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The Archive

August 2005

Collina resignation rejected
30.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Italian Association of Referees (AIA) have revealed that they intend to reject the resignation of Pierluigi Collina.

The official quit the AIA on Monday following a conflict of interests row, which erupted after he signed a sponsorship deal with Opel - a company who also support Milan.

"His departure is a surprise," stated AIA chief Tullio Lanese. "We will turn down his resignation and inform Collina of that decision. We’ll then see what happens.

"I want him to stay within the association even if he doesn’t referee matches anymore. He can keep his contract but I want him to still be a part of our team.

"I still have great admiration for Collina as a man and a referee. However, I will repeat that there are rules in place and they have to be respected."

Italian Football Federation chief Franco Carraro commented: "We are saddened by Collina’s resignation.

"Collina is a valuable resource for not only the AIA but also for Italian football. We’ll see what happens over the next few days."

Inter President Giacinto Facchetti is also disappointed that the world’s best referee has opted to walk away.

"We are losing a referee who could have been precious in a difficult championship with so many important games," he said. "Collina has always been regarded as the best on the planet.

"I don’t feel that it is right for me to make a judgement in this case. But it does seem to me that there are a number of conflict of interest issues in the game already."

Italy boss Marcello Lippi has urged his fellow Viareggio resident to reconsider his decision.

"I hope that he changes his mind and that he can continue to do the good work he has always done," he stated. "I never expected this to happen."

Collina blows whistle on career
29.8 || webmaster


Acclaimed Italian referee Pierluigi Collina has announced his retirement with immediate effect.

The 45-year-old had been given an extension by Italian football's governing body, the FIGC, to carry on refereeing for another year despite passing their age limit.

His decision to end a 28-year career comes after he signed an endorsement deal with car manufacturers Opel, who are also sponsors of Serie A giants AC Milan.

That sparked controversy and Collina has now decided to stand down.

"After 28 years, I've decided to hand in my resignation from the Italian Referees Association. I cannot avoid doing so," he said.

"I slept less last night than the night before refereeing a World Cup final."

Collina was in charge of the World Cup final in 2002 between Brazil and Germany.

His contract with Opel contravened the rules of both the FIGC and the referees' association and Collina was told he would have to referee Serie B games if he kept the commitment.

"For me, it's not a problem to referee one entire season in Serie B.

"The problem is whether or not people believe in referees," Collina added.

"If we don't believe in them, we should ask ourselves why because without the trust in a referee, there is no point in looking ahead.

"In the end, we have all lost."

Top-flight clubs including Juventus, Internazionale, AC Milan and Roma had pledged their support to Collina and had no reservations about the sponsorship deal.

The Bologna-born Collina, who is a financial advisor, has refereed many of the most important games in world football in the past decade.

He took charge of the 1996 Olympic Games final, the Champions League final in 1999 - won by Manchester United - and the 2004 UEFA Cup final.

Euro 2004 was his last major international tournament as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 45.

He was in charge of the match which saw Everton fail to reach the Champions League group stages last week.

Collina was criticised by Everton boss David Moyes for disallowing a Duncan Ferguson header which could have taken the tie against Villarreal into extra time.

Ascoli 1:1 AC Milan - post-match comments
28.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Silva: “It has been a fantastic August for this club, as we were promoted to Serie A and in 10 days the squad came together to get this result. We played well and have a few regrets about losing our lead, but we’re keeping our feet on the ground. As for the conditions, if the ball bounced then we could play.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “We asked for the match to be suspended and the referee threw the ball 10 metres into the air to make sure it bounced. We felt a little bit aggrieved at this attitude. It’s difficult to give an evaluation of this as a football match, as the state of the pitch made play impossible. Above all, in the first half it was hopeless and the ball repeatedly got stuck in the mud. You cannot judge Milan’s performance in these conditions, although we still should’ve won.”

Ascoli 1:1 AC Milan - match report
28.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Cudini 51 (A), Shevchenko 63 (M)

Newly promoted Ascoli earned a shock draw, as for the second season running Milan start their campaign with only one point on the scoreboard.

New boys Ascoli faced a tough challenge as they welcomed a wounded Milan to the Stadio Del Duca for their first Serie A match in 13 years. The club was only promoted a couple of weeks ago following the demotion of Torino and Genoa, so there wasn't much experience at their disposal.

The Rossoneri had to do without Pippo Inzaghi, captain Paolo Maldini and the suspended Christian Vieri, so Alberto Gilardino and Andriy Shevchenko were the only two strikers at their disposal. Most clubs would, of course, love the opportunity to count on just one of these stars. Carlo Ancelotti picked an all-attack line-up with Serginho on the left side of midfield and Massimo Ambrosini on the right.

It was raining heavily in the Stadio Del Duca and the ball simply wasn't able to roll along the ground, so after four minutes of impossible football, the referee temporarily stopped play, although they continued following a brief pause.

Creating any real scoring opportunities was difficult, so Shevchenko tried from distance and the ball drifted over the bar.

Dead ball situations were the best option, so Serginho and Andrea Pirlo threatened with their free kicks. Cross-cum-shots from Foggia and Marcos Cafu caused a few problems for the goalkeepers.

Shevchenko's penalty appeals were waved away, as Cudini handled the ball in the area when defending a Pirlo set-piece.

Another Pirlo free kick tested Coppola on the stroke of half-time, but the environmental conditions ruined what could have been a great game of football.

Milan finally got a shot on goal after the restart, as Shevchenko's free kick was palmed round the post by Coppola.

Moments later, Ascoli were also dangerous as Quagliarella prepared to pounce on a Cafu error, but the Brazilian was able to clear at the last second.

The rain had stopped and play at last settled with another fierce Shevchenko set-piece only parried by the Ascoli goalkeeper.

Alberto Gilardino got on to Kaka's pass, but he had his back to goal and couldn't quite turn round the determined Lauro.

Instead, it was Ascoli who took a shock lead on 52 minutes. Foggia's free kick found Quagliarella and his header was only palmed into the path of Mirko Cudini for a tap-in.

Milan hit the back of the net two minutes later with Jaap Stam's header, but it was disallowed as the referee had not yet blown the whistle for the corner kick to be taken.

Ballon d'Or winner Shevchenko took matters into his own hands and scored with a stunning solo effort. The Ukrainian was over 20 metres away when he unleashed a rocket that bounced just in front of Coppola.

Seconds later it should've been 2-1. Kaka's effort was only parried by Coppola, but Shevchenko ballooned the follow-up over the bar from six yards in a chaotic move.

However, there was panic in the Milan area as Stam's wayward backpass forced Dida into an acrobatic clearance.

Coppola was at full stretch to fingertip Kaka's low drive round the post as it turned into a siege on the Ascoli net. Yet Dida had to be careful on Del Grosso's dangerous free kick in the closing moments.

Ascoli: Coppola; Carbone, Cudini, Lauro (Corallo 78), Tosto; Foggia, Cristiano, Parola, Fini; Quagliarella (Del Grosso 68), Ferrante (Colombo 56)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Kaladze (Jankulovski 86); Ambrosini, Pirlo (Seedorf 82), Serginho; Kakà; Shevchenko, Gilardino

Ref: De Santis

Ancelotti looks to Gilardino
27.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti hopes to start the new season on a high, but Paolo Maldini and Christian Vieri will not be fit to face Ascoli, so Alberto Gilardino starts.

“We are counting on a good start, so we can build a successful campaign that will be even better than last year,” said the Coach. “I hope this will be a season of fair play and spectacular football.”

The Rossoneri struggled to get into gear in 2004-05, opening with a surprise home draw to Livorno, and will be wary of the newly promoted side.

“There can be surprises at the start of a season and we don’t know Ascoli very well, so it will be even more important that we play to the best of our abilities. One thing is certain – we will face this game with the right spirit.”

Ancelotti will be forced to do without captain Paolo Maldini and hitman Christian Vieri, so summer signing Gilardino makes his Serie A debut with the red and black jersey.

“Maldini’s knees have been through a long career and can still play many games, but we’ll take advantage of the rest weekend for international duty to ensure he recovers fully. Gilardino has recovered from dental surgery and will play from the start, so I hope all the new arrivals will make the difference.”

The former Parma star has scored 46 goals over the last two terms and will forge a new partnership with Andriy Shevchenko. “Andriy is a very mobile striker and won’t have any problems playing alongside someone like Gilardino.”

Despite Maldini’s absence, the Coach admits he could still experiment with a three-man defence. “Kakha Kaladze is ready in case we want to use that system.”

The Scudetto is expected to be another three-horse race, though Ancelotti has other ideas about how Serie A will pan out.

“It’s true that Milan, Juventus and Inter are a step above, but I am curious to see how Roma and Fiorentina will perform following their many changes over the summer. As for the rest, Palermo, Sampdoria and Udinese have the right quality to confirm their success.”

Milan squad:

Gk: Dida, Fiori, Kalac

D: Cafu, Costacurta, Kaladze, Nesta, Jankulovski, Simic, Stam

M: Ambrosini, Gattuso, Kakà, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho, Vogel

F: Gilardino, Shevchenko

Ascoli vs. AC Milan - match preview
27.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

New boys Ascoli will have to jump in at the deep end as they face Milan in their first Serie A match in over 10 years. With their promotion being confirmed so late many of the new faces at the Marche club have only just arrived. This means the likes of Daniele Adani, Roberto Guana and Corrado Colombo are all unlikely to be ready in time to play a part. Maurizio Domizzi and Marco Ferrante will both make their debuts.

The Rossoneri have had no such distractions during their preparations, having made their new signings earlier in the summer. Christian Vieri’s suspension helps to ease Carlo Ancelotti’s selection headache with Alberto Gilardino now set to partner Andriy Shevchenko up-front. With Marek Jankulovski also making his debut, Ancelotti is likely to start the season with the more attacking 3-4-1-2 formation that he has experimented with in pre-season, meaning that Clarence Seedorf will have to make do with a place on the substitutes bench along with new signings Zeljko Kalac and Johann Vogel.

These sides have not met in Serie A since 1992 when Ascoli were beaten 4-2 on their way to eventual relegation. While the Milanese faithful will be expecting more of the same, the Cino e Lillo Del Duca outfit will be hoping for an early confidence boost in what is sure to be a long battle for Serie A survival.

Ascoli (probable): Coppola; Carbone, Domizzi, Lauro, Del Grosso; Foggia, Cristiano, Parrola, Perulli; Quagliarella, Ferrante

Milan (probable): Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini Cafu; Gattuso, Pirlo, Jankulovski; Kaka; Gilardino, Shevchenko

Ancelotti maps out future
25.8 || webmaster


AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti would like to extend his contract with the Italian giants until 2009, after which he hopes to take charge of an international team.

Ancelotti, who has coached the Rossoneri since 2001, has an ongoing contract with the Milan outfit for a further two years, but he is keen to extend it further.

"My first aim is to remain at Milan until 2007 as stated in my contract," said Ancelotti.

"My second aim is to try and achieve important results that would allow me to extend the contract with the club until 2009."

The 46-year-old faced some criticism after Milan finished empty-handed last season following their shock defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League final in Istanbul having previously conceded the Scudetto to rivals Juventus.

Last weekend, Ancelotti met up with club owner Silvio Berlusconi in Sardinia and got a clear message of what the Italian Prime Minister wants from his team for the upcoming season.

"We spoke about football for 10 minutes," admitted Ancelotti.

"He told me that we had to win and I replied that he was right."

Much of Milan's success next term will be down to Ukrainian forward Andriy Shevchenko, who was linked with a move away from the San Siro following the arrival of the experienced forward Christian Vieri and rising star Alberto Gilardino.

"Sheva is already part of Milan's family," said Ancelotti.

"He is one of those Milan players who will only leave the club after they retire."

But Ancelotti, who has brought to the San Siro the Champions League, the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia, and the European and Italian Supercups during his four-year spell in charge of the Rossoneri, doesn't intend to stay at Milan until the end of his coaching career.

The former Milan player has his eyes set on coaching a national team.

"In 2010 I would like to be a part of the World Cup in South Africa," said Ancelotti.

"(Italy coach Marcello) Lippi should be calm as I could live this experience with a foreign national team."

Milan lament "difficult" group
25.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have reacted to today’s Champions League draw with caution, insisting qualification will be no easy task.

The Rossoneri have been placed in Group E along with PSV Eindhoven of Holland, Germany’s Schalke and Turkish outfit Fenerbache.

"It’s not the best for us," said boss Carlo Ancelotti. "Our opponents are three pretty well balanced teams and that could cause us problems."

Ironically, Milan will travel to Eindhoven and Istanbul again, following last term’s semi-final against PSV and their Turkish nightmare in the Final against Liverpool.

"It will be curious to return to those two cities," added Ancelotti. "But this will give us the possibility to make up for what happened in May."

Club captain Paolo Maldini, who actually helped in the draw, is also ‘disappointed’ with this afternoon’s events.

"It is a tough group but if you want to win this competition then you can’t fear anybody," he stated.

"The Istanbul wound is still open but we have a great desire to get back on the right track."

Kaka, who was today voted as last season’s best midfield player in the Champions League, mirrored the views of his boss and colleague.

"It will be hard as we are up against sides who play different types of football," said the Brazilian.

"We are returning to Istanbul but there will be a different kind of atmosphere surrounding the game."

CL Draw: AC Milan, PSV, Schalke 04 & Fenerbahce
25.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italy’s four Champions League participants – including new boys Udinese – will be confident of qualification following today’s draw.

The draw for the group stages was finally completed after a lengthy ceremony in Monaco, with the balls falling kindly for the Serie A quartet.

Milan, last term’s losing finalists, have been placed in Group E with Schalke, Fenerbache and PSV Eindhoven – the team they beat at the semi-final stage last time around.

Champions Juventus will face German giants Bayern Munich for the second consecutive season, but both should progress after Brugge and Rapid Vienna were also placed in Group A.

City rivals Inter will be reasonably happy given that they will combat against Porto, Rangers and minnows Artmedia Bratislava.

Udinese faced the potential threat of being included in a 'Group of Death' as they were only in the fourth pot of seeds.

But the draw has been kind. They admittedly will play one of the favourites in Barcelona, but should give both Panathinaikos and Werder Bremen good games.

Holders Liverpool have been included in Group G – alongside Premiership rivals Chelsea, Anderlecht and Real Betis.

Group A
Bayern Munich
Rapid Vienna

Group B
Sparta Prague
FC Thun

Group C
Werder Bremen

Group D
Man Utd

Group E
PSV Eindhoven

Group F
Real Madrid

Group G
Real Betis

Group H
Artmedia Bratislava

Ambrosini plots Azzurri return
25.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini has set himself the objective of being included in Italy’s 2006 World Cup squad.

The midfielder has lost his way in the national set-up recently after struggling to become a first team regular at the San Siro.

But Ambrosini has told Azzurri boss Marcello Lippi that he is looking to seriously impress him this term.

"The new season will be fundamental for my return to the national side," said the tough tackling ace.

"I really want to take part at the World Cup Finals in Germany next summer."

Ambrosini has made a good start to that objective by showing some fine form in pre-season for his club.

"You need to be in good physical shape and show consistency, these are ingredients to being at your best," he added.

"However, you can’t possibly make a claim to a regular first team shirt in August. We’ll see what happens."

Although Ambrosini won nothing with Milan in 2004-05, he believes last term’s ‘failure’ will be of great help.

"We need to play with the same intensity as last year," he continued following their inability to win Lo Scudetto or the Champions League.

"Now we just need to think about Ascoli and go out there and win the first game of the season."

Ascoli don’t fear Milan, says Ferrante
25.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ascoli striker Marco Ferrante maintains his side won’t be intimidated by Milan’s galaxy of star players on Sunday.

The Bianconeri mark their return to the top-flight by entertaining the European giants, but the veteran is remaining optimistic despite the task ahead of his side.

"Names such as Paolo Maldini, Alberto Gilardino, Andriy Shevchenko, Christian Vieri and the rest do cause a shiver but also act as a stimulus," said the forward.

"It will be hard for us but I firmly believe that it is better to face sides of this quality in the opening weeks of the season."

The 34-year-old is also remaining confident about rippling the net at the Stadio Del Duca in Week 1.

"I’ve already scored past Milan during my days at Torino," he said. "I want to strike again."

The Velletri-born player was captured this summer after a nightmare time at relegated Bologna last season.

He has a good scoring record in Serie A after hitting 18 in 30 matches in 1999-2000 and 10 in 28 games during 2001-02 for Toro.

The former Granata favourite has also played for Napoli, Reggiana, Pisa, Parma, Piacenza, Salernitana and Inter.

Chivu agent denies Milan switch
25.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Roma stopper Cristian Chivu has played down talk of an imminent move to Milan.

The Romanian has been associated with the Rossoneri given the recent injury concerns surrounding Paolo Maldini.

But Andrea Pretti insists that the whispers being circulated are in the realms of fantasy football.

"Anything can happen in this game but I will repeat yet again that Cristian is happy at Roma and has no intention of leaving," he told SPQ Radio.

"He has a lot of stimulus to do well and he really likes the way this club is going forward with a new project.

"I understand that there isn’t a lot of news to fill the newspapers but these voices are just rumours."

Chivu, who can play both as a left-back and a central defender, has also been linked with Juventus and Inter this summer.

Meanwhile, Pretti has confirmed that Damiano Tommasi is on the verge of signing a new deal at the Olimpico.

His previous contract expired in June but the central midfielder should still be wearing the Giallorossi shirt this term.

"We are close to concluding his renewal," added the agent. "There are no big problems to resolve. I think we should sign an agreement by Monday."

Seat Trophy: AC Milan 3:2 Sampdoria - match report
22.8 || webmaster


AC Milan had a 3-2 pre-season win over Sampdoria on Sunday thanks to goals from Massimo Ambrosini, Christian Vieri and Kaka.

Angelo Palombo and former Milan striker Marco Borriello scored for Sampdoria.

Milan started with an attack of Andriy Shevchenko and Serginho.

Serginho's cross set up Ambrosini's opening goal in the 16th minute, extending the Brazilian's good form from last week's friendly with Juventus.

Vieri, signed by Milan after being released by city rival Inter, replaced Clarence Seedorf at half-time and scored following a corner. Kaka's goal came off a pass from Gennaro Gattuso.

"I would say we're looking pretty good for the season," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "I saw some great things. We still have time to refine a few things but I think I can say it was a good test. We have a lot of options, a lot of weapons."

Milan opens the Italian league season at newly-promoted Ascoli next Sunday. Sampdoria, which finished fifth in Serie A last season, opens at Fiorentina on Saturday.

The friendly was originally scheduled to be played in Genoa at Sampdoria's stadium, but was moved to San Siro due to security worries.

Fans of Sampdoria's city rival Genoa have threatened to disrupt any games played in the city in protest of its relegation to the third division for match-fixing.

Berlusconi sparks new Ancelotti row
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan patron Silvio Berlusconi has tried to calm the storm surrounding his public criticism of Carlo Ancelotti and admits he considered firing the Coach.

The businessman – and Italian Prime Minister – caused controversy after last week’s 2-1 Trofeo Berlusconi victory over Juventus when he suggested Ancelotti could only win silverware thanks to the squad at his disposal.

“A distracted tailor can ruin a good cloth,” Berlusconi explained to the Press. “I told Ancelotti that with a squad like that I could be a Coach, too.”

This is hardly the first time that the patron has used a public forum to criticise his tactician’s choices, famously chiding him for not fielding two strikers at all times.

Former Rossoneri star, and ex-teammate of Ancelotti’s, Zvonimir Boban rushed to the manager’s aid with an open letter in the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Berlusconi should take a step back. His continual criticism of Ancelotti, including those on what system he should use, creates stress and can destabilise the Milan locker room atmosphere.”

The Coach took the whole situation in his stride and noted during a Press Conference, “I’m used to it by now.”

The club owner, who was forced to resign as President due to a conflict of interests with his political status, attempted to patch up the split that has only intensified since the Champions League Final defeat to Liverpool.

“A mountain is being made out of a molehill,” insisted Berlusconi. “My words were taken out of context and weren’t aimed at Ancelotti personally, but rather at a conservative and bureaucratic style of football.”

Milan ended the season empty-handed after challenging for the Scudetto and Europe until the final stages and some believed it would spell the end for Ancelotti with ex-teammate Marco Van Basten reportedly lined up as a replacement.

“After last season’s results, there would have been a good reason to change the Coaching staff, but there is nobody better than Ancelotti,” added Berlusconi.

“Besides, I think that I know better than anyone else how to spur a football club on to victory, seeing as in my Presidency Milan won more than any other side internationally.”

Ancelotti opens door to Del Piero
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti’s comments have opened the door to a sensational transfer deal – Alessandro Del Piero could join Milan.

“There are many players I have trained and would gladly work with again. Del Piero is one of them because he is a consummate professional and it’s always a pleasure for a Coach to deal with that kind of person,” said the Rossoneri boss in today’s Press Conference.

Ancelotti’s time at Juventus coincided with Del Piero’s serious knee injury, but he always gave him the benefit of the doubt and played him even when he was off form. Now the Bianconeri captain is finding life tough in Turin and often benched by Coach Fabio Capello.

This has led to reports that Juve will hand Del Piero over to Milan in order to make way for Roma’s rebellious Antonio Cassano – and Ancelotti has done nothing to deny those rumours.

“I have already said it in the past and I repeat it now, the doors to the Milanello training ground are always open for Del Piero. I have an excellent rapport with him.”

The ex-Juve boss has even gone so far as to work out a tactical solution to put him alongside the current crop of stars at the San Siro.

“Del Piero is a forward, just like Kaka, Manuel Rui Costa or Christian Vieri, albeit with different characteristics to all of them. He’d be a different solution for Milan.”

With Juve’s interest in Cassano no secret and Del Piero’s fine form for the Italy squad midweek – in which he played in a trident attack with Rossoneri duo Vieri and Alberto Gilardino – this could be more than a mere summer rumour.

After all, Milan have shown they are capable of reviving the careers of those who feel let down by their clubs. Marcos Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and now Vieri have all found a new lease of life at the San Siro, so Del Piero may think he could benefit from the same treatment in the year leading up to the World Cup.

Stam supports three-man switch
21.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jaap Stam has given his full backing to the new Milan tactical system, but it remains an experiment in progress.

“With a three-man defence, we all have more space to move around in and Marcos Cafu can really start to push up the flanks,” explained the Dutchman.

“In our summer friendlies, we played both with three and four at the back, testing out the systems in training as well. For the defenders, it allows us to have more of an influence on the game, while the midfield has a man extra and Cafu can damage opponents with his pace. It’s up to the Coach to decide.”

Carlo Ancelotti began experimenting with the 3-4-1-2 system towards the end of last season, but has made it clear that he considers it only an alternative to his favoured four-man defence.

Former Manchester United star Stam is looking forward to his fifth Serie A season, which will kick off against Ascoli on August 28.

“I feel good and we have done a lot of hard pre-season training this year,” he noted. “In these remaining days I’ll have time to know Ascoli a little better, but if they’re in the top flight then they must have quality. We didn’t have the best start last term, so we have to make sure we pick up as many points as possible early on.”

Juve 'hand' Cassano to Milan
18.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus have opened the door for title rivals Milan to make a bid for Roma enigma Antonio Cassano.

The player, whose present contract expires in 2006, has been hotly linked with a switch to Turin all summer.

But the Old Lady have again stated that he is not a transfer target, insisting he would be more useful at Milan.

"We think that Cassano is a good player but there is no room for him here," director general Luciano Moggi told Sky Sport Italia.

"However, I do think that the player could join Milan where he would certainly be given more of a chance to be used properly."

Despite Moggi’s latest statement, there are whispers which suggest that the attacker could still arrive at the Delle Alpi.

Juventus’ surprise capture of left-back Federico Balzaretti on Wednesday may see Giorgio Chiellini sacrificed.

The latter has been strongly linked with a move to Roma, along with Fabrizio Miccoli, in a possible player plus cash deal for Cassano.

Another man who signed for the Turin giants yesterday was goalkeeper Christian Abbiati from Milan.

"We are very happy to have him here, he is one of the best goalkeepers in circulation," added Moggi.

"It was tough to find such a strong goalkeeper at this moment in time and we must thank (Milan owner) Silvio Berlusconi who said on Sunday that he would look to give us a hand.

"The injury sustained by Gigi Buffon was a big blow for us, Berlusconi wanted to do something and he kept his word.

"Abbiati will train with us from Thursday and he says he is already prepared to play on Saturday (against Inter in the Italian Super Cup)."

Inzaghi close to return
18.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan forward Pippo Inzaghi is confident that he is on the verge of waking up from his injury nightmare.

The Italian international has suffered numerous ankle and knee problems over the last 24 months which has restricted his use.

However, he is remaining optimistic for the future after spending almost all of pre-season in Belgium under the guidance of professor Martens.

"I’m very happy with how things are progressing," the former Atalanta and Juventus star told the club’s website.

"I now just need to think about working as hard as I can because this is the road that I must go down.

"Setting a date for my comeback is not important for me right now, the fundamental issue is to fully recover."

Martens is also happy with the player’s recovery. "Pippo can now start running and gradually work his way up to training twice a day," he stated. "We are basically at the end now.

"Both the player and his club have agreed that he must only return once he is 100 per cent fit.

"Looking at him today, I believe that he could be ready in about two or three weeks from now."

OFFICIAL: Abbiati loaned to Juventus
17.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus have a new goalkeeper after Milan allowed Christian Abbiati to join their rivals on loan.

The 28-year-old has signed for the Turin giants on a one-year deal following injury to Gigi Buffon.

Abbiati will become the club’s first choice shot-stopper for at least the next three months, while Buffon recovers from shoulder surgery.

Juventus swooped for Abbiati just days after the international left Genoa following their demotion to Serie C.

He had previously agreed to join the port club on loan earlier this summer but moved back to Milan this week.

Abbiati has spent the last seven years at Milan but has endured a difficult last two seasons at the San Siro as Nelson Dida’s No 2.

Gilardino shuts Cassano door
17.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino has told Roma enigma Antonio Cassano to forget about a move to Milan this summer.

The youngster was linked with a San Siro switch earlier this week after Rossoneri patron Silvio Berlusconi conceded that the player was of interest.

But Gilardino, a £17m summer signing from Parma, says there is simply no need for him in northern Italy.

"Antonio is a great player who will be the fortune of Italian football," he said. "But I don’t think there is enough room for him here. We already have so many attackers."

Milan’s attacking options for the new campaign include Gilardino, Andriy Shevchenko, Christian Vieri and Pippo Inzaghi.

Cassano’s future in the Italian capital is still in doubt even if the new season is just a couple of weeks away.

He has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus given his contract situation but a switch has yet to occur.

Cassano is only contracted to the Giallorossi until June 2006 and talks over an extension have stalled – meaning he could leave for nothing next summer.

Juventus handed Abbiati option
17.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have offered Juventus the services of goalkeeper Christian Abbiati as ‘compensation’ for the injury sustained to Gigi Buffon.

The Italian No 1 dislocated his shoulder in the 2-1 Trofeo Berlusconi loss to Milan on Sunday and the Rossoneri are remarkably ready to help out their rivals.

Reports in Italy on Wednesday insist that the club have offered Abbiati seeing as Buffon, who requires surgery, will be out for three months.

"It is an idea from (owner) Silvio Berlusconi," stated Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani. "It would be a nice thing to do. We’ll see what happens."

Abbiati is himself an Italian international but has spent the last two seasons as reserve to Nelson Dida at the San Siro.

He did actually join Genoa earlier this summer in a bid to gain regular first team football, but that move has now been annulled given the Rossoblu’s demotion to Serie C.

However, Juventus do have another option in the shape of former Bianconeri ‘keeper Angelo Peruzzi.

The Old Lady have allegedly already made an enquiry to Lazio regarding a possible swoop, seeing as the Biancocelesti do have another top ‘keeper in the shape of Matteo Sereni on the bench.

Juventus could sign Peruzzi in a deal which also sees right-back Massimo Oddo move to the Delle Alpi.

Other contenders for the champions include Gianluca Pagliuca of Bologna, free agent Luca Marchegiani and Sereni.

Milan's full fixtures list for 2005-2006
16.8 || webmaster

Week 1:
Ascoli - Milan

Week 2:
Milan - Siena

Week 3:
Sampdoria - Milan

Week 4:
Milan - Lazio

Treviso - Milan

Week 6:
Milan - Reggina

Week 7:
Cagliari - Milan

Week 8:
Milan - Palermo

Week 9:
Empoli - Milan

Week 10:
Milan - Juventus

Week 11:
Milan - Udinese

Week 12:
Fiorentina - Milan

Week 13:
Milan - Lecce

Week 14:
Chievo - Milan

Week 15:
Inter - Milan

Week 16:
Milan - Messina

Week 17:
Livorno - Milan

Week 18:
Milan - Parma

Week 19:
Roma - Milan

Also, Juventus vs. Internazionale is in Week 6 while Roma vs. Juventus is in Week 12.

Fixtures realeased: Ascoli vs. Milan in first round
16.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Italian champions Juventus will open their title defence against Chievo as the new season fixtures were compiled.

The fixture list was finally drawn up this evening, just hours after Treviso and Ascoli’s ‘promotion’ to Serie A was confirmed.

They were inserted in the top-flight after the demotion of Genoa to Serie C for match-fixing and Torino’s financial collapse and subsequent fall to Serie B.

Ascoli face a mammoth opening day task as they will entertain Milan, while Inter host fellow new boys Treviso.

The opening day will also see Fiorentina meet Sampdoria, while Parma will welcome Palermo.

The new campaign will kick off on Saturday 27 August with two games, with the rest taking place 24 hours later.

Week 1

Shevchenko expects to misfire
15.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has amazingly stated that he expects to score fewer goals for Milan this season.

The European Footballer of the Year is one of Serie A’s most deadly finishers, but the summer arrivals of Alberto Gilardino and Christian Vieri may affect his strike rate.

"I see fewer goals in my future but I will enjoy myself a lot more," stated the Ukrainian international.

"I now play in a slightly deeper position but I’m happy with that. It is important for me to win, not score goals.

"I am a player who is compatible with both Bobo Vieri and Gila. They are two target men strikers which allows me to play as a second striker further behind them."

Shevchenko is looking forward to the new season, insisting that he has forgotten about the incredible Champions League Final loss to Liverpool.

"The Istanbul defeat no longer exists for me," he continued. "We have new objectives every year and that game is history now."

Shevchenko picked up his first trophy of the season last night, when the San Siro giants beat Juventus 2-1 in the annual Trofeo Berlusconi match.

But the game was marred by injuries to the Juventus duo of Pavel Nedved but more seriously to Gigi Buffon.

"I’m disappointed for Gigi but Kaka really didn’t mean him any harm in the challenge," he concluded.

Ballack considering options
15.8 || webmaster


Michael Ballack's agent has admitted the midfielder will scrutinise Bayern's contract offer carefully before deciding whether to stay.

Ballack's future has been the subject of intense speculation this summer with the playmaker linked with moves to Manchester United and, more recently, Milan and Juventus.

He has, finally, been offered a new, lucrative deal by Bayern that was initially slow in coming and his agent, Michael Becker, has admitted he will look at what offer is on the table in detail before deciding whether his future lies away from Munich.

But he has hinted a move elsewhere remains the more likely outcome to the saga.

Becker told Kicker magazine: "Bayern took a long time to put an offer on the table. Now it is legitimate for us to look around to see whether it fits the market value."

If he does decide to move on, there will be no shortage of sides interested throughout Europe with Premiership sides United and Arsenal keeping a close eye while Milan and Juve have both signalled their intent to try and lure the 28-year-old to Italy.

Capello blasts ‘tough’ Milan
15.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus boss Fabio Capello is unhappy that the Trofeo Berlusconi defeat has seen him lose Pavel Nedved and Gigi Buffon.

Both players picked up injuries in Sunday’s 2-1 loss during the annual friendly match at the San Siro against hosts Milan.

Nedved seems to have badly twisted his ankle, while the goalkeeper has suffered a potentially serious shoulder problem.

"It’s a real shame that we are losing so many players in this period," said Capello after Mauro Camoranesi also picked up an injury on Friday in the Naples triangular tournament.

"Nedved suffered a nasty blow from Paolo Maldini which could possibly have been avoided. The same could be said for Kaka on Buffon.

"The Berlusconi Trophy is important but at the end of the day it is still a friendly and there could have been a little more caution out there. These frequent injuries are annoying."

The tactician was happy with the performance of his side though, even if their display did nosedive a little after initially taking the lead through Patrick Vieira.

"Ignoring the result, I’m happy with the first half display in which Juventus played with great personality," added the tactician.

"Milan made some smart changes at the break by putting on fresh players and we suffered Serginho on the flanks.

"However, if the result of the game was different then I don’t think there would be too many people moaning."

Capello also said he was satisfied with Adrian Mutu’s display in a wide role after Nedved's substitution. "I thought he did well in a position which is not new to him," he concluded.

Ancelotti only half content
15.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has praised his Milan side for waking up in the second half of the Juventus tie to win the Trofeo Berlusconi.

The Rossoneri came from behind to lift the trophy last night thanks to strikes from Kaka and Serginho after the break.

"In the first period we occupied our positions badly and failed to contrast them when they counter-attacked," said the Coach.

"We were a lot more precise after the break though. Although the side still isn’t in brilliant shape, it was pleasing to see that we finished the game strongly."

The San Siro outfit started the encounter with Marek Jankulovski at left-back in a flat-back four, as Ancelotti opted to initially shelve a three-man rearguard which has been heavily tested in pre-season.

"Three or four at the back? I would say that we sometimes defended with two tonight," smiled the tactician. "We need to cover more than we did."

Ancelotti, who formerly sat on the Juventus bench, also defended his players after Pavel Nedved and Gigi Buffon were injured in challenges.

"They were just accidental clashes and we are disappointed, especially for Buffon," concluded the former Roma and Milan midfielder.

The ‘keeper injured his shoulder and is out of Wednesday’s international friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

Berlusconi: Shevchenko not for sale
15.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi has insisted that selling Andriy Shevchenko has never entered his mind, but a swoop for Roma’s Antonio Cassano is possible.

The European Footballer of the Year has been constantly linked with Chelsea this summer, with reports suggesting that a move could be completed.

But Berlusconi has maintained that whispers of a £50m bid for the Ukrainian were simply not true.

"The stories were all fantasy," stated the Italian Prime Minister. "Newspapers often invent such stories in the summer when there is nothing to write about."

However, the Italian media will now be correctly linking Milan with a bid for Roma enigma Cassano.

When asked whether the starlet could be a transfer target for the Rossoneri, Berlusconi failed to rule out his arrival.

"I don’t know whether he will stay at Roma," he said of the Juventus target. "When people ask me whether I would buy him, I respond with why not?"

The 23-year-old’s future in the capital is in doubt given that his contract expires in June 2006 – when he will be available on a free transfer.

Berlusconi was also asked of his hopes for the new campaign when it came to his beloved Rossoneri.

"I expect Milan to continue to do what Milan do, by playing good football and winning," he outlined. "I’ve asked this from the team for the last 18 years.

"Milan need to enter the field of play looking to implement their own style of play, forcing the other team to adapt theirs."

Berlusconi is renowned for making his tactical opinions known too, by often insisting that the side play with two strikers and four defenders.

But the owner has given Coach Carlo Ancelotti the green light to play with three at the back even if former boss Alberto Zaccheroni wasn’t.

"The number of defenders depends on what the other team does," he explained. "Four defenders against one lone striker is excessive."

Sao Paulo await Cicinho bids
15.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sao Paulo have stated that there have been no bids for Cicinho. The Brazilian right-back is being trailed by both Milan and Manchester United and it had been reported that he was jetting into Manchester for talks with the Old Trafford outfit. However, while the club admit he is discussing a move away, a statement read: "There hasn't been any offer made to Sao Paulo. Cicinho is in Europe and he must be negotiating with a club because his agent is with him. But any negotiation must be accepted by Sao Paulo, who own 60 per cent of Cicinho's sporting rights."

Trofeo Berlusconi: AC Milan 2:1 Juventus - match report
14.8 || webmaster

Scorers: Vieira 20 (J), Kaka 53 (M), Serginho 77 (M)

Source: Football Italia

It was a bad evening all round for Juve, who lost the Trofeo Berlusconi to Milan and saw Gigi Buffon and Pavel Nedved stretchered off.

Christian Vieri was given his San Siro debut in a Milan jersey against his former club and partnered Andriy Shevchenko, while a call-up to the Italy side for next week’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland was not enough to earn Alessandro Del Piero a start for his club.

There were tactical changes, as Carlo Ancelotti opened with Marek Jankulovski as left-back in a four-man defence and Juve experimented with Pavel Nedved out wide on the right.

There is a curious theory surrounding this competition, as in the past it was believed that the losers of this trophy would go on to win the Scudetto, but Juve broke that ‘curse’ last year with a victory.

The Bianconeri had the first chance after seven minutes when Patrick Vieira threaded through for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his fierce shot was strangely kept out by Dida’s nose. Soon after, Vieri gathered a Marcos Cafu pass and skipped round Lilian Thuram before Fabio Cannavaro dived in for a last-ditch intervention to rescue Gigi Buffon.

There was bad news for Juve after 18 minutes when Nedved fell awkwardly under a Paolo Maldini challenge and was replaced by Adrian Mutu. Initial reports suggest the Ballon d’Or winner has sprained his ankle.

Moments later, the Turin giants opened the scoring with a well-worked team move finalised by Vieira. It was an all-French affair, as Jonathan Zebina exchanged passes with David Trezeguet and allowed the former Arsenal midfielder to spring the offside trap in the centre.

Ibrahimovic nearly made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark as his solo effort thumped the base of the upright and his glancing header was over. After being under the cosh for most of the first half, Kaka went close three times as he broke through the centre and rolled his finish inches wide, then brought a fingertip save out of Buffon and saw a shot charged down.

The teams were allowed six substitutions each and Milan made several changes at half-time, introducing Alberto Gilardino for Vieri. Within three minutes the former Parma striker had hit the back of the net, but it was correctly disallowed for an offside position.

The Rossoneri were much livelier in the second half and drew level when Shevchenko pulled back from the by-line for Kaka to sweep in first time. The young Brazilian nearly bagged a second soon after and Buffon bravely rushed off his line to close him down with one arm. It was perhaps a little too brave, as the goalkeeper was stretchered off in agony and is out of Wednesday’s international friendly in Dublin after an initial prognosis of a strained muscle in his shoulder with possible dislocation.

Del Piero was given his chance to shine in the final half-hour and Manuel Rui Costa replaced the impressive Kaka. The Portuguese playmaker immediately sent Gilardino running and his finish shaved the far post.

Milan nearly scored a spectacular goal as Rui Costa and Pirlo nutmegged and flicked their way through until the former Fiorentina man rattled the woodwork. Rui Costa has been on stunning form this summer and his searching pass found Serginho for an angled drive to put the Trofeo Berlusconi in Rossoneri hands.

Milan 2-1 Juventus

Scorers: Vieira 20 (J), Kaka 53 (M), Serginho 77 (M)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini (Nesta 46), Jankulovski (Kaladze 46); Gattuso (Seedorf 46), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kaka (Rui Costa 62); Vieri (Gilardino 46), Shevchenko (Serginho 69)

Juventus: Buffon (Chimenti 58); Zebina (Blasi 53), Thuram (Kovac 58), Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Pessotto, Emerson (Giannichedda 69), Vieira, Nedved (Mutu 18); Trezeguet (Zalayeta 69), Ibrahimovic (Del Piero 58)

Ref: Dondarini

Milan consider Baros move
14.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

With Pippo Inzaghi still struggling with injuries, the Rossoneri are eager to cover themselves with another striker as Milan Baros and Marco Di Vaio vie for a spot.

The 32-year-old forward has barely set foot on the field for the last two years following a succession of setbacks including ankle surgery, knee problems and a fractured arm. Professor Marc Martens claims he’ll be ready to resume full training at the end of August, but club officials are not so certain of his full recovery.

Although Alberto Gilardino and Christian Vieri have been drafted in to replace Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson, this still leaves them with the worries over Inzaghi’s status.

It’s now reported that the short-list for a new hitman has been whittled down to just two names – Di Vaio and Baros.

The Italian international has been linked to Milan throughout the summer, but seems to be content at Valencia and insisted last week that he wished to stay at the Mestalla. The fact that he has already featured for the Spaniards in the Intertoto Cup also suggests he won’t make the move, as he is now Cup-tied in Europe.

The more likely option is Liverpool’s want-away striker Baros, who has been pushed on to the sidelines at Anfield Road. Aston Villa and Schalke 04 have shown a marked interest in taking the Euro 2004 top scorer, but have been put off by his £6m price-tag.

There is a third solution and one that might suit the benchwarmer nature of this role, as Fiorentina are ready to part with Greek international Zisis Vryzas. There is already an offer on the table from Panathinaikos, but the former Perugia man would relish the opportunity to stay in Serie A with a top club.

AC Milan to visit India in November
14.8 || webmaster


The Under-25 team of Italian soccer giants AC Milan will visit India in November to play two exhibition matches.

The famed European club would take on East Bengal in Kolkata on November 25, West Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty, said on Saturday adding they would play the other match either in Mumbai or Goa.

Ancelotti begins Juve duel
14.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti assures that tonight’s encounter with Juve “can never be a friendly” as a season-long duel in Italy and Europe begins.

“This will be a real game and both sides will play with the maximum intensity,” said the Milan boss ahead of the traditional Trofeo Berlusconi bash. “Meetings with Juventus are never friendly, especially now we know they’ll be our major rivals for the Scudetto and Champions League.”

The two giants meet every August at the San Siro and there is a strange tradition around this trophy, as some believe the losers go on to take the Scudetto that season. Juve broke that ‘curse’ last year and it picks up where they left off last term in the race for silverware.

“This is our first match of the campaign in front of our home fans and psychologically these are very important because a team must immediately feel it is not inferior to great opponents,” continued Ancelotti.

“Juventus are much stronger than they were last season and not just because of Patrick Vieira. They also have the excellent Adrian Mutu and the experience and solidity of Robert Kovac in defence. I think they are still slightly ahead of Inter in terms of quality and balance.”

Of all the title contenders, the Rossoneri have perhaps gone through the most changes this summer with the arrival of Alberto Gilardino, Christian Vieri, Marek Jankulovski and Johann Vogel, but above all in terms of their tactics.

“We have a very attacking approach to football and with the three-man defence that is further intensified. We need to be more balanced when we use this system.”

With Pippo Inzaghi on the road to recovery and Andriy Shevchenko now fit after surgery to remove titanium plates from his fractured cheekbone, Ancelotti has four world class strikers to choose from.

“Shevchenko will play one half alongside Vieri and the other partnering Gilardino against Juventus. Vieri started training with us before Alberto, so he’s in better physical condition, but I was also pleasantly surprised by how professional Christian is. Sometimes you start to believe in reputations, but he’s very motivated in this new environment.”

Vieri surprised many – including Inter patron Massimo Moratti – when he chose to sign for their local rivals after his contract was terminated.

“He has always been an example of the perfect centre-forward to me and I’ve never had that kind of strong physical striker in my teams,” added Ancelotti. “He’s very different to Gilardino, as one comes towards the ball while the former Parma man uses his marker.”

Kalac sets sights on Dida
13.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s new goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac claims he wants to be more than a mere understudy to Dida at the San Siro.

“I am very happy and found an incredible atmosphere at the Milanello training ground,” explained the Australian international.

Kalac was freed from his contract following Perugia’s bankruptcy and after links with Roma chose to join the Rossoneri on a three-year deal.

“Dida (pictured) is a great goalkeeper and everyone knows this. I hope to prove myself a consistent player and of use to the squad when they need me. I would also like to put a little pressure on Dida and make him a work harder,” smiled the former Leicester City man. “Pressure is important in a winning mentality.”

This will be the 32-year-old’s fourth consecutive campaign in Italy and he reveals there was never a question in his mind over where he would end up.

“I had heard rumours of Milan’s interest in me for a while and when a club like that is involved, you just can’t wait for it to happen. Now everything is sorted out and I’ll be at the Coach’s disposal.”

This does leave the Rossoneri with a quandary, as Genoa’s demotion to Serie C and the arrival of Kalac means they now have five goalkeepers on their books. Messina’s Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos only joined this summer and failed to impress, while Christian Abbiati was set for the Stadio Ferraris. Valerio Fiori should remain as a reliable third choice shot-stopper.

Collina creates Milan conflict
13.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pierluigi Collina will be banned from officiating games featuring the Rossoneri following a conflict of interests with their sponsors.

The world’s most famous referee penned a contract with car manufacturers Opel this summer – the same company that sponsors Milan – sparking debate in the Italian Press about his impartiality.

“If this is the climate that is building around this issue, then we will make a sacrifice and give up the chance to have the best referee in the world take part in our Serie A and Coppa Italia games,” noted Milan chief Adriano Galliani in the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I don’t think there’s anything scandalous about it, as in England referees are sponsored by Emirates and so are Chelsea. The reaction has proved to me once again than in Italy the attitude is different. We have to find a solution and I doubt Collina can suddenly tear up his contract with Opel, while football cannot lose its best official.”

Galliani – who is also head of the Lega Calcio – believes the only way out of this impasse is to ensure Collina is never in a position to favour Milan.

“If in Italy there are directors, referees, journalists and fans who think Collina can be affected by a sponsor that is also tied to a club, then he can carry on his career without including Milan.”

However, it’s possible that won’t be enough, as he could be accused of favouring the Rossoneri indirectly with ‘damaging’ decisions against their direct opponents in the Scudetto chase.

Tullio Lanese, President of the AIA (Italian Referees’ Association) pointed out that this was a storm in a teacup. “It’s true that Collina should have alerted us before signing a sponsorship contract, but if he had tied himself to any other car manufacturer – for example Toyota or Mazda, who also sponsor Serie A clubs – then nobody would’ve batted an eyelid.”

Jankulovski jumps for Milan
13.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marek Jankulovski is recovering faster than expected from a fractured ankle and has already made his Rossoneri debut.

“At the start I was worried by the severity of the injury, but I saw that things were going well and understood this would not be as bad as I’d feared,” explained the Czech international.

Jankulovski had already agreed his move to Milan when he fractured his ankle in a clash with Leandro Cufre during the Coppa Italia semi-final.

The initial prognosis was of a three-month lay-off, but he has been progressing well and made his bow in Thursday’s 7-0 friendly win over Swiss outfit Lugano.

“If I have settled into this squad so quickly, it is thanks to my new teammates, who welcomed me and passed on that feeling of confidence and relaxation in every training session,” added the former Udinese man.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has hinted that Jankulovski’s versatility will come in very useful this season with a variety of roles at his disposal.

“Ancelotti asked me to play as a left-back and push forward, staying back when it was necessary. If you ask me what my favourite position is, I’d say out wide on the left of midfield, but I am at the tactician’s disposal and can play in defence or on the right if needed.”

Jankulovski is one of several new signings this summer along with Alberto Gilardino, Christian Vieri and Johann Vogel.

“I played my first real game precisely three months after my surgery and I even managed to score! I was expecting it to be tough and I was tired, but less than I thought I would. It’s great to play alongside these champions and will just get better as time goes on.”

OFFICIAL: Zeljko Kalac to Milan
12.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Following rumours and competition from Roma, it is now official that Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac has signed for Milan.

The shot-stopper was a free agent following Perugia’s bankruptcy and confessed this week that he was considering his options at the San Siro and Stadio Olimpico.

“AC Milan announce that Zeljko Kalac agreed a contract until June 30 2008 after undergoing a medical exam,” read a note on the official Rossoneri website.

The 32-year-old Australian international made his Italian debut in a 2-0 victory over Reggina on September 15 2002 and has spent the last three seasons at Perugia. His other clubs have been Sydney United, Leicester City and Dutch outfit Roda Kerkrade.

This leaves Milan with three understudies to Dida, as Christian Abbiati was unable to find a new club, Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos did not impress following his summer move from Messina and Valerio Fiori is a squad player.

Italian duo join Ballack chase
12.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus and Milan have reportedly joined the long queue forming for Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Ballack.

Reports in Germany on Friday claim that the two Italian giants have contacted his agent for the latest on his contract situation.

The German international is only tied to his present club until June 2006, which means he will be available on a free transfer if he doesn’t extend his agreement before then.

Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Inter have already been associated with the former Bayer Leverkusen ace.

However, his representative has pointed out that they’ve only received one concrete offer to this date.

"Michael is about to make the most important decision of his footballing life," Michael Becker told the Bild newspaper.

"The only real offer has so far come from Bayern themselves. The others have just made contact."

Whispers claim that the Munich outfit have offered their captain a contract up until 2010, worth around £20m in total.

Ancelotti still experimenting
10.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti will continue to experiment with a three-man defence in Thursday’s friendly against Lugano.

Although the Rossoneri tactician will start the match with a traditional flat back four, he will again test out the new system at some stage.

"We will try playing with three defenders in the second half or midway through the second period," he said.

"We will begin the match with four defenders though, with Marek Jankulovski starting in defence at left-back.

"The squad has worked hard recently but the time has now arrived to put things in place tactically ahead of the new campaign."

Milan, who failed to win anything last season despite being in contention to lift the Scudetto and the Champions League, have been in training for the last three weeks and the boss is happy with their progress.

"Paolo Maldini is the only player who has been struggling physically but he should be back to his best soon," continued the Coach.

Ancelotti also dispelled fears that Pippo Inzaghi would be set for another injury plagued campaign.

"Inzaghi is working hard and if everything goes to plan then he will be in top shape pretty quickly," he continued.

"But don’t forget that I have numerous solutions in attack, players who can make space for midfielders to run into."

Milan probable line-up for Lugano: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Sheva, Gilardino.

Cicinho reveals Milan desire
10.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Brazilian international full-back Cicinho has admitted that he dreams about joining Italian giants Milan.

"I want to play in Italy," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. "It has been my dream since I was a child.

"I would like to join Milan. They are the strongest side in Europe. But there are also Inter and Juventus and I often speak to Adriano and Emerson about them."

The Sao Paulo player is widely considered as Marcos Cafu’s heir in the national side, and he could also eventually replace him at the San Siro too.

"My friend Cafu is already at Milan," continued the right-back, who is currently in Italy waiting for an Italian passport.

"He is my idol and it is an honour for me to be considered as his heir. It would be extraordinary to take his place in the Milan side but why couldn’t we play together?"

Although he recently extended his contract with his South American club until 2008, he could join an Italian outfit in January.

He has a buy-out clause in his contract for £11m but sources in the peninsula suggest he could be netted for as little as £6m.

Kaladze on the defensive
9.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kakha Kaladze has told boss Carlo Ancelotti that he is ready to play in a three-man defence for Milan this term.

The Rossoneri are expected to use a 3-4-1-2 formation this season and the left-back is prepared to move into a more central position.

"I’ve played alongside Jaap Stam and Alessandro Nesta in the centre and I liked it," the Georgian international told Milan Channel.

"After all, it is not a totally new experience for me as I have also played there for my country in the past."

Kaladze is desperate for first team football after almost quitting the club in the summer for that reason.

The versatile player was set to join Chelsea but his switch to the Premiership giants collapsed when everything seemed close to completion.

"I initially wanted to leave because I wasn’t playing very regularly," continued Kaladze. "But everything has been resolved with Ancelotti now.

"There were no personal problems between us. I just wanted to play more often and I want that to occur with Milan."

Ancelotti’s preferred central defensive trio will consist of Stam, Nesta and Paolo Maldini, with Kaladze, Dario Simic and Alessandro Costacurta possible alternatives.

Serie A stars in World XI list
9.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Twenty Serie A stars have been shortlisted for the inaugural FIFPro World XI Player Awards.

A total of 55 players are in contention to be selected after 38,000 players were asked to vote by FIFPro (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballers Professionnels), the worldwide representative organisation for all professional footballers.

Milan are the most represented club with 10 players included, such as Marcos Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko (pictured).

Champions Juventus have seven players put forward, including summer signing Patrick Vieira from Arsenal.

Fellow Serie A newcomers Walter Samuel and Luis Figo are named too after they left Real Madrid for Inter.

Seven Italian players have been nominated, such as Gigi Buffon, Alessandro Nesta and even Gennaro Gattuso.

The final World XI will be announced at the FIFPro awards ceremony at Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre on 19th September 2005.

There will also be three further awards presented at the evening – the World Player of the Year, awarded to whoever in the World XI receives the most votes, the FIFPro Legend award voted for by the FIFPro Awards Committee, and the Young Player of the Year voted for by fans across the globe in the only public voting category of the awards.

Milan to buy new goalkeeper?
9.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s summer spending may not be quite over as boss Carlo Ancelotti is allegedly unimpressed with Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos.

The Greek goalkeeper was brought in on a one-year deal this summer as back-up to first choice Nelson Dida.

But the former Messina man, netted following the departure of Christian Abbiati to Genoa, has struggled to impress during pre-season.

That has led to reports that the Italian giants are possibly looking to sign a new shot-stopper before the start of term.

Perugia goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac has been linked to the San Siro giants yet again given his situation.

The giant custodian could be available on a free transfer as his club have not been registered for the Serie B campaign as a result of their finances.

If the Umbrian outfit lose their appeal against that ruling and are demoted to Serie C, Kalac could be heading north.

Milan are also reportedly close to signing Lazio right-back, and former Rossoneri youth team product, Massimo Oddo.

Gullit advice for foreign stars
8.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ruud Gullit has revealed how he and his fellow Dutchmen adapted to life at Milan in the late 1980s.

The former Chelsea Coach spent the best years of his playing career with Milan while playing alongside Frank Rijkaard and Marco Van Basten.

And he has plenty of advice for any players who move to the peninsula.

“A lot of people doubted me when I made the switch to Milan," Gullit told the UEFA website.

"I had won two consecutive titles with PSV and was captain of the national team but they did not think I was good enough technically to be a success in Italy.

“But the move to Italy worked out for all the Dutch guys.

"We made sure we did not stay together all the time so we could learn the language and customs.

“We had a strong relationship but we tried to speak Italian with each other to help learn the language.

“We also made a concerted effort with the Italian players at the club – they were great times."

Cicinho turns down AC Milan
8.8 || webmaster


Cicinho has told the Brazilian press he has turned down the opportunity to go to AC Milan in order to remain with Sao Paulo and increase his World Cup hopes.

The 25-year-old right back attracted major attention after his performances in the Confederations Cup in June and was approached by Milan with regards a move to Europe.

However, Cicinho appears to have made the brave decision to turn down the six-time European Cup winners to enhance his chances of making the World Cup in Germany next summer.

"I am very comfortable at Sao Paulo so I am not thinking of the chance to leave this team at the moment," said Cicinho.

"I have spoken about this with my father and he agreed that my decision is the correct one.

"I think that the best thing for my career will be to stay at Sao Paulo and leave to go to Europe after the World Cup in 2006.

"I want to stay at Sao Paulo until after the World Cup because if I play in Brazil I have more chances for being called to the national team and that is my objective."

Seedorf eyes Inter revenge
7.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf suggests that Christian Vieri will be fired up to prove Inter wrong this season and become the latest San Siro crossover success.

“I am very happy that Bobo Vieri has come over to Milan,” said his former Nerazzurri teammate. “We have a lot of things to achieve together – something we couldn’t do elsewhere.”

The snide remark is a clear reference to the lack of success both these players had on the other side of the city.

Seedorf was derided by fans and considered to be a flop only to cross the San Siro and win the Scudetto, Champions’ League, Coppa Italia, Italian and European Supercup in just three seasons.

Vieri hopes to repeat the trick, having won just a single Coppa Italia trophy in his six years with the Nerazzurri. There are several others who have crossed over only to find success, most notably Andrea Pirlo.

“The next season will be one of consistency for Milan,” continued Seedorf. “We have always challenged at the highest level over the past three years and this will be no different. I see real enthusiasm in the group and that bodes well for the future.”

Maldini laughs off 'old' jibes
7.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

37-year-old Paolo Maldini rejected claims the Rossoneri squad is now too old to compete with Juve and Inter, and Christian Vieri is also raring to go.

“Our performance on the pitch will show whether we are still able to be decisive at the highest level,” assured the veteran defender.

“People can say all they want, but the results will prove who is right and who is wrong. Of course, we know that the older we get, the more we have to work in order to stay at peak fitness, but we are ready for that.”

Milan ended the campaign empty-handed and their overall fitness levels tumbled in the final month, where they failed to win a single game in all competitions.

Some have blamed the advanced age of the squad, including 35-year-old Marcos Cafu, 33-year-old Jaap Stam and Billy Costacurta, who will turn 40 in April 2006.

However, there are some interesting statistics to counter those claims. Milan’s medical staff confirmed that new arrival Christian Vieri has beaten all his teammates in the sprint tests over 10, 15 and 30 metres.

“He has made massive improvements in the few weeks he’s been training with us,” revealed Professor Jean-Pierre Meersseman. “Within a month Vieri will have phenomenal fitness levels.”

It is important news for the 32-year-old hitman, who has struggled with a series of injury problems and poor form during his last season at Inter. Teammate Andriy Shevchenko is set to make his summer debut against Lugano on Thursday after recovering from an operation to remove the titanium plates put in place for a fractured cheekbone.

Meanwhile, Maldini looked at the Scudetto contenders following the arrival of Luis Figo and Patrick Vieira.

“Inter and Juventus have both strengthened their squads, but Milan have been no less active on the transfer market. Motivation and the real desire to win will have an effect, but I think that in the balance of things Juve and Milan are perhaps a little ahead of the Nerazzurri.”

Cafu calls Cassano to Milan
6.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcos Cafu has revived his career since joining Milan and now claims former teammates Antonio Cassano and Ronaldo should follow suit.

“I would be happy to see Cassano in a Rossoneri jersey,” smiled the ex-Roma hero. “He is a great player and perhaps having success so young made him a difficult character to deal with, but he remains a brilliant creative force who can start deep and score goals. With the club structure we have here, he’d learn to become a legend.”

Milan have been among the clubs linked to a swoop for the troubled youngster, whose contract expires with Roma in 2006. Juventus, Real Madrid and Chelsea are the other options, though a sale is unlikely unless FIFA’s transfer embargo is lifted.

The Giallorossi’s appeal against that decision – imposed after the contentious Philippe Mexes move from Auxerre – will be answered by the TAS tribunal on Monday. Meanwhile, Cafu reveals that Cassano isn’t the only player interested in San Siro affairs.

“Ronaldo always asks me about Milan and what’s happening here. I think it’s because there are so many of us Brazilians in the side, but he is interested in our progress.”

There had been rumours of a shock move back to Serie A for Inter’s arch rivals, but Il Fenomeno is staying with Real Madrid for the moment.

Cafu has been on scintillating form so far this summer and regularly thrashed his younger opponents for pace despite turning 35 in June.

“My children keep me active, that’s the secret of my fitness,” he joked. “The whole team has prepared well for this new campaign and seeing the likes of Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta really spurs you on to work harder. There is time to renegotiate my contract, but I was pleased the club assured me they were more than happy with my performance. It would be nice to conclude my career at Milan.”

There are nonetheless reports that his heir in the Seleçao will also take that role at club level – the Rossoneri are tracking starlet Cicinho.

“He did very well in the Confederations Cup with Brazil and is also impressing with San Paolo,” noted Cafu. “Cicinho is one to watch and certainly able to compete at the highest level in Europe.”

Inzaghi given injury all-clear
6.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pippo Inzaghi is on the road to recovery and will be fully fit by the end of the month, while Fabio Bazzani’s injury is not as bad as first thought.

“I visited Inzaghi and he is already doing much better,” confirmed Professor Marc Martens on the official Milan website. “He has worked well and there is clear progress, as the tendonitis in his left knee is almost gone.”

The striker has undergone a series of operations and suffered numerous injuries over the last two years, scoring just three goals in 25 Serie A appearances.

“He needs some specific physiotherapy over the next few weeks, but by the end of August he should be 100 per cent fit. We could let him resume training now, but we prefer not to risk it yet. At that point, he’ll be ready to play football again.”

This is good news for the Rossoneri, who had been considering drafting in a new striker to join Alberto Gilardino, Christian Vieri and Andriy Shevchenko.

One of the candidates for that role had been Fabio Bazzani, who was ruled out when he damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The Sampdoria hitman underwent surgery on Friday evening and will be out of action for the next three to four months. It is still an improvement on early predictions, which suggested he wouldn’t be ready to train again until January.

Kaka targets multiple success
5.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka is hoping to make up for Milan’s lack of success last term by winning everything possible this time around.

The Rossoneri were in contention to do the double last season, but lost out to Juventus in Serie A and were amazingly defeated by Liverpool in the Champions League Final.

"This squad gives me a great stimulus, one to win everything in the new campaign," said the Brazilian.

"A club like this one is always obliged to win something, either the Champions League or the Scudetto.

"Which one would I choose? Winning the European Cup would be the maximum for a player like me."

Milan were already an impressive outfit last term but Kaka believes they are even better following their summer spending spree.

"Some good signings have been made, with some great champions being brought in," continued the Brazilian.

"I got the chance to meet Alberto Gilardino and his family a while back and I’m happy that he is here.

"I also previously met Christian Vieri, seeing as we both lived in the same city. I only found out about his capture while I was checking the club’s website at home in Brazil…

"I’ve played against Marek Jankulovski and Johann Vogel as an opponent and I think they are good players."

Winning with Milan is not the only objective for the attacking midfielder. "I want to play at the World Cup and win it," he concluded.

Cicinho closer to AC Milan move
4.8 || webmaster


Sao Paulo defender Cicinho will take a step closer to the Serie A next week.

The Brazil international will be in Italy next week to accept his Italian passport - which will accelerate his move to Europe.

AC Milan are said to have acquired first refusal for Cicinho, whose performances in the Confederations Cup this summer also attracted enquiries from Juventus and Fiorentina.

Cicinho has replaced Cafu as Brazil's No1 right-back and Milan chiefs are considering a January move for the defender to perform the same action at club level.

Inzaghi won’t rush comeback
3.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Injury plagued Milan forward Pippo Inzaghi says he will only return to action once he is 100 per cent fit.

The striker has been hampered by numerous injury problems over the last two years and is currently in Belgium trying to resolve a knee problem.

Although he is keen to star for the Rossoneri again, he maintains that he won’t jeopardise his fitness by rushing his comeback.

"I am feeling better physically with every passing day," the former Atalanta, Parma and Juventus striker said.

"However, I will only return to playing football again when I am 100 per cent fit.

"There is no need for me to train in a specific way from now on, when I return I will be ready to play."

Inzaghi, who netted just one goal last term in the Champions’ League game against Celtic, underwent two operations on an ankle problem last year.

Milan can seemingly wait for Inzaghi seeing as they already have Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Christian Vieri at the San Siro.

However, there are whispers that the club could still bring in a new striker before the start of the season.

Valencia’s former Juve attacker Marco Di Vaio, who is also wanted by Inter, could be an option for the Italian giants.

Shevchenko hails goal twins
3.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko has welcomed the arrivals of fellow strikers Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino.

Although the European Footballer of the Year does run the risk of spending more time on the bench this term, he insists his game will be helped by their captures.

"I have already seen some good things from Vieri and Gilardino," stated the Ukrainian international.

"Milan last had a big target man during the days of Oliver Bierhoff. Considering how I move and play, I will do much better alongside attackers with their characteristics."

Vieri joined on a free transfer from city rivals Inter, while Milan paid Parma £17.2m for the young Azzurri hope.

Shevchenko’s praise for his new teammates will be a boost for fans who were worried about Shev’s future at the club.

He’s been linked with a world-record transfer to Chelsea and a recent heated discussion with boss Carlo Ancelotti, in public, caused more rumours.

"Too much has been made of that," continued the former Dynamo Kiev man. "I believe in this squad and this club.

"I am a Milan player and I want to remain a Milan player. This outfit and President Silvio Berlusconi have done a lot for me."

US tour a positive, says Ancelotti
1.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has labelled his club’s pre-season tour of America as a success.

The Rossoneri ended their US trip last night with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, following an earlier defeat to the Blues and a win against Chicago Fire.

"This tournament was needed in order to play some matches and it has certainly been positive for us," he stated. "We will now return to our training base at Milanello."

Ancelotti has used the trip to have a closer look at new boys Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino, as well as testing out a new three-man defence.

"I’m also very satisfied with last night’s game," continued the tactician. "We were really good in the first half even if a draw was the right result."

Ancelotti will be given a further option on his return to Italy as new signing Marek Jankulovski continues his rehabilitation after an ankle fracture.

"I don’t know whether I can play the Lugano friendly on August 11," he told the Tuttosport newspaper.

"However, I can say that I am feeling great and my ankle is stable, it is not causing me any problems at all.

"I’ve trained on my own up until now but the side is set to come back from the US. I can’t wait."

The left-sided wing-back, netted from Udinese for around £8m, also opened the door for his future use on the right side of the team.

"I am at Ancelotti’s full disposal," he said. "I have no objection to trying it out and then we can evaluate the results."

Vieri happy with Milan option
1.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan striker Christian Vieri is delighted with how easily he has settled into his new surroundings following his city switch.

The Italian shockingly joined the Rossoneri last month after rescinding his contract with Milanese rivals Inter.

"I have found a great environment in which to work in," the 31-year-old told the official Milan website.

"I am very serene about the future and I have been welcomed well by everyone here."

Vieri has featured heavily in the outfit’s pre-season games so far and was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out in last night’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

"It was probably a goal that should have stood," he explained. "I certainly didn’t foul anyone and I don’t know whether it was offside."

The Azzurri striker has archived that disappointment though and is eager to strike a solid relationship with attacking partners Andriy Shevchenko, Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi.

"We now need to just continue working hard," he said. "Offensively, we are working, studying where and how to move, especially outside of the penalty area.

"However, I’m confident that we can do well as there is still one month left until the season starts."

It is still unclear at this stage which two players will be Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s first choice pairing in attack.

Abbiati future in doubt
1.8 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

A number of Italian clubs are interested in signing new Genoa goalkeeper Christian Abbiati following their demotion.

The port club were thrown into the Third Division last week for alleged match-fixing which has now placed Abbiati’s loan switch from Milan into doubt.

Abbiati does want a first team shirt in order to win a place at the 2006 World Cup, but is unlikely to accept the prospect of Serie C football.

Should Genoa’s appeal against their punishment fail then Abbiati is expected to assess his options.

Serie A minnows Siena and Livorno have both been linked with the former Scudetto winner as they are looking for shot-stoppers.

Palermo could also make a move after they pulled out of a swoop to net Galatasaray’s Faryd Ali Mondragon.

The Colombian shot-stopper, 34, was expected to sign last week but the Sicilian outfit pulled out at the last minute.

Palermo already made an approach for Abbiati last summer but Milan refused to let the international custodian leave at the time.

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