

The Rossoneri hoped to maintain or even extend their four-point lead at the top of the table with this visit to the sold out Stadio Tardini, but had numerous problems to contend with.

Robinho, Mark Van Bommel and Ignazio Abate are the latest additions to the treatment table, which includes Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta, Antonio Cassano, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Merkel, Rodney Strasser and the suspended Philippe Mexes. Parma missed Massimo Gobbi, Raffaele Palladino and Daniele Galloppa, but opted to start ex-Inter winger Jonathan and placed Jaime Valdes in front of the defence. Milan President Silvio Berlusconi was in the stands for a very rare away game and Gennaro Gattuso was on the bench for the first time in six months due to his eye condition.

Sebastian Giovinco ran on to a long ball over the top to burst past Daniele Bonera, but was halted for an extremely tight offside position. The Atomic Ant pounced on another error only to blast over, then Valdes drilled just wide from the edge of the box after dribbling past Sulley Muntari and Bonera.

However, Milan received a penalty with their first real attempt on goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic knocked down a cross and Urby Emanuelson’s half-volley was deflected off target by Zaccardo’s raised arm. Ibra stepped up and coolly converted by sending Antonio Mirante the wrong way for his 20th Serie A goal of the season.

Another Ibra knock-down saw Massimo Ambrosini’s shot charged down. Ibrahimovic’s free kick was well palmed off the line by Mirante, but Emanuelson somehow ballooned the follow-up over the bar from a yard.

It got worse for Parma, who lost MacDonald Mariga to injury, moving Gianluca Musacci into the Valdes role.

Sulley Muntari won back possession in midfield to spark an Ibra counter, but when he fell under a Zaccardo challenge, the referee waved play on. There appeared to be contact on his ankle, but how much is unclear.

A promising Parma corner came to Sergio Floccari, who didn’t get enough power on to his shot from nine yards, allowing Christian Abbiati to smother.

The Ducali went even closer moments later, as Gabriel Paletta’s header was deflected off Thiago Silva on to the crossbar. However, at the other end Ibra pounced on a poor Stefano Morrone backpass and Mirante came tearing out to clear, then Emanuelson drilled wide from another Alessandro Lucarelli error.

A dangerous Giovinco counter-attack from Mirante's goal kick was stopped short by smart positioning from Luca Antonini. In first half stoppages a wayward Jonathan Biabiany cross turned into a shot that skimmed the back post by a matter of inches.El Shaarawyhad the last shot of the first half, though, as he sprinted to the by-line and cracked an effort against the upright.

Straight after the restart, Thiago Silva charged down a Floccari effort, while a Jonathan snapshot was comfortably blocked by Abbiati after a strong team move. Giovinco turned Bonera inside out at the by-line and rolled across to force a corner, as Parma started very aggressively.

Ibrahimovic controlled and turned with a magnificent first touch to commit Zaccardo, but Mirante did well to parry with his legs at the near post.

Milan doubled their lead when Emanuelson gathered in his own half and sprinted through the middle, dribbled round Mirante to deposit into an empty net. It was a fantastic solo effort from the Dutchman.

Emanuelson almost completed a brace from the Ibrahimovic assist, but fired wide under pressure. Mirante parried another Ibrahimovic long-range free kick with some difficulty.

Giovinco’s angled drive went wide, then Francesco Valiani pounced on a lucky ricochet to volley low, but Bonera flung himself at the shot to charge it down from point-blank range.

Abbiati flew to palm Musacci screamer one-handed when it took a dangerous deflection off Thiago Silva’s heel.

There was a very special moment in stoppages, as Gattuso made his comeback for the first time since September 9, when he was diagnosed with the paralysis of the optic nerve.

Floccari had a chance to get a consolation goal deep into injury time, but his left-foot turn and shot cannoned off the crossbar with Abbiati wrong-footed.

Parma: Mirante; Zaccardo, Paletta, Lucarelli; Jonathan, Morrone (Okaka 72), Valdes, Mariga (Musacci 26), Biabiany (Valiani 63); Giovinco, Floccari

Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari (Gattuso 91); Emanuelson (Aquilani 86); El Shaarawy (Maxi Lopez 77), Ibrahimovic

Ref: Banti

Berlusconi in rare AC Milan trip
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Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi is at the Tardini for his first away game since 2007 and insists they’re “not worried” about facing Barcelona.

“I hadn’t followed Milan on an away match for five years,” said the club owner, whose last trip was to Athens for the 2007 Champions League Final with Liverpool.

The Rossoneri have a tough draw in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will face Barcelona.

“We are not worried. These types of games bring the best out of top clubs like Milan. We are not afraid of Leo Messi, as we know how to handle them.”

Serie A: Parma vs. AC Milan - lineups
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Parma: Mirante; Zaccardo, Paletta, Lucarelli; Jonathan, Morrone, Valdes, Mariga, Biabiany; Giovinco, Floccari
Parma bench: Pavarini, Ferrario, Okaka, Modesto, Musacci, Santacroce, Valiani

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson; El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic
Milan bench: Amelia, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Mesbah, Aquilani, Maxi Lopez, Yepes

Sneijder: AC Milan move nonsense
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Source: Football Italia

Wesley Sneijder has emphatically denied the earlier claims that he could have been joining rivals Milan this summer.

Several reports in Italy suggested on Friday morning that the Dutch star, who has struggled for form and fitness this season, would consider the cross-city switch for a number of reasons.

However, just as the Rossoneri have done so on Friday, Sneijder has moved to dismiss the speculation.

“Would I go to Milan? This is one of the nonsensical things made up about me,” the 27-year-old stated on his way out of training on Friday afternoon.

“Do not believe it.”

The No 10 is out of action this weekend after suffering a thigh strain against Marseille in midweek.

Donadoni to release Parma handbrake
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Source: Football Italia

Roberto Donadoni has promised that his Parma players will approach Milan ‘in the right spirit’, by believing that they can take points from Week 28's game.

The Ducali welcome the Rossonero League leaders to the Ennio Tardini this Saturday evening without a win from the last six rounds of action. Even so, former Diavolo man Donadoni has assured fans that his players will not be overly anxious for this weekend’s test.

“There won’t be a barricade, we’ll also be playing - we can get some points,” the former Italy Coach declared on Friday.

“That there is fear is healthy, physiologically, but it is also correct that there is an equally healthy awareness from my players of their own ability.

“We are against a team that is leading the League and we know that both the individual and the collective will have to be on form. This is our goal.”

Donadoni dismissed the notion that special attention will be given to top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Milan is composed of great players, not just him. In these cases where the level is so high, when you think of a player to block, maybe you will remove him from the game but it still leaves others open.

“That’s why I say the game will need to see us at our maximum, because we are against not just one opponent, but the team.

“For example, up until a few months ago, very few people could see what Nocerino could do, but his game has drawn a great benefit from being part of a group at a high level.”

The 48-year-old also had a positive outlook on his current side’s ability to turn around their current run of form.

“In this period we have not been thrashed by opponents. We see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

“We have made life difficult for others. Let us now build upon this with better finishing and results.

“The most important thing is to have a positive attitude. Playing with the handbrake on would mean that we haven’t understood the spirit of competing at this level.

“If you allow teams like Milan to play at their own pace then they will always be decisive in the game.

“We must try to take wear them out because technically we are inferior. We acknowledge this, but not by much.

“We do not need refereeing assistance - with pace and determination we have the right cards to win some points.”

Gattuso called up for Parma
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Source: Football Italia

As expected, Milan are without Robinho and Ignazio Abate for Saturday’s trip to Parma, but Massimiliano Allegri has called Gennaro Gattuso up.

Gattuso has been out of action since the very beginning of the season due to a rare eye condition. Back in training for the past few weeks, the No 8 is set for potential involvement in Week 28’s trip to the Ennio Tardini.

Allegri is without Robinho and Abate, however, who both pulled out of training this week with respective injuries, to join eight other teammates on the treatment table, whilst the suspended Philippe Mexes also misses the trip to the Emilia-Romagna region.

AC Milan squad to face Parma: Abbiati, Amelia, Piscitelli, Antonini, Bonera, De Sciglio, Mesbah, Thiago Silva, Ambrosini, Yepes, Ambrosini, Aquilani, Carmona, Emanuelson, Gattuso, Muntari, Nocerino, El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic, Inzaghi, Maxi Lopez.

Messi the greatest ever, says Galliani
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Source: Football Italia

Milan will have to stop the greatest player of all-time if they are to get past Barcelona in the Champions League, says Adriano Galliani.

Speaking after the Rossoneri were paired with the reigning European champions, the Vice-President put the Argentine at the very top of the world game.

“I’ve seen Diego Maradona and Pele play, but I think that Messi is the greatest ever,” he told Milan Channel. “I’m seeing him play well, I hope he plays less well in the two games against us…”

There is no doubt that today’s draw was unkind to the Diavolo, but Galliani is remaining hopeful of qualification.

“It will be a tough game for us, as it will be for them, but we are not the most successful club in the world by chance,” he stated.

“The draw has gone the way it has gone, we’re used to it. In the last three seasons we have been drawn against Real Madrid and Barcelona. We’ll face Barca four times now this season.

“It’ll be a fantastic tie, the two games in the group stages finished 5-4 on aggregate to them but thanks to a generous penalty.

“Inter, in 2010, eliminated Barca after playing against them in the group stages. It would have been better to face Barcelona in the semis or the Final, but at least we’re in the last eight.”

Milan will be at home first, yet the former Lega Calcio chief thinks another aspect will be more important.

“Playing at home in the first or second leg doesn’t change things too much. The key thing is to have everyone fit and at the Coach’s disposal for the two matches.”

Guardiola: AC Milan one of the best
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Source: Football Italia

Pep Guardiola is respectful of the threat that Milan will pose his Barcelona side in the Champions League.

The Spanish giants will start the last eight clash between the two teams as favourites, but the former Brescia player insists the tie hasn’t been won yet.

“The draw has put us against one of the greatest teams in history, we will need everyone's contribution to go through,” he noted on Friday.

“We are the reigning champions of Europe and to defend our title we must beat the best teams – and Milan are among them.

“They have fantastic players and they are at the top of the table in the Italian championship. Their footballers are of the highest level.

“They create chances easily and have a good defence.

“However, I always prefer to play against teams whom we have already met in the past, as we know them well.

“To win the Champions League you have to beat the best. And Milan are one of the best.”

Barcelona drew 2-2 with Milan at home in the group stages this season, while they won 3-2 at the Meazza.

The draw for the semi-finals also took place today which leaves open the possibility of a Barcelona-Real Madrid finale.

“I’m not thinking about a hypothetical semi-final or final,” Guardiola continued. “I’m only thinking of Milan and of a quarter-final that will be very hard.”

Milan will entertain Barca on March 28 and the return has been set for April 3.

Allegri targets final after Barcelona
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Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri is looking on the bright side of facing Barcelona in the Champions League. “The route to the Final will be easier if we beat them…”

The Rossoneri were handed the most difficult of opponents in this morning’s draw for the quarter-finals. The winners will play Benfica or Chelsea in the semis.

“Let’s look at the positives,” Allegri stated this afternoon. “If we get past them then we’ll have a good chance of reaching the Final.

“Little changes really and we’ve already faced them. They are the strongest team in the world, but we have to believe. Milan will give their best.”

The two teams met in the group stages this term with the Nou Camp encounter ending 2-2, while Barcelona triumphed 3-2 at San Siro.

“We’ll have to attack them and be more focused. The two previous games against them have helped us to grow.

“We were good defensively in Spain, while we did well in the return too even if we lost.

“I hope to have all of my injured players back before we face Barcelona. However, for now, we have to think about tomorrow as a difficult game awaits us.

“We are at a decisive point of the championship where we can’t make any mistakes.

“The squad is not scared, but, I repeat, it is too soon to be thinking about Barca. We have Parma, the Italian Cup game against Juventus and then Roma first.”

The League leaders will be looking to maintain their four-point advantage over Juventus this weekend when they travel to Parma.

“I fear their attackers,” Allegri noted. “Sebastian Giovinco is doing some great things. They are organised and aggressive.

“Boss Roberto Donadoni did well at Napoli and at Cagliari. He’s proving what he is worth at Parma. He was hired during a tough moment but he’s given the team some character.”

Allegri again has injury problems to deal with ahead of the Stadio Tardini battle.

“Robinho has picked up a knock and he didn’t train yesterday. I should have Maxi Lopez available. I don’t know when Alexandre Pato will be back. He’ll have to undergo some tests.

“I need to make some decisions in defence – especially at left-back between Mesbah, Zambrotta and Antonini.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries. At the end of the season we’ll analyse all of them to understand where we have gone wrong.”

No room for Sneijder at AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Italian champions Milan have been quick to dismiss transfer links with Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder.

Reports this morning suggested that the Dutchman was interested in a summer switch to the Rossoneri, but Adriano Galliani has quashed such talk.

“I’ve read the stories, but we already have two excellent players in his role,” the Vice-President commented.

“Urby Emanuelson and Kevin Prince Boateng are doing really well and we are therefore well covered in that area.”

The Rossoneri official was also questioned about the European elimination of Inter, Napoli and Udinese this week.

“Unfortunately things have been going badly for a number of years now,” he said before this morning’s Champions League draw which saw Milan paired with Barcelona.

“Soon France and Portugal will overtake us in the rankings because 2006-07 points will be wiped out. Unfortunately this is the situation of Italian football.”

Champions League Draw: AC Milan vs. Barcelona
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1/4 Finals:

APOEL vs. Real Madrid (1)
Marseille vs. Bayern Munich (2)
Benfica vs. Chelsea (3)
AC Milan vs. Barcelona (4)

1/2 Finals:

(2) vs. (1)
(3) vs. (4)

AC Milan await Champions League draw
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Source: Football Italia

Scudetto holders Milan will this morning learn the name of their Champions League quarter-final opponents.

The Rossoneri are Italy’s only remaining side in European competition after Inter, Napoli and Udinese all crashed out this week.

Milan, who beat Arsenal 4-3 on aggregate in the last 16 stage, will want to avoid Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

They could also be paired with Marseille – who progressed at the expense of Inter – Benfica and Apoel Nicosia.

The draw for the Champions League will start at 10.45 GMT and the Europa League draw will follow at 12.00 GMT.

Italy did hope to have three sides in the last eight of the European Cup, but Inter went out on the away goals rule to Marseille and Napoli, despite being 3-1 up from the first leg, lost 4-1 at Chelsea.

Udinese were dismissed from the Europa League last night when they lost 3-2 on aggregate to AZ Alkmaar.

Inter's Sneijder paired with AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

The Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport are both suggesting that Wesley Sneijder would ponder a switch from Inter to city rivals Milan.

The Dutchman is expected to be sold by the Nerazzurri in the summer as they start another new era at San Siro.

The 27-year-old was linked with a transfer to Manchester United last summer and the Premiership giants may still be interested in the playmaker.

However, according to stories in the peninsula on Friday, the midfielder is thinking about a move to Milan – given that he and his wife are settled in the city.

Sneijder is also said to be good friends with Milan midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mark Van Bommel.

The Diavolo have yet to make a move for Sneijder though and it is unclear whether Inter chief Massimo Moratti would OK such a switch.

Moratti still has some regrets over his decision to release Andrea Pirlo and Clarance Seedorf to their city rivals in the past.

Sneijder has had a problematic campaign with the Beneamata this term, scoring just one goal in 15 Serie A appearances during a season affected by injury.

Inter netted Sneijder in the summer of 2009 after paying Real Madrid a reported fee of €15m.

Aquilani ready for AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani feels he has finally recovered from a long injury and Milan “have many objectives to target this season.”

The Rossoneri are the only Italian team still in Europe, the Coppa Italia semi-finals and are top of Serie A.

“Italy and Euro 2012 are always on my mind, but first of all comes Milan and we have many objectives to target from here to the end of the season,” he told Milan Channel.

“Having reached the Champions League quarter-finals, any opponent we get is going to be tough. Barcelona and Real Madrid are perhaps a step above the rest, but in order to get where we want to be, we’ve got to face them all.”

Aquilani has barely featured in the last three months due to an ankle injury, but is finally finding his fitness.

“At last, I feel good. I immediately felt at home here and as soon as I heard there was a possibility to join the Rossoneri, I immediately said yes. I always hoped for this move.

“I had gone to Liverpool with real desire to do well, so I would’ve liked to have left a better memory of my time there.”

Antonio Cassano is still out of action after heart surgery in November and is an old friend of Aquilani’s.

“We really miss Antonio, as he is a champion. Compared to what he was like at Roma, he’s an angel now!”

Maxi Lopez dreams of Barcelona final
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Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Maxi Lopez has mapped out his dream Champions League scenario ahead of Friday’s draw.

The Rossoneri are the only remaining Italian team in the competition and the Argentine is hoping for a Final place against Barcelona.

“I don’t want to face Barca or Real Madrid in the quarter-finals because they are in impressive shape right now,” the 27-year-old noted. “They are sides in great form.

“I’d like those two teams to face each other in the semi-final and then hope that we can take on Barca in the Munich Final. That would be perfect.”

Lopez, who joined the club from Catania on loan in January, was signed by Barcelona in January 2005 from River Plate.

However, he struggled to impress and only managed two goals in 19 appearances for the Catalan giants.

Zaccardo wants win versus AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zaccardo is looking for the three points against Milan even though he knows how difficult that mountain will be to climb.

The two teams meet on Saturday in Serie A and the 2006 World Cup winner is hoping to spring a surprise.

“Milan are favourites for the title and they have enormous potential,” the defender commented. “It will be a hard game for us and they are in form right now.

“We are playing at home and that will be a bonus as we are performing better at the Stadio Tardini than on the road.

“We have a good margin between us and the team below us in the table, but the sooner we get the points for safety the better. Therefore we’ll look to beat Milan.”

Parma are hovering just above the relegation zone and are six points clear of a rejuvenated Lecce side. However, they’ll have to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co quiet.

“You have to try to anticipate him and you can’t allow him to see sight of goal otherwise he’ll invent something to score,” Zaccardo continued.

“Ibra is practically winning games on his own, Antonio Nocerino is scoring with his every touch and Thiago Silva is the best defender in Europe. It will be tough.”

El Shaarawy has Italy dream
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Source: Football Italia

Milan youngster Stephan El Shaarawy admits that he is already thinking about the Italian national side – despite having won just two caps at Under-21 level.

The striker is still just 19, but he’s hoping to soon emulate Roma forward and Azzurrini teammate Fabio Borini who made his Azzurri debut last month against America.

“I certainly think about the national team,” he told Sky Sport Italia on Thursday. “Borini is doing really well and he deserved his call up.

“For now I’m in the Under-21 set-up and I always look to just give the best that I can.”

The former Padova man, who is still part-owned with Genoa, joined the Rossoneri in the summer but he’s had to be patient for his chance.

“I didn’t play for two months, but Milan helped me to get stronger,” he added. “Now things are improving and I am now adapting to Coach Massimiliano Allegri’s system.

“I’m a youngster who has a lot to learn. My objective is to do my best at Milan, to play in as many games as possible and score goals.”

El Shaarawy, born to an Italian mother and Egyptian father, has scored two goals in 16 League games for the leaders.

“We have a four-point lead, but there are many games left and we could make some mistakes,” he warned when asked about his side's Scudetto chances.

Abate out for AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate is reportedly out of Milan’s next two games against Parma and Juventus after picking up a suspected muscle strain in training.

The marauding full-back reportedly pulled up during the latter stages of the Rossoneri’s Tuesday training session and is set to undergo tests to understand fully the extent of his injury.

Whilst unconfirmed by the club, it is understood that the Italian international suffered a muscle strain which is believed to have definitely ruled him the out of Milan’s upcoming fixtures with Parma in the League on Saturday and Juventus in the Coppa Italia next Tuesday.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri is already likely to be without Robinho, who also picked up a knock in training this week, although he has been boosted by the return to training of Mario Yepes and Clarence Seedorf.

Parma: Easy preparing for AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Despite being without a win in six and in danger of being pulled into the relegation scrap, Parma should see preparations for Milan in Week 28 as ‘easy’.

Roberto Donadoni’s men go into Saturday’s home fixture with the defending champions and current League leaders in their joint-worst run of form for the season.

Even so, President Tommaso Ghiradi believes that knowing upfront what to expect from the Rossoneri could work to the Gialloblu’s advantage.

“We know what awaits us in the challenge with the Rossoneri and paradoxically it may be easier to prepare for the match, even if the team face the strongest opponent in the League,” he reflected this week.

“It’s obvious that the motivation will not be lacking, that the desire is there to do the business.

“It is one of the simpler games to prepare for because there is so much peace of mind and belief in their own ability.”

The pressure has mounted on Donadoni in recent weeks, with the team now just two places and six points above the relegation zone.

“Had we earned three points against Genoa and against Napoli then things would be quieter. Bear in mind though that six points are always six points.

“We must not underestimate anyone and it is clear that if we had those points then we would be more relaxed.

“Improvement is what we are working towards every day, in terms of the transfer budget things are looking good, but for now we think only to improve the League ranking.”

It is almost exactly two years since the Ducali’s last win over Milan.

Allegri: 'Will Juventus error be decisive?'
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Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri keeps thinking about that phantom goal and criticises the Juventus complaints. “I hope it won’t prove to be decisive for the Scudetto.”

Milan were 1-0 up in the head-to-head at San Siro when Sulley Muntari had the ball over the line, but the officials did not spot it. The match ended 1-1.

“It was a bad decision and that’s part of the sport. In these cases you should intervene with technology, or extra officials on the line.”

However, Allegri also criticised the Bianconeri for their decision to call a media silence and put together a dossier of refereeing errors against them this season.

“For offsides, it might be too difficult to evaluate with technology. Muntari’s situation was very clear and despite that it was not easy for them to evaluate it, while Juve are still discussing whether or not Simone Pepe was actually offside.

“After games we should hear more about technique and tactics, less about referees and linesmen. As far as we are concerned, there is no tension, but many put together dossiers and nobody highlights the decisions that went in their favour.

“We certainly suffered with that Muntari incident in a big game and I hope it won’t prove to be decisive for the Scudetto.”

The Milan Coach also revealed he hopes to have Antonio Cassano back before the end of the season, so he can make a rapid recovery from a stroke and surgery to correct a congenital heart defect.

“He was going through the best year of his career in physical and technical terms. We hope to have Cassano ready to give to Cesare Prandelli for Euro 2012.”

Robinho is a worry for AC Milan
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Source: Football Italia

Robinho will undergo a series of tests after the Brazilian picked up a problem in Milan training on Wednesday.

The striker, four goals in 22 League games this term, limped out of today’s session at Milanello after twisting his right ankle.

Robinho’s condition will be assessed on Thursday in an effort to have him at the disposal of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

The League leaders are next in action on Saturday when they travel to struggling Parma in Serie A.

Van Bommel open to AC Milan stay
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Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel is ready to put his dreams of a return to PSV on hold in return for a new contract at Milan.

The midfielder, who will be 35 in April, has been linked with a switch back to his former club once his deal at Milanello expires in June.

However, speaking with Sky Sport Italia, the enforcer has suggested that he would sign a new agreement with the Diavolo.

“I’m happy at Milan and I’ll speak with Vice-President Adriano Galliani in the near future in order to understand what Milan want,” stated the man netted from Bayern Munich in January 2011.

“I have to thank Galliani and director Ariedo Braida for signing me at my age. I’ve always said that I want to end my career at PSV, but I still don’t know when that will happen.”

Van Bommel took his time to adjust to Serie A, but he’s now almost assured of a first team jersey under boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“I thought the Italian championship was a little strange at the beginning. Today I think it is a mix between Spanish, German and English football. There are great games at times and then there are some boring ones.”

Milan have a habit of making the Champions League a priority, but Van Bommel has his eyes on a second consecutive Italian championship.

“The Scudetto is at the top of my list because it is the most difficult to win. You play for an entire year for that trophy. The Champions League, even if it may seem more beautiful, is decided in less games.

“This season's favourites for the Champions League? Barcelona are the strongest side in Europe. They’ve been playing at this level for three years and they are still hungry.

“I’ve played for that club and when you wear that jersey you think that you are unbeatable.”

AC Milan's Aquilani to start at Parma?
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Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani is being tipped to this weekend start his first Serie A game for Milan since the draw with Bologna in December.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, the summer signing from Juventus, via Liverpool, could be named in the starting XI against Parma.

Aquilani, now back to full fitness after recent injury, is apparently set to play instead of Sulley Muntari at the Stadio Tardini.

The midfielder returned to top-flight action last weekend in the 2-0 win over Lecce when he was used as a second half substitute.

The 27-year-old is edging closer to a permanent move to the Rossoneri given that Milan will be forced to sign him outright from Liverpool once he makes 25 appearances this term.

Aquilani, a former Roma player, has played in 22 games for the Diavolo across all competitions.

Beckham makes Seedorf call
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Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Clarence Seedorf is being paired with a possible move to LA Galaxy – at the request of David Beckham.

According to reports, the Englishman is trying to convince the 35-year-old to move to America once his contract expires in the summer.

Beckham and Seedorf were teammates in Milan during the former England international’s two loan spells at San Siro.

Seedorf, now 35, has scored three goals in 23 appearances for the Diavolo across all competitions this season.

Milan won’t consider offering the Dutchman a new deal until this season has come to a conclusion.

The former Ajax, Sampdoria and Real Madrid man has been at Milanello since his 2002 switch from city rivals Inter.

Giovinco tips AC Milan for title
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Source: Football Italia

Parma will survive the drop and Milan will win the Scudetto, says Gialloblu fantasista Sebastian Giovinco.

The Tardini outfit are just above the drop zone after a slump in results, even if they do have a six-point cushion over Lecce.

“We’ll stay up,” the Italian international told the Corriere dello Sport. “I’ll help the club to do that.”

Giovinco, 10 goals in 25 Serie A games this term, will be in action against League leaders Milan on Saturday.

“The Rossoneri are next up for us and it won’t be easy, we’ll need to be perfect,” continued the player still part-owned by Juventus.

“Juve deserve a few more points than they have got in the table, but Milan will win the championship.

“They play better football and can count on a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

Milan are currently four points clear of Juventus in Serie A.

Cristiano Ronaldo turns down Berlusconi
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristiano Ronaldo has distanced himself from a possible future transfer to Milan, saying he is happy at Real Madrid.

The Portuguese has faced questions this week on a potential move to the San Siro side in light of Rossoneri President Silvio Berlusconi saying that he ‘dreams every night of seeing’ the player at the club.

Following on from Adriano Galliani’s suggestion that Berlusconi was joking, Ronaldo has also looked to put an end to the speculation.

“I also have many dreams, but not about football, about other things,” reflected the 27-year-old on Tuesday.

“If Berlusconi says he dreams about me, I respect him, but I’m very happy here and I want to stay.”

The former Manchester United star has scored 32 goals and assisted a further seven in just 26 League appearances for Los Blancos this term.

El Shaarawy eyes Brazil 2014
13.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan youngster Stephan El Shaarawy has clear ideas about his future ambitions with the Italian national side.

The 19-year-old is only just starting to break through at Under-21 level, but he has his eyes on an imminent career with the full set-up.

“I want to take part at the 2014 World Cup Finals,” the summer signing from Genoa, who is still part-owned by the Marassi outfit, told Sky Sport Italia.

El Shaarawy, born to an Italian mother and an Egyptian father, is a promising young attacking player who has impressed this term.

After a sluggish start to the campaign, the former Padova player has won the faith of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

In 20 appearances across all competitions so far this season, El Shaarawy has scored four goals for the Diavolo.

Galliani talks AC Milan, Ibrahimovic & Ronaldo
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has given his thoughts on the Scudetto race, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Rossoneri currently lead the standings after their win over Lecce and Juventus’ failure to beat Genoa at Marassi.

“We think we have the best squad in Italy,” the official told Sky Sport Italia on Monday afternoon.

“There is a normal rivalry between us and Juventus. Milan, Inter and Juventus have almost always been fighting for the major honours.

“The winner changes and it seems that the Scudetto is between Milan and Juventus this season,” he continued.

“We have a four point advantage, a small barrier. It’s like a bonus to spend over the 11 games which are left.”

Turning to Ibrahimovic, the official was asked to comment on the chances of the super Swede being handed the Golden Ball.

“The Golden Ball often goes to the best player from a winning team,” he responded. “Ibrahimovic will have to win something important for Milan first and then he may be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.”

Galliani then seemed to cool reports that his club were thinking about an audacious bid for Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“President Silvio Berlusconi was only joking and I was surprised that his words received so much prominence. Nevertheless, I don’t dream about Cristiano Ronaldo every night.”

England or Spain next for Allegri
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri admits that he’d like to move abroad when he does eventually leave the Rossoneri.

Although he says that he is happy with life at Milanello, he accepts that he won’t be able to spend his entire career with the Diavolo.

“It’s important for me to stay in Milan for a long time, but I know that it’s impossible to stay here forever,” noted the former Cagliari boss.

“After managing Milan, most clubs would be a step down in anyone’s career.

“However, I've been learning English for a year now. After Milan I want to work abroad. England would be my first choice, then Spain.

“For me it is important before getting to the end of my career to have experiences in different countries.”

Allegri, a former midfielder during his playing days, arrived at Milan in the summer of 2010 to replace Leonardo.

The 44-year-old won the Scudetto at his first attempt with the club and the outfit are currently four points clear at the top of the table with 11 games to go.

'Nocerino the buy of the century'
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s move for Palermo’s Antonio Nocerino was the transfer of the century, argues the midfielder’s agent.

The 26-year-old joined the San Siro outfit on deadline day last summer for just €500,000 given that he had less than a year left on his contract in Sicily.

Since then he’s been a revelation at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and scored his ninth League goal of the campaign yesterday afternoon against Lecce.

“Considering how much midfielders generally cost the big clubs, his was the swoop of the century,” representative Marco Sommella told TMW.

“I’m not shocked that it was Vice-President Adriano Galliani who did the deal, he’s a great official who already knew what Nocerino would have done for the Rossoneri.

“Given Antonio’s qualities, I expected these kind of performances. However, he has scored more goals than I thought he would.

“I had already stated some time ago that he would be an important signing, but it is not as if we’ve just discovered him this season as he was part of the Italian national set-up.”

Nocerino had previously netted only six top-flight goals in his entire career during spells at Juventus and Palermo before this term.

AC Milan's two-point average under Allegri
12.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have been the most productive team in Serie A since Massimiliano Allegri took charge of the Rossoneri, say the statistics.

The Diavolo have taken control of this season’s championship and the Corriere dello Sport has pointed out their supremacy since Allegri replaced Leonardo in the summer of 2010.

In the 65 League games since the former playmaker took charge, his side have totalled 139 points in the League at an average of 2.14 points a game.

During that time, they have won 41 games, drawn 16 and lost just eight. To put that into some perspective, Juve have drawn 14 of their 27 games this term.

Milan have thus collected 23 more points than Inter and Napoli, as well as 28 more than the Old Lady of Italian football.

Ibrahimovic argument with journalist
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a “clarifying phone call” with a Sky Sport Italia journalist after their ugly altercation.

The striker was giving an interview on the touchline after Milan’s 2-0 victory over Lecce and seemed ill-tempered when talking to Vera Spadini.

“There are many people who talk without knowing anything and they would do better to shut up.”

Moments later, when speaking to the Mediaset Premium crew, he continued to glare at Spadini and flicked his hair band at her.

He then swore, asking “what the **** are you looking at?”

This evening, Milan released a statement confirming there had been “a clarifying phone call” between Ibrahimovic and Spadini.

“They cleared up the misunderstanding that occurred after the touchline interview following Milan - Lecce.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:0 Lecce - comments
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri: “It was an important step, but not decisive, as there’s a long way to go yet. After the first very good 20 minutes, we gave the ball away too often, but did much better after the break.”

Assistant manager Mario Palazzi: “We stepped on to the field with too much tension and that made us timorous. This defeat must give us even more rage and belief we can stay in Serie A.”

Ibrahimovic irritated by row talk
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists the stories of a row with Massimiliano Allegri are false. “Everyone talks, even those who ought to shut up.”

The Swede was on target again in Milan’s 2-0 win over Lecce this afternoon, a result that put them four points clear at the top of the table.

“It was a good Sunday and I could’ve done more today, but am happy with the goal and the assist. The three points are important,” he told Mediaset Premium.

“We have a strong advantage, but it’s not over yet and there are many games to go. We’ll see how it ends. The important thing is to win.”

When asked about the alleged row with Allegri during the 3-0 Champions League defeat to Arsenal, Ibra lost his smile.

“Everyone talks, even those who ought to shut up. Of course nobody is happy when we lose, including me. The team is doing very well, though, as I help them and they help me.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:0 Lecce - goals
11.3 || webmaster

Allegri surprised at AC Milan lead
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri admits he didn’t expect to be four points clear, “but there’s a long way to go.” He also defended Milan’s performance against Arsenal.

“It was important for us to win today, as that would ensure the two-point advantage remained intact, but instead we have four points. There’s a long way to go,” he said after a 2-0 victory over Lecce.

As Juventus were held to a 0-0 away to Genoa, the Rossoneri are breaking away at the top of the Serie A table.

“We played well, especially at the start. We did risk conceding an equaliser, as games do get complicated if you don’t finish them off, as we saw in London. If we don’t score then we have to carry on playing and try to be more determined. You can’t always win when playing well, so sometimes you have to get points with the minimum effort.”

Allegri was under attack in the media this week after that 3-0 defeat to Arsenal, especially as he reportedly had a row with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Nobody seems to point out we played very well in the second half at the Emirates and had several scoring opportunities. It’s just a shame about the first half.

“As for Ibra, thankfully these stories emerge every now and then, otherwise it gets boring! Nothing happened, as it’s normal there are discussions between a Coach and his players.”

Serie A: AC Milan 2:0 Lecce - match report
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Nocerino 7 (M), Ibrahimovic 65 (M)

Antonio Nocerino’s deflected effort and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic moment of magic saw Milan sweep Lecce aside 2-0.

The Rossoneri found themselves two points clear at the top of the table and survived a midweek Champions League scare when qualifying despite the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal. Philippe Mexes’ ban added to the lengthy injury list of Alexandre Pato, Maxi Lopez, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexander Merkel, Rodney Strasser, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Antonio Cassano and Gennaro Gattuso.

Lecce would be fourth if the season had started at the halfway mark, so on fine form under Coach Serse Cosmi (suspended for this match). He was banned along with David Di Michele, Nenad Tomovic and Gennaro Delvecchio, joining the injured Carlos Grossmuller, Julio Sergio, Juan Cuadrado and Edward Ofere, so Valeri Bojinov got a rare start.

Antonio Nocerino opened the scoring after just seven minutes when Zlatan Ibrahimovic flicked a Robinho ball back to the edge of the box, where the midfielder’s shot took a decisive deflection off Leonardo Miglionico to loop past a helpless Massimo Benassi.

There was chaos in the Lecce box as Robinho, Urby Emanuelson and Ibra all had shots charged down during the same move. A long-range Sulley Muntari strike was deflected out for a corner and a Robinho lob was easily plucked out of the air by Benassi.

Ibrahimovic’s audacious chip from the tightest of angles skimmed the far post by a matter of inches with the goalkeeper out of action.

Lecce threatened an equaliser, though, as Luis Muriel ran on to a Bojinov long ball and got between two defenders, but his spectacular volley was just over the bar.

A fierce Robinho angled drive from a tight angle went close to the crossbar and before half-time Ignazio Abate had an attempt from distance.

Straight after the restart Muriel hit a free kick into the wall and Bojinov’s screamer forced Christian Abbiati into a difficult flying save that stung his palms.

Lecce were putting pressure on the Rossoneri, who seemed increasingly tired as the game wore on. However, Ibrahimovic took that pressure off with a moment of magic to make it 2-0.

Robinho knocked it down on the edge of the box for the Swede’s fierce shot on the volley that flew past Benassi under the bar.

A powerful Ibra free kick whizzed through the defensive wall only for Benassi to smother. Emanuelson also tested the Lecce goalkeeper, with Miglionico clearing off the line during the same move. Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench and his shot was blocked at the near stick.

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari (Aquilani 62); Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic, Robinho (El Shaarawy 78)

Lecce: Benassi; Miglionico, Carrozzieri (Giandonato 75), Esposito, Oddo (Obodo 46); Blasi, Giacomazzi, Bertolacci (Di Matteo 81), Brivio; Bojinov, Muriel

Ref: De Marco

Serie A: AC Milan vs. Lecce - lineups
11.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari; Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic, Robinho

Lecce: Benassi; Miglionico, Carrozzieri, Esposito, Oddo; Blasi, Giacomazzi, Bertolacci, Brivio; Bojinov, Muriel

AC Milan still decimated
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Alexandre Pato are still out of action for Milan’s game with Lecce.

The Rossoneri continue to have an injury crisis despite being top of the table and in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Pato, Boateng and Nesta are still sidelined along with Maxi Lopez, Alexander Merkel, Clarence Seedorf, Rodney Strasser, Antonio Cassano and Gennaro Gattuso.

Philippe Mexes continues his three-match ban in defence.

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

Lecce superstition shocks AC Milan?
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Serse Cosmi’s assistant manager warns Milan that he “never loses” when stepping in for the suspended Coach. “Lecce want points at San Siro.”

The fiery tactician is suspended after his red card for dissent, so Mario Palazzi takes his place in the press conference and on the bench tomorrow.

“We are going to San Siro without fear, as Lecce want points. The Rossoneri are very strong, but we do not fear them,” said Palazzi.

“Don’t forget, I have been working with Cosmi for 10 years and every time I replaced him, we never lost. Who knows, it might happen again...

“We have great enthusiasm and really want to put in a top level performance at San Siro. We will play our game and no challenge is impossible.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is strong, but Milan are not solely Ibra, as Massimiliano Allegri can count on a team of immense quality all the way through.”

Cosmi is not the only man suspended for the Salentini, as David Di Michele, Nenad Tomovic and Gennaro Delvecchio also sit out bans.

Julio Sergio, Juan Cuadrado, Edward Ofere and Carlos Grossmuller are all injured.

Lecce squad: Gabrieli, Di Matteo, Esposito, Giandonato, Obodo, Corvia, Bojinov, Seferovic, Miglionico, Giacomazzi, Piatti, Muriel, Petrachi, Blasi, Brivio, Oddo, Mauro, Carrozzieri, Benassi, Bertolacci

Allegri: 'No problem with Ibrahimovic'
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists he never had a problem with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and warns Milan “it’s all in our hands” ahead of the Lecce game.

There were reports of Ibra becoming furious at half-time when losing 3-0 to Arsenal in the Champions League this week.

“I do not have and never had a problem with Ibra,” assured the Coach. “Over the course of a year you can have some differences of ideas or some discussions that can also act as a motivating force during an important moment of the season.

“Ibra said nothing bad, it’s only normal that he has the same desire to win as I do, that we all do in the Milan locker room. The objective is to win. You can do it with all love and hugs, or through the odd argument, that doesn’t matter. We all work together for the final objective.

“Besides, the starting XI against Arsenal was forced upon me, as I had no other options. I thought the trio in attack could provide us with the goal that would kill off the tie, but instead there was a bit of suspence and we got to the quarter-finals in the end.”

Milan are top of the Serie A table and two points clear of Juventus, as the Bianconeri completed the missing fixtures that were snowed off last month.

“I am happy because after a long catch-up the lads are back on top. Now the difficult part arrives, as we have to stay there with calm and balance, taking it one game at a time. It’s in our hands now. We’ve got three competitions to deal with, so must keep fresh psychologically even more than physically.

“I am not worried about Lecce, although we respect them, as they got back into the race for safety since Serse Cosmi arrived and have a great young talent in Luis Muriel.

“There are only 12 games to go and after Palermo I didn’t expect to be on top with a two-point advantage.”

Alberto Aquilani made his comeback against Arsenal, but Allegri confirmed he won’t start with Lecce, while Sulley Muntari, Antonio Nocerino and Urby Emanuelson will play.

“The doubts are Djamel Mesbah, Luca Antonini or Gianluca Zambrotta, then Massimo Ambrosini or Mark Van Bommel.”

Mesbah faces Lecce return
10.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan defender Djamel Mesbah admits it will be “emotional” to face Lecce on Sunday, the team he left in January.

The full-back completed a transfer during the January window and could well start at the Stadio Via del Mare as an opponent.

“It will be a little emotional, but I have to focus only on the game. The objective is to win, even if it won’t be easy,” Mesbah told Sky Sport Italia.

“Lecce have a mixture of young and experienced players, but we above all must be wary of Luis Muriel and Juan Cuadrado.

“They play as a team unit and it is going to be a tricky match.”

Gattuso return delayed again
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso’s return to the playing field has been postponed yet again due to his medication, confirmed Milan this evening.

The midfielder had returned to training last week and was hoping to make his first official appearance since September.

“AC Milan announce that Rino Gattuso cannot yet be called up for an official match due to a problem with the dosage of the medication he is taking,” read the statement.

“There will be a progressive reduction of the dosage that will then allow Gattuso to return to competition.”

The veteran has been out of action since September due to the paralysis of the optic nerve, giving him sight problems.

AC Milan scrap 'unlucky' black kit
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has blamed the club’s loss to Arsenal on their black strip. “We won’t wear it again!”

The superstitious official, who is often seen with his ‘lucky’ yellow tie, made the claim following the 3-0 reverse in London on Tuesday. They still won 4-3 on aggregate.

It was the third time this season that the Diavolo had worn their third-choice colours and it was their third loss after previous reverses against Napoli and Lazio.

“I tried everything in order for us not to wear our black kit against Arsenal,” Galliani commented. “But the only alternative was to play nude.

“It will be the last time we wear it. We had a yellow strip for a few years and we’ll go back to that colour.”

Milan, whose white away kit would still have clashed with Arsenal's home jersey, actually won the 1999 Scudetto in black thanks to a win at Perugia.

Ancelotti: Del Piero no, Pato maybe
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out a swoop for Alex Del Piero, but again opened the door for Alexandre Pato.

Del Piero, Ancelotti’s former captain at Juventus, has been linked with a move to Paris once his contract expires at the end of the season.

“I know Del Piero’s qualities really well, but I won’t be bringing him to PSG,” Ancelotti told La Stampa in an interview on Friday.

“Paris Saint-Germain are a club who will need to invest in the future.”

The capital side have been busy strengthening their squad since last summer and they attempted to sign Pato from Milan in January.

“For now, the Pato option has collapsed,” the former Chelsea tactician continued. “However, in June, we will evaluate numerous opportunities and he’ll be one.”

Milan and PSG did agree on a fee for the Brazilian international, only for the South American to then commit his future to the Rossoneri.

Ibrahimovic linked to Real Madrid
9.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Corriere dello Sport is today claiming that Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is eyeing a potential move to Real Madrid.

The Rome-based daily is suggesting that behind Ibra’s row with boss Massimiliano Allegri this week was a desire to change clubs.

The striker criticised the tactician after the 3-0 loss at Arsenal, claiming that he used him in the wrong position at the Emirates.

Although the Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttosport today claim that peace was made between Coach and star striker, the Corriere dello Sport takes an opposite view.

They claim that the 30-year-old wants to try a new experience and he would consider joining Real Madrid should Jose Mourinho stay in charge of the Spanish club.

Ibra worked well with Mourinho during a spell at Inter before the player opted to join Barcelona in the summer of 2009.

Gattuso considered retiring
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso admits he did consider retiring during recent struggles with an injury that has kept him sidelined for most of the season.

Gattuso was diagnosed with a rare eye condition that has taken months to overcome, but now back in training, the World Cup winner is keen to put it all behind him.

“It has been my dream for a few months now, because I definitely miss football, more so than football misses me.

“In recent months I have suffered a lot and I thought I would never return, but now all that has seemed to have passed.

“I thought about retiring, but now who knows? This may have extended my career.

“I’ve been training with the squad for about 10 days, but I don’t believe I can play more than 25-30 minutes in a game. It is now down to the Coach.”

Gattuso also passed comment on the current atmosphere in the dressing room, following the midweek performance away to Arsenal.

“Yes we played a game short of our potential in London, but you must rest assured. The criticism I’m hearing will not distract us.

“Imagine the stick I’ve heard said after Istanbul and La Coruna, but when one sits on the Milan bench, we must accept everything. You are at a club with a glorious badge on its chest and we should not expect compliments when we get beaten by three goals at Arsenal!

“The important thing is to stay compact as a team. Today, I saw only smiles between us all, no-one was taking part in any fights.

“We must not fall into the traps set by the newspapers and TV. Today I was reading about the argument between Allegri and Ibra. We are 30 players and we are comfortable.

“Ibra is hot headed and doesn’t like to lose, even in training.”

AC Milan an option for Van Persie
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie would consider a move to Milan at the end of the season, his agents have admitted.

The Dutch international has been heavily linked with a switch to San Siro given that he’s only contracted to the Gunners until June 2013.

“Milan want Van Persie? Good! We can talk about it,” Jeroen Hoogewerf told TMW on Thursday afternoon.

Van Persie has grabbed 32 goals for the Gunners this season and he won’t discuss a new contract in London until the campaign comes to an end.

“We would prefer not to talk about his contract and we have nothing to add about that,” Cornelis Vos, his other representative, told TMW as well.

Milan will face some competition from Manchester City, amongst other clubs, if they do make a bid for the player.

It’s understood that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would prefer playing alongside Van Persie next term, rather than the also linked Manchester City pair of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

Galliani prefers an angry Ibrahimovic
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani insists there is no problem with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “The angrier he is the better.”

The Italian media is speculating that Ibra and boss Massimiliano Allegri had a difference of opinion following Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal.

However, Galliani has this morning underlined that all is well between Coach and star striker at Milanello.

“I prefer an angry Ibrahimovic,” the official commented. “When he isn’t annoyed he loses his combativeness.

“Everything is absolutely fine between Allegri and Ibra. The situation with Ibrahimovic was resolved as soon as it was born.

“He’s a fantastic guy who wins so much because he is always so focused and determined.”

Stories this morning suggested that Ibra, who was labelled as “extraordinary” by Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, would hold peace talks with Allegri later today.

Guardiola hails AC Milan's Ibrahimovic
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an “extraordinary” player, says Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard coached the Swede at the Camp Nou for one season before Ibra joined Milan following a breakdown in their relationship.

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri believes that Ibra is among the top three players in the world, alongside Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, a claim Guardiola agrees with.

“Ibra and Messi are two extraordinary players,” he noted after the Argentine scored five in the 7-1 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen.

“I know Ibrahimovic well, but not very well because I only had him for one season. He always does something fantastic in Italy.”

Ibrahimovic - Allegri set for talks
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hold talks on Thursday in the aftermath of the defeat at Arsenal.

Reports suggest that the two men had a difference of opinion following the 3-0 loss regarding the positioning of the forward.

Ibra publicly vented his frustration yesterday regarding his side’s performance and tactics in what proved to be a nervy Emirates encounter.

“If you play for a great club like Milan, this cannot happen,” the former Juventus and Inter player commented.

“You can lose in many ways, but how we lost this time was not acceptable. We’re Milan and we must be stronger and more stable.

“I felt out of position all the time when we played with three strikers.”

According to stories this morning, the pair will discuss the events of the game in London in a face-to-face meeting at Milanello.

AC Milan need their own stadium
8.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s visit to Arsenal in midweek taught the Rossoneri one important lesson – the need for their own stadium.

That is according to Barbara Berlusconi, the daughter of Milan chief Silvio and a member of the club’s board.

“We suffered a lot against Arsenal,” she told the Gazzetta dello Sport after the 3-0 loss. “However, the Emirates Stadium has an air of magic about it.

“In 2015, San Siro will have some new facilities installed, but the fans don’t feel pampered there. We need our own arena.”

Milan, who beat the Premiership club 4-3 on aggregate in the Champions League, share the council-owned Stadio Meazza with Inter.

Juventus are the only top-flight club in Italy who own their own stadium after they rebuilt the old Stadio Delle Alpi.

Galliani on 'historic' Abbiati save
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani has spoken of what went through his mind after Christian Abbiati’s point-blank save from Robin Van Persie on Tuesday night.

With the Champions League second leg clash between Arsenal and Milan poised at 4-3 in favour of the Italians, Abbiati pulled off a reflex save to deny Van Persie what would have been a tie-equalising goal.

Galliani, who admitted to hiding in the dressing rooms for the final 20 minutes of the game due to nerves, praised Abbiati’s save and has suggested that it is one of his best.

“I now spend more of my time in the dressing room than in the stands,” Galliani joked to Milan Channel on Wednesday.

“There I recalled the movie of my 26 years at Milan. What crossed my mind was not the comeback suffered in Istanbul, nor that of Deportivo La Coruna, but three saves from Abbiati.

“The one to deny Perugia’s Bucchi that was decisive for the Scudetto in 1999, the one off the calf against Kallon of Inter in the Champions League semi-final in 2003 and then this one against Van Persie.

“These three saves will remain in the history of our club.”

Galliani also reflected on the importance of yesterday’s result.

“I’m still in shock about what happened last night. But I’m also very happy. If we were eliminated then it could have had a great repercussion for our League championship.

“For the 12th time during Silvio Berlusconi’s time as President we have reached the last eight in Europe and this shows how great Milan have been under Mr Berlusconi.

“It is not Europe without Milan. I’m convinced that Milan should always be among the best eight teams in Europe.”

Ibrahimovic: AC Milan can't lose like that
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has blasted Milan for the manner of their European defeat to Arsenal, but also admits relief that the Rossoneri progressed regardless.

The Italians went into the Champions League Last 16 second leg in London with a four-goal advantage over Arsene Wenger’s side from the first leg at San Siro.

However, Arsenal scored three goals before half-time to leave the encounter on edge, with the Gunners needing just one more to take the match to extra-time. Whilst that did not happen and Il Diavolo now move on into the quarter-finals, Ibrahimovic has warned his teammates to sort themselves out.

“If you play for a great club like Milan, this cannot happen,” Ibra told the Swedish Press on Wednesday.

“You can lose in many ways, but how we lost this time was not acceptable. We’re Milan and we must be stronger and more stable.

“We tried to calm each other down but it was not a simple situation. We made trivial mistakes, I think we were thinking too much of the advantage gained in the first leg, we were too cautious and did not play our game.”

Massimiliano Allegri was forced into fielding three strikers on the night, because he had only had three fully-fit midfielders available to start the match.

The 30-year-old Ibra, who scored once and assisted twice in the first leg’s 4-0 win, struggled to make any impact at the Emirates and believes the formation was to blame.

“I felt out of position all the time when we played with three strikers.

“It’s a relief that we’re through to the next round. Every time they attacked you started thinking: ‘what if they score a fourth goal?’

“During half-time, Allegri told us to calm down. We all tried to cheer each other up, but it’s not easy when you’re down 3-0.

“We won’t take anything with us from this game. We just have to learn from our mistakes.”

Inzaghi considering Atalanta?
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Italy suggest Filippo Inzaghi is keen to play on for another season and might have already found a new club in the shape of Atalanta.

Inzaghi’s most prolific goalscoring season in Serie A came with the Bergamo outfit in 1996-97, when he netted a club record 24 goals to finish as Capocannoniere. Some 15 years on and now aged 38, Inzaghi is being linked with a return to the Orobici in the summer.

Sky Sport Italia are running the line that the veteran, who has barely featured in the past two seasons at Milan under Coach Massimiliano Allegri, is keen to play on for another year and may have already held initial talks with the Nerazzurri’s President Antonio Percassi.

AC Milan net Gattuso boost
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has been given the all clear to return to competitive action, while Milan may also soon have Clarence Seedorf and Kevin Prince Boateng back.

Veteran Gattuso hasn’t played since the opening day of the season because of an optical nerve problem in his eye.

The 2006 World Cup winner underwent numerous tests on Tuesday and was finally given the green light to play again.

However, Gattuso won’t be eligible for Champions League ties as he was omitted from the UEFA list.

Meanwhile, Seedorf and Boateng are being tipped to be ready for the away game at Parma on the weekend of March 18.

Ogbonna to replace Nesta at AC Milan?
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will target Angelo Ogbonna should they decide to part company with veteran centre-back Alessandro Nesta.

The latter, who will be 36 next month, will be out of contract in the summer and it is unclear at this stage whether he will be offered a new deal.

Should the former Lazio captain leave the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, then Milan will ask Torino about the availability of Ogbonna.

The 23-year-old started his first game for Italy last week, in the 1-0 defeat against America, despite playing his football in Serie B.

Ogbonna signed a new contract with Toro until June 2016 earlier this season.

Clubs such as Napoli, Benfica, Arsenal and Juventus have been paired with the versatile stopper in the past.

A report in Tuttosport earlier this week also suggested that Nesta could be targeted by Juventus should he become available on a free transfer.

Galliani hid in changing rooms
7.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani admits he couldn’t watch the last 20 minutes of last night’s Champions League tie against Arsenal.

The Rossoneri qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition, but only just after Arsenal responded to their 4-0 loss at San Siro with a 3-0 in London.

“We suffered a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, but it ended well,” the Rossoneri official noted to Sky Sport Italia. “The suffering then stops and qualification remains.

“I suffered too and I opted against watching the last 20 minutes. After that Robin Van Persie chance I thought I was going to die, instead I’m fortunately alive.

“I decided to go and walk around the changing rooms, in front of the showers and just look at the clock impatiently until I was told that we had gone through.”

Arsenal went 3-0 up in the first half and it looked like Milan were about to suffer another spectacular European collapse after the painful memories of Deportivo La Coruna and Liverpool.

“We’ll evaluate what went wrong and also think about our tactics,” Galliani continued. “I saw the risk of being eliminated and the players made unusual mistakes.

“For now though qualification sees us in the last eight for the first time in five years, it will also help our European ranking which is important.”

Galliani praised Mark Van Bommel for his performance in the game. “He was a pillar for us,” he explained.

“It was a tough game for him as he was booked early on, but he did well. He was important out there and it is a shame he’ll be suspended for the next game.”

Emanuelson focus on quarter-finals
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Urby Emanuelson concedes Milan played badly in London, but looks ahead to the quarter-finals. “It doesn’t matter who we face.”

The Rossoneri almost managed to fumble a 4-0 first leg lead, but the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal still saw them squeeze through.

“In the first half we played truly badly, Arsenal scored after five minutes and it was difficult after that to play in such a situation,” said the Dutchman.

“After the break we did a bit better, but overall today it was in no way a good game for us.”

Nonetheless, Milan are in the quarter-finals along with Benfica, who eliminated Luciano Spalletti’s Zenit St. Petersburg.

“We have to win them all if we want to lift the Champions League, so it doesn’t matter who we face.”

Abbiati: 'We nearly threw it away'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati performed a stunning save on Robin van Persie to keep Milan in Europe. “We almost managed to throw away a 4-0 lead.”

The Rossoneri were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal, but a fourth would’ve forced extra time in the Champions League Round of 16.

“We almost managed to throw away a 4-0 lead, but fortunately we recovered in the second half after getting the approach totally wrong in the first,” said the goalkeeper.

“We tried to keep the ball, but probably opted not to attack them enough by doing that. On the second goal, when Thiago Silva cleared the ball, I moved too much to my right and then was late on the shot at the near post. I could’ve done more.

“Thank goodness I managed to block van Persie’s shot, that’s all I can say.

“We were prepared for Arsenal to be aggressive and wanted to go on the rapid counter-attack, but we never really managed it.

“I don’t think a lack of European experience from some of our players made much difference, as they have great character. We made mistakes that must not be repeated in future and we’ll analyze them together with the Coach during the week.”

Wenger: 'Arsenal can be proud'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsene Wenger is sure “the players can be proud of that performance” after Arsenal “restored some pride” by beating Milan.

“I told the players they can only be proud of that performance,” said the manager on Sky Sports.

The Gunners almost overturned a 4-0 first leg defeat, but their 3-0 win at the Emirates was ultimately not enough.

“We were a bit short with no midfielders at all on the bench, we suffered a little bit when we got tired in the second half, as I hoped to keep the ball better and get them more fatigued.

“I’m sure we’d have scored another two or three goals in the second half, but the performance showed fantastic spirit and we restored some pride after the first leg. Unfortunately we go out. We had the chances, we keep our winning run going and unfortunately we pay the price for a bad first game.”

When Arsenal were 3-0 up at the break, Wenger was asked whether he thought the work was done.

“No, not at all, we knew we had given a lot and had players not used to that level in midfield, like (Alex Oxlade-)Chamberlain. Some players had knocks, I knew it would be difficult.

“You need to score goals and not concede against a team like that. Our defenders were absolutely outstanding today and we have given everything, that is all you can do. If you’ve given everything then you can accept the result, even if it is a disappointing one.

“Chamberlain was sick last night, so we were not sure if he could play, as he had flu. We checked him in the warm-up, but he was outstanding. Of course to last at that level for 90 minutes is a different game.”

Robin van Persie had the best chance of the second half, but Christian Abbiati performed a miraculous save from point-blank range.

“I felt he wanted to chip the keeper because he was down, but Abbiati got up very quickly and unfortunately we couldn’t score.

“I hoped in the last 15 minutes we could create some dangerous situations in front of goal, unfortunately it didn’t happen, as we didn’t have enough drive anymore.”

Allegri: 'We got through'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan achieved their objective and reveals what he told them at half-time against Arsenal.

The Rossoneri lost 3-0 with all the goals in the first half, but squeezed into the Champions League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

“We played with three forwards and certainly suffered too much. We conceded on the first corner and that made a big difference psychologically, then we made too many mistakes in our midfield passes.

“I’d say we got the game completely wrong from a technical point of view, as we were sitting too deep and played between defenders, but after the break we did move more in attack.

“It’s a shame about the defeat, but the objective was to get through to the next round. Now we have time to get a few more players back from injury and continue in this competition.

“I did not see the team afraid as such, as there are experienced players here. In the locker room I simply told them we had to wipe out the first half from our memories and start from 0-0.

“In any case, I am not too worried. It was a crucial game and would’ve been a truly massive psychological blow for the rest of the season if we’d gone out from 4-0 in the first leg.”

Mexes: 'Nothing to celebrate'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes admits Milan have “nothing to celebrate. This must never happen again” after their embarrassment at the Emirates.

The Rossoneri risked throwing away a 4-0 first leg lead when they were trailing 3-0 at half-time, but held on to that result in order to reach the Champions League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

“The first half went badly and they punished us on every single incident,” said Mexes.

“After the break we were finally able to pass the ball around and we were consequently less afraid.

“This must never happen again. After a game like this, we have nothing to celebrate. We want to progress in the competition, but must do better, even if we got through to the next round tonight.”

Champions League: Arsenal 3:0 (3:4) AC Milan - match report
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Koscielny 7 (A), Rosicky 26 (A), van Persie pen 44 (A)

Milan almost threw away a 4-0 first leg lead, but their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal still sends them into the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Rossoneri had history on their side, as no team had ever overturned a 4-0 first leg defeat before in the Champions League. There were around 3,000 visiting fans at the Emirates, but both teams had to deal with an injury crisis.

Milan missed Luca Antonini, Clarence Seedorf, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Maxi Lopez, Alexandre Pato, Alessandro Nesta, Alexander Merkel, Antonio Cassano and Gennaro Gattuso, plus the suspended Massimo Ambrosini. Max Allegri fielded a very attacking line-up with the rare trident of Robinho, Stephan El Shaarawy and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Djamel Mesbah had his Champions League debut.

Arsenal were without Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos, Sebastien Squillaci, Aaron Ramsey, Johan Djorou, Francis Coquelin, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere. They too went for it with a forward-thinking side.

An away goal would mean the Gunners need six to qualify, but Mark Van Bommel was booked in the opening five minutes and will be suspended for the next round.

Arsenal took an early lead on the night, as Laurent Koscielny was left totally unmarked to nod in an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner from six yards.

Christian Abbiati had to beat away a dangerous Robin van Persie angled drive when he sprung the offside trap. Kieran Gibbs also went into the book when El Shaarawy dispossessed him just outside the box, but there was huge danger as Tomas Rosicky intercepted a poor Urby Emanuelson square pass only to hesitate in setting up van Persie.

Abbiati flew to palm a van Persie strike out of the near top corner, but Milan gifted Arsenal their second. Theo Walcott got down the left and a terrible Thiago Silva clearance was straight at Rosicky for the low drive into the near corner.

It got even worse just before half-time, as Oxlade-Chamberlain was sandwiched between Mesbah and Antonio Nocerino for a penalty. Van Persie stepped up and sent Abbiati the wrong way to make it 3-0.

Milan did have a chance in stoppages, but El Shaarawy fired wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Allegri had very few options on the bench, which included two goalkeepers to make up the numbers, so there were no changes at half-time.

Szczesny rushed off his line to close down Ibrahimovic from a Robinho through ball, while Emanuelson turned a free kick well over.

It really should’ve been 4-0 on 58 minutes, but Abbiati performed a double miracle! He stuck out a foot to deflect Gervinho’s shot, then somehow scrambled control of van Persie’s chipped follow-up from point-blank range.

Nocerino blasted over from a Milan corner, while Mesbah shot straight at Szczesny from the edge of the box. A poor Szczesny clearance was intercepted by Ibra in midfield, but the shot was wide of an open goal!

Szczesny comfortably trapped an El Shaarawy counter-attack, but he was then replaced by Alberto Aquilani making his comeback after three months.

Ibrahimovic hoofed a poor free kick into the wall. Moments later a considerably better angled drive from the Swede was beaten away by Szczesny at the near post.

Milan had a great opportunity on 76 minutes, as Aquilani rolled across the face of goal for Nocerino, who toe-poked it at Szczesny’s from point-blank range when it might’ve been easier to score.

An Ibrahimovic free kick went out off Bacary Sagna, but the referee awarded a goal kick, a decision that earned Nocerino a booking for dissent. Ibra’s chest and volley from a Robinho cross was well over, as Milan were more in control of the game once Aquilani came on to bolster the midfield.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Rosicky, Song, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Chamakh 75); Walcott (Park 84), van Persie, Gervinho

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah (Bonera 89); Nocerino, Van Bommel, Emanuelson; Robinho; Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy (Aquilani 70)

Ref: Skomina (SLO)

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

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Rosicky; Walcott, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; van Persie

Arsenal bench: Fabianski, Djourou, Jenkinson, Miquel, Ozyakup, Park Ju-Young, Chamakh

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Thiago Silva, Mexes, Mesbah; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Emanuelson; Robinho, Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy

AC Milan bench: Amelia, Bonera, Yepes, Zambrotta, Calvano, Aquilani, Ganz

Robinho: 'No Arsenal hope'
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Robinho does not believe Arsenal have any chance of overturning their 4-0 first leg defeat against Milan this evening.

“At Manchester City, I never had much luck but I've shown what I can do with Milan and I'm determined for another good day,” he told The Sun.

“Arsenal have improved since we beat them, but it's almost impossible for them to turn this tie around.

“We were superior at San Siro — 4-0 was a poor return. Robin van Persie is a great forward, but he couldn't influence things.

“I don't think he'll play as well against us as he has in his last few league games.”

Balotelli in love with Italy shirt
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli has underlined that he wants to be a key player for Italy at the 2012 European Championships.

The Manchester City striker made that clear in an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday – just a week after he was again omitted from the Azzurri squad.

Balotelli was left out by boss Cesare Prandelli as punishment for his dismissal in January’s game against Tottenham.

“The European Championship is something that I think about often,” he stated after Italy lost 1-0 to America without him.

“I was disappointed to have not been called up for the friendly in Genoa. There is a code of ethics that I respect, even if I think that I didn’t deserve to be excluded.

“It left me upset because, for me, there is no shirt more fascinating than that of the national side because of the emotions that I feel when I represent Italy.”

Balotelli annoyed the Italy boss for appearing to stamp on Scott Parker in that Premier League match at the start of the New Year.

“The slow motion replays suggest that I struck him on purpose, but I didn’t,” Balotelli argued after explaining that he has sent Prandelli a text message. “That wasn’t the case.

“No one protested, perhaps I didn’t even touch him, but I do not kick people who are on the ground.

“City didn’t want to risk an appeal as although I would have played against Liverpool, I could have been banned for five matches had we lost the appeal.

“It wasn’t a case of City boss Roberto Mancini not believing me.”

The 21-year-old used the interview to praise the English game, but he did admit that the Premier League was still lacking a true star.

“There is no one in England who is better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic,” he said of his former Inter teammate who is now at Milan. “It is only when I talk with Ibra that I tell him that I’m better than he is.

“I agree with Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri who says that Ibra, alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of the three best players in the world.

“I would like to see Ibrahimovic win the Champions League with Milan this season. He hasn’t lifted that trophy yet, but he deserves to.”

Balotelli also highlighted the ability of Roma striker Fabio Borini, the 20-year-old who was handed his Italy debut at Marassi last Wednesday.

“Borini is my favourite youngster coming through and, after playing alongside him in the Under-21s, I can assure you that he is a really strong player.”

Cordoba and Gattuso go back to school
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ivan Cordoba and Gennaro Gattuso have enrolled on a course to get hold of a UEFA B coaching licence, reports the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Although both veterans are still playing members of Inter and Milan respectively, they will take part in a programme scheduled to take place between March 12 and April 28.

Given that both players have appeared in World Cup tournaments, they will be exempt from taking the practical exam.

Defender Cordoba, 35, has appeared in just four League games for the Nerazzurri so far this season.

Meanwhile, 34-year-old Gattuso hasn’t played since the opening game of the season against Lazio because of an eye problem.

Berlusconi on Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has a dream about signing Cristiano Ronaldo, while he thinks Zlatan Ibrahimovic is worthy of the Golden Ball.

“I would not say no to buying Cristiano Ronaldo,” the former Italian Prime Minister told Il Processo di Biscardi.

“However, it would have to be at a fair price due to the economic crisis which is not only affecting Italy.”

Milan haven’t really been associated with the Real Madrid star as reports are linking them with possible bids for Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie of Arsenal instead.

“Who?” responded Berlusconi when asked about his club’s two supposed Premiership targets.

Turning to players already at Milan, the politician raved about the ability of Ibrahimovic after his hat-trick against Palermo on Saturday.

“Ibra deserves the Golden Ball,” he added. “To win it though you have to perform on the international stage so I hope that he will do well for us in the Champions League.”

Milan face Arsenal tonight in the second leg of the last 16 tie, 4-0 up from the first leg at the Stadio Meazza.

“We can’t be defensive, we have a reputation to defend,” Berlusconi stated. “We have to go to Arsenal to win the game.

“We want to be protagonists in Italy and in Europe.”

Berlusconi was also questioned on Alexandre Pato, the player who is dating his daughter and the striker whom he refused to sell to Paris Saint-Germain in January.

“He’s suffering with too many injuries, but he’s a champion. Now we have to just let him recover in his own time.”

Juventus to take Nesta from AC Milan?
6.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus are ready to make Alessandro Nesta an offer if the stopper doesn’t sign a new contract at Milan in the summer, reports Tuttosport.

The Turin daily is today claiming that the Old Lady are thinking about a Bosman swoop which will be similar to the move that saw them net Andrea Pirlo from the Rossoneri last year.

Nesta, who will be 36 this month, signed a new one-year contract with the Diavolo at the end of the previous campaign.

The Rossoneri have already made it clear that they won’t discuss contract extensions with any players until this season has come to an end.

Nesta, who joined Milan from Lazio in 2002, has only played in 11 Serie A games and five Champions League ties so far this season.

Rossoneri boss Massimiliano Allegri has recently been using Philippe Mexes alongside Thiago Silva in central defence given Nesta’s injury issues.

Allegri: We can do well this year
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has reiterated that his Milan side must concentrate against Arsenal on Tuesday, but admits that the Rossoneri ‘can do well this year’.

Ahead of the Last 16 second leg meeting between the London side and the Rossoneri at the Emirates stadium, Allegri repeated his earlier message that his players must concentrate, despite being 4-0 up on aggregate.

“We will play the game with great attention. We have an advantage, but we have to take to the field as we did in the first leg, but also in a better way.

“It will be harder than the first leg, tomorrow. But, we have grown up. The important thing is to score goals. One thing is for certain - the Gunners will face the same intensity as they did in the first leg.

“We won’t find the team that we beat at San Siro. They will be motivated and after wins against Tottenham and Liverpool they will be even stronger.

“I think we will play with three strikers, in midfield I have three midfielders available, whilst Aquilani has recently been training with the group again.”

However, at the Press conference on Monday evening, Allegri was also taken to task by journalists for comments made that Milan will be competitive in ‘two to three years’.

“Will it take three years to win the Champions League? I only said that this team is under construction, tomorrow night we will have the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals, then we will see.

“We can do well this year - it takes a bit of luck otherwise you cannot recover if you go wrong in a game.”

Wenger hopes for unlikely miracle
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsene Wenger sees a 'five per cent chance' of Arsenal overcoming their four-goal deficit in the Last 16 second leg clash with Milan.

The Rossoneri arrived in London on Monday evening ahead of their return leg with the London side in the knockout stages of the UEFA competition.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side are strong favourites to progress, going into the fixture with a 4-0 aggregate lead from the first leg.

Whilst Arsenal manager Wenger is no different in suggesting which way the game will go, he has promised that his team will present a difficult 90 minutes for the Italian side.

“I said I don't live in a dream world,” the French tactician told The Telegraph on Monday.

“That means I know we have not created an easy situation, but when you are a top-level competitor, even if statistically we have a five per cent chance, what is important is that we believe that we can be in this five per cent chance.

“That is what is at stake for us - to show that we have the quality to believe we can do it, even if it is only five per cent. Let us make sure that we do not miss out chance because we did not believe in it.”

Only three times before has a club in European competition turned around a four-goal deficit in the second leg of a knockout fixture, each occasion coming in the mid-1980s.

Milan were the victims of a 4-0 thrashing in Spain in 2004 when Deportivo La Coruna turned around a 4-1 score-line to progress in that edition of the Champions League.

Donati: 4-0 was too much
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Donati sees no shame in losing to Milan, but admits that Palermo’s collapse by four goals to nil at the weekend was too much to take.

Donati, who had a spell with the Rossoneri earlier in his career, was involved for the Sicilians on Saturday night as a Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick and Thiago Silva header pushed them aside with ease.

“Milan are a great team and we knew we were going to be playing one of the best teams in the world,” reflected Donati on Monday.

“A defeat against Milan we can take, but a 4-0 is a little too heavy.”

Even so, Donati sees some positives to take from the encounter.

“I want to thank the fans, even though we went to the dressing room after the final whistle because we were upset, we heard them.

“It meant that they appreciated our efforts. Milan are a world class team, but we made some mistakes.

“The defeat against the Rossoneri is one that may make us better, because it will help us to understand that we must always play at a high pace.

“The defeat to Siena, instead, is a game we are more frustrated about where we could have won, but things went wrong.

“Honestly, Milan were too strong. In the second half we tried to do better, but knew it would be very hard.”

The fixture list barely presents an opportunity to relax, however, as the Rosanero welcome Roma to the Renzo Barbera next Saturday.

“The Giallorossi are another big team. We can have our say, though, even if they boast several great players.

“We must forget the defeat against Milan and recover and work well.

“How do you win games? The important thing is to attack and defend with 11 men, because without the right determination you will still be in trouble.

“If we organise ourselves well and take advantage of spaces given to us, then we can have our say.”

Jordan: No hope for Arsenal
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan forward and current Tottenham assistant Coach Joe Jordan does not see a way back for Arsenal against the Rossoneri this week.

The North London outfit welcome Massimiliano Allegri’s men to the Emirates stadium this midweek for the second leg of their Last 16 clash in the quarter-final, 4-0 down to the Italians from the first leg in Italy.

Jordan, who is part of the Spurs management team that eliminated Milan at this same stage of the competition a year ago, does not see his London rivals Arsenal repeating their trick.

“After what happened, certainly for Arsenal it is difficult to turn around,” the former Scottish international forward told

“True, the Gunners have recovered from the 4-0 result to beat Tottenham 5-2 and then Liverpool 2-1, but we must be realistic - to recover a similar disadvantage against a team like Milan, who have greater European experience…I do not know how it could be possible.

“I have to say that Milan has grown this year. I think they have gained a great deal from winning the League last season, because it gave them a confidence and has helped them address matches with a different spirit.

“And even the elimination at European level by us has taught them something, a level of experience.”

Alongside Arsenal’s defeat at San Siro was Chelsea’s 3-1 reverse at Napoli in the same round of the Champions League.

“I do not think English football is in trouble. I believe that sometimes in football there are years when things go wrong.

“Milan, for example, played at White Hart Lane very well, but they were still eliminated by Tottenham. Arsenal are a good team but they did not play as we did the year before at San Siro and they paid the consequences.”

Jordan was also asked of the Italian interest surrounding Tottenham winger Gareth Bale.

“Gareth signed a new contract earlier this season and in my opinion he remains at Tottenham. This club needs to grow - not only in the Premier League but also in Europe - and it is people like him who want to help achieve that.”

Bans hit Lecce hard ahead of AC Milan match
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Three Lecce players are among 10 to be banned for one game after the latest round of Serie A action.

The relegation-threatened Salentini will be without Gennaro Delvecchio, David Di Michele and Nenad Tomovic for next weekend’s game against Milan.

Lecce boss Serse Cosmi has also picked up a suspension which means he can’t sit on the sidelines at San Siro.

Zamparini ashamed of AC Milan loss
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo chief Maurizio Zamparini has blasted his team after the 4-0 home loss to Milan. “It was embarrassing.”

The Rosanero went into the game with the second best home record in the whole Division, but were swept aside by a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Diavolo.

“The team seen in the second half of the game against Milan was embarrassing, we were like a Serie C side,” the President told the Giornale di Sicilia.

“I think that boss Bortolo Mutti, after getting on the right train against Lazio, has now finished up on the wrong one.

“Everyone is now under examination.”

The Stadio Barbera supremo was also frustrated by the fact that his side shipped in four more goals. They’ve now let in 43 this term.

“I spent around €16m on Andrea Mantovani, Matias Silvestre and goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano and I’m still seeing defensive errors.

“We have the third worst defensive record in the League now. We have to play with more attention out there.”

Palermo face Roma next.

Montolivo: Exit not about money
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Riccardo Montolivo has insisted that his client won’t be leaving Fiorentina at the end of the season for financial reasons.

The Italian international will quit Tuscany in June once his contract expires after no agreement could be reached on an extension.

“His reasoning for a departure has nothing to do with money,” agent Carlo Pallavicino told Forza Viola. “Wherever he ends up going, he won’t earn that much more than he does in Florence.”

Montolivo informed club officials before the start of this season that he didn’t intend to stay at the Franchi beyond 2012, but the Viola opted to keep hold of him.

“There was plenty of time left in the transfer market when the player told Fiorentina of his intentions,” the representative continued.

“However, the club didn’t want to consider the offers of Milan and Atletico Madrid despite those being acceptable destinations for the player.

“In September, Fiorentina and ourselves did move closer, but someone made a decision at the club which saw talks collapse.

“At the end of the season we will explain our truths which will probably change some people’s opinions of Riccardo.

“He’s made a decision and he accepts responsibility for that, but I think that the club mishandled the way they conducted negotiations for a renewal.”

Montolivo is being heavily linked with a Bosman switch to Milan once this season comes to an end.

AC Milan name 21 for Arsenal
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani has been named in the Milan squad which will take on Arsenal in the Champions League this week.

The midfielder, on loan from Liverpool, returns to the party after spending the last few weeks in the treatment room.

The Rossoneri, whose boss Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media this morning, are 4-0 up from the first leg of the last 16 tie.

Squad for Tuesday’s match: Abbiati, Amelia, Roma; Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Mesbah, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Yepes; Aquilani, Calvano, Emanuelson, Innocenti, Nocerino, Van Bommel; El Shaarawy, Ganz, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

Allegri on Arsenal and Ibrahimovic
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has called for concentration in their Champions League game against Arsenal. He’s also crowned Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of the best.

The Rossoneri play the Premiership club in the second leg of their European Cup tie on Tuesday, 4-0 up from the first tie at San Siro.

“Tomorrow’s game could seem simple, but that is only how it appears,” Allegri noted. “In reality, it won’t be like that.

“We’ll need to play with great determination and we can’t underestimate the game. We have a great chance to get to the quarter-finals and we’ll have to give our best to get there.”

Ibra was the star of the opening last 16 tie and he netted a hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of Palermo.

“I hope that Ibrahimovic wins the Golden Ball, even if it will depend a lot on what we manage to achieve this year as a team,” the Coach continued.

“Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Ibra are the best three players in the world right now.”

Despite acknowledging the Swede’s importance, the tactician was keen to underline that there is a team ethic at Milanello.

“This isn’t Ibrahimovic’s Milan or my Milan, it is a Milan side built by a great club who in a year and a half managed to sign Ibra, Robinho, Boateng – 20 players in total.

“And in these 18 months we have won the Scudetto, the Italian Super Cup and we’re still fighting for three trophies this season.

“We’re obviously thinking about winning the Champions League, that is clear. You need a bit of luck too, but you need two or three years to be competitive.

“We’re targeting the last eight of the competition now and then we’ll see.”

Tomorrow’s tie in London could be a good opportunity for Milan to have a close look at Robin Van Persie – the striker who has been linked with a summer move to San Siro.

“Van Persie is a great player, but I don’t think I’ll get time tomorrow to watch the Dutchman,” Allegri noted. “Our game is more important than his game.”

Champions League final in Milan?
5.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Gazzetta dello Sport is today suggesting that the 2015-16 Champions League Final could take place at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan.

San Siro last held the European Cup finale in 2001 when Bayern Munich beat Valencia on penalties.

The last Champions League Final to take place in Italy was in 2009 when Barcelona defeated Manchester United 2-0.

Meanwhile, the Juventus Stadium may be the venue for the Final of the Europa League in 2014.

Allegri: 'Arsenal won't be easy'
4.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri warns Milan “it won’t be easy” in Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Arsenal, even after a convincing 4-0 win over Palermo.

The Rossoneri have one foot in the quarter-finals thanks to a 4-0 first leg win, but the Gunners appear to have rediscovered their form since then.

“I expect my team to face the Arsenal test with even greater strength than the first leg, because we know it won’t be easy despite the advantage we have accumulated,” the Coach told Milan Channel.

“We did very well against Palermo, especially in the first half. After the break we were wise to control the tempo and go on counter-attacks for the fourth goal.

“Up until yesterday, Palermo had an excellent home record and a lot of quality in their individual players. Thiago Silva put in a strong performance and scored a goal, but I’d also underline the good show from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho.

“Ibra returned from his three-match ban with hunger and enthusiasm. He’s scoring a lot of goals as well as assists this season and we hope he can maintain this momentum.”

Serie A: Palermo 0:4 AC Milan - goals
3.3 || webmaster

Mutti blames 'stupid' Palermo
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo Coach Bortolo Mutti feels they made “stupid” mistakes against Milan and admits President Maurizio Zamparini “was upset.”

The Sicilians had won their last five consecutive home games against the Rossoneri in all competition, but were thumped 4-0 this evening.

“We had some problems with the squad this week and that made an impact, while Milan got into the game in a much more incisive manner than we did,” said the Coach.

“We have no excuses, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic immediately put us under pressure. When we started to play, we conceded. Then the game was an uphill struggle after we conceded a stupid counter-attack that really got me angry.

“Then again, we did lose to the Serie A leaders. Maybe playing with three strikers was excessive, but we must work and reconsider ahead of the next test.”

President Zamparini was naturally not best pleased with the 4-0 drubbing on home turf.

“Zamparini was upset and we are aware that we gave Milan a helping hand in their victory with some obvious mistakes. We’ve got to learn from our errors.”

Allegri: 'A crucial win'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri believes Milan’s thrashing of Palermo was “a crucial victory. Now I have to focus on Arsenal.”

The Rossoneri dominated 4-0 at the Stadio Barbera with Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagging a hat-trick.

“We put in a great performance today and the lads did so well right from the start. Ibrahimovic scored three wonderful goals,” said the Coach.

“Winning in Palermo was important and I believe this can be a crucial victory. Robinho did very well, creating assists and working for the team.

“Luca Antonini had a slight thigh problem, while Urby Emanuelson sprained his ankle, but it shouldn’t be anything serious.

“When we win so comprehensively, we ought to be more careful and try to put the game to sleep, because with certain tricks it’s easier to get hurt.”

Allegri was asked about the past week of controversy around Juventus.

“I’ll make a joke out of it: as of tonight I give Juventus director Beppe Marotta permission to speak again. What will Juve do against Chievo tonight? I’m not interested, as I have to focus on Arsenal now.”

The second leg of the Champions League tie is at the Emirates on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic still thinking of Juventus
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his second Serie A hat-trick, but can’t help thinking back to Juventus. “We deserved to win.”

The striker netted three of Milan’s goals in a 4-0 victory away to Palermo this evening. His only previous top flight treble was for Juve in 2005.

“I’ll get the whole team to sign the football and then take it home with me,” he smiled.

“We played an important game very well and must now keep going like this.”

However, his mind wandered back to last week’s 1-1 draw with Juventus, which he missed due to a three-game ban.

“We deserved to win that. Now I am in good shape and so is the team. We go to Arsenal on Tuesday hoping to qualify.”

Milan won the first leg of that Champions League tie 4-0 at San Siro.

Arsenal 'decimated' for AC Milan match
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal may have won today, but Arsene Wenger admits they are “decimated” by injuries ahead of their Champions League match with Milan.

The Rossoneri won the first leg 4-0 at San Siro and travel to the Emirates on Tuesday evening for a place in the quarter-finals.

The Gunners fought back for a 2-1 victory away to Liverpool this afternoon when Robin van Persie scored both goals.

However, Mikel Arteta was stretchered off suffering from severe concussion after an accidental clash with Jordan Henderson and was taken to hospital.

Abou Diaby went off with a hamstring problem just 27 minutes after his introduction, while there are also worries for Yossi Benayoun and Kieran Gibbs.

“The bad news of the day is that Diaby is injured and did his hamstring,” Wenger told the official Arsenal website.

“Benayoun has a small hamstring problem, Gibbs has a problem. We look decimated after the game. I don't know who will be available on Tuesday night.

“Maybe I will play with six strikers, as we have to score goals!”

Serie A: Palermo 0:4 AC Milan - match report
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ibrahimovic 21, 31, 35 (M), Thiago Silva 58 (M)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic smashed Milan’s Sicilian taboo in style with a first half hat-trick as they ran out 4-0 winners in Palermo.

The Rossoneri welcomed back Ibrahimovic from a three-match ban for violent conduct, but lost Philippe Mexes for the same reason. With Alessandro Nesta and Mario Yepes also sidelined, Daniele Bonera had to take over at centre-back. Antonio Nocerino faced his former club. The injury list included Alexandre Pato, Maxi Lopez, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alessandro Nesta, Alexander Merkel, Rodney Strasser, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Gennaro Gattuso and Antonio Cassano. Milan wore black armbands after the death of former Board member Carlo Montanari.

Palermo had Federico Balzaretti suspended with Matias Silvestre and Armin Bacinovic injured, allowing Giulio Migliaccio into central defence. The Sicilians had won the last four editions of this Serie A fixture, five including the Coppa Italia, and were undefeated here since February 2006.

It was an aggressive start from the visitors, as Emiliano Viviano beat away an Ibra snapshot in the opening three minutes. From the following corner, Urby Emanuelson drilled wide of the near post. Viviano smothered another effort from the Dutchman.

Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock at the Stadio Barbera when Sulley Muntari won back possession in midfield from Andrea Mantovani and immediately set up Robinho, who threaded through for Zlatan to smash under the bar.

Igor Budan nodded a Fabrizio Miccoli free kick off target, but another set piece caused further danger when Mantovani had his shot charged down from nine yards and Milan desperately scrambled clear.

However, from that incident the visitors went on a counter-attack with four against three and Ibrahimovic skipped past a defender to toe-poke a daisy-cutter past Viviano.

Palermo simply could not handle the Swede and Ibrahimovic completed his hat-trick after 35 minutes. Defenders backed off outside the box and he had time to pick his spot, curling a magnificent shot into the far top corner. Viviano was rooted to the spot.

It was so nearly four for Ibra moments later, as another woeful Palermo corner left them wide open on the counter and only a great Viviano save with his leg denied the striker.

Ibrahimovic’s header from a corner was punched out from under the crossbar at the dawn of the second half. Viviano was then at full stretch to palm a low Thiago Silva free kick off the line. Emanuelson picked up a knock to the ankle and made way for Stephan El Shaarawy.

The ‘Little Pharaoh’ immediately tried to side-foot into the far bottom corner, forcing a great save from Viviano.

Milan did get their fourth with defender Thiago Silva, who nodded in a curling El Shaarawy cross from the left.

Palermo had an opportunity with a Josip Ilicic effort from distance, but Christian Abbiati was alert. Moments later a pass behind Thiago Silva found Barreto, but his strike smacked the post to Abbiati’s right.

Milan had effectively relaxed by this stage and allowed the Rosanero to keep hold of the ball. They risked losing the clean sheet in the final stages when Eran Zahavi pounced on a poor defensive error, but ballooned over the bar with his first touch of the game. Pippo Inzaghi was given a rare run-out, but was flagged offside in a good opportunity.

Palermo: Viviano; Munoz, Migliaccio, Mantovani, Pisano; Bertolo (Aguirregaray 50), Donati, Barreto; Ilicic (Zahavi 84); Budan (Della Rocca 60), Miccoli

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini (Mesbah 46); Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari; Emanuelson (El Shaarawy 54); Ibrahimovic, Robinho (Inzaghi 81)

Ref: Orsato

Serie A: Palermo vs. AC Milan - lineups
3.3 || webmaster

Palermo: Viviano, Munoz, Migliaccio, Mantovani, Pisano, Barreto, Donati, Bertolo, Ilicic, Budan, Miccoli.

AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Nocerino, Ambrosini, Muntari, Emanuelson, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

AC Milan hatch van Persie plan
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are thought to be hatching a plan to bring in Arsenal’s Robin van Persie involving Alexandre Pato and Lukas Podolski.

According to reports in the Italian media, van Persie is the number one transfer target for the summer and the Gunners may well be forced to sell if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.

It is rumoured that the Rossoneri are ready to sell Pato to Paris Saint-Germain for around €35m – a sum that was initially rejected in January – in order to raise funds for this move.

In turn, Arsenal have already got their sights set on van Persie’s replacement, FC Köln and Germany striker Podolski.

The London club face Milan in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday evening.

The first leg ended 4-0 at San Siro, but today Arsenal fought back to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. Mikel Arteta was stretchered off with concussion and is therefore unlikely to feature next week.

Gattuso: 'I'm still here'
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso is back in the Milan squad against Palermo today. “I’ve returned to an almost normal life.”

The midfielder has been out of action since the 2-2 draw with Lazio on September 5, when he collided with teammate Alessandro Nesta.

It was then he realised his blurred vision was something very serious and he was later diagnosed with a paralysed optic nerve.

“I have been training very hard for a week and at the moment I think I have 20-25 minutes in my legs,” said Gattuso.

“I’ve returned to an almost normal life, as I can now watch television and drive my car again. I only use glasses to shade myself from the sun.

“I was never ashamed of what happened to me and see no reason to. This year everything has happened to both me and Milan, but we are still here.”

Mangia predicts Palermo - AC Milan
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Palermo Coach Devis Mangia gives his predictions on today’s match with Milan at the Stadio Barbera.

The tactician was fired in December to make way for Bortolo Mutti, who became the third boss of the campaign.

“President Maurizio Zamparini said Palermo are 95 per cent sure to lose? There is a bit of superstition in that comment. It will certainly be an interesting game and the statistics say Palermo have always done very well at home.

“It won’t be easy for either side, as both are missing many key players. Matias Silvestre is a great player who justified his price-tag in the summer and he is a big loss for the Sicilians.

“In the last week there were refereeing errors that damaged both Milan and Palermo, but these things can happen and teams have to focus on the pitch. Otherwise if we start clinging to every single refereeing mistake then we must do the same for each player or Coach. What happened, happened, and we must draw a line under it.”

Ancelotti on Pato and Capello
3.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti confirms Paris Saint-Germain “still like” Alexandre Pato and says Fabio Capello was right “not to let the England FA tread on him.”

There was a €35m deal in place for the Milan striker, but he pulled out at the last minute, although many expect talks to resume in the summer.

“We liked Pato in January and I cannot say we won’t still like him in June,” the PSG manager told RAI Sport.

“We were looking for a forward and there weren’t many other opportunities. In any case, there are other objectives too.”

Former Chelsea boss Ancelotti gave his view on Capello’s decision to resign from the England job just months before Euro 2012 due to a dispute over the captain’s armband.

“It was a strong decision not to let the England FA tread on him and a choice I share. He did the right thing.”

Ancelotti was also asked about various other areas of European football, including the Champions League and Inter’s crisis.

“Real Madrid and Barcelona have something more than the rest, but who knows whether Milan could break in as a surprise?

“Inter’s sudden collapse surprised me. It’s a shame that the big clubs are not as strong as they used to be, because Italian football needs them. That is why it is pleasing to see Juventus rise again.”

Mutti: Focus won't be on referee
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bortolo Mutti does not think the focus for Milan’s visit to Palermo will fall on the performance of the referee.

Both the Sicilian side and their Saturday evening Milanese visitors were on the wrong end of some controversial refereeing decisions last weekend.

Striker Igor Budan echoed the feeling earlier in the week that the referee assigned for the game would fall under an added scrutiny to make sure nothing untoward occurs this weekend, but his Coach Mutti is not convinced the officials will be in the spotlight.

“I do not think there will be pressure on the referee in this game,” the 57-year-old declared on Friday.

“After the Siena game, we complained politely, then we have moved on from the disappointment, focusing on the challenge for tomorrow.

“Now there is the right temper for a certain type of attitude, although referees should accept certain complaints, but then both us and them start out in good faith of our work.

“We must face the team currently first in the table with a few problems, that is the most significant thing.”

The Rosanero look to continue a six-year unbeaten run against the Rossoneri at the Renzo Barbera possibly without a number of first-choice players, including the suspended Federico Balzaretti and injured Giulio Migliaccio, Eros Pisano, Matias Silvestre, Abel Hernandez and Armin Bacinovic.

Mutti’s side are currently in 8th position in the table, just six points off of the European places.

“I think the team has gained confidence. For a group like this, everything is new, we are currently in a good position in the table, despite the many changes.

“We cannot enter the minds of fans, however, we must to everything possible to warrant their attention.

“I believe that this team deserves to be followed, given the great things they have done over the last year in particular.

“Our objectives? Until we have reached a points total to guarantee survival, we cannot think of another goal.

“ I do not think of potential targets, because any time you run into a negative situation, it can open up something unexpected. We must aim for 40 points and overcome some of our limitations.”

Allegri: Don't underestimate Palermo
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has asked his players to move on from Juventus and focus fully on Saturday’s opponents Palermo.

Reports in the week have been dominated by the fallout between the Rossoneri and their Turin title rivals after the controversial 1-1 draw in Week 25.

Facing the Rosanero this weekend, however, Allegri is keen for his players to concentrate only on winning at the Renzo Barbera for the first time since February 2006.

“These are key games of the season,” insisted Allegri in his Press conference on Friday.

“Tomorrow’s will be significant for the championship - as it was for Juve it is now for Palermo. Tomorrow we can stay ahead, which albeit with an extra played, would be very important.

“Those who returned from their national teams are well and there are no problems. Palermo? It is difficult because we haven’t won in Palermo for six years.

“At home they play better, so I think this game will be decisive for the championship. Palermo has changed a lot over the last year, but they have the same mentality at home.

“We are fine, but today I let all the players know of the importance of this game and that we should try to bring home three points.

“Last year’s Coppa Italia semi-final saw us concede from a corner but I don’t think we deserved to lose.

“They are a quick and organised team with important individuals such as Miccoli and Ilicic. We should not underestimate them.”

Allegri, despite asking for this shift in attention, still took time to talk Juventus himself.

“Juventus has missed such theatre. This was a riot that lasted 15-20 days.

“In football it takes great patience, even with assistants. In three years I’ve never spoken about referees or assistants, shutting up is best.

“Now I am curious to see the reaction from Juventus next time they face an favourable mistake. I want to see their behaviour. Buffon, for example, has remained consistent, but saying that I thought staying silent would have been a good thing.”

Van Bommel vents ghost goal anger
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mark Van Bommel insists the disallowed Sulley Muntari and Alessandro Matri goals did not balance each other out in Milan’s 1-1 draw with Juventus.

The match officials didn’t see Muntari’s effort cross the line, while the Italian was incorrectly flagged for offside at San Siro.

“I’d never seen anything like it in my playing career,” the Dutchman told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.

“At the end of the game Juventus boss Antonio Conte came to me and told me that we shouldn’t be upset because they had a goal wiped out too.

“However, with our strike we would have been 2-0 up and been able to score more, Matri’s would have made it 3-1, 4-1 or even 5-1.

“I can only remember an error of this magnitude at the 2010 World Cup between England and Germany.”

Although the draw favoured the Old Lady, the former Bayern Munich enforcer insists the Rossoneri have the edge in the title race.

“The game against Juventus was good for us from a psychological point of view,” added the 34-year-old.

“It wasn’t good to see Muntari’s goal not given, but we are better mentally. Now Juve know that we are stronger.”

Galliani on Ibrahimovic renewal, Thiago Silva and Juventus
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani says his heart is still bleeding after the 1-1 draw with Juventus. He’s also ruled out an extension for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Galliani was left fuming last weekend after Sulley Muntari’s ghost goal was not awarded, with the score already at 1-0, in the Scudetto clash with the Old Lady.

The game eventually ended 1-1, but that controversial incident and a few more have led to a week of arguments.

“I am a great Milan fan, my heart belongs to Milan and I am their director,” he told Sky Sport Italia on Friday.

“I reacted in the way that Milan fans reacted. My heart continues to bleed. Peace with Juve? It’s not a question of peace, let’s look ahead.”

The Italian football world today awoke to news that the Italian champions were apparently in talks with star striker Ibra about a new contract – a claim denied.

“There will be no renewal for Ibrahimovic, absolutely not,” the former Lega Calcio chief continued.

“We are only at the start of 2012 and he still has two years to run on his present deal. It’s a long deal and agent Mino Raiola was here yesterday to talk about some youngsters.”

And what about reports suggesting that European champions Barcelona could perhaps tempt Thiago Silva into a move?

“Thiago Silva has a long contract with us until 2016, so I don’t think he can be abducted by Barcelona.”

Galliani was also questioned on the fitness issues surrounding Alexandre Pato, a player who has picked up his 13th injury since 2010 this week.

“I don’t know the precise details of the problem, it is up to the medical staff to evaluate and then we’ll see.”

Milan, one point clear of Juventus in the standings, are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Palermo.

Ibrahimovic at AC Milan until 2016?
2.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be handed a new contract with Italian champions Milan, reports the Corriere dello Sport.

The Swedish international, signed in 2010 from Barcelona, is currently tied to the Diavolo until June 2015.

The report claims that Ibra’s agent Mino Raiola yesterday met with Milan officials Adriano Galliani and Ariedo Braida at Milanello.

It’s understood they discussed the possibility of the striker putting pen to paper on a deal until 2016, an agreement that would see him instantly net a salary increase.

The 30-year-old is already Milan’s highest paid player thanks to an annual wage of around €9m after tax.

It’s also understood that Raiola discussed the future of Mark Van Bommel, another of his clients at the club.

The Dutchman’s contract expires at the end of the season and he’s been linked with a return to former club PSV.

Bonera: 'Break good for AC Milan'
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Daniele Bonera feels the break for international duty “has been good for Milan” after their post-Juventus controversy.

The last few days have been dominated by talk of refereeing errors in that 1-1 draw, while many of the squad then left the camp to play for their countries.

“The break was good for Milan, as it allowed us to get some important figures closer to full fitness,” Bonera told Sky Sport Italia.

“This season we have often had to play with many first choice players out of action, often whittled down to an emergency situation.

“The break has not distracted us from our next matches. In fact, I’d say it helped, as we have been able to prepare perfectly for the game with Palermo.”

Bonera is expected to start this weekend, as Philippe Mexes is suspended with Alessandro Nesta and Mario Yepes still carrying injuries.

Emanuelson respects Palermo threat
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Urby Emanuelson expects League leaders Milan to face some problems in Saturday’s game against Palermo.

The Rossoneri, currently a point clear of Juventus at the top of the table, are back in action this weekend after the controversial 1-1 draw with the Old Lady.

“Milan, if I’m not mistaken, haven’t won at Palermo for six years,” the Dutch international told Radio Mana Sport.

“It certainly won’t be easy for us, but we feel like we are in good form.

“The important thing is that we win on Saturday so that we can maintain our leadership in the League. We can’t afford to lose.”

The Rosanero are a force to be reckoned with at the Stadio Barbera as only Udinese have netted more points at home this term.

In 12 games, the Sicilian side have collected 10 wins and just two losses. They’ve won their last four in front of their own fans.

AC Milan interested in Muriel
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in Italy on Thursday are claiming that Italian giants Milan are interested in Lecce youngster Luis Muriel.

The 20-year-old striker has caught the eye this season with four goals in 17 games while on loan from Udinese.

The Rossoneri are expected to make some changes to their attacking department in the summer and Muriel may be targeted.

The Diavolo, however, may have to dig deep to tempt Udinese into a sale given the latter club’s history of buying players on the cheap and then selling them on for big fees.

The South American was signed by the Stadio Friuli outfit from Deportivo Cali in June 2010 for just €1.5m. It is now being claimed that he’s being valued at €10m.

The attacker is a Colombian Under-20 international.

Aquilani return two weeks away
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Aquilani is hoping to be back in action by mid-March in order to assure himself of a Milan future.

The midfielder is currently sidelined with a muscle problem, but he’s on the mend and close to being back at the disposal of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“His recovery is going well,” agent Franco Zavaglia told TMW on Thursday morning. “I think he could be back in action in around two weeks.”

Aquilani will be eager to get back on to the playing field given that he is still five games short of activating a buy-out clause in his contract.

“As soon as he makes 25 appearances for Milan this season, he will automatically become one of their players outright,” added Zavaglia.

The 27-year-old, who spent last season at Juventus, is currently on loan from Liverpool. He’ll cost the Rossoneri €6m should he reach the 25 game mark.

Nocerino haunts Zamparini
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini admits that he fears Antonio Nocerino’s return to Sicily this weekend.

The Italian international left the club for Milan in the summer and he’s found his scoring touch with the Rossoneri after netting eight in 23 League games so far this term.

“I am a little frightened by Nocerino,” Zamparini told Radio Radio. “Usually almost all of our former players end up scoring against us.”

The 26-year-old has developed into a key player for Milan and the Italian international started in last night’s 1-0 loss to America.

“I continue to follow him with great affection and esteem,” Zamparini added. “He’s fitted into Milan well.”

Nocerino was also one of the summer’s bargain buys. As he had just a year left on his contract, Palermo sold him for only €500,000.

“I couldn’t keep hold of him in the summer,” added the Stadio Barbera chief. “After hearing Milan’s proposal he couldn’t resist.”

Pato heading for AC Milan exit
1.3 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Corriere dello Sport is today suggesting that Milan will look to sell Alexandre Pato at the end of the season.

The club were already prepared to hand him over to Paris Saint-Germain in January until the striker pulled out of the move.

Milan have been unable to count on the injury-prone young Brazilian and he has now picked up his 13th injury since 2010.

Paris SG are expected to return for the South American in the summer and the Rossoneri won’t block his exit.

There are apparently three players on Milan’s short-list as possible replacements for the international striker.

The Manchester City duo of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez are possibilities even if the Italian’s agent yesterday insisted that he was going nowhere.

Tevez, meanwhile, was targeted in January but Pato’s decision to stay ended Milan’s hopes of signing him.

Arsenal and Holland striker Robin Van Persie is another player whom the Stadio Meazza outfit could consider making an offer for.

First signs of Juventus - AC Milan peace
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Source: Football Italia

Juventus and Milan have taken the first steps towards renewed peace, while Philippe Mexes has also said sorry.

The relationship between the two clubs was already strained going into last week’s Serie A clash and things hardly improved after it.

The decision to not award Sulley Muntari’s goal, despite it being clearly over the line, infuriated the Rossoneri.

So much so that Vice-President Adriano Galliani exchanged angry words with Juve boss Antonio Conte during the half-time interval.

The fall-out continued after the game which eventually ended 1-1.

However, with tension rising, the Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Bianconero President Andrea Agnelli has contacted Galliani by phone in a bid to heal the wounds.

Meanwhile, Milan’s Mexes has also publicly apologised for punching Marco Borriello during the game. TV evidence was subsequently used to hand him a three-game ban.

“I said sorry to referee Paolo Tagliavento who took charge of France’s international last night and I want to do the same to Borriello and my teammates who will now be without me for three matches.”

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