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The Archive

July 2006

Milan eye Ronaldinho swoop
31.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Tentative Press reports from Italy suggest that Milan may make a shock move for Brazilian star Ronaldinho.

Both Tuttosport and Il Corriere Dello Sport today reported that the Rossoneri may be lining up an enormous bid for the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

While figures are speculative, it is rumoured that the Diavoli may need to offer as much as £85.5m to lure the 26-year-old wizard away from the Nou Camp.

Milan transfer guru Ariedo Braida fanned the flames of transfer speculation by declaring that he was planning a “transfer surprise to reward the fans.”

There are a wide number of potential targets being mooted, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gigi Buffon and Ronaldo amongst the most common whispers.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo – believed to be the story’s primary source – suggests that Milan may be lining up Ronaldinho as a replacement for Kaka, should he finally agree to a Real Madrid switch.

A vast bid would then certainly be possible given the fee already taken for Ukrainian marksman Andriy Shevchenko.

While Milan are keen to bounce back from the Calciopoli scandal with a high-profile signing, Barca President Joan Laporta is unlikely to sacrifice a hero such as Ronaldinho so close to the club’s Presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the Rossoneri wait with baited breath to discover whether or not they will be allowed to compete in this season’s Champions League.

The UEFA Emergency Panel is set to make a decision on Wednesday at 14.00 local time.

Serie A kick-off delay?
31.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Reports in Italy suggest that it is very unlikely that the Serie A and Serie B championships will start on August 27 as scheduled.

The probable starting date may be September 10, after an almost four-month break, considering that the Azzurri will play their first Euro 2008 qualifying matches on September 2 and 6.

Federal Commissioner Guido Rossi had guaranteed there would be no delay, but the appeals of the teams involved in the Calciopoli scandal and the evolving second phase inquiries will probably take up most of August.

Earlier today the trio of Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio presented their appeals to the CONI Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, the highest degree in sporting justice, hoping to overturn the verdicts handed down on July 25.

CONI’s decisions should arrive within August 10 and if the clubs and officials involved are still not satisfied they may decide to appeal to the civil courts, namely TAR.

The commission who was assigned the second phase of the Calciopoli inquiries ended its inquiry on Thursday afternoon and chief Francesco Saverio Borrelli submitted his report on Monday.

FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi may call for new indictments for Reggina and possibly Arezzo, Messina, Siena and Lecce before the end of the week, while the first degree verdicts are expected for mid-month.

Reggina are the ones risking the most and are being investigated with regards to six matches played in the 2004-05 season.

The clubs involved have pleaded their innocence and denied any wrongdoing, but it will be very difficult to wrap up all the appeals before the end of August.

Kaka happy to stay
31.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan star Kaka has reiterated his desire to remain at the San Siro, despite the latest news coming from Spain.

TV station Telemadrid stated on Sunday that the Brazilian midfielder is about to sign with Real Madrid – despite being contracted to the Rossoneri until 2011 – and that negotiations are almost complete.

His father and agent Bosco Leite was reportedly in Madrid to finalise the agreement with the Merengues sporting director Predrag Mijatovic.

Telemadrid also added that Kaka had already asked for the No 17 shirt, which is currently worn by Jonathan Woodgate.

Real Madrid would be hoping to finalise the 24-year-old player’s move before August 9, in order to prevent him from playing in the Champions League preliminary round.

Kaka denied these reports being true and stated that the renewal of his contract was the best proof of his loyalty to the Rossoneri outfit.

“I am still here at Milan and I signed the contract extension before the match-fixing verdicts,” the player told Milan Channel.

“I have spoken with no one either before or after the trial decision and I think that me having signed the contract before knowing Milan’s future shows that I am happy to stay here.”

Rumours linking Kaka with Real Madrid started prior to the World Cup, causing Milan’s harsh reactions.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani launched a furious attack on the Madrid club in an interview with Marca last week, declaring war on the Merengues after their numerous attempts to sign Kaka, whom the Rossoneri have never considered for sale.

Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon then called a ceasefire, sending a letter to Galliani to clarify his club’s position – but apparently has no intention of giving up.

Milan’s Torres hunt
30.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan transfer guru Ariedo Braida has promised that the Rossoneri are lining up a surprise swoop and the Italian Press suggest that it may be Fernando Torres.

“We usually spring a surprise around the transfer deadline and we’re hoping to do the same again,” Braida explained. “It would be good to give our unique fans a present.”

Although Torres has previously stated that he’s happy to stay at Atletico Madrid, the Diavoli may be back in with a chance of swaying the prolific youngster having regained a Champions League berth.

Torres’ agent Antonio Sanz has admitted that his client may be tempted by the San Siro club, but insists that there has been no contact made yet.

“Fernando’s been with Atletico Madrid since he was a child and it’s logical that he will show them loyalty above everything else,” Sanz said.

“But we know that Milan have been tracking him for many years and we can’t deny that a move is appealing, even if for the moment nobody from the Rossoneri has spoken to us.”

Torres – nicknamed El Nino due to his youthful features – has made 138 appearances for Atletico and found the net 68 times.

Other suggested targets for Braida are Gigi Buffon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo.

Milan chase Diarra
30.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are reportedly chasing Lyon midfielder Mahamadou Diarra and may table a bid within the next week.

The Rossoneri are looking to strengthen their squad after regaining their Champions League place and have already unexpectedly signed Parma stopper Daniele Bonera.

Now it is being suggested that the Diavoli will aim to lure a defensive midfielder.

Diarra has made no secret of his desire to leave Lyon, but the French side are likely to demand a sizeable fee.

It is believed that Les Gones will ask for between £17m and £20m for the Mali captain’s signature.

Milan’s transfer guru Ariedo Braida is set to meet the player’s agent Frederic Guerra tomorrow with an eye to agreeing a move.

Previously linked with Manchester United, Diarra has spent four years at Lyon since arriving from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.

He has made 117 appearances and won three consecutives titles at the Stade De Gerland.

Meanwhile, sparks continue to fly between Milan and Real Madrid as the Spanish Press are today suggesting that Brazilian ace Kaka is “75 per cent certain to go to Real’.

Bonera shocked by move
29.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

New Milan man Daniele Bonera has admitted that his sudden move to the Rossoneri did catch him by surprise.

The 25-year-old was training with Parma only yesterday until he was told of his switch by his representative.

“My move was a shock,” said Bonera at his official unveiling. “It was like a bolt of lighting out of a clear blue sky.

“I received a phone call from my agent while I was in training with Parma and I honestly thought it was a joke,” he smiled.

“But seeing as I have always been a Milan fan, I just jumped in my car without even discussing terms over the length of the contract or my salary.

“This is a dream move for me.”

Bonera has been linked with a switch to a big club for some time, but he won’t be able to make his debut in the Champions League tie next month because of suspension.

“That’s true, the club have told me that I have a one-match ban still to serve,” he added. “It just means that the players will have to cope by themselves.”

Rossoneri director general Ariedo Braida was the man behind the move and he’s delighted with his capture.

“We’ve tried to sign him in the past, but because of a thousand reasons we weren’t able to,” stated the official.

“Today he is here with us and we are happy to finally have him here. Let’s hope that he can do some important things and he can certainly do well.

“He’s young, just 25, he has a family, a son and he therefore has all the human requisites to do well with us.”

Meanwhile, Brazilians Nelson Dida and Kaka returned to pre-season training today after being called back for the Champions League preliminaries.

Ancelotti fears Red Star threat
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is not looking forward to the prospect of playing Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League qualifiers.

The Rossoneri will face either the former European champions or Cork City after today’s draw in Nyon and the tactician seemed to be concerned.

“It will be a tough match especially if we play Red Star who are a recognised team and also because we will have had little time to prepare,” he stated.

“As well as that, we will also have to play them in front of their 90,000 fans who can make a difference in games like this.

“We do have problems at the minute and Red Star were certainly one of the most difficult sides that we could have faced.”

The Italian giants have been rushed back to pre-season training after they were relegated to third in last season’s table, following the Calciopoli probe, and thus thrown into the qualifiers.

However, there is also the possibility that UEFA may not allow them to enter the competition even if Alberto Gilardino is remaining optimistic.

“We are perplexed, but not worried about the situation,” said the striker as he awaits the August 2 verdict. “I’m sure we will be allowed to play though.

“Red Star? It could have gone better – for them…” he smiled. “They are certainly a good side, but there is too much at stake for us to fail.”

Milan will play the home leg of their qualifier at the San Siro on August 9 at 20.45 hours local time.

OFFICIAL: Daniele Bonera to AC Milan
28.7 || webmaster


AC Milan just announced on the official site to have signed Parma's right back Daniele Bonera, born in 1981. His contract will expire on June 30th, 2010.

The official presentation will take place tomorrow, 13:00 CET at Milanello.

Real call Milan ceasefire
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon has looked to make peace with Milan by clarifying his club’s position in a letter to Rossoneri chief Adriano Galliani.

“I was very surprised to read Galliani’s interview in the newspaper and am sure this is just a misunderstanding,” said Calderon.

“We respect Milan’s glorious history, the relationship between the clubs has always been excellent and we hope the quarrel can be patched up as soon as possible.”

Milan’s Vice-President launched a furious attack on Real Madrid in an interview with Marca on Tuesday after the Merengues’ numerous attempts to sign Brazilian star Kaka.

Galliani was unimpressed with the Spanish outfit’s behaviour and openly declared war on Real Madrid.

“Please feel free to write that Milan declares war on Real Madrid and will do everything we can to make their life difficult,” stated the former League President.

“As we have been repeating for the past month, Kaka will not leave Milan, but let me add that even if he were to leave, he would not go to Real.

“No one from this team is willing to start any negotiations with them, this is not the way great clubs work together.”

The 24-year-old midfielder is contracted to Milan until 2011 and has confirmed his wish to continue honouring his Rossoneri agreement.

But Calderon’s letter may not end the issue as Real Madrid sporting director Predrag Mijatovic still considers Kaka as his transfer primary target this summer.

Milan renew Torres interest
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are ready to make a fresh bid for Atletico Madrid symbol Fernando Torres, reports in Italy are insisting.

The Via Turati club are now focusing on signing new players following the Calciopoli verdicts and netting a partner for 22-year-old Alberto Gilardino is their primary objective.

The Rossoneri are keen on finding a new striker to replace Andriy Shevchenko, who left the club for Chelsea before the World Cup Finals.

Torres has recently stated that he wishes to stay with the Colchoneros despite interest from numerous clubs all around Europe.

The Madrid outfit have already refused a £25.7m offer from Manchester United which shattered their dream of seeing Torres in action alongside Wayne Rooney.

Torres has been eyed by Milan since he was 17 and, if UEFA confirm their participation in the Champions League, the Rossoneri may immediately start negotiations with the Spanish club.

Other possible targets for the San Siro legends are still Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Juventus, Chelsea’s Hernan Crespo and Cagliari striker David Suazo.

The Honduras-born player is highly considered by Coach Carlo Ancelotti and may represent a valid alternative in case Milan are excluded from European competition on ethical grounds.

The Via Turati outfit are understood to have offered Marcio Amoroso and Marco Borriello, along with an economic package, to Sardinian chief Massimo Cellino.

However, the Cagliari President snubbed the bid by guaranteeing that Suazo would not leave the islanders this summer.

Milan should find out on August 2 whether they will be allowed to play either Cork City or Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League preliminaries.

Lens want Milan spot
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

French club Lens are ready to do battle with UEFA in a bid to replace scandal-hit Milan in next season’s Champions League.

The outfit have sent all necessary documentation to the European football governing body and will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary.

After the emergency meeting held on Thursday, UEFA decided to include Milan in Friday’s preliminary round draw on a provisional basis.

UEFA are considering their options on ethical grounds and the panel will meet again on August 2 to confirm its final decision.

If Milan were not admitted, France could add a name to the list of teams for the next Champions League and Lens, who finished fourth in Ligue 1 last term, argue they should benefit.

“I didn’t think that the Italian teams would be allowed to take part in the European competitions next year,” stated Lens director general Francis Collado.

“On the other hand, I find it reassuring that UEFA itself questions if it would be appropriate to admit Milan to the next Champions League,” he concluded.

Lens have asked UEFA to examine the issue carefully and have stressed the importance of the ethical and moral aspects of the controversy.

Lens President Gervais Martel said he will do all that is in his power to protect the rights of his club and of all French football.

A simple end to this story is very unlikely given that Lens are threatening an appeal to CAS in case the August 2 decision is not the one hoped for.

CL Draw: AC Milan meets...
28.7 || webmaster

...the winner of Cork vs. Red Star Belgrade!

UEFA delay Milan decision
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan will have to wait until August 2 to find out whether they will be eligible for next season’s Champions League, UEFA have confirmed.

European football’s governing body held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the Rossoneri’s proposed entry after the Calciopoli verdicts.

Although the Italian Football Federation have informed UEFA that Milan should be admitted, UEFA are considering their options on ethical grounds.

As a result, Milan will be included in Friday’s preliminary round draw but only on a provisional basis until the panel meet again next week.

"As far as the position of Milan is concerned, the Panel took note of a report submitted by the UEFA Chief Disciplinary Inspector on the question whether it would be appropriate, due to the particular circumstances, to admit Milan to the 2006-07 UEFA club competitions," a UEFA statement read.

"Following this report, the Emergency Panel has decided to further examine whether to admit Milan to the 2006-07 UEFA club competitions.

“Milan and the FIGC will have the possibility to submit their observations in this respect to UEFA.

"No decision has been made with regards to hypothetical replacement should Milan be excluded. Such a decision would be made by the Emergency Panel on August 2 as well."

Milan, six-times European champions, automatically won entry to the group stages of the competition after finishing second in Serie A during 2005-06.

However, they have since been deducted 30 points from last term’s tally which relegated them to third in the standings.

As it stands, Inter, Roma, Milan and Chievo have been submitted to the Champions League by the FIGC. Palermo, Livorno and Parma are in UEFA Cup contention.

Milan eye Ibrahimovic swoop
28.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are ready to tempt Juventus into selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic by making a bid of over £15m for the super Swede.

The Rossoneri are keen on a new striker as they look to replace Andriy Shevcenko, who left the club for Chelsea before the World Cup Finals.

The Italian giants consider the 25-year-old Swedish international as a possible successor to the Ukrainian star and are willing to invest heavily on him, also considering his age.

Ibrahimovic has been valued at £18m by Juventus and Milan are ready to offer almost £16m – more than Inter are willing to pay.

However, Ibrahimovic was last night declared as untouchable by new Juventus boss Didier Deschamps.

The Frenchman stated the club has no intention of letting any other players leave after Adrian Mutu, Fabio Cannavaro, Emerson, Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta were sold following demotion to Serie B.

Milan have been associated with numerous other forwards since the departure of the former European Player of the Year.

They initially showed their interest in Fernando Torres, but the centre-forward has now committed his future to Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea strikers Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba have been paired too, while David Trezeguet of Juve may also be an option.

Milan could accelerate their market movement with an August 8 Champions League tie on the horizon, should their participation in the European Cup be confirmed by UEFA.

UEFA may axe Milan
26.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan may still be banned from competing in next season’s Champions League by UEFA, reports on Wednesday are suggesting.

Although the Rossoneri were last night re-instated into the competition following their Calciopoli appeal, UEFA could still decide to not accept their entry.

It’s understood that the European game’s footballing body will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss their options.

“The meeting has been set up to take a decision on Italy’s participants for European competition during next season,” a UEFA spokesman is quoted as saying on numerous Italian websites.

Last season’s League table suggested that Juventus, Milan, Inter and Fiorentina would take part in the 2006-07 European Cup competition.

However, as a result of the match-fixing verdicts, Inter and Roma will go directly into the competition, leaving Milan and Chievo to pre-qualify.

UEFA do have the power to decline a club entry into their competitions as William Gaillard, their head of communications, has previously outlined.

"Who plays in the European competitions will be up to the UEFA committee,” he underlined.

"In the past, the committee have made exceptions by preventing clubs from taking part in European competitions. Marseille were one case in 1993.''

The then Champions League holders, who beat Milan 1-0 in the 1993 Final, were thrown out of the competition after they were found guilty of match-fixing in the French League.

Milan-Real: It’s war!
26.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has launched a furious attack on Real Madrid after the Spanish club’s numerous attempts to sign Brazilian star Kaka.

Recently elected President Ramon Calderon has claimed he would bring the midfielder to Madrid during his June campaign.

And despite the fact that the 24-year-old player is contracted to Milan until 2011, Calderon has not abandoned the idea of netting the ace.

Galliani has already complained about the Spanish team’s behaviour, just as director general Ariedo Braida had already done last week, and he’s fired a fresh blast on Wednesday.

“Real Madrid have been one of the greatest clubs in the world, but we are now furious with them,” said Galliani in an interview with the Marca newspaper.

“Please feel free to write that Milan declares war on Real Madrid and will do everything it can to make their life difficult,” added the former League President.

“As we have been repeating for the past month, Kaka will not leave Milan, but let me add that even if he were to leave, he would not go to Real.

“No one from this team is willing to start any negotiations with them, this is not the way great clubs work together.”

Galliani also emphasised the fact that his harsh comments were against the current Real Madrid management, not the team that everyone around the world knows and loves.

Milan received a boost last night after winning back their place in the Champions League and Kaka is clearly delighted.

“I am very happy that we regained our place in the Champions League,” said the player, who is still on vacation after World Cup duty.

“I want all our fans to know that I would have stayed, no matter what. My decision did not depend on the verdict.

“I believe in this club and its management, any other remark you may have read in the past few days is nonsense.”

However, there are now reports that Milan’s place in the Champions League may be taken away from them again by UEFA themselves.

Zamparini blasts Milan reprieve
26.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Palermo chief Maurizio Zamparini has been left fuming after last night’s Calciopoli verdicts saw his side’s Champions League dreams disappear.

The Rosanero were initially promoted to the competition after the first grade verdict saw Juventus, Fiorentina and Milan all banned from the European Cup.

But the Rossoneri have now been put back into the competition, relegating the Sicilian team to next year’s UEFA Cup.

“This sentence is ridiculous and cannot satisfy us,” said Zamparini during an interview on state television RAI.

“The verdict allows Milan to play the Champions League, I don’t really understand where the punishment is.

“I am puzzled,” added Zamparini. “Milan are either guilty or not, and if they are guilty, they should pay for any wrongdoing.

“I’m not saying that Palermo deserved a place in the Champions League, considering that we ended only eighth in the past season, but this way Milan are not suffering any real consequence.”

Coach Francesco Guidolin, currently preparing his side for their second official friendly of the season in Bad Kleinkircheim, Austria, mirrored his employer’s views.

“Victories are much more satisfying when they are gained on the pitch, but I didn’t believe that the CAF decisions would be overturned,” stated the former Bologna and Monaco boss.

“I am neither a judge nor a lawyer, I have not read all the papers, so I can only trust that the best possible verdict was handed out last night.

“Our main target is now the championship and that will not change.”

Nevertheless, Guidolin is desperately disappointed at not yet being able to make his debut in Europe’s top club competition.

“The opportunity of playing the Champions League always seems to slip from my hands,” he added.

“It happened in Bologna, Udine and finally here, but we will try to win a place in this competition during the next season.”

Club captain Eugenio Corini added: “We were being cautious, but I must admit that we were tempted by the idea of playing Champions League preliminaries.

“We feel we have been damaged, but this will not influence our attitude or our concentration.

“We will work hard and do our best in the next UEFA Cup, trying to improve last year’s result, when we finished in the last 16.”

Milan only partially satisfied
26.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have reacted to last night’s Calciopoli appeal verdicts with partial satisfaction, even if the Italian giants have again protested their innocence.

The Rossoneri saw their points penalty for next season’s Serie A reduced from 15 to eight and were also only relegated to third in last term’s table which will allow them to compete in the 2006-07 Champions League preliminaries.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani, who was handed a nine-month ban, waited for the verdict in the club’s headquarters in Via Turati.

Immediately after the sentence was read, Galliani did not speak directly to the Press, but invited the fans who had been waiting in the street to come inside.

“This is still an injustice, as during the only incriminating phone call regarding us, I never spoke a word, but only listened, out of politeness,” he stated.

“Anyhow, as we now have the Champions League, my next step will be to go to Milanello and speak to the players,” added the former League President.

“We only want those who are sincerely motivated to stay.”

Many Milan players were still on holiday, but have immediately been called back to Milanello to train for the Champions League preliminary ties, which will take place on August 8 and 23.

Galliani is also convinced that his team will bridge the eight-point deficit in the League before Christmas.

The Rossoneri club’s lawyer, Leandro Cantamessa, stated that he was partially satisfied by the verdict.

“It cannot be considered a victory, but after the July 14 decisions, it is a definite improvement,” he stated.

“The CAF verdict was a true blow for us, but this last verdict at least allows us to compete in next term’s Champions League.”

Galliani will appeal against his nine-month ban, but nothing has yet been decided about Milan.

“I don’t know if the club will decide to pursue the case in other forums, including civil courts,” concluded Cantamessa.

OFFICIAL: Calciopoli verdicts after appeal (final)
25.7 || webmaster

Source: Rai Uno

AC Milan
* -30 points for 05-06 season; this means CL football!
* starting 06-07 season with -8 points;

* Serie B football for them;
* last in standings for 05-06 season;
* starting 06-07 season with -17 points;

* -30 points for 05-06 season;
* starting next season with -19 points;

* -30 points for 05-06 season;
* starting next season with -11 points;

Italy awaits appeal verdicts
25.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

The Calciopoli appeal verdicts are expected to be delivered on Tuesday after the hearing came to a conclusion on Monday.

The three-day debate reached its end last night with Milan making their case against the punishment handed to them by the CAF court 10 days ago.

Although the Rossoneri escaped following Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio into Serie B, they were kicked out of the Champions League and handed a 15-point penalty for the 2006-07 campaign.

The Italian giants were implicated in the scandal as a result of an intercepted telephone call by Leonardo Meani, a now former employee, who requested a specific linesman for the April 2005 clash against Chievo.

Milan have argued that they were “indirectly responsible” for his actions and urged the Federal Court to wipe out the first grade sentence.

“Meani is a person altogether marginal to the club,” Milan lawyer Leandro Cantamessa told the five-man appeal panel.

"The further away a person is from the club, the more autonomous his actions become and the less controllable on the part of the club.

“The sentence is without precedent.”

Milan have also insisted that Vice-President Adriano Galliani, who has been banned for a year as a result, never approved Meani’s actions.

All four clubs involved have denied wrongdoing and are hoping that their appeals will have proved successful.

Juventus were stripped of their last two titles, demoted to Serie B and handed a 30-point deduction for the 2006-07 campaign.

Lazio and Fiorentina have also been stripped of their Serie A status and will start with minus seven and minus 12 points respectively.

Although a verdict is expected this evening, there is the possibility that the fresh sentences will be delayed for another 24 hours.

Speculation suggests that points deductions will be reduced, while Lazio and Fiorentina may be put back into the top flight.

Seedorf backs Milan
24.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has defended his club against the Calciopoli accusations and spoken of his optimism for next season.

“On the pitch I never noticed any advantage or disadvantage from the referees,” the Dutchman stressed.

“It’s useless to talk about Calciopoli now. Everything could change, for now we can only hope.”

While Seedorf has committed his future to the Rossoneri, his midfield colleague Kaka is still pondering his next move.

“I spent two days on holiday with him and I can tell you that he’s thinking about what’s the best move for him,” revealed Seedorf.

“I do know however that the club has tried to keep its’ best players.”

One thing that is certain is that Milan will have to cope without Andriy Shevchenko next term.

Seedorf is well aware that the burden of replacing the Ukrainian star falls in part to him.

“It will be difficult to replace him,” the ex-Sampdoria man admitted. “We all need to lend a hand going forward given that we’ve lost a player who can guarantee 20 goals a season.”

Seedorf has been a Milan player since 2002 when he signed from city rivals Inter after a luckless spell with the Nerazzurri.

It is rumoured that Real Madrid are willing to offer around £50m for Kaka’s signature, Milan’s wait for the Brazilian’s decision continues.

Crespo eyes Italy move
24.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Hernan Crespo has stressed that there is no offer Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich can make to prevent his return to Italy.

The Argentine marksman left Inter for Chelsea in the summer of 2003 for £16.8m, but has struggled to adapt to life in England.

He then returned to Italy for one year on loan at Milan in the 2004-2005 season with much success partnering Chelsea new boy Andriy Shevchenko.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Tuttosport, Crespo revealed that Abramovich was willing to make vast offers to keep hold of him.

“Abramovich has offered me a house, a private jet and more money, but I told him I just want to return home,” said the 31-year-old striker.

“Chelsea are a fantastic club and they have treated me like a king. However, the fact is that I love Italy, the money and success don’t come into it.”

While Inter had been linked with a bid for the ex-Parma and Lazio man, the Nerazzurri seem to have turned their attentions to Luca Toni and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Chelsea instantly released a statement playing down the claims he was on his way out of the London club. "He is contracted for the next two years and will remain so unless we receive a suitable offer."

A return to Milan may be possible but will be jeopardised by the Calciopoli verdict, which has seen the Rossoneri booted out of the Champions League.

Kaka staying at Milan, says dad
23.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Kaka will not be leaving Milan for Real Madrid this summer, his agent-father has confirmed on Sunday.

The Spanish giants have been heavily associated with a bid for the Rossoneri sensation, but Bosco Leite maintains the speculation has nothing in common with the reality.

“I have not spoken to Real Madrid. I’ve not been in contact with [Real directors Franco] Baldini or [Predrag] Mijatovic,” Leite stated. “I’ve also not suggested that my son could be sold.

“If Real are interested in the player then they will have to turn to Milan. We have a contract with the Italian side, one which we only recently signed [until 2011].”

The youngster’s father also dismissed the rumours emanating from Spain which suggest that Kaka is keen on the move.

“The Spanish say that Ricky wants to leave? I don’t think that is the case, not at the minute anyway. I think he will stay at Milan,” he stated.

Kaka was used as an election tool by Ramon Calderon who had promised fans that he would sign the former Sao Paulo player if he was elected to the hot-seat.

That has led to reports that Real have had a £40m offer rejected by Milan, as well as offering Kaka a seven-year contract worth £5m a season.

Yet Leite also dismissed suggestions that he and his son had received such an enticing deal from the Liga giants.

“I don’t know anything about such an offer,” he maintained.

Milan fans will certainly be hoping that the Brazilian international does stay after the loss of Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea already this summer.

Meanwhile, reports yesterday suggested that the London club were also keen on Kaka with an alleged £70m offer already said to have been tabled.

Real have already fished in the peninsula recently after signing Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson from Juventus last week.

The duo left the Stadio Delle Alpi in a £16m deal and will be bossed by former Bianconeri Coach Fabio Capello in the new campaign.

Milan resist Kaka millions
22.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Real Madrid and Chelsea are ready to bid big in order to land Kaka, but Milan insist he is untransferable.

The Spanish giants have been linked with the sensation since before the World Cup, while the London club have now apparently joined the race.

Real are understood to be willing to spend £40m on a transfer fee and offer the Brazilian a seven-year deal worth £5m a season.

“If they want a meeting to discuss a transfer then they may as well spare themselves the travel costs,” stated Milan sporting director Ariedo Braida when asked about Real’s interest in the starlet.

“With their pressure on Kaka they have only received our indignation. We have said that Kaka is not for sale and I continue to repeat that.”

As if to underline that point, reports in Spain on Saturday are suggesting that Milan have also snubbed a Stamford Bridge approach.

The Premiership champions have supposedly had a £70m offer rejected for the player who recently extended his Milan deal until 2011.

Chelsea have already brought in two high profile players this summer in the form of Bayern Munich’s Michael Ballack and Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko.

The Ukrainian signed prior to the World Cup Finals after a fee of almost £31m was agreed between the clubs.

Kaka arrived at the San Siro in 2003 in a £6m switch from Sao Paulo and has enjoyed three superb seasons in Italy.

Italy retune TV rights law
22.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italy’s smaller clubs are celebrating today after the government proposed new legislation to re-introduce a collective TV rights deal.

As it presently stands, clubs in the peninsula have to negotiate personal TV contracts which basically sees the big clubs netting mega-money deals, leaving their smaller rivals with a just a modest fee.

However, that is now set to change with the Italian government drawing up a new bill which would see money more evenly divided between all clubs.

Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri, whose been campaigning heavily for the changes since the Calciopoli storm, says the proposed new system would see various benefit.

Half of the funds paid by media organisations – such as Sky Italia, Rai and Mediaset – would go to the clubs with the rest going to other footballing sectors.

It’s understood that the government are hoping to have the bill passed ready for the start of the 2007-08 season.

Current contracts which go beyond July 2007 will be protected by a number of clauses during the switch back to the old system.

Real’s Kaka quest
21.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Despite Milan’s insistence that Kaka is staying at the San Siro, Spanish sources suggest that Real Madrid are tabling an enormous bid for the Brazilian ace.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, the Spanish giants are prepared to offer the Rossoneri around £38m for Kaka and will present the 24-year-old with a seven-year contract worth nearly £7m per season.

Relations between Real and Milan have become tense after the Bernabeu side continued to talk to Kaka even though the Diavoli declared their midfield star not for sale.

Milan have even threatened to report Madrid to FIFA for approaches they believe to be illegal.

Kaka arrived at the San Siro in 2003 in a £6m switch from Sao Paolo and has enjoyed two superb seasons in Italy.

He could become the second most expensive player in football history – behind Zinedine Zidane’s £45.5m transfer from Juve also to Real.

Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon is likely to wait for a TV rights deal – set to yield around £150m per season - to be settled before spending such a large sum of money.

As many critics speculated, Fabio Capello has set about signing a “Serie A dream team” with Fabio Cannavaro and Emerson already arriving.

Now it seems that the Real tactician has set his sights on one of Milan’s most prized assets.

Ancelotti points to title
20.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti insists his side will still target Scudetto glory – even if they start the new campaign with a 15-point penalty.

The Rossoneri’s titles hopes for 2006-07 have already taken a massive blow after they were punished for their part in the Calciopoli scandal, but Ancelotti is promising a fight.

“We want to win the League,” he said on Thursday as his club, who are appealing against the sentences imposed, began pre-season training.

“We have always been protagonists from start to finish and that will be the case this year too,” he added.

“If we start with a 15-point deduction then we will have even more hunger and strength to claw that deficit back.”

The Italian giants start the term without the Chelsea bound Andriy Shevchenko, but the Coach is happy with what the transfer market has delivered so far.

“Some new players have arrived which will have brought in enthusiasm as well as giving me new technical and tactical options,” he added.

“There is still time to buy on the market. For now though, we have to substitute Shevchenko’s goals with Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi. Hopefully, Pasquale Foggia and Yohann Gorcouff can help too.”

The latter, a young French midfielder, has arrived from Rennes and Carletto is happy with what he has seen. “He is a modern player who mixes quality with dynamism,” he added.

Vice-President Adriano Galliani was nowhere to be seen on Thursday, but director general Ariedo Braida was present.

“We are ready for the new season,” he said before intimating that he was ready to deliver some more new faces to the team.

“There is time until the end of August,” he noted. “If Ancelotti has any requests then we will try our best to accommodate them.”

Atalanta net Donati loan
20.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Atalanta have signed former youth team product Massimo Donati on loan from Italian giants Milan.

The newly promoted outfit swooped for the 25-year-old last night and he will be officially unveiled to the media later today.

The switch enables Donati to return to the club where his promising career began back in the 1998-99 campaign.

Donati shined for the Nerazzurri and few were surprised when Milan swooped for the Udine-native in the summer of 2001.

However, the ball-winning starlet failed to cement his place in the side and has spent subsequent spells on loan at Parma, Torino and Sampdoria.

He’s spent the last two Serie A campaigns at Messina but will now be playing in front of the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia faithful again.

Buffon to stay at Juve
20.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

After a fortnight of intense speculation, Gigi Buffon’s agent has surprisingly announced that the Azzurri shot stopper will not be leaving Juventus.

“Gigi is staying with Juventus,” Silvano Martina stated. “He’s ready to play in Serie B. He’s never won the Serie B title and now he wants to try.”

Since the Calciopoli verdict relegated Juventus to Italy’s second tier, several clubs have been linked with the 28-year-old custodian.

“There was a bid from Roma to take him on loan but Juve didn’t consider it,” Martina revealed. “The club said what any club would have – Buffon is an international and they could sell him for a vast fee, there’s no reason to loan him.”

Buffon’s reluctance to move overseas and the Champions League ban imposed on Milan also served to scupper advances from his main suitors.

In 2001, Buffon became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he moved from Parma to Juve for £33m.

Having recovered from a dislocated shoulder suffered last summer, Buffon returned to action last November.

He went on to enjoy a fairytale season winning the Scudetto with Juve and the World Cup with Italy as well as the FIFA Lev Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

Juve have already received a boost today with reports that Pavel Nedved will join Alessandro Del Piero in committing to the club.

The Bianconeri will now hope that other key players follow Buffon’s example and stay loyal to the Old Lady.

Italian duo for Cameroon
19.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Franco Baresi and Angelo Colombo are set to be unveiled as Cameroon’s new coaching team.

The Indomitable Lions have been without a Coach since Portuguese boss Artur Jorge left last spring but are said to be discussing personal terms with the Italian pair.

However, Angelo Colombo – who recently quit his role with Milan’s youth team – was quick to point out that he hadn’t actively sought to leave the embattled club.

“Firstly I want to say that we didn’t apply for the Cameroon job, but the Football Federation contacted us,” stressed Colombo. “So far all that’s happened is that our lawyer has sent a letter to the Cameroon Football Federation to say that we are available.”

Despite failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Cameroon are still regarded as one of the strongest squads in Africa and expectations will be high for the inexperienced pairing.

Milan claim UEFA place
19.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan look set to claim a place in next season’s UEFA Cup after the Italian Football Federation refused to support Empoli’s bid to acquire a licence to enter the competition.

The Tuscan minnows unexpectedly found themselves in the UEFA Cup qualification zone following the Calciopoli verdict but appear to be unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

It is a let-off for the Rossoneri, and it represents a miscalculation on the part of Guido Rossi and his team as last Friday’s sentence was supposed to prevent Milan from taking part in European competition in the coming season.

The Diavoli will now hope that the consolation of UEFA Cup football will halt a potential exodus from the San Siro.

Milan complicate Buffon move
19.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gigi Buffon’s proposed move to Milan is now in doubt after the Rossoneri sold Christian Abbiati to Torino on Tuesday.

The Juventus ‘keeper has been heavily linked with the San Siro giants yet yesterday’s developments have seemingly complicated matters.

“With the sale of Abbiati to Torino, the chances of seeing Buffon move to Milan have decreased,” said Old Lady sporting director Alessio Secco.

“We spoke to Milan a few days ago about Buffon where they offered us money and Abbiati in exchange.”

The Bianconeri were keen on keeping Abbiati as a replacement for the Italy No 1 after his efforts in Turin last season.

Having arrived on loan for the campaign after injury to Buffon, Abbiati impressed most neutrals at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

It’s now unclear what Juve will do with Buffon as reports on Wednesday suggest that Inter are keen even if he may remain with La Vecchia Signora if their 30-point Serie B deduction is reduced.

Meanwhile, Secco confirmed that Real Madrid had been in touch regarding a triple swoop for Emerson, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta.

But the Juventus official has hinted that the difference between what Real are offering and what his club want is still significant.

“We’ll meet them again in a few days to talk more,” stated Secco. “We are ready to sell players, but only at the right price.”

It’s understood that the Spanish giants have offered around £21m for the threesome, Juve are looking for around £30m.

Secco also intimated that at least two big name players would definitely be remaining at the club. “I’ve spoken to Alex Del Piero, who told me he’s staying along with Pavel Nedved.”

OFFICIAL: Abbiati to Torino
19.7 || webmaster


AC Milan announced on Tuesday that Christian Abbiati has been loaned to Torino.

Gattuso committed to Milan
18.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso’s agent has dismissed claims that his client could leave Milan for Manchester United this summer.

The Italian international is liked by the Old Trafford outfit who were hoping to take advantage of Milan’s involvement in the Calciopoli saga.

But with the Rossoneri escaping the threat of relegation, the World Cup winner seems set to remain at the San Siro.

"Gennaro is quite happy to stay at Milan,” representative Andrea D'Amico told BBC Sport on Tuesday.

"The club say nobody is leaving, so he will stay and try to get the team as high up the table as possible."

Although the Rossoneri have been booted out of the Champions League and will start the new campaign with a 15-point deduction, the 28-year-old is ready to sweat blood for the San Siro giants.

“He’s not thinking about the Champions League expulsion,” added the agent.

"He's under contract with Milan and is happy to stay. If the club decide they want to sell him then that's up to him.

"He is a happy man at the moment. He has just won the World Cup and he's gone off to have a holiday before the new season starts."

Manchester United are looking for a combative central midfielder and have also been linked with Juventus’ Patrick Vieira.

Zambrotta keen on Milan
18.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan are in pole position to sign Gianluca Zambrotta, the Juventus player’s agent has revealed on Tuesday.

Although the English media have speculated that Chelsea are lining up a bid for the versatile full-back, the Italian won’t ponder a move abroad unless his desire of joining the Rossoneri fails to materialise.

"Zambrotta's wish is to stay in Italy, but not at Juventus and the only club that can afford the transfer and that have shown a keen interest is Milan," Giuseppe Bonetto told PA Sport.

"Should Juve fail to reach an agreement with Milan then Zambrotta will consider the other alternatives.”

The former Bari player is expected to leave the Italian giants after their relegation to Serie B and Juventus have been bombarded with requests.

Although Bonetto conceded that Chelsea will make a formal approach, the Premiership champions will have to join a long queue.

“An agent representing Chelsea will meet Juventus in the next few days, but they are not the only ones interested in Zambrotta,” he added.

“Real Madrid and Barcelona are also keen to sign the player.

"It will be down to Juventus to make the decisions and let us know what the options are once there is something concrete.”

Juventus value the newly crowned World Cup winner, recognised as one of the game’s best full-backs, at around £14m.

The former Under-21 international joined the Stadio Delle Alpi outfit in 1999 for £7m from southern minnows Bari.

He’s been a massive success in Turin, even more so after former boss Marcello Lippi transformed him from a right-winger into a marauding full-back.

Gattuso denies Donadoni claim
18.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has dismissed suggestions that senior players had any part to play in the appointment of Roberto Donadoni as Italy boss.

Reports had suggested that the more experienced members of the Azzurri squad had a significant say in who would lead the world champions following the departure of Marcello Lippi.

However, the Milan man has rubbished that theory by insisting that he didn’t know that the former Italy winger would be handed the job.

“The players knew nothing about the decision to hire the new Coach,” the World Cup winner stated last night.

“In fact, when I head the news I rang a few of my international teammates up and they were as surprised as me.”

Donadoni, a Milan legend, was appointed last week and will today hold talks with the Italian Football Federation to finalise terms.

The former Lecco, Genoa and Livorno boss is also expected to be officially unveiled to the media at some stage on Tuesday.

Roman offer for Kaka
18.7 || webmaster


Chelsea president Roman Abramovitch is reportedly about to make a shock multi-million offer to AC Milan for their playmaker Kakà. The Brazilian seemed bound to join Real Madrid after his team was penalised in Italy's match-fixing scandal, but the Blues have now joined the race.

Despite having already signed Germany's Michael Ballack and Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko, Abramovitch's ambition looks unquenchable.

But even a 70-million euros offer - according from French daily L'Equipe - should not be enough to lure Kakà to Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, the 24-year old spoke aloud of his attachment to the Rossoneri on Monday.

"My family and I are happy in Milan and that is why I renewed my contract until 2011," he told the Spanish AS newspaper.

But the Brazilian hinted that a move to the Spanish capital could be in store, especially since Milan have been deprived of Europe next season.

"The fact that Real are interested in me and want me is very pleasing. Real are as great a club as Milan, or possibly even greater," he said.

"I would only sign with Real after they had reached a deal with myself, but more importantly having satisfied Milan's requests," he finally concluded.

Kakà played for the last two seasons at the San Siro and scored 21 goals in 75 matches.

I’m joining Toro, says Abbiati
18.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italian international goalkeeper Christian Abbiati has suggested he will be guarding the Torino net during the 2006-07 campaign.

“I’m joining a club with a clear project already defined,” said the highly-rated custodian on Monday.

“I’ve spoken to [President Urbano] Cairo and their director general and it seems to me that this type of plan already exists at Torino.”

Abbiati’s future has been in doubt for some months once he returned to Milan during the summer after spending last term on loan at Juventus.

He’s already told Milan that he doesn’t want to stay at the San Siro unless he’s assured first team football and his chances of remaining at Juventus have ended with their demotion.

Abbiati has also been linked with moves to Roma, Inter and Arsenal over the last 24 months after losing his place in the Milan side to Nelson Dida.

It’s unclear at this stage whether Abbiati will join Toro on loan, in a co-ownership deal or on a permanent basis.

Kaka drops Real hint
18.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan ace Kaka has sensationally opened the door for a summer switch to European giants Real Madrid.

Although the Brazilian signed a new contract with the Rossoneri only last month, he has today suggested that a move to Real wouldn’t be outside the realms of reality.

“My family and I are happy in Milan and that is why I renewed my contract until 2011,” he told the Spanish AS newspaper.

“The fact that Real are interested in me and want me is very pleasing. Real are as great a club as Milan, or possibly even greater.”

Kaka’s words are unlikely to be well accepted by the Italian giants who have warned Real off their wizard on numerous occasions in recent weeks.

After losing Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani insisted that players in his squad would now have to respect their contracts.

Perhaps with that in mind, Kaka did underline that his present outfit would have the final say in his future.

“I don’t intend to try and force any kind of decision here, I want the whole world to be aware of that,” he added.

“I would only sign with Real after they had reached a deal with myself, but more importantly having satisfied Milan’s requests.”

The chances of Kaka leaving the San Siro seem remote at the time being, especially after the club kept their place in Serie A on Friday night.

Milan have also repeatedly stated that Kaka is untouchable even if Chelsea are also believed to be in the hunt for the World Cup player.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid are set to sign Manchester United forward Ruud Van Nistelrooy this week. The Dutchman had been linked with both Milan clubs.

Milan hit back at Tardelli
16.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

The war of words between Milan and Juve has intensified after the Rossoneri’s club website posted a stinging attack on the Old Lady’s new director Marco Tardelli.

Tardelli evoked the wrath of many within the San Siro club by claiming that Friday’s Calciopoli verdict was biased in favour of Milan.

“I’ve taken some time to cool down and this still looks like an unbalanced verdict,” he claimed. “The right decision was surely to send all the clubs to B without a point deduction. It doesn’t seem right to me that Milan could be in the UEFA Cup.”

A statement on Milan’s official website bitterly attacked Tardelli. “His comments are a mistimed tackle. Perhaps he’s still hurting from a certain 6-0 derby defeat,” the response reads. “It was the May 11th 2001 and it was probably the day that ended Tardelli’s coaching career.”

The statement refers to a crushing derby humiliation during Tardelli’s miserable spell at Inter in 2000-2001. After a great playing career as a defensive midfielder that included World Cup glory in 1982, Tardelli struggled to adapt to management.

After his dismissal at Inter came the same fate at Bari and Arezzo, not to mention an ill-fated period in charge of Egypt’s national side.

Milan’s chances of entering the UEFA Cup are increasing. Empoli don’t have permission from UEFA to enter the competition and have missed the May 11th deadline for applications.

Barring a special dispensation, Empoli will be unable to enter and will surrender their place to the Rossoneri.

Milan ponder court action
15.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have refused to rule out court action in their bid to overturn the Calciopoli verdict that may rule them out of European football next season.

“There are lots of reasons to challenge this contradictory verdict,” insisted the Rossoneri’s lawyer Leandro Cantamessa.

“I read the whole verdict and there’s no explanation for 59 points that have been deducted.”

The Calciopoli verdict saw 44 points subtracted from Milan’s 2005-06 total – leaving the Diavoli one place shy of UEFA Cup qualification – and a 15-point deduction imposed from the start of the new season.

However, Milan may still enter the UEFA Cup as Empoli – who claimed a spot as a result of the scandal – don’t have the necessary licence to enter the competition.

The Azzurri face a race against time to acquire the documentation but club President Fabrizio Corso is determined that his club can take advantage of their unexpected chance.

“This would be a unique opportunity for us,” the Tuscan minnows’ owner said. “Given that we’re a small club, it’s probably an unrepeatable opportunity.”

If Empoli are admitted to the UEFA Cup they may need to play their home games at Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Meanwhile, Cantamessa has also criticised the action taken against Milan’s Vice-President Adriano Galliani, who was banned from football for a year.

“It’s based on a phone call that lasted less than two minutes,” he claimed.

“From reading the verdict it sounds like they haven’t even heard the call. I hope that we don’t need to resort to the local courts but we haven’t ruled it out.”

Milan’s UEFA hope
15.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan may still play European football next season, despite yesterday’s Calciopoli verdict.

The Rossoneri will see 44 points deducted from last term’s total, denying them a place in the Champions League.

However, even with this penalty, the Diavoli find themselves only one place short of UEFA Cup qualification, and may now find a way into the competition at the expense of Empoli.

While Livorno and Parma are set to take advantage of the misfortune of Serie A’s most illustrious clubs, Tuscan minnows Empoli don’t yet have the necessary licence to enter the UEFA Cup. Should the Azzurri fail to receive permission to enter, Milan would be the next club in line.

As things stand, Inter and Roma will go straight into the Champions League group stages, while Palermo and Chievo will enter the preliminary round.

Juventus were relegated to Serie B with a 30-point deduction, Fiorentina and Lazio were also sent to the Second Division with penalties of 12 and seven points respectively.

Milan were deemed to be the least guilty side, but still face the prospect of starting next season in Serie A with minus 15 points. All clubs are due to appeal.

Here is how the revised 2005-06 Serie A table looks:

Inter 76 (Champions League group stage)
Roma 69 (Champions League group stage)
Chievo 54 (Champions League preliminary)
Palermo 52 (Champions League preliminary)
Livorno 49 (UEFA Cup)
Empoli 45 (UEFA Cup) * Pending licence
Parma 45 (UEFA Cup)
Milan 44
Ascoli 43
Udinese 43
Sampdoria 41
Reggina 41
Cagliari 39
Siena 39
Messina 31
Lecce 29
Treviso 21
Lazio (Relegated)
Fiorentina (Relegated)
Juventus (Relegated)

The Calciopoli verdicts in full
15.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Demoted to last place in 2004-05 season and stripped of that season’s title. Their 2005-06 Serie A title win has also been wiped out. They will start next season in Serie B with 30 point deduction. Former directors Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo banned from football for five years.

Relegated to Serie B with 12-point penalty for 2006-07. President Andrea Della Valle banned for three years and six months. His brother Diego, the club’s honorary President, suspended for four years.

Relegated to Serie B with seven-point penalty for 2006-07. President Claudio Lotito banned for three years.

They stay in Serie A, but will start next season with a 15-point deduction. They are deducted 44 points from last season’s point tally which means they have not qualified for the Champions League. Vice-President Adriano Galliani banned for a year. Rossoneri official Leonardo Meani suspended for three years and six months.

Refereeing officials:
Designator Paolo Bergamo deferred, Pierluigi Pairetto banned for two years and six months. President Tullio Lanese banned two years and six months, Vice-commissioner Gennaro Mazzei banned for a year, observer Pietro Ingargiola cautioned.

Massimo De Santis banned for four years and six months, Paolo Dondarini stopped for three years and six months, Gianluca Paparesta banned for three months. Pasquale Rodomonti, Paolo Bertini, Domenico Messina, Gianluca Rocchi and Paolo Tagliavento all cleared.

Claudio Puglisi and Fabrizio Babini banned for a year.

Italian Football Federation officials:
President Franco Carraro stopped for four years and six months. Vice-President Innocenzo Mazzini suspended for five years.

All those sentenced have five days to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal. At this time, Messina, Lecce and Treviso would be re-instated into Serie A.

14.7 || webmaster

Source: Rai Uno

AC Milan:
* -44 points for past season. This means we lose the CL spot.
* we start next season with -15 points.

* Serie B football next season.
* they start next season with -30 points.

* Serie B football next season.
* they start next season with -12 points.

* Serie B football next season.
* they start next season with -7 points.

Scandal clubs to learn fate
14.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Four of Italy’s top clubs could be stripped of their Serie A status today as the Calciopoli verdicts are expected to finally be delivered on Friday.

Juventus, Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio run the risk of relegation for sporting fraud in relation to the 2004-05 season.

FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has called for Juventus, at the centre of the scandal, to be relegated to a Division “lower than Serie B” and deducted six points.

He has urged the court to relegate the three other teams to Serie B with a 15-point deduction for Fiorentina and Lazio, but declared that Milan should only be docked three points.

A total of 25 individuals, including club officials, Italian Football Federation figures, referees and linesman were also indicted on the same charges. They face fines and suspensions.

The match-fixing revelations exploded into life in May when a number of intercepted phone calls between then Juve director general Luciano Moggi and refereeing heads were printed in the media.

A number of inquiries were immediately launched across the peninsula with the FIGC starting their own sporting probe last month.

Despite calls from some for an amnesty to be called as a result of Italy’s World Cup success, of which 13 Azzurri belong to the four clubs implicated, FIGC commissioner Guido Rossi has dismissed such a notion.

Although sentences are expected to be delivered today, the saga is set to continue with any of those found guilty having the opportunity to appeal.

Rossi is keen for any appeal verdicts to be delivered as soon as possible given that the FIGC have until July 25 to communicate to UEFA the names of the clubs submitted for European competition next season.

The Gazzetta dello Sport is today speculating that Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina will be sentenced to Serie B, while Milan will survive in A even if they may lose the right to play Champions League football.

Juventus could also reportedly be docked 20 points, while the other two possible demoted sides could start the campaign on minus six points.

Berlusconi against relegation
14.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan club President Silvio Berlusconi has spoken against the proposal that his club should be relegated to Serie B for its role in the Calciopoli scandal.

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Berlusconi insisted that a punishment imposed on the pitch would unjustly punish the players and fans.

“The sanctions should not be aimed at the players who don’t deserve to drop into Serie B or C,” insisted the former Prime Minister.

“We also shouldn’t punish the fans who have done nothing wrong. I’m against relegating anyone, I’m not just talking about us.”

Italy’s richest man did, however, admit that any individuals found to have committed sporting fraud should face the consequences.

“It’s only fair that the guilty pay for their actions,” he conceded. “The directors and referees involved should face a proper trial though, not a rushed one.”

Milan are one of four clubs involved in the match-fixing trial and do face the prospect of relegation along with Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio.

FIGC prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has called for Juventus to be relegated to a Division “lower than Serie B” and deducted six points.

He has urged the court to relegate the three other teams to Serie B with a 15-point deduction for Fiorentina and Lazio, but declared that Milan should only be docked three points.

A verdict from the CAF court, for the four clubs and the 25 individuals indicted, is expected at some stage between now and Saturday.

Meanwhile, ex-referee Pierluigi Collina was questioned by Calciopoli investigator Francesco Saverio Borrelli earlier today.

Collina refused to comment on what they spoke about, but categorically denied discussing any aspects to do with Milan or his relationship with their former sponsor Opel.

Collina, regarded as one of the world’s finest referees, is also set to meet with FIGC commissioner Guido Rossi later in the day.

Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino, formerly of Lecce, also met with Borrelli on Thursday.

Italy duo commit to Milan
14.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Despite the Calciopoli cloud hanging over the club, Alberto Gilardino and Gennaro Gattuso have pledged their futures to Milan.

There had been speculation that both would leave the San Siro if the Rossoneri are relegated for their alleged role in the scandal, but both Gila and Gattuso today stated that they would stay even if they have to play Serie B football.

“I’m proud to wear the Milan shirt,” said Gattuso. “There’s been so much talk about Milan in the last few months, but I still think this is a unique club.

“I spoke to [Milan Vice-President] Adriano Galliani and told him again that I’m not going anywhere,” concluded the man linked with Manchester United.

Ex-Parma marksman Gilardino, signed last summer for £17m, also dismissed rumours that his first season with Milan would be his last.

“One thing is certain, my future is with Milan,” insisted Gila. “I’m bound to this shirt and it’s a great club. Now my mission is to win with things here.”

Milan are still nervously awaiting a verdict in the Calciopoli scandal and have numerous players of interest to other clubs, including Kaka who is wanted by Real Madrid.

Milan duo set for Premiership?
13.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

The Milan pair of Nelson Dida and Alessandro Nesta are being associated with moves to Premiership clubs this summer.

The goalkeeper is apparently a target for Manchester United, while Chelsea want Italy stopper Alessandro Nesta.

Dida’s future at the club is in doubt after the two parties have so far failed to agree terms over a new contract.

With the possibility of losing Dida for nothing next summer, and the probable capture of Juventus No 1 Gigi Buffon, the Italian giants are ready to cash in on the Brazilian.

However, no decision on the South American will be made until the Calciopoli verdicts have been revealed.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are again being associated with a swoop for long-time target Nesta to strengthen their defence.

The Stamford Bridge outfit are understood to be ready to make a bid of around £12m for the newly crowned world champion.

However, it seems that the Lazio youth team product would only consider such a switch if the San Siro outfit are demoted as part of the match-fixing trial.

Other whispers circulating around the peninsula today have also linked Andrea Pirlo with a move to Real Madrid.

New Real boss Fabio Capello is a massive fan of the playmaker who has just underlined his ability in Germany 2006.

Pirlo, formerly of Brescia and Inter, is understood to have a valuation of around £15m even if Milan wouldn’t want to lose him.

I’ve fulfilled dream, says Pirlo
13.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo admits he’s realised a childhood dream by being crowned as a world champion with Italy.

“I’ve managed to complete a dream that I had as a boy, a boy who knew that he was good at football and one who knew what he wanted to achieve,” said the Brescia-native.

“Growing up, I had always wanted to play in a World Cup for Italy and obviously win the tournament. It’s fantastic.”

Pirlo, winner of the Bronze Ball too, was a key figure in the Azzurri squad and a vital cog in Marcello Lippi’s plans.

Yet despite winning the trophy at his first attempt, there are doubts over whether Lippi will remain as national Coach.

“Lippi just thanked us and didn’t reveal his plans for the future,” replied the former Inter player when asked about the tactician’s possible departure.

After spending the last six weeks on World Cup duty, Pirlo is now keen to spend some time with his family.

“I’m now set to go on holiday for a bit,” he noted. “Will I play football on the beach? Only with my son Niccolo.”

Pippo reveals quit plans
12.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi clutches his World Cup winner’s medal, but admits a year ago he was seriously considering an early retirement.

“My mind goes back to how much I had suffered a year ago. I was about to hang up my boots, but Milan waited for me and I managed to win back my place in the Nazionale. It’s an incredible feeling and a remarkable achievement.”

The striker will turn 33 next month and thought his career was over after a series of injury setbacks. He underwent surgery several times for ankle problems and a fractured wrist, making just 25 Serie A appearances in two seasons.

However, he rediscovered his form for the Rossoneri this term with 17 goals in 31 games in all competitions and was picked to replace the injured Christian Vieri in the World Cup squad, scoring as a substitute in the 2-0 win over the Czech Republic.

“I am so very happy,” SuperPippo told journalists following last night’s massive party in Rome. “You only truly realise what you’ve achieved in this World Cup when you return to Italy and see the fans.”

Inzaghi's career tally for the Azzurri is now an impressive 22 goals in 50 games, the joint 10th highest Italy scorer of all time alongside Sandro Mazzola.

Gattuso stunned by reception
12.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso was flabbergasted by the reception that awaited the returning Azzurri heroes in Rome last night.

“It all still seems like a dream, with all those people partying and praising us,” said the Milan midfielder. “One thing’s for sure, we certainly didn’t feel alone when we got back to the peninsula!”

The welcome parade at Rome’s Circus Maximus saw a massive crowd attend, which estimates range from 600,000 to over 1 million people.

“The Roma players had told me of the celebrations here when they won the Scudetto in 2001. Now I know what they meant.”

Gattuso was one of the key figures in the World Cup winning campaign and won over fans throughout the globe with his hard work, warrior spirit and amusingly honest interviews.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like the Circus Maximus packed out with flags waving and people screaming our names. Now I’ll go home to Corigliano Calabro to rest before next season kicks off again.”

Calciopoli verdicts delayed
12.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

The eagerly awaited verdicts regarding the Calciopoli investigation may not be delivered until much later this week, reports are suggesting.

Juventus, Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina – plus 25 individuals – were initially expected to be told of their fate on July 10 but yesterday passed without any verdict being delivered.

Whispers last night then suggested that any possible sentences would be released on Tuesday or Wednesday.

However, speculation in the peninsula today suggests that we may have to wait until Thursday or as late as Saturday to be informed of the CAF court’s decision.

Chief judge Cesare Ruperto and his pool of colleagues are considering charges of sporting fraud with regard to the 2004-05 season.

Chief prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has called for Juventus to be relegated to a Division “lower than Serie B” and deducted six points.

He has urged the court to relegate the three other teams to Serie B with a 15-point deduction for Fiorentina and Lazio, but Milan with only a three-point deficit.

Buffon agent drops Milan hint
10.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gigi Buffon’s agent has opened the door for a sensational summer move from Juventus to rivals Milan.

The newly crowned world champion has been linked with the Rossoneri recently and Silvano Martina admits the switch may occur.

“Yes, there is a Milan possibility for my client,” Martina told the website on Monday evening.

“However, we have to be careful though as they already have a great ‘keeper in their squad thanks to Nelson Dida.”

Buffon is set to be sold by the Italian giants as a result of the Calciopoli scandal which may see them relegated to Serie B, but Martina insists that there is only one club which the ‘keeper would consider.

“The only side which is of interest are the Rossoneri, that’s because Inter are okay as they are and Real Madrid are an impossibility,” added Martina. “There is also an option in England but that isn’t simple.”

Nevertheless, Martina did concede that his £25m rated client could actually remain in Turin and in the Second Division.

“It would be right for Juventus and Buffon to go their separate ways if they were demoted to Serie B,” he added.

“However, it is clear that Buffon could stay if the club didn’t receive an offer that they were happy with. After all, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if that happened…”

Pirlo: This is a dream
10.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo has spoken of the World Cup victory as a dream he doesn’t want to wake up from and explains their turning point.

“It’s a wonderful sensation to see the fans. We still can’t quite tell what we’ve done here, as it’s all so incredible. We don’t want to wake up from this dream. This was a very united squad that was desperate to take the trophy home and now we intend to celebrate!”

The Milan midfielder was voted FIFA Man of the Match for his performance in the Final and has been one of the most impressive Azzurri players in the competition.

“We started off hoping to take it one game at a time and see how it went, but the victory over Australia gave us the belief to raise a level and realise we could go far.”

The Final was decided on a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw with goals from Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi.

“Tonight we hoped to end it in 90 minutes, but when it went to extra time we gave what we had and some that we didn’t. I don’t know where we got the energy from. Thankfully, I was one of the few who was able to sleep last night.”

Pirlo took the first spot-kick and buried it, as did all four of his teammates, as the Azzurri finally ended their penalty jinx.

“You cannot describe the emotion of the shoot-out. Fabio Cannavaro told me to stay calm, but I really couldn’t manage that. The tension was incredible. I had to focus only on the football and close out the rest of the world when taking my kick. Thankfully, luck turned our way for once. I dedicate this to my wife, my child and the other which is on the way.”

Gattuso: Scandal pushed us on
10.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso believes that the Azzurri were given the desire to win the World Cup after the scandal that hit Italian football.

“In all honesty, I don’t think we would’ve won the World Cup without the Calciopoli scandal. So many of our clubs are running risks and have been insulted, so it gave us the intense desire to prove what Italian football is really about,” said the midfielder.

“I’m still in shock, to be honest. Perhaps because I worked so hard today, I’m exhausted. The trophy is quite heavy and just wonderful to hold, but I think we’ll only realise over days, months or even years what it is we’ve achieved.”

There will be a parade through the centre of Rome on Monday, but Gattuso reveals there wouldn’t have been any ceremony in case of defeat to France.

“We didn’t want to organise anything beforehand, as only the British celebrate second place. It would’ve been pointless to have a parade with runner-up medals. I was so anxious last night I didn’t sleep until 7am and went to the bathroom 28 times. I have no nails left from nibbling them. We were worried at the shoot-out, but I saw Gigi Buffon was really focused and he gave me confidence.”

The Milan hero has made no secret of the grit needed to triumph in these competitions – and the strength required.

“This is a hard-working, tough squad with two real b***s and proved our character in this competition. The win was down to the entire squad sticking together. I realise we are in football history and that a victory can show what the sport means for this country. A nation that has won four World Cups cannot be anything other than a superpower.”

He has been tipped as one of the symbols of Germany 2006, but remains sceptical on his own talents.

“I can play in a certain manner and don’t consider myself a star. I know every side needs people like me, but I cannot be compared to people like Zidane or Ronaldinho. I’ll dedicate this trophy to my grandfather and my parents, for they brought me up well. I know I can often talk too much and over-do it, but that’s just the way I am.”

Pirlo: Catenaccio is dead
9.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo is Italy's creative centre and hopes that their performances in this World Cup have killed the Catenaccio cliché.

"However the Final goes, the idea of Italian Catenaccio is finished," pointed out the Milan midfielder. "During this World Cup we have played with two forwards, sometimes three and even four against Germany at the end. Regardless of the result, we'll no longer near talk of Italian Catenaccio."

Although Marcello Lippi has switched to a 4-4-1-1 system in recent games, Francesco Totti is essentially a forward and has support from one or even two strikers used as wide midfielders. That tactic could be used against France this evening with Alessandro Del Piero rumoured to be taking the left flank.

"This is a difficult Final, but we have more hunger than France," insisted Pirlo. "Our side has always won by playing as a team. We've achieved some great results in this tournament and don't want to stop now."

Pirlo was named by former Juventus legend Michel Platini as the key figure for the Azzurri, going so far as to suggest Italy were ‘Pirlo-dependent’.

"It's obviously very pleasing to hear a great player like Platini give me such praise. It's also normal that he's talking up France's chances of lifting the trophy, but it's up to us to prove him wrong."

Dida staying, insist Milan
9.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan claim that goalkeeper Nelson Dida will stay at the club next season – even if he doesn’t sign a new contract.

Talks between both parties concerning a renewal have stalled which did lead to claims that Dida could be sold as his present deal expires in 2007.

But the Italian giants maintain that the Brazil’s World Cup ‘keeper will still be guarding the Rossoneri net for the next 12 months.

“Our position as a club with regard to Dida has not changed,” said director general Ariedo Braida.

“If Dida decides that he doesn’t want to renew, then we will just have to accept his decision.

“But all that would mean is that Nelson will stay at Milan next season and will then be free to decide his future destination.”

The South American did have a nightmare campaign at the San Siro after some costly errors for the club.

Meanwhile, Milan-owned custodian Christian Abbiati is being associated with a move to Torino this summer.

Abbiati, an Italian international, spent last term on loan at Juventus and played a key role in their Scudetto success.

I won’t mark Zizou, says Gattuso
7.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has revealed his plans on keeping Zinedine Zidane quiet in the World Cup Final. “To stop him you need to make the sign of the cross,” he said.

Italian fans are looking towards the Milan man to nullify the French wizard in Berlin, especially after winning the approval of teammate Marco Materazzi. “Zidane? We have Gattuso,” stated the Inter man.

But the former Rangers favourite is aware of the mighty task ahead of him on Sunday evening.

"You don't stop Zidane," he noted on Friday. “You have to try and control him and if you want to limit his effect you need a bit of luck too.

“You need to give him as little thinking time as possible. If players like him are at 100 per cent then they won’t allow you to see the ball.

“Although he is one of those players who is worth the price of a ticket alone, he’s 34 and playing in his last game. We have to hope that on Sunday he doesn't have much petrol left in the engine.”

There have been suggestions that boss Marcello Lippi will ask Gattuso to man-mark his former Juventus pupil, but the ball-winner doesn’t expect to be handed such a role.

“We don’t play in a way which includes man-to-man marking,” he added. “It’s something which we don’t do anymore in Italy.

"I've played against Zidane before, with Milan, but I've never man-marked him. Obviously, if he is in my zone then it will be more my job to take care of him than Andrea Pirlo's, but it's not man-marking.”

Gattuso has undoubtedly been one of the players of the tournament so far, but he’s urged pundits to not get too carried away with his ability.

“There are some world class players around like Ronaldinho and Zidane, but you can’t compare me to those people.

“I have my qualities, but I need to thank those people at Milan who gave me the chance to work for an extra hour a day to improve myself.”

Yesterday teammate Alessandro Del Piero declared France as favourites and Gattuso mirrored that view.

“They are certainly favourites,” he noted. “They’ve won a World Cup and a European Championship and many of those players are still here today. They are people used to winning.”

AC Milan has 'respect for the rules,' its lawyer says
7.7 || webmaster

International Herald Tribune

AC Milan is innocent of match-fixing charges, its lawyer said Thursday at a sports trial in Olympic Stadium.

"Respect for the rules is in Milan's DNA," the lawyer, Marco De Luca, said in denying that the club had been aware of any attempts to influence referees.

Prosecutors say Milan worked to have friendly referees assigned to its matches through contacts between Italian soccer federation officials and Leonardo Meani, a member of the club's management. Adriano Galliani, a Milan vice president, is accused of disloyalty in approving Meani's dealings.

De Luca told the court that Meani had acted on his own and that the club should not be held responsible.

"The contacts were not brought to the attention of Galliani or of the club," he said.

"They were personal relationships that did not concern Milan."

The prosecution is seeking to demote Milan to Serie B along with two other Serie A clubs, Fiorentina and Lazio.

It wants Juventus banished to Serie C or lower and stripped of the league titles it won in the past two seasons.

Twenty-five soccer officials also face charges of match-fixing or disloyalty at the tribunal, which was set up by Italy's soccer federation. The officials risk being barred from holding future positions in the soccer world.

Luciano Moggi, former general manager of Juventus, and Antonio Giraudo, its former chief executive, are accused of creating a network of contacts with federation officials that ranged from influencing refereeing assignments to having yellow cards issued to players during games. The two resigned in May, along with the club's entire board.

Lawyers for Juventus and Giraudo have acknowledged that any contacts may have been unsportsmanlike but have denied that match fixing was involved. They said that demotion to Serie B, not Serie C, would be an "acceptable" penalty.

AC Milan's owner, Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling his club the victim of favors granted to other clubs. This week he described the prosecutor's request that Milan be demoted to Serie B as "absurd and out of proportion."

Italy suffer Nesta blow
6.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italy defender Alessandro Nesta will not be fit for the World Cup Final against France, Azzurri medics have revealed.

There were hopes that the Milan stopper would recover from a groin strain in time for Berlin, but they have been dashed on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, from a clinical and physical point of view, it won’t be possible for him to be at the side’s disposal,” stated team doctor Enrico Castellacci.

Nesta originally picked up the problem in a pre-tournament friendly against Ukraine, but was still able to feature in the World Cup opener versus Ghana.

However, the Lazio youth team product had a recurrence of the injury in the 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, on June 22, which has ended his tournament.

Both Marco Materazzi and Andrea Barzagli have stepped in for the defender since, with Materazzi again set to win the approval of boss Marcello Lippi at the weekend.

Gila expected Berlin date
5.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino insists he’s not surprised that Italy have reached the 2006 World Cup Final.

“We said before this adventure began that the Final was our objective and we got there with determination, humility, great character and some good football,” said the Milan man.

“We always believed in ourselves, as the team spirit is responsible for 80 per cent of this victory. All the strikers scored in this tournament and proved their worth when called upon.”

Gilardino started the game on the bench, but made an impact on the match by striking the post and then setting up Italy’s second goal for Alex Del Piero.

“It’s a shame my shot hit the post, but then the goals came and it didn’t matter anymore,” said the £17m man.

“As for the final strike, I was running at my man, but then heard Alex’s voice and rolled it across.”

Gilardino also praised boss Marcello Lippi for making each member of the side feel important by keeping his cards close to his chest.

“The Coach always keeps us on tenterhooks until the last minute to give us the line-up and that’s very important to keep everyone in the loop,” he assured.

Juve face Serie C threat
4.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Calciopoli prosecutor Stefano Palazzi has today called for Juventus to be relegated into Serie C1, as well as urging the sporting tribunal to condemn Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina to Serie B.

Palazzi made his formal requests at around midday where he pushed for all the clubs charged with sporting fraud to face stiff penalties.

As well as seeing Juve thrown into “a Division lower than Serie B”, Palazzi wants them to be stripped of their last two Serie A titles and start the new campaign with a six-point penalty.

He’s also asked for Lazio and Fiorentina to begin with a 15 point penalty in next season’s Second Division, where they could be joined by a Milan side who start on minus three points.

There are also now 25, and not 26, individuals on trial for sporting fraud – FIGC member Cosimo Maria Ferri was cleared of any wrongdoing last night – and Palazzi is pushing for lengthy bans and fines.

Former Juventus director general Luciano Moggi, the man at the centre of the scandal, could face a five-year ban from the game plus multiple fines of 5,000 Euros.

Palazzi has asked for the same length of punishment to be handed out to ex-Juve chief executive Antonio Giraudo, Lazio President Claudio Lotito, Milan official Leonardo Meani, plus Diego and Andrea Della Valle of Fiorentina.

Other notable individuals who may face similar consequences include former FIGC chief Franco Carraro, ex-refereeing designators Paolo Bergamo and Pierluigi Pairetto, and current referee Massimo De Santis.

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani is facing the threat of a two-year stop, while promising referee Gianluca Paparesta could be sidelined for a year.

The trial began last Thursday but was adjourned until Monday even if nobody was questioned on its restart as the day was dominated by objections from defence lawyers.

All involved maintain their innocence.

The FIGC are hoping for a verdict, which may not be as stiff as Palazzi is pushing for, to be delivered by July 10.

Crespo wants Italian return
3.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo has admitted that he is on the verge of a return to Italian football this summer.

“Everyone knows that I want to play in Italy again,” he told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper. “Even Chelsea, who want to keep hold of me for life, have understood the situation.

“Roman Abramovich has asked me to stay, but it has got nothing to do with money. He knows I want to go and has put me on the market.”

Crespo initially joined Chelsea from Inter three years ago, but has since enjoyed a one-year loan spell with Milan.

Both clubs have again been linked with his services once more and the Argentina striker wouldn’t object to a San Siro reunion.

“Inter or Milan? It doesn’t really matter to me. I think I did well at both clubs and left a good impression,” he added.

“I’m just waiting for news now.”

The Stamford Bridge outfit are prepared to let the much-travelled forward go after netting Andriy Shevchenko from Milan for almost £31m prior to the World Cup.

Crespo will become even more tempting to Serie A sides seeing as he is also on the verge of gaining an Italian passport.

Crespo, formerly of Lazio and Parma, has also recently been associated with a switch to capital giants Roma.

Match-fixing trial resumes
3.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

The Calciopoli sporting trial which has seen four Serie A clubs and 26 individuals indicted for sporting fraud resumed on Monday.

The case was initially adjourned just three hours after opening on Thursday once Cesare Ruperto, the chief judge, allowed more time for various lawyers to prepare their case.

Juventus, Lazio, Milan and Fiorentina – plus 26 people including Federation officials and referees – are facing the threat of prosecution in relation to a number of intercepted phone calls during the 2004-05 campaign.

Should any club be found guilty of wrongdoing, they could face a points deduction or demotion to a lower Division. Juventus may also be stripped of their last two Serie A titles.

Individuals, none of whom are players, found guilty face suspensions from involvement in the game.

Juventus are the club who are seemingly most at risk and their former employees Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo are two of the defendants.

However, neither are present in the makeshift court room at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome today and are subsequently being represented by their lawyers.

Moggi’s man, Fulvio Gianaria, has already taken the opportunity this morning to insist that the court can not try his client given that he is no longer in football.

The former director general quit from his post and the game in the aftermath of the revelations on the same day that Juventus lifted their 29th Scudetto.

The Italian Football Federation are hoping to have a verdict delivered by July 10, with any appeal decision made by July 20.

Nesta out of semi-final
3.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Today’s tests confirmed it is “highly unlikely” Alessandro Nesta will recover in time for the Germany showdown.

The defender limped off with a recurring upper thigh problem during the 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic and there were hopes he would return for Tuesday’s semi-final in Dortmund.

“The chances of seeing him play are remote,” conceded FIGC spokesman Antonello Valentini after today’s tests.

Although his condition has improved, the Milan man won’t be ready for the clash with World Cup hosts Germany.

With Marco Materazzi returning from a one-match ban, the Interista is the prime candidate to partner Fabio Cannavaro in central defence, although Andrea Barzagli impressed in the 3-0 quarter-final victory over the Ukraine.

Today’s training session in the Italy camp in Duisburg was opened up to 300 fans and the Press, as enthusiasm is growing around the Azzurri’s World Cup bid.

Marcello Lippi split the squad in two for a game between ranks, but Gianluca Zambrotta, Luca Toni, Nesta, Angelo Peruzzi and Mauro Camoranesi sat this out.

The side without coloured vests won 2-1 with goals for Pippo Inzaghi, an Andrea Barzagli own goal and Alessandro Del Piero’s penalty.

Team with vests: Buffon, Barzagli, Materazzi, Grosso, Barone, Pirlo, De Rossi, Gilardino, Del Piero

Team without vests: Amelia, Oddo, Cannavaro, Zaccardo, Gattuso, Perrotta, Totti, Inzaghi, Iaquinta

Gennaro conquers Germany
2.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has become the symbol of this World Cup for Italy and has urged Marcello Lippi to stay on the Azzurri bench for many more years.

The battling midfielder’s honesty, hard work and charisma have won over the media both on and off the field and he was the star in today’s Press Conference. Some of the local journalists even suggested he is the symbol of this tournament after Ronaldinho’s exit with Brazil.

“A comparison like that is an insult to football!” he joked. “With all due respect, I can play well and win back the ball, but the class and spectacle of Ronaldinho are things I can only dream about. As for Italy, there are real symbols like Luca Toni, Andrea Pirlo and Francesco Totti who make the difference. I’d like Alessandro Del Piero to be decisive, as he’s someone who emerges as time goes on and never gives in.”

The Milanista was FIFA’s Man of the Match following the 3-0 quarter-final victory over the Ukraine and the Germans see him as a key player in Tuesday’s clash in Dortmund. His tough tackling style could cause problems, however, as he is on a yellow card and another booking would rule him out of the Final.

“I will play with my usual style and it’ll be a test of maturity. In fact, I’d gladly sign away my chances of playing the Final if it meant Italy were there on July 9. Having said that, it’s not as if I’m looking for a card with a Rambo bandana round my head. If the referee waves a yellow at me, I might just have to eat it!”

Gattuso had perhaps not been Lippi’s first choice for the midfield, but Daniele De Rossi’s four-match ban opened up the door for him to put in a series of gritty performances. With talk that the Coach will leave his post after the World Cup, regardless of the result, he asked for this to be a starting point and not a finish line for the squad.

“Where does my grit come from? It’s like asking Totti where he gets his quality. I really can’t explain it. This team really reflects the figure of its Coach, all the way from the spirit to the style of play. You can see he’s the leader. He doesn’t set any rules for us, even though it may not seem that way from the outside, because his personality is so strong that you can’t help but respect him,” explained ‘Rino’.

“Lippi puts such desire into his everyday work that it’s only right he remain as our Coach, especially after all the success we’ve had in the last two years. There’s no point discussing it now, though, as we have to concentrate on this semi-final. At the end of the day, the only man who can make that decision is him.”

If Gattuso risks a ban, then Germany will be able to count on Torsten Frings for Tuesday’s clash. The player was caught on camera punching Julio Cruz during the melee that followed the quarter-final penalty shoot-out with Argentina, but FIFA have announced they won’t be taking disciplinary action against him.

"Two years ago the Danish cameras caught Totti spitting at Christian Poulsen and that footage was used to inflict a ban. This time our television spotted the punch, but I don't want to cause controversy," added the former Rangers star.

Gattuso: Bring on Germany
2.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso insists he won’t hold back despite his booking, while Germany could see players suspended after their brawl.

The Milan midfielder is on a yellow card and would miss the Final – or clash for third place – if he picks up another booking on Tuesday.

“I really don’t care,” insisted the little warrior. “I’d be more than happy to sit on the sidelines and watch if it means Italy are in the World Cup Final. The team is the important thing.”

Other Azzurri on a yellow are Fabio Grosso and Gianluca Zambrotta. Daniele De Rossi sits out the last in a four-match ban, while Marco Materazzi returns from suspension for this showdown with the hosts.

However, Germany could well be without Torsten Frings for the semi-final, as he was caught on camera punching Inter’s Julio Cruz in the face during the melee that followed the penalty shoot-out win over Argentina.

Although it’s believed Roma man Leandro Cufre started the brawl by kicking Per Mertesacker, for which he was red-carded, several different players became involved and FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee has begun an inquiry.

Now all of Italy’s outfield players have taken part in this World Cup campaign, as Massimo Oddo made his debut as a substitute in last night’s 3-0 victory over the Ukraine.

“I’ve made my mark in a World Cup, the greatest competition on the planet. This memory shall remain forever,” smiled the Lazio defender.

“My objective is to be ready whenever I am called upon, but obviously when you get to play, it feels all the more important. There are still two games to go and I hope to walk the field again.”

Milan zoom in on Ze Roberto
1.7 || webmaster

Football Italia

Brazilian Ze Roberto has hinted at a free transfer to Milan this summer, where he could be joined by Portugal full-back Miguel.

The Rossoneri are eager to bring in the 32-year-old, who can play in any midfield role, following the departure towards Benfica of Manuel Rui Costa.

“I want to leave Bayern Munich, because after having played for Real Madrid and in the Bundesliga, I want a new experience,” revealed the Selecao star. “I don’t think I’ll have problems in finding another team, but I only want to decide what I’ll do after the World Cup.”

Ze Roberto will be out of contract this summer and it’s reported Milan have lined up a three-year deal worth £1.7m.

The Rossoneri have been active on the transfer market, bringing in Rennes youngster Yohann Gourcuff and Cristian Brocchi back from his loan spell at Fiorentina.

The defence also needs rejuvenating and today the Italian media maintains there is an offer in place for Portuguese right-back Miguel.

The 26-year-old has impressed for the Seleccion so far in the World Cup and has been compared with current San Siro hero Marcos Cafu.

He started his career in a more advanced role with Benfica, but has been transformed into an effective full-back at Valencia.

It’s believed the only stumbling block to this transfer is the £7m price-tag Valencia have slapped on the player, as they paid £5.5m to tempt him away from Benfica last summer.

Miguel already has fond memories of Italy, as he made his senior international debut against the Azzurri in February 2003. He has one goal in 32 caps and is expected to start against England in today’s quarter-final.

Nesta unsure of semi-final spot
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Football Italia

Alessandro Nesta admits he’s not sure if he’ll be able to face Germany in the semi-final and analyses the host’s strengths.

“Germany are very strong in the air and have scored quite a few goals from set-pieces,” said the Milan defender.

The Azzurri still have the 4-1 friendly drubbing they inflicted on the Germans fresh in the memory, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s side knocked out favourites Argentina after a penalty shoot-out.

“They are not the same team they were in Florence in March, that is for sure. Argentina were stronger from a technical level, but playing the hosts is always tough.”

The defender limped off during the 2-0 win over the Czech Republic with a recurring groin strain and is still a major doubt to feature in the semi-final on July 4.

“We have to do more tests tomorrow and see if the bruise has subsided, then we’ll see what condition I’m in, but I do feel much better. It was another relapse in the same spot I’ve had injuries in recently and I’m working with the physiotherapists, but I can’t promise I can play the semi-final.”

Nesta was one of the players who reacted angrily to some statements in the German Press this week calling Italians ‘parasites.’

“Unfortunately, the Calciopoli scandal has dragged everyone into it and everyone is now having fun insulting us, but a lot of it is fear, because they knew they’d end up against Italy in the semi-finals,” smiled the former Lazio star.

Gattuso slams German media
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Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has revived the row with German newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’ and revealed the reasons behind his scintillating form.

The Azzurri responded angrily this week to an editorial in the local media calling Italians ‘parasites, Mamma’s boys and slimy.’ “We’ve been here for three weeks and I have to say the German people have been charming and very polite,” said Gattuso.

“I don’t know if the editor of Der Spiegel has some sort of problem because he got beaten up by an Italian as a child or his wife has been cheating on him with an Italian Stallion. I can’t explain it otherwise! That article offended my father and every other Italian who worked hard for low pay. Germany has given Italians work in the past, but our countrymen put in the effort and earned their wages.”

The Milan midfielder had struggled this season at club level, but has found his form for the World Cup after recovering from an injury.

“I’ve been training regularly with the team and playing without anti-inflammatory drugs, which is why my form has improved, but the whole side is doing better. We play with heart and achieve the objectives we set ourselves. The medical staff has been wonderful and I still work three hours more than my teammates to ensure my thigh problem is kept at bay. Everyone knows I’m not afraid of hard slog and will always give everything for the Azzurri shirt.”

He was named FIFA Man of the Match in the 3-0 quarter-final victory over the Ukraine last night and is thoroughly enjoying this tournament as Italy enter the last four.

“This is a dream for me that just keeps on going. I never thought I’d have the chance to be a key figure in a World Cup. That’s why I don’t want to close my eyes! I have to experience every moment in all its glorious detail. I hope to give this award to Gianluca Pessotto, as his gesture shocked us and we are eager to embrace him again.”

He took on Rossoneri teammate Andriy Shevchenko in Hamburg and also complimented Coach Marcello Lippi for the Azzurri’s performance in Germany.

“There were no doubts that Shevchenko is a great man and player. We spoke briefly and complimented each other, but all over the field there was mutual respect. The team is very much built in Lippi’s image, as we fight hard for 90 minutes and bring home the result. We’re repeatedly changed the system over the past few games based on studying our opponents and it has worked well.”

Gattuso’s eyes are already on Tuesday’s semi-final against World Cup hosts Germany. “I’m not afraid of Ballack, but I respect him and have faced him many times when Milan took on Bayern Munich. I have two legs and so does he.”

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