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The Archive

September 2005

Mazzarri: "We can stop Milan"
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reggina are back on track following their first win of the season and Walter Mazzarri believes they can also see off Milan this Sunday.

“We are not defeated before the game has even begun,” assured the Coach. “Last year we played well at the San Siro, but our equaliser was disallowed and eventually they won 3-1 in stoppages.”

The Amaranto lost their opening four games, but the 2-0 victory over Udinese gave them the confidence to face Milan on their own terms.

“Our tactical system is not important, we just need clear ideas on what it is we are going to do. The Rossoneri are a very strong side, so we must set ourselves out on the field in an organised manner.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit has been stuttering in the first month of the season and was held to a 2-2 draw by Schalke 04 in the Champions League midweek.

“I don’t believe they are in crisis at all,” warned Mazzarri. “Milan are improving with each game and looked solid against Schalke, so I don’t think they are struggling. Besides, they have players who can always make the difference.”

Reggina will field Nicola Pavarini in goal, as ‘keeper Ivan Pelizzoli is still suffering from a muscular injury he picked up during that 2-0 win against Udinese.

Former AC Milan star Savicevic injured
30.9 || webmaster

Source: (AP)

PODGORICA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Former AC Milan star Dejan Savicevic crashed his motorbike into a car Thursday and broke both of his wrists.

The 38-year-old wore a helmet in the crash, which destroyed his bike, but would remain in the hospital for further tests, doctor Oleg Lakovic told The Associated Press.

Savicevic scored in Milan's 4-0 win over Barcelona in the 1994 Champions Cup final and won three Italian league titles. He had already won the Champions Cup with Red Star Belgrade in 1991.

After retiring, Savicevic coached Yugoslavia's and the subsequent Serbia-Montenegro's national team. He resigned in 2003 after a humiliating 2-1 loss to Azerbaijan in Baku in a qualifying match for Euro 2004 in Portugal.

Abbiati ignores Milan history
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus ‘keeper Christian Abbiati says his Milan past will have no effect on him during Sunday’s match against Inter.

Some are labelling the Scudetto showdown as a Milanese derby for the shot-stopper, seeing as he is currently on loan from the Rossoneri.

But the Italian insists he is going into the game with the intention of winning for Juventus – not for the club who still own him.

"I wouldn’t talk about it being a derby," the No 1 told Datasport on Thursday. "The games against Inter are part of the past now. I can’t even remember them anymore.

"I must just think about Juventus from this moment because I know feel like a Bianconeri player at all costs.

"I am happy at this club and we can and must do well against the Nerazzurri at the weekend."

Abbiati was netted this summer after Italian first-choice Gigi Buffon was ruled out until November with a shoulder problem.

The custodian has had a shaky start to his new adventure but seems to be slowly winning over the fans.

He received cheers of encouragement on Tuesday night and responded with two fine saves to deny Rapid Vienna in the 3-0 win.

"I understand the supporters because it can’t be easy for a player to join and be accepted after spending so much time at a club like Milan," he added.

Abbiati opted for a Turin transfer after spending the last two seasons as a reserve behind Nelson Dida.

Ancelotti: "Ban that coward Poulsen"
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has urged UEFA to ban “that coward” Christian Poulsen – Francesco Totti’s nemesis – from football after his performance against Milan.

“Milan played well and it wasn’t necessarily all of Schalke who were working on provocation, it was purely Poulsen,” said the Coach after the 2-2 draw.

“He is a coward and puts in these little elbows and kicks when the referee isn’t looking. He shouldn’t be allowed near a football field.”

The Danish international shot to fame in Euro 2004 when Totti was caught on camera spitting in his direction, earning the Italian a three-match ban. Poulsen was a constant thorn in Milan’s side this evening and was only booked for a vicious late challenge on Gennaro Gattuso.

That aside, it was an extremely entertaining game in Gelsenkirchen and the Italians were leading twice only to let Schalke 04 back in.

“We tried to take control of the game and some times it worked, some times it didn’t, but it was a good show and a spectacular encounter.”

Clarence Seedorf scored after just 22 seconds and Andriy Shevchenko celebrated his birthday with a goal, but Dida was also kept busy in an end to end clash.

“The two goals were fairly fortuitous, so I am satisfied with the performance and think it was one of our best in the last few weeks,” insisted Ancelotti.

“The team will and must improve, but this was very different to how we played on Sunday against Treviso, as the Champions League has a special atmosphere. I saw the Milan side of old.”

Kaka also focused his post-match comments on the shameful behaviour of Schalke 04 midfielder Poulsen, who reserved him for special attention throughout.

“It was a battle and at times even a war,” said the young Brazilian. “I am not accustomed to this style of play and I didn’t enjoy it at all, as we had to adapt. Poulsen has no intention of playing football and spent his entire time trying to provoke opponents, not just me.”

The incident brought the Italian Press attention back to Euro 2004, and Totti’s reaction to Poulsen’s provocation.

“I won’t say Totti was right to do what he did, but it’s not right for a player to come here and be stopped from taking part in the game with elbows, kicks and constant provocation. This is not sport. I must learn from this experience, as I expect I’ll encounter players like this again and will try not to let myself fall into that trap.”

Kaka was nonetheless happy with the result and his team’s overall show in Gelsenkirchen, as Milan still lead Group E thanks to Fenerbahce’s 3-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

“This performance was a step forward for us, as we didn’t have trouble on set-pieces and it was important to earn an away point in Germany.”

Schalke 04 2:2 AC Milan - match report
28.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Seedorf 1 (M), Larsen 3 (S), Shevchenko 59 (M), Altintop 70 (S)

Milan were leading twice in Gelsenkirchen, but Clarence Seedorf and Andriy Shevchenko goals couldn't earn more than a spectacular 2-2 draw.

The Rossoneri travelled to Germany with Andriy Shevchenko and Alberto Gilardino upfront, leaving Christian Vieri on the bench, though Jaap Stam was not 100 per cent fit. There was a familiar face in the Schalke line-up, as Danish international Christian Poulsen was famously attacked by Francesco Totti in Euro 2004.

Milan certainly didn't waste any time, as they broke the deadlock within the opening 22 seconds! Clarence Seedorf combined with Andrea Pirlo and unleashed an angled drive from over 30 metres that took goalkeeper Rost by surprise at the far post. The shot wasn't particularly powerful, so the German goallie should perhaps have done better.

It was a very eventful start to the game, as on three minutes Schalke 04 equalised. A throw-in seemed to catch the Milan defence in a state of confusion and Soren Larsen was allowed a free header from six yards to beat Dida.

Maldini's scuffed header from a Pirlo free kick was almost redirected into the net by Gilardino, but he couldn't quite make enough contact.

It was end to end stuff and a very high-tempo game, as Kevin Kuranyi was allowed a free header on Kobiashvili's cross that glanced inches wide of the post.

Gilardino's first touch trapped a brilliant searching pass from Pirlo, but his second touch took the ball away from him and the chance went begging.

Shevchenko performed a similar trick on Seedorf's long ball and dribbled past two defenders before the goalkeeper managed to pluck it off his foot on the six-yard line.

Marcos Cafu performed a crucial intervention before Kuranyi could fire in from close range, and Shevchenko again went on a slalom past several players before being closed down.

Lincoln was causing a lot of problems and it was fortunate for Milan that the unmarked creative midfielder opted for a tricky volley when he had time to get the ball under control.

Kuranyi sprung the offside trap moments later after another defensive error, this time from Alessandro Nesta, but couldn't make the most of the opportunity.

It remained an extremely entertaining match and Lincoln curled a free kick just wide of the near post. Shevchenko also went close with a set-piece, firing it hard and low wide of the target.

Schalke focused on cutting Kaka out of the game by doubling up their marking on him and Totti's nemesis Poulsen was repeatedly pushing and attempting to 'psyche' the Brazilian.

After the break Kobiashvili drilled wide from the edge of the box and Kaka also fired wide from a promising position and Kuranyi's relatively tame effort was unable to trouble Dida despite getting into a great spot to score.

Seedorf's fierce volley from the edge of the box was charged down by defenders. The move continued and Milan restored their lead with a splendid team effort. Paolo Maldini spun round a defender and curled in a cross with one movement and Shevchenko rose between two markers for a glancing header that beat Rost into the bottom corner. It was a great gift for the Ukrainian, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow.

Shevchenko tried to grab a second with a solo effort that was off target, but Dida performed a fine save to block a fantastic Rafinha stop and volley.

However, Schalke drew level with a simply incredible goal from substitute Hamit Altintop. The Turk saw Dida off his line and thumped the ball from 30 metres, a dipping drive that left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Moments later, Kuranyi nodded a free kick just wide and had to limp off with cramp as the tempo showed no signs of slowing, making way for Dane Ebbe Sand. Milan also made a change, Manuel Rui Costa coming on for Kaka.

Dida made up for his earlier error with a fantastic one-handed save on Larsen's looping header towards the far post.

Poulsen was fortunate not to be red-carded for an extremely late challenge on Gattuso, leading with his elbow, but the referee opted for a booking. Shevchenko was furious when he felt he was elbowed by an Bajramovic, but the move did not appear to be malicious.

Another spectacular Lincoln volley was well saved by Dida, though Jaap Stam's error almost cost Milan dearly.

The Rossoneri had a great chance to take the lead, but Shevchenko and Vieri clattered into each other and the opportunity went begging.

Schalke 04: Rost; Rafinha, Bordon, Rodriguez, Krstajic; Ernst (Altintop 68), Poulsen (Bajramovic 84), Kobiashvili; Lincoln; Larsen, Kuranyi (Sand 74)

Milan: Dida; Cafu (Stam 76), Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà (Rui Costa 74); Shevchenko, Gilardino (Vieri 71)

Ref: Larsen (Den)

Rijkaard dismisses Milan option
28.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard has distanced himself from rumours linking him with the Milan job.

Whispers have suggested that the Dutchman is being lined up to replace Carlo Ancelotti next summer.

But Rijkaard has rejected the idea of taking over from his former Rossoneri teammate on the San Siro bench.

"I don’t think about Milan at all," the tactician told Sky Italia. "I believe it is vital to respect those who are working with other clubs.

"My heart will always be with Ancelotti and (assistant boss Mauro) Tassotti, plus all those who work at Milan.

"I still have great affection for the Rossoneri, but talking of a move there for me is simply wrong."

Rijkaard is one of Europe’s top tacticians after his entertaining Barcelona side won the Liga title last term.

The former Holland boss, who saw his side dumped out of Euro 2000 at the semi-final stage by Italy, is tied to the Nou Camp outfit until 2009.

He joined Barca in 2003 and last night saw his boys comfortably beat Udinese 4-1 in the Champions League.

Ancelotti’s deal with Milan expires in June 2007.

Schalke 04 vs. Milan - CL match preview
28.9 || Seamus

CL Preview: Schalke 04-Milan
9/28/2005 3:07:00 PM
Schalke 04 host Milan in Champions' League Group E at the Arena AufSchalke tonight with general-manager Rudi Assauer claiming the game will be his club's easiest in the competition.


This wasn't bravado from the cigar-chomping Assauer, more a logical assessment of expectations ahead of a game with last season's beaten finalists. "Don’t get me wrong," said Assauer this week, "but I have always said the match against Milan is the easiest one for us. We are outsiders despite being at home and therefore the team have absolutely nothing to lose. Form beats class in football and we hope that our form is good enough to beat Milan’s class."

Fortunately for him, it seems as if the Gelsenkirchen club are coming into a little form, with a 2-0 win over Hannover on Saturday maintaining their unbeaten domestic record this season. However, all is not well at the Arena, with mumblings of discontent surrounding coach Ralf Rangnick and his players after a 1-0 defeat in Eindhoven against PSV a fortnight ago. With Bayern Munich streaking away to six consecutive wins in the Bundesliga, it was only Hamburger SV's win over the German champions - combined with Schalke's weekend win - that alleviated the pressure for now. Talk as he might, Assauer knows a second group defeat tonight will leave his club's hopes of qualification hanging by the a thread.

Coach Rangnick believes Saturday's win can help his side tonight. "The match against Hannover showed us exactly the way we have to play and I am sure the special Champions' League atmosphere will help us raise our game even more," he said. "We can give Milan a run for their money if we manage to improve by 10 or 20 per cent."

His Milan counterpart Carlo Ancelotti is under pressure following last season's embarrassing final capitulation to Liverpool. "We are looking forward to an exciting contest, a beautiful stadium and a great atmosphere," he said. "Hopefully we can play the game we are best at and make it a typical away game for AC Milan." His respect for the Germans is obvious. "We have obviously had Schalke watched. They have found their form and they are a very competitive side - I hold them in the highest esteem," he concluded.

Captain Paolo Maldini broke Dino Zoff's Serie A appearance record at the weekend and is hopeful of another clean sheet. "We haven’t conceded a goal in our last two games and would like to keep it that way against Schalke," Maldini said. "We are not prepared to let them create chances. I am optimistic we will do well."


Rangnick is well aware that tactics can help bridge the quality gap facing his team tonight. "I don’t think we can afford to sit back and wait as we have done at times this season," he said. "Milan have too much individual class for that. We must take the initiative and keep them busy." To that end, he is boosted by the return of Danish striker Ebbe Sand who has shaken off a back problem.

For the visitors, Massimo Ambrosini could be available after recovering from a muscle injury.


Schalke 04: F. Rost; Rafinha, Bordon, Rodriguez, Krstajic; Poulsen; F. Ernst, Kobiashvili; Lincoln; Kuranyi, Larsen.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Maldini; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaka; Gilardino, Shevchenko.


Soren Larsen (Schalke)

The Dane (pictured), signed from Djurgardens in the summer, has an eye for goal and may be the home side's surprise package.

Clarence Seedorf (Milan)

A sunshine boy if ever there was one, Seedorf must be doing something right to play for the clubs he has. His talent could have taken him to the very top, but his character is suspect when the chips are down. Watch him create superbly if Milan get their tails up, and look for his disappearing act if the home side gets the breaks.


It’s hard to take Milan seriously these days having watched them cave in to such an ordinary Liverpool side last May. While Schalke may be attempting to punch above their weight, Milan talk above theirs. If Maldini’s hopes of yet another continental title have died in May, his team’s credibility certainly did. Liverpool and Deportivo La Coruna have exposed this Milan in recent seasons, and a fired-up Schalke have the personnel to do likewise. The question is, do they have the belief? 2-2.

Brian A. O'Driscoll

Sharon asked to help win AC Milan sponsorship
28.9 || webmaster


Milan, 28 Sept. (AKI) - Israel's tourism ministry has appealed to prime minister Ariel Sharon to take advantage of his personal friendship with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi to persuade Italian football club AC Milan to reverse its decision not to act as a testimonial for Israel. Owned by Berlusconi, Milan, one of the world's most famous teams, has decided not to accept 550,000 euros from the Israeli tourism ministry in exchange for promoting travel by Italian tourists to Israel.

The deal fell through "for no apparent reason" after more than six months of negotiations, according to Israeli daily Maariv, which added "suspicion has risen of political interference," led to its scuppering.

For this reason, according to the Israeli daily, tourism minister Abraham Hirchson has written to Sharon to put in a good word with Berlusconi.

Milan has denied any political interference was involved.

"The claim made by the daily Maariv does not correspond to the truth," the Milanese club said in a statement, adding that it had already committed itself to a similar sponsorship arrangement with the Spanish tourism ministry.

"While the negotations with the Israeli tourism industry where still taking place, the Spaniards decided to exercise their option to renew the contract [with Milan]," the statement continued.

Milan ready for Schalke test
28.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are confident that their first away game in the Champions League since last season’s Istanbul nightmare will end with victory against Schalke.

The Rossoneri face the German side on Wednesday with the objective of collecting three more points after the 3-1 win over Fenerbahce.

And although Schalke are promising to attack the Italian giants, boss Carlo Ancelotti is looking forward to the test.

"It should be an exciting contest, in a beautiful stadium and with a great atmosphere," he said.

"Hopefully we can play the game we are best at and make it a typical away encounter for Milan."

Schalke lost their opening tie of the group at PSV Eindhoven, but the tactician has great respect for last season’s runners-up in the Bundesliga.

"We have obviously had Schalke watched," he added. "They have found their form and they are a very competitive side. I hold them in the highest esteem."

Milan seem to be getting back to their best after a sluggish start to the season and captain Paolo Maldini has warned his opponents that they will be difficult to beat.

"We haven't conceded a goal in our last two games and would like to keep it that way against Schalke," Maldini said.

"We are not prepared to let them create chances. I am optimistic we will do well."

Milan could have Massimo Ambrosini back from injury, but there are doubts over the fitness of defender Jaap Stam.

Schalke are promising a battle though, with the belief that their underdog status could be a massive advantage.

"Don't get me wrong but I have always said the match against Milan is the easiest one for us," said general manager Rudi Assauer.

"We are outsiders despite being at home and therefore the team have absolutely nothing to lose.

"Form beats class in football and we hope that our form is good enough to beat Milan's class."

The Germans go into tonight’s match having comfortably beaten Hannover 2-0 on Saturday.

Ancelotti: Here come Milan
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti is confident that his side are moving in the right direction after a problematic start to the campaign.

The Rossoneri collected just four points from their opening three games, but have since hit back with wins over Lazio and Treviso.

"It is a slow process but we are making progress," the tactician told Radio Anch’io on Monday morning.

"I’m happy with the quality but we now need to concentrate on consistency and the fluidity of our football.

"We basically encountered the same difficulties as we did at the start of last season, by even losing both Week 3 games.

"However, we picked ourselves up a year ago. It is now fundamental for us to find a certain balance in the side."

Milan are widely regarded as one of Italy’s most attractive sides to watch, yet that hasn’t been the case so far this term.

"It is evident that our start to the season was tough," defended Ancelotti. "As a result, we have been more focused on winning our last two matches rather than playing beautiful football.

"However, Milan remain a team which has been constructed to play well and we will do given time."

The Italian giants and Ancelotti have also subsequently had to endure some harsh treatment from the media.

"I have been in this world for 30 years and I know how things work," explained the former Juventus boss.

"I accept the criticism because it provides me with an extra stimulus to do well. It can also sometimes point people in the right direction."

Kaka hails master Shevchenko
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka has described Milan teammate Andriy Shevchenko as ‘incredible’ after the Ukrainian scored his 150th goal for the club.

The European Footballer of the Year reached the landmark by netting a penalty in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Treviso.

"A player who scores as regularly as he does is simply incredible," the Brazilian youngster stated.

Shevchenko, who arrived at the club in 1999, is now the joint third all-time hitman for the Rossoneri after he matched Jose Altafini’s tally.

The forward’s next target will be to overtake the legendary Gianni Rivera on 164. Milan’s leading scorer is Gunnar Nordahl, thanks to his 221 between 1948 and 1956.

Shevchenko’s strike yesterday was a decisive one as his club were being troubled by the bottom of the table outfit.

"We were up against a very tough side who were not allowing us to play football," added Kaka.

"However, things changed after we got the penalty and we were then allowed numerous chances."

Milan remain five points behind Juventus but the attacking midfielder is not panicking just yet.

"We are not thinking about Juve, we are focused on ourselves," he added. "The championship is a long one and we will slowly catch them up."

The San Siro giants are next in action on Wednesday when they travel to Schalke 04 in the Champions League.

Maldini makes Serie A history
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko made Serie A history for Milan today, the captain beating Dino Zoff’s all-time record with his 571st appearance.

Maldini had already matched the 570 League caps during the Rossoneri’s 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria last week and today became the most experienced player ever to grace the Italian top flight.

“I think that I’ve aged fairly well,” smiled the 37-year-old who made his debut in a goalless draw against Udinese on January 20, 1985. “My spirit remains child-like, although my knees are slightly less so, but I do intend to play until my contract expires on June 30, 2007.”

The legendary defender marked this extraordinary achievement on the day of his 801st official match for Milan and made a very special announcement.

“I am proud to confirm that my son Christian will start training with the Milan youth system from Monday,” said the son of club legend Cesare Maldini. This will be the third generation of Maldini’s in the Rossoneri colours.

Club Vice-President Adriano Galliani noted, “What more can one say about Paolo Maldini? To play for 20 years with the same side is remarkable and I’m not sure it’ll ever happen again in this sport. He has a contract until 2007, but I’d like to negotiate for another year. We’ll retire his Number 3 jersey when he retires, but keep it in storage for when his son grows up.”

It was also an historic moment for Andriy Shevchenko, whose goal in the 2-0 victory over Treviso this afternoon was his 150th for the club. This allows the Ballon d’Or winner to match the total set by Jose Altafini and he is now the joint third all-time hitman for Milan.

The next target for Sheva is Gianni Rivera on 164, though the leader remains Gunnar Nordahl, who scored 221 goals for the San Siro side between 1948 and ’56.

Treviso 0:2 AC Milan - match report
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko pen 45 (M), Gilardino 72 (M)

Andriy Shevchenko scored his 150th goal for Milan and Alberto Gilardino was on target, but it was quite a struggle against little Treviso.

Carlo Ancelotti warned that this was a potential banana skin for Milan, as it was a game they were expected to win and therefore all the pressure was on their shoulders. Indeed, Treviso were looking for the first Serie A points in their history and kept Adriano Zancope' in goal despite the end of Samir Handanovic's ban. Surprisingly, Reginaldo was picked ahead of Andre Pinga.

The Rossoneri rested several stars ahead of their Champions League trip to Schalke 04, including Christian Vieri, Marcos Cafu, Kakha Kaladze and Johann Vogel.

The most important member of the line-up was Paolo Maldini, who made history with his 571st Serie A appearance - beating Dino Zoff's all-time record.

Milan had a good chance after 70 seconds, as Andrea Pirlo's fierce right-foot shot was beaten away by Zancope'. Soon after, Andriy Shevchenko turned off target from a couple of yards.

Treviso were by no means sacrifical lambs and Reginaldo went round Dida only to fire wide from a very tight angle. The home side was again dangerous on 22 minutes, as Galeoto's low cross was inches away from Reginaldo's foot as the Brazilian came sliding in, then Dida held a deflected William Viali free kick.

Milan fought back and Clarence Seedorf burst through the centre, his shot parried into the path of Kaka and the Brazilian's follow-up was charged down.

The Rossoneri were turning up the pressure and on 40 minutes Kaka launched on one of his trademark slaloms from the halfway line, combining with Shevchenko and Alberto Gilardino. The Parma man was brought down by Zancope' and a penalty awarded. Shevchenko rolled in from the spot for his 150th Milan goal, matching Jose Altafini's total and the Ukrainian became the joint third hitman in the club's history.

Gilardino's header was off target in first half stoppages after a perfect Shevchenko cross.

Treviso were not about to lie down and Dida smothered a Reginaldo piledriver from the edge of the box. Moments later, Dida rushed off his line and Reginaldo placed his gentle touch past the goalkeeper with Jaap Stam getting back to clear from the empty net.

Stam hit his ankle on the upright during that desperate rush and was replaced by Marcos Cafu. Gennaro Gattuso drilled over from the edge of the box and really should have done better with this chance.

Gilardino is still looking for his form and blasted an angled drive wide with only the goalkeeper to beat following some good build-up play from Kaka.

The ex-Parma striker made up for the error soon after, as he dived on to Gattuso's headed cross from a Pirlo pass to double Milan's lead. It was a brave header from Gilardino, who nearly clattered into the upright.

Gilardino fired another good chance wide from a tight angle, as Treviso's determination was ebbing away. Substitute Manuel Rui Costa and Gilardino combined for Kaka to hit the side-netting.

Treviso: Zancopè; Galeoto, Viali, Lorenzi, Cottafava; Giuliatto, E Filippini (Muntasser 85), Gallo; A Filippini (Parravicini 75); Reginaldo (Pinga 67), Fava

Milan: Dida; Stam (Cafu 53), Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Kaladze 71); Kakà; Shevchenko (Rui Costa 75), Gilardino

Ref: Palanca

Treviso vs. AC Milan - match preview
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will be expecting to come out of this match as comfortable winners despite a shaky beginning to the season. It is that poor start though that could give Treviso the confidence to continue the Rossoneri’s nightmare away form this season.

The San Siro outfit have struggled outside their home stadium with their shock opening day draw being followed by a defeat in Genoa to Sampdoria. Despite their poor record, they should still dismiss the Biancocelesti without too much fuss unless there is a recurrence of the freak weather endured during the game against Ascoli.

After all, Treviso aren’t on the best of form themselves seeing as they are currently rock bottom of the League with no points. They will also make four changes to the side that lost to Sampdoria in midweek. Samir Handanovic returns in goal after injury, which is sure to give the rest of the players a boost. Also included are Francesco Galeoto, Francesco Parravicini, and Ferreira Reginaldo which means that Fabio Gallo, Jehad Muntasser and Alberto Giuliatto all lose their places.

As seems to be the case with Milan this season, Coach Carlo Ancelotti has made some unexpected selections in his team. Clarence Seedorf is likely to make way but for Serginho rather than the more obvious inclusion of Gennaro Gattuso.

Ancelotti is also bravely set to select Alberto Gilardino as Andriy Shevchenko’s strike partner, despite Gilardino’s dry spell and the presence of Christian Vieri waiting in the wings. However, the biggest surprise though is that Paolo Maldini may again have to wait to overtake Dino Zoff’s record for all time Serie A appearances. The pair are currently tied on 570 games each after Maldini was rested against Lazio.

Treviso (probable): Handanovic; Galeoto, Viali, Cottafava, Dellafiore; E Filippini, Parravicini, A Filippini; Pinga; Reginaldo, Fava

Milan (probable): Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Stam, Kaladze; Ambrosini, Pirlo, Serginho; Kakà; Gilardino, Shevchenko

Ref: To folllow

Ancelotti: We have everything to lose
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s win may have taken them out of their tailspin, but Carlo Ancelotti warns that Treviso could provide another costly banana skin.

“Against Treviso we have an awful lot to lose and not much to gain,” said the Coach ahead of Sunday’s match. “People expect us to win here and that increases the pressure. It would be a mistake to consider this an easy game.”

The Rossoneri beat Lazio 2-0 on Wednesday evening, keeping their first clean sheet for 11 official games, but failure to earn all three points against rock bottom Treviso will only intensify criticism.

“We have done well so far on our travels,” insisted Ancelotti despite earning one point from two away ties. “The Ascoli encounter was ruined by the muddy pitch and we played well at Sampdoria, even if we lost 2-1.”

With the Champions League visit to Schalke 04 coming up and the strains of the midweek Serie A round taking their toll, Ancelotti would be forgiven for resting his stars to face newly promoted Treviso. Unusually, he is not about to keep his tactics hidden.

“Massimo Ambrosini has suffered a knock to the ankle and will stay at home, just like Dario Simic and Marek Jankulovski. Kakha Kaladze, Marcos Cafu and Christian Vieri will rest. Alberto Gilardino returns, while Jaap Stam is at right-back, Serginho on the left and Paolo Maldini in the centre. Andrea Pirlo will also play.”

Milan are already five points behind leaders Juventus, though Ancelotti is not about to give up on the Scudetto.

“It is still far too early to say anything. Juve and Inter will be our main rivals for the title and right now I can’t see any weaknesses in the Bianconeri squad. Nonetheless, we have nothing to envy them for.”

Pippo Inzaghi returned to Milanello this weekend after spending several months under specialist treatment in Belgium.

“Pippo is finally healthy, but to risk him would be a major gamble,” said the Coach. “We found him in great form and his return has given a boost of enthusiasm to everyone. We have missed him, both as a player and a friend.”

Milan squad:

Dida, Fiori, Kalac; Cafu, Maldini, Kaladze, Costacurta, Nesta, Stam, Marzoratti; Gattuso, Rui Costa, Vogel, Seedorf, Pirlo, Kakà, Serginho; Shevchenko, Inzaghi, Vieri, Gilardino

Sheva wants Milan extension
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko has hinted at a contract extension with Milan, while Juve could try to tempt Thierry Henry back to Turin.

“I will soon be called to the club headquarters to sign a new deal,” revealed the Ukrainian. “When they make that call, I really doubt I’ll reject it.”

Shevchenko has won the Scudetto, Champions League, Coppa Italia, European Supercup and Italian Supercup since joining the San Siro outfit in 1999-2000.

His current deal expires in 2009 and the reigning European Player of the Year looks set to follow in the footsteps of teammate Kaka, who recently extended his contract until 2010. Under Italian rules, that is the maximum extent of a legal bond.

Meanwhile, Henry was a flop in his brief Serie A experience, but Juve are battling Barcelona to take advantage of his contract dispute with Arsenal.

“I can’t say Henry will be at Arsenal next season,” Arsene Wenger told the BBC. “Under the new FIFA rules, a player can move without the permission of any club.”

The new regulations mean that the Frenchman can pay off the final season’s salary of a contract that expires in 2007 in order to move next summer.

Barcelona have repeatedly been linked with the striker, but Juventus are also in the running. Henry was played as a wide midfielder by the Bianconeri in 1998-99, scoring three goals in 16 appearances.

Kaladze on the defensive
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Kakha Kaladze has hit back at critics who were starting to question the quality of the Rossoneri defence.

The Italian giants have had a shaky start to the season, with many pundits insisting that the club’s ageing rearguard was a decisive factor.

But the left-back has defended his colleagues by claiming they are still a force in the European game.

"People started to say that our defence wasn’t working after the defeat to Sampdoria," said the Georgian.

"We were firstly referred to as the best in Europe, then we were labelled as scandalous. People were just getting carried away, as usual…"

Milan got back to winning ways in midweek with a 2-0 win over Lazio, which was their first clean sheet for 12 matches.

"We played well as a unit against Lazio by giving little away," continued the versatile international.

"Our performance in the week was a good one as we basically wrapped up the game in the first 15 minutes.

"We didn’t concede and we are happy. I really don’t know why there was talk of a crisis after losing just one game in such a long season. You can’t win them all."

Captain Paolo Maldini has also moved quickly to deflect criticism after Milan’s nervous opening.

"We haven’t started the season that badly at all even if we are missing points from Ascoli and Genoa," he stated. "But I do believe it was just a question of luck."

Seedorf plays the waiting game
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf has underlined that Milan have plenty of time to catch and then overtake Juventus in the Serie A race.

The Rossoneri are already five points behind the champions, but the Dutchman is eager to point out that there are still 34 games of the season left.

"Juventus are going down their path and we are going down ours," the midfielder stated.

"The championship is a long one and we have all the time needed to make amends for the points we have left behind."

Milan have dropped points against Ascoli and Sampdoria this term, but got back on the right track with a 2-0 win over Lazio last night.

"Milan played well," he added after their comfortable victory. "We illustrated that we were convinced of our ability and that our crisis is over."

Seedorf was recalled to the midfield and the former Samp and Real Madrid player didn’t let down boss Carlo Ancelotti.

"I’m happy with my own performance," he continued. "As a team, we are playing better than at the start of last term.

"This is a real positive factor, one that we will be able to build upon."

Milan will hope to net three more points on Sunday when they travel to bottom of the table Treviso.

Milan leave behind crisis
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan officials are smiling again after the 2-0 win over Lazio temporarily halted talk of a Rossoneri crisis.

The Italian giants had collected just four points from their first three games, before last night’s comfortable win over the Biancocelesti.

"The team is getting better and we have taken a step forward," stated a relaxed Carlo Ancelotti.

"The most important thing was to put right the small things, like maintaining positions and focusing fully in dead ball situations."

The San Siro giants had been heavily criticised of late, but the Coach insists it didn’t affect his team.

"We are well used to criticism but there is a need for balance in judgement," concluded Ancelotti.

Milan chief Adriano Galliani was much more euphoric after a difficult start to the new campaign.

"We are all happy," he underlined. "We didn’t concede a goal and we won by dominating the game."

The quality of Milan’s rearguard has been questioned this term and Galliani has hinted that changes will be made – even if not until the summer.

"Our defence is very strong right now," he stated. "We’ll have to think about next season’s at a later stage."

Galliani concluded that the club still have great faith in boss Ancelotti. "His job is not in question," he underlined.

"Carlo has done some stratospheric things in three years at this club and we will challenge for Lo Scudetto again this term."

AC Milan 2:0 Lazio - match report
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Shevchenko 12 (M), Kaka 14 (M)

Milan went some way to silencing their critics by beating Lazio and keeping their first clean sheet in 11 games.

The pressure was really on Carlo Ancelotti after Milan's poor start of four points from the opening three games, while they haven't kept a clean sheet in 11 official encounters. Christian Vieri, Alessandro Nesta and Jaap Stam took on their former club, as Paolo Maldini was rested.

Lazio had the confidence going into this tie, as they were in second place and still unbeaten, although goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi was out with a knee injury.

Milan had an aggressive start and Andriy Shevchenko opened the scoring with a wonderful individual effort. He gathered Vieri's pass and skipped round a challenge from Stendardo before placing an accurate angled drive into the near corner of the net.

Two minutes later they had doubled their lead, though Lazio were certainly at fault. Matteo Sereni allowed a deflected Andrea Pirlo cross to squirm under his body and it was child's play for Kaka to tap in the loose ball.

Shevchenko would've scored a third on Pirlo's pass had Luciano Zauri not intercepted and fired another great scoring opportunity straight at Sereni, while Fabio Liverani's effort was well saved at the other end.

Dida flew to tip Massimo Oddo's free kick over the bar, but after the restart Vieri sprung the offside trap on Clarence Seedorf's pass and saw his volley well saved.

A similar Seedorf pass set Shevchenko running moments later and Sereni flew for another spectacular intervention.

Dida performed a fine save on Oddo's half-volley from a tight angle, then Sereni was equally tested on a Marcos Cafu strike with Vieri unable to turn in the loose ball with an overhead kick.

Tommaso Rocchi's header wasn't far off the target, but Lazio played the final 15 minutes in 10 men, as Baronio limped off when all three substitutions had already been completed.

Sereni pushed out Kaka's effort and Massimo Ambrosini was unable to turn in the follow-up.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta (Costacurta 85), Stam, Kaladze; Ambrosini, Pirlo, Seedorf (Gattuso 75); Kakà; Shevchenko, Vieri (Serginho 81)

Lazio: Sereni; Oddo, Siviglia, Stendardo, Zauri; Behrami (Manfredini 46), Dabo, Liverani (Baronio 64), Giallombardo (Pandev 46); Di Canio, Rocchi

Ref: Messina

Calm Ancelotti stays cool
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti insists he doesn’t fear the sack as a result of his club’s disappointing start to the season.

The Rossoneri have only collected four points from their opening three games, culminating in a shock 2-1 loss at Sampdoria on Sunday.

But the tactician, who has been publicly backed by the club, maintains that he is calm and relaxed ahead of Wednesday’s match against Lazio.

"This is not a difficult moment for me," commented the Coach. "I’m serene and calm, also because I don’t read the papers…

"I consider my tranquillity as a good aspect of my character. I know exactly what the club think of me."

Ancelotti is also taking comfort from the fact that the Rossoneri made an identical start to last season’s campaign.

"We had a few problems last year when we had four points from three games, but we hit back by beating Lazio in Rome," he added.

"We are now facing them again but at home. In order to get through times like this, you need to do what you do best."

Ancelotti disagrees with claims that tomorrow’s match is a must win clash, even if he concedes a victory would be important.

"It’s not our last chance but we need to get back on track," he noted. "We are hopeful, seeing as we did perform well against Sampdoria."

The former midfielder was also quick to divert criticism away from his defence, which has conceded five goals in four games.

"These players have done well for themselves and me in the past, they’ll do that again in the future," he argued.

"The defence did fine against Doria. We gave very little away, only towards the end did we offer them space."

Ancelotti may decide to rest Paolo Maldini against the Biancocelesti, while Massimo Ambrosini and Christian Vieri could be drafted into the starting line-up.

Rivera explains Milan crisis
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan legend Gianni Rivera says his former club are struggling as a result of a misjudged summer transfer campaign.

The Rossoneri have made a desperately disappointing start to the season, collecting just four points from their opening three games.

The 2-1 loss at Sampdoria on Sunday highlighted their present fragility and the former Golden Boy of Italian football thinks he knows exactly why.

"They underestimated the difficulties they encountered in the second half of last season," he said. "As a result, the link between departments has broken.

"Milan got things wrong on the market," he added. "It would have been wiser to strengthen the defence, instead of buying attackers, because the years pass for everyone.

"The problem is that Milan attributed a lack of luck to their slump towards the end of last season, whereas the problem was something else."

Milan signed both Christian Vieri and Alberto Gilardino this summer instead of opting to rejuvenate their ageing defence.

The rearguard has come under attack already this term after looking extremely vulnerable at set-pieces and crosses.

The Rossoneri do have an ageing backline given that Marcos Cafu, Jaap Stam and Paolo Maldini are over 30. They actually have a combined age of 105.

Milan dominate World XI side
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Crisis hit Milan have been boosted with the news that five of their players have been named in the FIFPro World XI line-up.

Despite the Rossoneri’s disastrous start to the season, a host of their stars have been voted in the team by their fellow professionals.

Brazilian ‘keeper Nelson Dida is handed the gloves, surprisingly ahead of Juventus and Italian No 1 Gigi Buffon.

Three of the four defenders also play for Milan in the shape of Marcos Cafu, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.

The final element of the San Siro outfit who is included is Andriy Shevchenko, the current European Footballer of the Year.

Details of the line-up were revealed this evening at a glittering awards ceremony in London.

Barcelona forward Ronaldinho was named as FIFPro's World Player of the Year following his recent exploits at the Nou Camp.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney picked up the Young Player prize, while Pele was handed with the FIFPro legend award.

FIFpro is the worldwide representative organisation for professional players.

FIFPro World XI: Nelson Dida (Brazil/Milan); Cafu (Brazil/Milan), Alessandro Nesta (Italy/Milan), John Terry (England/Chelsea), Paolo Maldini (Italy/Milan); Ronaldinho (Brazil/Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England/Chelsea), Claude Makelele (France/Chelsea), Zinedine Zidane (France/Real Madrid); Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon/Barcelona), Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine/Milan).

Peruzzi to miss Milan trip?
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Serie A returns on Wednesday but Angelo Peruzzi, Jonathan Zebina and Amantino Mancini are all doubts for their respective clubs.

Lazio may be without goalkeeper Peruzzi after he picked up an injury against Treviso on Sunday.

The Italian international suffered a nasty knock on his kneecap and could be replaced by Matteo Sereni at the San Siro.

Zebina’s physical problems continue after he suffered a thigh strain on Sunday following his return to the Juventus side.

The right-back, who has only just recovered from another muscle problem, is unlikely to play against Udinese.

Midfielder Manuele Blasi is expected to again be selected as an emergency full-back after some encouraging displays recently.

Roma winger Mancini is set to miss the Giallorossi’s next two games against Parma and Cagliari.

The Brazilian picked up a suspected thigh strain at Livorno, even if more tests are set to be carried out on him tomorrow.

Stam denies exit claims
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Jaap Stam has officially dismissed reports that his time with Milan will soon be coming to an end.

Whispers have suggested that the Dutchman could be set for a return to Holland as a result of the club’s unconvincing defensive displays.

But the former Manchester United and Lazio stopper has rubbished that claim with the briefest of statements.

"I have never thought about leaving Milan," the 33-year-old told the official club website on Monday.

Stam, formerly of PSV Eindhoven, joined the European giants on a free transfer from Lazio in the summer of 2004.

However, his ability has started to be questioned recently given the club’s obvious rearguard fragility.

Many believe that the defence, which hasn’t kept a clean sheet for 11 official games, is getting too old.

Speculation suggested that Stam would be sacrificed in January or June, with Roma’s Cristian Chivu and Dias Felipe of Udinese set to be brought in.

Ancelotti won’t be axed, say Milan
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has been given the dreaded vote of confidence following their sluggish start to the season.

The Rossoneri lost 2-1 at Sampdoria on Sunday, but the outfit – despite already being five points adrift of leaders Juventus – insist they have great faith in the tactician.

"He is not trembling and his bench isn’t shaking either," Vice-president Adriano Galliani told the club website.

"The fact is that he is our Coach and will continue to be our Coach in the future. He is a focal point for this club.

"We have come from three years of being competitive at the highest levels, often winning during that period.

"We simply need to remember that fact while staying united and compact."

The San Siro giants started the campaign with a draw at Ascoli, followed by wins over Siena and then Fenerbache in the Champions League.

"After three League games, we have the same number of points as last year even if we have played two away games this time around," added Galliani.

"Seeing as we got back on the right track last season, including making up an eight point gap in a few games, we just need to stay calm."

Ancelotti, a former Milan player, took charge of the aide in 2001 when he replaced the axed Fatih Terim.

The ex-Parma and Juventus boss has won the Champions League, the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto during his Rossoneri stint so far.

Ancelotti won’t be axed, say Milan
19.9 || Seamus

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti has been given the dreaded vote of confidence following their sluggish start to the season.

The Rossoneri lost 2-1 at Sampdoria on Sunday, but the outfit – despite already being five points adrift of leaders Juventus – insist they have great faith in the tactician.

"He is not trembling and his bench isn’t shaking either," Vice-president Adriano Galliani told the club website.

"The fact is that he is our Coach and will continue to be our Coach in the future. He is a focal point for this club.

"We have come from three years of being competitive at the highest levels, often winning during that period.

"We simply need to remember that fact while staying united and compact."

The San Siro giants started the campaign with a draw at Ascoli, followed by wins over Siena and then Fenerbache in the Champions League.

"After three League games, we have the same number of points as last year even if we have played two away games this time around," added Galliani.

"Seeing as we got back on the right track last season, including making up an eight point gap in a few games, we just need to stay calm."

Ancelotti, a former Milan player, took charge of the aide in 2001 when he replaced the axed Fatih Terim.

The ex-Parma and Juventus boss has won the Champions League, the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto during his Rossoneri stint so far.

Defeated Milan stay calm
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan chief Adriano Galliani insists that there is no need to panic despite the 2-1 loss at Sampdoria on Sunday.

The Rossoneri did start the campaign with title ambitions, yet they have only won one of their opening three games.

And although they are already five points behind leaders Juventus, Galliani is remaining relaxed.

"I am very calm and President Silvio Berlusconi is also serene after this loss," stated the Vice-president.

"We created a lot of chances but unfortunately got caught out thanks to a lack of attention."

The Marassi defeat has inevitably again seen fingers of blame pointed at the ageing Milan rearguard, especially as they have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 official games.

"There are a certain number of things that need to be put right," conceded Galliani.

"However, it is only normal that an attacking side does concede, even if we are perhaps letting in a few too many.

"We need to forget about this game now though and focus on the one in three days time. It is time to look ahead in both the Scudetto chase and Champions League."

Boss Carlo Ancelotti also insisted that the defeat was not a total disaster for the San Siro outfit.

"We will keep going forward with faith in our potential and we did play good football today, conceding two goals essentially born from throw-ins," he said.

"There are some things we need to work on, but I saw a determined and aggressive side. I wouldn’t worry about Juve breaking away at the top, as the season has only just started."

Milan host Lazio on Wednesday, while Juventus travel to Champions League rivals Udinese in Week 4.

Sampdoria 2:1 AC Milan - post-match comments
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Walter Novellino: “It was a fantastic performance, as we closed up all the spaces and didn’t allow Milan many chances. The victory is more than deserved and, although the Rossoneri could’ve equalised in the second half, Vitalii Kutuzov could also have scored our third. My only regret is that we didn’t keep a clean sheet.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “We will keep going with faith in our potential and we did play good football today, conceding two goals essentially born from throw-ins. There are some things we need to work on, but I saw a determined and aggressive side. I wouldn’t worry about Juve breaking away at the top, as the season has only just started.”

Sampdoria 2:1 AC Milan - match report
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Gilardino 18 (M), Bonazzoli 38 (S), Tonetto 58 (S)

Alberto Gilardino broke his Milan duck, but Sampdoria doomed them to their first official defeat of the season.

The Rossoneri were in confident form stepping into Marassi, as they had won their last two games by a 3-1 scoreline in Serie A and Europe, while the club hadn't lost here since 1996, earning three wins and a draw. Sampdoria were also tested on the continent midweek and drew 1-1 away to Vitoria Setubal, but surprisingly left Francesco Flachi on the bench in favour of Lamberto Zauli.

This was an historic moment for Paolo Maldini, as not only did he make his 800th official appearance for Milan, but he also matched Dino Zoff's all-time record of 570 Serie A games.

Zauli's promising counter-attack and a Kaka slalom were cut short by fouls, but Milan took the lead after 18 minutes with a splendid goal. Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko combined with the Ukrainian's backheel for Alberto Gilardino to stroke home his first official goal in a Rossoneri jersey.

The Blucerchiati fought back and Zauli's volley from the edge of the box was well caught by Dida, but Gilardino wasted the opportunity to grab his second of the match by turning Shevchenko's cutback over the bar under pressure from Marcello Castellini.

Shevchenko then turned Gennaro Gattuso's cross inches wide as Milan cranked up the pressure in the first half.

However, Sampdoria equalised against the run of play with summer signing Emiliano Bonazzoli. Castellini had turned Sergio Volpi's free kick on to the bar and Bonazzoli was quick to fire home the loose ball. This is yet another goal Milan have conceded from a set-piece and it's something Coach Carlo Ancelotti will need to work on.

After the break, Gilardino nodded a free kick wide of the target and Francesco Antonioli punched out a Pirlo set-piece.

Milan had the possession, but Sampdoria took a surprise lead on the hour mark with Max Tonetto. The winger gathered Aimo Diana's pass and unleashed a left-foot missile from outside the box that beat Dida.

Former Milan goalkeeper Antonioli kept his side in the lead with desperate saves on Shevchenko first and Gilardino's volley soon after.

Samp held on under siege, with Marcos Cafu drilling wide and a free kick from substitute Christian Vieri beaten away.

Sampdoria: Antonioli; Zenoni, Castellini, Pavan, Pisano; Diana, Volpi, Dalla Bona, Tonetto (Palombo 70); Zauli (Flachi 58), Bonazzoli (Kutuzov 78)

Milan: Dida; Cafu (Vieri 79), Stam, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso (Serginho 62), Pirlo (Ambrosini 73), Seedorf, Kakà; Shevchenko, Gilardino

Ref: Bertini

Ancelotti wants aggressive Milan
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti wants his Milan side to be more aggressive and close up games earlier as they travel to Sampdoria.

“The team has recovered well from its midweek strains and is fired up, although we do need to be a bit more aggressive,” said the Coach after their 3-1 win over Fenerbahce.

The last two Rossoneri outings have both been 3-1 victories, although Siena and the Turkish giants were only felled by very late goals.

“When our opponents have possession, we don’t put nearly enough pressure on them and tend to sit back. If we were a bit more aggressive, then we’d win the ball back and therefore have more possession of our own. In any case, we are improving and the players are motivated.”

There have been some defensive concerns, particularly on set-pieces, and Milan are yet to keep an official clean sheet this season between Serie A and the Champions League.

“We must remember not to be so anxious at the back, as so far it has been very difficult for our opponents to score against us from open play,” noted Ancelotti.

They face a tough test away to Sampdoria, who are fresh from their 1-1 UEFA Cup draw against Portuguese outfit Vitoria Setubal.

“Sampdoria are a team that have been doing well for a number of years now and improve with each season. They are not a fly by night outfit and have their own identity. I must also point out that our most recent trips to Genoa have been rather impressive.”

Indeed, the Rossoneri have won three of their last four trips to Marassi, scoring nine goals and conceding two. Their last defeat here was 2-1 in 1996, sealed by Roberto Mancini.

Christian Vieri looks set to make his Serie A debut with his new club, as his two-match ban has now expired.

“His performance on Tuesday was not a disappointment, as Fenerbahce tried to cut down his supply line from the flanks, but he did create space through the centre. Andrea Pirlo will play against Samp, while Serginho and Massimo Ambrosini are struggling with minor injuries.”

Maldini wants his Millennium
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Paolo Maldini will equal Dino Zoff’s record of Serie A appearances on the day he plays his 800th game for Milan, but the captain isn’t about to stop now.

If the 37-year-old features against Sampdoria at Marassi on Sunday afternoon, it will be his 570th Serie A cap – matching the all-time record set by Zoff.

“I cannot make predictions on what my physical status will be over the years, but I will certainly try to reach the 1,000 mark of official games in my career,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

Maldini made his Serie A debut against Udinese on January 20 1985 and has until now played 799 ties between the League, Champions League, European Supercup, Italian Supercup, Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup, Intercontinental Cup, a 1986 summer tournament recognised by the FIGC and a UEFA Cup play-off against Sampdoria in 1987.

There is another target already in his mind as, including internationals, Maldini has played in 939 official matches. He only needs another 61 to hit his Millennium and he is eager to achieve this incredible feat.

There were reports that the recent knee problems would prompt the legendary figure to retire at the end of this season rather than see out his contract until June 2007.

“The treatment I have been receiving is starting to have an effect and I feel much better,” assured Maldini. “I certainly think I’ll play against Sampdoria. As for the 1,000 games, I will take it one week at a time, although even the fact I can play an official match ever three days is already quite an achievement at my age.”

Meanwhile, Christian Vieri could also make his Serie A debut with the Rossoneri jersey, as he has finished his two-match ban.

Milan squad:

Gk: Dida, Kalac, Fiori.

D: Cafu, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Simic, Stam.

M: Ambrosini, Gattuso, Kaka, Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho, Vogel.

F: Gilardino, Shevchenko, Vieri.

Kaka makes Milan pledge
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka has revealed that he wants to end his career with Milan after agreeing to extend his contract at the San Siro.

The Brazilian today renewed his deal until 2010 which underlined his commitment to the Rossoneri cause.

"My relationship with Milan continues to get stronger," said the player on Friday, whose full name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite.

"I have now extended my contract until 2010, but I hope to renew in each year of my stay here so that I can end my career with this club."

The former Sao Paulo player has been a massive hit with the outfit since his arrival two years ago, but he’s promising to deliver even more.

"I am starting to write history and I hope to keep on improving," continued the attacking midfielder. "Some great champions have already written some important chapters before me.

"However, Milan don’t represent just football. There are human relationships here, friendships, it is a club and a family. I like that."

The South American put pen to paper at the Via Turati headquarters this morning, in front of his father Bosco, director general Ariedo Braida and chief Adriano Galliani.

"We have extended Kaka’s contract until June 30, 2010," stated the latter. "That is a five-year deal, the maximum allowed by Italian law.

"I’m delighted because I still remember when I wrapped up his transfer on the morning of August 15, 2003.

"It was back then when I realised that he was an important player and a fundamental one for Milan."

Kaka, who is set to be a star at the World Cup, underlined his massive ability with a sensational goal against Fenerbache on Tuesday.

Kaka extends Milan contract
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have reacted quickly to Kaka’s dazzling midweek display by extending his contract until 2010.

The Rossoneri have today confirmed that the Brazilian prodigy is now committed to the Italian giants for another five years.

Kaka, a Selecao international, is widely recognised as one of Europe’s top attacking midfielders.

He underlined his unique ability on Tuesday night, when he scored two superb goals to defeat Fenerbache 3-1 in the Champions League.

The 23-year-old moved to the San Siro in the summer of 2003 when the club beat a late bid from Chelsea for the then Sao Paulo youngster.

Kaka instantly settled into the world of Italian football, displacing Manuel Rui Costa in the Milan side and subsequently helping his new club win Lo Scudetto.

The Brasilia-born player endured a difficult second campaign last season, but still provided numerous assists and netted seven goals in 36 games.

Kaka has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Real Madrid during his time in northern Italy.

Kaka is a true great, says Kaladze
15.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan stopper Kakhaber Kaladze says teammate Ricardo Kaka is a star off the pitch as well as on it.

The Georgian praised the Brazilian prodigy following his inspirational display in the 3-1 Champions League win over Fenerbache on Tuesday.

"Ricky was fantastic for us thanks to his two extraordinary goals," stated the Rossoneri left-back.

"But I want to underline that Kaka is also a great person in life as well as a great footballer.

"I would like to compliment his parents for educating him so well, a factor why he has matured so much in Italy."

Kaka was undoubtedly the hero against the Turkish giants, as his late goal helped his club make a winning start to their latest European Cup bid.

"I’m delighted with the victory," added Kaladze. "We needed to start this adventure well and it will give us morale.

"We go into every match aiming to get the three points, that is always our primary objective."

The versatile international, who has also played central midfield for Milan, is now optimistically looking ahead to the weekend.

"We are a strong team," he added. "We must remember that when we go and take on Sampdoria this Sunday."

Exposure trial for Milan doctor
14.9 || webmaster

Source: BBC

The doctor for Italian football team AC Milan has denied indecently exposing himself to a woman at a Salford hotel.

Armando Gozzini, 44, spoke through an interpreter at Manchester's Minshull Street Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The doctor, from Milan, is charged with intentionally exposing his genitals to the woman with the intent she would see them and be caused alarm or distress.

He now faces a jury trial at Minshull Street Crown Court on 30 November. The offence allegedly happened in February.

Mr Gozzini was staying at the Lowry Hotel with the team ahead of their Champions League clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

He was arrested at 2150 GMT on 22 February after police were called to the hotel.

Mr Gozzini was told by magistrates that he would face a jury trial at Minshull Street Crown Court on 30 November.

The trial is due to last three days.

Kaka accepts Maradona acclaim
14.9 || webmaster


AC Milan playmaker Kaká may not always be mentioned in the same breath as modern Brazilian greats like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano and Roberto Carlos, but in scoring a stunning goal to help his side to a 3-1 win against Fenerbahçe SK last night, he has reminded the world that his talents cannot be ignored.

Exceptional goal
With the losing 2004/05 UEFA Champions League finalists drawing 1-1 against the Turkish counterparts after an Alex penalty had cancelled out Kaká's 18th-minute opener, the 23-year-old waltzed through a tiring Fenerbahçe defence with three minutes to go to score a terrific - and decisive - goal for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Maradona memories
Immediately, football supporters' minds drifted back to the 1986 FIFA World Cup when Diego Maradona scored with similar panache against England. Kaká was pleased by the comparison. "They said my goal was almost like the one Maradona scored and I am very happy with the comparison," he told "He was a great player who made history and I hope to do the same with Milan."

Result paramount
However, despite the extra attention, it was the result that was paramount for the Brazilian. "For me, the most important thing was that we won the game," he said. "We still lack some concentration but we have just started and can surely only improve. It was very important to start our Champions League season with a win. On a personal level, I feel I am continuing to improve and that I have an important role in the team."

Shevchenko strike
European Footballer of the Year for 2004 Andriy Shevchenko completed the victory with a third goal for Milan in the 89th minute to open his account for the new season, but he was not altogether convinced by his side's display. "We should have killed the game earlier but we wasted a few good opportunities," the Ukrainian told "We were a bit tired in the second half but we really wanted to start with a win and we pushed forward until the final whistle."

Important step
After the trauma of losing last season's final after leading 3-0 at half-time, it was always important that Milan got back to normality in Europe as soon as possible. Now Shevchenko hopes that the memories of the Istanbul final will not cast a shadow over Milan's latest assault on Europe's top club competition. "It is impossible to forget last season's final but we just have to focus on the present," he said. "The final against Liverpool [FC] is history - now we have to focus on this new campaign."

Kaka dreams of Ballon d'Or
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Some compared Kaka’s second goal against Fenerbahce to Diego Armando Maradona’s heyday and he admits he’s dreaming of the Ballon d’Or.

“I was rather young when Maradona was at his best, so I haven’t seen him play very much, but it’s certainly a wonderful compliment,” said the 23-year-old. “He was a great player who made football history. When you are running into the area, it is important to keep an eye on the goalkeeper and it’s not an instinctive thing for me, I have to work at it in training.”

The Brazilian certainly showed stamina by running almost the entire length of the pitch to score in the 87th minute.

“This will be a long, hard season, but physically I am ready for it. This is a very strong team packed with champions, but I am glad to know that my influence is growing all the time and it’s very satisfying to help the side win.”

Already crowned the best player of last season’s Champions League tournament, Kaka is one of the candidates for the European Player of the Year award.

“I’ll slowly make my way towards trophies and realise that I can only get the Ballon d’Or by winning with Milan and Brazil, both sides that would in theory allow me to be in the running.”

The young Selecao star has made a remarkable impact in Europe, adapting far quicker than most South American players.

“When I left Brazil, I always knew that I was ready to play in Serie A and that I would have to adapt to Italy rather than expect it to be like South America.”

Ancelotti hails hero Kaka
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti and Andriy Shevchenko have praised Kaka’s brace and revealed the background to that sensational second goal.

“Kaka’s goal was extraordinary and of course we made him practice that every day in training…” joked the Coach following the 3-1 win over Fenerbahce. The Brazilian’s second saw him dribble past three players before beating the goalkeeper, a strike that turned the game with only three minutes left to play, as the Turks had equalised with an Alex penalty.

“There are always going to be problems, but paradoxically we changed our style and waited for Fenerbahce a little more because we knew they would try to attack us,” continued Ancelotti. “The team is slowly improving and it was overall a fairly good performance.”

The substitutions proved decisive, as Serginho and Johann Vogel gave the side an extra dimension for the closing stages.

“I wanted to give Serginho and Kaka the opportunity to play in roles that suited them more, giving the side more pace. Andrea Pirlo has played more than most recently, so he was tired towards the end and we needed fresh legs.”

The penalty had created a tense situation at the San Siro, as Fenerbahce were ready to earn a point when Gennaro Gattuso clattered into ex-Arsenal man Nicolas Anelka.

“I’d say the penalty incident was a little dubious, as Anelka looked as if he was already falling down when Gattuso arrived.”

Shevchenko netted the third of the night and revealed the background to Kaka’s sensational second strike.

“We should’ve sealed up the points earlier and had the chances to do that, but we felt a little tired after playing on Saturday,” noted the Ballon d’Or winner. “We have a lot of work to do on our off the ball movements, though we did well to create space for Kaka to shoot. Unfortunately, few people tend to notice that ‘silent’ work we all do for our teammates and we did the same thing for Kaka’s goal against Siena.”

Many have commented on the fact that Milan’s first Champions League test after the lost Final in Istanbul was against a Turkish outfit, bringing the mind back to that night in May.

“It’s impossible to wipe Istanbul from our memory – especially as during the warm-up the giant screens were showing the images of Liverpool lifting the trophy! We cannot forget it, but the important thing is to learn from it.”

Milan de facto President Adriano Galliani also insisted that the past was behind them. “A bit of suffering is healthy in football, and don’t forget that there are no weak teams in the Champions League. Kaka scored two fantastic goals and our fans enjoyed themselves, while the penalty incident seemed to be shoulder to shoulder in my view.”

Milan lead Group E along with PSV Eindhoven, who beat Schalke 04 with a 1-0 scoreline.

AC Milan 3:1 Fenerbahce - match report
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Kaka 18, 87 (M), Alex pen 63 (F), Shevchenko 89 (M)

Kaka was the hero of the hour and scored a wonderful brace to sink Fenerbahce, but it nearly turned into another Turkish nightmare.

With the memories of Istanbul still fresh in their minds, Milan dove back into the Champions League with this Group E opener against a Turkish club. Kakha Kaladze was a surprise choice at left-back, while Christian Vieri made his official Rossoneri debut in place of the off-form Alberto Gilardino.

There were some familiar faces in the Fenerbahce set-up, from ex-Juve midfielder Stephen Appiah to former Arsenal hitman Nicolas Anelka.

Vieri had a good chance within the first 90 seconds, but couldn't get a strong enough touch to beat the goalkeeper on a wayward cross. Soon after, Andriy Shevchenko's glancing header on a Marcos Cafu cross was just wide.

A fast-paced combination between Gennaro Gattuso and Kaka broke through the centre, but the Turkish defence managed to crowd them out at the last moment.

The pressure eventually paid off after 18 minutes when Kaka opened the scoring with a splendid individual strike. The Brazilian gathered Andrea Pirlo's delightful backheel on the edge of the box and placed a razor-sharp accurate drive into the bottom corner of the net.

Kaladze found space down the left flank only for Vieri to balloon his finish over the bar from a promising position. At the other end, the first real Turkish opportunity came on 27 minutes, as Alessandro Nesta's touch took the cross away from Tuncay in the six-yard box.

Cafu's sweeping low cross was inches past Shevchenko's outstretched foot as the Ukrainian came sliding in. Pirlo's curling free kick was comfortably held by goalkeeper Demirel.

Dida had to be on his toes soon after, however, as an Alex effort took a decisive deflection off Nesta and the goalkeeper did well to fingertip it round the post.

A promising counter-attack was smothered when Kaka's long-range attempt was caught by the 'keeper. At the other end, ex-Bianconeri midfielder Appiah blasted over from the edge of the box.

In stoppages, Vieri's shot was deflected into the path of Kaka and only a courageous Marco Aurelio challenge kept out the Brazilian.

After the restart, a perfectly timed Umit challenge halted Cafu in the area as he prepared to pull the trigger. Moments later, Anelka sprinted forward on the counter-attack and drilled his angled finish just past the far post.

There was bad news for Fenerbahce, as Appiah pulled up with what appeared to be a groin strain and was forced off the field.

Shevchenko brought a fantastic fingertip save out of Demirel, dummying a pass to Kaka only to poke it towards the bottom corner of the net. Soon after, the Ukrainian took advantage of a goalkeeping error but wasted with something between a cross and a shot.

Fenerbahce hardly threatened an equaliser, but they were gifted a penalty when Gattuso clattered into Anelka in a situation that did not seem to be leading to a goal. Alex stepped up and converted the spot-kick past his fellow Brazilian Dida.

The Rossoneri fought back and Vieri's long-range effort was just wide, but their defensive frailties on set-pieces were again clear when Tungay's free header from a corner kick was off target.

Carlo Ancelotti switched to a 4-4-2 for the closing 20 minutes, introducing Johann Vogel for Pirlo - the ex-PSV man making his official Milan debut - and Serginho for the disappointing Gattuso.

Fabio Luciano dived in to take the ball off Vieri's foot as he ran into the box on Cafu's assist. Ancelotti's final gamble was Alberto Gilardino for Vieri as time was running out.

Kaladze unleashed a rocket from 20 metres that stung Demirel's palms and was just about pushed round the post. Serginho was brought down on the edge of the area after one of his pacey runs.

Milan finally turned the game back in their favour with three minutes to go thanks to Man of the Match Kaka. The Brazilian sparked a counter-attack in midfield and dribbled past four players before depositing a cool finish into the net.

Fenerbahce were in shock and Milan made it 3-1 moments later. Serginho charged down the left flank and his cross was only fingertipped into the path of Shevchenko.

There were tense moments in the final seconds, as flares were thrown between the Turkish and home sections of the stadium.

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso (Serginho 70), Pirlo (Vogel 70), Ambrosini; Kaka; Shevchenko, Vieri (Gilardino 77)

Fenerbahce: Demirel; Balci, Fabio Luciano, Turaci, Umit; Marco Aurelio, Sahin, Appiah (Aslan 53) (Nobre 89); Alex; Anelka, Tuncay

Ref: Riley (Eng)

Felipe ready for Milan move
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Udinese defender Dias Felipe has admitted that he would be willing to join Milan in January.

The Rossoneri are monitoring the 21-year-old stopper given their concerns over the fitness of veteran Paolo Maldini.

And rumours of a New Year switch were ignited again on Sunday, when Milan director general Ariedo Braida watched the youngster’s performance in the 1-0 win at Roma.

"If I get the call then I will be there in January," the highly-rated South American suggested.

"If I had to pick a style of play which I preferred then I would say Milan’s is the best.

"They are a side who never stop working during matches and always have the ball at their feet. They are a team who remind me of the Brazilian national outfit."

Felipe was fantastic last season where he developed into a first team regular under then boss Luciano Spalletti.

Udinese are a club who traditionally are ready to sacrifice their best players but only at the right price.

The Stadio Friuli outfit currently value the defender, who is tied to the club until 2010, at around £7m.

That fee and the fact that he has already played in the Champions League with Udinese would suggest that a move is more likely to occur in June 2006.

Ancelotti still remembers Istanbul
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is eagerly looking forward to Tuesday’s game against Fenerbahce as Milan look to exorcise their Champions League ghosts.

The Rossoneri open their European Cup campaign against the Turkish giants just months after their amazing Istanbul collapse to Liverpool in May.

Milan did take a three-goal lead in last season’s Final but somehow lost to the Premiership side on penalties.

"It’s not right to not think about that game," stated the tactician. "It happened and we must acknowledge that.

"In fact, it should give us the strength and an extra stimulus for this new adventure.

"I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again, even if we have some difficult games ahead of us.

"Nevertheless, it is our intention to be protagonists in the competition as we were last season."

Milan have been drawn in Group E along with PSV Eindhoven of Holland, Germany’s Schalke and tomorrow’s opponents Fenerbache.

"They (Fenerbache) are a side who are very similar to us," noted Ancelotti. "That is because they have some quality players who like to keep hold of the ball.

"I think they are a well balanced side who have a good chance of qualification.

"They are better than Schalke 04 and PSV, that’s why the away match against Fenerbahce will be the toughest."

Milan won 3-1 against Siena on Saturday but changes will be made to the starting line-up.

"Christian Vieri will definitely play as he is fresh, I’m sure he will have a good game," Ancelotti revealed.

Vieri will probably step in for Alberto Gilardino. "His performances are getting better and if Gilardino doesn’t play against Fenerbache, it won’t be because of his display against Siena," he said.

"I thought he did well. Although strikers live on goals, that is not the most important thing for a Coach. All of us have faith in him."

Dutchman Jaap Stam is likely to be rested given that he has a slight thigh problem.

Vieri eyes Milan opener
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri is looking to impress the fans when he finally makes his Milan debut against Fenerbahce on Tuesday night.

The Italian has been welcomed with open arms by the Rossoneri faithful following his switch from city rivals Inter, but suspension has delayed his use.

However, boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that the striker will feature in the Champions League and Vieri can’t wait.

"I just couldn’t watch another game from the sidelines," he told Milan Channel. "I really could have done without that two-match ban but that is the past.

"I can now play and I can’t wait to step out at the San Siro. We want to do well, we want to win and I hope to find the target."

Vieri’s shock Milan switch upset the Nerazzurri tifosi yet he’s received nothing but praise from the Rossoneri support.

"I have been given much applause and that was important for me," he continued. "The fans have been fantastic. I want to pay them back for the affection that they have demonstrated to me."

However, Vieri - who will start in attack alongside Andriy Shevchenko - expects a tough battle at the San Siro.

"Fenerbahce have some very good players and it will be very difficult for us," he underlined. "There are no easy games anymore, as our draw in Week 1 at Ascoli shows.

"We just need to give our maximum at all times, be concrete and play with determination throughout.

"The side played well against Siena on Saturday which illustrated that we have a strong group here. It is important to continue down this path."

Milan (probable): Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze, Pirlo, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Kakà, Shevchenko, Vieri.

Fenerbache (probable): Volkan, Serkan, Turaci, Fabio Luciano, Umit Ozat, M. Aurelio, Appiah, Selcuk, Nobre, Alex, Anelka.

Vieri to debut against Fenerbahce
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Reuters (UK)

MILAN, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Christian Vieri will partner Andriy Shevchenko in attack for AC Milan when last season's runners-up begin their campaign against Turkey's Fenerbahce at the San Siro stadium on Tuesday.

Vieri, who has missed Milan's opening two Serie A games due to suspension and has yet to appear in an official game, will replace Alberto Gilardino alongside European Footballer of the Year Shevchenko, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday.

"Vieri will certainly play, he is the most fresh and also therefore fired up and in good shape. I am convinced he will do well," said the Milan coach.

The much-travelled Italy international striker joined Milan on a free transfer during the close-season after being released by city rivals Inter.

Vieri played for Italy in their 1-1 draw in Scotland in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month but was left out for the 4-1 victory over Belarus and badly needs a good run of form to keep his place in the squad ahead of next year's finals.

Gilardino, a big money signing from Parma, has yet to get off the mark for Milan and has not appeared to settle in to his new side who beat Siena 3-1 in Serie A on Saturday.

"His performances are improving and if he doesn't play on Tuesday then it is no reflection on his performance against Siena because I liked what I saw," Ancelotti said.

"Goals are important for a striker but a coach looks at everything. He hasn't played enough games yet to start talking about a drought. We all have faith in him."

Ancelotti said that he expected an attractive match in the opening game in Group E which also features Dutch side PSV Eindhoven and Germany's Schalke 04.

"In terms of quality they are better than Schalke and PSV and that is why the return game in Istanbul will be the most difficult for us," Ancelotti said.

"They are quite similar to us in style because they have quality footballers who like to be on the ball. It will be a good game with little negativity."

The Milan coach picked out three of Fenerbahce's foreign players as the main threat.

"Nicolas Anelka is in great form. I have always followed his career and rated him, especially at the time when he might actually have come to play in Italy.

"He is in form and is back to the player he once was. Then there are Alex and Stephen Appiah," added Ancelotti, referring to the Brazilian forward and the Ghanaian midfielder who joined Fenerbahce from Juventus.

Ancelotti admits Milan nerves
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan earned their first win of the season against Siena, but Carlo Ancelotti concedes that the side was nervous and must work on its defence of set-pieces.

“We created plenty of scoring opportunities, although you could see that there was tension in the air,” he said of their 3-1 victory this evening.

“We didn’t run too many risks, except for that Erjon Bogdani header. Our forward play was impressive and we approached this match the right way.”

However, as throughout Ancelotti’s reign, the team is still very shaky when defending from set-pieces and conceded Igor Tudor’s header from a corner kick.

“This is turning into a real problem. We returned to a man-marking system tonight, but it didn’t work out the way we had hoped.”

Andriy Shevchenko was Man of the Match after setting up one goal and scoring another. It has been a great week for the striker who helped the Ukraine qualify for their first ever World Cup and attended his son’s christening.

“We all felt a duty to put in a good performance for our fans and put our season on the right track,” said the Ballon d’Or winner.

“Our next test is the Champions League and we can prove that our Final loss to Liverpool is in the past. It’s certainly an advantage to start again in front of the home fans against Fenerbahce.”

Siena fought valiantly, but were eventually out-done by some classy Milan goals at the San Siro.

“We paid a heavy price for some defensive mistakes,” said Coach Gigi De Canio. “The Rossoneri have a squad packed with world class players, so I’m satisfied with our performance. It’s a shame, as at one stage we were pushing for an equaliser.”

AC Milan 3:1 Siena - match report
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Ambrosini 15 (M), Shevchenko 32 (M), Tudor 45 (S), Kaka 81 (M)

Fine goals from Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka proved enough to sink a tough Siena outfit 3-1, though the Milan defence still looks shaky.

Paolo Maldini returned from a knee injury to mark his 569th Serie A appearance - just one short of Dino Zoff's all-time record. The pressure was already on the Rossoneri after their 1-1 draw at a rain-soaked pitch in Ascoli and Carlo Ancelotti made changes, introducting Manuel Rui Costa and moving Serginho to left-back. The suspended Christian Vieri and injured Pippo Inzaghi remained sidelined.

Siena fielded summer signings Igor Tudor and Tomas Locatelli in midfield, while Erjon Bogdani partnered on-form veteran Enrico Chiesa upfront.

Andriy Shevchenko had the first real chance after four minutes, Massimo Ambrosini holding it up for the Ukrainian's wayward volley.

Rui Costa's delightful flick confused his marker and set Clarence Seedorf running in the centre, but the Dutchman was crowded out before he could shoot.

Alberto Gilardino has disappointed so far this season and he ballooned over the bar from Serginho's splendid cross.

Milan were putting on the pressure and finally broke through after 15 minutes. Jaap Stam and Shevchenko combined down the right flank and the Ukrainian cut back for Ambrosini to sidefoot home from three yards.

A long-range Chiesa effort was not too far off the top corner of Dida's net, but at the other end Stam's cross was volleyed round the far post by an off-balance Rui Costa.

Mirante held a fierce Seedorf attempt, but it was that man Shevchenko who doubled their lead with a stunning finish. Rui Costa worked the ball and when his pass to Gilardino was intercepted, Shechenko didn't think twice about unleashing a missile into the top corner of the net for his 110th Serie A goal.

Moments later, goalkeeper Mirante had his palms stung by the Ballon d'Or winner at the near post with another powerful strike. Rui Costa then set up Gilardino for an angled drive that was well saved, as Siena were reeling.

Milan have been struggling to defend on set-pieces for the last year and proved that it's still an issue on 37 minutes. An Alberto corner kick found Bogdani totally unmarked in the centre and Dida somehow managed to parry with his stomach in a reflex movement at point-blank range.

The big Brazilian wasn't quite so fortunate on the stroke of half-time, as Igor Tudor rose to nod in another Chiesa corner kick to give Siena hope of a comeback in the second half.

The start of the second half was delayed by work to fix a hole in the Milan net, with Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Serginho crowding round to help.

Gilardino couldn't quite co-ordinate himself on Seedorf's cross and wasted a golden opportunity to restore their two-goal cushion.

Another dangerous Siena move went begging when Tudor nodded wide from close range after Bogdani had held up Vergassola's cross.

Marcos Cafu replaces Stam for a more aggressive right-back solution, while Siena switched to a 4-4-2 with Gianluca Falsini.

Serginho broke away from his market with a delightful piece of footwork, but ruined it all by trying to shoot from a difficult angle rather than cross for Gilardino.

Former Parma hitman Gilardino is yet to score an official goal for his new club and was very unlucky on the hour mark. He sprung the offside trap and went round the goalkeeper, but his finish was too weak and Francesco Colonnese cleared it on to the upright of an empty net. Once again, the Milan players were perhaps a little selfish, as Shevchenko was totally unmarked a few feet behind.

There was concern when Shevchenko was struck on the side of the head, as he has struggled with several facial injuries in recent years, but he was able to carry on after treatment. Mirante flew to catch Serginho's resulting free kick.

Siena went for broke and threw on Massimo Marazzina for defender Colonnese, but the Rossoneri were still pouring forward and Mirante again flew to block a Rui Costa piledriver.

Dida had to be on his toes and rushed off his line to close down substitute Massimo Marazzina, who had nutmegged Alessandro Nesta with a marvellous piece of skill. As the move continued, Bogdani turned his header wide of the target.

Tudor was incensed when a free kick was awarded for his foul on Pirlo and was booked for taking his protests too far, pushing the referee on the chest.

Mirante smothered another Ambrosini strike from the edge of the box, but it was substitute Kaka who ensured the points were safe 10 minutes from time. The Brazilian waltzed through the centre of the Siena defence, never allowing the ball to leave his side until he placed a delicate finish into the far corner with the inside of his left foot.

Ambrosini blasted wide from eight yards and Shevchenko's shot was charged down by the goalkeeper when four Milan players poured forward against three Siena men.

Milan: Dida; Stam (Cafu 52), Nesta, Maldini, Serginho; Ambrosini, Pirlo, Seedorf (Gattuso 67), Rui Costa (Kaka 73); Shevchenko, Gilardino

Siena: Mirante; Negro, Legrottaglie, Colonnese (Marazzina 63), Portanova; Alberto (Foglio 76), Tudor, Vergassola; Locatelli (Falsini 59); Chiesa, Bogdani

Ref: Farina

Ancelotti aims for Alex reunion
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juve and Milan denied talks for Alessandro Del Piero, but Carlo Ancelotti hopes he can join him at the San Siro, although the Coach has more urgent worries against Siena.

“Luciano Moggi’s visit to President Silvio Berlusconi’s office kept me awake at night!” joked the tactician. “I do hope they spoke about Del Piero.”

The Italian international’s difficult rapport with Fabio Capello has sparked increasingly strong rumours he is set to leave Turin and reunite with former Juve boss Ancelotti in January, making way for Roma rebel Antonio Cassano.

Milan have more pressing concerns, however, as their Scudetto challenge got off to a disappointing start with a 1-1 draw away to newly promoted Ascoli and they now face another potential banana skin.

“We know that we’ll have to measure ourselves up against the progress of Juventus and Inter, but we certainly don’t feel inferior. At this moment in time they are two points ahead of us, but in the long run we’ll show our worth. I think we can put in an excellent performance against Siena, despite the fact that we’ve barely been able to work together due to the international break.”

Alberto Gilardino was sensationally dropped from the Scotland game amid Marcello Lippi’s claims he was “not particularly sharp at the moment,” and his performance against Belarus suggested there was some truth to this line of reasoning. With Christian Vieri suspended and Filippo Inzaghi injured, he is the only choice to partner Andriy Shevchenko.

“Siena will certainly try to play on the counter-attack, although Enrico Chiesa has rediscovered his verve and gives them another option,” added Ancelotti. “Paolo Maldini has now recovered from a knee problem and will play, while I think Gilardino is improving.”

The Rossoneri lost to Siena last season in a game that essentially put paid to their hopes of retaining the Scudetto and it seems they have not learnt their lesson when it comes to conceding goals from set-pieces.

“We are working on that aspect of our game and concentration is crucial. This is why I don’t think it’s a tactical issue, although it has to be said that we’re not the only team that can let in goals from dead ball situations.”

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac, Cafu, Costacurta, Kaladze, Maldini, Nesta, Stam, Ambrosini, Gattuso, Kaka', Pirlo, Rui Costa, Seedorf, Serginho, Vogel, Gilardino, Shevchenko.

Gilardino eyes Milan opener
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alberto Gilardino is preparing to silence his critics following his anonymous start to his Milan career.

The striker was signed by the Rossoneri for £17.2m from Parma in the summer, with the expectation that he would be their new goalscoring machine.

Yet Gilardino disappointed in the 1-1 draw at Ascoli on his League debut and was surprisingly axed for Italy’s 1-1 draw with Scotland last Saturday.

"I knew that it wouldn’t be easy for me at the start," the former Under-21 international sensation told Milan Channel.

"However, this is a new environment for me and I have had to totally change my training methods.

"I am feeling better now though and I think I did reasonably well against Belarus for Italy on Wednesday. I am now hungry to do well for my club."

The former Piacenza youngster netted 23 Serie A goals last season and is eager to open his Milan account against Siena.

"I didn’t play too well against Ascoli, but I have a great desire to give something back to all those who have shown me great affection since I arrived," he continued.

"This club really wanted me over the summer and it is only right that I give them something in exchange.

"It is my objective to win something important here and that will remain inside of me until that aim is completed."

Milan rule out Del Piero capture
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have again dismissed speculation linking them with a sensational swoop for Juventus symbol Alessandro Del Piero.

The club captain was already associated with a switch last month and rumours re-surfaced yesterday, following Luciano Moggi’s meeting with Rossoneri owner Silvio Berlusconi.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani confirmed that the two officials met, but denied whispers that Del Piero was the subject of the meeting.

"There is no truth in claims that they spoke about transfers," Galliani told the Italian media on Friday.

"Del Piero? Milan have no need for second strikers like him, that’s because we are already well covered in that role."

Del Piero’s future at the Stadio Delle Alpi is in doubt given that he is not guaranteed a starting shirt under boss Fabio Capello in Turin.

Juve director general Moggi had initially denied meeting the Italian Prime Minister, but Galliani has confirmed they did see each other.

"I have spoken to Berlusconi and he told me that Moggi wanted to thank him for the loan of Christian Abbiati," he revealed.

Milan handed Abbiati to Juve as a form of ‘reimbursement’ for Gianluigi Buffon’s injury, sustained in the Trofeo Berlusconi tie as a result of an involuntary clash with Kaka.

Moggi denies Berlusconi talks
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Juventus director general Luciano Moggi has dismissed reports that he met Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday.

The transfer guru was spotted at the Palazzo Grazioli, the headquarters of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia political party, which fuelled mass speculation regarding the reason for his visit.

Whispers suggested that the two men discussed footballing matters but Moggi says he didn’t even see the Italian Prime Minister.

"I went there to see a friend," stated the Bianconeri official. "Berlusconi is not the only person in that building.

"If there were any footballing matters to discuss, then why would I go to Palazzo Grazioli for talks?"

There were also reports that Moggi left the Roman building with a book in his hand, entitled: ‘I hate Berlusconi’.

But Moggi has also denied that suggestion. "What book? I had two Rome-based newspapers in my hand," he concluded.

Shevchenko has cloud of doubt
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko is confident Milan will grab their first League win of the season on Saturday – so long as it doesn’t rain.

The Rossoneri were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw in the opening round of Serie A following a torrential downpour at Ascoli.

Milan were heavily criticised for that display but the Ukrainian ace is optimistic that Siena will be defeated this weekend.

"Everyone is expecting a win and a convincing display," said the Ukrainian. "Let us just hope that is doesn’t rain."

"Our fans are confident and we will look to give them our very best."

"We need to play with grit and dictate the game to show people what we can do this season."

The European Footballer of the Year is in radiant mood after his country’s historic World Cup qualification.

"It is an immense joy for our country to be in Germany next year," continued the former Dynamo Kiev sensation.

"It is personally very satisfying for me too after 10 years of trying and three play-off losses. It’s like revenge for me."

Cafu puts club before country
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

After securing another World Cup qualification with Brazil, Marcos Cafu is now just focusing on doing the double with Milan.

"A new life begins from today, a new season and a new championship," said the attacking full-back.

"We all need to forget about the national team and just think about Milan, Serie A and the Champions League."

The Rossoneri will make their home League debut on Saturday against Siena, following the 1-1 draw at Ascoli, and will then face Fenerbahce in the European Cup on Tuesday.

"They will be two very important games for us, we want to be competitive in both competitions," continued the former Roma star.

"It’s always nice to play at home and we would like to put on a great show against Siena for the fans and also ourselves. We want the three points to catch the others in the table."

Brazil booked their place in Germany next summer following their 5-0 destruction of Chile at the weekend.

"I’m obviously satisfied because I can now play in my fourth tournament," continued the 2002 World Cup winning captain. "Brazil are playing really well right now."

Cafu has also congratulated teammate Andriy Shevchenko after his Ukraine qualified last week.

"It will be great for him," he noted. "I hope that he does well and his nation go as far as possible."

Seria A Prediction League is back!
7.9 || Seamus

Seria A Prediction League is back! With the season starting we all felt that we should do the SAPL again for all you Milan fans out there.

04-05 Winner: milan_my_love
03-04 Winner: Seamus

The rules are as follows:

RULES for the Serie A Prediction League including UEFA Cup, Champion's League and Coppa Italia games.

1. Each week a new thread will be started on Monday by the moderators with a list of the upcoming weeks games. In this thread you should post your predictions on the what you think the actual out comes of the games will be. The easiest way is to copy/paste the list of games and to just insert the results that you think will happen.

Example: Milan 3-1 Udinese
Empoli 4-0 Inter, and so on... Listing all of the games and scores you predict.

Note: Do NOT start a thread if one does not yet exsist! A mod. or site admin. will do it each week on Monday for the games for the upcomming week and weekend's games. Any member starting the thread without permission will be docked 10 points.

2. Scoring: Scoring will be based on correct winner and correct result, being added up weekly until the end of the Season. One point will be awarded for the correct winner and one extra point will be awarded for the correct result.

If you predict Milan 3-1 Udinese and Empoli 4-0 Inter
and actual results are Milan 3-1 Udinese and Empoli 5-0 Inter.
You would receive 3 points - 2 for picking Milan as the winner and
predicting the correct score and you would get 1 point for getting the correct winner, but not the correct result of the Empoli/Inter Game.

(you may predict ties as well, 1 point for the game actually resulting in a tie, and 1 extra point if you predict the correct score of the tie)

3. Predictions MUST be entered before the start of the weekends games. Any post that is received after the start of the games will be discounted. Also, any post edited after the start of the games will also be discounted and will not count towards the overall total.

4. A Sticky Thread will inserted into the Forum Seria A Prediction League with a running total of how each member is doing overall for predictions in Seria A. We will also be doing predictions for the Champion League and Coppa Italia weekly in seperate threads later in the season, and these predictions will also count towards the overall results (more below). The overall results will be a combination of league games, UEFA, CL, and Coppa italia. In this thread there will also be the overall standing for CL and Coppa Italia predictions and these points will be included each week in the oover all total. The overall total will be updated after each weekeds games and is just there to show the overall point total each participant has. This thread is not for discussions, just to show how everyone is doing overall.

5. The weekly total will be found in the thread for that week after the games have been finished and the weekly threads will remain open after the scores have been calculated so that people can talk about how they did the previous week.

6. The Champions League and Coppa Italia will also be added to the contest when the reach the appropriate stages of the competitions. The UEFA Cup will start from the beginning, the UEFA Champion's League will begin starting in the group stages and the Coppa Italia will begin in the 1/8 finals. Because these games are during the week they will have a separate thread each week in the same Seria A Prediction League Forum. This makes it easier for the mods and participents to enter their predictions and to calculate the results. (This will be done to prevent people from posting their CL and Coppa Italia predictions on Monday, the games happen on Wed., the results are added up then in the same thread later they post the Sera A prediction for the same week. If this occurs the mods will have to go back and check everything for correct times and edits. To prevent this the CL and Coppa Italia will be included, but just in a different thread each week than the league games for that week. All of the predictions league, CL, and Coppa Italia will be located in the Seria A Prediction League Forum)

7. If the SAPL ends in a tie, we will decide as to what should be the tie breaker at that time.

8. Prizes: Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 winners of the overall Seria A Prediction League (including the UEFA Cup, CL and Coppa Italia). The member who has the highest number of points will be given 1st pick of the prizes. The member with the second highest number of points will get second pick, and third places get last pick. Prizes are yet to be determined.

Below is an short example of how the game will be set up:

Week one league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
scharatz 15 points
seamus 10 points
david 12 points

So the 1st sticky (after the 1st week) would read:
scharatz 15 points
seamus 10 points
david 12 points

week 2 league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
scharatz 15 points
seamus 13 points
david 15 points

Then the mods would edit the post in the 1st stickey accordingly to:
scharatz 30 points
david 27 points
seamus 23 points

Week three league results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
seamus 15 points
David 12 points
Scharatz 13 points

Week three CL & Cup results (which would be posted in the thread of that week)
David 6
Scharatz 6
Seamus 3

Then the mods would edit the post in the 1st stickey accordingly to:
scharatz 47 points
david 45 points
seamus 41 points
Another post in this thread would say:
CL & Cup overall results (this points have already been added to the SAPL overall point total)
David 6
Scharatz 6
Seamus 3

An so on, and so on...

9. Please post your prediction is the following manner. Let say you think Milan (away team) win beat Modena (home team) 3 to nothing. It should be posted in the following manner:

Modena 0-3 Milan, 2

Home Team then Predicted Score then Away Team, then the Winner # (home team is always 1 and away team is always 2)

If you predict a tie it should be like:

Modena 1-1 Milan, X

10. Please only post your prediction once each week! If you would like to change your prediction BEFORE the weekends games just edit your previous post. Any member who posts 2 predictions in 1 week for that competition, their prediction points will not be counted for that week.
Some weeks there will be two threads, one for the league games and one for the Coppa Italia/UEFA Cup/Champion's League games as stated before, it is fine to post a 1 prediction in the league games thread and 1 prediction in the Coppa Italia/CL thread. Just do not post more that 1 prediction per thread, edit your 1st tread if you would like to change it. Also, please try to post your predictions before Friday if at all possible. Any predictions recieved after the start of the the games will not count.

If you have any questions about the rules or any questions in general about the game please PM either Scharatz or Seamus and we would be glad to clairify and questions you may have. Good Luck!!!

Rijkaard handed Milan option
6.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Frank Rijkaard is set to extend his contract with Barcelona, but he remains in pole position to replace Carlo Ancelotti as Milan boss in the future.

The former Rossoneri midfielder is on the verge of renewing his deal with the Spanish giants until 2009.

But reports in Italy on Tuesday allege that a special clause has been included, which will allow the Dutchman to rescind his contract at the end of any season.

That will allow the San Siro giants to make an approach whenever Ancelotti is shown the door or quits the club.

Ancelotti’s current deal expires in 2007 but whispers in the peninsula claim that he could leave at the end of this season, should he again fail to lift any silverware.

Rijkaard, who bossed his country at Euro 2000, is favourite to step into the Milan hotseat given his past as a player.

The silky midfielder was one of three Dutchman, along with Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, who led the Rossoneri to world domination in the late 80s and early 90s.

He won the Spanish title at Barcelona last term which saw the outfit commence talks over a new improved contract.

Previously contracted until 2007 on £850,000 a season, Rijkaard’s new agreement will expire in 2009 and will be worth around £2.2m a term.

However, as a result of the clause which will allow Rijkaard to walk away from the club, Barca can sack him and only pay him for the rest of the season in which he was dismissed rather than until 2009.

Berlusconi backs Ancelotti
6.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi maintains that he has great faith in Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti.

The tactician is highly regarded in the city after his success as firstly a player and then Coach with the giants.

However, there have been a few signs of tension between himself and Berlusconi despite his triumphs in recent terms.

"There are no problems between us, otherwise he wouldn’t be our Coach," stated Berlusconi. "It is you journalists who create all this mess.

"However, it is clear that a side like Milan should know how to dominate and win a game. We need to learn how to hide the ball."

Milan were considered as invincible a few seasons ago but Juventus and Inter are now well balanced rivals.

"Juve and Inter are not stronger than us," noted the media mogul. "All three will fight until the very end for Lo Scudetto, even if a lot depends on how things will go in the Champions League."

Berlusconi also commented on the fears that Paolo Maldini, 37, is considering retiring from the game.

"He can take a break if he wants," explained Berlusconi. "He represents a miracle which is repeated every season.

"I’m not worried at all about Maldini. He will return to be a key factor for us this season.

"Fans should remain calm too because Milan are still the great Milan that we all know."

Milan to snatch Dellas?
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Whispers in Italy on Monday evening are suggesting that Milan could hijack Lazio’s move for Traianos Dellas.

It was believed that the defender would join the Biancocelesti after his contract at city rivals Roma expired.

But reports today suggest that the Euro 2004 winner could now be heading to the San Siro instead.

Milan, given the injury concerns over Paolo Maldini, are pondering making the former Perugia player an offer.

Although the transfer window has closed, Dellas can still be signed as he is not under contract with any outfit.

The Greek giant was initially expected to be heading for the Premiership, after a previous spell in England with Sheffield United.

Milan not chasing Barca duo
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have ruled out any move for the Barcelona pair of Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi in the near future.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani has admitted that he is a fan of the duo but insists that no bids are on the horizon.

"I would love to have Ronaldinho here but it can’t happen," he stated. "We will just have to be content with what we already have.

"Messi is a great player too but we are fine as we are."

Brazilian sensation Ronaldinho is widely regarded as one of the best on the planet, while Argentine starlet Messi is being tipped for a massive future.

Meanwhile, Galliani has reassured fans that Paolo Maldini will still be a part of the team despite the fact that the 37-year-old revealed that he was considering his future.

"His retirement is still some way off for now," he continued. "He is suffering with a physical problem right now but the medics have told me he will be fine.

"Obviously he will one day hang up his boots, that is inevitable. However, that is way down the road."

Galliani continued that he was aware that Gennaro Gattuso did consider leaving the Rossoneri this summer.

"I wasn’t surprised with what he said at all," he underlined. "We have spoken in depth about his situation at Milan. We know what is going on."

Turning to the Italian national team, Galliani says that Alberto Gilardino – who was dropped at the weekend – is ready to face Belarus if necessary on Wednesday.

"I’ve actually spoken to him today," the official noted. "He seemed very tranquil and in a relaxed mood."

Lippi explains Gilardino snub
4.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Marcello Lippi tried to explain the reasoning behind Alberto Gilardino’s exclusion, but won't call up replacements for the suspended players.

“My decision was based on our training sessions, as I didn’t see Gilardino look particularly sharp of late,” insisted the Coach after the Milan star was left in the stands for the 1-1 draw at Hampden Park. “Did he take it badly? On the contrary, he thanked me for the reasons I gave.”

This contrasts markedly with the version of events given by Gilardino earlier today, as he stated that it was a shock to him. “I only found out I would be watching the game at around midday,” he said. “I was given no explanation, but that’s part of football. The Coach’s decision is final.”

The Italian Press has put the blame for the poor performance squarely on Lippi’s shoulders, as tactical choices and inexperienced players took many by surprise. It’s an attitude that has clearly made an impact on the former Juventus boss, who pushed RAI cameras away after today’s Press Conference.

“I think our display in Scotland was a step forward,” insisted the tactician. “I saw a team that played positive football and was taken by surprise on Kenny Miller’s goal. Our only disappointing period was between the 20th and 35th minutes in the first half, but after the break we showed courage, grit and desire to ensure Scotland were happy to get away with a draw.”

Vincenzo Iaquinta was chosen to replace Gilardino in the starting line-up, leaving aside Fiorentina’s on-form hitman Luca Toni.

“I chose Iaquinta for his pace that in my view completed a trident attack that already had technique, quality and creativity. Vincenzo gave the team depth like no-one else.”

The next test is in Belarus on Wednesday and, with Norway’s 3-2 victory in Slovenia, it’s one they must win to avoid seeing their two-point lead eradicated altogether. Gianluca Zambrotta and Daniele De Rossi return to Italy as they are suspended, but Lippi is surprisingly not calling in any replacements.

“We do not need other players to complete the squad,” he insisted. “I have faith in Cristian Zaccardo and Daniele Bonera, who are young and making their mark on the international stage.”

Sheva achieves World Cup dream
4.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andriy Shevchenko will play in his first major tournament after the Ukraine became the first European nation to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

The Milan hitman thought his side had postponed their celebrations until Wednesday when they only earned a 1-1 draw in Georgia thanks to goals from Rotan and Gakhokidze.

However, Turkey’s 2-2 scoreline with Denmark ensured that the Ukraine top Group Two with a seven-point advantage over former Fiorentina boss Fatih Terim’s men.

It is a remarkable achievement for the ex-Soviet nation, as the Ukraine had never previously qualified for a major tournament as an individual country.

Despite never playing in the top international events, Shevchenko did enough during his career with Milan to win the Ballon d’Or trophy as European Player of the Year.

In Italy’s Group Five, Norway have closed the gap on Italy to just two points after a hard-fought 3-2 victory over joint-second placed Slovenia. Ex-Roma striker John Carew and former Lecce forward Sebastjan Cimirotic were among those on target.

Juventus man Adrian Mutu bagged a brace as Romania beat the Czech Republic in a surprise scoreline to leapfrog past their rivals for second place behind Holland.

Mutu’s Bianconeri teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic also found the net as Sweden crushed Malta 4-0, but they remain one point behind Croatia in Group Eight.

Patrick Vieira and Lilian Thuram featured when France saw off the Faroe Islands 3-0, catching Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland at the top of Group Four.

Serginho defends 'victimised' Milan
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan are on track to win silverware this season and must be forgiven for their Istanbul failings, warns Serginho in a blast at the Italian Press.

“We are aware of our potential and know that we can do well this year,” noted the Brazilian. “The critics have the knives out for us whenever we make the slightest mistake and it has been like that ever since Istanbul.”

That night in May saw the favourites throw away a 3-0 lead in six minutes to lose the Champions League Final to Liverpool on penalties.

However, the Rossoneri are still feeling the after-effects of that setback and started Serie A with a whimper, drawing 1-1 away to newly promoted Ascoli.

“It was a strange game on a pitch that was impracticable due to the rain. You cannot judge us on that performance. We were vilified in the Press, but I now know that it’s the way it works in Italy.”

It is Serginho’s seventh season at the San Siro and he is taking on an increasingly strong role in Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s plans, pushing Gennaro Gattuso on to the bench.

“In the second half at Ascoli we did better and created some good scoring opportunities. Now we must remain focused and not drop more points along the way, though I am confident that from next week’s tie against Siena you’ll see a totally different Milan side.”

Yet the little clubs have proven to be a problem for Ancelotti, as his team dropped points against Livorno, Bologna, Brescia, Lecce, Messina, Palermo and Siena. It remains to be seen whether the events of Istanbul moved to stem this trend or intensify it.

Dizzy Vieri to face Scots
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Vieri will be available for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland despite being affected by dizziness in training.

There were doubts over the 32-year-old’s health after he complained of feeling unwell during a practice game on Thursday.

The Milan striker, who left city rivals Inter on a free transfer in the summer, immediately underwent tests at Coverciano.

Medics declared the forward fit for the Scottish trip after being given the all clear in the hot Florence sun.

"It was just a momentary disturbance, down to bad digestion," stated medic Enrico Castellacci. "The player is available for the game."

The much-travelled forward is expected to start the qualifier alongside club colleague Alberto Gilardino in attack.

The pair will be supported by Roma captain Francesco Totti on his return to the international scene.

Lazio veteran Angelo Peruzzi should be handed the gloves in the absence of injured No 1 Gigi Buffon.

Palermo’s former Under-21 international Christian Zaccardo is set to start in defence on the right.

The only doubt seems to regard whether boss Marcello Lippi will opt for Mauro Camoranesi or Daniele De Rossi in midfield.

The Azzurri, who top their group by four points, will fly out to Glasgow from Pisa airport on Friday morning.

Italy probable: Peruzzi; Zaccardo, Nesta, Cannavaro, Zambrotta; Pirlo, Gattuso, Camoranesi (De Rossi); Totti; Gilardino, Vieri

Pirlo demands Azzurri victory
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Pirlo believes that Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Saturday is a must win game.

The Azzurri fly out to Glasgow later this morning hoping to at least maintain their four point advantage at the top of the table.

"The match against the Scots is key," said the Milan playmaker.

"It will be fundamental for us to get a good result ahead of Wednesday’s match against Belarus. We want to win them both."

The Brescia-born star is an irreplaceable figure for the Rossoneri and he is now an untouchable in Marcello Lippi’s national plans.

"I am happy to have won the faith of the Coach and happy to be playing where I am," continued the former Under-21 international captain.

"To feel that others have confidence in you is important, especially when wearing the national shirt.

"This is something that I am proud of."

Pirlo will sit just in front of the defence on Saturday, with the task of orchestrating the side’s play from a deep midfield position.

Scotland will be aware of the former Inter man’s ability after he netted two free-kicks in the 2-0 win at the San Siro last season.

OFFICIAL: Eleftheropoulos to AS Roma
1.9 || webmaster


MILAN - A.C.Milan have announced that Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos has joined A.S. Roma.

Legend Maldini may quit
1.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan veteran Paolo Maldini has admitted that he is seriously thinking about bringing his stunning career to an end.

The 37-year-old still has two years left on his Rossoneri contract, but he accepts the fact that he could retire before that date.

"I have thought about quitting," explained the central defender. "It is only natural to do so at my age."

The former left-back, Italy’s most capped player, has spent the last 20 years with the San Siro giants but concedes things are becoming increasingly difficult for him.

"I pondered retiring last year when I renewed my contract with Milan," continued the stopper.

"The same thing happened at the start of this season. I did think that having six weeks off would do me good but the situation has in fact worsened.

"There are highs and lows in which a lot of thoughts enter my head. The thing that allows me to continue though is my body, I still feel in very good shape."

Maldini, who is currently nursing a slight knee problem, added that he wants to quit at the top rather than in the shadows.

"When I do stop playing, I want it to be while I am still a first team regular," he underlined.

"That is not because I wouldn’t accept a place on the bench but it is because I have spent my whole career as a first team player."

Maldini says he will play on for now but he can’t guarantee what will happen in the immediate future.

"My situation will be evaluated month after month," he continued. "My contract expires in 2007 but I may not reach that date.

"It is not my intention to just carry on playing for the sake of it."

Maldini’s comments come just hours after teammate Gennaro Gattuso said he considered leaving Milan because of the pressure.

Gattuso pondered Milan exit
1.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has made the shock revelation that he considered quitting Milan this summer.

The battling midfielder is being groomed as a future captain of the Rossoneri, but has today surprisingly stated that he was pondering a transfer as recently as last week.

"In the last 10 days, I did think about leaving Milan because I felt under too much pressure," he stated.

"But I decided to remain because this is a club who look after players in every way possible. Before leaving a side like Milan, you have to think about it a thousand times."

Gattuso has spent six highly successful years at the San Siro following his move from Salernitana in 1999.

During that time, the former Rangers man has won the Scudetto, the Champions League, a Coppa Italia, the European Super Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

It took a little time for the player to settle with the giants, but he has since developed into a key element in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans.

Gattuso, currently on international duty with Italy, was linked with a switch to Manchester United recently.

But Milan, who plan to hand him the armband once Paolo Maldini retires, insisted that the player was unavailable for transfer.

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