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The Archive

July 2002

TIM Trophy: Inter 1st - Milan 2nd - Juve 3rd
31.7 || webmaster

In the second match of the TIM Trophy, Milan had lost 2-0 in front of city rivals Internazionale. Goals were both scored by Christian Vieri, who later got injured. In the third and last match of the trophy, Milan defeated Juve 1-0, handing the trophy to Inter. The goal was scored by Shevchenko. In the first match, Juve defeated Inter on penalty kicks 4-2.

Contra wants to see attacking Milan side
31.7 || webmaster

Milan defender Cosmin Contra says he wants his side to lead by example and focus on attack this season.

"I think that with all their first-rate players Milan can make a contribution to the whole of Italian football by convincing teams that the way to play is to concentrate on attacking rather than on defending," he said at a press conference published on the club's official site.

He then went on to talk about Rivaldo.

"With a player of his quality, and I know him very well as I faced him many times in the Primera Division, the whole group improves," he said.

"Rivaldo is a star who plays for the team, not only for his own sake. When he is in form, he is good enough to win games all on his own.

"With him and all the other great players we have, hoping in Redondo's recovery, we are now capable of playing in a number of different ways. Then it will be up to coach Ancelotti choosing the best solution for each game and situation."

Shevchenko: "We can win both Serie A and CL"
31.7 || webmaster

Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko is convinced that his side can win both Serie A and the Champions League following the arrival of Rivaldo.

"We were already competitive, but after Rivaldo signed we improved even more," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "He's one of the best players of the world.

"I want to do better than the previous season and I'm convinced that with this squad Milan can win both the Italian title and Champions League."

Rivaldo delays Milan arrival
31.7 || webmaster

Brazilian playmaker Rivaldo has delayed his arrival in Milan because he wants to stop over in Barcelona.

The player will now join up with his new team-mates on Saturday when his side will be taking part in a four-team tournament along with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

"I won't be going to Milan on Thursday as I want to bid farewell to Spanish fans and journalists and to do that I'll be giving a press conference at a hotel in Pedralbes," he said.

Donati closer to Parma, Sheva NOT for sale!
31.7 || webmaster

The official pages of AC Milan have released two separate pieces of news in the past hours.

The first one relates to the negotiation that will lead to the cession on loan of 21-year old midfielder Massimo Donati to Parma. It is expected that the player will be made part of a deal that will see Fabio Cannavaro join Milan in the coming week.

The other press release was one made by Adriano Galliani clearly stating that Andriy Shevchenko was off limits to Real Madrid or anyone for that matter.

"There's no bid from Real Madrid for Andriy Shevchenko", he stated, "The Ukranian is not and never will be transfer listed".

Billy bids Milan farewell
31.7 || webmaster

Veteran stopper Alessandro Costacurta has waved goodbye to his Milan teammates after his contract expired with the Rossoneri.

The San Siro giants decided to not hand the former international a new deal bringing an end to his 17-year Milan career.

"It is strange to not be at Milanello for pre-season training. It has been a long time since I was not here," he told Milan Channel

"I met my former teammates and they all had kind words for me. I said goodbye to my friends and it was great seeing them again."

The 36-year-old, now a free agent, has been linked with a move to Parma but insists his career probably lies outside of the peninsula.

"I am delighted to have played almost all of my time at Milan and I have no desire to play for another Italian side," he added.

"I now need to decide in the next few months where I will be playing football. It is probable that I will be playing football and speaking English – probably in New York or London."

Costacurta, known as Billy, has had an offer from New York Metrostars and has been linked with Fulham where good friend Franco Baresi is the club’s director of football.

Turning to Milan’s prospects for the new campaign, the Varese-born star is confident that his now former side could do well.

"Milan are a great side and look very strong," he continued. "They’ve signed a great player such as Rivaldo and that will help the fans to express their enthusiasm."

Pirlo in Milan pledge
31.7 || webmaster

Andrea Pirlo has promised to repay Milan for their faith in him after the club announced that he was not for sale.

Speculation had suggested that Pirlo would be released after the Rossoneri reached agreement to sign Brazilian sensation Rivaldo.

However, Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani yesterday confirmed that Pirlo was untouchable.

"Galliani’s words were very welcomed," he told Milan Channel. "I am happy to stay at Milan and I hope to win something important with this shirt.

"I know that I have the full backing of the Coach and the club and now it is up to me to pay them back."

With so many attacking options at Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal – Shevchenko, Inzaghi, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Tomasson, Rivaldo, Pirlo – the former Under-21 international is sure the San Siro faithful will be entertained.

"The side will always need to retain a bit of balance even if we are seen as strong because of our offensive options," he continued.

"We will entertain and it is easier to play football with so many great champions."

Rivaldo eyes Milan silverware
30.7 || scharatz

New Milan signing Rivaldo maintains he joined the Rossoneri because he believes that they can win major honours.

The Brazilian reached agreement with the San Siro giants at the weekend and says the decision was relatively easy.

"I chose Milan because they are a team that can guarantee me the stability of playing at the highest levels," he said.

"Therefore I can play in the Champions’ League, a competition that I didn’t get the opportunity of winning with Barcelona."

The attacker also revealed that his international teammate Roque Junior influenced his decision following a conversation at the 2002 World Cup.

"On the way to Japan I spoke at length with Roque Junior and he explained to me what Italian football is all about," he added.

"But he made it clear how organised a club Milan is, telling me that there is everything in place for victory."

The 30-year-old, who has signed a three-year deal, also said he was looking forward to the derby and facing his Brazilian teammate Ronaldo.

"I’m already thinking about the derby and the Scudetto. I simply want to win everything. We are talking about a great club with many fantastic players who always have prestigious objectives.

"Ronaldo is a great friend but in the Italian championship we will now be opponents. I think the derby is one of the most fascinating things about Italian football and it will be great to play against Ronnie."

Pirlo not for sale say Milan!
30.7 || scharatz

Milan have announced that rising star Andrea Pirlo is not for sale despite the arrival of Rivaldo.

The 23-year-old’s future was again put into doubt after the San Siro giants announced that they had signed the Brazilian.

Speculation had suggested that the Brescia youth product could be released as the Rossoneri are now bursting with attacking options.

However, Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani has stated that Pirlo will remain with the giants.

"I can deny that we are having any negotiations concerning Pirlo," he said on the Milan website. "Milan have never held any talks about selling Andrea. Our player is absolutely not for sale."

Speculation had suggested that the former Under-21 captain was a target for a host of clubs including Torino, Atletico Madrid and Fulham.

Toro transfer guru Sandro Mazzola has tried to take the playmaker to the Delle Alpi in the past but with no luck.

While Atletico had already made an enquiry about the No 10 earlier this summer and were hoping that their close relationship with Milan – after signing Javi Moreno, Jose Mari, Demetrio Albertini and Fabricio Coloccini – could be an advantage.

Pirlo will have to fight against Rivaldo, Manuel Rui Costa, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Clarence Seedorf for a starting shirt at the San Siro this term.

Cannavaro: "I'm still for sale"
29.7 || webmaster

Fabio Cannavaro has stated that he is still available for transfer despite Parma’s claims that he would remain with the club.

Gialloblu President Stefano Tanzi claimed earlier this month that Cannavaro was not on the transfer list thanks to a lack of offers.

"He’s been off the transfer market for some months," claimed Tanzi. "We made the decision as soon as we saw that no serious offers were being tabled. He is no longer available for sale."

However, Cannavaro has admitted that he is and will remain available for transfer until a suitable bid is tabled.

"I’m on the market and will stay on the market," he said. "Whichever side wants me knows where to find me."

The Italian international waved goodbye to the Tardini faithful last summer after the club agreed to his desire to leave for a bigger club.

But despite interest from Juventus and Milan, Parma have yet to agree a fee and the stopper is back in training with the Gialloblu.

There was recent speculation that Cannavaro would join Milan but their move for Rivaldo seems to have ruled out a swoop for the former Napoli star.

Rivaldo to edge out Pirlo?
29.7 || webmaster

Andrea Pirlo’s future at Milan is again in question following the arrival of Brazilian sensation Rivaldo.

The former Under-21 captain already faced stiff competition for a place last season when he and Manuel Rui Costa were in battle for the same shirt.

But Milan’s offensive transfer campaign this summer has led to reports that Pirlo won’t remain at the San Siro – especially after the capture of the former Barcelona man.

The Rossoneri are now bursting with attacking midfielders after they also signed Clarence Seedorf from Inter and Jon Dahl Tomasson from Feyenoord this summer.

Speculation now suggests that one player will have to be released and that could be rising star Pirlo.

The Brescia youth product is desperate for more first team chances and both Atletico Madrid and Torino are interested in his services for the new campaign.

Atletico had already made an enquiry about the No 10 earlier this summer and are hoping that their close relationship with Milan – after signing Javi Moreno, Jose Mari, Demetrio Albertini and Fabricio Coloccini – can be an advantage.

However, Toro transfer guru Sandro Mazzola is a massive Pirlo fan and they could ask to take him on loan for the new campaign.

We can win Scudetto raves Maldini
29.7 || webmaster

Milan captain Paolo Maldini insists that the signing of Rivaldo has turned them into real title contenders.

"With the arrival of Rivaldo we are a side worthy of the Scudetto," said the Italian legend.

"He was outstanding at the World Cup and he is one of the few players that clubs would make an economical sacrifice for. Our city will now return to the top of Italian football.

"This new Milan side will definitely be entertaining to watch. The defence? We’ll do alright at the back."

The Brazilian signed for Milan at the weekend after days of talks resulted in him finally putting pen to paper.

"Milan are at the same level as Barcelona. To play for the Rossoneri is a real pleasure and I’ve wanted to play in Italy for some time," Rivaldo said.

The former Deportivo La Coruna player has been signed for nothing after he terminated his contract with Barcelona this summer a year before it was set to expire.

He has signed a three-year deal with the San Siro giants which will see him net 4m Euros a season.

Changes in the photo gallery
29.7 || webmaster

we would just like to announce you that some changes took place in the photo gallery. Some old players such as Javi Moreno or Jose Mari were removed, Albertini was moved in the Legends section, some new players were added like Tomasson, Kutuzov, Boriello, Domoraud, Seedorf new group photos were added, as well as new photos with Rijkaard, Ancelotti, Galliani, Shevchenko, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Maldini, Contra, Serginho and Gattuso.

The Management Team.

Rangers 2-2 AC Milan - match summary
28.7 || webmaster

RANGERS v. AC MILAN 2-2 (2-1)
Scorers: 15' R. De Boer (R); 42' Caniggia (R); 45' Tomasson (M); 80' Borriello (M).
AC MILAN (4-4-2): Abbiati; Contra (46' Simic), Domoraud, Maldini, Kaladze; Seedorf (46' Rui Costa), Gattuso (83' Kutuzov), Pirlo (74' Ba), Serginho (46' Brocchi); Shevchenko (66' Borriello), Tomasson. Coach: Ancelotti.
RANGERS (4-3-3): Klos; Ricksen, Amoruso, Moore, Numan; R. De Boer (79' Latapy), B. Ferguson (73' Hughes), Arteta (56' Nerlinger), Lovenkrads (73' Flo); Caniggia (79' Ross), Arveladze. Coach: Mc Leish.
Referee: Willy Young

Rivaldo relishing head-to-head with Ronaldo
28.7 || webmaster

Following the completion of his move to Milan, Rivaldo immediately focused on the prospect of coming up against his Brazilian team-mate Ronaldo in the first Milan derby of the season.

"I'm already keen about this idea of playing against Ronaldo," he said.

"He's my friend but now we are playing for different sides. I think the first Milan derby will be a big attraction."

He then spoke about the idea that Milan now have too many attacking players.

"I think this will be helpful. It will be up to the manager to make the best choices," he said before adding that his family are happy with the move.

Milan target Cudicini
28.7 || webmaster

According to reports in Italy, Milan are ready to exploit Chelsea’s financial difficulties by targeting Carlo Cudicini. The Rossoneri are ready to offer £4.5m for the ex-Castel Di Sangro 'keeper.

Rangers vs. AC Milan - the line-up
28.7 || webmaster

Here's the squad that will be on the Ibrox pitch for the Rangers freindly in less than an hour:

Abbiati; Contra, Domoraud, Maldini, Kaladze; Seedorf, Gattuso, Pirlo, Serginho; Shevchenko, Tomasson.

Substitutions: Fiori, Rui Costa, Ba, Simic, Brocchi, Borriello, Kutuzov.

OFFICIAL: Milan sign Rivaldo
27.7 || scharatz

It's official! Vitor Borba Ferreira Rivaldo, one of the greatest players of the world, signed the contract linking him to Milan for next three years. The outstanding Brazilian player, 30 years old, is World Champion with his Selecao. Next week the former player of Barça will join the team of Rossoneri.

AC Milan to officialize Rivaldo signing shortly?
27.7 || scharatz

After days of negotiation, the General Director of Milan, Ariedo Braida has sealed the deal that will bring Vitor Borba Rivaldo to AC Milan. The magical Brazilian was also a target of Lazio, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. But the former pair had financial limitations and the latter ruled them out in a recent statement by Jorge Valdano.

It is being reported that Rivaldo has accepted an offer of 4.5 million Euros a season (which would put him at par with Milan's top earners: Maldini, Shevchenko & Inzaghi) for 3 seasons.

The deal could have been announced as early as yesterday, but a last minute effort by the Brazilian's agents to up the request to 5 million complicated affairs. However, Rivaldo has conducted a dialogue in person with Braida last night and the groups have emerged for the talks satisfied.

The official announcement could be made within hours unless Milan choose to wait for Rivaldo to return from vacation before announcing the deal.

Rivaldo won’t see Rui axed
26.7 || scharatz

Manuel Rui Costa will not be forced out of Milan should the club sign Brazilian star Rivaldo.

Speculation in the past week has suggested that the Portuguese player would be sold should Rivaldo arrive, but the player himself maintains he is going nowhere.

"Rivaldo’s arrival would not affect my position at this club because if a side buys a player, they do so to strengthen the club and not to sell on another player," he told Milan Channel.

"I’ve always had the complete faith of the club and I thank them for that. The club have never told me that they wanted to sell me.

"I spoke with chief Adriano Galliani earlier this week and he denied speculation that should Rivaldo be signed then I would have to be sold."

There are fears that the eventual arrival of the former Barcelona player wouldn’t be totally welcomed by the attacking players already at the club.

But Rui Costa claims he would love the international to arrive.

"Should he come here then he would be welcomed with open arms. His signing would help Milan grow rather than unsettle players that are already here," he continued.

"Rivaldo is a great player, one that scores many goals and can play in midfield as well as in attack. We are not lacking in quality at this club, but should he be brought in then he would increase the quality of the outfit."

However, some reports suggest that the San Siro giants will release one of their attackers if Rivaldo is brought in.

Stories claim that they could offer Jon Dahl Tomasson – a free transfer signing from Feyenoord this summer – to Parma along with midfielder Massimo Donati in a bid to sign Fabio Cannavaro in return.

Milan duo get tough draw
26.7 || scharatz

The Champions’ League qualifying draw has not been kind to both Milan and Inter.

The Nerazzurri will play Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, while Milan will have to face Slovan Liberec of the Czech Republic.

The two legged ties are set for August 13/14 and August 27/28.

The winners of the games will win the right to enter the Champions’ League and join Italian entrants Juventus and Roma.

Third Qualifying Round (Matches to be played August 13/14 and 27/28)

Sporting Lison v Inter Milan
Milan v Slovan Liberec
Rosenborg v Brondby or Dinamo Tirana
Shakhtar Donetsk v Club Brugge or Dinamo Bucuresti
NK Maribor or APOEL Nicosia v AEK Athens
Barcelona v Vardar or Legia Warsaw
Skonto Riga or Levski Sofia v Dynamo Kiev or FC Pyunik
Lillestrom or Zeljeznicar Sarajevo v Newcastle United
Hammarby or Partizan Belgrade v Bayern Munich
Genk v Sparta Prague or Torpedo Kutaisi
Maccabi Haifa or Belshina B'uisk v Sturm Graz
Celtic v MSK Zilina or FC Basle
Feyenoord v Fenerbahce
Boavista or Hibernians v Auxerre
Lokomotiv Moscow v Grazer AK or Sheriff Tiraspol
Zalaegerzek or FC Zagreb v Manchester United

Second Qualifying Round (Matches to be played July 31 and August 7)

Dynamo Kiev v FC Pyunik
Sparta Prague v Torpedo Kutaisi
Club Brugge v Dinamo Bucuresti
Boavista v Hibernians
Grazer AK v Sheriff Tiraspol
Brondby v Dinamo Tirana
Maccabi Haifa v Belshina Bodruisk
Vardar v Legia Warsaw
Lillestrom v Zeljeznicar Sarajevo
MSK Zilina v FC Basle
Hammarby v Partizan Belgrade
Zalaegerzek v FC Zagreb
Skonto Riga v Levski Sofia
NK Maribor v APOEL Nicosia

Dida looking to force his way into Ancelotti's plans
25.7 || webmaster

Milan goalkeeper Dida has returned from a year's loan with Corinthians and is now looking to see some first-team football under coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Dida was part of the Brazilian squad that won the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

"After the World Cup win, I came back to Brazil where I spent beautiful days, it was a period of continuous celebrations," he said.

"This year I want to play more with Milan, to help my team-mates and to win with the Rossoneri."

Ancelotti comments on Rivaldo speculation
25.7 || webmaster

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has commented on the ongoing Rivaldo saga.

The Rossoneri are currently in negotiations with a view to bringing the Brazilian to the San Siro.

"It is always better to have a great player in the team than against it," said Ancelotti. "Rivaldo is a great player and a great champion."

With the arrival of the playmaker, Milan would be an irresistible attacking force.

"Last season we were very offensive and this season too," added Ancelotti.

Inzaghi questions Rivaldo bid
25.7 || webmaster

Pippo Inzaghi says that Rivaldo may not be needed for the new campaign even if his arrival would strengthen the side.

The Brazilian is a realistic target for the Rossoneri after he was freed from his contract at Barcelona which makes him a free agent.

"For the time being we should concentrate on the players that we already have here but it is obvious that if a great player arrived he would help the team," said the forward.

"We already have a lot of strikers here and everyone should get a game because of the number of games we have to play."

The Italian international, who missed nearly four months of the last campaign following knee surgery, is confident that success can be a friend of Milan in the new campaign.

"If we can stay in form and free of injuries then we can beat anyone," he maintained. "Our only hope here is that we can win as many games as possible to achieve something important."

When asked what tactics Coach Carlo Ancelotti should employ, Inzaghi replied: "The best formation is the one that leads us to victory.

"I don’t really think that the formation is as important as the players that go onto the pitch. And our great strength is that we have a fantastic squad."

Atletico to intercept Rivaldo?
25.7 || webmaster

Atletico Madrid are hopeful that they can pip Milan in the race to sign Brazilian star Rivaldo.

The international forward is available on a free transfer after he rescinded his contract with Barcelona.

But despite claims that Milan are in pole position to sign the World Cup winner, Atletico claim they stand a good chance of landing the attacker.

"In football as in life, money is not the most important factor," said Atletico director and former Milan player Paulo Futre. "I believe that Rivaldo could join us because he would want to remain in Spain.

"I’m optimistic because even though we aren’t as rich as Milan, we at this club will welcome Rivaldo with open arms and give him an importance that no other club would be able to."

Reports on Thursday suggest that Milan director Ariedo Braida has flown out to Brazil to continue talks with the former Deportivo La Coruna player.

And Rivaldo’s agent Pedro De Feliz has admitted that the Italian giants stand a relatively good chance of poaching the star.

"If they make us the right offer then we would immediately accept the move," he reportedly said.

Speculation suggests that the San Siro side will offer the player close to £3m a season in order to capture his signature.

Rivaldo wages crucial say Milan
24.7 || scharatz

Milan’s proposed swoop for Rivaldo is dependent on the Brazilian’s wage demands according to Adriano Galliani.

The Rossoneri chief has again confirmed that the international is a target but his possible move hinges on economical factors.

"I hope that his wage demands are compatible with our club structure," Galliani told the Milan website.

"I can confirm that Milan are in negotiations with Rivaldo in the hope that an agreement can be reached.

"We hope that the player’s requests can be met in order to successfully conclude the deal."

The player’s agent has also admitted that a move to Milan will only be considered if the price is right.

"Milan are a great club but Rivaldo still hasn’t made up his mind," said Carlos Arini. "That is also because we haven’t talked about figures yet."

Rivaldo, a free agent after he agreed to terminate his contract with Barcelona, reportedly earns around £4m a season.

The newly crowned World Cup winner, now 30-years-old, is currently back home in Brazil but has confirmed that he will have a new club in the next seven days.

"I will be back in Europe next week ready to work with my new Coach. I will soon be with a club that appreciates me," he stated.

Speculation in Spain suggests that Real Madrid are likely to beat Milan and Lazio for his services.

Cannavaro not for sale say Parma
24.7 || scharatz

Fabio Cannavaro is no longer available for transfer according to Parma President Stefano Tanzi.

The Italian defender was a summer target for the likes of Juventus and Milan, but Tanzi maintains that Cannavaro will remain with his current club.

"He’s been off the transfer market for some months," claimed Tanzi. "We made the decision as soon as we saw that no serious offers were being tabled. He is no longer available for sale."

The former Napoli stopper was hoping to seal a move to Milan this week with speculation suggesting that he would sign on loan before being bought outright next summer.

However, Tanzi seems to have put an end to that rumour. He added: "I think that Cannavaro understands the situation in which we have found ourselves in."

Meanwhile, new Coach Cesare Prandelli has confirmed that Cannavaro will continue to be the club’s captain.

Parma have also taken the unprecedented step of retiring the number 12 shirt in respect of their own fans.

"A side usually retires a shirt number in honour of a player who has served the club," continued Tanzi. "But we have done it to honour the people that are always with us – the fans.

"The tifosi deserved this gesture especially after the difficult campaign last season. Which was possibly the worst at Parma for some time."

Redondo could be back in two or three months
23.7 || webmaster

Fernando Redondo is continuing his recovery from a career threatening knee injury and the latest news is that he may be back in two or three months.

"For the moment he is carrying out physical exercises, without the football," said Milan spokesman Vittorio Mentana. "In the last two weeks, he lost 7 kilos and he's trying to reach his best shape."

The Argentine is yet to play a game for Milan since his move from Real Madrid.

Flavio praises Milan
23.7 || webmaster

Real Madrid midfielder Flavio Conceicao has heightened speculation that he may be playing for Milan next season.

The Rossoneri are apparently keen to get the Brazilian on board and would be willing to send fellow countryman Roque Junior in the opposite direction.

"Milan is a great club: Serginho and Roque Junior have spoken very highly of the red-black atmosphere," said Flavio.

"It is said that the level of the players there is very high."

Milan offer 'ridiculous' - Rivaldo
23.7 || webmaster

According to Spanish daily Marca, Rivaldo has deemed Milan's contract offer 'ridiculous'.

The Rossoneri acted quickly after hearing the player was available on a free transfer but with this news it would look less and less likely that the Brazilian will be playing his trade in Italy next season. Lazio have also denied an interest in the Brazilian whose Barcelona contract was terminated at the weekend.

The list of candidates would appear to be getting shorter and shorter with Manchester United claiming Rio Ferdinand is their last signing of the summer, and a possible move to Real Madrid being denied by Barcelona.

We want Rivaldo say Milan
23.7 || webmaster

Milan chief Adriano Galliani has admitted that the club are in talks to bring Rivaldo to the San Siro.

The Brazilian is available on a free-transfer after he agreed to terminate his contract with Barcelona and the Rossoneri are highly interested.

"I can confirm that negotiations are taking place but I’m not saying anything more than that," said Galliani on Tuesday.

The only stumbling block over the proposed move seems to be Rivaldo’s wages with reports suggesting that he would be offered less by Milan than what he was on in Spain.

The 30-year-old attacking talent has been linked with Milan in the past and the Rossoneri seem to be in pole position for the player.

Lazio had also expressed their interest in the World Champion earlier this summer but they failed to conclude the deal.

Italian duo hunt Rivaldo
22.7 || webmaster

Milan and Lazio are possible destinations for Rivaldo after he terminated his contract with Barcelona.

The Brazilian met with Barca officials where they reached an agreement to end their relationship a year early.

The move now makes the 30-year-old a free agent, which could see Milan and Lazio enter talks to land the star.

Some reports in Italy on Monday claim that Milan chief Adriano Galliani has already made initial contact with Rivaldo’s agents.

While, the capital club had tried to sign the player earlier this summer but Rivaldo claimed that he wanted to remain at the Nou Camp.

One destination that seems unlikely is Real Madrid according to Barcelona.

Some Barca fans have expressed their concern that the decision to release Rivaldo could see him follow in the footsteps of Luis Figo and join their deadly rivals.

"Barcelona fans can rest easy," said spokesman Josep Maria Coronas. "He won’t be going to Real Madrid even if that is only my opinion."

Manchester United are another club that are likely to be interested.

Meanwhile, Milan are still trying to reach agreement with Real Madrid over the proposed swap between their defender Roque Junior and Flavio Conceiçao.

Should that prove successful then reports claim that Fabio Cannavaro could arrive from Parma.

Maldini confirms Azzurri retirement
20.7 || scharatz

Despite speculation that he may play on, Paolo Maldini has confirmed his retirement from international football.

Maldini, who won a record 126 caps for his country, announced he would quit the Nazionale after the World Cup Finals bringing the curtain down on an illustrious 14-year association with the Azzurri shirt. He hoped to end on a high note and collect his first piece of silverware with Italy having played in a World Cup Final, a semi-final and the Final of Euro 2000.

However, Italy performed badly in the Far East with Maldini starting to show his age. He was left stranded when South Korea’s Ahn Jung-Hwan headed the Golden Goal which sent Italy out in the second round. But Giovanni Trapattoni made a last ditch attempt to persuade the skipper to stay on for the Euro 2004 Finals in Portugal. Maldini promised to reassess his plans but has maintained his pledge to quit the National side.

"Trapattoni asked me to rethink," said Maldini. "But the decision to quit was made many months ago. I would have preferred to have retired in a blaze of glory but that’s football. It’s time to move on."

Maldini made his debut in a friendly with Yugoslavia back in March 1988 and has since collect 126 caps scoring seven times. He will bow out in a specially arranged friendly with Slovenia in his family town of Trieste on August 21.

Maldini is now concentrating on returning to winning ways with Milan. "We have a competitive team," says the 34-year old. "The transfer market has been practically blocked but we have made some good signings mainly via swap deals. But, I will dearly miss my friends Demetrio Albertini, Sebastiano Rossi and Alessandro Costacurta who have moved on."

Milan denied in Sytchev chase
19.7 || webmaster

Spartak Moscow have warned Milan that they have no intention of selling attacking sensation Dmitry Sytchev.

Some reports recently had suggested that the Rossoneri had agreed terms with the Russian side to sign the player next summer.

However, Spartak officials have today confirmed that no agreement has been reached or is likely to.

"Sytchev will not go to Italy and sign for Milan as the newspapers have suggested," said spokesman Alexei Zinin.

"We want to make clear that we don’t want to sell him and for that reason he is not available for transfer."

The 18-year-old attacking talent did star for his national side at the recent World Cup and is widely considered as a potential star of the future.

Abbiati eyes Scudetto challenge
18.7 || scharatz

Milan ‘keeper Christian Abbiati is convinced that the side can be major protagonists in the next Serie A race.

The Rossoneri had a disappointing campaign last term when they just sneaked into the Champions’ League. However, the No 1 is confident for the season ahead.

"I’m convinced that we will fight for something important in the championship. Especially if we can stay clear of injuries," he told the Milan website.

However, Italy’s third choice shot stopper at the World Cup believes his side should be thinking about other objectives for the immediate future.

"We must first concentrate on getting through our Champions’ League qualifying match. Our season will take off from there."

The former Under-21 international also spared a few words for the ‘old guard’ that have left the club such as Alessandro Costacurta and Demetrio Albertini.

"Some friends have left and they will be missed," he added.

"But people like captain Paolo Maldini, Max Ambrosini and Gennaro Gattuso will look to build team spirit. They are much better than me at stimulating players."

Milan offer Roque Junior for Flavio
18.7 || scharatz

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has apparently contacted Real Madrid with a view to swapping Brazilian internationals Roque Junior and Flavio Conceicao.

Galliani is well aware that the Spaniards are in the market for a centre-back, and the tall commanding World Cup winner could prove just the job.

He is also aware that Real are keen to off-load Flavio who would be more than willing to move to Serie A after turning down recent advances from Besiktas.

A solution may be reached this weekend but the idea of signing a centre-back without parting with any money would surely appeal to Real.

Inzaghi sees winning season
17.7 || webmaster

Pippo Inzaghi is confident that Milan can end the new campaign by lifting some silverware.

The striker is back in training with the Rossoneri after his World Cup exploits and is looking forward to the new season.

"There is a great desire to just get back into training. I am back with a squad of players that are hungry to do well. This year there are all the signs that we can win things," he told the club’s website.

Inzaghi joined Milan in a £23m move from Juventus last summer but his debut term at the San Siro was marred by injury.

However, he is hopeful that he and his teammates can finally reward the fans after the disappointments of the last campaign.

"The fans were very patient last year and we hope to pay them back for that. The club have done well on the transfer front and it is now up to us to demonstrate our worth on the pitch."

Inzaghi also expressed his regret as many of the ‘old guard’ such as Billy Costacurta, Sebastiano Rossi and Demetrio Albertini have been released by his club.

"I’m saddened for the players that have left. Not only because they have won so many things with this club but because they were an example to all of us here."

He also admitted that he would be keeping a close eye on Spanish football after Albertini, Jose Mari and Javi Moreno all joined Atletico Madrid.

He concluded: "Atletico has become a kind of second string Milan side. We will all be keeping an eye on how they do in La Liga. Let’s hope they and us can win our respective League titles."

Milan to meet Juve and Inter in TIM Cup
16.7 || webmaster

The now famous annual tradition of the Trofeo TIM kicks of in Trieste on July 31 and the three Northern giants of Italian footall will meet (just like the year before) to put on a show for their fans.

The tournament is composed of 45 minute games between the three teams. Last year Milan won after Kakhaber Kaladze scored in a 1-0 win over Juventus.

For the coaches, it is a chance to give a competitive run out to their players, while for the fans it is the ultimate chance to see their clubs latest signings (Baiocco (Juv), Coco (Inter), Seedorf (ACM) etc.)

Milan close to Bellini and Rossini
16.7 || webmaster

Everyone is well aware of a few things in Italy. Milan are looking for a forward and a defender. And, while it seems that the rossoneri are only concentrating on Cannavaro, a rumour has risen in Italy recently.

As reported by some newspapers, Milan may have made a huge transfer coup by signing the young and talented defender of Atalanta, Gianpaolo Bellini. It is also suggested that Milan have secured an option to sign Fausto Rossini for next season.

Atalanta have traditionally had an excellent relationship with Juventus, but in the past few years Milan have wrested that initiative and done severeal trades with the team that has one of the best youth programs in the country. Massimo Donati, Cristiano Zenoni, Gianni Comandini, Federico Giunti, Luigi Sala, Maurizio Ganz, Luca Saudati and Pierluigi Orlandini have all been part of trades between the two clubs in the past years.

Bellini could be the perfect replacement for Maldini and Rossini would be the ideal backup for Filippo Inzaghi, should Milan succeed in making the two deals.

Elsewhere, Juve's Antonio Giraudo in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport predicted that "Cannavaro will join AC Milan."

Parma all but rule out Costacurta move
16.7 || webmaster

Parma general manager Luca Baraldi has stated that the club are highly unlikely to sign veteran defender Alessandro Costacurta after Milan declined the option to extend his contract.

"We never tried to acquire the player," Baraldi was quoted as saying on the club's official site. "And I am not sure that we are going to take him. We let go of Sensini. I do not think we are going to take a player similar to him."

He then spoke about Antonio Benarrivo, saying: "He played for us for 13 years. I wanted to extend his contract for one more year, but he decided to exploit some other options. It did not work out. Parma is going to help him to find a suitable solution for him anytime, though."

Milan playmakers want action
16.7 || webmaster

Manuel Rui Costa and Andrea Pirlo maintain that they can co-exist in the Milan first team.

The two playmakers took part in a rare simultaneous Press Conference at Milanello on Tuesday, where they warned Coach Carlo Ancelotti that he could pick both of them.

"We hope that we can do well together on the field of play. Both of us will look to put the Coach in a difficult position by demonstrating that we can play together," stated Pirlo.

Meanwhile, Rui Costa added: "We have always accepted the decisions of the Coach and we will continue to do that.

"No matter what Ancelotti’s thoughts are on the two of us, the relationship between Andrea and I will remain the same."

The Portuguese international is expected to come under severe pressure from Pirlo for a starting shirt this season.

And the ex-Fiorentina man admits that the youngster has real potential.

"He certainly deserves a chance with the full Italian national side. I’ve always said it and I still maintain that Andrea will become an important No 10 in the world of football," he said.

Pirlo, who was an outstanding talent for many years with the Under-21 side, added that international football would only be a consequence to club form.

"First of all I need to play regularly with Milan," he maintained. "Then if I can do well here a place with the Azzurri could await me."

Maldini to play on for Italy?
16.7 || webmaster

Paolo Maldini has admitted that he could continue playing for the national team despite claiming that he would quit after the World Cup.

The Azzurri captain had openly stated that the 2002 tournament would signal an end to his international career.

However, national boss Giovanni Trapattoni wants Maldini to continue playing. And the Milan legend is considering his options.

"It is of great satisfaction that Trapattoni recently phoned me where he confirmed his faith in me as a player," Maldini told Milan Channel.

"Trap recommended that I waited a bit longer before officially announcing my retirement from the national team and I will do exactly that.

"At this moment in time I do think I will stick to the decision I made a few months ago but I will let everyone know my final plans in around 20 days time."

Maldini was set to win his 127th and last cap in an August friendly against Slovenia which was set to be his farewell game.

However, it is now a distinct possibility that the defender could continue for a little while longer in the national team.

Trap wants Maldini to carry on as there seems to be no natural replacement for the 34-year-old.

Forgotten Ba wanted by Espanol and Rayo
15.7 || webmaster

AC Milan winger Ibrahim Ba spent more time on the sidelines than on the pitch in his time with the Italian giants. His performances have rarely lived up to his then-flattering reputation and this has hit his career badly. The former France forward is wanted by Liga clubs Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol de Barcelona, although "other options do exist", as his agent pointed out.

Milan 3:0 Solbiatese - match report
14.7 || scharatz

AC Milan kicked off their 2002-03 season yesterday when they beat amateur outfit Solbiatese 3-0. Captained by Andriy Shevchenko, and driven by the genius of Seedorf and Pirlo, the rossoneri looked promising. Shevchenko, Serginho and youngster Borriello got on the score sheet.

Carlo Ancelotti was a happy man after the training. "I saw a good Milan out there. I am happy that they are tired. It's a sign that we have been working well." Adriano Galliani also had words of praise for the team. "It's evident that we are stronger than last year."

Before the hundreds of spectators present, majority of the applause seemed to be reserved for the team's new acquisition Clarence Seedorf. The former Real Madrid star was one of the most impressive players on the pitch and already seems to be asserting his bid for a starting spot.

After the match, Adriano Galliani voiced his opinion on the rumors surrounding Milan's transfer market. "There are several negotiations with Spanish clubs, but Rui Costa is not a topic of discussion. He is not for sale. Ba and Domoraud are the subject of these talks and subject to the players' approval, they will be traded to these clubs."

"Yes, we are in negotiations with Parma to bring Cannavaro to Milan, but it is hard considering the sum involved," he went on when asked about the Italy international. "However, whatever the outcome of the negotiation, our relationship with Sacchi and Parma will remain good."

Milan are now waiting on their world cup stars Maldini, Abbiati and Inzaghi (Gattuso joined the training today) to begin final preparations for their summer friendlies against Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Liverpool and the Champions' League Qualifying Phase.

Fulham's Team Affairs Are In The Hands Of Tigana Says Baresi
12.7 || scharatz

Fulham director of football, Franco Baresi, has once again assured fans that boss Jean Tigana has full control over playing matters.

The Italian, who was told blamed by Antonio Benarrivio for scuppering his move to Fulham, is adamant that whilst he has a designated role at Craven Cottage, team affairs remain under Tigana's control.

He told Fulham's official web site, "As I have already discussed with the players and everyone at the club, Jean still has the total and full responsibility for the team. If a player would like to leave or has to be purchased it is obviously 100 per cent Jean's decision."

"It is obviously a new experience for me being in England but I will give as much input and as much information from my past to the chairman, to Jean, to the players and to whoever might need it. I am 100 per cent available for Jean, for the chairman or anyone at the club. I am very honoured to come to Fulham and find it a wonderful challenge that I have been offered this position."

Benarrivo In Amazing Baresi Attack
12.7 || scharatz

Parma defender Antonio Benarrivo has blasted Fulham and their director of football Franco Baresi for scuppering potential moves to Birmingham and Bolton.

The player was all set to join the Cottagers only for the club to turn him down, claiming he failed a medical.

"They have muddied my name by asserting that I'm no longer in a position to be playing," he said.

"I do have a calcification in my ankle but a skilled doctor says that it doesn't stop me from taking part in physical activity.

"Baresi has made promises that he obviously wasn't in a position to make. I think he should leave his job.

"And to think I'd already said no to Parma, Birmingham and Bolton."

Laursen to fight for place
12.7 || scharatz

Martin Laursen has vowed to fight for a first team shirt at Milan this season despite the stiff opposition for places.

The Dane could be edged out of the regular starting line up with Coach Carlo Ancelotti already having Dario Simic, Roque Junior and possibly Parma’s Fabio Cannavaro at his disposal.

However, the former Verona stopper is ready to give his all for the Rossoneri cause.

"If the club manage to sign a world class player then that will be to the benefit of the side," Laursen said.

"I’m not letting myself be affected by rumours. I will battle as I always have to try to convince Ancelotti of my worth. It is all down to me."

The international did have a rather good World Cup and he hopes that will count for something in the long season ahead.

"All in all I think that I demonstrated at the Finals that I can play football at certain levels," he added.

"The new campaign will be a difficult one but I can’t wait to get started."

The Dane joined the Rossoneri at the start of last season just weeks after he had moved to Parma from Verona.

Milan star predicts tricky year for Tomasson
11.7 || webmaster

AC Milan defender Thomas Helveg has warned club and international team-mate Jon Dahl Tomasson to expect a tough baptism in Serie A.

"He is a good player, as he showed in the World Cup, and I hope he confirms his talent, but Jon will need to be lucky because nobody has an easy first year in Italy," said the Dane.

Tomasson has vowed to win a place in the Milan first team, despite competition from Andriy Shevchenko and Pippo Inzaghi, since joining the Rossoneri on a Bosman free transfer from Feyenoord.

His form at the World Cup, where he scored four goals in four games, has certainly helped his confidence, although reserve strikers at Milan have had a hard time of it recently.

Javi Moreno and Jose Mari have both quit after failing to make much impact and Helveg admitted it was strange coming back to the club following a series of departures.

"Every year several people change direction," he said. "I miss the players who have gone and I hope they make their fortune where they are now. We'll see what happens, but Milan must do better," he added.

Croatia defender Dario Simic, a recent acquisition from city rivals Internazionale, claimed on Thursday that the mood in the camp was positive.

"I left Inter in a friendly way, but I don't want to speak about the past. Now I'm a Milan player and I have found a good atmosphere, everything is different.

"I'm here because I want to play. I'm only 26 and I have a lot of seasons in front of me. I'm young but I've already got good experience," he said.

Lecce rubbish talk of Chevanton move to Milan
11.7 || webmaster

Lecce general manager Pantaleo Corvino has denied that Uruguayan striker Ernesto Javier Chevanton is set to leave the Via del Mare as part of a deal that would see Vitali Kutuzov moving in the other direction.

"Chevanton is not leaving Lecce," he said of the player who joined from Danubio last season, proving an instant success despite the club's relegation.

"We do not sell a 20-year-old player who, in his first year in Serie A, scored 11 goals," Corvino continued.

Chevanton, meanwhile, admits that a move to Milan would be hard to turn down. "I have to accept what the board members decide," he said. "That's OK with me.

"It's true that the opportunity to move to a big club like Milan could be important for my career, but I am very comfortable at Lecce and I have been treated very well.

"I don't have any problem in staying and being part of their enthusiastic plans for next season."

Beto pledges future to Sporting
11.7 || webmaster

Sporting star Beto has dismissed speculation linking him with a £10 million move to Juventus, AC Milan or Real Madrid.

"I'm relaxed with people I know and I'm ready to give my best here," said the Portugal star. "I'm fully committed to the Lions and will do everything I can for this club."

The 26-year-old preferred to focus on Sporting's forthcoming defence of the Primeira title.

"We won't get carried away because we became champions," he said. "The players will give their best to honour to the name of Sporting."

Beto's future has been in doubt since coach Laszlo Boloni played him out of position at right-back last season.

The Romanian boss preferred Andre Cruz and Phil Babb, who has since joined Sunderland, as his central-defensive pairing, leading to talk that Beto would leave.

Milan, Juve and Real confirmed they were watching the international last term.

Beto came through the ranks of Portugal's successful youth teams and, despite struggling to break up the veteran pairing of Fernando Couto and Jorge Costa in the senior side, has shown, when called upon, that he can perform at the highest level.

Sensi blast for 'old guard' Galliani
10.7 || webmaster

Roma president Franco Sensi believes the Italian League (LNP) has missed an opportunity for change after AC Milan managing director Adriano Galliani was elected president on Tuesday. "Italian football needs new ideas and new faces," he said. "Instead they chose Galliani."

"In one day they fixed all our problems, but by choosing an old solution."

The election of Galliani represents a victory for Italy's powerful elite of Turin and Milan who Sensi claims control the game in Italy to the detriment of the smaller Serie A clubs and those in Serie B.

During protracted negotiations to find a successor to Franco Carraro who stepped down last December, Sensi championed the cause of the smaller clubs, campaigning for a more even distribution of wealth, particularly concerning the division of television revenue.

The election of Galliani will now ensure power remains with Milan, Internazionale and Juventus, and Sensi vowed to continue his fight for change.

"I'll continue to do my job and I'll continue to hope to change football here," he said. "I don't know if I'll make more enemies, but Roma are used to having a lot of them."

Galliani narrowly defeated Sensi's preferred candidate, Antonio Matarrese, in the fifth round of voting and Matarrese is now expected to accept the offer of becoming vice-president. Sensi, however, will recommend that he turns down the approach.

"I was offered to be joint president but I couldn't do that with Galliani," Sensi revealed. "Matarrese had my support, but I haven't told him to accept the role of vice-president and he hasn't yet."

On Wednesday morning Galliani resigned from the board of directors of Tele+ and announced he would do likewise at Mediaset in order to avoid a conflict of interest when he takes up his new position. He also revealed that he would quickly set about putting Serie A's finances in order.

"It's time to go to work," he said. "The positive thing is that the League has regrouped and this is important progress. My first objective will be to balance club budgets.

"My dream is a balanced budget, but to achieve that we have to lower our costs. And the costs are represented by the player salaries and transfer fees.

"I have quit Telepiu. A new board will be elected and I have already said I won't present myself as a candidate. On Thursday morning I will resign from Mediaset.

"On the other hand, I will keep my position at Milan because there is no conflict of interest between that and my election as league president.

"Those who elected me were aware that I would not resign from Milan."

Galliani also insisted that Matarrese would soon become his vice-president.

"He will be officially appointed at the next league meeting," Galliani said. "Matarrese will have to manage any contentious issues between Milan and the league in future."

Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti welcomed Galliani's appointment.

"It is a shrewd decision," he said. "We needed a president and we have finally agreed on someone after meeting so many times in vain.

"Galliani knows football and about television issues. I'm pleased with his election."

Galliani's first task in charge will be sort out the contentious issue of pay television. Atalanta president Ivan Ruggeri warned on Monday that two thirds of top-flight Italian clubs face imminent bankruptcy unless a more equitable deal is agreed.

"If we don't unblock the transfer market and reach an agreement on pay-per-view TV, then 13 teams could go to the wall in three months and Serie B won't have any money to start the season," he said.

"Someone in politics should intervene," he said. "The big clubs always dominate Italian football and just four clubs make the rules for all 38 teams.

"Now the crisis has exploded and those problems are starting to become significant. There is no money but top teams are still asking for more.

"Last season we received £6 million from Telepiu [Italian pay TV channel] and this year we have asked for £7 million, but they refused. Meanwhile, last season Juventus received £42 million and this year they will have 8 per cent more.

"If they see us as nothing, they can play in their own four-team championship. Politicians should help us and the players' association should face the reality as it is."

Wage cap blocks Cannavaro move
10.7 || webmaster

Parma defender Fabio Cannavaro has hinted that he could still join AC Milan this summer, but is adamant he will not take a wage cut to bring him in line with club's salary cap.

"It's difficult to go back when you are already earning a certain amount," said Cannavaro who earns £2.8 million a season at Parma.

"I am not sure whether I'll stay at Parma or if I'll leave," he added. "Parma are a great club and I feel well here, but I am open to experiencing something new.

"The only thing left to do now is wait. I know the Milan players, and enjoyed being with them in the Italy squad. We'll see what happens."

Cannavaro had demanded that Parma settle his future before he departed for the World Cup after revealing in April that the club's ambitions no longer matched his own.

By the end of the season he looked set to join Juventus in a player-plus-cash deal but the move was put on hold after Parma sports director Arrigo Sacchi failed to decide which player he wanted in return.

That left the door open to San Siro rivals Internazionale and AC Milan, but Inter have since turned their attention to Alessandro Nesta while Milan backed down, claiming that Parma's £23 million asking price and Cannavaro's wage demands were too high.

Milan fans, however, are frustrated by the lack of big-name signings made over the summer and the anger felt at seeing veterans Demetrio Albertini and Alessandro Costacurta leave, coupled with Nesta's expected arrival at rivals Inter, could force the club's hand.

Milan have imposed a salary cap and are looking to lessen their wage bill over the summer, but remain hopeful that a deal can still be agreed whereby they pay for the defender in installments over the next four seasons.

Cannavaro, however, will not sanction a reduction in wages. Above all, the Italy defender wants his situation resolved to end the rumours that have dogged him since a move to Lazio broke down in 2001.

"What bothers me is the fact that everyday I hear that I am going to one team or another," he said. "One day I have signed for Inter, the next I have signed of Milan and on the same day I have signed for Juventus.

"Maybe tomorrow I'll sign an extension on my present contract with Parma. All these rumours are what bother me most."

Rui Costa in Benfica promise
10.7 || webmaster

Milan’s Manuel Rui Costa has expressed his desire to end his professional career with Benfica.

The Rossoneri star returned to Italy today to team up with his colleagues for pre-season training.

But the former Fiorentina player has hinted that his time in Italian football may be over after the next campaign.

"It is my intention to end my career wearing a Benfica shirt," he was reported as saying before his return to the peninsula.

"And my return to Lisbon could be sooner than may be expected. I’m ready to return soon if the club officials want me. I don’t want to let down my side or my heart."

The Lisbon-born playmaker made his name with Benfica for three seasons between 1991 and 1994.

Rui Costa’s Milan spell so far has been one to forget. Since his £27m move from Fiorentina last season he has suffered with numerous injury problems and a loss of form.

Speculation had suggested that the No 10 could be even sold this summer by the San Siro giants with the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all linked.

Buy Milan's Brand New Jersey & More!
10.7 || webmaster

we would just like to inform you that from now on you will be able to buy Milan's brand new home jersey [away jersey and hopefully the third red jersey coming soon] from our shop. All you have to do is follow up the quick & easy instructions found on that page. [link below]

The jersey will be used by Milan for the next two seasons, so make sure you grab one as soon as possible.

We would also like to inform you that from now on you can purchase the AC Milan Reversible Jacket, a great alternative to the very popular Rain Jacket. Here's what they say about it:
"Two jackets in one. Wind outer jacket has mesh chest inserts, embroidered logo. ClimaWarm arctic fleece inner jacket has side zip pockets, cord-stop waist and embroidered logo. 100% polyester microfiber fleece and 100% polyester with mesh."

Other products you may purchase are the AC Milan Training Top, the AC Milan Short [white one], the AC Milan Scarf, the AC Milan Hat and the AC Milan Wooly.

And finally, here's the link: - The AC Milan Online Shop. [Cut & Paste it if neeeded]

The AC Milan Online Management Team.

AC Milan boss Galliani named as Italian league President
9.7 || scharatz

Adriano Galliani finally clinched the Lega Calcio president job after months of uncertainty. The AC Milan boss collected 24 votes out of 34 to sweep into the vacant hotseat. His main rival, Antonio Matarrese, has been appointed as vice-president. The Italian League was previously chaired by Franco Carraro.

Redondo gets green light
9.7 || webmaster

Milan star Fernando Redondo has been told that he does not need a fourth knee operation.

The Argentine has seen renowned knee specialists Professor Martens and Professor Saillant in the last few days who have given him the all clear for now.

The playmaker has yet to play for the club since his transfer from Real Madrid two years ago after continuing injury problems.

Despite going under the knife on numerous occasions in the past 24 months, there were still concerns over the midfielder’s knee.

But Redondo should now be able to continue with pre-season training in a bid to finally perform for the Rossoneri after his £10m switch in the summer of 2000.

Some reports claimed that should the former international require a further operation then he will quit the game.

Rui Costa aims to erase memory of 'worst-ever' season
9.7 || webmaster

Portugal midfielder Manuel Rui Costa is desperate to put the misery of last season behind him and win some silverware with AC Milan. "Hopefully the bad luck has gone and we can make the fans happy this year," the 30-year-old said.

Rui Costa endured a dreadful run last season as injuries ravaged his first season at the San Siro after his £28 million move from Fiorentina.

"Last season was the worst of my career," he said. "I was always injured, which got me down mentally as well as physically.

"I was in hospital only 15 minutes into my first game for Milan. I couldn't practise properly and I was out for a total of 28 games."

Despite a disappointing World Cup, Rui Costa is adamant that he has returned to full fitness. "I've recovered now, and I feel strong on all levels," he continued.

"I know I'm at a great club that will fight to win all the competitions we play in. Milan have a great squad and I'm looking forward to meeting Clarence Seedorf, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dario Simic."

A well known Benfica fan, Rui Costa is also keen for his former club to regain the number one spot in Portugal, and once again stressed his desire to end his career at the Stadium of Light.

"I wish all the best for Benfica," he said. "[Coach] Jesualdo Ferreira is doing a good job. The club have managed to gather a high quality group of players.

"I'm a Benfica fan and I'd like to end my career over there. Maybe I can do that if Benfica want me and I'm still in shape to be useful to the club."

Dalla Bona feeling in awe of Milan
9.7 || webmaster

AC Milan new-boy Sam Dalla Bona admitted on Tuesday he was awestruck after his move from Chelsea to the Serie A giants.

The 21-year-old took part in his first training session on Tuesday after Milan finalised the deal, and then said: "Now I can touch with my hands what my new team-mate Massimo Donati has told me about this great place."

Donati was signed by Milan from Atalanta, the club where Dalla Bona began his career, at the end of the 1999-2000 season for £10 million.

"I've found a friend in Massimo, who was my team-mate in the Atalanta youth team," he explained. "We were room-mates for two years there and we always stayed in touch even though I went to Chelsea."

Dalla Bona believes his four seasons at Stamford Bridge, where he made 55 appearances and scored six goals, will stand him in good stead."I hope to use the experience I gained in England back here in Italy. I became a new player in England.

"I now know a different kind of football, which is more spectacular but relies less on tactics. I'm sure that it was the same for my team-mate Rino Gattuso, who has had a foreign experience in Scotland with Rangers.

"To join Milan on my return to Italy is the best I could possibly hope for. It's a dream come true and I hope to do a good job. I've already met coach Carlo Ancelotti and he was very kind to me.

"I'm part of a great team," he added. "We are a strong squad as individuals and a group. There is an extraordinary mix of young talent and veterans. I just hope to win the confidence of Ancelotti."

Redondo Doesn't Need New Knee Op
8.7 || scharatz

Milan midfielder Fernando Redondo can breath a huge sigh of relief following the news that he doesn't need another knee operation. Both doctor Martins and professor Saillant have given a favourable opinion following tests, although the pair will give one precise appraisal after the player has taken more tests in the next few days.

No Milan move for Thuram
8.7 || scharatz

Lilian Thuram’s proposed switch from Juventus to Milan is unlikely to occur according to his agent.

The Frenchman has been linked with the Rossoneri recently after his proposed switch to Manchester United hasn’t happened.

"There is very little chance that Thuram will move to Milan," said agent Fabio Parisi.

"Juventus invested heavily in him last season and having not acquired any new great defenders they are unlikely to release him.

"If Lilian does leave Turin then the most probable destination would be Manchester United, but that is only if United don’t sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds."

Juventus are looking to sell Thuram, who only signed 12 months ago from Parma, in order to raise cash on a possible assault on either Alessandro Nesta of Lazio or Parma’s Fabio Cannavaro.

Despite costing the Delle Alpi side £23m a year ago, Thuram’s first year with the club has not been a happy one even though they won the title.

The international complained on numerous occasions after boss Marcello Lippi decided to move him out of the centre of defence and play him as a right back.

Milan sign 'Russian Owen' ?
8.7 || webmaster

Milan are believed to have agreed terms with Spartak Moscow for Russian sensation Dmitri Sychev.

The young striker, nicknamed the ‘Russian Owen’, did star at the World Cup and is reported to have agreed to the switch.

However, Sychev will remain with the capital club for a further season in order to regularly play first team football.

The signing of the international would have met with the approval of Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko.

"He is a great player and has areas of his game where he can still improve," Shev said last week. "Staying in Moscow for a further season will help him to mature and develop."

Ambro: "We will miss Albertini"
8.7 || webmaster

Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini has stated that the club will miss Demetrio Albertini after the latter moved to Atletico Madrid.

The Italian international has joined the Spanish club on loan for the new campaign and his absence will be felt according to Ambrosini.

"To say goodbye to teammates is always difficult but saying goodbye to friends is even harder," he told the Milan website.

"I’m saddened both in a humane and sporting manner. A club like Milan will find it difficult to replace Albertini in many ways on and off the pitch."

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has also commented on Albertini’s decision to leave the Rossoneri after over a decade with the club.

"I spoke to him after he had already decided to accept the move," said his now former boss.

"If I had talked to him while he was still deciding then there was a chance that I could have also convinced him to stay.

"All Milan players are important and that was the case for Albertini. On a personal level I am saddened for him and also the likes of Costacurta, Rossi and Simone who have also left the club."

Meanwhile, Ambrosini is looking forward to the new season with confidence after just a couple of days training.

"People are starting to feel the tiredness creep in but this is a positive sign for the club," he added.

"We are all fighting fit and considering that there is still some way to go before our first official game, we can tranquilly continue working."

OFFICIAL: Milan sign Dalla Bona
8.7 || webmaster

Milan have announced that they have finally completed the signing of Samuele Dalla Bona from Chelsea.

The 22-year-old has long been linked with a move to the Rossoneri and has signed a five-year contract with the Italian giants.

The former Atalanta youth product has been drafted in as an immediate replacement for Demetrio Albertini who has left for Atletico Madrid.

Dalla Bona should be at Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal from tomorrow.

A fee for the young midfielder has yet to be disclosed.

Ajax invite Real to re-open Chivu talks
8.7 || webmaster

Ajax technical director Leo Beenhakker has admitted the club are ready to sell Cristian Chivu to Real Madrid - despite the Romania defender pledging his future to the Dutch champions last month.

"If Real come in with a concrete offer and are willing to pay the price, we will talk about a transfer," explained Beenhakker. "But also if the bid is a bit lower we can talk. Many clubs, not just Ajax, need the money."

Chivu was a key figure in Ajax's title success last season and Beenhakker acknowledged that, ideally, there would be no question of the 21-year-old leaving the Amsterdam Arena.

"Cris is a complete player," the Ajax chief told Spanish paper AS. "He has everything, he's physically strong, can play one on one, he is fast, strong in the build-up and has a very good shot. And above that he is still young.

"I can't remember any central defender who was so experienced at just 21. Off the field, he is just as professional. In that aspect I would give him an A+."

Beenhakker's comments come just days after Chivu insisted he was hoping to play for Ajax again next season. "In life it is important to think with the heart as well as the head," he said. "There will be offers next season, so I'm not worried.

"I am happy to stay at Ajax, where I feel very comfortable. I won two important trophies last season and we are confident of a good run in the Champions' League. There will be offers next season, so I'm not worried about my future."

Chivu's agent Giovanni Becali earlier claimed that a £14 million deal was in place with Real, only for the European champions to ask Ajax for an extra fortnight so they could raise funds.

Chivu, who joined Ajax from University Craiova in 1999, is also attracting interest from AC Milan. The Italian side are understood to have offered Georgia midfielder Kakha Kaladze plus cash for the young Romanian.

Sheva celebrates new Milan
7.7 || scharatz

Andriy Shevchenko is optimistic ahead of the 2002-03 season that he can finally lift a trophy with the Rossoneri shirt.

“I like this Milan side,” revealed the Ukrainian international. “It has been built to win and to entertain.”

There has been criticism of the transfer campaign, but Shevchenko assures the moves were intelligent rather than headline-grabbing.

“The club made some excellent buys and brought in proven players who can enhance the team. Did you see what Jon Dahl Tomasson did for Denmark in the World Cup? He’s wonderful.”

The Danish hitman, who netted four goals in as many games during the tournament, arrived on a free transfer from Feyenoord.

“We are also stronger this year,” Shevchenko told the ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’, “because Carlo Ancelotti is at the helm from the start. Last season he inherited a team that was constructed by and for Fatih Terim. The Coach will now have the time to work out which is the best line-up and tactic for these players.”

Whereas other clubs are building a team of world class individuals, the Rossoneri hero believes they are missing a key element.

“The real deciding factor at Milan is the unity of this group. A transfer campaign does not win you the Scudetto. I maintain that this will enable us to make that leap up to the next level.”

“A player can score many goals,” he added, “but behind him there are those who run, defend and battle for every ball.”

However, as new men such as Dario Simic and Clarence Seedorf come in, the so-called Vecchia Guardia (Old Guard) has moved out.

“I am truly sorry to see Alessandro Costacurta and Demetrio Albertini go. They were always close to me from the very first day I arrived here and I shall never forget that. I feel a little more lonely now.”

“Certainly Milan has lost a piece of its history. But we must look forward and the club made these decisions for the good of the team.”

The hitman has struggled during the last year with an unexpected loss of form and a succession of injuries.

“Unfortunately I was not well. At the start of the year I had problems with my back, then as soon as I had recovered from that my thigh started playing up. And let us not forget I fractured my nose in October and was only able to have surgery on it at the end of the campaign.”

“In my previous two years at this club,” he revealed, “I had only ever missed four or five training sessions in total. This season I had to sit out between 50 and 60 sessions, and I assure you those can make a real difference.”

“The best gift I could hope for in this season would be good health, because it’s not easy to play when you don’t feel 100%.”

Rui ready for Thuram switch?
7.7 || scharatz

Milan could offer Manuel Rui Costa in exchange for Lilian Thuram.

The former Parma man was set for Manchester United, but the two clubs could not agree on a suitable transfer fee.

Milan are said to have made a bid of cash plus Serginho or Manuel Rui Costa.

The Bianconeri need a creative midfielder to fill the hole left by Zinedine Zidane, while the Rossoneri now have an abundance of these players with Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and support striker Jon Dahl Tomasson fighting for space with the Portuguese international.

Meanwhile, Thuram would be allowed to play in his preferred central defensive role with former Parma boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Thuram joined from the Stadio Tardini last year for £23m, while Rui Costa left Fiorentina in a £27m move. Both players have failed to settle into their new clubs.

French side Monaco revealed that talks for their star defender Rafael Marquez broke down because the Rossoneri had reached an agreement with Juventus.

“Ten days ago Milan held talks with our President for Marquez,” commented Monaco director of sport Biancheri.

“He is an excellent player, even if in Italy they have only seen him play in the World Cup for Mexico. He has a three-year contract and is simply not for sale.”

“During the conversation their representatives told us that they would have concluded their talks with Thuram.”

The Juventus star is a product of the Monaco youth system and lifted the World Cup and European Championship with France.

Milan move in on Thuram
6.7 || scharatz

There are increasingly strong reports that Milan have fought off competition from Manchester United to sign Lilian Thuram.

The World Cup winner had been in advanced talks with the Premiership side for several weeks, but a deal could not be reached with Juventus.

Now claims that the Rossoneri have reached an agreement for the defender have gained credence.

Although some Italian newspapers suggested that Manuel Rui Costa would be included as part of the deal, Serginho is a far more likely option.

Thuram would make the move in exchange for the Brazilian winger and £10m cash, allowing the former Parma man to boost their ageing defence and giving the 30-year-old his preferred central defensive role.

The Rossoneri have already brought in Inter’s Croatian international Dario Simic for that position and were in talks with Monaco for Mexican World Cup star Rafael Marquez.

Juventus must first sell Thuram, bought from Parma for £23m last season, before they can complete the signing of his former Gialloblu teammate Fabio Cannavaro.

Maldini swansong
5.7 || webmaster

The Azzurri’s friendly against Slovenia on August 21 could see Paolo Maldini play his last game in the famous blue shirt.

The Milan defender, who announced his decision to quit international football prior to the 2002 World Cup, would be given huge send off, having made a record 126 appearances for the Italian national team. Though no official announcement has been made, the friendly is expected to be used as a farewell game for the long-serving captain.

Italy’s premature exit from this summer’s World Cup was an especially bitter pill to swallow for Maldini, who despite making his international debut back in 1988, has never won anything with the Azzurri. The closest he came was in the 1994 World Cup Final when Italy lost on penalties to Brazil. He also lost out on a European winners’ medal when la Nazionale were beaten by a Golden Goal from French striker David Trezeguet.

Albertini's press conference
5.7 || webmaster

>ALBERTINI: 'My career at Milan? Exciting'

MILANELLO - I'm not disappointed, neither angry, Demetrio Albertini points out during the press conference, It's a turning point of my life, a new chapter begins. My successor? Massimo Ambrosini, who tried in the last days to convince me to stay. The biggest star I played with at Milan? Marco Van Basten'.
Demetrio defines his career at Milan with an adjective: 'Exciting'.


MILANELLO - During the press conference Demetrio Albertini reassures Milan supporters: If I had been offered to sign for Inter Milan, I wouldn't have agreed, Deme explains, How would I have managed to celebrate for the lost league titles?.
Then the Rossonero veteran midfielder looks ahead to his new experience in Spain: 'I go to play for an ambitious club. I think an important championship as the Spanish Liga will be an incentive to do well'.


MILANELLO - Demetrio Albertini has a last word for Milan supporters. 'I want to thank all my fans for the affection they showed in these years. Even those who sometimes hissed me', the midfielder says, 'Despite some criticism, they give me marvellous times. Milan have wonderful supporters'.

>ALBERTINI: 'The right time for a new experience'

MILANELLO - After completing his loan move to Atletico Madrid, Demetrio Albertini gives an interview to the Milan Channel in his last day at Milanello. Milan will miss me very much? I'll have the same feeling. After 14 years here, it couldn't be any different. I don't know who feels worse, me or the club', a nostalgic Demetrio states.
His decision of moving to Spain has been taken in accordance with the club. 'I've talked a lot with the club which I consider as my family. We're both convinced the times are ripe for me to have a new experience after 20 years at Milan'.


MILANELLO - Demetrio Albertini explains the reasons why he has chosen to move to Atletico Madrid. 'The Spanish club really want me. That's what convinced me that I was making the right choice'.
Deme remembers the series of successes he had in his long career at Milan: 'As a man, my greatest achivement was to win everybody's respect. As a player, I've many happy memories, but perhaps the best one is when I lifted the Champions League in 1993-94'.

OFFICIAL: Albertini to Atletico
5.7 || webmaster

Milan have agreed to loan veteran midfielder Demetrio Albertini to Atletico Madrid for next season. Albertini, who made his Rossoneri debut back in 1989, has been told he is surplus to requirements at the San Siro.

The 30-year old has struggled with injuries in recent seasons - playing just 36 League games in the last two seasons - and a recent lay-off forced him to miss Italy’s World Cup where he would have been a certain starter. The emergence of Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini in Milan coupled with the arrival of Clarence Seedorf have forced Albertini out of Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s plans. Atletico are keen to add the experienced midfielder to the roster after winning promotion back to the Primera Liga this summer.

Albertini won five Italian titles and a European Cup while with Milan and has spent his entire career at the San Siro bar a year’s loan at Padova. He is expected to meet Atletico officials over the weekend to discuss the deal.

Milan have also loaned Spanish striker Jose Mari to the Madrid club having previously sold Argentine defender Fabio Coloccini and forward Javi Moreno to Atletico. Talks are ongoing between the Spanish side and Lazio over veteran midfielder Diego Simeone.

Serginho committed to Milan
4.7 || scharatz

Milan midfielder Serginho has rubbished talk that he is about to move to city rivals Inter.

Speculation recently has suggested that the Nerazzurri wanted the Brazilian in exchange for striker Mohammed Kallon.

Massimo Moratti’s side are desperately in search of a left hand sided midfielder after their proposed swoop for Kily Gonzalez of Valencia hit problems.

But the classy player maintains that leaving the Rossoneri has never even crossed his mind. "I have no intention of leaving this club, never mind joining Inter," he said.

"I’ve been at Milan for three years and I have had no problems whatsoever. I feel great here and unless they ask me to leave then I’m not even thinking of turning my back on this club.

"If a number of big clubs are linked with me then it shows that I’ve done reasonably well in these past few years for the Rossoneri. Coming to Italy and earning a regular first team place is not an easy thing to do."

Turning to the new season, Serginho was confident that the club could become major protagonists at home and abroad.

He concluded: "Milan are stronger than last season but we must show that on the pitch, something that we didn’t do in the last campaign for many different reasons."

The 31-year-old arrived in Italian football back in 1999 after three successful years with Brazilian outfit Sao Paulo.

The left-footed genius had also been linked with a move to Juventus last summer.

Redondo set for more tests
4.7 || scharatz

Milan’s medical co-ordinator Jean Pierre Meersseman has admitted that Fernando Redondo could need another knee operation.

The Argentine has yet to play for the club since his transfer from Real Madrid two years ago after continuing injury problems.

Despite going under the knife on numerous occasions in the past 24 months, there are still concerns over the midfielder’s knee.

"Tomorrow Redondo will visit Professor Martens in Antwerp," Meersseman said. "Then on Monday we will have him checked out by Professor Saillant in Paris.

"Only after these two consultations will we know whether he will need further ligament surgery in his right knee."

It was hoped that the playmaker could finally be of some use to the Rossoneri this season after his £10m switch in the summer of 2000.

Some reports claim that should the former international require a further operation then he will quit the game.

Pirlo set for midfield battle
4.7 || scharatz

Andrea Pirlo says he is ready to fight Manuel Rui Costa for a first team shirt at the San Siro next season.

The former Under-21 international says he is ready to battle it out against his teammates for a first team place in a bid to prove his undoubted potential.

"I know that there will be a lot of competition for places, especially in the midfield," he told Milan Channel.

"But this simply acts as an extra incentive for me and I think that the battle for a shirt will be a positive factor for the whole team."

Pirlo added that he was looking forward to the new campaign after the disappointing Under-21 European Championship exit this summer.

"I’ve spent the last month resting and the holiday has helped me to get over the delusion of losing the semi-final against the Czech Republic with the Azzurrini," he added.

"I’m ready to start the new campaign with Milan."

Meanwhile, one man that may not be with the Rossoneri is Demetrio Albertini.

The veteran midfielder is reported to be on his way out of Milanello with Atletico Madrid a possible destination.

Galli bewildered as Albertini nears Atletico loan
4.7 || webmaster

Former AC Milan great Filippo Galli has condemned the club's treatment of their senior players as speculation continues to mount that long-serving midfielder Demetrio Albertini could be set for a loan move to Atletico Madrid.

"I don't understand why the club is destroying a squad that has done so much for them," Galli said.

Albertini will probably have talks with Milan in the next couple of weeks, but with coach Carlo Ancelotti apparently preferring Clarence Seedorf, and Manuel Rui Costa fully recovered from injury, first-team prospects do not look bright for the Italy veteran.

"This is not the moment to talk about Atletico Madrid," Albertini said, but it is understood that his agent Giovanni Branchini will speak to the Spanish club's management on Thursday about the terms of any potential deal.

But Galli, who was part of the great AC Milan side of the early nineties alongside Albertini and such players as Franco Baresi, Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta and Paolo Maldini believes his former colleague is being hard done by.

"I think the player will accept a loan if that has been agreed," he said. "But I don't understand it, and I would have extended the contract of Costacurta.

"But I am speaking with the heart, and because there is so much money in football, Milan will have to do their best with the players they've got."

Jose Mari could be sent back to Atletico
3.7 || webmaster

Atletico Madrid are set to lose out on Juan Roman Riquelme but they should settle for José Mari instead. AC Milan hinted their Spanish fringe player, who never made any sort of impact on Serie A, agreed to go back to his old club. Adriano Galliani wants €13m for José Mari. Atletico are looking to get a 50% reduction as they can't afford to splash out such money on the player.

One last look at the World Cup
2.7 || scharatz

AUTHOR: Lo Scrivano

"It will come like a hurricane, snap you up in its arms and be gone, leaving behind a legacy never to be forgotten; and, all that in the blink of an eye!"

Yes folks, sadly (or thankfully for some) the World Cup is over and we have a long four-year wait before the next one. For some, the celebrations will go on for months and result in many a happy memory. For others, like myself, I have already put it behind me and moved on to the coming club season. But, before we start dreaming of mega-transfers and planning fantasy starting-XIs, I think we should take out the time to wave one last goodbye to the most magical tournament on the planet.

With the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards decided, and the victors on their way back home with the 18k deadweight World Cup trophy, it is up to us – the fans – to decide who our individual heroes were. In this case, heroism (and not beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. Even the Italian, Argentine and French fans will have immense love (if not pride) in their hearts for their players. Others like the Germans, Turks, Koreans and Senegalese can still smile and proudly pronounce their players as gallants of the tournament.

Lo Scrivano ponders on these very heroes and shares his impressions of World Cup 2002 with you.

I am a firm believer in the "winner deserved it" policy, which does not hold much worth in the footballing world. In this world, the World Cup is always rigged, the Scudetto bought through underhand means and the winner of the European Cup ridiculed for an easy schedule. However, this world is also affected by the intense emotion of life as a football fan. Well, I am too, but I do believe that only if I give credit to the team that lifts the trophy, will I myself feel the satisfaction when my team wins.

Brazil may not have qualified in the same arrogant style as Argentina or been labeled favorites by every Asian bookmaker, but they did come out and play their natural brand of delicious football and it is no wonder that they were crowned champions. They were one of the few teams that played like they were supposed to. In their own carefree sort of way, they enjoyed their games, dribbled a little too much, looked shaky at the back and in the end won by being the most breathtaking team at the tournament.

But while Brazil took the plaudits of winning a record-shattering 5th World Cup title, a few of the minnows took home a sense of accomplishment and a great deal of pride. Turkey, South Korea and Senegal could all have crashed out in the opening round. Senegal were in fact picked by many (including me, I am ashamed to say) to finish bottom of a group composed of France, Denmark and Uruguay. Instead, they stunned France in the opener and came close to dismantling Uruguay en route to a memorable quarter-final berth.

Turkey and South Korea went a step further reaching the last four alongside perennial giants Germany and Brazil. South Korea sent Portugal, Poland, Italy and Spain packing in their incredible run that earned them the honour of becoming the first Asian team to ever compete in the third place playoff. All in all, pretty amazing considering they had never won a game in all their previous World Cup appearances. Turkey (my pick to emulate Croatia), appearing in only their second ever World Cup finals, stormed towards the bronze medal and will only look to go one better in 2006 when their fanatical and passionate fans will be at hand to cheer them on.

Argentina, France and Italy were labeled favorite number 1, 2 and 3 before the cup. But, in my mind, none of these giants can claim the title of most disappointing team. While France was increasingly showing its vulnerability at the back and its increasing dependency on midfield maestro Zidane, Italy practically committed suicide with their now ill-famed defensive complacency. Argentina did not play bad, but they didn't play well either. Poor tactical choices put together with err......let's say "much ado about nothing" led to their elimination. They dribbled and passed far too much without ever threatening the opponent's goal.

The most disappointing team was the one that was supposed to have come good a long time ago. Portugal's golden generation had been touted to break Portugal's duck on the big stage and they looked to be coming good at the right time when they exploded into eminence as a team in EURO 2000. After making an excellent run to the semifinals (including a thrilling comeback win against England), Luis Figo & Co. were eliminated by a rather lucky French side. Many thought that the disappointment would propel the team onto greater things, but the golden generation never came good.

Playing in their last World Cup, the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Pauleta, Rui Jorge and Paolo Bento failed to deliver. The Portuguese defense was probably the worst of the tournament (non-existent that is) and Figo alone could easily be awarded the Aluminum Ball for being the most disappointing player of the tournament.

For these fallen golden boys, there may never be salvation on the big stage. They will probably hope to seek solace in victories with their clubs: Real Madrid, AC Milan or Sporting Lisbon. But, for others there was light at the end of the tunnel. Let's look back to a few of the most memorable scenes of this tournament.

David Beckham (after scoring against Argentina): From public enemy number one to God! That is exactly what David Beckham went through in the span of four years. He was hated by England fans after his 98 sending off and was booed by his home(Man Utd.) fans for the longest time. And, despite landing the captaincy, clipping off his much vaunted locks, and finally scoring a stunning free kick to send England to the World Cup finals, he never quite convinced his critics and haters. That was until he slammed his match winning penalty past Cavallero and exploded into a tumultuous celebration that only Stuart Pearce could have imitated.

Ahn Jung-hwan (after scoring the golden goal versus Italy): Most strikers either go into delirium and run around the field like little kids or strip of half their kits after scoring a match winner. Ahn did none of that. He ran to the corner of the pitch and lay down on his back and drifted into what must have been the most beautiful dream ever. I doubt he even knew what he had just done. His prostate figure was captured by dozens of photographers and a whole nation trembled to the beat of: Oh-oh…K-o-r-e-a!! Probably one of the most enchanting sights of the tournament.

Ronaldo crying after winning the World Cup: In 1998, Luis Nazario de Lima Ronaldo cried. He cried during his panic attack, he cried on his way to the hospital. He cried after he was forced to play 90 minutes of a World Cup final that left his country humiliated. Yet, four years and a boatload of misery later, Ronaldo cried for a different reason. He had struggled for fitness, worked hard and done what he had probably sworn to do four years ago. He had scored 8 times in 7 games including all the goals in Brazil's semifinal and final matches and won his nation the World Cup they had craved four years ago. He won the Golden Boot, finished within a whisker of Kahn in the Golden Ball and established himself as the world's best striker once again. Congratulations Ronaldinho!

Vieri after his disallowed goal against Croatia: In true Italian fashion, Vieri displayed the most animated argument ever seen in a World Cup. From a half a field across, his frantic hand gestures and wide-eyed expression did little to convince the referee, but did enough to earn him a booking. How sad considering the big Inter Milan striker had scored a perfectly legitimate goal.

Rivaldo's Oscar nomination against Turkey: I have never known Rivaldo for his diving or his theatrics. I know him for his left foot and his outrageous overhead kicks. Yet, he came up with the worst example of sportsmanship and one of the true epitomes of gamesmanship when he collapsed in a heap clutching his face in agony versus Turkey in the teams' opener. Serious it seemed till replays showed that Mr. Rivaldo had in actuality been struck on the thigh!!!

Julius Aghahowa's celebration after scoring against Sweden: For someone who didn't know this man before this cup, there was something special in store. Not only did the Nigerian prodigy score a wonderful goal to open Nigeria's account (sadly it was to be their only goal of the tournament) in the World Cup, but it also allowed the world to witness the sheer athleticism of the Shakhtar Donetsk striker. Aghahowa got a 9.9 from the judges for his perfect acrobatic celebration that consisted of 7 flawless somersaults (one hands-free I may add). For a twenty-year old who has netted 11 times in 17 national appearances, he is sure going to have to do a lot of those in the coming years.

Dario Rodriguez (Uruguay vs. Denmark): For sheer power, technique and brilliance, Rodriguez' stunning near post volley against Denmark was unparalleled. The former Penarol midfielder arrived at the edge of the area just as a loose ball came his way and in Diego Forlan fashion, lashed in a dipping volley that beat Sorensen all ends up and tied the game at 1-1.

Ronaldinho Gaucho (Brazil vs. England): Some people called it luck. Well, if you think he was going for the cross, you probably won't think anything of it. But, I think (and I think I know) that Ronaldinho had every intention to chip David Seaman on that goal. The wily PSG star saw the Arsenal stopper of his line and smacked in one of the most scrumptious of goals ever seen on the international stage. Not quite the goal he scored against Venezuela in the Copa America 99, but nonetheless, quite a beauty.

Salif Diao (Senegal vs. Denmark): While we could go on raving about individual efforts, it would be a shame to not mention the most tactically perfect goal (only Mexico's goal vs. Italy came close) of the World Cup and my vote for Goal Of The World Cup. With Martin Jorgensen hovering around the Senegalese left-wing few would have thought of a goal occurring at the other end in under a minute. Yet, the next forty-odd seconds were to bear witness to a textbook counterattack straight out of the Bruno Metsu book of soccer. Coly stole the ball from Jorgensen and launched a brilliant counter-offensive. Five touches and a classy finish later, the score was 1-1 and Salif Diao had scored one of the goals of the tournament.

LO SCRIVANO'S WC XI (apologies to the Germans)
Rüstü (Turkey); Myung-bo (South Korea), Nesta (Italy), Ferdinand (England), Roberto Carlos (Brazil); Bouba Diop (Senegal), Torrado (Mexico), Sas (Turkey); Rivaldo (Brazil); Ronaldo (Brazil), Vieri (Italy)

Manager: Guus Hiddink (South Korea)

As I close this latest chapter in World Cup history, I leave you with my greatest satisfaction of this entire tournament. In a tournament overshadowed with controversy and disappointment, the final whistle of the South Korea-Turkey game brought tears to my eyes.

The sight of Turkish and South Korean players celebrating together, waving their opponent's flags in front of a rapturous home crowd summed up the spirit of the game for me. That scene alone was enough to assure me why football was and will remain the greatest sport on the planet. What's more, isn't it ironic that the team touted as 'dirty' was the one whose players were seen rounding up the Koreans after the final whistle for one last bow .....indeed a sign of great things to come.

Atletico may be the answer for Albertini
2.7 || webmaster

According to reports, Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini could be on his way to Atletico Madrid for a year.

The two clubs have reportedly agreed the move, although nothing as yet has been agreed with the player.

Just last week the Italian international, who is currently recovering from a serious knee injury, turned down a move to Fulham.

Ambrosini defends Milan transfer policy
2.7 || webmaster

AC Milan midfielder Massimo Ambrosini has hit back at supporters' claims that the club lacks ambition.

Ambrosini was speaking after a group of fans gathered outside Milan's training ground on Monday to voice their disapproval at the club's reluctance to make a big-money signing this summer and dissatisfaction at the arrivals of Clarence Seedorf and Dario Simic from bitter rivals Internazionale.

However, with Jon Dahl Tomasson also signing for Milan and Fernando Redondo set to return after two years out with injury, Ambrosini feels the team will be more than capable of mounting a serious challenge in Serie A.

"People wanted Alessandro Nesta and it's true that strong players are important to a team," he said.

"But the group atmosphere is far more important than individuals and with the players we have now we are a competitive team."

Indeed, with Chelsea's Sam Dalla Bona also tipped to join the former European champions, Ambrosini is confident the team will boast one of the strongest midfields in Italy.

He added: "I think Carlo Ancelotti might have to choose a 3-6-1 formation! Every one of us will have to be at his best to win a place in the side."

Galliani backs new Milan
2.7 || scharatz

Milan chief Adriano Galliani maintains that this season’s Rossoneri are stronger than the last - despite the lack of any big money signings.

The San Siro giants have only signed Jon Dahl Tomasson on a free transfer with Clarence Seedorf and Dario Simic arriving in swap deals from Inter.

"We have strengthened the side in each department with the signings of Simic, Seedorf and Tomasson. The fact that we’ve added to an already competitive squad means we are certainly stronger than last term," said Galliani.

"The objectives for the future remain the same as those in the past 16 years. In the championship we need to finish in the top four at the very least. And in the Champions’ League we need to get past the qualifying round and go as far as possible."

The Rossoneri chief also publicly announced that the club had no intention of joining the race to sign Lazio stopper Alessandro Nesta.

"The reason we are staying out of the Nesta situation is because the money needed to complete the deal would be outside of Milan’s budget," he added.

"I want to clarify to fans who want a big name signing that Milan are doing everything possible on the transfer market only thanks to the generosity supplied by the Fininvest group."

The financial situation at the club is so restricted that veterans Alessandro Costacurta and Sebastiano Rossi have been released.

"We thank them for everything that they have done. Unfortunately the way football is going we have been forced to make painful decisions," Galliani continued.

"We didn’t sack them, we simply didn’t renew their contracts. It was the only way to reduce the squad."

Galliani also confirmed that Milan’s transfer campaign was virtually over. The only possible new addition could be that of Samuele Dalla Bona from Chelsea. He could arrive in exchange for Marco Donadel – a youngster touted as the new Albertini.

Shev delight for champ Ronaldo
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Andriy Shevchenko has expressed his delight for city rival Ronaldo after the latter lifted the World Cup.

The Inter forward netted twice yesterday as Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the Yokohama Final to finish the tournament as the top scorer.

"I’m very happy for Ronaldo. He really deserves it after all that he has gone through in the past," Shevchenko told the official Milan website.

"He has gone through four difficult years in which time he has been so unfortunate. But he has demonstrated that he has a character of steel. Nobody more than him has deserved the world crown."

The Ukrainian also spoke about the new season and admits he is eager to get back in action.

"Finally we can get back to work. I can’t wait to see the rest of my teammates and start the new campaign," he added.

Shev said he was also content with the Rossoneri’s transfer campaign – especially the signing of Jon Dahl Tomasson.

"The club has worked well on the transfer market and have strengthened in all departments," he added.

"Tomasson is a great attacker who gets involved in all offensive moves and helps out his side. He showed what he can do at the World Cup and I think he will make a positive impact."

Giants help out Fiorentina
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Three of Italy’s biggest clubs have moved to help ease Fiorentina’s financial crisis.

Juventus have agreed to sign youngster Emiliano Moretti (pictured), while Milan and Inter have bought a half each of Luca Ceccarelli.

The Viola have not only netted themselves just over £5m but they will also be allowed to keep the youngsters on loan for the new season.

The initiative was started by Milan chief Adriano Galliani who wanted to help the debt ridden club.

He managed to persuade Juventus’ Antonio Giraudo and Inter President Massimo Moratti to help out.

Moretti, a defender, has been signed for just over £1.5m. While Ceccarelli cost the Milan clubs a combined £3.5m.

Ancelotti wants fighting spirit
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Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has told his troops that he wants them to play with real fighting spirit in the new season.

The Rossoneri returned to training today after their summer break as they look to prepare for their qualifying Champions’ League tie.

"We already said towards the end of last season that the new Milan would be built on the foundations of that side but I want more of a real fighting spirit," he told Milan Channel.

"Today is like the first day at school. We have good prospects but we need to confirm on the pitch what we have in our heads.

"We had to meet up on July 1 because playing the preliminary rounds of the Champions’ League is a great sacrifice. The European Cup is of great importance to us."

The former Juventus tactician also stated that he intended to try to get his team to entertain rather than simply win.

"We will be looking to combine enjoyment with good results. A bit like what Brazil achieved in the World Cup with a good balance throughout the side even if in the end the individuals made the difference."

The ex-Italian international failed to talk in detail about the club’s transfer moves – even if he seems happy with the new arrivals to date.

"I don’t want to talk specifically about the transfer campaign. At the moment this side has been improved in the quality stakes. The squad has been strengthened with the arrivals of Simic and Seedorf but mostly with the return of Redondo."

The latter has yet to play for the club despite being signed from Real Madrid two years ago. However, the Argentine was at Milanello today in a bid to finally get his Rossoneri career off the ground.

"I’m happy to be here and would like to thank all the fans that have shown me their affection," the midfielder told Milan Channel. "I can’t wait to start training in order to make my Milan debut as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, the club have also announced that Brazilian ‘keeper Dida will return from his loan spell in his homeland despite reports suggesting otherwise.

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