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The Archive

September 2007

AC Milan 1:1 Catania - match report
30.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorers: Martinez 26 (C), Kaka pen 48 (M)

Milan's crisis continues, as only a Kaka penalty gave them a point against little Catania. Carlo Ancelotti's men are still without a home win in Serie A this season.

The Rossoneri were in crisis after picking up just three points from their last four games, including the 2-1 midweek defeat at Palermo. They wasted dozens of chances and could not afford a similar attitude against Catania. Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini and Nelson Dida were still sidelined, so Zeljko Kalac took the goalkeeping gloves. Catania assistant manager Gianluca Atzori continued to fill in for the banned Silvio Baldini, who was joined in the stands by Giacomo Tedesco and Davide Baiocco.

The Sicilians had never won here in Serie A, managing just two draws in 10 previous visits. Kaka should have done better when he skipped past two defenders, but pulled the finish across the face of goal.

While Milan were pouring forward, it was Catania who took the lead at San Siro! Kalac parried the first attempt from Gionatha Spinesi, but the cross looped over the giant Australian for a Martinez header from a yard at the back post.

The Rossoneri thought they had equalised two minutes later, but it was disallowed. Andrea Pirlo's free kick thumped the crossbar and Kakha Kaladze appeared to control it with his arm to set up Pippo Inzaghi's tap-in, but the linesman spotted the handling offence.

Marcos Cafu's effort took a deflection off Christian Terlizzi to skim the woodwork, then in first half stoppages Inzaghi wasted a golden opportunity from close range, effectively blocking Massimo Ambrosini's strike, as Milan were jeered off the field by their own supporters.

Alberto Gilardino and Massimo Oddo came on for the second half and almost immediately Mark Edusei was punished for a clumsy challenge, his arm blocking Giuseppe Favalli's low cross. Kaka converted the resulting penalty to draw Milan level.

Kaladze went off with a suspected thigh strain and made way for Alessandro Nesta, then some special Kaka footwork on the edge of the area to drive Edusei crazy saw his low shot fingertipped round the base of the upright.

Milan were pouring forward, but this left space at the back for Catania's counter-attacks, so the second half was very open and Giuseppe Mascara blasted a good chance over.

Inzaghi was booked for simulation and Gennaro Gattuso engaged in a scuffle with Biagianti in stoppages.

Milan: Kalac; Cafu (Oddo 46), Bonera, Kaladze (Nesta 54), Favalli; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Gilardino 46); Kaka, Seedorf; Inzaghi

Catania: Polito; Sardo, Stovini, Terlizzi, Vargas; Izco, Edusei, Biagianti; Martinez (Sabato 65), Mascara; Spinesi

Ref: Gervasoni

Ancelotti wants it all
29.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti demands entertaining football and victories from now on as Milan take on Catania and Celtic.

The Coach is putting the Palermo upset behind him after that shock 2-1 defeat midweek.

“We have to look forward to tomorrow’s game with Catania. We must take the good elements from the Palermo match, as we played well and have to focus on that, as it is through quality football you get results.”

Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat in Sicily saw Clarence Seedorf give them the lead and several chances wasted before Palermo overturned the result in stoppages.

The Rossoneri have picked up just three points from their last four Serie A games and must beat Catania to avoid dropping out of the Scudetto race.

“At the time I felt anger, but now the importance of the result and our desire to get back up the table are starting to weigh on us. This team is in good shape and we await the results that prove that.

“Admittedly, I thought we would have a few more points under our belts by now, especially as we played inconsistently, but never badly.”

Nelson Dida and Ronaldo are sidelined for this tie along with long-term absentee Paolo Maldini.

“Dida’s shoulder problem can be resolved in about a week and Zeljko Kalac has always done well, even in the Champions League,” continued Ancelotti.

“Against Catania we have to play well and win – I believe the two go together. Milan have certain characteristics tied to the quality of their players. We do not know how to muscle our way to victory and a result must only be attained via good football. In the long run playing well does pay off and we must continue along that path.”

In the last pre-Champions League Serie A match, the Coach rested Kaka, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso – will he be doing the same ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Glasgow?

“Pirlo is not going to be rested. I won’t rotate the squad, although there are a few players who have not fully recovered yet, but we are focusing only on Catania.”

Milan-Catania will be live on Five, coverage starts at 13.30.

Milan squad: Kalac, Fiori, Offredi; Bonera, Cafu, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Oddo, Nesta; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Emerson, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Kakà, Pirlo, Seedorf; Gilardino, Inzaghi

Dida out of Celtic clash
29.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Nelson Dida looks set to miss the Champions League trip to Celtic, so Milan are looking to bring back Christian Abbiati in January.

The Brazilian picked up a tendon problem earlier this week and pulled out of Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Palermo.

However, further tests have reportedly highlighted an inflammation in the left shoulder that will keep him sidelined for 10 days.

Dida underwent surgery on his right shoulder last season and there are fears this could be a similar problem.

Zeljko Kalac takes the gloves and he also played when Milan last visited Celtic in the Champions League, keeping a clean sheet in the second round, first leg 0-0 draw.

The Australian has not always been entirely reliable and there were some question marks over his performance in the midweek 2-1 loss at Palermo.

With this in mind, the ‘Corriere dello Sport’ suggests that the club is looking to bring Abbiati back to San Siro in January.

He was loaned out to Atletico Madrid in the summer, but has not been given much first team football in Spain.

Seedorf: What crisis?
29.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Clarence Seedorf is unconcerned by Milan’s recent crisis and maintains the team is improving despite the shock defeat in Palermo.

“There is a lot of anger within us that will be useful on Sunday, as we can pour that out against Catania, proving we can play our style of football and bring home results,” said the Dutchman after that 2-1 loss in Sicily.

“Well, more than anger it is an eagerness to get going. Milan are a very elegant club and can accept defeat without ever glossing over its errors. We know that we can make up for this and do better in the future.”

The Rossoneri started the campaign as clear Scudetto contenders, but have picked up just three points from their last four games.

“I would not change anything about this side as, apart from the result, we did everything very well in Palermo. There were only two incidents we could have done better on, but one usually doesn’t pay for such small errors as much as we are now. I can see Milan improving and I cling to that.”

Seedorf had given them the lead early on and there were dozens of scoring opportunities, but without putting the result under lock and key they ran out of steam and Palermo came back for a last-gasp 2-1 victory.

“One of my objectives for this season was to improve my goal tally, which was usually five or six per season. The new position I have supporting the striker has allowed me to bring out my qualities and score.”

However, it was a controversial win for the Rosanero, as Amauri appeared to handle the ball during Aimo Diana’s equaliser.

“We are all human and can make mistakes,” Seedorf said of the referee. “Generally when a player makes bad errors two or three times, in the end he gets benched or sent to the stands and I think the same should apply to referees.

"We play high level football and I think the officials should be up to the same standard.”

Galliani calm in defeat
27.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has rubbished talk of a crisis after the Rossoneri’s 2-1 defeat at Palermo last night.

The Diavolo were desperate to end a run of draws since an opening-day win over Genoa, but did so in the worst possible fashion.

After wasting countless chances to take all three points and hitting the woodwork twice, the European champions were hit by a last minute Fabrizio Miccoli free-kick after a lapse in defensive concentration from Massimo Oddo.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has responded by raging at referee Stefano Farina and Galliani also pointed the finger of blame at the officials, but took a calmer approach

“The only disappointment is that we aren’t getting the rub of the green from the referees,” he insisted. “The mistakes from the officials seem to be hurting us.

“It’s the second game where we have conceded strange goals. However, everything is going well. I can see from the performance that the team is developing well.”

Milan have the ideal chance to bounce back as they host Catania this weekend, but anything less than three points is not an option.

Ancelotti: Referee lost us the game!
27.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti is furious with the referee after Milan’s controversial 2-1 defeat at Palermo deep into stoppages.

“This loss really burns, first of all because it was undeserved and secondly as we were penalised by the referee. One more readily accepts defeat if it is deserved,” said the Coach.

He is primarily referring to the equaliser, as Amauri seemed to handle the ball when he chested it down to cross for Aimo Diana.

“A player who jumps like that is extremely likely to get the ball with his arm. It was a serious error from the referee, like missing an open goal. Our last two away games were affected by such mistakes, as at Siena we conceded when Massimo Maccarone was clearly offside.”

Nonetheless, Ancelotti must admit Milan had dozens of scoring opportunities and should have put the result under lock and key before Fabrizio Miccoli’s stoppage-time free kick.

“We scored goals, created many chances and hit the woodwork twice. Perhaps the only thing we were lacking was a bit of sharpness, but we could not have put any more effort in.

“Now we must roll up our sleeves and try to be more careful, but I hope the referees are too. Milan’s victory was earned here and quite clearly, too.”

Palermo boss Stefano Colantuono glossed over the controversial incident involving Amauri on Diana’s equaliser.

“I think he got it with his shoulder. I don’t want to say a heresy here, but I don’t believe the slow-motion replays clarify the situation,” he insisted.

“It is a dubious goal, but the judgement of others is possibly more objective than mine. I will say that we played for this result until the final whistle and deserved the victory. Despite the fact Milan played very well, we were never beaten and didn’t sit back in defence.

“It is no coincidence that the winning goal came from a free kick at the 93rd minute earned by Diana – a full-back. That is not defensive behaviour.”

Palermo 2:1 AC Milan - match report
26.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorers: Seedorf 10 (M), Diana 73 (P), Miccoli 93 (P)

Milan had dozens of chances to win this match, but they ended up losing deep into stoppages in controversial fashion.

Time was running out for the Rossoneri, who had not strung together three consecutive 1-1 Serie A results since 1984. They needed a win in Sicily to keep in touch with the leading pack, but Palermo were still looking for their first home win, having picked up two away victories. Nelson Dida pulled out with a late shoulder injury scare, while Alberto Gilardino and Emerson were given rare starts.

Milan took the lead after 10 minutes with a well-worked team move. Gilardino and Kaka combined with first touch football on the edge of the area for the Brazilian to chip over the defence and Clarence Seedorf stroked home the finish from the penalty spot.

The Rosanero fought back and Zeljko Kalac beat away a fierce Cassani piledriver from distance. Gennaro Gattuso's shot was charged down by Cristian Zaccardo and Gilardino blasted the loose ball over the bar.

Kaka went on one of his trademark runs and Alberto 'Jimmy' Fontana did well to rush out and block his path after the Brazilian had skipped past a couple of defenders.

Seedorf nearly doubled his tally by cracking a curling ball against the crossbar after some great build-up play from Kaka and Gilardino. Kalac smothered a dangerous Miccoli free kick, then the former Perugia starlet failed to make the most of a promising counter-attack.

Fabio Caserta's challenge on Emerson prompted ignored penalty appeals from 'Il Puma'.

The Rossoneri created dozens of chances, but the scoreline remained at 1-0, as Seedorf's angled drive skimmed the far post and Gilardino failed to make the most of a defensive error.

Kakha Kaladze's tough tackle cut short Miccoli's progress, but Milan again went close as Fontana fingertipped Andrea Pirlo's powerful effort on to the crossbar. From the corner Alessandro Nesta's header was denied by a Fabio Simplicio goalline clearance.

Palermo started to push, but on the counter Milan again failed to put the result under lock and key. Seedorf threaded through for Kaka, who went round the goalkeeper and his angled drive was cleared off the line by a back-tracking defender.

They had to pay for such wasteful finishing and on 73 minutes Palermo equalised in controversial circumstances. Amauri chested down the ball - perhaps with help from his left arm - and crossed low for Aimo Diana to come sliding in from six yards.

Pippo Inzaghi replaced Gilardino and his weak looping header was easily smothered, but Massimo Oddo's error in stoppages allowed Amauri to fire over.

Incredibly, Palermo turned it all around to win in the final seconds of injury time! Another Oddo mistake gave away a free kick and Kalac fumbled Miccoli's set-piece.

Palermo: Fontana; Diana, Zaccardo, Barzagli, Cassani (Rinaudo 81); Migliaccio, Simplicio, Caserta (Cavani 61); Bresciano (Jankovic 61); Miccoli, Amauri

Milan: Kalac; Oddo, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Emerson (Brocchi 76); Kaka, Seedorf; Gilardino (Inzaghi 76)

Ref: Farina

Ambro calls for clinical AC Milan
26.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan veteran Massimo Ambrosini admits his frustration at the Rossoneri’s slow start to the season and prepares for his 302nd game for the club.

The Diavolo have drawn their last three games since their opening-day win over Genoa and haven’t looked convincing since the 3-0 rout at Marassi.

“Our slow start hasn’t worried me, but it has annoyed me,” Ambrosini told journalists.

“We have dropped points because we are playing with the wrong attitude. We need to try to be less spectacular and more solid in the League.”

Having become one of Milan’s elder statesmen after making over 300 appearances in the Rossonero jersey, Ambrosini has a suggestion for match preparation.

“I would get rid of the pre-game stays,” he insisted. “They only focus on physical preparation and do nothing for the mental side.

“To stay a day and a half in a hotel before a game is useless. Sadly, there is this rooted belief that it is the only way to prepare.”

Finally, Ambrosini took time to praise his Coach Carlo Ancelotti who has helped him enjoy a renaissance at the San Siro.

“When I look back at all the phases of my career from young lad, to first choice, I have never been bored, it has been a fantastic adventure,” he stated.

“I owe Ancelotti so much because he has stuck with me through all the tough times.

"I have had differences of opinion with him, but over time I have learned to understand his methods. I will never forget what he has done for me.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Nelson Dida looks likely to sit out tonight's test at Palermo's Stadio Renzo Barbera due to the return of a shoulder problem.

Carletto orders three points
26.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti has issued a rallying cry to his faltering Rossoneri side ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Palermo. “Time to get back to winning.”

The European champions shone in the first game of their Champions League defence against Benfica, but have looked far less convincing in the League.

While Week 2’s draw with Fiorentina was seen as acceptable, sharing the points with Siena and Parma has caused murmerings of discontent at the San Siro.

A Wednedsay evening clash at Palermo’s Stadio Renzo Barbera certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, but Ancelotti thinks that will play in his side’s favour.

“This is a great chance to start winning again,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It will be a tough game, but we want to climb the table.

“There are no fatigue problems, we are raring to get started. You will see a very different Milan side as the players are aware of where they need to make improvements.

With Ronaldo injured and Alberto Giardino struggling for form and fitness, the goal scoring burden may fall to Pippo Inzaghi.

“I don’t care who scores the goals whether it’s strikers or defenders as long as we find the net. In my opinion, our problems aren’t up front. We need to control the game better and create more chances.

“Alberto should relax because the goals will come whereas Inzaghi starts prolifically and then eases off.

"Gila deserves our faith as he was our top scorer last season.”

Inzaghi is set to start as a lone striker against Palermo with Gilardino starting on the bench.

Trio in battle for Banega
24.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Italy’s giants are set to fight it out for Argentine midfield prodigy Ever Banega, according to sources in South America.

The 19-year-old is in his first season as a regular starter in the Primera Division, but is already being touted as a huge talent for the future.

Indeed, Boca President Mauricio Macri has claimed that he rebuffed a big-money offer from Milan before they swooped for Brazilian talent Alexandre Pato.

“There are lots of young stars in my squad that could be hunted,” he insisted.

“The most obvious one in Banega. He is like Gennaro Gattuso, but more technical. Milan offered £7m for him, but I didn’t accept.”

It has been suggested that Inter and Juventus are also keeping a close eye on the Boquita’s ace and may be ready to enter a bidding war when the January transfer window opens.

Ancelotti rues Rossoneri errors
22.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti realises Milan are already falling behind in the Scudetto race and have to stop dropping points this way.

The 1-1 with Parma this evening was their third consecutive Serie A draw and, although they are unbeaten, they have not kept a clean sheet since the Week 1 victory at Genoa.

Perhaps more importantly, the Rossoneri are yet to win a League game on home turf this season.

“It was a missed opportunity, as the other teams are starting to run away from us,” mused the Coach.

“We played a good first half, then we eased off too much in the second and left Parma more space.”

Clarence Seedorf had opened the scoring with a lucky ricochet just before the break, but Andrea Pisanu’s volley earned the Gialloblu a point.

“We cannot always be sharp and at times you have to grit your teeth and bear it,” added Ancelotti.

Both the tactician and captain Paolo Maldini had urged the fans to show their support this week and stop jeering Nelson Dida and Alberto Gilardino.

“The fans behaved well tonight and we should do better for them.”

Midfielder Massimo Ambrosini believes it was an issue of concentration for the side.

“We are punished for every tiny slip. We have to try to improve in those small situations that make the difference, but overall I certainly don’t think we played badly,” he said.

AC Milan 1:1 Parma - match report
22.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorers: Seedorf 45 (M), Pisanu 73 (P)

Milan notch up a third consecutive Serie A draw in a frenetic 1-1 against Parma at San Siro with Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pisanu.

The Rossoneri may be unstoppable in Europe with a 2-1 win over Benfica midweek, but they were coming into this game on the back of two consecutive Serie A draws. Ronaldo remains sidelined along with Paolo Maldini and Serginho, but former Parma hitman Alberto Gilardino's misfiring ways and bitter row with the San Siro faithful hung over this match. The Gialloblu last won here in 1996 and had lost six on the trot at the Stadio Meazza. Domenico Morfeo was ruled out, so Bernardo Corradi took centre stage.

Pippo Inzaghi just failed to get on the end of a Massimo Oddo cross, then an Andrea Pirlo free kick also skimmed the head of SuperPippo. Kaka went flying down the right flank between a group of defenders and cut back for Inzaghi's shot at the goalkeeper, which was incorrectly flagged offside.

There was a scare for Milan, as Andrea Pisanu threaded through for Corradi and former Parma star Daniele Bonera's sliding tackle closed him down. The move continued and Nelson Dida plucked a looping Corradi header out of the air.

Moments later a spectacular Pisanu chest and volley from the D stung Dida's palms and Corradi was offside when he pounced on the loose ball.

Inzaghi was very unlucky not to break through, as a Massimo Ambrosini ball flicked over the defence was volleyed on to the upright from six yards. Alessandro Nesta surprisingly scored last week against Siena and nearly did it again with another fine volley, but it was accidentally cleared off the line by teammate Bonera.

Ambrosini also had an excellent opportunity. He had his back to goal when he gathered Clarence Seedorf's pass, spun round surrounded by defenders like a seasoned striker and fired inches wide of the upright.

Milan eventually took the lead with a bizarre goal. A corner kick took a few deflections and Inzaghi's half-volley from Kaka was parried by Nicola Pavarini, but while the Castellini tried to clear the ball practically off the line, it ricocheted in off Seedorf's shinpad.

Dida's howler handed Siena a point last week and he almost gave Parma an immediately equaliser in first half stoppages. He pushed a cross straight into the path of Stefano Morrone, but the Gialloblu midfielder slipped at the crucial moment and failed to turn into an empty net!

After the restart Kaka's disguised pass surprised even Pirlo, while Dida was booked for time-wasting. Parma Coach Mimmo Di Carlo made two attacking substitutions in a bid to turn the game around.

Ambrosini crossed for an Oddo volley, but Parma drew level with a fine team move on 73 minutes. Reginaldo skipped past Nesta on the left flank with some delightful footwork and crossed low for Pisanu to tap in between two defenders from six yards.

Pavarini parried a cross into the path of Seedorf, who fired well over, and Carlo Ancelotti threw on Gilardino. But Pisanu nearly completed his brace with a volley that was charged down of a sliding Marek Jankulovski's back.

It was end to end stuff in these 15 minutes with both teams pushing for the victory. Kaka's stop and volley was straight at the goalkeeper. Soon after the Brazilian was furious with the referee, as he shrugged off Morrone's foul and had space to run on goal, but Antonio Damato stopped play to book the Parma midfielder. From the resulting Pirlo free kick, Inzaghi couldn't quite make contact from close range.

Parma had another great chance on 87 minutes, as Fernando Couto was effectively playing as a centre-forward and turned a free header off target. Moments later they went even closer, as Corradi got to the byline and cut back for Reginaldo, but the ball was behind him.

Pavarini was also booked for time-wasting and Nesta's decisive tackle stopped Reginaldo setting up Corradi totally clear on goal. Kaka flicked through the ball for Gilardino and the Gialloblu goalkeeper rushed out to smother it.

There was a chaotic move with Kaka and Ambrosini's cross from the byline, but Inzaghi, Seedorf and Gilardino all had shots charged down in a frenetic rush for the ball.

Deep into stoppages a long move with Pirlo's chip over the defence saw Emerson's effort charged down and Gilardino's reflex volley parried by a desperate Pavarini.

Milan: Dida; Oddo (Cafu 79), Nesta, Bonera, Jankulovski; Brocchi (Emerson 67), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf (Gilardino 75); Inzaghi

Parma: Pavarini; Zenoni, Falcone, Couto, Castellini; Pisanu (Coly 79), Dessena (Matteini 64), Parravicini (Cigarini 59), Morrone; Reginaldo, Corradi

Ref: Damato

Ancelotti slams AC Milan boo boys
22.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has joined Paolo Maldini in criticising the demanding San Siro crowd, particularly in their attacks on Alberto Gilardino.

Milan have stuttered in Serie A so far this season with two consecutive draws against Fiorentina and Siena, but put in a fine performance in the Champions League to beat Benfica 2-1 midweek.

“Paolo is right, the situation at San Siro at the moment is not pleasant,” noted the Coach. “We are disappointed that the support we always find important is currently not there.

“We hope that matters can be resolved as quickly as possible and that the stadium can return to pushing the squad onwards. After all, the closing stages of the Champions League last term went so well also thanks to the enthusiasm and passion surrounding the side.”

The Rossoneri fans are accustomed to winning now and have given misfiring hitman Gilardino short shrift, while Nelson Dida has also been jeered from the stands.

“Gilardino does not have any physical problems, he just needs to relax. In training he does well and battles for the ball – this is what he must do during the game as well,” explained Ancelotti.

“He has to learn to isolate himself from his environment in the match. It is essential. He scored 35 goals in his first two years at Milan, so if he maintains that average then we have reason to be satisfied. He is not a problem for us.”

Gilardino has the opportunity to face his former club this Saturday, as Parma pay visit to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

“We will encounter a very different game to Tuesday’s, as Parma will close up the spaces, but what must not change is our approach. At Siena we were below par, but that was not caused by the squad rotation. I do not see a Milan first team and Milan reserves.”

Andrea Pirlo was rested at Siena last weekend and again proved to be an indispensable player in the Champions League.

“Andrea is far more consistent and mature than in previous years. The great respect and admiration his teammates and opponents have for his qualities prove very motivational and I think everyone has finally understood this is a world class player.”

Maldini blasts AC Milan faithful
22.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan veteran Paolo Maldini has hit out at the San Siro fans for their lack of support during the Rossoneri’s Champions League victory over Benfica on Tuesday.

The European champions began their title defence with a 2-1 win over the Portuguese giants, but the atmosphere was muted in the Stadio Meazza.

“Like my teammates I’m angry because after all that we have given and all we have won we deserve to be treated better,” Maldini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“This attitude started at last season’s derby and with some help from the curva we would have won that game.

“Fans all over the ground aren’t giving their support and I think that they need to show us that they have Milan in their hearts.

“It seems like we’re playing away all the time and we don’t want to put up with that any longer,” he concluded.

Parma are the visitors to Milan on Saturday evening and it remains to be seen what impact the 39-year-old’s comments will have.

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

Football Italia

Scorers: Pirlo 9 (M), Inzaghi 24 (M), Nuno Gomes 93 (B)

An Andrea Pirlo free kick and stunning team move finalised by Pippo Inzaghi gave Milan a confident 2-1 win over Benfica.

Manuel Rui Costa returned to San Siro to face his former club as captain of Benfica and was given a warm welcome by the fans, players and Coach Carlo Ancelotti. Rui Costa helped the Rossoneri to win the trophy in 2003 and they started this new campaign as holders. Ronaldo was out injured, but Pippo Inzaghi was picked as lone forward.

In the opening minutes Kaka had a shot charged down on the edge of the area, then Inzaghi just failed to redirect a wayward Massimo Ambrosini volley from Massimo Oddo's cross.

The pressure paid off on nine minutes, as Andrea Pirlo curled one of his trademark free kicks from 25 metres into the near top corner. The goalkeeper managed to get a hand to it, but the ball was too perfectly placed for him to keep it out.

An acrobatic Kakha Kaladze clearance closed down Cardozo's counter, but Milan should have had a second when Oddo cut back past his defender, Inzaghi hooked the ball down and fired wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Moments later Quim flew to palm a spectacular Ambrosini volley off target from another Pirlo free kick. A splendid team move saw a Kaka dummy free Inzaghi for the strike that Quim parried with great difficulty.

Benfica fought back as Rui Costa unleashed a rocket that stung Nelson Dida's palms. The move continued and Dida did not reach the deflected cross, so Cardozo headed against the upright from a yard!

However, as Benfica tried to push forward, Milan struck with a magnificent counter-attacking move. Kaka ran the entire length of the pitch to cross for the unmarked Pirlo, but instead of shooting he chipped the ball over to Inzaghi for a volley into the ground.

Seedorf's first touch let him down, then at the other end Rui Costa set up Cardozo for Dida's firm save. Another sweeping team move saw the ball sent to Kaka from seven yards, but he hesitated and the defender closed him down.

An Inzaghi glancing header from Ambrosini's cross swooped over the bar and after the restart Marek Jankulovski went on a solo run, his effort deflected out for a corner. Kaka went on a splendid solo run, dribbling past a couple of players, but the finish was charged down from eight yards.

Luis Filipe did enough to put Jankulovski off his shot, while Inzaghi almost scored a bizarre goal with his chest. Moments later Ambrosini's header took the ball of a potentially more dangerous Inzaghi volley.

Benfica introduced former Fiorentina hitman Nuno Gomes, but it was all Milan with another team move and Jankulovski strike turned wide. Inzaghi really should have done better when Seedorf and Ambrosini combined brilliantly, as he ballooned over with his left foot with acres of space.

Another fine sweeping move sparked by Kaka had a chipped Pirlo cross turned back in by Gennaro Gattuso's overhead kick, but Inzaghi was crowded out for a corner. Oddo went for a more direct route with an absolute screamer from 30 metres that stung the goalkeeper's palms.

Benfica only threatened from distance, as Dida smothered a long-range Katsouranis strike. Milan's first substitution saw Emerson make his Champions League debut in a Rossoneri jersey in place of Seedorf.

It should have been 3-0 twice in the space of 10 seconds. Kaka nutmegged a defender for Jankulovski and Inzaghi's tap-in was denied by a splendid Quim reaction save. The move continued and Emerson's dipping strike from distance was fingertipped over the bar by the attentive goalkeeper.

Kaka had another sprint at the goal cut short by Katsouranis' well-timed tackle and Alberto Gilardino had the final seven minutes on the pitch.

Coach Antonio Camacho substituted Rui Costa late on so that he could receive a standing ovation from the entire Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, including the Milan players on the bench. He responded by patting his heart, as his five years here were not forgotten.

The game wasn't over yet, though, as in the final seconds Nuno Gomes was at full stretch to turn a Katsouranis cross past Dida and tear the clean sheet.

Milan: Dida; Oddo (Bonera 81), Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf (Emerson 75); Inzaghi (Gilardino 84)
Benfica: Quim; Luis Filipe, Edcarlos, Katsouranis, Leo; Rui Costa (Nuno Assis 87), Maxim Pereira, Cristian Rodriguez, Di Maria; Miguel Vitor (Binya 73), Cardozo (Nuno Gomes 63)
Ref: Riley (Eng)

Gattuso trusts in AC Milan mentality
17.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan midfield dynamo Gennaro Gattuso believes that Milan’s secret weapon for success in Europe lies in the spirit in the dressing room.

The Rossoneri start their defence of the European throne against Benfica at the San Siro on Tuesday evening.

After having to settle for a point against Siena last weekend there is a feeling in the peninsula that the Diavolo may struggle against the Portuguese giants, but Gattuso tells a different story.

“The key lies in the dressing room and that’s no big secret,” he told Spanish newspaper El Pais.

“When you see someone like Paolo Maldini who at 39-years-old can play in a Champions League Final and give blood, sweat and tears to the caiuse you’d be an idiot not to see how he is an inspiration.

“Then there’s Clarence Seedorf who has won four Champions League titles with three different sides, but I saw him cry with the emotion of winning last year’s semi-final against Manchester United.

“We are the kind of club that finds motivation in the hardest times and has winning in our DNA, Silvio Berlusconi has seen to that.”

As for his own role, the ex-Rangers man was typically modest as he described the pugnacious spirit that has defined his career.

“At times I look at my feet and curse them as they never gave me any joy,” he chuckled. “I’m always telling Carlo Ancelotti to imagine what I’d be like if I had silky skills – we wouldn’t have space for the trophies!

“There are players like Kaka who are born as stars and then men like me who have to build a career from endless passion.”

Andrea Pirlo is set to overcome injury problems to feature against Benfica, but Ronaldo’s absence limits the attacking options to just Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi.

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac; Bonera, Cafu, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo, Simic; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Gattuso, Emerson, Gourcuff, Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf; Gilardino, Inzaghi

Riley to referee AC Milan vs. Benfica
17.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Controversial English referee Mike Riley has been assigned to Milan-Benfica, while Eric Braamhaar takes Olympiakos-Lazio.

The Champions League 2007-08 kicks off on Tuesday evening and two Serie A sides enter the fray.

This morning UEFA announced that Riley will officiate Milan’s opener with Portuguese side Benfica at San Siro.

The Premier League figure was at the centre of controversy last week when Albania were furious at his decisions in their slender Euro 2008 qualifying defeat to Holland.

Braamhaar is no stranger to scandal either, as earlier this year he was spotted ‘celebrating’ an Ajax goal in their 5-1 win at PSV Eindhoven.

The Dutch referee insisted he was merely pleased to realise he had made the right decision in the move that took the scoreline to 4-1 and then publicly apologised to PSV.

Italian whistleblower Matteo Trefoloni is also in action for the Champions League, as he will officiate the game between Olympique Marseille and Besiktas.

Rui Costa eager for AC Milan reunion
17.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Manuel Rui Costa has rediscovered his form at Benfica and is looking forward to Tuesday’s reunion with old club Milan.

“At San Siro I will find myself facing the team with which I became European champion and where many of my friends still work,” he told the official Benfica website.

“This is why it will be a very special occasion for me. But I will give my all for Benfica.”

The Portuguese veteran is still Milan’s biggest ever signing at £27m from Fiorentina in 2001, but was criticised for his performances despite helping them to the Champions League trophy, European Super Cup and Coppa Italia.

Benfica open their Champions League campaign at San Siro on Tuesday evening and are confident going into the match.

Rui Costa was one of the scorers in their 3-0 win over Naval this weekend along with Cristian Rodriguez and former Fiorentina striker Nuno Gomes.

Milan’s other Group D opponents were also victorious in their domestic fixtures, as Shakhtar Donetsk won 2-1 away to Chernomorets Odessa with Cristiano Lucarelli converting a penalty.

Celtic comfortably hammered Inverness Caledonian Thistle 5-0 thanks to a Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink brace, Phil McGuire own goal and strikes from ex-Milan man Massimo Donati and former Reggina star Shunsuke Nakamura.

Siena 1:1 AC Milan - match report
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Scorers: Maccarone 25 (S), Nesta 91 (M)

Milan fought back for a 1-1 draw at Siena with Alessandro Nesta's volley after a truly comical Dumb & Dumber moment from Nelson Dida and Kakha Kaladze.

This was the first match played since the stadium was renamed the Stadio Artemio Franchi Arena Montepaschi, bringing in the name of the club sponsor.

The Rossoneri were preparing for their Champions League opener with Benfica, so left Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Oddo and the injured Ronaldo behind, giving Emerson his first start for the club. Last season this fixture ended 4-3 for the visitors and Siena feared a repeat, as they had lost both their Serie A games so far this term with one goal in favour and five against. Argentine defender Leandro Grimi got to face the club that still owns his contract.

Milan were clearly in a hurry to secure the points and almost scored after 24 seconds when Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos parried an Alberto Gilardino left-foot volley set up by Emerson.

From the resulting corner kick, Clarence Seedorf's cross found the head of Gilardino for another decisive save, this time with Eleftheropolous' feet.

Yet Siena slowly got into the game as well and on 13 minutes had an excellent scoring opportunity. Daniele Galloppa dribbled past three players on the left flank and only a splendid Nelson Dida reaction save prevented him smashing a left-foot shot in at the near post.

It was Siena who took the lead in comical circumstances with Milan's version of Dumb & Dumber. Dida fumbled a timid Cristian Bucchi effort and Kakha Kaladze was ready to clear, but he too tripped up over the ball and left it for Massimo Maccarone's close-range finish. However, replays suggest the former Middlesbrough man was clearly offside.

Paolo De Ceglie also dummied the confused Kaladze soon after to fire over the bar, while Seedorf should have done better with his lob. On 33 minutes Marcos Cafu sprung the offside trap down the right and only some desperate defending in the six-yard box prevented him from netting.

Maccarone charged down the right past Giuseppe Favalli and Dida parried his powerful low drive with an outstretched foot. Then Bucchi's shot took a deflection and skimmed the head of Simone Loria.

Yoann Gourcuff's attempt was smothered by Eleftheropoulos, as was a Seedorf piledriver towards the base of the near post.

Pippo Inzaghi was introduced at half-time for Gennaro Gattuso and immediately tried to turn his marker only to be closed down by a crowd of defensive bodies. Marek Jankulovski also came on for the slow and disappointing Giuseppe Favalli.

The Rossoneri were visibly lacking in concentration, especially in defence, as another Kaladze error handed Jarolim a great chance that dipped inches over the bar.

Milan's first real chance of the second half came after 23 minutes, as Eleftheropoulos bravely came out low to grab Seedorf's pass off Inzaghi's feet, but in doing so was accidentally kicked in the head.

Substitute Massimo Ambrosini's header from a set-piece was denied by a Jarolim goalline clearance.

Seedorf was tripped in the D and curled the free kick on to the roof of the net, grazing the crossbar.

It all seemed to be dragging towards a 1-0 result when in stoppages Grimi hacked down Seedorf. The free kick was floated into the centre where De Ceglie's scuffed clearance fell straight to Alessandro Nesta for a splendid volley under the bar.

The game sprung to life and 60 seconds later Mario Frick mistimed his tackle from behind to stop Seedorf's counter-attack and was shown a straight red card.

In the final minute Cristian Brocchi was brought down in a similar position to the goal for another free kick that Seedorf smashed on to the underside of the crossbar! It bounced off the line and back out again, but did not cross over.

Siena: Eleftheropoulos; Rossettini, Portanova, Loria; Grimi; Jarolim (Codrea 88), Vergassola, Galloppa; De Ceglie, Maccarone (Corvia 74), Bucchi (Frick 55)

Milan: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli (Jankulovski 61); Gattuso (Inzaghi 46), Emerson (Ambrosini 65), Brocchi; Gourcuff, Seedorf; Gilardino

Ref: Banti

Sent off: Frick 92 (S)

Grimi hopes AC Milan regret him
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Today Leandro Grimi will get the chance to impress Milan – the club that owns his contract – when they come to Siena.

“It is a little strange for me to face Milan, but I am with Siena now and want to win this match,” said the 22-year-old on-loan defender.

“They are a strong side, but we will have to play everyone over the course of the season, so it is better to take on the top sides at the start rather than near the end. The big clubs’ fitness preparation is more of a long-term plan, so they take time to get into gear.”

The Rossoneri are without Ronaldo, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Oddo, so does Grimi think this will make his life easier?

“Milan have many top players upfront, like Alberto Gilardino and Pippo Inzaghi,” assured the Argentine.

He only made three Serie A appearances throughout last season with the club, but has already had two starts for Siena.

“The Coach has put faith in me and that is very important. I had not played two games on the trot in a long time and hope we can win this match.”

Siena are struggling badly, though, with two consecutive defeats in which they scored one goal and conceded five.

“We deserved more from the Roma match, as when we were 1-0 down we could have equalised with quite a few chances. We lost, but the fact we played good football gives everyone extra confidence,” he told the official club website.

“We knew it was going to be tough and started the season with an uphill struggle, but there is time to turn it around and improve many little things.”

Ancelotti's Ronaldo apology
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has apologised to Ronaldo and insists Milan are looking to win at Siena this afternoon despite leaving behind several top stars.

The Ronaldo saga has undoubtedly dominated the last week at Milanello, as he is now back in Italy after a trip to Brazil for a second opinion on his injury from Selecao medic Jose Luiz Runco.

“Ronnie is recovering and he looks relaxed, but I will not make predictions over the date of his return. There has already been far too much confusion,” warned the Coach.

“Perhaps our evaluation of his injury was mistaken and we are sorry. He wants to play and will play. It was a slower recovery process than expected, but there is nothing more to it.”

“There will be a few players missing, but this is tied to their international commitments and the long journeys they had to make,” assured Ancelotti after excluding Kaka, Massimo Oddo, Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldo from this trip.

“On Tuesday we will have another important game against Benfica, so in these cases it is best not to run the risk. Oddo has a calf problem and that is why he was not called up.”

Just three weeks into the campaign, Ancelotti already has to face the tricky balancing act of Scudetto challengers and Champions League holders.

“This is a big game for us, as after a long time we have the opportunity to return to the top of the Serie A table, even if for only a few hours, and that is a great motivational tool.

“Andrea Mandorlini’s Siena are vivacious and they played well against Roma. They have a good tempo and are particularly pacy, although they do lack something in terms of maturity.”

Pippo Inzaghi and Alberto Gilardino are the only real choices left upfront, but Ancelotti is not concerned.

“We are not scared by problems in attack, as we do not think that we have any. Gila and Inzaghi are reliable and we have other options, as we can move the Trequartisti in a more advanced role. Kaka won’t be there, but that is not a problem. This is our chance to show we have other strengths.”

Midfield maestro Pirlo is also absent, so former Juventus, Roma and Real Madrid man Emerson has his first start for the Rossoneri.

“With Andrea we have greater ease in the cross-field pass and spreading the play. With Emerson we can have more protection in front of the defence. The Brazilian will play from the first minute and has already settled in well to the squad.”

Kaka pens bumper contract
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

It is rumoured Milan have agreed to give Kaka a new contract worth £5.5m per season to stave off Real Madrid’s advances.

The Brazilian rejected an offer to almost triple his wages – currently at £3.7m – if he went to the Bernabeu this summer and will be rewarded for his loyalty.

The ‘Corriere dello Sport’ claims that a new agreement has been drawn up to give ‘Ricky’ £5.5m per season until 2011, although an extension to 2012 is on the cards.

“Kaka deserves a pay rise, so we will happily give that to him,” commented President Silvio Berlusconi after the European Super Cup victory.

“We have to be careful, though, as there has to be a balance within the club and locker room for all the players.”

Kaka has earned himself the right to be an exception after his exploits over the past 12 months for the Rossoneri.

Top scorer in the Champions League, UEFA’s Player of the Tournament and front-runner for the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards, he is widely considered to be the greatest player in circulation right now.

He has had a splendid start to the new campaign as well, scoring five goals in six official games between Milan and Brazil.

Top clubs plan Super League?
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

There are reports that Inter, Juventus, Milan, Roma and Napoli staged a secret meeting to propose a new Super League.

The newspapers in Italy suggest that the clubs came together on Thursday after the Lega Calcio – the union of all Serie A and B sides – voted for Parma’s Tommaso Ghirardi as a representative rather than Juve candidate Giovanni Cobolli Gigli.

This left the giants with no voting representative in the Lega Calcio, so they walked out on the session and Milan general manager Adriano Galliani pledged: “We will not stand by impotently.”

It is now claimed that they are planning to set up a new Super League that will split off from the Lega Calcio.

“These five clubs represent 84 per cent of the sport’s fans in Italy, so they cannot be given the same political weight as the other 15,” added Galliani.

However, the same reports note that it is probably a scare tactic to force the other sides into giving them some leeway within the Lega Calcio.

Above all, there is a battle over pay-per-view television contracts, which from next year will be sold collectively, as they are in the Premier League.

At the moment, each club negotiates its own television deal with the companies, which has led to some contracts massively outweighing the others.

The issue has particularly hit Serie B, as none of the games from 2007-08 are on Italian television due to the failure to secure the rights.

The Serie B sides have threatened to go on strike and halt the campaign if a new deal is not negotiated.

“We are working together to find a solution,” assured FIGC President Giancarlo Abete. “However, we cannot think this will be sorted out overnight.”

Kaka wants historic double
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan’s Braziian ace Kaka thinks the Rossoneri can become the first team to retain the Champions League trophy, despite a challenging group.

In its current format as the Champions League, which started in 1992-93, no side has ever won the prestigious trophy two years running.

Milan were crowned as champions of Europe in Athens after a 3-1 victory over Liverpool last term and will look to continue their excellent track record in the competition.

“I think one reason for that is because a team relaxes a little bit the year after they win it,” Kaka told

“That’s not going to happen with Milan because we are ready and willing to win the competition again and to make history doing it.”

Kaka was the top scorer in the 2006-07 tournament and will want to repeat his winning goal over Celtic in the last 16 when they face the Scottish giants in the Group stage.

“It will be very hard again,” the Selecao star stated. “I think we have met Celtic three or four times in the five Champions League campaigns I have had here and every game has been hard against them.

“In Europe even if you are not facing a great team, they are always the best from their respective countries. When you play the best teams from Norway, Czech Republic or Scotland they always try and win.”

Milan’s first fixture sees Benfica travel to the San Siro next Tuesday before games against Cristiano Lucarelli’s Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.

Carletto rests star trio
15.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

three key players for the Rossoneri’s trip to Siena’s Stadio Artemio Franchi tomorrow.

The Diavolo are overwhelming favourites to take maximum points from a struggling Robur side that have lost their first two games this term.

Despite the insistence of Bianconeri boss Andrea Mandorlini that his side can test Ancelotti’s men if they learn to take their chances, the visitors will take a weakened side.

Ancelotti is keen to rest his stars so that he can field his strongest 11 as the European champions begin the defence of their title against Benfica in midweek.

Brazilian ace Kaka and Azzurri regulars Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Oddo won’t feature in Tuscany and can put their feet up ahead of Tuesday’s San Siro encounter against the Portuguese giants.

Milan (probable): Dida; Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Emerson, Brocchi, Seedorf; Inzaghi, Gilardino

Bonera backs struggling Gilardino
13.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan defender Daniele Bonera has given his support to under-fire Diavolo hitman Alberto Gilardino.

Ex-Parma star Gilardino hit 17 goals in his maiden Rossoneri season in 2005-06, but only managed a respectable 12 last term and has stuttered at the start of the current campaign.

The demanding San Siro faithful have already made their disappointment known by whistling and jeering the 25-year-old and he has slipped out of Azzurri contention.

However, despite rumours suggesting the struggling forward may leave in January, Bonera believes that Gila still has a great future at Milan and can build on a friendly goal against Dinamo Kiev.

“Alberto was excellent in the game against Kiev,” the Brescia native claimed. “He just needs to continue down that road.

“So many people focus on his lack of goals, but he did really well against Fiorentina and needs to be appreciated for the selfless work he does.”

With Brazilian ace Ronaldo still facing a period on the treatment table and Alexandre Pato only arriving in January, this is a crucial chance for Gilardino to impress.

“Carlo Ancelotti knows how to manage the situation,” Bonera concluded.

“Last year he did a great job of rotating the squad to get results and he is totally aware of how to handle things.”

Kaka inspires Selecao win
13.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan ace Kaka inspired Brazil to a 3-1 win over Mexico in a Wednesday night friendly in Boston in front of over 65,000 fans.

The Mexicans had led after 43 minutes through Pachuca striker Juan Carlos Cacho, but the Selecao struck back a minute later courtesy of Santos stopper Kleber, who connected with a corner.

The atmopshere was far from friendly as five yellow cards were shown, Elano was dismissed and Brazil boss Carlos Dunga send to the stands before the final whistle.

The game was played at a dazzling pace and Mexican goalkeeper Guiliermo Ochoa had to be at his best to stop the scintillating Ronaldinho on numerous occasions.

Just as the tie looked set to end all square, Inter star Douglas Maicon’s cross was poorly cleared by Rafael Marquez and Kaka pounced to fire home for 2-1.

Substitute Afonso Alves added some gloss to the scoreline with a late third to wrap up Brazil’s first win over Mexico in three years.

Ronaldo unsure of return date
13.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo is back in Italy and although he insists his faith in the Milan medial staff is unchanged, he admits his return to fitness remains a mystery.

The striker has been out injured since August and went to Brazil doctor Jose Luiz Runco for specialist treatment, but has flew back to the Milanello training ground on Wednesday.

“This visit to Brazil was important to have a second opinion from someone I hold great confidence in,” explained Ronaldo on ‘Milan Channel.’

“That is not to take anything away from the other opinions I received. He clarified things for me, so now I think we are on the right track.”

However, even with this new diagnosis of his muscular problem with some knee ligament damage, the date of his season debut is still up in the air.

“I have absolutely not set a date for my return, because muscular lesions are always difficult to predict. Now I think we are doing the right things to make my recovery as fast as possible.”

Although Il Fenomeno has a history of physical problems, up until now his career with the Rossoneri had been relatively plain sailing.

“Of course I have great faith in MilanLab and the club’s medical staff. Our rapport has always been very clear, sincere and it continues to be excellent,” he told the official website.

“My story at Milan has just begun. I have not been here for long, unfortunately, and these lesions can happen to players, forcing them off the field. I hope to get back to doing what I love as soon as possible.

“The season is in its early stages and I have plenty of time to get ready and score plenty of goals.”

Meanwhile, Selecao chief medic Runco has explained why the reports that Ronaldo had undergone a controversial genetic therapy called ‘Growth Factor’ came about.

“There may have been a misunderstanding, because the same day as Ronaldo was here we visited Argentine player Maxi and he did undergo the Growth Factor therapy,” he told Brazilian channel TV Globo.

The system caused controversy, as it involves removing blood from the player, treating it to stimulate platelets and re-injecting it into the lesion to stimulate faster cell renewal.

“We have been using this technique for seven years and it has never been considered illegal by FIFA or compared to doping. I think that in three weeks Ronaldo will be ready to resume normal activity.”

Emerson: Give me a fortnight
13.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan new boy Emerson is asking for two weeks to get himself fully fit and set his sights on Champions League glory this term.

The man nicknamed Il Puma joined the Rossoneri after a disappointing spell at Real Madrid ended this summer, but he hasn’t been able to make his mark at the San Siro yet as he is not match fit.

“I still need to get into shape, but I played 90 minutes in the friendly at Kiev and in two weeks I will be in top condition,” the Brazilian midfielder explained.

“I like playing for a team that has made winning a habit and I can’t wait for the game against Benfica already.”

Milan host the Portuguese giants on September 18 in their first Group D fixture as they look to retain their European crown.

Ronaldo recovery delayed again
10.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

The mystery surrounding Milan hitman Ronaldo’s injury has deepened with news that he may be sidelined for another month.

When the Selecao star reported a pain in his thigh on July 31, it was expected that he would return to action in time for the start of the campaign.

However, Ronaldo’s recovery has been painfully slow, prompting him to consult the national side’s doctor in Brazil, who criticised his Milan counterparts for their treatment of his complaint.

While Italian doctors believed that Ronaldo’s injury was a mere strain, it has now been revealed to be a much more serious rupture.

The Diavolo medical team now seem willing to admit that they initially made an error in their diagnosis, but they are demanding that the ex-Inter man return to Milanello.

The saga may yet turn ugly if the 30-year-old continues to snub his club’s request and boss Carlo Ancelotti’s assertion that Ronaldo would be fit for the September 15 clash with Siena looks increasingly far-fetched.

Latest estimates suggest that the No 99 will need at least another month to get over his injury woes and could return for Week 7’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico to face Lazio.

Ronaldo extends Brazil stay
10.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Milan have agreed to let Ronaldo stay in Brazil indefinitely for a new type of gene therapy after a visit from their chief medic.

Il Fenomeno has been out of action since August with a muscular and knee problem, but was expected to start against Siena next weekend.

Instead, he paid a visit to the Brazil national medical staff in Rio de Janeiro and was advised to remain until he was fit again.

“We believe he was not given the right treatment in Italy, so he came to Brazil for work on his thigh strain,” explained physiotherapist Bruno Mazziotti in Spanish newspaper ‘As’.

“We will use a technique called ‘Growth Factor’ to accelerate the recovery process. It is a genetic treatment and it would be good for Ronaldo to stay here for at least a week.”

This is a naturally occurring protein that is capable of stimulating cellular proliferation and cellular differentiation. Essentially it stimulates cells to grow and renew quicker than usual.

At first the Rossoneri rejected the proposal, but a trip to Brazil from medic Massimiliano Sala re-evaluated the situation.

“Yesterday morning I received a phone call from chief medic Meersseman, who told me it was probably better for Ronaldo to stay in Brazil for a few days, so I accepted,” revealed general manager Adriano Galliani.

“The way players are dealt with at MilanLab has my utmost confidence. I do not think a couple of days in Brazil can make much of a difference or open up any kind of scandal.

“Despite what the newspapers say, I am not at all disappointed or angry. We are very relaxed about the situation.”

Ronaldo was recently diagnosed with a thyroid problem that affects his metabolism, which is why he puts on so much weight during the close season.

He was put on a new course of pills by Milan this summer and lost 5kg in just over a week, but another reason for his decision to stay in Brazil is that two intercontinental flights in quick succession would affect his metabolism.

The fact remains that no deadline has been set for his return to Italy and it is not clear when he will be able to play for the Rossoneri again.

Pirlo added to injury list
10.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

After Luca Toni and Gennaro Gattuso, there are fears Andrea Pirlo will also be ruled out of Wednesday’s must-win match with Ukraine.

The Milan midfield maestro suffered a knock to his calf muscle during the 0-0 draw with France and was spotted hobbling around the training ground this morning.

More tests will be made later today and it is possible Pirlo will be sent home or at least advised to sit on the bench in Kiev next Wednesday.

It is a bitter blow for Coach Roberto Donadoni, who already has to plan this encounter without Marco Materazzi, Toni and the suspended Gattuso.

Bayern Munich hitman Toni had hoped to be fit for the Euro 2008 qualifier, but tests showed his muscular problem was still not eradicated, so he was sent home last night.

Juventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta has been drafted in as a late replacement.

Oddo bemoans fitness problems
10.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Massimo Oddo claims the lack of match fitness and France’s negative approach proved decisive in the goalless draw.

“We certainly wanted to attack more, but we were facing a very strong and solid France,” said the Milan right-back.

“We did what we could and there were several players who were not in ideal physical condition, so we tried.”

There were precious few scoring opportunities for either side in the Euro 2008 qualifier, but Pippo Inzaghi came closest with a lob that hit the crossbar.

“We pushed forward on the flanks, but their wide midfielders did well to track us continually, leaving very little space for us and the strikers.”

Oddo’s Milan and Italy teammate Gennaro Gattuso was booked and will be suspended for Wednesday’s match in Kiev.

“Gennaro is a very important player for us, but we must not forget that there are excellent figures on the bench such as Massimo Ambrosini,” noted Oddo.

“Paradoxically, the game with Ukraine could turn out to be more decisive than the one with France.”

As with his teammates, Oddo criticised the fans’ jeering of the French national anthem, as it was completely drowned out by the San Siro crowd.

“In all honesty, standing on the pitch I was a little bit ashamed to hear the way the French anthem was treated. These things simply don’t belong in football.”

Ronaldo needs Rio therapy
8.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Ronaldo will be sidelined for at least two weeks after medics in Brazil warned him that Milan had been giving him the wrong treatment.

Il Fenomeno has been out of action since suffering a muscular problem in August and was told this week by Professor Maertens that he would be able to play against Siena on September 15.

However, after that trip to Antwerp he flew out to Brazil for a meeting with Selecao medic Jose Luis Runco.

It is reported he found a lesion on Ronaldo’s knee and ordered a two-week break from football.

“We will apply a treatment we call Growth Factor,” revealed Runco in ‘O Globo.’ “He should stay in Rio for at least a week.”

Ronaldo’s personal physiotherapist Bruno Mazziotti is also in Brazil with the Milan striker.

This is a tough blow, particularly with the Champions League about to kick off with the Group D opener against Benfica on September 18.

Ronaldo is now likely to miss out on the Serie A meetings with Siena, Parma and possibly the trip to Palermo on the weekend of September 26.

As Alexandre Pato cannot compete in official tournaments until January 2008, this just leaves Pippo Inzaghi, Alberto Gilardino and youth team player Willy Aubameyang.

Ronaldo doctor blasts AC Milan
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Football Italia

Ronaldo’s personal physiotherapist has called Milan’s treatment of Il Fenomeno’s thigh injury into question.

The Brazilian star has been struggling with a mystery injury since the end of July and has been frustrated to see his recovery date pushed back in recent weeks.

While Milan’s doctors insist that the ex-Real Madrid star still has full faith in the club’s medics, his decision to return home to see another specialist suggests otherwise and the new expert was crictical of the Rossoneri’s efforts.

“We think that the treatment Milan gave him wasn’t the correct course of action,” Bruno Mazziotti told Globo Esporte.

“Ronaldo came back here because he wanted to hear the opinion of people he trusts, like me and Selecao doctor Jose Luis Runco.”

The 30-year-old marksman is still scheduled to return to Serie A action for the Diavolo’s trip to Siena on September 15.

Friendly: Dinamo Kiev 2:2 AC Milan - match report
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Football Italia

Milan new boy Alexandre Pato scored a debut goal as the Rossoneri contested a 2-2 draw with Ukrainian side Dinamo Kiev.

Carlo Ancelotti fielded an unfamilar side to face a Kiev team including ex-Diavolo star Andriy Shevchenko as the hosts celebrated their 80th anniversary.

Pato started in attack alongside Alberto Gilardino, who has struggled at the start of the Serie A season and been linked with a January move.

Kaka’s brother Digao was selected at the back after returning from a loan spell at Serie B side Rimini this summer.

Milan looked ill at ease in the opening minutes and were behind when Zeljko Kalac was beaten by a header from young star Artem Milevskiy.

Pato’s first major contribution as a Rossonero nearly arrived after 19 minutes when he set up Gilardino to fire home, but the ex-Parma man was adjudged to be offside.

The Ukrainians doubled their advantage shortly afterwards courtesy of an angled shot from Serbian stopper Goran Gavrancic.

The big moment for Pato came on the stroke of half-time as the man nicknamed ‘The Duck’ headed home a Daniele Bonera cross for his first Milan goal.

Five minutes after the interval, Gila ended his goal drought as he controlled with his chest, rounded the Kiev ‘keeper and slotted home.

The under-fire hitman’s celebration betrayed a great deal of relief after a stressful and fruitless period.

The game finished 2-2, but Milan had substitute goalkeeper Valerio Fiori to thank after his fine stop prevented the talented Milevskiy from doubling his tally.

Milan: Kalac (Fiori 45); Bonera, Nesta, Digao, Favalli; Cafu, Brocchi, Emerson, Aubameyang (Cosner 65); Pato, Gilardino

Injured Ronaldo gets answers
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Football Italia

A frustrated Ronaldo has finally had the nature of his injury confirmed and should be back in action for Milan’s trip to Siena on September 15.

Reports have suggested that Il Fenomeno has become increasingly agitated by the lack of a definite diagnosis for a thigh injury that has left him on the sidelines for the opening weeks of the season.

The Selecao star spent pre-season addressing a weight problem caused by a medical condition and reached a high level of fitness before complaining of a thigh pain in late July.

Diavolo boss Carlo Ancelotti has been insistent that Ronaldo would be back in action for the clash against Siena after the international break and latest medical tests seem to prove him correct.

“We started on August 8 when we gave Ronaldo a scan that showed a severe strain,” doctor Jean-Pierre Meersseman explained.

“The X-rays weren’t very clear, so we decided to wait for a bit before giving him another scan. That one revealed that the strain is less serious and he should be back playing within four weeks.”

Press whispers had alleged that Ronaldo was furious with Milan’s medical team as his return date has been pushed back, but Meersseman refutes that idea.

“Ronaldo isn’t angry and has complete faith in Milan,” he declared. “He just wants to get better as quickly as possible and is a little perplexed.

“The recovery has taken a little longer than expected, but only around a week. We are sure that he will be available for the game against Siena.”

Ancelotti sets Ronaldo record straight
5.9 || webmaster

Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti insists there is no Ronaldo mystery ahead of a curious Kiev friendly that will see Alexandre Pato, Leonardo and Andriy Shevchenko play.

The newspapers have been full of speculation over the oft-delayed return to the playing field of Il Fenomeno from a thigh injury he sustained in pre-season training on July 31.

“Ronnie will be in the starting line-up at Siena on Saturday September 15. I think there is a lot of confusion over what’s happening, because this is simply an injury that he needs to recover from,” explained the Milan Coach.

“This break will be very useful to give him the time to work and get back to his best. These things can stretch on because when it comes to a muscular injury, one has to proceed with caution and be 100 per cent sure.”

This trip to Kiev will have another Brazilian as its star attraction, as teenager Pato makes his debut in a Rossoneri jersey.

“He will be on the field tomorrow and we hope he can settle in to the squad well, although obviously we’ll give him plenty of time for that. We are happy he is here.”

Because Pato only turned 18 last Sunday, he will not be available for official competition until the January transfer window, when his contract can be deposited.

“He can play many friendlies with us, especially in the breaks for international duty. We expect to see something of his remarkable quality right from tomorrow. He is a real striker and very fast.”

In a curious twist, new boy Pato will face off against Milan’s familiar old friend Shevchenko, who has been drafted in to Dynamo Kiev for this one-off testimonial.

“We spent some wonderful times together and I am happy to meet with him again, as we haven’t seen each other since the day he left,” revealed Ancelotti.

The Ukrainian moved from Dynamo Kiev to Milan in 1999 and spent seven very successful years there before demanding a £30m transfer to Chelsea.

“We are honoured that Dynamo Kiev asked Milan to join them for their 80th anniversary celebrations.”

Shevchenko isn’t the only ‘guest appearance’, as the Rossoneri have brought veteran Leonardo – now their transfer consultant – along for the match.

The Brazilian, who also has a career as a television pundit, scored 22 goals in 96 appearances for the club before his retirement in 2003.

Ronaldo’s mystery injury lingers
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Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has admitted that he doesn’t know when star striker Ronaldo will return to action.

Fears are growing over Il Fenomeno as he is still not 100 per cent despite being tipped to start the season opener nearly a fortnight ago.

The Selecao star reported a pain in his left thigh after a party for the Milan fans at the San Siro on July 31 after a positive pre-season that saw him shed weight and reach his best shape in years.

The exact nature of the injury remains unknown and the Diavolo medical team is at present unsure as to the best course of action.

“Nothing has happened to him, but he is still feeling some pain,” Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Until we are sure that he is completely recovered, he won’t feature in the side. This is a medical issue so I can’t say when he will return to action.”

Galliani’s statement is markedly more cautious than Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s insistence earlier in the week that Ronaldo would play against Siena on September 16 after the international break.

Pato begins AC Milan adventure
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Football Italia

Alexandre Pato has turned 18 and will have his first training session with Milan this afternoon. "I know Ronaldo and Kaka are waiting for me."

The teenager was signed for £10m from Internacional this summer, but as he was under-age could not legally train with the club until his 18th birthday – which he celebrated on Sunday.

"The flight went well and my family came along with me. That was the most important thing. I am happy to be in Italy and I will work to honour this jersey."

He won't be able to play for the Rossoneri in a competitive match until the January transfer window so that his contract can be registered, but he'll make his debut in Thursday's friendly against Dynamo Kiev.

"I know that Milan drew with Fiorentina on Monday and I saw some of the game on television. I hope to be in the stands to watch the next one," he added.

Pato will have his first training session at Milanello at 16.00 UK time.

"When Pato arrives, we must coddle him a little bit," said Coach Carlo Ancelotti. "This is why we do not have time to think about signing any other strikers."

AC Milan support misfiring Gilardino
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Football Italia

Milan's Carlo Ancelotti and Adriano Galliani have called for the Rossoneri tifosi to adopt a patient attitude to the struggling Alberto Gilardino.

The 25-year-old marksman shot to fame when he racked up an impressive 23 goals for Parma in the 2004-05 campaign.

In his first term with the Diavolo, Gila netted 17 times and he scored 12 last season, but has looked short of confidence of late.

With the arrival of Brazilian starlet Alexandre Pato due in January, the misfiring star knows that he must come good soon and was greeted by jeers and whistles by the San Siro crowd in Milan’s 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on Monday.

“He needs to stay calm as he did what he could and what he had to do,” Coach Ancelotti told the Press after the game.

“The fans were a little harsh towards him,” Vice-President Galliani confirmed. “But that happens to the tenors at the theatre in Parma.

“We won’t be looking for any new additions as Pato arrived with his parents today and is ready to undergo all his medical examinations.”

AC Milan 1:1 Fiorentina - match report
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Football Italia

Scorers: Kaka pen 27 (M), Mutu 56 (F)

Adrian Mutu fought back for Fiorentina after Kaka's penalty to earn a 1-1 draw at Milan, so neither side stays on top of the table.

This match was moved to Monday evening due to Milan's 3-1 European Super Cup win over Sevilla on Friday August 31. Carlo Ancelotti was tempted to rotate the squad, but stayed with much the same line-up - introducing Alberto Gilardino for continental specialist Pippo Inzaghi - for what was a head-to-head battle for the Serie A leadership. Gennaro Gattuso played despite needing stitches for a cut above his eye, picked up during that Monaco match.

Fiorentina were without the injured Riccardo Montolivo, so Mario Alberto Santana started and in the opening minutes his first touch wasted a great counter-attack opportunity set up by Adrian Mutu.

Gilardino's volley was charged down and he was not alert enough to turn in the loose ball. Moments later Milan had a glorious chance to take the lead. Kaka's scuffed shot was flicked into the air by Gilardino and Sebastien Frey performed an absolutely astonishing reaction save to lean back and flap it off the line twice with his fingertips.

Giampaolo Pazzini nodded Tomas Ujfalusi's cross inches over the crossbar.

The referee pointed to the spot after 26 minutes when Dario Dainelli mistimed his challenge and clearly brought down Massimo Ambrosini in the area. Kaka converted by sending Frey the wrong way, his third goal in two Serie A games.

Gilardino held up Andrea Pirlo's ball for Kaka to control and strike past the base of the upright from just outside the box.

Fiorentina really should have equalised on 38 minutes, but Nelson Dida challenged Frey for his reaction save, twice parrying from Under-21 international Pazzini at point-blank range.

Clarence Seedorf failed to make the most of Kaka's smart build-up, volleying well off target.

Fiorentina drew level 11 minutes after the restart. Ambrosini failed to clear the ball effectively, so Santana floated it to the back post for Mutu's towering header past Dida's outstretched hand.

Seedorf drilled over from distance and Marcos Cafu replaced the tired Massimo Oddo at right-back. The Viola also made changes, throwing on summer signing Franco Semioli and former Milan striker Christian Vieri, who only spent six disappointing months here.

Gilardino was also replaced by Inzaghi and the fans at San Siro had been jeering Gila all the way through, not helping his already shattered confidence.

Frey did well to fingertip a Kaka snapshot round the base of the post and Cafu's volley was deflected over from the resulting corner kick.

However, the Viola became even more dangerous on the counter-attack, as Mutu brilliantly flicked the ball on with the outside of his right foot, shaving a coat of paint off the far post.

Inzaghi wasted a glorious opportunity. Ambrosini ran through two defenders and rolled across for SuperPippo, but he incredibly hit a fresh air shot when all that was needed was a touch to turn it in from six yards! Inzaghi and the crowds in the stands weren't quite sure how it happened.

Vieri nearly scored against his old teammates, as Alessandro Nesta didn't deal with Semioli's counter-attack, but did charge down Bobo's strike.

Emerson made his Serie A debut in a Rossoneri jersey for the final 15 minutes, but Fiorentina went close again with another defensive mix-up. Mutu and Vieri passed the ball around quickly for Kuzmanovic to thump the base of the upright. The move continued towards the other end with the Viola youngster down injured and a row broke out between Kaka, Fabio Liverani and Gattuso over who was meant to put the ball out of play.

Pirlo's chipped pass for Inzaghi was plucked out of the air by Frey in a very open and fast-pace close to the match with chances at both ends. Dainelli had to close down Inzaghi as he chested the ball and prepared to turn and volley.

Semioli's low drive deep into stoppages was comfortably smothered by Dida, but in the final seconds Dainelli pushed Inzaghi in the D. With the last kick of the game, Pirlo touched the ball on for Marek Jankulovski to blast over.

Milan: Dida; Oddo (Cafu 61), Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini (Emerson 76); Kakà, Seedorf; Gilardino (Inzaghi 65)

Fiorentina: Frey; Ujfalusi, Dainelli, Gamberini, Pasqual; Donadel (Kuzmanovic 57), Liverani, Gobbi; Santana (Semioli 62), Pazzini (Vieri 62), Mutu

Ref: Farina

Prandelli storms San Siro
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Football Italia

Cesare Prandelli urged Fiorentina to fight European champions Milan for every ball if they are to get a positive result at San Siro this evening.

Their Serie A Week 2 match was put back until 17.00 UK time because the Rossoneri were in Montecarlo on Friday for the European Super Cup win over Sevilla.

“We are going to the home of the European champions who we saw play a great game on Friday,” warned Prandelli.

“We must fight them for every ball, counter their every move, as this is the only way to even hope of getting a result there. If we sit back and invite them forward, we run far too many risks.”

It is a challenge for the top of the table, as after two rounds only Juventus and Roma still have a 100 per cent record. Both Milan and Fiorentina have the opportunity to be the third club in that leading group.

“This will also be a useful test to see just what my team can do this season. In time we will aim for the Scudetto, but that is not necessarily our target right now.

“I don’t think that Milan will be physically drained from playing on Friday. If anything, they have the psychological advantage of that victory.”

Fiorentina make the trip to Lombardy without Riccardo Montolivo, who scored a sensational goal last week against Empoli, due to a muscular injury.

Franco Semioli is back in the side, but Mario Alberto Santana is expected to start in a 4-3-3 system alongside Giampaolo Pazzini and Adrian Mutu.

Alberto Gilardino could start for Milan against Prandelli, the man who launched his career at Parma.

“I don’t want to send a message out, as every time I compliment one of my former players they score against me!”

The Viola are back in the UEFA Cup this term and were drawn against Dutch side Groningen, but ex-Arsenal starlet Arturo Lupoli was left out of the squad for this competition.

“Unfortunately I only had 22 slots at my disposal and we had to exclude a few others as well. Arturo needs to work to improve every aspect and he will become a great player,” explained the tactician.

“We could have had a little more luck with the draw. Groningen are a good side who know how to play football and are very organised tactically.”

Fiorentina squad: Avramov, Dainelli, Donadel, Frey, Gamberini, Gobbi, Kroldrup, Kuzmanovic, Liverani, Lupatelli, Lupoli, Mutu, Osvaldo, Pasqual, Pazzini, Potenza, Santana, Semioli, Ujfalusi, Vanden Borre, Vieri.

Ancelotti fears Fiorentina
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Football Italia

Carlo Ancelotti has no intention of fielding a weakened squad against Fiorentina just days after their European Super Cup win.

“I am not going to rotate the squad. I am focusing on the same XI that played in Montecarlo, including Gennaro Gattuso. Despite the stitches for that cut over his eye, he is doing fine.”

Milan won the trophy for a record fifth time on Friday evening, beating Sevilla 3-1 with goals from Pippo Inzaghi, Marek Jankulovski and Kaka.

For that reason this Serie A Week 2 clash with the Viola was postponed until Monday at 17.00 UK time, but that doesn’t mean Ancelotti is taking it any less seriously.

“Fiorentina are a side with a tactical system and off the ball movement that is ingrained by now and some talented young players. They have always notched up a lot of points in recent years. I won’t say this is a head-to-head Scudetto battle, but it’s pretty close.”

Another reason for the lack of changes is the injury situation, as Ronaldo is still out of action despite his dramatic weight loss thanks to new thyroid pills.

“We don’t want to play Ronaldo until he is in normal shape. He still has a few twinges and we take that into account. One has to have the patience to wait,” added the Coach.

“Our intentions are to play him in Thursday’s friendly at Dynamo Kiev along with Alexandre Pato. We’ll evaluate his condition, otherwise I think Ronie can happily return after the break for international duty.”

That Ukrainian trip will be Pato’s first ever appearance in a Milan jersey. Although he was signed in the summer, the Brazilian starlet could not legally play for the club until he turned 18.

Pato celebrated his birthday on Sunday, even if he won’t be eligible for official competition until the transfer window re-opens in January 2008.

Milan squad: Dida, Kalac; Bonera, Cafu, Favalli, Jankulovski, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Emerson, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf; Gilardino, Inzaghi

AC Milan unleash Ronaldo on Europe
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Football Italia

Milan have presented their official Champions League squad list to UEFA with few changes from last term, except that Ronaldo can now play.

The Brazilian joined the Rossoneri in January, but was unable to take part in their trophy-winning campaign because he had already featured in the competition for Real Madrid in 2006-07.

Now Il Fenomeno has the opportunity to shine for Milan in Europe as well, although he was in the stands during last night’s European Super Cup 3-1 win over Sevilla due to a fitness problem.

Summer signing Emerson is also in the list handed to UEFA, but Alexandre Pato is absent as he is not legally allowed to play in an official competition for the club until January 2008.

The teenager could be added to the Champions League squad after the January transfer window, when sides are allowed three changes.

Dida, Kalac, Fiori; Cafu, Maldini, Kaladze, Nesta, Simic, Jankulovski, Favalli, Bonera, Serginho, Darmian, Oddo; Ambrosini, Brocchi, Emerson, Gattuso, Gourcuff, Pirlo, Seedorf; Gilardino, Inzaghi, Kakà, Ronaldo

Gattuso: We'd have called it off
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Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso and Kaka insist that had Milan lost a teammate like Sevilla, they would never have gone ahead with the European Super Cup.

The tragic death of Antonio Puerta, who collapsed on the field during the game with Getafe on Saturday and died on Tuesday, cast a veil of great sadness over the occasion, but the Spaniards refused all offers to reschedule.

“If something like that had happened to us at Milan, we would never have played,” maintained Gattuso after the Rossoneri’s 3-1 win in Montecarlo.

The players on both teams had ‘Puerta’ written on their shirts beneath the number and all the goals and trophy were dedicated to his memory.

“It was difficult to play this match for a series of reasons,” added Kaka, who scored the third Milan goal on a rebound penalty.

“When a person dies, then none of this matters anymore. We are professionals and did our duty, but our thoughts were with Puerta. I dedicate my goal and the trophy to him.”

The post-match celebrations were also muted, with the European Super Cup held aloft in front of both the Milan and Sevilla fans at the Stade Louis II, polite and moved applause from players and supporters.

“I am happy to have won another trophy with Milan. I work every day to improve and win. I am honoured to wear this jersey and it is always wonderful to achieve a victory.”

Berlusconi: We are the best
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Football Italia

President Silvio Berlusconi was beaming with pride after Milan became the most successful club side in the history of world football.

The 3-1 win over Sevilla earned them the European Super Cup last night – their 17th international trophy.

“We are satisfied with the victory. Now we are the most successful club in the world with more silverware than any other, overtaking Boca Juniors,” said the patron.

The Rossoneri will take on Boca Juniors for the Club World Cup – formerly known as the Intercontinental Cup – in Tokyo in December.

“I am also now the most successful President in the history of Milan. I am happy about that.”

However, the celebrations at the Stade Louis II in Monaco were muted following the death of Sevilla player Antonio Puerta earlier this week.

“The atmosphere within the squad and the locker room was very different. One could not sense that competitive fire that is usually present in a Final and it was evident in the first half on the field, too.”

Sevilla were leading 1-0 at the break, but Milan rediscovered their form in the second period, overturning the result with Pippo Inzaghi, Marek Jankulovski and Kaka.

“When a colleague dies it affects us all in this sport, especially the players,” added Berlusconi. “Of course we dedicate the trophy to Puerta.”

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