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The Archive

May 2004

Milan's Hong Kong hiccup
30.5 || scharatz

The Rossoneri’s tour of Asia got off to a poor start with a 2-1 defeat, even though Andriy Shevchenko was on target.

The newly crowned Serie A Champions have taken several players from other teams along on this summer tour, including Sampdoria fullback Aimo Diana and Bologna veteran Beppe Signori.

Milan had taken the lead against Hong Kong outfit Kitchee at a packed stadium filled with 70,000 fans.

Capocannoniere Shevchenko added to his seasonal tally with a strong header on Serginho’s cross, but Kitchee managed to turn it all around in the closing stages through substitute Putiray’s brace.

The home side was also able to count on several 'loan' players, including Fulham's Luis Boa Morte and former Fiorentina star Predrag Mijatovic.

Kitchee 2-1 Milan

Scorers: Shevchenko 47 (M), Putiray 66, 80 (K)

Kitchee: Xiao; Savelijc, Lam, Fung, Mirkovic; Bamnjo, Feng, De Araujo, Jovanovic; Boa Morte, Mijatovic

Milan: Abbiati; Diana, Costacurta, Maldini, Kaladze; Brocchi, Redondo, Ambrosini, Serginho; Shevchenko, Borriello

Shev declares Milan love
26.5 || scharatz

Andriy Shevchenko and Carlo Ancelotti cannot hide their happiness as the Ukrainian extends his San Siro stay until 2009.

“There was really no other option but to stay,” he noted in a press conference, “after the way I have been treated here throughout all these years.”

This new deal ends speculation that the former Dynamo Kiev star would be tempted away by Roman Abramovich’s millions and by the end of the contract he’d have spent 10 years with the Rossoneri.

“It was the easiest of negotiations. We met yesterday morning to discuss the details and that same evening I put pen to paper. There were no problems at all.”

Shevchenko has been particularly happy over the last two years, proving pivotal on the road to Milan’s success in the Scudetto, Champions’ League, Coppa Italia and European Supercup.

“It is wonderful to play for the Rossoneri,” he continued, “as every year you know the club is aiming for a major trophy. After winning the Champions’ League and Serie A title, we still start every season with the urge to do even better.”

Coach Carlo Ancelotti was also overjoyed at the news that his star striker has committed himself to the club.

“Now he’ll have to buy everyone dinner,” joked the tactician on ‘Milan Channel’. “For Milan this is an important decision that proves our intention to build a consistent squad with the best players.”

“For Sheva, it will be the opportunity to prove himself and his considerable potential at the highest level. We are all happy, and can only imagine the fans will be even more pleased to admire this great player for many years to come.”

The Ukrainian will still only be 33 years of age when his new contract expires in June 2009, but Ancelotti is sure he can end his playing career at the San Siro.

“Shevchenko has everything a player could want,” concluded the Coach. “He has strength, stamina and a professional attitude. I hope he can stay with Milan until his 40th birthday.”

Totti closes Milan door
26.5 || scharatz

Francesco Totti has told Milan that he will never leave Roma for any other Italian club.

Totti has been linked with a move to the Rossoneri but the player insists that his future is with Roma or Real Madrid.

"I would never wear the colours of another club in Italy," said the captain from Italy’s Euro 2004 training camp.

"It is very pleasing to hear that so many Milanisti would like me but it is more gratifying to hear that the Roma fans would take to the streets in protest if I joined Milan.

"Out of respect to the Giallorossi tifosi, I will never play for a different Italian club. And I’m a man that keeps my word."

Totti has been associated with a switch given the fact that Roma may struggle to remain competitive next season because of their financial difficulties.

"I’ve spoken to the club and told them my thoughts," added the No 10. "I want to play for a side that is competitive in both Serie A and the Champions’ League.

"When I get back from Portugal I’ll see what happens. However, I’m not expecting to leave."

If the youth team product was to head for the exit, he has already highlighted his probable next destination. "Roma or Real? I think that is the situation," he admitted.

Totti concluded by outlining his hopes for this summer. "I want to win the European Championships," he stated.

"If that happens then I think I could be a contender to win the Golden Ball. We are a strong team and we can get to the Final."

Peruzzi turns down Milan
26.5 || scharatz

Angelo Peruzzi has cooled talk that he could be on the verge of leaving Lazio for Milan.

Rumours had suggested that the Rossoneri were keen given the fact that Christian Abbiati may leave.

However, the international insists he has no intention of leaving the capital to sit on the Milan bench.

"I would prefer to stay with Lazio rather than be Dida’s reserve," said the former Juventus goalkeeper.

Peruzzi is being linked with the Italian champions given the uncertain future of current No 2 Abbiati.

"Dida and Valerio Fiori are definitely remaining in our goalkeeping team but we need to sort out Abbiati’s situation," said Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

"Christian is very tied to Milan but he has a real desire to play regularly and is now considering his options.

"If I had to make a prediction then I would say that there is a 51 per cent chance that Abbiati will stay."

Meanwhile, Lazio striker Bernardo Corradi has edged closer to a Milan move after the club admitted they were interested.

"If Lazio were forced to sell me then my first choice would be Milan," said the Italian international striker.

Shev extends Milan deal
26.5 || Seamus

Chelsea’s hopes of signing Andriy Shevchenko look over after he extended his contract with Milan.

The Ukrainian has repeatedly said that he wants to end his career at the San Siro and that now looks set to occur.

Milan have today announced that the striker has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until June 2009.

The news is significant as it comes just hours before Chelsea chief Roman Abramovich is set to meet officials from both Milan and Inter.

The Rossoneri had always maintained that Shev would not be sold, no matter what bid was tabled for the 28-year-old.

Shevchenko has just completed another wonderful campaign for the club as his 24 goals saw him crowned as Serie A’s top scorer.

The former Dynamo Kiev ace, who joined Milan in 1999, has now scored 91 goals in 151 League games for the outfit.

Meanwhile, Nestor Sensini will still be playing in Serie A next term. The 38-year-old has signed a new one-year contract with Udinese.

Kaka was an Inter reject!
25.5 || scharatz

The Nerazzurri had the chance to sign Kaka three years ago and rejected the proposal, it was revealed today.

“We couldn’t afford to sign a player for £7m,” explained Brescia President Gino Corioni, “so we offered to share the cost with Inter, but they weren’t interested.”

The Brazilian has been one of Serie A’s best players this season and was signed for just under £6m last summer, proving pivotal in Milan’s Scudetto success. But it could all have been so very different.

“It isn’t difficult to see what talent this lad has,” continued Corioni. “All I needed was to see three minutes of his performance on tape to know he would be able to rival Michel Platini one day.”

Sao Paolo were willing to accept the switch, but Inter refused to complete the deal in November 2001, and again a year later, because Kaka did not fit in with Hector Cuper’s 4-4-2 system.

Milan target Corradi swoop
25.5 || scharatz

Italian champions Milan have confirmed that Lazio striker Bernardo Corradi is a summer transfer target.

"Corradi would resolve our fourth striker problem," Vice-president Adriano Galliani told Milan Channel.

"His favourable comments about Milan have been welcomed by us. He is our primary objective."

The Italian international has been heavily linked with the Rossoneri but the club previously played down those reports.

However, the former Chievo ace has hinted that he would like a San Siro switch and a deal may now be done.

"The Milan fans need to be patient," added Galliani. "For now he is a Lazio player but he would be welcomed here.

"We are looking for a new striker but we need to determine exactly what duties that role will involve."

Milan, who will loan out Under-21 international Marco Borriello to gain experience, do need another forward.

Although they do like Corradi, they need to understand how he will cope with the fact that he wouldn’t be guaranteed a first team shirt - with Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi and Jon Dahl Tomasson at the club.

Galliani also confirmed that he had no intention of selling any of the outfit’s big name players this summer after Chelsea were linked with Shevchenko and Manuel Rui Costa.

"We won’t be letting go of our best men," he added. "Rui Costa? He will be in our squad next season alongside Kaka."

In other transfer news, Brazilian ace Lucio won’t be playing in Serie A next term. The Bayer Leverkusen defender has agreed to join Bayern Munich for £11m.

Roque Junior heading for Greece?
24.5 || Seamus

According to a number of Greek newspaper reports, Olympiakos are about to sign Brazilian World Cup winner Roque Junior.

The 28-year-old defender, belongs to Milan and was on loan to Siena, but matters for the Piraeus club are further complicated with the news that Greek giants Panathinaikos have also made an approach for the Brazilian, as Amstel Beer on their website reported on Sunday.

Both clubs will represent Greece in next season's Champions League, together with PAOK Thessaloniki.

Galliani renounces on Davids for Ambrosini
24.5 || Seamus

Adriano Galliani has today admitted that to hold on to Massimo Ambrosini, Milan has withdrawn from the race to sign Edgar Davids.

The rossoneri vice-President in fact stated: "Ambrosini spoke with me on Saturday, therefore I won't meet him today at the main office as we cleared things up on Saturday. And from this meeting one certainty came up: Ambrosini will stay with Milan. This is the reason for which we have given up on Davids."

With Milan out of the race for Davids, the Dutch 'pitbull' now seems almost certain of joining Inter next season.

Rui Costa snubs Chelsea
24.5 || Seamus

Milan’s Manuel Rui Costa isn’t interested in joining Chelsea, preferring a move to Fiorentina or Benfica instead.

"At this moment in time I have Milan and only two other clubs on my mind – Benfica and Fiorentina," said the Portuguese ace.

"When I end my adventure with the Rossoneri then I hope to have the possibility to go back and play in Florence or Lisbon."

The attacking midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge recently but the 31-year-old is keen to see out the last two years of his San Siro contract.

"I have never asked to leave and the club doesn’t seem keen to sell me," continued the creative player.

"I still have faith in Milan and I'll have it for as long as they have faith in me. This is the most important club in the world.

"I know that people in Lisbon believe that I will be back soon but I’m keen to win a Scudetto and Champions’ League double next season."

Milan duo going nowhere
24.5 || scharatz

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is confident that Massimo Ambrosini and Christian Abbiati will remain with the club.

The two men have been linked with moves after failing to break into the side but the Coach insists they will stay.

"A lot of people are saying that Ambrosini, Abbiati and Cristian Brocchi will leave but I don’t believe they are going anywhere," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ambrosini has been heavily associated with a move to Roma and Sampdoria, while the goalkeeper is an alleged Arsenal target.

Ancelotti is keen to keep them in a squad that is already looking even stronger after a couple of new arrivals.

"We’ve signed Jaap Stam who is an extraordinary defender," added the tactician. "We’re also expecting a lot from Lyon’s Vikash Dhorasoo.

"Who else will be signed? I haven’t asked for anyone in particular. After all, the spine to our side is still young and very strong as we have Nesta, Pirlo, Kaka and Shevchenko."

When asked about his aims for the new season, Ancelotti insisted that he wants a Scudetto and Champions’ League double.

"That is the objective," he explained. "We’ve realised what mistakes we made this season even if it is extremely tough to win in Italy and Europe."

The Rossoneri comfortably won the Italian title this year but he believes Milan will have one more opponent next season.

"I fear Inter," he surprisingly stated. "They will be very dangerous as they are carrying a lot of anger inside. If they can transform that into a positive then they could do well."

Rui Costa exchange for Crespo
23.5 || scharatz

Milan are zeroing in on prime transfer target Hernan Crespo and are willing to hand over Manuel Rui Costa as part of the deal.

Carlo Ancelotti and the former Inter and Lazio striker have made absolutely no secret of the fact they wish to work together again at the San Siro.

The two men shared an excellent rapport in their time at Parma, when Crespo first really exploded on to the Serie A scene.

The Argentine even admitted he would be “happy to take a pay cut and sit on the bench” for this opportunity to return to Italy.

His time at Chelsea has not been a happy one, but the Premiership side nonetheless needs convincing to release him after just one year.

The ace up Ancelotti’s sleeve is Rui Costa, the Portuguese international who has spent much of this season on the bench.

If Porto boss Jose Mourinho does take over at Stamford Bridge, then he would be more than happy to link up with his fellow countryman.

Milan have hinted that Rui Costa’s time is up by signing midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo from Lyon and reviving negotiations for Parma’s Hidetoshi Nakata.

Meanwhile, Crespo is increasingly their sole target for those forward positions after they dropped their interest in Luis Fabiano.

Barcelona are now leading the pack in the race for the Brazilian hitman, who had last week admitted his desire to sign for Milan.

“Barca directors will arrive on Thursday,” revealed Sao Paolo President Marcelo Portugal Gouvea, “and we will welcome them. Luis Fabiano has a contract until 2008 and we won’t give any discounts from his £10m tag.”

Stam embraces Milan ambition
22.5 || scharatz

Jaap Stam has praised his new club, claiming it’s the best side he has ever played for and can contend for every trophy.

“I am very happy to be here,” said the former Lazio man on the official Milan website, “because playing with this squad will enable me to win it all, from the Champions’ League to the Serie A title.”

The 31-year-old had suggested a return to Holland before retiring, but the offer from the new Italian Champions changed his mind.

“An invitation to play for Milan is too good to turn down,” he continued. “I was fortunate to play for Manchester United in my career, but now I am in an even better club that shares my ambition.”

Stam split from Lazio after three seasons with mixed fortunes, financial difficulties and a ban for a failed drugs test.

“I hoped that I could help Lazio to victory,” he added, “but unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as that and we had some problems. I was very happy in Rome and thank the fans for all their affection in these three years.”

He did nonetheless leave the Stadio Olimpico with fond memories of the celebrations for the Coppa Italia.

Villa snap up Laursen
21.5 || scharatz

Milan have confirmed that they have sold Martin Laursen to Premiership club Aston Villa, in a reported £3m deal.

"Milan would like to announce that they have sold Martin Laursen to Aston Villa," read a club statement.

"We would like to thank Laursen for his contribution towards the winning of the Champions’ League, the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the European Super Cup."

The Danish international has rarely featured for the Rossoneri over the last two seasons due to the stiff competition for places at the San Siro.

Laursen had stated that he wanted out of the Italian side and Villa have won the race to sign the 26-year-old.

The stopper, who is set to star at Euro 2004, joined Milan in 2001 after spells with Verona and Parma.

Max ponders Milan exit
20.5 || scharatz

Massimo Ambrosini is considering his Milan future after he failed to make it into the Euro 2004 squad.

"I’m really disappointed," said the midfielder. "I was the 12th man for my club this season and now I’m the 24th man for the Azzurri.

"I can accept Giovanni Trapattoni’s decision to leave me out but I can’t hide the fact that I thought I would be included."

Reports suggest that Ambrosini just missed out on making the 23-man squad as Trap opted to take an extra defender, Lazio’s Giuseppe Favalli, instead.

"There is no doubt that I’ve missed out on the Finals because of the lack of action I’ve seen this season at club level," he added. "This needs to change."

The former Vicenza man is tied to the Rossoneri until 2007 but admits a summer switch is an option.

"I’m confused and I don’t know what to do," he explained. "Even if I did leave here my close relationship with Milan would remain."

The 27-year-old has been linked with moves to such illustrious clubs as Juventus and Real Madrid in recent times.

Maldini won’t move for Stam
19.5 || scharatz

Paolo Maldini has hinted that he has no intention of switching positions after the arrival of Jaap Stam.

Milan signed the Dutchman from Lazio earlier this week in a £7.5m deal, which did lead to suggestions that Maldini may lose his centre-back role.

Talk suggested that Maldini could revert back to his former left-back position which would allow Stam to play alongside Alessandro Nesta.

The 36-year-old, who was considered as the best left-back in the world for much of the 1990s, isn’t so keen though.

"I now consider myself to be a central defender," said the legendary Italian. "Even if I could accept to play there in an emergency."

That decision may now see the Italian champions revert to a three-man defence instead of a four.

Nesta would play in the centre with Stam on his right and Maldini on his left, even if Stam has also played as a right back for Lazio this term.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Jonathan Zebina’s move from Roma to Milan is off. He’s allegedly agreed to join Juventus.

Reports insist that the Frenchman, who is available on a free transfer, has agreed a three-year deal in Turin.

Why I joined AC Milan - Stam
18.5 || Seamus

Dutch international defender Jaap Stam insists the real prospect of winning more medals and not fat wages influenced his decision to join AC Milan ahead of his other suitors.

The 31-year-old made the switch from Lazio to the Rossoneri, with whom he signed a contract until the summer of 2006 last week after turning down offers from Inter Milan and Juventus.

Stam believes the recently-crowned Italian champions AC Milan afford him the best opportunity of adding to the medals he won during his short-lived Manchester United career.

"Milan is one of the biggest clubs in Europe," said Stam. 'Here I can win everything, that is why I chose them.

"I didn't say no to Juve because of money but I simply preferred Milan because they are stronger and because they give me more guarantees.

"I had the pleasure to play in the best Manchester United team of Sir Alex Ferguson's era. With that shirt I won the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup, three league titles and the FA Cup. It would be great to repeat this with the Rossoneri."

Pippo hurt by Trap snub
18.5 || scharatz

Pippo Inzaghi’s hopes of recovering in time for Euro 2004 were dashed by his absence from the squad and the Milan man isn’t hiding his bitterness.

“I am very disappointed,” said the striker who underwent ankle surgery a fortnight ago, “because we won’t have the chance to evaluate my condition with Italy’s medical staff.”

“I think that my hard work for the Azzurri in the past at least earned me the right to be seen, especially after my goals in the recent qualifiers to reach this tournament.”

Inzaghi became the first Italian since Paolo Rossi in 1982 to score an international hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Wales.

Although Giovanni Trapattoni’s list is not yet final, it doesn’t look likely that he will reconsider Inzaghi’s position before the June 2 deadline.

“I am very relaxed,” assured the Rossoneri hero. “I tried everything I could to recover quickly, working on my physiotherapy eight hours a day.”

“I did it because I had been assured by the Coach that I would be called in to the squad in order to prove my fitness ahead of June 2. I am disappointed and really wanted to be a part of this team.”

The former Juventus striker has been struggling with injuries all season, but surgery to remove scar tissue from his ankle seemed to clear up the problem.

Trap unveils Italy squad
18.5 || scharatz

Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni has named his squad for Euro 2004 but Pippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino are missing.

The Milan ace, who recently had ankle surgery, has been left out after an injury plagued season at the San Siro.

There were calls for the Italian to be replaced by the Under-21 international Gilardino who has scored 23 League goals this term.

But Trap has decided to call in Juventus’ Marco Di Vaio as the sixth striker in the Azzurri party.

The rest of the squad is pretty much as was expected by most pundits even if defender Giuseppe Favalli has been drafted in ahead of midfielder Massimo Ambrosini.

Lazio’s Angelo Peruzzi is included as the third choice ‘keeper but there is no place for Brescia veteran Roberto Baggio.

Italy’s star men such as Gigi Buffon, Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro, Francesco Totti, Alex Del Piero, Antonio Cassano and Christian Vieri are all in.

Trap will hold a Press conference at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday where he will comment on his squad selections.

Even if the tactician could make changes as he doesn’t have to name his squad to UEFA until June 2.

Squad: Buffon (Juventus), Peruzzi (Lazio), Toldo (Inter); Cannavaro (Inter), Favalli (Lazio), Ferrari (Parma), Materazzi (Inter), Nesta (Milan), Oddo (Lazio), Panucci (Roma), Zambrotta (Juventus); Camoranesi (Juventus), Fiore (Lazio), Gattuso (Milan), Perrotta (Chievo), Pirlo (Milan), Zanetti (Inter); Cassano (Roma), Corradi (Lazio), Del Piero (Juventus), Di Vaio (Juventus), Totti (Roma), Vieri (Inter).

Serie A team of the season
18.5 || Seamus

Here's the Serie A Team Of The Season (4-2-3-1):

COACH: Ancelotti (Milan) – He finally won his first Scudetto thanks to some excellent intuitions and risks which paid off in the end. It's not easy having a President interfering with your job, but Ancelotti always kept his calm and took the right decisions at the end of the day.

GK: Dida (Milan) – Some of his saves this season have been highlight material. He's become more consistent and less mistake prone than before and his performances earn him the title of best keeper in Serie A.

DEF RB: Stam (Lazio) – The Dutch giant has once again been an unbeatable defender both in central and right back position. The ease with which he stops opposing attackers, and also his forward runs, make him an excellent right back solution.

DEF LB: Zambrotta (Juventus) – One of the few Juventus players who was always consistent throughout the season in a position which seems to have few quality players available in Serie A.

DEF CENTRE 1: Nesta (Milan) – Class, quality and effectiveness all combined in one. He can anticipate an opponent's move like few others making him not just Serie A's best defender but probably also in the whole world.

DEF CENTRE 2: Samuel (Roma) – One of the main reasons why Roma's defence was the least beaten in Serie A. Capello always played the Argentinean defender when he was available, even in Coppa Italia and Uefa Cup matches as he guarantees stability and security to the whole department.

DEF MIDFIELD 1: Pirlo (Milan) – Improved considerably in his defensive duties but also retained his creativeness in launching inch perfect assists to the forwards. Some of his long distance goals from this season have awed the whole Serie A public.

DEF MIDFIELD 2: Emerson (Roma) – The Brazilian captain will be one of the most sought players during the summer transfer period and that's because he can combine both quality and quantity. Had a great season with Roma and will be sorely missed by the giallorossi next season.

ATT MID RIGHT: Fiore (Lazio) – Following Stankovic's departure from Lazio, Fiore took the team in his hands and guided them to an excellent second round thanks to his wonderful plays and goals.

ATT MID LEFT: Kaka (Milan) – When the rossoneri bought this young Brazilian at the start of the season, few expected him to do so well in his first season, but Kaka proved everyone wrong with excellent performances and a maturity and experience which players at his age do not usually possess. A hot favourite for the next Golden Ball award.

ATT MID CENTRE: Totti (Roma) – Another brilliant season by the giallorossi's captain who passed his own record of goals scored in a season. All Italian fans will be hoping that he repeats his performances with the national team to guide them to the Euro Cup final this June.

ATTACKER: Shevchenko (Milan) – Serie A's top scorer and therefore rightfully deserves to be in the first eleven where he edges just slightly Gilardino. Always punctual with his goals through the season as his consistency in front of goal is impressing.

RESERVE 1: Peruzzi (Lazio) – Muscle injuries did not plague him as much as in previous years and this helped him to play a good season which will probably earn him a call-up for the Azzurri as third goalkeeper during the Euro 2004.

RESERVE 2: Maldini (Milan) – Despite of his age, he is still one of the best defenders around and it will be a huge loss for Italy during the Euro campaign as his qualities and experience would have been fundamental.

RESERVE 3: Chivu (Roma) – Had an excellent start to the season but then decreased a bit in the second part, mostly because of some shoulder problems. Still he helped Roma have the least beaten defence of the whole Serie A.

RESERVE 4: Gattuso (Milan) – Few players have his determination and even though his technical abilities are not top notch, he makes up for it with his fighting spirit and aggressiveness, thus not letting his opponents breathe or finding any space.

RESERVE 5: Mancini (Roma) – Another Roma player who had an excellent start of the season but decreased in the final part of the campaign. He still was the best assist man of Serie A and this alone makes him deserve this position.

RESERVE 6: Baggio (Brescia) – Baggio proves that quality and technical ability is eternal as he outclassed most of his younger opponents with his genius. Serie A and the whole football world lost one of a kind and it will take some time before anyone, if possible, can take his place.

RESERVE 7: Gilardino (Parma) – If it wasn't for Shevchenko's consistency he would have made it in the first eleven. He started as a sub for Adriano, yet he nearly won the top scorer award. His goals are not casual as they are all different from each other thus earning comparisons with the likes of Paolo Rossi and Marco Van Basten. A future star.

Laursen will leave Milan
18.5 || scharatz

Martin Laursen has confirmed that he will be leaving Italian champions Milan during the summer.

The Danish international has failed to break into the Rossoneri first team and his chances have decreased with the arrival of Jaap Stam.

"I’ve preferred to not extend my contract and I’ve asked the club to sell me," he told Danish news agency Riztau.

"The club officials have understood my situation and they’ve told me that they won’t block my departure.

"I hope to find a new club before the European Championships so that I can be more relaxed during Euro 2004."

The former Verona and Parma player is of interest to a number of clubs in England, even if Dutch giants Feyenoord are also very keen.

Milan in Totti admission
17.5 || scharatz

Milan would make a bid for Francesco Totti if the Italian sensation was made available by Roma.

That is according to Vice-president Adriano Galliani who was asked to comment on Totti’s uncertain future.

"I don’t think he will leave Roma," he said. "However, we would certainly be interested if he was up for transfer.

"Can you imagine a Milan strike force consisting of Totti, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko?"

Reports suggest that Totti could be sacrificed by the capital club as they look to deal with their financial situation.

Although Real Madrid have been hotly linked, the No 10 has often been associated with a San Siro switch.

Meanwhile, Galliani insists that his club’s objective for the new season is to win Lo Scudetto and the Champions’ League.

"Milan will be aiming for the double," he maintained. "That challenge will be based on the squad that we already have here.

"Vikash Dhorasso and Jaap Stam have been added for sure but the rest of the transfer stories regarding us are just rumours."

Milan officially sign Stam
17.5 || scharatz

Jaap Stam will wear the Milan shirt next season after the Rossoneri confirmed his capture from Lazio.

"Milan would like to announce the signing of Jaap Stam from Lazio," read a club statement.

"The defender, born on 17 July 1972, has agreed a two-year deal which will keep him at the club until 30 June 2006."

Financial terms of the agreement have yet to be revealed but a substantial fee, of around £6m, is believed to have been paid.

The capital club were desperate to sell the international as he only had a year left on his contract.

Given the fact that he had no intention of signing a new deal in Rome, the club were keen to not lose him on a free transfer next summer.

Milan to announce Stam
17.5 || scharatz

Jaap Stam will today officially become a Milan player according to Vice-president Adriano Galliani.

The Lazio defender has been heavily linked with the Rossoneri and he’s reportedly agreed a two-year deal.

"I can now say that Stam will be playing for us next season," said Galliani. "It will be made official on Monday."

The capture of the giant Dutchman, who still had a year left on his Olimpico contract, has been welcomed by President Silvio Berlusconi.

"I think that everyone at this club should be satisfied with this signing, even if we were already a very competitive side anyway."

So where will he play given the fact that Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini have been sensational in the centre this term?

"I think that Maldini will be moved to the left," added the Italian Prime Minister. "He has a great love for this club and he will switch positions if needed."

Boss Carlo Ancelotti also left the door open for the legendary Italian to revert to his former position.

"I could decide to field Maldini as a full-back again," stated the Coach. "Yet only if he is open to the idea."

Maldini rejects Azzurri return
16.5 || scharatz

Paolo Maldini has given his definitive answer to Italy’s pleading for a return to the Azzurri jersey for Euro 2004.

“I have just spoken with Coach Giovanni Trapattoni,” revealed the legendary defender, “and I think he understood my reasons. There is nothing more to say.”

Maldini had retired from the international scene after the 2002 World Cup, but his stunning form alongside Alessandro Nesta in the Milan squad proved he still has a lot to give.

Nonetheless, the 36-year-old continues to insist that he will not return to the Azzurri for the European Championships this summer.

“I have played four World Cups and three European Championships. I've made my decision,” he concluded, “and 2006 will be my final year playing professional football.”

The Rossoneri captain has just extended his contract with the club until June 2006 and concedes it will be his last deal.

The veteran also revealed he turned down an offer from Gianluca Vialli's Chelsea.

"It's true that he called me in 1998, and I did consider it for a few days, but it didn't seem right to leave my family and Milan."

AC Milan 4:2 Brescia - report
16.5 || scharatz

Tomasson 36, 58 (M), Shevchenko 38 (M), Matuzalem 52, 69 (B), Rui Costa 66 (M)
Stadio San Siro

There was definitely a party atmosphere in the San Siro, as Milan celebrated the Scudetto and Roberto Baggio played his final Serie A match.

The Divine Ponytail waves goodbye to the top flight after 20 years, 205 goals and 452 appearances. He opened his account in Fiorentina's 1-1 draw at Napoli on May 10 1987.

The game was followed by a giant parade of all Milan's 17 Scudetto trophies, including such legendary figures as Cesare Maldini, Leonardo, Zvonimir Boban, Daniele Massaro and Fabio Cudicini.

Andriy Shevchenko had the first chance after 10 minutes when Kaka' charged down the right flank and set up the Ukrainian, but his angled drive was just wide.

Roberto Baggio would dearly love to mark his final match with a goal and nearly did it when his free kick was deflected wide by Gennaro Gattuso.

It was Milan who took the lead just before half-time with Kaka' again heavily involved, as his strong run set up Jon Dahl Tomasson for a fierce finish from the edge of the box.

Andriy Shevchenko doubled their lead moments later by tapping in Marcos Cafu's deflected effort for the easiest of finishes and his 24th Serie A goal of the season.

Luca Castellazzi flew across the face of goal to keep out a trademark Andrea Pirlo free kick.

Baggio continued to be a constant danger for the Milan defence and in the final minute of the first half his free kick thumped the base of the upright with Christian Abbiati beaten.

Brescia got back into it at the dawn of the second half with a precise Francelino Matuzalem low drive that slipped into the near corner.

Kaka' was Man of the Match and set up another goal on the hour mark. He battled through two defenders and saw his effort saved, then Tomasson's header thumped the post and went out again for Kaka's finish. However, replays showed that the ball had crossed the line, so the goal is credited to the Dane.

Manuel Rui Costa stepped on to the field in place of Tomasson and scored a fourth soon after, a fine low drive from the edge of the box.

Brescia refused to give in during this football party at the San Siro and Baggio set up Matuzalem's powerful volley with some delightful first touch football.

Christian Brocchi nearly made it five when his fierce finish was palmed out by Castellazzi in this entertaining game.

The San Siro - that once had Baggio as its hero for both Milan and Inter - gave the Divine Ponytail a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time.

Milan: Abbiati; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Costacurta; Gattuso (Brocchi 63), Pirlo (Redondo 57), Seedorf; Kakà; Shevchenko, Tomasson (Rui Costa 59)

Brescia: Castellazzi; Petruzzi, Di Biagio, Dainelli; Bachini, Brighi (Stankevicius 67), Matuzalem, Mauri, Castellini; Baggio (Colucci 83); Caracciolo (Del Nero 43)

Ref: Giannoccaro

Luis Fabiano chooses Milan
16.5 || scharatz

Brazilian sensation Luis Fabiano confirms he wishes to join Milan and his club has set a price-tag of £11.4m.

“My desire,” explained the Sao Paolo hero, “is to make my mark in Europe. I am very happy for my name to be linked with Kaka’, as he is a great friend of mine and I dearly want to play alongside him.”

The two strikers already know each other from their time at the Brazilian club and Kaka’ has since settled in to the Rossoneri ranks.

They have a strong partnership in the national squad and Milan’s agents have been in constant contact with the club to discuss a summer switch.

Luis Clemente Fabiano has now scored 112 goals in 151 games for Sao Paolo and they have reportedly set the price-tag for interested parties at £11.4m.

The 24-year-old was something of a rebel, but claims he has put that destructive streak behind him.

“I had a talk with Brazil Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and he told me to sort myself out. I’m about to become a Father, so I really feel it’s time to get responsible.”

Crespo ready for Rossoneri
16.5 || scharatz

Hernan Crespo concedes he is prepared to take a pay-cut and sit on the bench if he can join Milan, while Frank Lampard also considers a Serie A switch.

“I must thank Carlo Ancelotti,” he told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’, “as he had a lot of patience with me.”

For several weeks now Ancelotti has been commenting in press conferences that his favourite striker in the world is Crespo.

The two men shared a fruitful alliance at Parma, despite the Argentine’s dismal start to his Serie A career.

“It would be just wonderful to work with him again,” noted the striker. “Only Ancelotti and I know what strains it took to get me on form during those first two seasons at Parma. I owe him a debt of gratitude for that.”

He has gone on to success at Lazio and Inter, but has struggled to settle in at Chelsea and is expected to leave this summer in an £11m deal.

The one problem could be the fact that Milan already have Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi and Jon Dahl Tomasson at their disposal.

“There are absolutely no issues here,” assured Crespo. “I am not a kid and know the rules of the changing room. I’d even be willing to take a pay-cut if it meant joining the Rossoneri.”

He is already familiar with the San Siro due to his time here with Inter, but claims he would be honoured to join their arch-rivals.

“If it is true that Chelsea no longer want me,” he continued, “then my first choice would be Milan.”

Chelsea look set to sell several of their top stars this summer and both Inter and Juventus are keeping a close eye on Frank Lampard’s situation.

“The way things stand,” his agent Steve Kutner is reported as saying, “Frank doesn’t feel that he will be able to stay.”

The England midfielder wants wages that match those of teammates Crespo and Juan Sebastian Veron – said to be in the region of £90,000 per week – but contract talks have reportedly broken down.

Ancelotti aims for Super Milan
16.5 || scharatz

Carlo Ancelotti has praised his players after their Scudetto victory, but claims Milan can still improve.

“It will certainly be a beautiful and memorable day for everyone at the San Siro,” he said ahead of the title celebrations and Roberto Baggio’s final match.

“We waited a long time to spark this party off and now the moment has come to truly enjoy all we have worked so hard to achieve. A victory will really round it off and leave us with even fonder memories of the day.”

Ancelotti was known as a ‘loser’ during his years at Juventus, but since taking over Milan he has lifted the Scudetto, Champions’ League, Coppa Italia and European Supercup.

“If I were to give the squad a rating for this season, I’d say that everyone managed an average of nine out of ten. They knew how to patch over the mistakes of last year and showed remarkable consistency against the big and small clubs.”

The Rossoneri have also set a new benchmark for the style with which they won their matches in Serie A and Europe.

“Our era truly began at the start of last season,” he explained, “when we started playing in a certain way and looking to produce real quality football. These trophies added to our overall project, but it continues and the team still wants to improve.”

AC Milan vs. Brescia - preview
15.5 || scharatz

LIVE on British Eurosport (KO 2pm UK time)
Stadio San Siro

The San Siro is the perfect venue for Roberto Baggio’s farewell to football after 20 years, 451 Serie A appearances and 205 goals.

What makes the Divine Ponytail’s send-off all the more apt is that he has called this Stadium home for two different clubs. His time at both Milan and Inter was filled with misunderstandings and a remarkable familiarity with the bench, but the fans have always considered him to be their favourite.

Baggio notched up 51 League games for the Rossoneri and scored 12 goals between 1995 and ’97. This week the 37-year-old’s agent revealed that several offers had come in for his services, but it does seem to be the end for this legendary figure.

Brescia are already safe from the drop and already proved they want to give Baggio the send-off he deserves by beating Lazio 2-1 last Sunday. Matteo Brighi, Francelino Matuzalem and Simone Del Nero are available for selection after a one-match ban.

Milan are also in the mood for a party to celebrate the Scudetto, especially after last week’s sluggish surrender at Reggina. Andriy Shevchenko will be eager to increase his tally of 23 goals and fight off competition from Francesco Totti for the Capocannoniere crown. There is a slight chance that Pippo Inzaghi could play a handful of minutes at the end of the match, just two weeks after undergoing surgery on an old ankle injury, but Giuseppe Pancaro and possibly Dida are out of action.

Milan (probable): Abbiati; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Tomasson, Shevchenko

Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Martinez, Di Biagio, Dainelli, Castellini; Bachini, Brighi, Matuzalem, Mauri; Baggio, Caracciolo

Inzaghi makes fitness pledge
14.5 || scharatz

Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi insists that he will only be a part of Italy’s Euro 2004 campaign if he is fully fit.

The striker was set to be a certain member of the Azzurri’s 23-man squad until he had ankle surgery.

Inzaghi hasn’t played for the last six weeks which have raised doubts over whether he will be selected for the Portugal trip.

"If I do make the squad then it will be because I’m 100 per cent fit," he told TV show Studio Sport.

"If I’m unsure about my physical status then I will stay in Italy to recover for the good of my club."

Inzaghi, who went under the knife on April 28, was hoping to play in his side’s final League game of the season.

However, the former Juventus and Parma hitman will not be available for the Brescia tie on Sunday.

If Inzaghi doesn’t make the Azzurri squad then boss Giovanni Trapattoni seems to have three options available to him.

He would probably select one from Marco Di Vaio, Fabrizio Miccoli - both of Juventus - or the uncapped Parma youngster Alberto Gilardino.

New Milan takes shape
14.5 || scharatz

Milan chief Adriano Galliani has revealed what kind of squad boss Carlo Ancelotti may have at his disposal next season.

The Italian champions have been at the centre of numerous transfer stories recently but Galliani has looked to quash certain rumours.

The Vice-president was asked about the future of Manuel Rui Costa after he lost his first team shirt to Kaka.

"He is a great player who will remain with us next season," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "He will only leave if he asks to be sold. Nobody will be forced to stay at this club."

Reports have also suggested that Milan have agreed to sign Jaap Stam from Lazio. But Galliani applied the brakes.

"I’ve always liked the Lazio defence," he continued. "We’ve signed both Alessandro Nesta and Giuseppe Pancaro from them in the past.

"However, I can’t confirm that negotiations have been concluded regarding the Dutchman. Talks will continue."

Galliani also confirmed speculation that his club would be looking to bring in a new striker this summer.

"We could decide to send Marco Borriello out on loan," he explained. "Yet we won’t be selling Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi or Jon Dahl Tomasson.

"We will get someone who is willing to start from the bench."

Reports have claimed that Bernardo Corradi, Luis Fabiano of Sao Paulo and Atletico Madrid youngster Fernando Torres are possible targets.

"Corradi is a great player but there is no reason for him to leave Lazio," insisted the club official.

"Luis Fabiano is an important player but he doesn’t figure in our plans. As for Torres, Atletico do owe us some money but we have never discussed a move for him."

Galliani concluded by praising boss Carlo Ancelotti for his efforts and insisted that he would remain with the club.

"Ancelotti will soon renew his contract," he explained. "He’s done a great job even if the club have put him in a position to work at his best.

"After all, he had hardly won anything before arriving here. Next year I want the Scudetto and Champions’ League."

Sheva: Milan for life
12.5 || scharatz

Milan hotshot Andriy Shevchenko has stated that he wants to end his career wearing the Rossoneri shirt.

"I feel like a Milan player inside," he told La Repubblica in an interview. "This club has been a very important part of my life. I want to end my playing days with this outfit."

Sheva has been linked with moves to the likes of Manchester United in the past but he insists he has no desire to leave the peninsula.

"Italian football has always been beautiful," added the international. "I have a dream though, I want it to become much more open and spectacular.

"I would say that only the top five or six clubs in Italy don’t have the tendency to just defend during games."

Shevchenko has been a key figure in the club’s championship success this term with the help of his 23 League goals.

But the former Dynamo Kiev star believes he knows exactly where the Scudetto was won.

"Our preparation ahead of the away game at Roma in January was very important," he explained.

"It was perfect. Just before that match we had lost the Intercontinental crown and then to Udinese. But we won in the capital and that was when we really won Lo Scudetto.

"As for my own personal form, I think that I have improved in front of goal. I used to make a lot more errors in the past.

"I’ve learnt how to move for this side and I’m on the same wavelength as boss Carlo Ancelotti, thanks to the fact that I feel more like an Italian and a Milanista."

Milan want Crespo swap
12.5 || scharatz

There are fresh reports suggesting that Hernan Crespo could join Milan in a deal which sees Chelsea land Manuel Rui Costa.

The Rossoneri are desperately searching for a new target man after already signing defender Jaap Stam and midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo.

Crespo could be tempted to leave London after a mediocre first campaign in the Premiership.

Especially if he would be allowed to link up again with Carlo Ancelotti, a Coach who put his faith in the Argentine during their days together at Parma.

"The player I am most fond of is Crespo," said Ancelotti at the weekend. "I think he would be more than happy to come to a great team like Milan and he’d adapt very quickly."

The Italian champions will reportedly offer Rui Costa to the Stamford Bridge outfit in exchange for the South American.

The attacking midfielder is no longer guaranteed a first team shirt with the side after the explosion of Brazilian ace Kaka.

Chelsea may be interested in the Portuguese star, who could replace Juan Veron at the club as rumours persist that he will leave the Blues.

Pancaro surgery a success
12.5 || scharatz

Milan have stated that Giuseppe Pancaro’s surgery has gone well but he will still miss Euro 2004.

The left-back was forced under the knife after failing to shrug off an ankle problem despite a three week break from the game.

The former Lazio player had surgery in Turku, Finland, on Tuesday and his surgeons insist the procedure was a success.

However, the defender has no chance of being able to take part in the European Championships this summer.

He was expected to make Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad after an excellent season with the Rossoneri.

Roma or Milan for Zebina
12.5 || scharatz

Roma stopper Jonathan Zebina says he will either stay in the capital or join Italian champions Milan.

The Frenchman’s contract expires in the summer and he’s still not sure whether he will stay or go.

"I will be at Roma or Milan next season," he stated. "I have a 50/50 chance of playing for either."

The Giallorossi want to keep hold of the defender but talks over a new deal have stalled for the time being.

Milan have been heavily linked with the individual for months even if the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool have also been associated.

Maldini confirms Stam arrival
11.5 || scharatz

Milan captain Paolo Maldini expects to be playing alongside Jaap Stam next season.

The Lazio defender has been heavily linked with a move to the San Siro and the Italian has confirmed his arrival.

"Stam will definitely be signed during the summer and I’m delighted with that fact," stated the legend.

"We shouldn’t look too far into the future but I’m sure that Milan will have what is needed to keep winning."

Stam will leave the Italian capital as his contract in Rome expires in 2005.

Lazio would like to keep hold of him but they haven’t the finances in place to renew his deal at the Olimpico.

That means that they will sell him at the end of this season to make sure that they don’t lose him next year for nothing.

Meanwhile, Brazilian ace Kaka believes that Maldini should be a contender to win the 2004 Golden Ball.

"Paolo is simply the best player around," stated the attacking midfielder. "I’m hoping that he is finally voted as the European Player of the Year."

Signori gets Milan call
10.5 || scharatz

Bologna veteran Giuseppe Signori will feature for Milan during a summer tournament in China.

The Italian champions will be missing a host of players because of international commitments and they’ve secured a number of short loan deals as cover.

Signori will also be joined by Sampdoria winger Aimo Diana and Lecce youngster Cristian Ledesma, amongst others.

The latter is a reported transfer target for the club and Coach Carlo Ancelotti will be able to get a closer look at the midfielder.

Other players included are: Sam Dalla Bona (Bologna), Dario Dainelli (Brescia), Massimo Donati (Samp), Luca Antonini (Samp) and Moris Carrozzieri (Samp).

The squad will fly out to the Far East on May 27 and return on June 4. The games will be played on May 30 and June 2.

Milan interested in Lucio
10.5 || scharatz

Bayer Leverkusen have revealed that Milan are one of the clubs chasing Brazilian stopper Lucio.

The central defender has been linked with a variety of Serie A clubs and the new champions seem to be leading the Italian chase.

"At least 20 clubs have asked us about Lucio," general manager Reiner Calmund told a German news agency.

"But there are only a few of them that are in any position to buy him. They are Chelsea, Milan, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

"All of our players in our squad are available for transfer, so long as they pay us enough for them."

It was thought that Inter were in a good position to sign the 26-year-old but that no longer seems to be the case.

Roma and Juventus were also reportedly in the race to sign the 2002 World Cup winner.

The South American has a contract with Bayer until 2007 but they are willing to sell for at least £11m.

Abbiati: Arsenal want me
10.5 || scharatz

Christian Abbiati says he could join Arsenal in the summer if he decides to leave Italian champions Milan.

The goalkeeper has spent another season on the bench behind Dida and he admits he may consider a summer exit.

"I am a man of my word and I said that I wouldn’t leave this club when I extended my contract until 2008," said the ‘keeper.

"But this has been a tough season for me. I don’t feel as if people here have the belief in me anymore."

Abbiati was linked with a move to Arsenal last summer and he insists the Premiership is still an option.

"It isn’t easy to find a new club," added the 26-year-old. "Milan are one of the best and organised sides in the world.

"But I must admit that Arsenal, despite the fact that I haven’t been playing regularly, have been in touch with my agent."

The youngster is a proven goalkeeper but his lack of action will probably see him miss out on Euro 2004.

"I accepted to stay here and I’ve lost out on the national side too now," continued the player who was hoping to be third choice for the Azzurri.

"A loan move? That would allow me to improve my morale and still feel like a Milan player. I’ll make a decision with calm."

Reggina 2:1 AC Milan - report
9.5 || scharatz

Di Michele 8 (R), Cozza pen 29 (R), Shevchenko 51 (M)
Stadio Granillo

Milan's unbeaten away record comes to an end as the Stadio Granillo erupted in celebration for avoiding relegation.

The newly crowned Champions of Italy made sweeping changes to their squad for this trip to the Stadio Granillo and hoped to end the season unbeaten on their travels. Before this match Milan had never conceded two goals in a single away game, letting in just seven throughout the campaign.

Dida was out after bruising his hand during training, while Pippo Inzaghi and Giuseppe Pancaro have undergone surgery to correct ankle problems. Dario Simic, Kakha Kaladze, Serginho and Fernando Redondo were given rare starts to celebrate the title.

Reggina had to win in order to keep their safety hopes alive as the relegation dogfight entered its final stages.

The difference in motivation was evident and within the opening minute a Roberto Stellone diving header had skimmed the woodwork.

The Amaranto took the lead with a spectacular effort from David Di Michele. The former Udinese man held off Alessandro Nesta, then curled in an extroardinary scissor-kick past the helpless Christian Abbiati.

Giancarlo Camolese's men kept pushing and Abbiati rushed off his line to close down Di Michele.

The referee pointed to the spot on 29 minutes when Stellone's pass struck Paolo Maldini on the arm, so Francesco Cozza stepped up to convert the penalty into the roof of the net.

Milan got back into the game at the dawn of the second half with Andriy Shevchenko's looping header on a Kakha Kaladze cross to the back post. It is the Ukrainian's 23rd Serie A goal of the season and puts him a step closer to the Capocannoniere crown.

Jon Dahl Tomasson really should have drawn the Rossoneri level, but his close-range finish was weak and straight at Emanuele Belardi.

Reggina: Belardi; Sottil, Torrisi, Franceschini; Mesto, Mozart, Tedesco, Comotto; Cozza (Baiocco 88); Di Michele (Dall'Acqua 75), Stellone (Paredes 57)

Milan: Abbiati; Simic, Nesta, Maldini (Costacurta 71), Kaladze; Brocchi (Seedorf 54), Redondo, Ambrosini, Serginho; Shevchenko, Tomasson (Borriello 75)

Ref: Ayroldi

Inzaghi ready for surprise comeback?
9.5 || scharatz

Pippo Inzaghi is on track to make a remarkable recovery from ankle surgery and could even play the final match of the season.

“We hope that Inzaghi can take to the field for at least a few minutes against Brescia,” revealed Milan chief medic Jean Pierre Meersseman.

The striker had been ruled out for three weeks after going under the knife to clean up an old ankle injury.

The scar tissue had been troubling him throughout the campaign, limiting him to just a handful of appearances in the last four months.

“Following the operation,” continued Meersseman, “Inzaghi is going through the rehabilitation process very well. From next week he should be able to start running again.”

Proving himself fit for the final game of the season is not just so he can salute the San Siro fans, but above all a bid to show he is ready for Euro 2004.

The same cannot be said of his Rossoneri teammate Giuseppe Pancaro, who must undergo surgery for an ankle tendon problem.

The former Lazio defender and Italian international will be ruled out of action for the next three months.

Ancelotti calls in Crespo
9.5 || scharatz

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed he is trying to convince Hernan Crespo to join Milan next season.

“The player I am most fond of is Crespo,” he said of his former Parma charge. “I think he would be more than happy to come to a great team like Milan and he’d adapt very quickly.”

The Argentine has starred for three Serie A sides – Parma, Lazio and Inter – in his career and is now struggling to find room at Chelsea.

It has been reported that the Stamford Bridge side is looking for a buyer in the summer and a return to the San Siro is on the cards.

Crespo would be particularly eager to hook up with Ancelotti, as the tactician showed faith in him despite a difficult start to his Parma spell.

Newly crowned Champions of Italy Milan are looking to the future with reinforcements upfront, and other options have also been linked with the club.

“Javier Ernesto Chevanton is the most affordable,” said Ancelotti of the Lecce hitman, “but Francesco Totti is the best of the lot.”

Totti’s unhappiness with the financial situation at Roma is well publicised and he admitted this week the only other Serie A side he’d play for was the Rossoneri.

“In any case,” assured Ancelotti, “our transfer market is already closed. All we need is a defender and a midfielder.”

The club has already snapped up Lazio star Jaap Stam and Lyon’s midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo, the latter on a free transfer.

Ancelotti was known as something of a ‘loser’ in his days at Juventus, but is ready to tie himself to Milan for life after lifting the Champions’ League, Scudetto, Coppa Italia and European Supercup.

“My contract is not up for discussion at the moment as it expires in June 2005. I think we’ll sit down and talk about it during the next campaign.”

Pancaro ruled out of Euro 2004
8.5 || scharatz

Milan star Giuseppe Pancaro has been ruled out of the European Championships after doctors confirmed he would require surgery.

The Azzurri fullback has revived his career this season since his free transfer to the San Siro and played a major role in their Scudetto-winning campaign.

He was set to be a part of Giovanni Trapattoni’s European Championship squad, but hasn’t played for the last month due to an ankle injury.

This morning the 32-year-old defender revealed he would be undergoing surgery in Finland on Tuesday to correct the tendon problem.

“We tried everything possible,” he explained on Milan’s official website, “but after 20 days of complete rest the doctors saw no improvement. I will be forced to miss Euro 2004, but I’ll be back for the start of next season.”

Former Lazio man Pancaro will be out of action for at least three months and therefore misses the summer tournament.

“Of course I am upset to be missing out on such an important competition, especially as I already missed the 2002 World Cup through injury. These things happen and I can console myself with the Scudetto victory.”

Meanwhile, Dida has not been able to recover in time for Sunday’s trip to Reggina, as he suffered bruising to his left hand during training

Milan squad:

Abbiati, Fiori, Cafu, Costacurta, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Simic, Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Kakà, Redondo, Seedorf, Serginho, Borriello, Shevchenko, Tomasson

Reggina vs. AC Milan - preview
8.5 || scharatz

Stadio Granillo

Reggina are just one point above the dreaded drop zone and they will entertain the newly crowned champions Milan. Although on paper the Rossoneri will be massive favourites, the away side may now have taken their foot off the accelerator with Lo Scudetto already won.

Giancarlo Camolese’s side recorded a very credible 1-1 draw at Lazio last week when star man Francesco Cozza netted a crucial penalty. If they can replicate that kind of performance then there is no reason why they shouldn’t grab at least a point against Milan.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti may decide to use a few of the under-used players in the last two games after a long hard season. Massimo Ambrosini should be given the chance to start in a bid to convince Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni of his form ahead of Euro 2004.

Manuel Rui Costa may also be handed a rare start after he has spent most of this season on the bench after the consecration of Brazilian summer signing Kaka. Billy Costacurta should also start at left-back with Giuseppe Pancaro, and striker Pippo Inzaghi, still injured.

Reggina (probable): Belardi; Jiranek, Sottil, Torrisi; Mesto, Tedesco, Mozart, Falsini; Cozza; Di Michele, Stellone

Milan (probable): Abbiati; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Costacurta; Ambrosini, Pirlo, Seedorf; Rui Costa, Kaka; Shevchenko

Samp refuse Bazzani loan
8.5 || scharatz

Sampdoria have officially refused to loan Fabio Bazzani to Milan for a summer tour of China.

“The club is unable to accept Milan’s request,” explained a club press statement following reports that the Rossoneri were set to ‘test’ the striker in a series of friendly games.

It would not be the first time that the San Siro side has taken this action, as last year Dario Hubner and several others went on a summer tour in a bid to earn transfers.

However, as Bazzani is a crucial part of the Blucerchiati line-up and has already been heavily linked with a move to Milan, his club is trying to shut down the speculation quickly.

Bazzani is hot property on the transfer market following his debut for the Italy squad and has been mentioned with regard to Inter, Juventus and Roma.

However, Milan are the most likely destination as the striker has confirmed he is a lifelong Rossoneri supporter.

Dida doubt for Reggina trip
7.5 || scharatz

Nelson Dida is a major doubt to feature this Sunday, while Italian Champions Milan plan sweeping changes.

The Brazilian goalkeeper suffered a setback during today’s training session with heavy bruising to two fingers on his left hand.

Club doctors are looking into the situation, but it is highly likely that Christian Abbiati will be given a rare start in the Rossoneri goal.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have now won the Scudetto, but can still increase their own record for points gathered in a single season.

Gennaro Gattuso and Kaka’ are expected to rest for Sunday’s trip to Reggina, allowing Massimo Ambrosini and Manuel Rui Costa to stretch their legs.

Pippo Inzaghi and Giuseppe Pancaro remain sidelined after their injuries.

Bazzani in Milan link
7.5 || scharatz

Reports suggest that Fabio Bazzani will leave Sampdoria for Milan at the end of this season.

The port club have stated that they will not sell the striker but stories on Friday insist a deal has been done.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti has requested a target man and he has openly praised the 28-year-old this term.

Bazzani has had a wonderful campaign with Doria which did lead to his international debut.

Rumours suggesting a transfer will take place have been fuelled with the news that Milan want him to play a few summer friendlies.

The Rossoneri are expected to ask Samp to free the forward so that he can appear in two games in China and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Andrea Pirlo has become the latest Milan player to call Francesco Totti to the San Siro.

"I think that Totti would fit in any side," said Pirlo. "If he decided to come here then he would make a great decision."

Andriy Shevchenko yesterday stated that he would love the Italian to leave Roma for the new champions.

Sheva makes Totti call
7.5 || scharatz

Andriy Shevchenko has told Roma captain Francesco Totti to come and join him at champions Milan.

"I’ve been wanting to play alongside him for some time," he told Novastadio. "He is a great champion.

"He is a player that Milan could really benefit from if he signed for us. He is a brilliant player who can still improve."

The Ukrainian is already spoilt for assists with Brazilian sensation Kaka playing just behind him. Yet he believes the two men could co-exist.

"Kaka has been great for us this year," he added. "But I like Totti too as he is someone that is hungry to score goals. I think he would fit in well here."

Totti himself raised question marks over his future earlier this week but Shev has no doubts about his career.

"I would love to end my playing days with this club," he continued. "It is a dream of every player to be considered as a symbol of one particular team.

"Men such as Paolo Maldini, Billy Costacurta and Franco Baresi have managed to do that here.

"Unfortunately I didn’t start to play football here but for the little I have done, I feel a bit like those legends."

Maldini extends Milan deal
7.5 || scharatz

Paolo Maldini’s love affair with Milan continues after he today extended his contract with the giants.

The 36-year-old has, as expected, renewed his deal which will now expire in the summer of 2006.

The Milan website confirmed the news this morning which comes just days after the veteran won his seventh Scudetto with the club.

Maldini, whose father Cesare also played for the Rossoneri, is a Milan legend after making over 500 League appearances with the side.

Having been brought up through the youth system, he made his League debut as a 16-year-old in January 1985.

The stopper, who has never played for any other outfit, has had another magnificent season with the club and is still wanted by the national side.

Although he announced his Azzurri retirement after the 2002 World Cup, Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni wants him at Euro 2004.

EURO 2004 Forum launched
7.5 || scharatz

Talk about everything and anything related to this summer's EURO, held in Portugal. Click on the link below or paste it into your browser's Address bar to open the new forum.

The AC Milan Online Management

Milan in Fabiano battle
7.5 || scharatz

Milan are facing stiff competition from Barcelona in the race to sign Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano.

Reports from Brazil insist that the two clubs are the main contenders to sign the Sao Paolo player this summer.

Fabiano is an international forward with a growing reputation even if there are doubts over his temperament.

However, both Milan and Barca are keen to acquire the target man to play alongside their Brazilian contingent.

The Spanish outfit would like to see him link up with Ronaldinho at the Nou Camp next season.

While Milan want to team him up with Kaka, who is a good friend of the South American talent.

All three men recently played in the same Selecao side that impressed in the victory over Hungary.

Rui Costa: I’m going nowhere
6.5 || scharatz

Manuel Rui Costa believes he still has a future with Milan despite the presence of teammate Kaka.

The Brazilian has relegated the Portuguese star to the bench this season which has led to speculation regarding his future.

The playmaker has been linked with possible moves to Fiorentina, Benfica and Paris SG but he’s ready to remain at the San Siro.

"When a player isn’t guaranteed first team football then certain stories do appear," he told TV show Studio Sport.

"But if the club and I agree on certain things then there is no reason why I should leave this outfit."

Although Rui Costa’s first team chances have been limited this term, he is convinced that he played a part in the Scudetto success.

"After 10 years in Italy I have finally won the championship," he added. "I think I’ve given an excellent contribution too."

So what was crucial in Milan’s 17th Italian title? "I think the away wins against the big sides," he replied. "Plus the two derby victories."

In the games that mattered against Roma, Juventus, Inter and Lazio, the Rossoneri gathered an amazing 22 points out of a possible 24.

Milan show transfer caution
6.5 || scharatz

Newly crowned Italian champions Milan insist that they will not spend big this summer.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani has revealed that two star players will be signed by the giants.

But transfer guru Ariedo Braida maintains that the outfit will not be going on a massive spending spree.

"People who think we are going to spend heavily at the end of this season are mistaken," said the director general.

"Even a club like ours must pay careful attention to our finances like the majority of other teams.

"Last year for example, Marcos Cafu and Giuseppe Pancaro were signed for not even one Euro.

"Then we bought in Kaka from Brazil for just £5m. We will be looking to mirror that this time around."

Milan have already confirmed that Lyon midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo has been signed on a free transfer.

Reports last night also suggested that the Rossoneri had agreed a deal with Lazio for defender Jaap Stam.

They are also expected to net themselves a new target man with Samp’s Fabio Bazzani, Hernan Crespo of Chelsea and Lazio’s Bernardo Corradi all linked.

Stam agent confirms Milan move
5.5 || scharatz

Jaap Stam’s agent has reportedly confirmed that the Lazio defender will be playing with a Rossoneri jersey next season.

“At the end of this campaign,” representative Van Ginkel was quoted on, “Stam will leave Lazio. Next year he’ll be playing for Milan.”

Reports of a deal with the newly crowned Champions of Italy had already been in the air for several months, although the defender took great pains to point out nothing had been signed.

“We have drawn up an agreement for a two-year contract,” continued the agent, “and only started talks with Milan after the two clubs had reached their own understanding.”

The Dutchman had made it clear several months ago that he would not stay with the Biancocelesti for another season.

Although a return to his homeland or even the Premiership had been touted, it quickly became clear that Milan had the upper hand.

Stam should now go on to strengthen the already impressive Rossoneri defence with Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.

Milan switch delights Dhorasoo
5.5 || scharatz

Milan new boy Vikash Dhorasoo says he just couldn’t reject a summer move to the Italian giants.

"I would have only left Lyon for a great foreign club," said the midfielder. "And Milan is one of the best in the world, if not the greatest.

"I have always dreamed of joining them and I admired the great Milan team when I was a kid."

The creative ace will join the newly crowned Italian champions in the summer once his current contract expires.

"I also had an offer from Marseille," revealed the 31-year-old. "The Coach contacted me and I appreciated that.

"It was an interesting proposal but as soon as Milan came in for me I quickly made up my mind.

"It is also true that Lyon wanted to offer me a new deal but it was too late by then. When Milan come to get you, you can’t turn them down."

Trap in new Maldini plea
5.5 || scharatz

Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni has again publicly asked Paolo Maldini to come out of international retirement.

"Paolo was very clear in September when he believed his time with the national side had ended," Trap told TV show Pressing Champions League.

"It will be very difficult to convince him to return but it shouldn’t be just down to me to get him to change his mind.

"This is a job for the whole of Italian football. He has given a lot to the Azzurri in the past and he needs to reconsider.

"At this present time, the squad and his teammates understand that it is necessary that he is a part of Euro 2004."

The Milan man quit the Italy scene after the 2002 World Cup exit but is expected to hold talks with Trap in the near future.

Milan welcomes home the Champions!
4.5 || ART

Thousands of fans filled the streets and squares of Milan and surrounding towns after AC Milan won their 17th Italian title on Sunday with a 1-0 win over their only remaining challengers, AS Roma.

Celebrating supporters waved flags and blasted horns after a win that goes some way to erasing the memory of Milan's shock elimination from the Champions League by Deportivo Coruna.

"We are invincible. We have been unlucky in the Champions League but we got our payback with winning the Italian title," said Milan supporter Giorgio Mariotti.

A second-minute header from Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko ensured the victory for Milan, who moved nine points clear of Roma with just two matches remaining.

The celebrations went on for hours with people and cars moving through the city's streets displaying scarves, banners and hats sporting the team's red and black colors.

The noise of car horns and the sight of convoys of young fans on scooters was played out in other towns in Lombardia where loyalties are split between Milan and city rivals Inter.

The partying in the streets made up for the sour atmosphere at the stadium where the game was twice interrupted in the second half after Roma fans hurled fireworks and missiles on to the pitch.

Milan's Gennaro Gattuso was stunned by a powerful firework that exploded near him, and Milan goalkeeper Dida had to receive medical attention after he was twice struck by objects thrown from the crowd.

But after the final whistle was blown Milan's players danced in front of their supporters at the southern end of the stadium, linking arms and throwing themselves on to the pitch to huge roars from the 81,000 crowd.

Milan sign Dhorasoo - official
4.5 || scharatz

Milan have confirmed that Lyon ace Vikash Dhorasoo will wear the Rossoneri shirt next season.

The newly crowned Italian champions have been linked with the midfielder for some months and have today confirmed his signing.

The 31-year-old, who has agreed a two-year deal, will arrive on a free transfer in the summer as his contract with his current club is on the verge of expiring.

Dhorasoo has made 27 League appearances for Lyon so far this season, scoring four goals.

His arrival seems to suggest that Fernando Redondo will not be renewing his contract at the San Siro.

Maldini ponders Italy U-turn
4.5 || scharatz

Milan veteran Paolo Maldini has left the door open for a dramatic return to international football.

Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni wants the defender in his Euro 2004 squad and the 36-year-old has hinted it could happen.

"I must firstly talk with Trapattoni and then I will talk to the media," Maldini told TV programme Studio Sport.

"Trapattoni and myself have agreed to discuss the matter at the end of the season. That meeting will happen."

Maldini retired after the 2002 World Cup Finals but Trapattoni yesterday confirmed he had real faith in the player.

"Paolo is an exceptional footballer," he told German magazine Kicker. "He has great personality and there isn’t a better pairing than Maldini and Alessandro Nesta."

If Maldini does travel to Portugal then current Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro could lose his first team shirt.

Meanwhile, Maldini also commented on his club’s latest success after they won the title at the weekend.

"We’ve started a new winning cycle," added Maldini. "We’ve managed to follow up our Champions’ League win of last year with Lo Scudetto.

"We are very happy even if we aren’t hiding the fact that winning the European Cup was perhaps more satisfying."

Morientes denies Milan contact
4.5 || scharatz

Spanish international striker Fernando Morientes has denied that Milan have contacted him about next season.

The Real Madrid star has excelled during a loan spell at Monaco this term and he is available for transfer.

Monaco can’t afford to keep hold of the forward and Real seem to have little interest in having him in their squad.

That has seen the 26-year-old linked with numerous clubs, including new Italian champions Milan.

"Fortunately I have received some excellent offers and I will accept the one that interests me the most," he stated.

"Milan? Nobody has told me anything about them even if other top European clubs have expressed an interest."

Morientes could still move to Serie A though with two clubs in particular keen on his services.

Juventus have been linked, even if Roma are also very interested as boss Fabio Capello is a massive fan of the player.

Inzaghi’s Euro injury boost
4.5 || scharatz

Milan’s Pippo Inzaghi believes his latest injury could be a blessing in disguise ahead of Euro 2004.

The striker recently underwent ankle surgery but he’s confident that he will be available for the summer.

"I could arrive at the European Championships a little fresher than everybody else," said the Azzurri ace.

"But before then the most important thing is to demonstrate to boss Giovanni Trapattoni that I am fit enough to play.

"Trap called me on the day of my operation which underlines he is interested in my physical condition. I just need to prove my fitness by the end of this month."

Inzaghi has had an injury plagued season but did prove decisive in qualification with some important goals against Wales and Serbia.

Trap also seems to be keen on selecting Inzaghi after he yesterday ruled out the possibility of taking Parma youngster Alberto Gilardino.

If Inzaghi did drop out, then the tactician would probably call Juventus’ Marco Di Vaio instead.

Scudetto win delights Kaka
3.5 || scharatz

Milan ace Kaka, one of the club’s best players this season, is delighted to have won the League at his first attempt.

"I’m really happy for the club and all of the fans," said the Brazilian. "It wasn’t easy for me settle.

"Italian football is a lot different from Brazil mainly because the defences are so organised here.

"However, I was able to adapt to football here very quickly and make a contribution to the team."

The attacking midfielder has possibly been the outfit’s player of the season after a remarkable campaign.

He was signed in the summer for just £5m from Sao Paulo as an understudy to Manuel Rui Costa.

However, he instantly started to show his ability and soon relegated the Portuguese playmaker to the bench.

Inzaghi given title gift
3.5 || scharatz

Injured Milan striker Pippo Inzaghi has thanked his teammates for making him a Scudetto winner yet again.

"It was a tough game to watch from my bed," said the player who recently underwent ankle surgery.

"But my teammates have made me so happy, they’ve given me a great gift by beating Roma."

The Rossoneri ensured themselves their 17th League title with a slender 1-0 win over the Giallorossi.

"It was a shame that I wasn’t there to take part in the celebrations but we still have a home game against Brescia to come," he added.

"I hope to be fit enough to play in that match so that we can celebrate two wonderful years at the club.

"We’ve won three trophies and a Scudetto which is just incredible," continued the former Juventus ace.

"Our success has been down to a great squad, a great club and a great Coach in Carlo Ancelotti.

"I wasn’t at the San Siro but I was made to feel like a part of the winning team after Adriano Galliani, Paolo Maldini and Ancelotti all spoke to me after the win."

Simply the best
3.5 || scharatz

By Football Italia's Antonio Labbate


Clubs like Milan are expected to win League championships but the Rossoneri’s 17th Scudetto will live long in the memory. Not only have they shattered Serie A records all season, they’ve won the title with such style and finesse, one which Italian football has arguably never witnessed before.

The statistics say it all really. Milan’s 1-0 win over closest rivals Roma saw them move on to 79 points, four more than the previous best, from just 32 games. They’ve won 24 matches, drawn seven and lost just once during an unbelievable march to another Italian title.

Significantly in the games that mattered against Roma, Juventus, Inter and Lazio, the Rossoneri gathered an amazing 22 points out of a possible 24. Only the Bianconeri managed to hold them to a 1-1 draw at Milan before Christmas.

The San Siro giants took their first step towards another Scudetto last May when they beat rivals Juventus in the European Cup Final. It was back then when the outfit realised that they had the players and the ability to start a new winning cycle at the club.

Milan were already a formidable outfit last term with arguably one of the best midfields in European football. Andrea Pirlo was successfully converted by boss Carlo Ancelotti from an attacking midfielder to a deep playmaker. He was allowed to dictate Milan’s play with the help of his midfield companions in the shape of Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso and Manuel Rui Costa.

Yet the Italian giants added to that department with the arrival of Kaka. He was initially signed as an understudy to Rui Costa but the young Brazilian soon relegated his tutor to the bench. The attacking midfielder has been nothing short of sensational this season. He was also one of the reasons why Rivaldo was dumped at Christmas.

The South American has excited with his dribbling abilities, his pinpoint passes but also his scoring touch. After all, he has netted 10 goals in his first Serie A campaign – with many proving to be decisive.

But Kaka wasn’t the only key signing. Milan also swooped for Marcos Cafu from Roma and Lazio’s Giuseppe Pancaro. Remarkably the full-backs arrived for absolutely nothing but they gave Milan the option to play more down the flanks.

Milan were often very narrow last season but Cafu and Pancaro have pushed forward, often whipping in dangerous crosses for top scorer Andriy Shevchenko or the very useful Jon Dahl Tomasson to put away.

There have also been some monster performances from Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta in defence. Goalkeeper Dida has proved to be solid, while Gennaro Gattuso has never stopped running.

And of course we must credit Coach Carlo Ancelotti for finally getting his hands on the Scudetto as a tactician. He came so close with Juventus in the past but he has at last achieved his aim with the team of his heart.

Ancelotti has managed to develop a united team spirit and been able to keep the high profile substitutes – such as Rui Costa and Massimo Ambrosini – content despite their probable frustration at not playing regularly enough.

He’s also had to deal with the tactical advice of President Silvio Berlusconi who called for the side to always play with two strikers after the 3-2 win over Inter. Yet whether Ancelotti played with a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-3-2-1, results didn’t really change. Milan kept winning and the Scudetto was inevitably, and deservedly, won.

Milan player ratings: Dida 7.5, Cafu 7.5, Maldini 8, Nesta 8, Pancaro 7.5, Costacurta 7, Simic 6.5, Laursen 6, Gattuso 7.5, Ambrosini 6.5, Brocchi 6, Redondo 6, Serginho 6, Pirlo 8, Seedorf 7.5, Kaka 9, Rui Costa 6.5, Inzaghi 6.5, Tomasson 7, Shevchenko 8.5. Abbiati, Kaladze and Borriello – no vote.

Maldini's Milan Pride
2.5 || scharatz

Paolo Maldini wins his seventh Scudetto and insists he is “proud” to be their captain, while Alessandro Nesta and Rui Costa look to the future.

“I am very proud and honoured to be the captain of this great team,” said the veteran who has never played with another club.

“Every victory is special and each win makes me remember why I keep playing football. I hope to continue on both counts.”

Roma were angry at not receiving a penalty during the second half, but Maldini cuts short any potential scandal.

“Milan utterly and completely deserved this Scudetto, so no critics or pundits can take that fact away from us.”

The other great veteran of the Rossoneri squad was Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta, who was considering retirement two years ago.

“The real strength of this team and club,” explained the 37-year-old, “is the unity of the whole group.”

Alessandro Nesta only joined the San Siro side two years ago, but has already lifted the Scudetto, Champions’ League and Coppa Italia.

“This is a wonderful party,” said the former Lazio legend, “even though it is a shame that a portion of the fans tried to ruin our day. Now I want to look ahead to the European Championships and be in top shape for that tournament.”

Perhaps the only glum face was that of Manuel Rui Costa, who spent much of the season – and all of the Roma game – on the bench.

“It was a bit of a different experience for me compared to that of my teammates,” said the Portuguese international, “but I am nonetheless happy. It’s my first Scudetto party in Italy and I intend to enjoy it.”

Vice-President Adriano Galliani was spotted with his usual enthusiastic celebration in the stands and looked over the Ancelotti reign.

“These last two years have been magnificent,” said Galliani. “Last season we won the Champions’ League and Coppa Italia, while this time we have lifted the Scudetto and European Supercup. It has been extraordinary.”

When asked which of the two major trophies he was most happy with, the director refused to choose.

“They were both different types of victory, but quite frankly it was a joy being able to celebrate them both.”

This title is the 43rd trophy won by Milan in its long club history, as the side was founded in 1899.

Scudetto: 17 (1901/02, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1950/51, 1954/55, 1956/57, 1958/59, 1961/62, 1967/68, 1978/79, 1987/88, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96, 1998/99, 2003/04)

Coppa Italia: 5 (1966/67, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1976/77, 2002/03)

European Cup: 6 (1962/63, 1968/69, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1993/94, 1988/89, 2002/03)

Cup Winners’ Cup: 2 (1967/68, 1972/73)

European Supercup: 4 (1989, 1990, 1995, 2003)

Intercontinental Cup: 3 (1969, 1989, 1990)

Italian Supercup: 4 (1989, 1992, 1993, 1994)

Coppa Latina: 2 (1951, 1956)

Rossoneri: We deserved it
2.5 || scharatz

Carlo Ancelotti and his players are celebrating Milan’s 17th Scudetto and look back over a record-breaking season.

“This sort of victory is enjoyed slowly,” said the Coach, “as throughout the season we have done very well and fully deserved the title.”

The Scudetto was sealed up with a 1-0 victory over main contenders Roma at the San Siro, although it was a controversial encounter.

“In the second half we tried to keep hold of the result a bit more, but that is only natural as we saw the finish line and tensed up.”

Roma were furious that they were not awarded a penalty for Andriy Shevchenko’s handling offence – an identical incident to the one that saw Siena given a spot-kick a fortnight ago.

“I didn’t see the incident from the bench,” added Ancelotti, “but quite frankly it didn’t make a difference and I couldn’t care less!”

The Ukrainian was thought to be banned from standing in the defensive wall, as he has the urge to protect his face after suffering relatively serious injuries last month.

“Shevchenko should not have been in the wall, as he is still scared after chipping his teeth. Maybe he wants to keep his looks intact.”

There are another two games to go this season and Ancelotti insists he has no intention of taking his foot off the gas.

“We have already earned 79 points and our aim now is to set a new Serie A record to beat the one made by Inter in 1989.”

The Rossoneri could end the campaign with only a single defeat on their books – the 2-1 home loss to Udinese before Christmas.

“Apart from a few understandable slips,” explained the tactician, “we have been brilliant in the big games and that, I feel, is where the difference lies between Milan and the other title contenders.”

It was curious that Ancelotti’s darkest hour – losing the Scudetto in the rain of Perugia when he was on the Juventus bench – mirrored this party in the poor Milanese weather.

“This is certainly a sweeter rain, as the one of Perugia was like acid on my skin. I had the scars from that day, but they have been washed away now. We can go forward and keep working to achieve more objectives.”

Dida was the worst hit by the Roma fans as play was stopped twice for objects striking him on the head, but the goalkeeper remained upbeat.

“We know that these games are always particularly tense,” said the Brazilian. “We did well and I thank the fans for all their support.”

This Rossoneri squad has been compared to Arrigo Sacchi’s all-conquering side of the 1980’s and the former Coach praised his successor.

“I am glad that Milan won this Scudetto as, despite the fact we should honour Roma for their overall performance, the best team won.”

Sacchi is now a director at Parma and a pundit for the Italian press, often criticising Serie A sides for a negative attitude.

“I congratulate Ancelotti for his hard work,” continued the ex-Italy boss, “as he won the title with entertaining play and keeping possession rather than just the traditional counter-attack tactics.”

2.5 || scharatz

Shevchenko 2 (M)
Stadio San Siro

Milan are crowned the Champions of Italy thanks to Andriy Shevchenko's early header, but the Scudetto party was spoiled by Roma hooligans.

Anything less than a Roma victory - a result they haven't earned for 18 years - would crown Milan Champions of Italy. All three meetings between these two clubs this season (including the Coppa Italia) had gone 2-1 to the Rossoneri, so Fabio Capello's men were going against the odds.

Carlo Ancelotti surprised many pundits by choosing to leave Manuel Rui Costa on the bench and field Jon Dahl Tomasson upfront.

Capello was forced to do without the injured Cristian Chivu and suspended John Carew, but stuck with the 4-4-2 as Jonathan Zebina stepped in to central defence.

It took Milan just 90 seconds to break the deadlock as Kaka' charged down the right flank and his cross was nodded in by an unmarked Andriy Shevchenko.

Former Roma defender Marcos Cafu skipped past Olivier Dacourt on that same flank and his angled drive struck the side-netting.

As the first half wore on the Rossoneri just seemed to take more control of the game with a very aggressive performance. Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf's long-range efforts were just off target.

The first Roma effort came on 39 minutes, as Gennaro Gattuso's error allowed Vincent Candela a shot from eight yards, but Dida was ready for it.

Just before the break the San Siro held its collective breath when Kaka' set up Shevchenko on the edge of the box, but his angled drive whistled mere inches wide of the far post.

Fabio Capello needed to make a change and introduced Under-21 international creative midfielder Gaetano D'Agostino for the disappointing Candela.

A scuffle broke out at the dawn of the second half as Totti's free kick took a deflection off the wall and there were furious penalty appeals. Replays suggest the ball did strike Shevchenko's elbow - an identical incident to the one that saw Siena given a penalty against Milan a fortnight ago.

The tension rose further when a flare thrown by Roma fans behind Dida's goal shook Gattuso and play was halted for four minutes.

This incident only seemed to fire up the Giallorossi more and Francisco Lima ballooned a great chance over the bar.

The San Siro was a powder keg and a brawl broke out between Brazilians Kaka' and Lima, but the referee opted to only book the two players.

Cafu's high challenge on Totti in the box handed Roma an indirect free kick from 12 yards, but Cassano's effort was charged down by the wall.

Milan poured forward on the counter-attack and Shevchenko's close-range attempt was closed down by some close marking.

The Rossoneri weathered the Roma storm and became dangerous again with Shevchenko's attempt going just wide and a fierce Tomasson effort fingertipped off target by Ivan Pelizzoli.

The goalkeeper was again called into a stunning reaction save when Alessandro Nesta redirected a corner kick towards the far post.

Roma kept on pushing and Mancini's half-volley went wide, but play was again halted as Dida was struck by a metal object thrown by the Roma fans behind his goal.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Costacurta; Seedorf (Kaladze 95), Pirlo, Gattuso; Kaka' (Rui Costa 85); Shevchenko, Tomasson (Ambrosini 80)

Roma: Pelizzoli; Panucci, Zebina, Samuel, Candela (D'Agostino 46); Mancini, Emerson, Dacourt, Lima (De Rossi 75); Totti, Cassano (Delvecchio 73)

Ref: Messina

Kaka takes on Totti
2.5 || scharatz

The Scudetto will either be handed to Milan or blown wide open this afternoon and Kaka’ realises the pressure is on him and Francesco Totti.

“This is going to be an incredible game,” said the young Brazilian.

“We are all rather tense, but very concentrated. I have tried to relax this week and spend time with my family, so I am ready for this challenge.”

Kaka’ has been the signing of the season in Serie A and, unlikely many South Americans, made an immediate impact on the European scene.

“This will be the most important match of my career so far,” added the 22-year-old.

“I know many people will be expecting a duel between myself and Totti, but I believe we’ll see two great teams battling it out in every area of the pitch. We’re certainly not lacking motivation.”

Teammate Clarence Seedorf agreed and insisted that Totti was not necessarily the key to victory.

“I don’t believe that Roma are dependent on Totti. Cristian Chivu’s absence through injury won’t be decisive either, as Jonathan Zebina is ready to step in, albeit with different characteristics.”

“Individual players won’t make the difference,” assured the Dutchman, “as the strength of an overall team is what counts in these battles.”

Despite Seedorf’s claims, the fact that Chivu is out of this match with a thigh strain – an injury that could rule him out for the rest of the season – could prompt Fabio Capello to change tactics.

During Saturday’s training session the Coach tested out a 3-5-2 system with Under-21 international Daniele De Rossi in midfield.

Sheva to complete 'perfect year'
2.5 || scharatz

Andriy Shevchenko believes that winning the Scudetto on Sunday would make this the happiest year of his life.

“I have never been so close to the title,” exclaimed the Milan star, “and now it is there within touching distance. It’d be the perfect ending after five years of waiting.”

The Ukrainian has played a major part in their record-breaking Serie A campaign with 21 goals, but despite winning the Capocannoniere charts before he has never conquered the Italian Championship.

“It’s not over yet,” he told the ‘Corriere della Sera’ newspaper, “but we are at the crossroads. It’s all too easy to tumble from joy to disappointment.”

With Pippo Inzaghi’s on-going injury worries, Shevchenko has taken the burden of netting goals for Milan this season.

Yet he will have another more important reason to celebrate if his team does seal up the title on Sunday - reports that his model girlfriend Kristen Pazik is pregnant.

“This has probably been the happiest year of my life and I can hardly believe it’s real.”

Milan squad:

Gk: Abbiati, Dida, Fiori
D: Cafu, Costacurta, Laursen, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Simic
M: Abate, Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Kakà, Pirlo, Redondo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho
F: Borriello, Tomasson, Shevchenko

Roma squad:

Gk: Lupatelli, Pelizzoli, Zotti
D: Candela, Dellas, Panucci, Samuel, Zebina, Lima
M: D’Agostino, Dacourt, De Rossi, Emerson, Mancini, Tommasi
F: Cassano, Delvecchio, Totti, Corvia

AC MILAN vs. AS ROMA - preview
1.5 || scharatz

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls. Sit down, buckle up and hang on, for what you are about to experience will surely be a spectacle of the beautiful game at its highest pinnacle.

Sunday afternoon's Serie A fixture at Milan's famous San Siro Stadium involving the top two teams is surely going to be the biggest match of the entire Italian league season. A win for Carlo Ancelotti's Milan would wrap up their 17th Scudetto, whilst a victory for Roma would give them the chance to catch Milan at the top and provide the most exciting finish to an Italian league season in years.

Both teams have had excellent seasons – with Milan's only low point coming in the Champions League where they were belted 4-0 by Deportivo La Coruna after taking a 4-1 first leg lead. In the domestic competition however they have been the most consistent team all season and thoroughly deserve their 6 point lead over the Giallorossi. Milan's season has been propelled largely by the goal scoring efforts of Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko, the midfield dominance of Andrea Pirlo and the rise of young Brazilian starlet Kaka up-front.

Roma have also had a lot to cheer about this season, with the team playing some of the most attractive football in Europe this term. They have been let down by consistency, which has seen them drop points against lower teams but they have been flawless against the big guns – highlighted by 4-1 wins over Inter and Parma and the well documented 4-0 thrashing of Juventus. They also boast the best attack and defence in the entire competition, with captain Francesco Totti currently only needing two more goals to reach a milestone 100 goals in Serie A. The Italian international has had a brilliant season and has 20 goals to his name – only 1 behind Shevchenko, who happens to be leading the race.


Milan – DDLWWD
Milan's Serie A form has been quite patchy recently, but nevertheless, they have a tendency to get the points, albeit without much entertainment. Their last match was a dour 0-0 draw with Udinese but no one should be denying the quality they have in their side. They also have the wood over Roma, defeating them three times earlier this season – all 2-1 victories.

Roma have only lost one game in the past six weeks – a 2-1 defeat against Bologna. They have been playing well of late and captain Francesco Totti has really stood up and played exceptionally well. They will need another good performance from him here if they hope to notch a win.


Milan will be missing Filippo Inzaghi and Giuseppe Pancaro – both through injury. Other than this they have no major problems. Expect Ancelotti to field Andriy Shevchenko as a lone striker in front of Kaka and Rui Costa.

In defence, the back four of Cafu, Nesta, Maldini and Costacurta will be expected to take the field once again.

Roma will be without Christian Chivu, Vincenzo Montella and John Carew – the latter of whom is suspended for this clash. Jonathan Zebina is also a doubt, but could start from the bench.

The biggest loss is no doubt that of Chivu, who was injured whilst playing for Romania in the midweek friendly against Germany. Expect Capello to use Dellas in the centre of defence and he will need to step up to the mark if Roma are going to win this match.

Gaetano D'Agostino should be given the left-wing spot and will have plenty of room to manoeuvre. His crossing game could be the key to a great performance from Roma and expect someone like Cassano to enjoy his precision like passing.


AC Milan (4-3-2-1): 12 Dida; 2 Cafu, 13 Nesta, 3 Maldini 19 Costacurta; 23 Ambrosini, 21 Pirlo, 20 Seedorf; 10 Rui Costa, 22 Kaka; 7 Shevchenko;
77 Abbiati, 32 Brocchi, 24 Laursen, 14 Simic, 8 Gattuso, 27 Serginho, 15 Tomasson

AS Roma (4-4-2): 22 Pelizzoli; 2 Panucci, 31 Dellas, 19 Samuel, 8 Lima; 30 Mancini, 15 Dacourt, 11 Emerson, 21 D'Agostino; 10 Totti, 18 Cassano;
3 Lupatelli, 5 Zebina, 32 Candela, 27 De Rossi, 17 Tommasi, 24 Delvecchio, 34 Corvia


Kaka (Milan): should Milan win the Scudetto thanks to a marvellous moment of Kaka skill, it would only be fitting, because the Brazilian has enjoyed a fabulous first season in Serie A.

Francesco Totti (Roma): the player for the big occasion. One senses that if Roma are to get the win they require, Totti needs to see plenty of the ball.

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