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The Archive

June 2008

Ancelotti explains Dream Team
28.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has explained precisely how he’ll field Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato, Kaka, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo together.

Milan are struggling to overcome Arsenal’s £31m price-tag for Emmanuel Adebayor and therefore turning their attention back towards Barcelona outcast Ronaldinho, although that will take some tactical reshuffling from the Coach.

“We agreed to sign either a striker or a Trequartista. It makes no difference to me, we’d just change the system,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“If we sign a centre-forward, then we’ll play the 4-3-1-2. Otherwise it’ll be the classic ‘Christmas Tree’ formation, a 4-3-2-1, which we know well and has given us a great deal of success.”

This was the system used in 2002-03 when the Rossoneri lifted both the Champions League and the Coppa Italia.

“Aside from the tactics, it is a question of studying the movement of the three forwards. Pippo Inzaghi and Marco Borriello have the characteristics to stay up there alone, but Pato does not.

“This means he would have to adapt and learn many new things. He is young, so I don’t think there will be problems in that sense. It will take time, but he’ll do it, I can guarantee that.

“Kaka is the best player in the world, so I wouldn’t dream of changing his position or characteristics. Kaka will do what he always has done, following his instinct and his quality.”

Seedorf complained last season when he was forced into wide midfield positions, but with Ronaldinho coming in would be pushed out yet again.

“Seedorf is an intelligent man and a very useful player,” noted Ancelotti. “He can play as a Trequartista and a pure midfielder. There are no problems.”

The midfield has also been reinforced with the arrival of Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer from Arsenal, while the Coach assures Emerson has overcome his injury woes.

The defence was the shakiest area of Milan’s squad last term, but there is only one big signing, Gianluca Zambrotta from Barcelona.

“He is a great full-back who can play on the right or the left. He’s not exactly young, but he is very reliable. On the left we have Marek Jankulovski as well as Giuseppe Favalli, while Massimo Oddo has the opportunity to prove himself on the right after a below par campaign.

“Plus we have brought back Luca Antonini, a youngster who really impressed when out on loan and is a valuable alternative for defence or midfield.”

As Milan are out of the Champions League, the club must inevitably turn its attention towards recapturing the Scudetto for the first time since 2003-04.

“It is our primary objective. We all want to prove ourselves after missing out on Europe and nobody liked that turn of events. It will be an unusual year and we’ll fight on three fronts – Serie A, the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia. Milan will be centre stage.”

Bronzetti expects Ronaldinho to AC Milan
28.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s market consultant Ernesto Bronzetti believes that Ronaldinho will join the Rossoneri “unless some strange things happen.”

Emmanuel Adebayor has ruled out a move to San Siro this evening and Diavolo Vice-President Adriano Galliani has revealed that Ronaldinho is the No 1 target.

After months of flirtation with the world champions, Dinho now seems keen to fast track a transfer and Bronzetti has shrugged off Galliani’s claims that he won’t meet Barcelona’s price tag.

“Milan have never given up on him and I am the main witness of that because I am in regular contact with Ronaldinho and his brother,” Bronzetti revealed on Radio Radio TV.

“I spoke to the player last night and he told me that he only wants to play for Milan and he wanted me to transmit that to Galliani.

“My impression is that in the end he will join Carlo Ancelotti’s squad, unless some strange things happen.”

Adebayor rules out AC Milan
28.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s attempts to sign Emmanuel Adebayor seem to have hit a brick wall as the striker declares his intention to stay at Arsenal.

The Rossoneri are trying to find a big-name striker to bolster their attacking ranks ahead of next season.

After links with a number of names, Vice-President Adriano Galliani set his heart on Adebayor, who seemed keen on the switch but has now backed away.

“I am an Arsenal player and I still have three years on my contract,” the Togolese ace said.

“The important thing for me is to enjoy playing. I will be staying at Arsenal whatever happens and I have lots of years ahead of me because I have a good contract at a big club.

“I am playing for one of the best teams in the world and I am happy where I am.”

Milan had been expected to table a bid in excess of £25m, but it now seems that the trail has gone cold.

Meanwhile, Galliani seems ready to focus his efforts on Barcelona star Ronaldinho.

“Carlo Ancelotti has agreed a move for the Brazilian,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Ancelotti is ready to build a Milan with Ronaldinho and without Adebayor. However, we will not pay the £28m that Barcelona want – that sum must fall.”

AC Milan's Maldini turns 40
28.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are wishing captain Paolo Maldini a happy birthday as he prepares for his 24th season with the Rossoneri.

The veteran defender had considered hanging his boots up at the end of last season, but he opted to stay on for one more campaign.

Maldini, who turns 40 today, has only ever worn the Rossoneri shirt and is guaranteed to live on in the hearts of Milan fans long after his playing days are over.

“Birthday wishes from the hearts of everyone at the club,” a statement on Milan’s website reads.

“After a 23-year career and 1009 official games in the League, Cup and for his nation, Maldini decided to stay for another season.

“That choice brought such joy to all the fans, who woke up this morning thinking about him on his birthday.”

Maldini has made more Serie A appearances than any other player with 617 outings to his name.

Adebayor '80 per cent' AC Milan
25.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor is “80 per cent” a Milan player, according to his agent Vincenzo Morabito.

The Togo international has been named as their number one transfer target and after an initial offer was rejected, it seems the process is in full swing.

“Arsenal are looking for Adebayor’s replacement. Until that search is over, the negotiations won’t reach the final stage, but I am fairly optimistic,” revealed Morabito on television show Studio Sport.

“What are the chances of Adebayor coming to Milan? I’d say today we are between 70 and 80 per cent.”

It is believed the Rossoneri are just £3m away from sealing a deal with Arsenal, as they have proposed £28m compared to the £31m asking price.

Barcelona had an offer rejected earlier this month, but Milan have the crucial consensus of the player, who has reportedly demanded a transfer to San Siro.

Weah recommends Adebayor
25.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Former Milan star George Weah has advised the Rossoneri to fight as hard as they can for the signature of Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor.

Despite interest from Barcelona, Milan are favourites to clinch the Togolese ace’s services as Arsenal have reportedly resigned themselves to his departure.

Reports suggest that the Rossoneri may be just £3m away from a successful bid and ex-European and World Player of the Year Weah believes the financial sacrifice is worth it.

“He’s a good player and I think it would be good for Milan to sign him,” the Liberian legend stressed.

“He is skilful, strong and a good goal scorer. If the Diavolo have a chance to sign him then it would be the right move.”

The total cost of Adebayor looks likely to amount to a transfer record for the world champions as they look to rebuild in the hope of a Scudetto challenge next term.

AC Milan are '£3m from Adebayor'
25.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Reports suggest that just £3m now separates Arsenal marksman Emmanuel Adebayor from a move to Milan.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani’s painstaking search for a new striker to add to Alexandre Pato has narrowed to just one name – Adebayor.

And despite Arsenal’s initial reluctance to sell the Togolese star, it seems that the player’s determination to join the Diavolo will prove decisive.

Reports suggest that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has resigned himself to losing Adebayor and that the London club are close to agreeing a fee with Milan.

According to Mediaset, Arsenal are demanding £31m for the immediate completion of the deal, while Milan’s current offer is around £28m – a difference that can easily be resolved.

Barcelona had been favourites to lure Adebayor after reportedly tabling a £25m bid, but Adebayor is determined to play in Serie A rather than La Liga.

Ronaldinho 'still wants AC Milan'
25.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Although Milan have deemed Ronaldinho too expensive, the player’s agent insists he is desperate to join them.

“We are working to take the best player in the world to the greatest club in the world,” said Roberto De Assis.

“We have always had an excellent rapport with Milan and are in constant contact. The chances of Ronaldinho playing with a Rossoneri jersey this coming season remain the same as they were a few months ago.”

However, last week Milan general manager Adriano Galliani said Ronaldinho had received a “crazy offer” from England that they could not compete with.

Barcelona have confirmed they want to sell Ronaldinho this summer and would prefer to make as much money from his sale as possible, but the player has no intention of moving to Manchester City.

Another alternative is Chelsea with Brazilian Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari now taking over, but ‘Dinho’s agent has made it clear what the first choice is and always has been.

De Assis also pointed out it was highly unlikely any deal would be concluded before the Olympics in August, which will see Ronaldinho playing for the Brazilian squad.

Galliani gives hitman update
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has given an honest appraisal of the strikers the Rossoneri have been linked with in the summer market.

The Diavolo need a new hitman to add to Brazilian teen star Alexandre Pato and Marco Borriello, who has been brought back from Genoa.

Galliani has stressed that Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor is the only name left on the shopping list, but that hasn’t stopped a host of other names being linked to San Siro.

“Some people are talking about Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but I’m not sure that he’s better than Borriello,” Galliani explained.

“Karim Benzema costs too much and Lyon aren’t selling him. There has been no approach for Adrian Mutu and he is a second striker – we have Pato for that position.

“We haven’t inquired about Antonio Cassano but like Mutu he is a second striker anyway.

“Chelsea say that Didier Drogba isn’t for sale and then there’s Samuel Eto’o for whom Barcelona are asking too much and his wages are far too large – they aren’t compatible with an Italian club.”

Galliani concluded by discussing the impossibility of signing Barcelona’s Brazilian star Ronaldinho.

“It’s not true that we are considering a bid for him,” he said. “He has a ridiculous offer from England and it cannot be matched.”

Lloris explains AC Milan refusal
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Highly rated French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has explained his decision to snub Milan to join Lyon.

The impressive 21-year-old custodian had been touted as a possible replacement for the error-prone Nelson Dida between the posts for Milan.

However, Lloris opted to leave Nice for French champions Lyon after considering an offer from the Diavolo.

“Of course Milan were a great opportunity for me,” he told Nogomania.

“We all know that they are one of the best clubs in the world, but everything got complicated about my role in the club.

“They couldn’t guarantee that I will play on a regular basis. And they have six goalkeepers at Milan, so that tells you everything.

“In the end, Lyon came in for me and this club were my big wish. I want to win Ligue 1 and I think this is the best step for me in my career.”

It is believed that Christian Abbiati’s decision to stay at Milan, rather than joining Palermo, will prevent the world champions from signing a new shot-stopper this summer.

AC Milan to buy Schweinsteiger?
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are reportedly chasing German international star Bastian Schweinsteiger and are considering activating his rescission clause.

In spite of his needless sending off against Croatia, Bayern Munich midfield ace Schweinsteiger has impressed at Euro 2008.

The 23-year-old scored one goal and set up another during Germany’s 3-2 win over Portugal in the quarter-finals and earned a place on a number of shopping lists.

According to L’Equipe, Milan are ready to meet the £17m needed to force Bayern to relinquish their grip of Schweinsteiger and they are preparing personal terms.

However, the Diavolo will almost certainly face competition from the Premier League.

“England does appeal and it is one of the best Leagues in the world,” Schweinsteiger told The Sunday Mail.

“I’ve always wanted to play there and we will see what happens this year.”

Milan are currently still trying to lure Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, but may need all their available funds to do so.

Gattuso blames fitness woes
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso believes the only problem with Italy’s Euro 2008 was physical, causing their “lack of sharpness.”

“Aside from the opening match, the only thing we were really lacking was the sharpness we had in the World Cup.

“The spirit was the same and so was our desire to amaze and find our place in history, but our legs didn’t carry us as well.”

The Azzurri crashed out of the competition in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out to Spain after 120 minutes of goalless football.

“We are very upset, which is natural when you are part of a squad and wear the Azzurri shirt. I am very proud to wear this jersey and be part of this team, as we proved we never give in.

“We won the World Cup on penalties and lost Euro 2008 on spot-kicks, so it’s understandable. You can train for penalties all you like, but when you get there the legs are shaking and it can go against you.

“Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. It is human to make mistakes. Practising isn’t really effective, as when you are there in front of the fans with the whole nation hanging on your shoulders, it does things to your mind.”

Gattuso was suspended for this match and watched from the stands along with teammate Andrea Pirlo.

“The team was missing Pirlo for the way he moves the ball around, without taking anything away from the other players,” noted Rino.

Now question marks hang over Roberto Donadoni’s future, as it was reported before the tournament that anything less than a semi-final would be considered a failure.

“We have great respect for Donadoni and he is a good man who puts a lot of passion into his work and tells you to your face what he thinks, which in my view is very important.”

Kaka: Ronaldinho still dreams of AC Milan
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldinho’s “dream of joining Milan” is still not over, according to Selecao teammate Kaka.

Barcelona confirmed this week that Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o and Deco are not in their plans for next season and can leave the club.

Despite this statement from new Coach Pep Guardiola, the negotiations between the two clubs were not revived because of Barca’s £20m price-tag.

“I am pleased Ronaldinho has been called up for the Olympics, as he is going through a very difficult time,” explained Kaka.

“Barcelona have frozen him out. It seems tough right now to see him moving to Milan, as there was talk of it for so long and it was all ready to be completed when someone put the brakes on.

“Ronaldinho has not changed his mind and still dreams of joining Milan. And I can confirm the club is still thinking of him.”

In recent weeks the Rossoneri changed their objective to Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor and are facing a brawl with Barcelona over his £25m signing.

It is still possible that Milan could use that issue as leverage to force Barca into lowering Ronaldinho’s price-tag so they will step out of the way and give them free access to Adebayor.

Kaka wanted to be at the Beijing Olympics along with Ronaldinho, but was not given the go-ahead.

“My situation is different to Ronaldinho’s, as he is no longer really a Barcelona player, while I belong to Milan and they have the right to decide.

“I asked the club if I could go to the Games, but it doesn’t depend on me. I did what I could and now it is up to the Brazilian Federation to make another request.”

Having already released Alexandre Pato for the Olympics, Milan were reluctant to send Kaka out as well, especially as he had left knee surgery in May.

“As for my knee, it is absolutely fine. I am undergoing physiotherapy, my body is reacting well and I’ll be ready in about two weeks.”

Ronaldo due to resume running
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo is well on the road to recovery and “I’ll start running in two to three weeks,” said the Milan star.

“My knee is feeling much better,” he told Sky Italia while visiting the Formula One GP in Magny-Cours.

“We are beginning the muscular reinforcement work now and then I’ll start running in two to three weeks. It’s all going very well.”

Il Fenomeno snapped the tendon in his knee during a 1-1 draw with Livorno in February and was immediately told he’d be out of action for between six and nine months.

“I have moved to Paris for a while to continue the rehabilitation. Seeing as I’m close by, I decided to come see the Formula One.

“It’s a wonderful atmosphere and I am cheering on Ferrari due to my history with Italy and also my friend Felipe Massa, who is driving.”

Adebayor: AC Milan or nothing
23.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Arsenal are ready to release Emmanuel Adebayor for £25m, but while his club would prefer Barcelona, he only wants Milan.

Several newspapers in Italy, England and Spain are reporting this story, as the 24-year-old does look as if he’s receiving the go-ahead from Arsene Wenger to leave.

His wage demands allegedly prompted the decision, as he requested £80,000 a week to stay at the Emirates.

Although Arsenal are prepared to release Adebayor, his destination is still up in the air and the subject of another battle.

Barcelona have already flown in director Marc Ingla on Friday to hold negotiations and make a £22m offer.

The Gunners would prefer he go to Spain, but Tuttosport insists Adebayor will only accept a transfer to San Siro.

The rapport between the clubs is not good after Mathieu Flamini turned down a contract renewal to complete a free transfer to Milan last month.

But the players’ demands are crucial in this type of move and so Arsenal are willing to sell to the Rossoneri, but only if they can beat Barca’s bid.

Tuttosport claims that Adebayor sent an email to Wenger on Thursday asking for a face-to-face meeting, copying it to acting managing director Ken Friar and Milan general manager Adriano Galliani, but not to any Barcelona figures.

Either way it will be a good bit of business for Arsenal, who only signed the Togo international from Monaco for £7m two years ago.

Adebayor flies in to London this weekend and is set for a meeting with Wenger on Tuesday at the latest.

Inter and AC Milan 'request Cassano'
18.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Inter and Milan have approached Antonio Cassano for a move, confirm Sampdoria, but he’s not going anywhere.

“It is true, there was contact about the player from Inter and Milan,” explained general manager Beppe Marotta.

“But for the moment we have no intention of selling him.”

Samp only just completed his signature after a successful loan spell from Real Madrid in 2007-08.

Cassano was considered a gamble by many when he arrived, but has put most of his unfortunate antics and personality clashes behind him.

His form even earned him a call-up for Euro 2008 and last night against France he made his first Italy start in 21 months.

News of the official interest from both San Siro sides, as well as a reported bid from Juventus, shows how Cassano’s profile is on the up.

Meanwhile, Cagliari have made a formal request to take young striker Alberto Paloschi on loan from Milan.

The teenager hit the headlines when he scored just 30 seconds into his Serie A debut.

Kaka: I'm going nowhere
18.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan ace Kaka insists that he has no intention of leaving San Siro for Chelsea and has hit out his exclusion from Brazil’s Olympic squad.

The FIFA World Player of the Year fended off the advances of Real Madrid last year and Chelsea are his latest suitors after compatriot Luiz Felipe Scolari was unveiled as the club’s new manager.

“I heard about Chelsea’s interest from the English papers,” Kaka revealed.

“But I don’t want to leave Milan at all. The only way that I would is if they decided to sell me. But from what I have seen, it seems difficult.”

It looks almost certain that Kaka will miss out on playing for Brazil at this summer’s Olympics and hasn’t been playing in the Selecao’s World Cup 2010 qualifiers due a lingering injury.

“It disappointed me that I was left out of the side,” the Brasilia native admitted.

“I was surprised, but there’s no reason for some people to blame my club, as it was a decision made by Brazil’s medical staff.

“As for the Olympics, it would be a great experience for me, but if the club wants to withhold me then it’s not my fault.

“I want to go to Beijing and I have told Milan that – I have made an effort to be there.”

AC Milan vie for Miguel Veloso
18.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

While negotiations with Milan for Miguel Veloso are confirmed, Sporting Lisbon also arrange a friendly with Sampdoria.

“I can confirm that Milan are interested in Miguel Veloso and have been for some time, so we are not surprised by the renewed bid,” commented agent Paulo Barbosa on Teleradiostereo.

“The rescission clause is set at £20m, but after Euro 2008 the clubs can sit down around a table to negotiate. Right now Miguel is focused on the European Championship.”

Veloso is a defensive midfielder who can also play in central defence when needed. He impressed Italian fans when commanding the midfield in Sporting’s 1-0 victory over Inter last season.

However, the Portuguese midfielder is also a target for Serie A rivals Roma, who have a Champions League place compared to Milan’s UEFA Cup spot.

“They did track him after coming face to face in the Champions League, but then that interest died down a bit,” added Barbosa.

Meanwhile, Sporting Lisbon have arranged a friendly against Sampdoria in Portugal on August 9.

Pirlo expects France start
16.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has refuted Press reports in the peninsula that he will be dropped for tomorrow’s D-day clash against France.

After the Azzurri’s stuttering start, the nation’s media have been heaping the pressure on Coach Roberto Donadoni and demanding he shakes things up before their all-or-nothing game against France.

Several of today’s newspapers have reported that the under-fire tactician will drop Pirlo, who has failed to have the expected effect in the first two games.

However, the Milan star laughed off the speculation during a brief discussion with journalists this afternoon.

“I will certainly be playing tomorrow,” he stressed. “The decision is with the Coach, but I think I’ll be chosen.”

There are many theories over the changes that Donadoni will make, with widespread suggestions that Antonio Cassano will start, but the former Livorno man would only stress that his preparations had gone well.

“We are ready,” he said. “We know what we are playing for and we will give everything we have in body and spirit.

“This is another Final for us. It is a very important game - rather it is the game. I will pick my team after training tomorrow morning.”

Even if they beat France, Italy will be eliminated from Euro 2008 if Romania beat Holland.

Abate back, Pozzi out for AC Milan
16.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan and Empoli have come to an agreement over co-owned midfielder Ignazio Abate and striker Nicola Pozzi.

Azzurrini star Abate, who impressed at Empoli last term, has been brought back to San Siro where he developed in Milan’s youth academy.

The 21-year-old is likely to act as cover or may be sent out on loan to gain more top-flight experience.

Pozzi made a crucial contribution in Tuscany last season before picking up a knee ligament injury in December that ended his campaign and ruled him out of this summer’s Olympics.

In spite of Empoli’s relegation to Serie B, the gifted hitman has always stressed his desire to stay at the Stadio Castellani and will hope to strike regularly in the second tier when he returns from injury.

Adebayor overpriced for AC Milan
15.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s hopes of signing Emmanuel Adebayor have hit a massive obstacle. “He’s too expensive!”

The Arsenal star is the prime transfer target to reinforce the attack and his agent admitted this week an offer from Milan would be “difficult to turn down.”

However, any personal interest was immediately squashed by the huge £30m price-tag placed on the Togo hitman’s head.

“Will we sign Adebayor? I don’t know, he’s very expensive,” commented patron Silvio Berlusconi to journalists at an event in Piacenza.

This closes the list of potential arrivals back down to the equally expensive Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.

Cheaper options include Spurs man Dimitar Berbatov and Mario Gomez of Germany.

Adebayor can't resist AC Milan
15.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Emmanuel Adebayor’s Rossoneri move is back on after his agent confessed, “it’s difficult to turn down Milan.”

General manager Adriano Galliani has publicly named the Arsenal striker as the primary transfer target.

Although he said he was happy at the Emirates, agent Stephane Courbis painted a different picture.

“It is difficult to say if Emmanuel will play for Milan,” he told Italian station Radio Radio TV.

“I know the club has been in contact with Arsenal and now it all depends on the intentions of the English side.

“Milan are a great club, among the best in the world, and when a team like that wants to buy you, you have to think about it very carefully.

“There has to be an agreement between the two clubs. Adebayor is happy at Arsenal, but when a player is tracked by Milan, it is difficult to turn them down.”

The comments are pennies from Heaven for Galliani, who is finding it very difficult to tempt a world class striker to San Siro after failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger still has no intention of parting with the Togo international for less than £30m, but Adebayor’s manager is putting a cat among the pigeons.

After all, Milan have already tempted Mathieu Flamini across to Serie A in an out-of-contract swoop.

Zambrotta completes AC Milan move
13.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have officially completed the transfer of Barcelona’s Azzurri defender Gianluca Zambrotta, confirming the fee and contract terms.

The deal has been public knowledge for weeks, but the two clubs only finalised the transfer today.

Zambrotta, who has been a Rossoneri target for over a decade, has finally been added to the Diavolo ranks.

“Barcelona and Milan have signed the agreement this morning for the passage of Zambrotta to the Rossoneri on a permanent basis,” a statement confirmed.

“Zambrotta will sign a contract with Milan until 2012. The cost of the transfer is £7m, plus the possibility of an additional £1.6m depending on the Diavolo’s League position next season.”

The 31-year-old’s wages are expected to amount to around £2.5m per season.

Leonardo: Chelsea can forget Kaka
13.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s technical director Leonardo has told Chelsea to give up on signing Kaka, despite the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Despite the Rossoneri’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League, Kaka extended his contract last term and has stressed that his future lies at San Siro.

But the appointment of former Brazil Coach Scolari at Stamford Bridge has restarted speculation that Kaka could be a transfer target, as the two men have a close relationship.

However, Leonardo is adamant that Scolari’s arrival in West London won’t catalyse a sensational swoop for the FIFA World Player of the Year.

“It’s only natural that a Brazilian Coach will try and bring in Brazilian players,” the former midfielder told the BBC.

“But it would be impossible to sign Kaka because he is a Milan player and will be until the end of his career.”

Pato gets Olympic call
13.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Alexandre Pato has been included in Carlos Dunga’s Brazil squad for this summer’s Olympic Games.

The Milan starlet made a superb start to life in Serie A with nine goals in 18 games for the Diavolo after arriving from Internacional in January.

Pato made his full Brazil debut against Sweden on March 26 and found the net and the 18-year-old’s form made his place in Beijing a formality.

While Milan were determined to prevent Kaka from travelling to the Olympics as they want him fresh for the start of next season, the San Siro side didn’t stand in Pato’s way.

Brazil’s Olympic squad contains just one play over the age of 23 – Real Madrid star Robinho.

Dunga’s youngsters will play a Rio De Janeiro representative side on June 22.

Brazil Olympic squad:

Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Almeria), Renan (Internacional)

Defenders: Rafinha (Schalke), Nei (Atletico Paranaense), Leonardo (Olympiacos), Filipe (Deportivo La Coruna), Alex Silva (Sao Paulo), Breno (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Fluminese), Leo (Gremio)

Midfielders: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Ramires (Cruzeiro), Charles (Cruzeiro), Anderson (Manchester United), Diego (Werder Bremen), Thiago Neves (Fluminese)

Strikers: Robinho (Real Madrid), Pato (Milan), Sobis (Betis), Oldoni (Atletico Paranaense)

Zambrotta defends the defence
10.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gianluca Zambrotta has refused to blame the defence or post-World Cup complacency for their horror show with Holland.

“When you lose, it is all done together and not just the fault of the defence, midfield or attack,” said the new Milan signing after their 3-0 defeat.

“We’ll talk it over with the Coach, but the fact we conceded two goals on the counter-attack is worrying, as it is something that we should not allow to happen.

“Now we must come together again and prepare for the crunch match with Romania, as that is going to be decisive.”

During the game Zambrotta played both as a left-back and right-back, switching when Fabio Grosso came off the bench.

The scramble to find a reason behind their poor result is in full swing and some have accused the Azzurri of complacency after winning the 2006 World Cup.

“The World Cup is in the past and I don’t think that had any effect on the squad tonight. There are another two games to go and we can recover from this situation.

“The second half was easily better than the first, especially in terms of psychological approach.

“We came out to begin with a little sluggish compared to the Dutch, but reacted in a bid to equalise and inevitably became too unbalanced.”

Pirlo critiques Donadoni decisions
10.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo took issue with Roberto Donadoni’s tactical choices, specifically the use of full-backs and delays in substitutions.

“We certainly got off to a bad start. We didn’t intend to play like this, but we ran into an off day. There are another two games now and we have to play better and win,” he said after the 3-0 defeat to Holland.

Donadoni surprised many by picking Massimo Ambrosini in place of Daniele De Rossi in the starting XI.

“If De Rossi had played then I would’ve been further up the field, but there are 23 of us in the squad and the Coach makes his decisions.”

“We tried to break them down, but in the first half they always doubled up on the wings and blocked us off.”

Matters improved considerably after the break when Fabio Grosso came off the bench, moving Gianluca Zambrotta to right-back and Christian Panucci into central defence.

“In the second half with Grosso and Zambrotta we got to the byeline a bit more. We probably should’ve had them on earlier, considering the way the game went, but it’s easy to say in hindsight,” continued Pirlo.

The back line left a lot to be desired, as the absence of injured captain Fabio Cannavaro made itself felt.

“The first goal was offside and then we conceded twice on counters that were created from our set plays at the other end, so we just weren’t attentive enough to their runs.”

“We were all disappointed, but this match is over and we have to analyse our mistakes and ensure we don’t repeat them in the two decisive games.”

Ancelotti explains Chelsea snub
8.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has no interest in leaving Milan for Chelsea and stresses that there’s one side that could convince him to leave the Rossoneri.

Carletto was approached by the Stamford Bridge giants, as they search for a replacement for sacked manager Avram Grant.

But the 48-year-old turned down the possibility of a hugely lucrative move to London in order to stay with Milan.

And the respected tactician has revealed that only one team could lure him away from San Siro.

“Why didn’t I join Chelsea? I have always said that I would only desert Milan one day for Roma,” he said with a grin.

Ancelotti also stated his pride that Diavolo players were set to play a prominent role at Euro 2008.

“I am happy that Roberto Donadoni called up three of our Italian midfielders and I think that shows that our midfield is perfectly in order,” he claimed.

“But Daniele De Rossi has to play because he is someone you just can’t leave out. Sadly that means that one of my lads will have to miss out.”

The former Roma midfielder concluded by giving his analysis of Roma’s Alberto Aquilani.

“He could become a great player,” he said. “He isn’t one yet, but he has the qualities. We aren’t interested in signing him because we are doing fine in midfield.”

Antonini earns AC Milan return
8.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have agreed a deal with Empoli to bring co-owned midfielder Luca Antonini back to San Siro.

The 25-year-old hails from Milan and was a Rossoneri youth product but has spent his whole career being farmed out for loan spells.

After representing Padova, Prato, Ancona, Sampdoria – where he was co-owned - Modena, Pescara, Arezzo, Siena and Empoli, Antonini has finally been brought back to the fold.

“I can confirm that we have agreed a deal with Empoli for Antonini,” Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani confirmed in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He will take the place of Serginho in our squad for next season.”

Antonini played 25 games for relegated Tuscans Empoli last term and will provide cover next season.

AC Milan derby for Ferrari?
8.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Roma defender Matteo Ferrari is edging towards a move to Milan, but there are rumours that Inter are also in the frame.

Ferrari’s deal at the Stadio Olimpico expires at the end of the month and the 29-year-old has refused to sign a contract extension with the Giallorossi.

Agent Gianni Corci has been keen to stress that his first priority is trying to find an agreement with the capital club, but it seems almost inevitable now that the former Everton man will leave on a free transfer.

According to Il Romanista, Milan are eyeing Ferrari as a possible replacement for Croatian international Dario Simic, who is headed for the San Siro exit.

The player is said to have his heart set on wearing the Rossoneri shirt and would accept a pay cut to join the world champions’ ranks, where he would provide much-needed defensive cover.

However, there are whispers that Inter may step in and beat their city rivals to the punch.

After last term’s injury crises, the Italian champions will be looking to ensure they have greater strength in depth at the back and may see Ferrari as a cheap addition.

Fiorentina were also believed to be keeping an eye on the former Parma man, but they have more pressing targets.

Rossoneri - Eto'o summit
7.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s list of desired strikers was whittled down to one after a meeting with Samuel Eto’o’s agent and a warning on Emmanuel Adebayor.

It is reported in several different Italian newspapers that a summit was held late last night between general manager Adriano Galliani, agent Jose Maria Mesalles and Milan’s transfer consultant Ernesto Bronzetti.

The get-together had Barcelona’s blessing and a deal is close to completion, although Chelsea are ready to rock the boat with an offer of £7m per season for the Cameroon hero.

Galliani had publicly stated this week that the Rossoneri’s search for a new forward would be limited to a group of star names.

They consisted of Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Mario Gomez of Stuttgart, Tottenham hitman Dimitar Berbatov, Eto’o and Adebayor.

The chase for the Arsenal star seems to be already over after a stern warning from an angry Arsene Wenger.

"If AC Milan are interested in Adebayor, they have to understand he is under firm contract we extended last year. They have just to call me and they will get the answer they deserve."

Wenger has already been burned by the San Siro giants, who swooped for Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer.

Meanwhile, Galliani revealed Milan are aiming to freshen up their squad with some young Italian talent.

“If we find an agreement with Empoli, then Luca Antonini will remain with us.”

The left-back is set to be Marek Jankulovski’s understudy, replacing the retired Serginho.

Maggio joins AC Milan wish-list
7.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

As Adriano Galliani lists five strikers – including Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Dimitar Berbatov – Milan also move for Christian Maggio.

“There are negotiations in place and if a big name arrives then we will send out Alberto Paloschi on loan,” explained the general manager.

The newspapers have been full of reports linking them with various different players around the world, although Galliani broke his silence to confirm there was truth in some of those stories.

“The names are the ones you have been reading about: Eto’o, Drogba, Adebayor, Gomez and Berbatov. Any of them would be fine.”

Arsenal have already lost Mathieu Flamini to the Rossoneri on a free transfer and Arsene Wenger is determined not to see Adebayor leave as well.

"I am very happy here. Reports which suggest I have threatened to quit are rubbish," insisted 24-year-old Adebayor.

Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o is rumoured to be close to Inter, as is Drogba following Jose Mourinho’s arrival.

Tottenham forward Berbatov is looking for a new challenge away from the Premier League, while Mario Gomez plies his trade for Stuttgart.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri have already captured Gianluca Zambrotta from Barcelona and are looking to bring in another wide player.

“Milan’s interest has become evident in the last few weeks, so they are talking to Sampdoria,” revealed Maggio’s agent, Massimo Briaschi on Radio Kiss Kiss.

“Napoli were also interested, but I haven’t met any of their representatives since January. At the moment we are in negotiations with the Rossoneri, but also waiting to see if there are any other offers.”

Right-winger Maggio has had his best ever season with Sampdoria, scoring nine goals in 29 Serie A appearances.

He was expected to be part of Italy’s Euro 2008 squad, but was not included in Roberto Donadoni’s list.

Maldini signs new contract
7.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Paolo Maldini has officially extended his Milan career until June 30, 2009, announced the club.

The 40-year-old captain had originally stated he would retire at the end of the 2007-08 campaign, but reconsidered despite injury problems.

This evening the Rossoneri released an official statement confirming that Maldini had put pen to paper on a new contract “until June 30, 2009.”

It was not an entirely unexpected decision, as earlier today general manager Adriano Galliani had hinted a deal was in the offing.

“I hope Paolo will accept the club’s proposal. I sponsored him to continue playing. It all depends on Paolo, the decision is down to him.”

The new contract extends a glorious career that has seen Maldini notch up over 1,000 official games between Milan and Italy.

He made his Serie A debut as a 16-year-old in the 1-1 draw away to Udinese on January 20, 1985.

By the time this new deal expires, Maldini will be aged 41 with 25 top flight campaigns under his belt.

AC Milan: Chelsea asked Ancelotti
7.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have confirmed that Chelsea “sought Carlo Ancelotti, but at the end he said no,” while reports suggest Roberto Mancini is due to take charge.

The Stamford Bridge side is looking for a new tactician and over the past few days there have been claims of multi-million pound offers to tempt Ancelotti to England.

“It is true that Chelsea sought Ancelotti and I knew about it, too,” revealed general manager Adriano Galliani.

“At the end of the day Ancelotti said no. Peter Kenyon spoke to me and repeated that as long as Milan won’t release Ancelotti, they will take no further action.

“They are fair and maintain a good rapport with this club.”

Other candidates for the role at Chelsea are sacked Inter Coach Mancini and Roma boss Luciano Spalletti, a theory that Galliani fuelled.

“Now Chelsea will announce their new Coach very soon. No, I won’t tell you if he is Italian…”

This morning Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck flew out of Heathrow and when asked if the club was closer to signing a new boss he replied: “Yes, I think we are.”

According to newspaper Il Giorno, there was a curious coming together of Serie A tacticians in a hotel in Paris.

Last week Roman Abramovich organised a meeting with Ancelotti and Spalletti, but they bumped into each other on their way to the venue and realised they were competing candidates.

Galliani: We rule the market
5.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani believes the Diavolo have dominated the transfer market in Italy this summer as he looks for a big-name striker.

The Diavolo need to make sweeping changes after finishing outside the Champions League qualification zone.

They have already been active in the market and now Galliani is tracking one final acquisition in the form of a top-class hitman.

“It seems to me that Milan can be considered the side that have done best in the market up to now,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I don’t think any other Italian club has done what we have.

“We have brought back a striker in Marco Borriello who scored 19 goals last season and I don’t think that is less important than a signing.

“Then we have brought home goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and purchased wing-back Gianluca Zambrotta and a great midfielder in Mathieu Flamini.

“Now we will see if we can achieve our objective of signing another great striker.”

Arsenal front man Emmanuel Adebayor is the new name to be suggested and there were rumours today that the player had accepted the move, leaving the two clubs to come to an agreement.

“There is a rule that states that you can’t make a private agreement with a player who is under contract with another club,” Galliani scoffed.

“I don’t know whether a new striker will arrive from England – we will see.”

Gattuso admits Euro anxiety
5.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has given the latest on the mood in the Italy camp and admits that he is starting to feel the Euro 2008 nerves.

The world champions start their European Championship campaign on Monday when they take on Holland.

Roberto Donadoni’s squad have already lost captain Fabio Cannavaro to injury and have to come through a gruelling Group without him.

“How is the atmosphere? We are disappointed to have lost our captain,” Gattuso admitted.

“Cannavaro is important on and off the pitch, but unfortunately we have to look ahead. Now there is Gigi Buffon – he is our security.

“The spirit is still the same, just like it was before the World Cup. The will to do well is there and we just need a little bit of fortune.

“Did you say that the group is too calm? I have already got butterflies in my stomach and adrenaline is flowing,” Rino continued.

“We have to try and stay clam just as we were in Germany, even if Marcello Lippi isn’t here.

“We will work in the same way and the Coach knows how to make us work.

“Entering this European Championship as world champions isn’t a test of maturity.

“In 2006 we played at our very best. Now we will need to battle and fight in the same way.

“We will take on everyone with fierce determination. But we aren’t presumptuous and we are taking nothing for granted.”

Italy’s main goal threat is Luca Toni, who topped the Bundesliga scoring chart last season in his maiden campaign for Bayern Munich.

“Even if Luca doesn’t play aesthetically beautiful football, he plays for the team and he can make the difference,” Gattuso said.

“He is a player who can transform any ball, however scrappy, into a goal.”

Gattuso concluded by giving his views on Inter’s decision to appoint Jose Mourinho.

“I’m pleased,” the pugnacious midfielder claimed. “He has his ideas and I respect them. Furthermore he speaks better Italian than me!

“He is an important arrival for Italian football, it’s just a shame that he has come to Inter.

“But Carlo Ancelotti is also a ‘Special One’ in his own way and we have won so much thanks to him.”

AC Milan aim for Adebayor
5.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Reports in the peninsula suggest that Arsenal marksman Emmanuel Adebayor has agreed a switch to Milan, leaving the two sides to discuss a fee.

The Rossoneri are desperately searching for a reliable striker to team up with Brazilian starlet Alexandre Pato.

While a huge number of names have been suggested, reports suggest that the Diavolo have set their hearts on Togo international Adebayor.

Adebayor reportedly met with Milan officials a few days ago and provisionally accepted the terms offered to relocate to San Siro.

However, Arsenal rate Adebayor very highly and are unlikely to let him leave for less than £30m.

The world champions could possibly cover that fee should they commit to one huge addition rather than a number of smaller signings.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani [pictured] has dismissed Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o and Chelsea star Didier Drogba as too expensive, but may see Adebayor as a better investment at the age of 24.

Gourcuff welcomes Bordeaux chance
5.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Peripheral Milan midfielder Yoann Gourcuff is looking forward to a fresh start as he is nears a loan switch to Bordeaux.

The 21-year-old arrived at San Siro after a great deal of hype and signed a contract that ties him to the Diavolo until 2011.

But the former Rennes man has been limited to occasional substitute appearances and is desperate to return to regular first-team football.

“I think that going out on loan would be the ideal solution for me and would be the best thing for my career right now,” he admitted.

“Everything should be sorted within the next few hours and the new season will be very important for me.”

Bordeaux were the revelations of the 2007-08 Ligue 1 season, finishing runners-up to Lyon under former Inter defender Laurent Blanc.

This means that Gourcuff will be able to play Champions League football next term.

AC Milan's CL lifeline disappears
4.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan will not play in next season's Champions League, even if Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia are expelled.

The Rossoneri were heartbroken when they were beaten to fourth place by Fiorentina last season and they face the indignity of sitting out the tournament they have made their own over the years.

Milan’s fans and players appeared to have been handed a lifeline as Bulgaria’s FA has asked that champions CSKA Sofia are banned from the Champions League due to financial problems.

This would open up a space in the second preliminary round, which may have been given to the side with the highest UEFA ranking that aren’t already involved in the competition – Milan.

However, it has now emerged that it will be left to the Bulgarian officials to designate the UEFA license to second-placed side Levski Sofia.

Milan will have to make do with the UEFA Cup next term as expected.

Ancelotti rejects Chelsea
4.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Reports in England continue to link Carlo Ancelotti with the Chelsea job, but the Milan boss has no intention of leaving San Siro.

Ancelotti is one of Roman Abramovich’s favourites for the vacancy at Stamford Bridge, but there is no chance the Rossoneri will let him go.

“There is no doubt, I will stay with Milan. This is 150 per cent sure,” insisted the former Juventus boss.

“I have had no contact with Chelsea. That is only fantasy football, which happens every year. I am happy with our work on the transfer market so far and we have signed some great players. If there will be the chance to buy some others we will do it.”

Rossoneri Vice-President Adriano Galliani also suggested that the Blues should look elsewhere.

“He will be our Coach next season. There is no way he will go to Chelsea and he has been working towards the pre-season friendly games,” he claimed.

The Blues also made a public statement regarding these rumours: “Chelsea has not reached an agreement with any individual to become manager. Nor have we sought permission from any organisation to talk to their manager,” said the Premier League club.

Former Inter Coach Roberto Mancini is also one of the names linked with the job but even these rumours have been denied.

Gourcuff makes loan plea
4.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

French starlet Yoann Gourcuff has begged Milan to send him out on loan after struggling to make an impact this season.

The 21-year-old youngster moved to San Siro two seasons ago but has failed to live up to the high expectations put upon him, making just 36 appearances and scoring twice.

“I believe that going out on loan would be the ideal solution for me, it would be the best thing for my career right now,” the midfielder told Ouest France.

“Everything should be solved in the next few hours. The new season will be very important for me.”

Several Ligue 1 teams, such as Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux, have already shown their interest in the player – while Palermo and Torino could make an offer too.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are still planning to reinforce their team for the coming season and the captures of Mathieu Flamini and Gianluca Zambrotta will not be the only ones.

On the way out, Filippo Inzaghi has been linked to Barcelona but it is unlikely that the striker will leave the Rossoneri.

Super Pippo has already claimed he wishes to end his career at San Siro so the Catalans will have to look elsewhere – possibly just across the San Siro corridors to Inter’s Julio Cruz.

Sampdoria sign Sammarco
3.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Sampdoria have bought full rights to co-owned midfielder Paolo Sammarco after agreeing a fee with Milan.

The promising 25-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season at Marassi last term and was a regular starter for sixth-placed Samp.

The Blucerchiati are ready to pay Milan around £2m for their 50 per cent share of Sammarco.

After growing up in the Rossoneri youth system, Sammarco was sent out on loan to Serie C sides Viterbese and Prato before getting his break with Chievo.

He now leaves Milan’s pay roll without ever having made a professional appearance for the Diavolo.

Meanwhile, Samp are reportedly tracking Juventus striker Raffaele Palladino and Torino's Azzurrini defender Marco Motta.

Zambrotta eyes AC Milan glory
3.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italy defender Gianluca Zambrotta has admitted that he is hungry for silverware after signing for Milan last week.

The Azzurri wing-back agreed a switch from Barcelona and has agreed a contract at San Siro worth around £3m per season to wear the Rossoneri shirt.

Having nearly moved to Milan 10 years ago when he left Bari and also after the Calciopoli crisis, Zambro is excited to finally have the chance to wear the Diavolo jersey and is desperate for success after missing out on trophies at Barça.

“”I will give my very best so that we can win everything here in Milan,” the 31-year-old told the Milan Channel.

“It is an enormous pleasure to return to Italy and to a great side like the Rossoneri.

“I missed the chance to come here twice in the past, but this time we succeeded in agreeing a deal.

“This side hasn’t won the Scudetto for a few years and that is my biggest motivation.”

However, Zambrotta’s first priority will be international glory with Italy at Euro 2008.

Gattuso wants to lead AC Milan
2.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Azzurri midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is dreaming of the Milan captain’s armband, but he hopes Paolo Maldini will wear it for a little while longer.

There was intense speculation that Gattuso would leave the Rossoneri after last season’s disappointing fifth-placed finish and he was linked with Bayern Munich.

But Rino instead committed himself to Milan with a contract extension that should ensure he sees out his career at San Siro, possibly as club captain.

“I hope that Maldini continues his fantastic career, but it would be a great honour to be captain,” he told

“I haven’t set any limit for how long I will play for and I hope that I will able to carry on for a long time.

“Even though I sincerely want to see Paolo on the pitch, I hope that one day in the future I will wear the captain’s armband.

“Milan has had a special place in my heart since childhood and it would such an honour to follow in the footsteps of Maldini and Franco Baresi.”

Gattuso also revealed that he had considered quitting Milan after the Diavolo’s heartbreaking Champions League Final defeat against Liverpool in 2005.

“After the incredible loss to Liverpool I was confused and it hung over me for a long time,” he explained.

“Fortunately, the Coach and my teammates were able to motivate me again and I rediscovered the will to win. It was great that we avenged that defeat in Athens.”

Looking ahead to next season, Gattuso is hoping for some new blood to strengthen the Milan ranks.

“To be strong we need two youngsters,” he said. “This isn’t the end of a cycle, we will be competitive.

“You can’t write off a side that have won the Champions League and the Club World Cup so recently.”

Galliani revels in Zambrotta deal
1.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Adriano Galliani was in a triumphant mood today after finally adding Gianluca Zambrotta to the Milan ranks.

Over the last few months, the Diavolo Vice-President had made no secret of his desire to see the Azzurri stopper in a Milan shirt and had admitted to tracking Zambrotta for years.

And after weeks of painstaking negotiations, Barcelona agreed to sell the former Juventus man and Galliani’s dream came true.

“We spoke to Zambrotta every day because he wanted to come to Milan,” Galliani explained.

“I even spoke to him twice yesterday – once when we were close to completing the deal and then again when it was definite to give him the good news.”

Galliani also gave an insight into just how close he came to luring Zambro on previous occasions.

“In 1998 we were very close to signing Zambrotta and again in 2006. In ’98 it was practically a done deal.

“We had a big sum of money ready and we came to an agreement with Bari and Gianluca’s father.

“Then Bari president Vincenzo Mataresse told me that Juve had offered a certain amount that we had to match.

“But we were already in talks with Serginho and so we left him to go to the Bianconeri.

“He has arrived 10 years late, but he is on good form playing on the left or the right, judging from his performance for Italy on Friday night.”

Gattuso's AC Milan recruitment drive
1.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has demanded further reinforcements after the arrival of Gianluca Zambrotta.

Zambrotta completed a transfer from Barcelona to the Rossoneri last night and is the second swoop of the summer for Vice-President Adriano Galliani after the free transfer of Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini.

However, after last season’s disappointment, Gattuso believes that there must be further additions if the Diavolo’s fortunes are to be reversed.

“We are a great team and we are world champions, but we need to remember that we finished fifth in the League,” the Azzurri ace told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We need something extra. I am hoping for a good present from the President.

“In return, the rest of us players have to give more. But the fact that all our stars have stayed put in spite of having to play UEFA Cup football is a sign of the affection we have for this shirt and our fans.”

Gattuso concluded by discussing rumours last month that he would join Bayern Munich and the current whispers that Coach Carlo Ancelotti is headed for Chelsea.

“Galliani only needed five minutes to convince me to stay,” he recalled.

“He just told me that a talisman doesn’t get up one morning and decide to leave. I maybe thought that the cycle was over, but they made me feel important and I stayed.

“For two months Carlo gave his word of honour that I would be staying and now I can do the same for him. There is a 99 per cent chance that he will remain.”

Zambrotta signs for AC Milan
1.6 || webmaster

Football Italia

Azzurri defender Gianluca Zambrotta is a Milan player after completing a transfer from Barcelona late last night.

The 31-year-old former Juventus man has long been on the Rossoneri’s shopping list and joins new boy Mathieu Flamini at San Siro as the world champions look to rebuild after last season’s disappointing fifth-placed finish.

Milan announced the deal on their website yesterday evening, but didn’t give the exact details of the agreement they reached with Barcelona.

However, it is widely reported that the Diavolo have paid the Spanish giants around £7m and Zambrotta has signed a three-year contract worth just over £3m per season.

The talented wing-back is currently preparing to play a vital role at Euro 2008 for Italy and ensured hero status in the Azzurri shirt with his important contribution to the World Cup triumph in 2006.

Zambrotta won four Scudetti with Juve – although two were later revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal – and also has two Italian Super Cups and a Champions League runners-up medal to his name.

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