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The Archive

September 2013

Allegri: No easy games in Europe
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has insisted there are ‘no easy games in Europe’ as Milan prepare to face Ajax tomorrow.

The Rossoneri have travelled to Amsterdam for their second Champions League group stage match of the season, and the San Siro side will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent start – but will have to do so without the injured Stephan El Shaarawy.

“Yesterday Stephan took a knock in training and felt some pain,” he told reporters. “As a precaution we sent him for a scan, and there it was revealed that he has suffered a microfracture which will keep him out for 20-30 days.

“It’s a shame because he was back in form after a muscle problem and we were counting on him for this match.

“Tomorrow we’ll have Balotelli back, but I think his recent suspension has shown him that he has to change his attitude on the pitch.

“In Europe there are no easy games. Ajax play some good football and have a great tradition. We’ll need to be very careful.

“If we win it would be a big step forward for us, and would allow us to go into the double challenge of Barcelona with some calm.

“We know though that we’re going to have to play well.”

Galliani has confidence in AC Milan
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan chief Adriano Galliani is remaining optimistic ahead of the Ajax game despite the injury to Stephan El Shaarawy.

The Italian international had returned to training after a muscle strain, but he today suffered a hairline fracture to his left foot.

“I only heard about it on the way to the airport,” Diavolo Vice-President Adriano Galliani commented.

“The injury to El Shaarawy is very unfortunate, a player who will certainly miss the Ajax game. It’s something we could have done without.

“However, we have to look to the future with optimism and we’ll take Ajax on with faith.”

Early reports suggest El Shaarawy will be sidelined for a minimum of 15 days, thus also ruling him out of the Juventus tie and the last two World Cup qualifiers with Italy.

Milan will also be without the injured Kaka and the suspended Mario Balotelli for the Juventus Stadium encounter at the weekend.

“Kaka will not be available for the game against Juventus,” Galliani continued. “It is more likely that he will be back after the international break.

“We’ve spoken a lot about Balotelli. Balotelli must not react in certain ways anymore, but he has grown. He is often the victim of fouls which are not sanctioned.”

Galliani was also questioned on the rumour that Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas could move to San Siro in January.

“Let’s not joke around. I won’t talk about it because I have chosen to not discuss transfers until January 3, when the window re-opens.”

El Shaarawy injured ahead of Ajax
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy has been ruled out of Milan’s game against Ajax after picking up an injury in training on Monday.

The Italian had been named in the squad for the Champions League tie after recently returning to action following a muscle strain.

However, the Italian international has reportedly suffered a metatarsal hairline fracture to his left foot. He'll also miss the tie against Juventus at the weekend.

AC Milan squad for Ajax
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo are in the Milan squad for Tuesday’s Champions League tie at Ajax.

The Italian international duo had been sidelined in recent weeks because of injury, but they have returned to boost the options of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Mario Balotelli, who has served two of his three game Serie A ban, is also in the squad.

Goalkeepers: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola.

Defenders: Abate, Constant, Mexes, Zaccardo, Zapata.

Midfielders: Birsa, Cristante, De Jong, Emanuelson, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Poli.

Forwards: Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Matri, Robinho.

Abbiati in AC Milan history books
30.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati made Milan history on Saturday evening in the 1-0 win over Sampdoria at San Siro.

In starting against the port outfit, the Italian became the club’s most capped goalkeeper by moving ahead of Sebastiano Rossi – his former teammate with the Diavolo.

Abbiati, 36, was handed a new one-year contract during the summer. He joined the club from Monza in 1998.

During his career with the Rossoneri, he has spent time out on loan at Juventus, Torino and Atletico Madrid.

Milan ‘keepers in order of appearances: Christian Abbiati 331 games, Sebastiano Rossi 330, Nelson Dida 302, Lorenzo Buffon 300, Enrico Albertosi 233.

Messi risk for AC Milan - Barcelona
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Leo Messi might be fit in time for Milan-Barcelona on October 22 after suffering a thigh injury.

The Blaugrana hero went off during last night’s win over Almeria and there were fears of a serious problem.

Tests this morning confirmed Messi will be out of action for two to three weeks with a small lesion to the femoral bicep in his right leg.

The Champions League clash at San Siro is in approximately three weeks, so it remains to be seen what condition he is in for that game.

Meanwhile, Messi will definitely miss next week’s Group H encounter with Celtic.

AC Milan injury boost for Ajax
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo will be fit for Milan’s trip to Ajax, but Bojan Krkic is ruled out.

The Rossoneri will play at the Amsterdam Arena in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

“For Ajax we will have Montolivo and El Shaarawy back at our disposal,” said Massimiliano Allegri in his Press conference after a 1-0 Serie A win over Sampdoria.

“They haven’t played for a while, so I will have to evaluate their fitness levels when deciding how long they can play.”

Mario Balotelli will be available, as his three-match ban for insulting the referee only applies to Serie A.

Meanwhile, Ajax will be without former Rossoneri striker Krkic, who pulled his hamstring after just four minutes of a 6-0 victory over Go Ahead Eagles on Saturday.

Milan won the opening Champions League tie 2-0 against Celtic, so top Group H alongside Barcelona, who crushed Ajax 4-0.

They are still missing Kaka, Daniele Bonera, Matias Silvestre, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini and Riccardo Saponara.

Allegri was bullish when confronting the critics who say Milan’s performances have been worse than their results so far this season.

“Often the form of a team is evaluated only by the results, but with Napoli we just got the first six minutes wrong, while against Bologna we could’ve gone 2-0 up straight after Andrea Poli’s goal.

“Against Sampdoria we played well up until the edge of their box, then got the final ball wrong, but still created eight scoring opportunities.

“I am very satisfied with the performance of the team and the style of football.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:0 Sampdoria - Birsa goal
29.9 || webmaster

Serie A: AC Milan 1:0 Sampdoria - match report
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorer: Birsa 47 (M)

Valter Birsa’s first goal in a Milan jersey was enough to beat Sampdoria 1-0 and take some of the heat off Max Allegri.

The pressure was on both sides, as the Rossoneri scraped two points from three rounds, both with last-gasp equalisers, while Samp had only two points all season. Mario Balotelli continued his three-match ban for insulting the referee, while Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy, Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera, Giampaolo Pazzini, Matias Silvestre and Riccardo Saponara were injured. Eder was sidelined and Antonino Barillà suspended, while Milan-owned Andrea Petagna was on the bench.

The Curva Sud was closed as punishment for Milan ultras aiming anti-Neapolitan chants during the last home game.

Robinho at full stretch just failed to get on the end of a Valter Birsa chipped cross to the back post, then the Brazilian turned provider for a Kevin Constant volley just wide of the near stick.

Gianluca Sansone was sprinting towards goal when tackled by Cristian Zapata, but replays suggest any touch of the ball was minimal, so it was a huge risk for the Milan defender.

Sampdoria had a fantastic opportunity on 27 minutes. A corner found Andrea Costa, whose header scraped a coat of paint off the base of the far post.

A Manolo Gabbiadini rocket from distance soared just over the bar, but Alessandro Matri’s shot was crucially charged down from point-blank range by Lorenzo De Silvestri and the same fate befell a Sulley Ali Muntari volley.

Matri only skimmed his head on a free kick and Philippe Mexes couldn’t steer it on target at the back post. Gavazzi blasted wide on a promising Sampdoria counter-attack just before the break.

Urby Emanuelson replaced Muntari for the second half and Milan immediately broke the deadlock. Valter Birsa got his first goal in a Rossoneri jersey, drilling a low left-foot strike from the D into the bottom corner of the net.

It was almost 2-0 moments later, as Junior Da Costa had his gloves stung by a Birsa rocket, then as the move continued Robinho incredibly poked it straight at the ‘keeper in front of an open goal as he came sliding in.

Matri also wasted a great opportunity, running clear on goal only for his shot to be denied by Da Costa’s foot at the near stick.

Sampdoria introduced Milan-owned striker Andrea Petagna, though it was Pedro Obiang who fired an angled drive across the face of goal. The visitors started to take control in the final 15 minutes and peg Milan back, but their finishing and even crossing left a lot to be desired.

The hosts threatened on the counter and in stoppages Da Costa needed a fingertip save to deny M’Baye Niang’s angled drive.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli (Nocerino 74), De Jong, Muntari (Emanuelson 46); Birsa (Niang 66), Robinho; Matri

Sampdoria: Da Costa; De Silvestri, Mustafi, Regini, Costa; Gavazzi, Obiang, Palombo (Krsticic 61), Wszolek (Soriano 52); Sansone, Gabbiadini (Sansone 66)

Ref: Peruzzo

Allegri: 'No need to shout at AC Milan'
29.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Milan’s victory and clean sheet against Sampdoria, revealing his half-time team talk.

“We won a difficult and important game, as we needed this win after three matches with just two points,” he said of the 1-0 win.

“We also kept our first clean sheet and ran few risks, aside from a header in the first half and some long-range shots we could’ve avoided.

“We had started fairly well and got to the by-line, but then had the final pass wrong. We started the second half much better and could’ve had a second goal while defending in an organised fashion.”

Milan seemed a different team after the break and scored within 120 seconds of the restart, so did Allegri give them the hairdryer treatment?

“There was no need to shout. At the moment when things are going badly you just need to reassure the lads. They have been putting in the effort and it’s a question of centimetres between a goal and a wasted chance.

“I think the players should be complimented, as even in difficulty and tired they were able to control the game.”

Valter Birsa had been criticised by fans recently, but scored his first goal in a Rossoneri jersey.

“He is a good player with good technique who had already played well against Bologna and Napoli. Obviously when the team loses then some players are likely to get blamed. He arrived from Genoa at the last moment and few knew him, but he can belong at Milan.

“I have a good squad at my disposal and we started badly in Serie A, but we are getting back on track. We’ll now prepare for the Champions League and then Juventus.”

Cristian Zaccardo was a surprise starter at right-back, as Ignazio Abate was rested.

“I know Zaccardo doesn’t have Abate’s characteristics, but he was exhausted and I preferred to rest him, especially as he was coming off an injury. Zaccardo did well when pushing forward, even though he’s not used to it.”

The Curva Sud was closed as punishment for anti-Neapolitan chants, but San Siro risks an entire ban as ultras protested outside the stadium with more insulting banners and there were some racist chants within the arena.

Allegri was asked whether Milan ought to distance themselves from these fans, especially as the ultras had a meeting with the squad on Friday at their training ground.

“The ultras came to salute the team yesterday and encourage them, just as they did last season during a tough moment. In my four years at Milan the Curva has been exemplary. There has always been mockery and it will always be there.

“We are improving in this sense, but as time goes on I hope there will be a better approach to fandom for those who come to the stadium.”

AC Milan squad for Sampdoria
28.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has named his 19-man Milan squad for the match against Sampdoria on Saturday evening.

The Rossoneri host the Bluerchiati looking for their second win of the season, but they do so without a host of their top players.

Mario Balotelli misses out through suspension, whilst Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo also sit out the clash.

Full Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Gabriel, Abate, Constant, Mexes, Vergara, Zaccardo, Zapata, Birsa, Cristante, Emanuelson, De Jong, Muntari, Nocerino, Poli, Matri, Niang, Robinho.

Rossi: AC Milan not just Balotelli
27.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Delio Rossi doesn’t think his Sampdoria side will be advantaged by the suspension of Mario Balotelli against Milan on Saturday.

“It’s not as if he will be replaced by a youth player,” the Doria tactician noted. “If Balotelli isn’t there then Robinho will play.

“If there is no Robinho then it’ll be up to M’Baye Niang. This is what big sides are all about…”

The Diavolo may line-up against Doria with Andrea Poli, the Italian international midfielder who traded the two clubs during the summer.

“Poli is a kid who did very well with us,” Rossi added. “He gave a lot for this shirt. He was handed an opportunity and he took it. It is hard to say no to Milan.

“I wish him well, but we need to look to the future. Perhaps by unearthing more players like Poli.”

The Marassi outfit have had a problematic start to the season given that they have collected just two points from their five matches so far.

“Words count for nothing right now. I need to show my players faith and give them tranquillity. We don’t have two or three phenomenal players, but I think we have a good squad.”

Samp squad for Milan – Goalkeepers: Da Costa, Fiorillo, Tozzo.

Defenders: Berardi, Castellini, Costa, Gastaldello, Mustafi, Palombo, Regini.

Midfielders: De Silvestri, Eramo, Gavazzi, Gentsoglou, Krsticic, Obiang, Renan, Rodriguez, Soriano, Wszolek.

Forwards: Gabbiadini, Petagna, Pozzi, Sansone.

El Shaarawy open to role change
27.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy says he is at the total tactical disposal of Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri. “I’ll play as the Trequartista if necessary.”

The 20-year-old prefers to play in a wide attacking role, but Allegri has switched to a narrower 4-3-1-2 system this season.

“Am I ready to play as a second striker? Of course I am,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “If there is the need for it, then I'm also ready to play as a Trequartista which I did for a bit at Padova.

“I have a very good relationship with boss Allegri, who has been concerned about my health in recent weeks.

“I’m happy that he stayed with us.”

The young Italian was a revelation in the opening half of last season, but the goals have dried up for him at San Siro.

“I'm happy with what I have done so far at Milan. I have scored goals and I have missed some. I can't complain. I feel an integral part of this project.

“I don't want to talk about goals or personal objectives,” he added. “The most important thing is the squad.

“Last year I hadn't set any objectives in terms of goals and, in the end, the goals arrived by themselves. It wouldn't be bad if the same thing happened again.”

Allegri demands win against Sampdoria
27.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The time has come for Milan to start winning, boss Massimiliano Allegri has said ahead of the game against Sampdoria.

The Diavolo have had a slow start to the season given that they have collected just five points from their first five games.

“We have to concentrate on just doing well,” the tactician stated on Friday. “We have a difficult game tomorrow.

“Delio Rossi is an excellent Coach and Sampdoria are coming off the back of a good display against Roma. But we have to win.”

Milan are currently twelfth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Roma and already eight away from the Champions League zone.

“I’ll look at the League table at Christmas. In my opinion, we will be in a different position by then. We’re a bit behind, but there are still so many games left. Let’s just think about winning tomorrow.”

Allegri was inevitably asked about Mario Balotelli, the striker who still has two games left to run on his three-match ban.

“His dismissal happened six days ago, I think we need to stop talking about it now.

“He’s said sorry and now he needs to think about working. He needs to improve the way he reacts on the pitch. He knows that and I hope he understands that.

“Alessandro Matri? He is working hard. He had three chances against Bologna, two clear ones, but he has to stay calm as the goals will arrive.”

Allegri added that Nigel De Jong would play tomorrow, while he hopes Stephan El Shaarawy will be back for Ajax in midweek.

Balotelli wanted Tevez at AC Milan
27.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli has revealed he was hoping former Manchester City teammate Carlos Tevez would join him at Milan.

The Argentine was made available for transfer in the summer, but the previously interested Diavolo could do nothing as he joined Scudetto rivals Juventus instead.

“Carlitos is a great player,” Balotelli told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday in a lengthy interview covering a number of subjects.

“I got on well with him at Manchester City. I phoned him on a number of occasions in an effort to convince him to join us, but he then chose Juventus instead. That’s a shame.”

After again apologising for his dismissal at the end of the defeat to Napoli on Sunday, Balotelli admits he finds the treatment he receives from opposition defenders hard to take.

“Getting knocks is a part of football, I know that, but I don't want to have to end my career at the age of 28…

“I can assure you that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo get angry when they are fouled too.

“I know that I have to become stronger and cooler. I know that I have to comport myself better in certain situations if I want to get to the top.”

Before being red carded against the Azzurri, Balotelli missed his first professional penalty in the 2-1 defeat.

“It was going to happen sooner or later,” he explained. “Pepe Reina did well. I looked into his eyes, but I then looked down and it ended badly.

“Napoli? They have Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik, Juan Zuniga, they have great players but they didn’t impress me as a team.”

While Napoli are just two points shy of top spot, the Diavolo have collected just five points from five games.

“We just have to move up in gear,” the forward added. “The problem right now is not scoring goals, it’s that we are conceding too many.

“But we are not inferior to anyone. And Serie A is very balanced this season, it isn’t like when Inter were the best team with Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho.”

Balotelli also commented on the Italian national side and a possible strike partnership with Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi.

“The Azzurri are my pride and joy. It’s everyone’s dream to play for your country. I owe Italy boss Cesare Prandelli a lot as he has always believed in me.

“Rossi? He’s a really good player who I have unfortunately never been able to play alongside. I hope that moments arrives.”

Balotelli: 'I am sorry, but...'
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli apologised to Milan and the referee for his ban, “but it’s not as if I killed someone.”

The striker was given a three-match Serie A ban for insulting the officials in the final stages of the 2-1 defeat to Napoli.

He is now on a damage limitation tour and La Gazzetta dello Sport released extracts of a long interview that will be published tomorrow, while he also spoke to Sky Sport Italia and Milan Channel.

“First of all I am sorry for my teammates,” said Balotelli. “They train and work hard with me, so with this gesture I left them alone. I also feel guilty for the fans, who care so much, and of course the club.

“I apologise to the referee, as I should not have reacted that way. Against Napoli it was the same old story, the fouls against me don’t seem to count and as soon as I do anything... I just want others to be punished for fouling me the same way I am for fouling them. But I do realise I have to resist in certain situations.”

Balotelli will also discuss his relationships with Jose Mourinho, Roberto Mancini and Cesare Prandelli.

“I made a mistake when I was provoked. Mario got it wrong and Mario apologises, but I don’t want to apologise to everyone because it’s not as if I killed someone,” added Balo, talking about himself in the third person.

Without his input, last night Milan fought back from 3-1 down to earn a 3-3 draw at Bologna.

“We have to improve, but we’ve got everything it takes to be at the same level as the other teams. I see a very balanced League. For example, Napoli have some great players, but they are not superior to Milan as a team unit.”

Balotelli to apologise
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli’s agent confirmed he will make a public apology on Milan Channel for his ban. “He knows he let everyone down.”

The striker must sit out a three-match ban in Serie A after his red card for insulting the referee in the final moments of a 2-1 defeat to Napoli.

Agent Mino Raiola has now confirmed the rumours that Balotelli will make a public apology for his behaviour.

“He wanted to make this apology and it comes from the heart. Nobody forced him to do it, because if he doesn’t want to do something then he won’t.

“Mario apologised because he knows he let everyone down, from his teammates to the fans and the club.”

The video message is expected to appear on Milan Channel later today.

Matri wins backing of AC Milan
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Valter Birsa is confident Milan teammate Alessandro Matri will soon start to ripple the net with regularity.

The striker joined the club from Juventus in August after an €11m transfer fee was agreed between the two sides.

However, the Italian has yet to open his account for the Diavolo after making four Serie A appearances and one in the Champions League.

“Matri has shown that he is a great player,” the Slovenian midfielder told Milan Channel. “He will net with time and then he’ll score a lot…”

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri also spoke confidently about the player after he failed to score in the 3-3 at Bologna.

“We have got to improve in defence, but also in attack, seeing as we only convert about 30 per cent of our scoring opportunities,” the tactician stated.

“Matri played for the team and I hope he can break his duck on Saturday. If he continues like this, the goal will come.”

Nesta expects AC Milan revival
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Milan stopper Alessandro Nesta thinks it’s too soon to write off the Diavolo despite their problematic start to the season.

The San Siro giants have collected just five points from their opening five games this term following the 3-3 draw at Bologna.

“Milan haven’t started well for the last three seasons, but they have always had their say at the end,” Nesta wrote on Twitter.

“It is too soon to be arranging funerals.”

The San Siro giants had to score two very late goals to rescue a point at the Stadio Dall’Ara on Wednesday evening.

The 37-year-old Nesta, currently playing for Montreal Impact, spent a decade with the Rossoneri before his 2012 exit.

Abbiati rues unfortunate AC Milan
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Christian Abbiati insists Milan deserve more points than they are currently collecting in the Italian championship.

The Diavolo have just five points from five games so far after salvaging a 3-3 draw at Bologna on Wednesday.

“We had a lot of chances, but it seems to be the period that we’re going through,” the goalkeeper noted. “As soon as we make a mistake, we pay for it.”

The Rossoneri were 3-1 down with just minutes left last night, but staged a comeback in similar circumstances to the 2-2 draw at Torino.

“We have to keep on fighting,” the veteran added. “We’ve started a bit like we did last season, but we lost these kind of games last season and this season we’ve drawn.

“Now we have to stick together because it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s everyone’s fault.”

Milan will entertain struggling Sampdoria at San Siro at the weekend.

Abate: It was a strange game
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate is struggling to understand why Milan needed his injury-time strike in the 3-3 draw at Bologna.

The Diavolo looked to be heading for defeat before two very late goals salvaged a point at the Stadio Dall’Ara.

“I scored in what was a very strange game,” the Italian international noted. “We played a good first half, but the first time we took our eye off the ball we conceded.

“If we had ended the first half two or three goals up then there would have been nothing strange about it.

“We’re playing well but evidently it’s not enough. We have to be more solid. We push forward all the time and it’s normal that we leave some space at the back.”

The comeback at Bologna comes after the Diavolo also came from two goals down at Torino to net a point.

“This team has an enormous heart,” the full-back added. “We follow the Coach and we’re playing nice football at the moment.

“We fight in every game and we never give up. Unfortunately, episodes are going against us at the moment.

“We have a lot of quality in our squad and now we have to show it.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan played well'
26.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri insists Milan “will be in a better position by Christmas” after fighting back for a 3-3 draw at Bologna.

The Rossoneri had taken the lead, but were then trailing 3-1 before another late comeback at the Stadio Dall’Ara. It left them with just five points from as many Serie A games.

“I am angry because after the 3-3 we gave away the ball and risked conceding a fourth,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“The team played well and we created so many chances, but we also allowed Bologna too much at the back. After the draw we should’ve finished the game with the ball at our feet, not handing it to Alessandro Diamanti.

“We have got to improve in defence, but also in attack, seeing as we only convert about 30 per cent of our scoring opportunities. Alessandro Matri played for the team and I hope he can break his duck on Saturday. If he continues like this, the goal will come.

“We played very well tonight, just as against Napoli when their goalkeeper was Man of the Match.”

This was the first match in Mario Balotelli’s three-game ban for insulting the referee, a suspension Milan opted not to appeal.

“He is 23 years old and has to mature, as we set the example for children and cannot afford certain behaviour. He is immensely talented, but that’s not enough to be a champion.”

Considering Milan’s struggles, Allegri was asked if he could already give up on the hope of third place this season.

“Before Christmas we will be in another position. At the moment things aren’t going terribly well and we dropped points along the way, but we have everything it takes to get back on track.

“We have conceded too many goals, on average two per game, so must improve our concentration levels.”

Serie A: Bologna 3:3 AC Milan - match report
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Poli 12 (M), Laxalt 33, 52 (B), Cristaldo 62 (B), Robinho 89 (M), Abate 91 (M)

Milan completed an incredible comeback from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Bologna in stoppages.

The Rossoneri were increasingly under pressure with just four points from as many Serie A rounds. Mario Balotelli began his three-match ban for insulting the referee, joining the injured Stephan El Shaarawy, Kaka, Riccardo Montolivo, Giampaolo Pazzini, Daniele Bonera, Mattia De Sciglio and Matias Silvestre. Bologna weren’t faring much better with two points, Panagiotis Kone and Cesare Natali suspended.

Milan were unbeaten at the Dall’Ara since March 2002, notching up six wins and two draws. They took the lead after 12 minutes when Robinho’s smart pass found Andrea Poli for an angled drive into the far bottom corner, their first real attempt on goal.

Soon after, Alessandro Matri’s header whistled just past the post, but the former Juventus striker incredibly failed to score when ballooning his volley over the bar from eight yards.

Inter-owned Diego Laxalt threatened a Bologna equaliser, as his powerful strike stung Christian Abbiati’s palms at the near post. Robinho also had penalty appeals for a ‘sandwich’ in the box.

Laxalt did get the goal moments later, springing the offside trap and out-sprinting Cristian Zapata to fire past Abbiati.

Milan failed to score with an incredible series of shots, as Valter Birsa fired straight at Curci’s legs from point-blank range.

Matri wasted another golden opportunity after the restart, but Laxalt completed his brace with a header at the back post from the Lazaros Christodolopoulos cross. It was a remarkable start to his Serie A career for the Uruguayan 20-year-old.

Cristaldo also celebrated his first Serie A start with a goal, as his diving header surprised the Milan defence on an Alessandro Diamanti cross from the left.

Philippe Mexes thought he had pulled Milan back into the game, but his header from a corner smacked against the crossbar. M’Baye Niang also wasted a good chance, scuffing his finish from eight yards so it rolled across the face of goal.

Abbiati flew to fingertip a long-range Perez scorcher over the bar and Matri yet again aimed straight at a grateful Curci. The goalkeeper punched away a fierce Niang free kick, but Milan did get one back in chaotic fashion with several ricochets in the box until Robinho drilled home from eight yards.

Milan completed a comeback from 2-0 down at Torino and did it from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in Bologna! Ignazio Abate again got the final touch after several ricochets in the area with the Rossoblu pegged back on a set play.

It was still wide open and Diamanti’s audacious effort from 20 metres out cracked against the crossbar.

Bologna: Curci; Garics, Antonsson, Mantovani, Morleo; Perez (Krhin 85), Pazienza (Della Rocca 65); Christodoulopoulos (Sorensen 79), Diamanti, Laxalt; Cristaldo

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli (Emanuelson 90), De Jong, Nocerino (Muntari 74); Birsa (Niang 64); Matri, Robinho

Ref: Tagliavento

Serie A: Bologna vs. AC Milan - lineups
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bologna: Curci; Garics, Antonsson, Mantovani, Morleo; Perez, Pazienza; Christodoulopoulos, Diamanti, Laxalt; Cristaldo

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, De Jong, Nocerino; Birsa; Matri, Robinho.

De Sciglio in car accident
25.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio was in a car crash this morning, but Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo rushed to his aid.

The 20-year-old full-back was driving along the A8 in Legnano outside Milan when his Audi was in a collision with two other vehicles.

Among the first on the scene to offer help were teammates El Shaarawy and Montolivo, who were driving along the same road towards training.

De Sciglio was taken to hospital at Busto Arsizio for tests, but police confirmed there were no injuries to the player or the other people involved in the accident.

The Italy international is not playing at the moment anyway due to an injury.

Psychologist for Balotelli?
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

According to La Stampa, Milan are considering a sports psychologist to help Mario Balotelli and other young players.

The decision could be adopted after Balotelli received a three-match Serie A ban for insulting the referee in the final moments of a 2-1 home defeat to Napoli.

It is now reported the club will bring in a sports psychologist, or ‘tutor’, to help the younger players deal with the stress of football at the top level.

Others who have struggled with form and confidence include Stephan El Shaarawy.

Maldini: 'Balotelli inexplicable'
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cesare Maldini called Mario Balotelli’s behaviour “inexplicable” after a three-match ban for insulting the referee.

Milan had at first suggested they would appeal against the ban, but now changed their minds and criticised the player for his outburst at the end of a 2-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, Balotelli being in this situation is nothing new,” former Italy and Milan Coach Maldini told TMW.

“He always behaves like this and this time we didn’t even understand what sparked it. Massimiliano Allegri told him off, but it’s the club that has to deal with the player.

“There’s no appeal because we knew it would end this way, so I am not surprised by the club’s decision to let the ban go.

“The player must understand he made a mistake, because this way he is damaging the team that has to play for three rounds without him.”

Balotelli will be suspended for Serie A matches against Bologna tomorrow evening, Sampdoria and Juventus.

As he was banned for insulting the officials, it’s also likely Cesare Prandelli will drop him from the Italy squad for the next two World Cup qualifiers.

Allegri: Balotelli needs to grow up
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has refused to comment on whether Milan will fine Mario Balotelli after his sending off at the weekend.

The young striker was given a red card after the match with Napoli on Sunday, and will be suspended for the game against Bologna tomorrow.

“Mario has made a mistake, penalizing the team, club and the fans and he must change this,” he told a Press conference.

“Balotelli should help referees to protect him because if another player had suffered the fouls he did on Sunday then they would have whistled. The referees should be left alone because they can be influenced by negative attitudes.

“Mario is 23-years-old, he is no longer a child and to be a champion you have to have a correct behavior because you are an example for all those who look up to you. I hope for him he benefits from it and realizes that put team and club is in difficulty.

“You have to go on the pitch thinking about doing well. When you finish the game you need to go in the dressing room, accept what happened and think of working to do better. The club will decide what to do about Mario.

“We will try to make up for the absence of Balotelli with team play. When Mario arrived he gave us something more from the point of view of the individual and if on Sunday he played a good game it was because the team worked well.

“I thought Reina was Napoli's best player. It is a contradiction to say that Milan played badly if the goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch. There are two things to consider: the firstly Balotelli has a wrong attitude towards referees. At the last meeting it was requested that everyone has a more correct attitude towards the referees.”

Allegri then commented on the amount of goals the Rossoneri have conceded this term, but once again returned to Balotelli

“We have let in too many. Seven in four matches is not good. We must avoid goals at dead-ball situation and we need to be more alert and focused in certain situations. Against Celtic, for example, we did not concede any.

“Players must think just about playing and not think about the decisions of the referees. There are situations that go beyond the rules of good manners. When the match is over it is over. Balotelli was wrong and that's that, he must grow-up. He is a world-class player and an Italy international so he should set an example. He has been fine up until Sunday so hopefully he has learnt his lesson.

"Balotelli and Higuain are two different players, the Argentine is a real out and out striker while Mario does best when attacking along the flank. He needs to improve his team-work and we have to remember that this is first year as the main player and should be playing in three games a week. We started the season thinking about the playoffs, we got into the Champions League and we started well with Celtic. In the league we are a bit further back but we have time to get back.

“They are well equipped teams like Napoli, Juventus, Roma, Fiorentina and Inter. I think Inter will become one of the top three teams in Italy, not having the any cups worries they have all week to prepare for the games. I am not worried because Abbiati. He has always had great seasons and in the decisive moments he has always made ​​great performances.

“Let's see what we can do tomorrow night. We will take one step at a time. We are eight points off the pace and we will slowly get back on your track. It is not great playing without some of our fans because they have always got behind us."

Pioli: 'Performances don't reflect results'
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bologna boss Stefano Pioli believes that his side’s performances are not reflected in their early season results.

The Rossoblu have failed to win any of their first four matches this term, and face Milan this Wednesday looking to overturn that poor form.

“I do not think our performances have been as bad as the results say,” he told a Press conference.

“Maybe it’s just a lack of concentration that’s put us where we are. Now we have to try and play the game in an even more intense way than before.

“I have sat down with the boys and gone through the current situation.

“Milan belong to a group of high-quality sides in this League and we certainly do not want another misstep against them.”

AC Milan squad for Bologna
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has named his 20-man Milan squad for the match against Bologna on Wednesday.

Mario Balotelli will miss the game against the Rossoblu following his red card after the match against Napoli on Sunday.

The Coach however, has picked young pair Mario Piccinocchi and Luca Lotti.

Full Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola; Abate, Constant, Mexes, Lotti, Zaccardo, Zapata; Birsa, Cristante, Emanuelson, De Jong, Muntari, Nocerino, Piccinocchi, Poli; Matri, Niang, Robinho.

AC Milan won’t appeal Balotelli ban
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli will miss the game against Juventus after Milan opted against appealing his three-match ban.

The striker was handed the suspension on Monday following his dismissal after the final whistle of Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Napoli.

The Diavolo were to appeal in an effort to get the sentence reduced, but they have today confirmed that will not happen.

As a result, the Italian international striker will miss the League games against Bologna, Sampdoria and Juventus.

Milan have, however, confirmed they will appeal against the closure of the Curva Sud. That step was taken in response to the racist chants aimed at Neapolitans in the Week 4 tie.

Italy to drop Balotelli?
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli could be omitted from the next Italy squad as further punishment for his three-match ban.

The striker’s post-game dismissal against Napoli on Sunday, where he argued with match officials, was a breach of the national side’s code of ethics.

Boss Cesare Prandelli has opted to discipline players for misdemeanours – ranging from players dismissed for violent gestures to those who behave questionably – by not selecting them in the squad.

However, it is unclear whether Balotelli will be selected or not seeing as his three-match ban is set to expire on October 6 – the day before the Italy squad are next set to meet up.

The Azzurri will face Denmark in Copenhagen on October 11 and Armenia in Naples on October 15.

Although the games are World Cup qualifiers, they are insignificant to the Italians seeing as they have already won their group.

Tassotti: Balotelli was wrong
24.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan assistant boss Mauro Tassotti says Mario Balotelli stepped over the line with his post-match protests following the loss to Napoli.

The striker had a heated discussion with referee Luca Banti following the 2-1 loss which has seen him suspended for three games as a result.

“What happened after the final whistle counts for nothing,” Tassotti told Milan Channel. “The match was over and you cannot change anything then.

“I was there at the meeting with the referees where the captains were also there and the outcome was that the players have to be more educated when they come to confronting the referee.

“You can ask them a question, but you cannot go too far and in this case Mario probably overstepped the mark and was in the wrong.

“I don’t know exactly what happened because I had headed down to the dressing room. We have to accept what happened and take the outcome as it stands.”

The defeat means that, much like last season, Milan have made a problematic start to the campaign by collecting just four points from four games.

“After a match like that we have to start winning to get back into the hunt,” the former right-back noted. “However, we have a long road in front of us and the same thing happened to us last year.

“It is always difficult to bounce back because we cannot afford anymore slip ups. We have made mistakes, but we can win games so let’s see how it turns out.”

Milan travel to Bologna tomorrow night.

Spurs after Niang
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Reports in the British Press suggest that Tottenham could make a January move for Milan forward M’Baye Niang.

The French striker has been a peripheral figure for the Rossoneri this term playing in just two League games.

But the Metro believe that the north London side are keeping a close eye on the youngster, and could table a bid during the winter transfer window.

Andre Villas-Boas men are expected to get rid of Jermaine Defoe come January, and may offer for the 18-year-old as a back-up to Roberto Soldado.

AC Milan to appeal Balotelli ban
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have confirmed that they will be appealing Mario Balotelli’s three-match ban after he was sent off against Napoli.

The striker confronted the officials after the 2-1 loss to the Partenopei and was subsequently given a red card.

As such, the forward was handed a three-game suspension. The Rossoneri though, are going to appeal that decision.

The San Siro’s Curva Sud is also set to be closed for one match following incidents of racist abuse towards opposition fans last Sunday, another decision the club will look to have overturned.

A statement on their official website read: “Milan announces that we will complain against the suspensions of Mario Balotelli and the Curva Sud.”

Three-game ban for Balotelli
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli’s post-game confrontation with the referee has cost him a three-match ban. He’ll miss Milan’s games against Bologna, Sampdoria and Juventus.

The Italian international was shown the red card by referee Banti after the final whistle for taking his protests too far following the 2-1 loss against Napoli last night.

Milan are ready to appeal against the sentence.

Meanwhile, Milan will have their Curva Sud shut for their next home game against Sampdoria as punishment for racist taunts towards Neapolitans.

Allegri: Saponara needs time
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri will not be rushed into fielding summer signing Riccardo Saponara.

The Italian Under-21 international moved to San Siro from Serie B side Empoli, but he hasn’t featured yet because of injury.

The attacking midfielder is on the comeback trail though and could be used as an alternative to the injured Kaka in the 4-3-1-2 system.

“Saponara has only trained twice with the team,” Allegri, who has fielded Valter Birsa behind the strikers this term, noted.

“He’s a young player who has to grow and he’ll be put in the team when the time is right. I’ll take him into consideration when he’s fit and ready.”

Abate struggling to digest loss
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate is struggling to understand the eight-point gap between his Milan side and League leaders Napoli.

The Azzurri joined Roma at the top of the table last night thanks to a 2-1 victory at San Siro against the Diavolo.

“If we look at the performance the gap between us and Napoli is non-existent,” the Italian international noted.

“Even at 2-0 down we were alive and kicking. If we scored with the penalty or maybe if the shot that hit the crossbar had gone in, the result might well be different.

“We started with a bit of fear for no apparent reason. I still can’t give myself an explanation. We played maybe the best first half of this season but we weren’t able to finish.”

The Rossoneri have collected just one win and one draw from their opening four Serie A games of the campaign. They will play Bologna in midweek.

“We have four points and a lot of work to do,” the right-back continued. “We have to win, for us, for the League table and that starts on Wednesday.

“We have to find more balance with the tactics that we’re using in the new formation. Compared to the start of last season, we have more identity but maybe we're missing a bit of competitiveness.

“I think we have some work to do with our self-confidence as well as this team really has quality – we just have to be more cynical.”

Kaka could cost AC Milan EUR 3 mil.
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan will be forced to pay Real Madrid a small fee for Kaka if the Diavolo finish in the top three, claims the Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Brazilian returned to San Siro this summer on a free transfer, four years after heading to Spain for €65m.

“Real Madrid can receive a fee for Kaka depending on the League position which Milan end the campaign in,” noted Real chief Florentino Perez at the weekend’s general assembly.

Perez mentioned no figure, but the Gazzetta claim the Italians will have to hand over €3m if they qualify for the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Kaka has told Sky Sport Italia about his problematic stint in Spain with the European giants.

“I return to Milan as a stronger player and more experienced after four difficult years personally and professionally,” he stated.

“In Madrid I learned to suffer the critics, to be challenged and to be constantly under pressure. So many doubts have made me grow.

“The atmosphere at Real Madrid is like that of many other clubs. In Milan, the relationships are closer.

“I face this new experience with a different consciousness to my previous stage. Now I have to exert a role of leader.

“I hope to be in Milan for a long time, to help those who are younger and still learning. Milan 10 years ago was different, but the feelings are the same. It is as if I had never left.”

Kaka is currently sidelined after he picked up a thigh muscle strain on his debut at Torino.

Matri saw a good AC Milan
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri isn’t convinced Napoli deserved their win at Milan on Sunday night. “We were never out of the match.”

The Azzurri collected a 2-1 victory at San Siro which allowed them to maintain their 100 per cent record in Serie A this season after four games.

“We conceded early and that penalised us,” the summer signing from Juventus told the Milan website.

“From a gameplay point of view, it was one of our best matches to date this season.

“It’s almost absurd that this is the game that we had the most chances to score. I had two and so did Mario Balotelli.

“Maybe we have to be more clinical in front of goal and things would be easier.”

An injury-hit Diavolo have had another rough start to the season given that they have collected just four points from the 12 on offer so far.

They are already eight points behind joint leaders Napoli and Roma, while they are six short of the Champions League zone.

“We have an important match on Wednesday against Bologna and after that against Sampdoria. We need the points to make our way back up the table.”

Matri has yet to open his account for the Rossoneri, but he’s likely to get another chance in midweek given that Balotelli will be suspended.

“I’m happy here tactically but of course I need to score goals,” he noted. “I’ll help my teammates while waiting for that to happen and I hope to get back scoring on Wednesday.”

Benitez: 'I have to be happy'
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Rafa Benitez admitted it wasn’t Napoli’s best game of the season, but “a Coach has to be happy” when winning at San Siro.

“We worked together as a team tonight and that was very important, as if you have that then the quality players get the chance to shine,” he told Sky Sport Italia after a 2-1 victory over Milan.

“I like the way my team are playing. I’ll say we are now at 73 per cent, but we can still improve these little things and when we do it’ll be easier to win.”

Pepe Reina made history by becoming the first man to save a Mario Balotelli penalty in a competitive match.

“We have been putting together dossiers on penalty takers for years. Our goalkeeping coach does a great job, as he already did against Milan with Dudek in Istanbul. Of the five takers in that Final, we knew where four of them would place their penalties.

“Milan played well, so it wasn’t easy for us to counter Balotelli’s position between the lines. We needed to make adjustments and are at the start of this journey, so we need to improve many things, but winning away to Milan a Coach has to be happy.

“The important thing was to show this character right to the end. It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but to come here and win for a fifth consecutive victory is impressive.”

Benitez also revealed why Christian Maggio was left on the bench in favour of Giandomenico Mesto.

“Maggio was not on the pitch because Mesto is a great player. He also had a bit of a knee problem, so there was no need to risk him.”

Allegri: 'Balotelli is hysterical'
23.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri told off Mario Balotelli for his “hysteria,” but insists Milan had “the best performance of the season.”

Balotelli saw his penalty saved by Pepe Reina and was sent off at the final whistle for dissent in a 2-1 defeat to Napoli.

“I didn’t speak to Mario, but I’m told he received another booking. He received a fair few kicks, including many from behind, though he overall had a good game,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“When games are over it’s better to stay quiet and I am against hysteria. It’s best to just shut up and leave rather than stay there arguing with the referee, as it’s not going to change anything. Balotelli needs to improve that.

“Tonight the team put in a decent performance in technical terms, though we were naive in the first 10 minutes and conceded that avoidable goal. It was in a way our best performance of the Serie A season so far. We were lucky to get back the 2-2 draw at Torino, so we paid for that good fortune this time around.

“If we were going to play badly and earn a result, I preferred to play well and lose, even if this was a head-to-head. We could’ve done better in the box, but apart from the opening 10 minutes it was our best performance of the season.”

Milan conceded their third header of the campaign and were caught ball-watching on Miguel Angel Britos’ early goal.

“We defended badly and in the wrong way, as we should’ve realised straight away they were going to do that. We need to improve our defending in the box, but that doesn’t take away from the fact I think the team played well.

“People said Milan were lucky at Torino, so tonight we were unlucky, as Balotelli didn’t convert a penalty and we hit the bar too. If we had converted that penalty, then perhaps we had time to get the match back on level terms. We have to improve at the back, as we can’t think of winning games when we concede an average of two per match.”

Milan are now in 11th place with only four points from as many Serie A matches.

“We must try to pick up as many points as possible now. Napoli are one of the candidates for the Scudetto and we played on a par with them overall despite missing many key players.

“I already have ideas on how to fix things, but I need some of the players to recover from injuries first.”

Reina: 'I studied Balotelli'
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Pepe Reina became the first goalkeeper ever to save Mario Balotelli’s penalty and confirmed he studied the striker.

“As always, we studied the Milan players. We knew Mario was very strong at penalties, but I managed to get it,” the goalkeeper told Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli earned a 2-1 victory at San Siro, a fixture they hadn’t won since the days of Diego Armando Maradona in April 1986.

“This was extra motivation for us, as we knew Napoli’s last win here was a long time ago and winning in a stadium like this against a strong Milan side really boosts our confidence.”

The Partenopei are joint top of the table alongside Roma and have a perfect record in all competition under Coach Rafa Benitez.

“As Benitez would say, we are still only at 73 per cent! It has been a great start to the season, but we are on the right track and like this we can win something.”

Serie A: AC Milan 1:2 Napoli - match report
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Britos 6 (N), Higuain 54 (N), Balotelli 91 (M)

Mario Balotelli saw a penalty saved for the first time in career, as Napoli ended their Milan curse to conquer San Siro 2-1.

Something had to give at San Siro, as Napoli had a 100 per cent record in four competitive games this season, but their last victory here was in 1986. The Rossoneri’s injury crisis continued with Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy, Riccardo Montolivo, Giampaolo Pazzini, Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre and Daniele Bonera sidelined. Ignazio Abate, M’Baye Niang and Andrea Poli returned, but Valter Birsa was again in the trequartista role. Napoli surprisingly rested Christian Maggio for Giandomenico Mesto.

It was a blistering start and after three minutes Lorenzo Insigne’s ball over the top found an unmarked Valon Behrami, but the volley was well over from the penalty spot. Gonzalo Higuain drilled inches wide of the near post moments later after Cristian Zapata’s error.

The goal felt inevitable and arrived when Raul Albiol knocked a free kick back across for a Miguel Angel Britos totally free header from four yards.

Milan finally ventured forward and Pepe Reina got down to beat away a Mario Balotelli strike, then his free kick whistled wide and the goalkeeper smothered another good chance.

Marek Hamsik’s deflected header, an Alessandro Matri nod down and Birsa shot charged down added to the chances, but Balotelli should’ve done better when blasting a volley over from a corner. Juan Camilo Zuniga clattered into Poli at the by-line, but the goal line referee was inches away and waved play on. From that corner, Balotelli’s attempted overhead kick just ended up booting Raul Albiol in the head. After the restart Reina didn’t come for a cross and was fortunate Philippe Mexes prodded the finish right at him.

Napoli doubled their lead when Abbiati got a hand to a Higuain screamer from distance and was unable to keep it out, as it bounced up under the bar. It was an error from the goalkeeper on his 300th Serie A appearance.

Robinho replaced Birsa and the referee awarded a penalty when Balotelli was sandwiched between Britos and Albiol. However, for the first time in his professional career, Balotelli failed to convert a penalty. The Reina picked the right angle and it was fairly central by the usual standards, so he palmed it off the line. It ended SuperMario’s run of 21 consecutive spot-kicks.

Balotelli’s chipped pass found Matri, but Reina was quicker to it. Balo has never scored against Napoli before and the curse continued, as he burst between centre-backs only on Matri’s assist for his shot to smash against the crossbar.

Reina flew to fingertip another Balotelli attempt out from under the bar and the striker had strong penalty appeals when Giandomenico Mesto appeared to clip his heels as he ran into the box. From that corner, Mexes flashed his shot across the face of goal.

It just wasn’t going in for Milan, as Niang’s volley from a corner was charged down by teammate Matri. Abbiati spilled a Jose Maria Callejon effort and Goran Pandev couldn’t finish it off on the rebound.

Balotelli did finally break through in stoppages with a sensational curler from the edge of the box into the far top corner.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate (Nocerino 79), Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Poli (Niang 72), De Jong, Muntari; Birsa (Robinho 56); Matri, Balotelli

Napoli: Reina; Mesto, Albiol, Britos, Zuniga; Dzemaili, Behrami; Insigne (Inler 83), Hamsik (Pandev 67), Callejon; Higuain (Mertens 77)
Ref: Banti

Saved penalty: Balotelli 61 (M)

Serie A: AC Milan vs. Napoli - lineups
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa, Matri, Balotelli.

Napoli: Reina; Mesto, Albiol, Britos, Zuniga; Dzemaili, Behrami; Insigne, Hamsik, Callejon; Higuain.

Zapata: 'No Higuain grudge'
22.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zapata admits he’s got previous with Gonzalo Higuain, calls Mario Balotelli ‘El Loco’ and hasn’t forgiven UEFA.

The Milan defender is due to start this evening when Napoli come to San Siro at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

“I have had words with Higuain before, when we were on international duty,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

They were both sent off for kicking out during an Argentina-Colombia World Cup qualifier in July.

“In any case, I am not someone who holds a grudge. I just want to do my work. We have an excellent opportunity to get back into the title race and we must win at all costs.

“Napoli are stronger than last season, but the side I saw in the 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund didn’t frighten me.”

Milan also won their Champions League tie on Wednesday, though Zapata was upset to see his first ever goal for the club credited as a Celtic own goal.

“I’ve seen much worse deflections than that and they were still credited to the player who went for goal. It does irritate me, as I feel that the goal was mine. It left a bitter taste in the mouth, though it contributed to the victory and that’s all that counts.”

Zapata was on loan last season, but Milan made his move permanent over the summer and he thanks Massimiliano Allegri.

“He helped me a great deal, as I had lost my confidence in Spain and he brought it back. He knew which buttons to press.

“Would I rather have Balotelli or Higuain at Milan? I’ve had the good fortune to play with people like Radamel Falcao and Antonio Di Natale, but must admit the one who caused me the most problems in training was ‘El Loco,’ as I call Mario.”

Abate and Niang return
21.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have called up 20 players for the clash with Napoli, though Ignazio Abate and M’Baye Niang return.

San Siro hosts the big match on Sunday evening at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

The injury crisis is still affecting Massimiliano Allegri’s side, as they are without Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre.

Abate and Niang return from their lay-offs.

AC Milan squad for Napoli: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola; Abate, Constant, Mexes, Vergara, Zaccardo, Zapata; Birsa, Cristante, Emanuelson, De Jong, Muntari, Nocerino, Poli; Balotelli, Matri, Niang, Robinho.

Allegri: 'Why are Napoli favourites?'
21.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Max Allegri doesn’t see why Napoli should be considered favourites against Milan, even if they have the “diabolical” Gonzalo Higuain.

San Siro hosts the big clash on Sunday evening at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

“I think the only reason Napoli are considered to be favourites is because they have nine points. We are missing the points from our game with Verona,” argued the Coach in his Press conference.

“Napoli are playing good football and they have a good collective. Rafa Benitez has done well, as it was difficult to change the side after so many years to adopt a 4-4-2 system. It is going to be a balanced game.

“Higuain is diabolical, as he seems to vanish out of matches, but in truth he’s always present. Marek Hamsik is confirming his status in Europe and Jose Maria Callejon is international level.”

The injury crisis has still ruled out Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy, Riccardo Montolivo and Mattia De Sciglio, but Allegri does have some good news.

“Ignazio Abate and M’Baye Niang are available tomorrow. Andrea Poli is 100 per cent fit. We’ll see tomorrow what is to be done. I am convinced the lads will have a great game.

“It’s going to be tough for both teams, but we both have players who can do damage and therefore have to be wary of that. We have to improve as a side, but it’s also true that we did what we could against Celtic with the players at our disposal.”

Mario Balotelli has never beaten Napoli in his career, losing all three encounters, but is starting to form a partnership with Alessandro Matri.

“He sacrificed himself for the team and needs to improve, but then this is the first time he is a real protagonist from the start of the season. I liked the way they played together, as Matri fought hard to create space for Balotelli.

“Robinho did well against Cagliari and I have to take the balance of the side into consideration. He played 60 minutes against Torino, but right now playing with three strikers upfront could be difficult. I could make adjustments during the game.”

Milan have stuttered so far this term, losing to Verona and scraping a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Torino.

“I didn’t expect us to have a better start to the season, as the important thing is we end the games running hard. Of course, the Champions League preliminary round cost us a lot of energy and we have to chase the others, but there’s a long way to go.”

Benitez: 'No AC Milan - Napoli favourites'
21.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Rafa Benitez expects two attacking teams to go at it on Sunday night, so “it doesn’t matter” whether Napoli or Milan are considered favourites.

The Scudetto showdown at San Siro kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

The Partenopei are eager to maintain their 100 per cent record between Serie A and Champions League, but haven’t won this fixture since 1986.

“It doesn’t matter if people say we are favourites, as others would suggest Milan are the favourites, but either way it won’t change the game,” said Benitez in his Press conference.

“Milan are a side with a great attacking mentality and players who can make the difference. We’re talking about a very strong team. Mario Balotelli and Gonzalo Higuain are both excellent forwards of a very high level. I’m satisfied with Gonzalo, just as Milan are with Balotelli, but I think this clash will be decided by the collective and not individuals.”

The Rossoneri might be stuttering in their results and performances, but Benitez does not expect that situation to last.

“Milan are a very strong team and club. I played two Champions League Finals against them for Liverpool. A victory for Napoli would confirm we are on the right track. We’re still at the start of the season and have a lot of improvements to make. We must do well to always take our approach.”

Enthusiasm is sky high at Napoli after they went top of the Serie A table and beat Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

“The important thing is that we are working week after week, then we can eventually look at how far we’ve come,” added the Coach.

“When you play and win against Borussia Dortmund, proving this character, it is a message for the season.

“Having said that, we cannot rest on our laurels. We can still improve and can’t stop here.”

Napoli squad: Rafael, Reina, Colombo, Albiol, Britos, Cannavaro, Fernandez, Armero, Behrami, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Inler, Maggio, Mesto, Zuniga, Callejon, Mertens, Higuain, Insigne, Pandev, Duvan.

Higuain 'turned down AC Milan'
21.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are reports Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain was twice close to Milan, but turned them down.

The Argentina international is due to face the Rossoneri at San Siro on Sunday evening.

According to the Corriere dello Sport, ‘Pipita’ had a few near-misses when it came to Milan during his career.

The first proposal was in November 2006, as Marca claimed director Ariedo Braida made an attempt to poach Higuain from River Plate before he could complete his transfer to Real Madrid.

When that move failed, the Italian side opted to spend €7.5m on Real’s ex-Inter man Ronaldo instead.

Another approach was made six months later, but in the summer of 2007 Real Madrid and Higuain reportedly turned down an offer worth €24m.

The Corriere dello Sport also reveals Higuain risked death when he contracted meningitis at the age of 10 months.

Despite a 50 per cent chance of death and a 45 per cent chance of permanent brain damage, little Gonzalo made a complete recovery. It’s claimed the ambulance was late, so his mother ran to the hospital with the baby in her arms.

VIDEO: Balotelli in AC Milan photo session
21.9 || webmaster

'Mexes never thought of leaving'
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Philippe Mexes’ agent has claimed that his client never thought about leaving Milan over the summer.

The French defender was linked in some quarters with a move to Arsenal, but the player’s representative has insisted that is nonsense, and the centre-back is happy at San Siro.

“For Philippe, it is all about Milan,” Olivier Jouanneaux told CalcioMercato. “The dream is to win with the Rossoneri.

“In the past he has never even considered for a moment leaving Milan. He always wanted to stay and become a better player at the club.

“He has bought a house in the city and feels comfortable at the club.

“I think this is a positive time for Philippe. For me the Mexes-Zapata partnership is a very good one – I’m sure with the passage of time they will improve too.”

'Champions League in AC Milan DNA'
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has again underlined how the Champions League theme tune inspires the Diavolo.

“The three points on Wednesday against Celtic were very important,” the official stated on Friday. “We’re on top of the group.

“I read a statistic this morning that filled me with pride.

“Since the 1988-89 season, Milan has been involved in the Champions League 19 times, much more than any other Italian team.

“It shows that the Champions League is in our DNA.”

Milan, who will also face Barcelona and Ajax in the group stage this season, have won the European Cup on seven occasions during their illustrious history.

Niang ready to face Napoli
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang has declared himself fit and ready for action ahead of Sunday’s Serie A game against Napoli.

The 18-year-old only returned to training this week after injury, but he’s placed himself at the total disposal of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“I’m available for selection,” he told Milan Channel. “I’m always ready. I’m training well and I feel fit. When the Coach calls on me, I’ll try and give my all.

“I can offer my qualities to the team to win games, but there are other players besides me who are helping the team.

“I’ve already played as a central striker in France so that’s not a new role for me so I can do whatever the Coach asks of me.”

Niang may be needed at some stage at the weekend given that Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy are set to be unavailable.

“It’s good to play in games like the one against Napoli. We hope to do well and to put in a good performance.”

Niang has featured in one Serie A game so far this season for the Diavolo.

Galliani: AC Milan - Napoli not decisive
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan chief Adriano Galliani insists the result of the game against Napoli won’t be too significant at this stage of the season.

The two teams will meet at San Siro on Sunday where the Azzurri will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent record.

“The result won’t be decisive,” the official said on Friday. “I remember last season that everyone was saying that we were dead, but we still managed to get into the Champions League.

“Are Napoli the anti-Juve? I don’t know as it’s too early. Napoli have started the campaign well, but it is hard to judge in mid September.

“The championship will end in the middle of May…”

Galliani was also asked about the likely sale of city rivals Inter, with owner Massimo Moratti set to give Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir a 70 per cent controlling stake.

“It could be a good start for Serie A. Football has changed, we have to be aware of that. There are great resources in certain countries of the world, but not in Italy.

“In England there are 14 sides who don’t have English owners. It’s globalisation.”

'Kaka is signing of the summer'
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Parma defender Felipe believes Milan’s capture of Kaka was the best move of the summer transfer window.

While Juventus netted Carlos Tevez from Manchester City and Napoli spent €37.5m on Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain, the Diavolo brought Kaka back four years after selling him to Real.

“I think Kaka was the best signing,” the stopper, 29, told Sportal. “He has a great desire to show that he is still a great player.

“He may have had to stop now because of his injury, but, in my opinion, he will do some great things this season.”

The attacking midfielder, signed on a free transfer after being sold for €65m, is expected to be sidelined for about a month because of a muscle strain.

Felipe joined Parma in July after spending the last three seasons at Fiorentina, Cesena and Siena.

Constant ahead of AC Milan - Napoli
20.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin Constant believes Milan have what it takes to finally bring a stop to Napoli’s winning start to the season.

The two teams will meet in Week 4 and the Azzurri will arrive at San Siro with a 100 per cent record in Serie A and an impressive showing in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“Napoli have started well this season and they won against Borussia Dortmund too,” the former Genoa man told Milan Channel.

“We’ll try and show that we’re the better side so we have to work well in the next three days ahead of the Sunday evening match.

“There are many games to go, but we have to be ready to give all we can regardless of the opponent.”

The Diavolo do have a number of injuries that they are dealing with, but Constant has pinpointed Nigel De Jong as a key man for Massimiliano Allegri’s outfit.

“Nigel is a very important player for us,” the 26-year-old added. “He talks a lot on the pitch and makes himself heard. He’s a real leader.”

Benedicic signs AC Milan extension
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Youth team player Zan Benedicic has signed a new contract with Italian giants Milan, the club have confirmed.

The Slovenian, a midfielder in Pippo Inzaghi’s Primavera side, is now tied to the Rossoneri until the summer of 2016.

Benedicic, born in October 1995, has already represented his country at Under-21 level. His previous deal was set to expire next June.

Fiorentina and Chievo Verona were keeping an eye on his contract situation.

AC Milan trio return to training
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Riccardo Saponara, M’Baye Niang and Ignazio Abate all returned to Milan training on Thursday following injury.

The Diavolo’s treatment room is packed with players, but boss Massimiliano Allegri has been boosted with the reappearance of the trio today.

Abate and Saponara ended this morning’s training session in the gym.

Allegri, however, is still without the likes of Kaka, Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre.

Milan will entertain Napoli in Serie A this weekend.

Zaccardo explains AC Milan choice
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zaccardo says he decided to stay with Milan over the summer because he wants to lift major silverware.

The defender joined the club in January, but he had appeared in just one game before the recent injury crisis at San Siro.

“I’ve now got my chance,” stated the 2006 World Cup winner after the 2-0 win over Celtic in the Champions League.

“The important thing is to be ready to play mentally.

“Things went well at Torino on Saturday apart form the first goal and things went better against Celtic. The more I play the better I’ll be.”

The defender was linked with a recent move away given his lack of action, but the 31-year-old opted to stay and fight for a place in the side.

“I didn’t accept any of the offers I had in the summer as I want to stay here. At Milan I have the chance to win something.”

AC Milan injuries don't concern Muntari
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sulley Muntari thinks the Milan squad is big enough to deal with the current injury crisis at San Siro.

The Diavolo beat Celtic 2-0 last night, but boss Massimiliano Allegri was without the likes of Kaka, Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre.

“We’re fine about the injury situation,” the midfielder, who scored in the Champions League tie, commented.

“The players who aren’t injured are managing well and some of the others are coming back to training already.

“Andrea Poli today and Riccardo Saponara, M’Baye Niang and Abate tomorrow. We’ll just have to work even harder until the others come back. We’re a good squad.”

After beating Celtic on Wednesday, Muntari has switched his attention to the club’s future fixtures at home and abroad.

“They were three big points against Celtic, but it’s only the start. Now we have the match with Ajax and then we’ll be up against Barcelona.

“Napoli at the weekend? We know they are a tough team to face and they spent a lot in the summer, but we always have to aim to win regardless of the opponents.”

Milan are not only struggling with a lack of options, but their strikers are finding it tough to find the back of the net.

Mario Balotelli has three goals so far this season, while Robinho has one.

“The goals will come for the forwards,” added Muntari who also netted against Torino at the weekend. “For the moment, we midfielders will look after things.

“Alessandro Matri and Balotelli have always scored goals and they’ll continue to do so. When Kaka links up with them, we’ll have some fun.”

Lennon: 'Celtic the better team'
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Celtic manager Neil Lennon believed they “were the better team” against Milan at San Siro, despite the 2-0 defeat.

“I’m very disappointed because for long periods of the game we were the better team,” he said in a Press conference.

“So to come away from San Siro without a point or even three points is a mark of how well we’ve developed and played tonight.

“You have to take your chances when you’re on top. Unfortunately we didn’t get the break of the ball tonight and Milan did with that deflection.”

Cristian Zapata’s shot was credited as an Emilio Izaguirre own goal, while Sulley Muntari turned in the rebound from a Mario Balotelli free kick.

“I think the scoreline flatters Milan tonight. I don’t think there’s two goals between the teams tonight. We dominated Milan for 20 minutes in the second half and the last 10 minutes of the first half.

“Apart from the Muntari chance, the goalkeeper had nothing to do in the second half and we frustrated them to long range shots over the bar. We played really good football and had good chances tonight, so that’ll be the one regret coming away.

“I don’t know why anyone is so surprised, because we made the last 16 last year and that wasn’t a fluke. We were in good spirits coming into the game and fancied we could get some kind of result here.

“Sometimes in football you prefer to play badly and get the result, but the performance was of a very high standard tonight.

“We’re a bit sore at the minute. We didn’t hang on, rely on the goalkeeper to make save after save or see wave after wave of pressure from Milan.

“We took the game to them and I think we surprised a lot of people tonight with the standard of performance. I felt at times we were the better team playing the better football.”

Abbiati: 'What the ref told me...'
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan goalkeeper Cristian Abbiati reveals what the referee told him about the bizarre Celtic incident.

The Rossoneri won 2-0, but there was an odd moment when the referee awarded an indirect free kick inside the box.

It was thought this was down to a backpass, but replays and Abbiati confirm it was for picking it up after having already handled.

“I have been doing that for 20 years, so I never knew it was a foul. How many times does someone save a shot, then pick it up on the rebound? I didn’t see it as a ‘control’ of the ball, but oh well...” the goalkeeper told Sky Sport Italia.

Once again, Milan left it late to get a result and eventually emerged with a 2-0 victory.

“We played well and it wasn’t easy, as Celtic move very well in attack. We defended strongly and didn’t allow many scoring opportunities, knowing that sooner or later we would score. It was very important to get the three points tonight.

“I am not worried, as the attitude is the right one. We might have made a few mistakes, but we attacked and had several chances. When we lost the ball, we’d fight to get it back straight away, so this is the right approach.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan always believed'
19.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Max Allegri concedes Milan “were fortunate with the goal” and has more good news after their 2-0 win over Celtic.

“It was important to win and we struggled at the start of the second half, as we couldn’t get it clear. We were fortunate with the goal,” confessed the Coach on Sky Sport Italia.

“It was a good victory for a group of players who were whittled down to the bone, but played with substance. What counted was getting the points.

“I am not angry at always getting the goals in the final stages, as if all games went like this I’d be happy! The truth is towards the end the spaces open up more and we can create more chances.

“We do have to improve, as we gave the ball away too much and tried to force the passes through, but it was a good reaction from the side to earn victory.

“The lads have heart and desire, as they know a game is always open until the final whistle, as we saw against Torino. What we do need to improve is how we read the game, knowing when to take up the tempo or slow it down. We started playing Celtic’s game with long balls, which is what we should not be doing.

“We must always try to think positive. I have faith in the last 15-20 minutes of a game, as I know anything can happen there. The substitutions helped, as they did on Saturday.

“We won our first Scudetto thanks to our form from January onwards, while we lost the second title because of injuries. I often consider players on the bench to be more important than those in the starting XI.”

Milan face Napoli in a Serie A showdown on Sunday evening.

“This result also means we can prepare as best we can for the game with Napoli on Sunday. I have to compliment Rafa Benitez, who in a few months has been able to transform their playing style.

“M’Baye Niang, Ignazio Abate and Andrea Poli should all be back on Sunday, we have a few days to recover enthusiasm and fitness levels for the first big head-to-head of our season.

“I do not envy Benitez’s squad at all. I am happy with the side at my disposal, I think we’ll have a good season and in Serie A have plenty of time to make up for the early setbacks.”

Champions League: AC Milan 2:0 Celtic - match report
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Izaguirre og 82 (M), Muntari 86 (M)

Milan left it late, but pushed past Celtic 2-0 thanks to Cristian Zapata’s deflected shot and Sulley Ali Muntari.

The Rossoneri hoped to put their Serie A problems aside for this Champions League opener, although the injury crisis left Max Allegri with precious few options. Absentees included Stephan El Shaarawy, Kaka, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio and Matias Silvestre, while M’Baye Niang and Riccardo Saponara are ineligible. Valter Birsa was given his full Milan debut. Celtic missed James Forrest and Joe Ledley.

Early doors Fraser Forster did well to beat away a Mario Balotelli volley from Birsa’s cross, then rushed off his line to close down Birsa for a corner.

Christian Abbiati ran a huge risk when he picked up what the referee considered to be a Cristian Zaccardo backpass, but Charlie Mulgrew’s indirect free kick from inside the penalty area was blocked.

Forster was called into action again by an Alessandro Matri header on Zaccardo’s cross, knocking it over with his wrist. Antonio Nocerino’s half-volley dipped just inches over the bar and Philippe Mexes charged down a Stokes effort after Birsa’s poor backpass surprised Zapata.

Celtic had their best chance of the game so far at the dawn of the second half, as Georgos Samaras went on a solo run and unleashed a shot that skimmed the upright.

Zapata couldn’t keep his header on target from a corner and Mexes deflected a long-range Kris Commons strike just past the post with Abbiati beaten.

Sulley Ali Muntari should’ve broken the deadlock on 63 minutes when he was found unmarked at the back post by a Zapata cross, but somehow nodded over the bar.

Abbiati haphazardly punched away a Commons cross and Antonio Nocerino had to charge down the Samaras follow-up. Commons then went on the counter from a Balotelli free kick and Nigel De Jong was decisive in taking the edge off Brown’s finish, allowing Abbiati to smother.

Zapata finally broke through with a bit of luck, as his snapshot looked to be going wide before it hit Izaguirre’s shins and was redirected into the near bottom corner. It was the Colombian defender’s first goal in a Milan jersey.

Muntari made it 2-0 soon after, as Balotelli’s free kick was flapped on to the woodwork and the Ghanaian was there to tap in the rebound from point-blank range.

Milan 2-0 Celtic

Scorers: Izaguirre og 82 (M), Muntari 86 (M)

Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant (Robinho 75); Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa (Emanuelson 64); Balotelli, Matri (Poli 86)

Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Van Dijk, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Matthews (Boerrigter 74), Brown, Mulgrew (Biton 89); Samaras; Commons (Pukki 77), Stokes

Ref: Stark (GER)

Champions League: AC Milan vs. Celtic - lineups
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa; Balotelli, Matri.

Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Van Dijk, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Matthews, Brown, Mulgrew; Samaras; Commons, Stokes.

AC Milan and Napoli win UEFA Youth ties
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Napoli beat Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Youth League, Milan swept Celtic aside and Juventus drew in Copenhagen.

From this season the Champions League is mirrored by the youth teams of these clubs coming face to face in a similar structure.

This means on Tuesday Juventus were held to a 2-2 draw by Copenhagen, just as the senior squad drew 1-1 last night.

The Bianconeri had taken the lead through Garcia and Sakor, but Wohlegemuth converted a penalty at the 94th minute for the hosts.

Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Galatasaray, so all the Group B teams are level on one point.

In today’s fixtures, Napoli beat Borussia Dortmund’s youth side 1-0 in Aversa, as Tutin scored from the spot.

It was an ill-tempered game, as Borussia had Mbende sent off after 15 minutes and Stenzel before the break, then Guardiglio and Romano saw red for Napoli in the second half.

Arsenal crushed Olympique Marseille 4-1 in France, so they top Group F along with the Partenopei.

Milan got the better of Celtic’s youth team 3-1, as Pinato bagged a brace around Lindsay’s temporary equaliser and Tamas finished off the rout.

Barcelona’s youth side beat Ajax 4-1 to go joint top of Group H.

Champions League: AC Milan vs. Celtic - probable lineups
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan probable line-up: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Birsa; Balotelli, Matri.

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola; Constant, Mexes, Iotti, Zaccardo, Zapata; Benedicic, Birsa, Cristante, De Jong, Emanuelson, Modic, Muntari, Nocerino, Pedone, Poli; Balotelli, Matri, Robinho.

Galliani: AC Milan have no excuses
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has warned that there will be ‘no excuses’ ahead of the Rossoneri’s clash with Celtic.

The San Siro side face the Scottish champions in their opening Champions League game of the season this evening.

But they will do so without a number of key players, missing through injury.

“Obviously we are disappointed,” he told Italia Uno. “But negativity just leads to more negativity.

“Even if we played with 11 reserves, I would not want to hear any excuses.

“Despite all the misfortunes of recent years, Milan have played in this competition for five consecutive years.”

Matri targets World Cup 2014
18.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri is hoping his move to Milan will help secure him a place at the 2014 World Cup with Italy.

The striker moved to the Diavolo in late August after an €11m fee was agreed with Italian champions Juventus.

“I do dream of the national side,” admitted the 29-year-old. “And I want to give it a go. Doing well for my club will only increase my chances of convincing boss Cesare Prandelli.

“I want to be an important player and I want to assume my responsibilities in this Milan side, a club where I was born and grew up in footballing terms.

“I always work hard to demonstrate my qualities.”

Matri has scored one goal in five caps for his country, but he hasn’t been a regular in the Giro Azzurro during Prandelli’s reign.

The centre-forward scored on his debut against the Ukraine in March 2011, while his last cap came in February 2012 versus USA.

AC Milan target Honda cup-tied
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Keisuke Honda is playing for CSKA Moscow in the Champions League tonight, so will be cup-tied if he joins Milan in January.

The Japan international is in the starting XI against holders Bayern Munich this evening.

If a player makes even one appearance for a club in the Champions League group phase, then he cannot play for any other side in the same competition that season.

Milan are believed to already have an agreement for Honda when his contract expires on December 31.

However, the creative midfielder has recently suggested they are “only one option,” as he also has offers from the Premier League.

It’s suggested the English clubs interested are Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.

Lennon: 'Celtic not gallant losers'
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Neil Lennon has warned Celtic don’t want to be seen as “gallant losers” in the Champions League against Milan.

They have been placed in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ with Barcelona and Ajax, but begin the tournament at San Siro on Wednesday night.

“I would love us to win, but, more importantly, I want to see a performance,” he told the Glasgow Evening Times.

“And I don't want us to be gallant losers, either. I want us to go to the San Siro, play strongly, and play with the maturity we are starting to show.”

The Scottish champions are without James Forrest due to a back injury, while Joe Ledley and Adam Matthews are at risk with a groin and ankle problem respectively.

“I’m very happy to be here,” added Lennon in his Press conference.

“We want to do well in this game and we have to experience to do it. It’ll be a tough game and it’s a tough group.

“I’ve thought long about the line-up and I saw Milan play on Saturday, but I’ve decided not to change our formation and to play as we know how to. We have to focus on the game but we’ve definitely gained from last season’s experience.”

Celtic were knocked out in the second round by Juventus in 2012-13.

AC Milan squad for Celtic
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have had to call up four youth team players for the Champions League tie with Celtic.

The Rossoneri are dealing with an injury crisis that has ruled out Kaka, Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre.

AC Milan squad for Celtic: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola, Constant, Mexes, Iotti, Zaccardo, Zapata, Benedicic, Birsa, Cristante, de Jong, Emanuelson, Modic, Muntari, Nocerino, Pedone, Poli, Balotelli, Matri, Robinho.

Stokes: 'AC Milan one of the best'
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes warns they are “playing against some of the best sides in Europe,” starting with Milan tomorrow.

This group is the first one in the history of the Champions League to include four former winners – Celtic, Milan, Barcelona and Ajax.

“It´s going to be tough, obviously, as we´re going to be playing against some of the best sides in Europe,” Stokes told Celtic View.

“It will be hard but no matter who we had been drawn with, I would have been standing here saying it was going to be a tough game. We will focus on ourselves and try to do as best as we can.

“Is it the kind of draw we wanted? Yes and no – when you´re at this stage you want to test yourself against the best in the world and we´re certainly going to be doing that over the next few weeks.”

Allegri hits out at Pato
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has responded to comments made by Alexandre Pato, criticising Milan for his injuries.

Then Brazilian forward claimed that the Rossoneri doctors were the reason he suffered so many setbacks at San Siro.

But the Coach has insisted that is not the case.

“Talking about something in the past does not make sense,” he told a Press conference.

“Pato is playing in Brazil now and I think he’s doing pretty well.

“But making unfounded accusations towards those who work in a professional manner is not pretty.”

Matri warns of Celtic test
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri has warned his Milan side against any complacency when they face Celtic tomorrow.

The Rossoneri host the Scottish League winners in their first Champions League match of the season, and the striker has admitted that making his European debut will be a fantastic occasion.

“There is emotion, for sure,” he told a Press conference. “Last playing against Celtic brought me luck, so hopefully I can repeat that again.

“I’ve dreamed about it for a long time. I would love to get a victory on my debut and score a goal.

“The numbers show that Celtic are better at home than they are away, but they are a strong team and good technically.”

Allegri: We're fighting for second
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that Milan will be fighting for second place behind Barcelona in their Champions League group.

The Rossoneri play Celtic tomorrow in their first European match of the campaign, and the Coach has conceded that it will be between his side, the Scottish champions and Ajax for second.

“Barcelona are clearly the strongest team in the group,” he told a Press conference. “We’ll be looking for more points that Celtic and Ajax.

“We’ll obviously try to fight with Barcelona for first place, but it will not be easy. Champions League matches are a lot different than League games.

“You have to try and limit the opponents without granting them counter-attacks. We need to find our own strength. If you defend better and attack better, then you’ll win.

“The whole team has grown in terms of Europe and we must continue to do so. We struggled last time out against Torino – conceding two goals on the break.

“The good thing from that game was that we fought right until the end, but we have to start over again now.

“We played a bad game, but tomorrow will be a lot different. It is our first game against a very physical side who will be difficult to deal with.

“But with the crowd behind us, there’s no reason why we can’t do well.”

Pato: AC Milan doctors to blame
17.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Alexandre Pato has blamed the medical team at Milan for his persistent injuries during his time at the club.

The Brazilian forward was plagued by setbacks in his seven-year career at San Siro, but has since gone on to play more regularly for new club Corinthians.

“My muscle troubles were not down to me,” he told Sport TV. “I had many injuries at Milan.

“I was playing, getting injured, recovering and then going back in to see the physio.

“It is the fault of the doctors who were forcing me to return to the pitch too soon.”

Galliani: 'Kaka phoned me crying'
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani has congratulated Kaka after the Brazilian playmaker insisted not to be paid whilst injured.

The attacker is set to be out for a month with a thigh injury, and has told the Rossoneri not to pay him whilst he is on the sidelines.

“Kaka has made an extraordinary gesture in deciding not get paid while injured,” Galliani told reporters.

“He deserves to be applauded.

Kaka was crying because of his injury when I spoke with him on the phone yesterday.

“It's nothing to ashamed of."

Lustig warns of Balotelli threat
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig has ear-marked Mario Balotelli as Milan’s main danger when the two teams face each other.

The Rossoneri host the Scottish champions on Wednesday in their first Champions League game of the season.

And the Hoops centre-back has warned that the former Manchester City man is the biggest threat.

“Balotelli, especially this year, seems more mature, more of a team man,” he told reporters. “Balotelli can do it all.

“I played against him once, and he scored in that game. He is a top player, but we managed to stop some excellent players last year.

“Balotelli is a strong player, but we have to focus on our own game.

“Last season was amazing for us. We did very well in the group stages and we hope to repeat that.

“We know that, especially at Celtic Park, we can beat anyone.”

Sacchi predicts AC Milan revival
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arrigo Sacchi has backed Massimiliano Allegri to get his stuttering Milan side back on the right track.

The Diavolo lost their opening League game of the season at Verona, while they needed an injury-time penalty to secure a 2-2 draw at Torino on Saturday after going 2-0 down.

“Allegri is used to seeing his sides have slow starts to the season, but then he’s been able to get the ship back on course,” Sacchi, a former Rossonero tactician, told Radio Onda Libera.

“He’s also struggling with injuries right now, Kaka who has only just returned and a few youngsters who are not living up to their potential.

“The side is still not expressing itself with the right compactness right now, but they have excellent offensive qualities and I’m sure they will come through.”

Allegri is currently without the injured Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera, Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo, Kaka and Andrea Poli.

Bojan ahead of Barcelona and AC Milan reunion
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ajax’s Bojan Krkic has been left indifferent to the fact that he’ll face former clubs Milan and Barcelona in the Champions League this season.

Ajax have been placed in the same group as the two European giants, a section which also contains Celtic.

“Facing Barca and Milan doesn’t make me glad nor does it bother me,” the 23-year-old told Mundo Deportivo.

“I was watching the draw and I had not even considered that we could end up in that group.

“But I have taken it very positively. In the end, they are tough opponents, but also attractive, and I am very excited to begin the competition.”

Krkic ended up in Holland this summer after problematic spells in Serie A with firstly Roma and then the Diavolo.

“Do I regret going to Italy? No,” he continued. “On the contrary. Every time I make a decision it is because I believe it is best for me.

“And once taken, I give my all and learn as much as possible. The football practiced in Italy is not the best for me, but I enjoyed being with two great clubs.

“I’ve matured as a player and as a person, I have improved tactically, I have met interesting people…I am very pleased with these two years in Rome and Milan.”

The forward scored 10 League goals in 52 Serie A games.

No pay for injured Kaka
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka says he’s asked Milan to stop paying his wages until he is fully fit after picking up an injury on Saturday.

The Brazilian, who returned to the outfit this summer four years after leaving for Real Madrid, is set to be out of action for around a month with a thigh muscle strain.

He picked up the problem during his latest debut in the 2-2 draw with Torino.

“You have probably read about my injury on the Milan website,” the attacking midfielder said in a video message to fans.

“Yesterday was a bad day for me because in all honesty I was not expecting an injury like this. It was really bad and difficult for me.

“I have spoken at length with the club, with Galliani and with the doctors to decide on a few things.

“In the end I decided that I don’t want anything from Milan except for love and support until I am better, until I am fully fit and ready to play again.

“For this reason, I have decided to suspend my current pay for this period of time. The only thing I ask is for support and help to recover properly.

“I have already started my rehabilitation and I have to say that your support and everything I have heard over the last few days really drives me on and makes me determined to come back as soon as possible.

“It is a difficult moment, but I have started to work on getting better and I hope to be back as quickly as possible to bring some joy to all you fans out there and to myself too.”

The recent Gazzetta dello Sport salary report claimed the player was on €4m a season after tax. If that figure is accurate then the player will be sacrificing around €300,000 should he be out for four weeks.

AC Milan confirm Kaka injury
16.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed they will be without new signing Kaka for at least the next 10 days – but he could be out of action for a month.

The Diavolo have released a brief statement on their website which states the summer signing from Real Madrid has picked up a left adductor problem.

The Brazilian suffered the thigh strain in his second League debut for the Diavolo during the 2-2 draw with Torino on Saturday evening.

Although the outfit have stated that the attacking midfielder will be examined again in about 10 days, it is being claimed elsewhere that he will be sidelined for at least four weeks with the issue.

Kaka could be thus available again for the game against Udinese on October 19 – three days before the Champions League tie against Barcelona.

Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Poli also suffered injury setbacks at the weekend.

Is Kaka injured too?
15.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Spanish media claim Ricky Kaka will be out for a month with a muscular injury, but Milan have not confirmed any setback.

The Brazilian made his ‘debut’ for the Rossoneri in Saturday night’s 2-2 draw with Torino and played for 70 minutes.

There are rumours in the Spanish Press that Kaka has picked up a thigh strain that could rule him out for up to four weeks.

It would be a heavy blow if true, as Milan already have a huge injury crisis on their hands going into the Champions League against Celtic and Serie A with Napoli next weekend.

Riccardo Montolivo suffered a thigh strain against Torino and Andrea Poli was left with a heavy bruise to his leg.

They joined the already sidelined Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini, Mathias Silvestre, Daniele Bonera and Ignazio Abate.

Montolivo and Poli injured
15.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s injury crisis is deteriorating with Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Poli adding to the list ahead of Celtic and Napoli.

The Rossoneri are already without Stephan El Shaarawy, Giampaolo Pazzini, Ignazio Abate, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera and Mathias Silvestre.

The club’s medical staff released a statement this evening regarding new injuries picked up during the 2-2 draw with Torino.

Montolivo suffered a lesion to the femoral bicep in the left thigh, though more tests are needed to ascertain the length of his absence.

Poli only has a heavy bruise to his right leg, sustained during the collision with Giovanni Pasquale that earned the last-gasp penalty.

Montolivo is certainly out for Wednesday’s Champions League game with Celtic and next week’s Serie A clash with leaders Napoli, while Poli’s situation is more in the balance.

Spurs seek El Shaarawy or Llorente
15.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

English papers claim Tottenham plan a January swoop for Stephan El Shaarawy or Fernando Llorente.

The Sunday People reports this morning that Andre Villas-Boas is again looking to Serie A for reinforcements.

His main target is 20-year-old Milan starlet El Shaarawy, who has fallen down the pecking order at San Siro with the arrival of Kaka and Alessandro Matri.

‘The Little Pharaoh’ already rejected a huge offer from Chelsea over the summer, as he is a lifelong Rossoneri supporter.

However, if playing time is at a premium this season for Milan, then he could consider a Premier League switch.

The club has made it clear anyone hoping to buy El Shaarawy will have to pay at the very least £20m, as he is a full Italy international who scored 16 Serie A goals last season.

Another alternative for Spurs is Juventus centre-forward Llorente, who has barely featured since arriving on a Bosman from Athletic Bilbao.

The 28-year-old Spaniard managed just one stoppage-time substitute appearance in four competitive Juve games this season.

Director general Beppe Marotta and Coach Antonio Conte repeatedly stated they are waiting for Llorente to achieve full fitness after a year on the Bilbao bench, but there are growing reports a January loan move is preferable.

Ventura: 'It is not fair'
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Torino Coach Giampiero Ventura was furious with Milan and the referee after a last-gasp 2-2 draw. “It’s not fair.”

The Granata were livid at the final whistle when Mario Balotelli converted a penalty with the last kick of the game, but the real problem was the lead-up to that foul on Andrea Poli.

Marcelo Larrondo was down for several minutes, but when the ball went out of play the referee did not wave for the substitution. Milan resumed with a throw-in and that led to the penalty.

“I don’t think it’s fair, as we had the substitute ready for several minutes and Larrondo was down for some time,” Ventura told Sky Sport Italia.

“Once the ball went out of play we should’ve had the right to make the change. Besides which, you can’t just resume play with someone down for four minutes.

“When Larrondo told us he had a serious injury, we got the substitute ready and were waiting for the referee to give us the all-clear. We had already requested a substitution, as he was down for two or three minutes by that point.

“Maybe we need another meeting with the referees’ association and they can explain to me what happened.

“It is difficult to accept, both the result and the lack of this victory Torino absolutely deserved. I say it with great humility, but 2-0 didn’t reflect our domination over Milan tonight.

“There were 30 seconds left when we wanted that substitution, but it was not made. In the last round we lost to Atalanta with a goal everyone said should’ve been disallowed for offside.

“There are huge regrets, especially for the players, as they work hard and have the right to get the result they deserve every now and then.

“This is a positive side with many talented young players and we can grow further. Last season our objective was safety, which we achieved, and this term we want to make space for ourselves in Serie A.

“A win on top of tonight’s performance would’ve given us a big confidence boost.”

Alessio Cerci had been at risk for this match, but shook off muscular problems to start and score the second goal.

“Cerci wanted to stay on for another five minutes, but we were starting to not make the most of him and he was getting tired. He did very well, not just when attacking but also in closing down spaces.”

Allegri: 'AC Milan not good enough'
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri admits Milan’s defending “is not good enough,” but hailed their belief to come back from 2-0 down against Torino.

“Four minutes from the end we’d lost this, but the lads did well to believe. Torino played well, caused us a lot of problems and we left ourselves too open to their counter-attacks,” he said of the 2-2 draw.

“Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile had a good game in attack, while it was clear they could run at us and use their technique against our defence.”

Mario Balotelli converted a penalty to equalise with the last kick of the game, but the Coach turned his back to the pitch during that crucial moment.

Kaka made his ‘debut’ for the Rossoneri and played 70 minutes, but Riccardo Montolivo went off with a thigh problem.

“Kaka had not played for a while, though he showed great intensity and didn’t hold back. We have changed some things in our system, so it takes time to rediscover our balance. At the moment we are too soft in defence – by which I mean the whole team is not effective enough when defending. It’s not good enough.

“The ball was out of play, we had it and took it quickly. These things can happen. It’s only natural that Toro feel robbed, as they were 2-0 up with a few minutes to go, but we played fair.

“Until a week ago we had players with different characteristics, whereas tonight we had Kaka, Balotelli and Robinho in attack, so that changes things in the shape of the side. We need to find our balance quickly, but haven’t got much time because on Wednesday we have an important game against Celtic.

“Balotelli has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, so with another striker next to him it gives him a little more space.

“Unfortunately we have lost Ignazio Abate, Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio, but we’ll approach this game as best we can.”

After three Serie A rounds, Milan have a win, a draw and a defeat.

“I am not pessimistic or worried,” continued Allegri on Sky Sport Italia.

“We have to sort a few things out, but we did well in certain ways and must learn how to break down teams like Torino. This was similar to the game we won at the death last season.”

Serie A: Torino 2:2 AC Milan - match report
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: D’Ambrosio 47 (T), Cerci 71 (T), Muntari 87 (M), Balotelli pen 95 (M)

Kaka made his comeback, but Milan recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Torino in chaotic and controversial fashion.

All eyes were on Kaka, who was playing his first Serie A game since May 2009 and came in from the start, as the Rossoneri were without Stephan El Shaarawy, M’Baye Niang, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Saponara, Mattia De Sciglio, Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre. Toro’s Alessio Cerci shook off a knock to start alongside Under-21 international Ciro Immobile.

Giuseppe Vives fired not far wide from distance, while Riccardo Montolivo and Cristian Zaccardo shot straight at Daniele Padelli.

Nigel De Jong twice had to get back as an added defender to intercept very dangerous Toro counter-attacks. Cristian Zapata also put Mattia Darmian’s cross out for a corner with Immobile sliding in behind him.

The injury crisis got even worse for Massimiliano Allegri, as Montolivo clutched the back of his thigh and limped off to make way for Andrea Poli. Montolivo handed the captain’s armband over to Kaka.

Toro took the lead after the restart with Danilo D’Ambrosio. The winger sprung the offside trap and turned Christian Zaccardo inside out before drilling low past Abbiati at the near post.

Urby Emanuelson needed a perfectly-timed tackle to stop Cerci going clear in the penalty area, then Alessandro Matri replaced Robinho and immediately set up Mario Balotelli to fire over the bar.

Balotelli had penalty appeals for a tussle with Kamil Glik, but the referee waved play on, then Sulley Muntari blasted wide. Kaka’s game lasted 70 minutes and he made way to give Valter Birsa his debut.

Torino doubled their advantage with a classic counter-attack. Cerci ran on to a smart Immobile pass in the centre-circle and had a clear path to goal, where he kept his cool to chip the on-rushing Abbiati.

Balotelli completed a give-and-go with Matri to sprint into the box, but fired straight at Padelli from point-blank range.

Frustration got to the Rossoneri and De Jong was not spotted when elbowing Marcelo Larrondo.

Milan got back into the game with a frankly bizarre goal. The Torino goalkeeper punched it clear and Muntari scuffed his shot terribly from the edge of the box, but it took a deflection and rolled into the bottom corner as Padelli scrambled after it. At first Torino thought it had not been given, but after moments of confusion the complaints broke out.

The protests were even more furious when Milan were awarded a penalty at the 93rd minute. There could be no real question, though, as Giovanni Pasquale blatantly tripped Poli. Balotelli stepped up and maintained his 100 per cent record from the spot, sending Padelli the wrong way for his equalising penalty with the last kick of the game.

Torino have not beaten Milan, home or away, since a 1-0 home result in November 2001.

Torino: Padelli; Glick, Bovo, Moretti; Darmian, Brighi, Vives, El Kaddouri, D’Ambrosio (Pasqual 79); Cerci (Larrondo 76) (Farnerud 93), Immobile

Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Montolivo (Poli 42), De Jong, Muntari; Kaka (Birsa 70); Robinho (Matri 58), Balotelli

Ref: Massa

Serie A: Torino vs. AC Milan - lineups
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka makes his Serie A comeback from the start as Milan visit Torino this evening.

The Stadio Olimpico in Turin hosts this clash, which kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

All eyes will be on Kaka, who returns to the Rossoneri and Italian shores after four years at Real Madrid.

He is thrown in from the start, partly due to an injury crisis that has ruled out Stephan El Shaarawy, M’Baye Niang, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Saponara, Mattia De Sciglio, Ignazio Abate, Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre.

Robinho and Mario Balotelli complete the attack, while Cristian Zaccardo makes a rare start at right-back.

Torino won their opener against Sassuolo, but were beaten 2-0 away to Atalanta before the break for international duty.

Alessandro Gazzi, Paulo Vitor Barreto and Jean-Francois Gillet are all on long-term bans due to the Scommessopoli trial into illegal betting.

Alessio Cerci has shaken off an injury to start alongside Italy Under-21 international hitman Ciro Immobile.

It’s a special game for Mattia Darmian, who grew up in the Milan youth academy.

Torino: Padelli; Glick, Bovo, Moretti; Darmian, Brighi, Vives, El Kaddouri, D'Ambrosio; Cerci, Immobile.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari; Kakà; Robinho, Balotelli.

De Laurentiis - Balotelli mind games
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Napoli patron Aurelio De Laurentiis plays mind games on Mario Balotelli and is “scared” of Borussia Dortmund.

The President was speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss this afternoon when he publicly invited Balo's ex-girlfriend Raffaella Fico to Milan-Napoli at San Siro.

“We will watch the game together, her next to me wearing the Napoli jersey,” said De Laurentiis to Napoli fan Fico, who was also a guest on the radio show.

“That way Adriano Galliani will see us and get a bit jealous.”

It’s more likely to irritate Balotelli, who refuses to speak to or see Fico since their acrimonious separation.

She claims he called police to throw her out of his house in Manchester and has not even met daughter Pia, while he demanded a DNA test to see whether he was the father.

De Laurentiis also commented on Napoli’s Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund at the San Paolo next week.

“I have been following this club for years, impressed by their Coach and their transfer strategy. It is an incredible club, as they have a stadium that holds 80,000 people, keep the books balanced and don’t waste money on pointless buys.

“They raise their players well and are a team who scare me.”

The Napoli patron mentioned the Scudetto race will be a six-horse affair with his team, Juventus, Inter, Milan, Roma and Fiorentina.

Capello: 'Allegri not right for Italy'
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Fabio Capello insists he will retire after the Russia job, but doesn’t believe Max Allegri is the right man for Italy.

Speculation is mounting over whether Cesare Prandelli will quit in the wake of the 2014 World Cup and who his successor could be.

Capello was named as a potential candidate, but shot down any links in an interview with Fox Sports Italia.

“I will not be Prandelli’s replacement. I will close my career as a Coach after the experience with Russia,” said the former England manager.

The favourite at the moment appears to be Milan boss Allegri, though Capello is not convinced.

“He is too young and I would advise him not to become a national team Coach, but rather continue his growth process working every day on the training ground.

“Milan did well to sign Kaka, as I am sure he will do well, but the lad needs to play after three years of inconsistency at Real Madrid.”

Questioned on the Champions League, Capello picked one of his former clubs.

“In my view Real Madrid are the favourites, as this year they can win their 10th title and Carlo Ancelotti is the right man, even if the club made a mistake by selling Mesut Özil.

“They only paid €100m for Gareth Bale because Manchester United had offered €120m.”

El Shaarawy thigh strain
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy has suffered a thigh strain, so will miss out on Torino-Milan and Celtic next week.

The Italy international had been named in Milan’s squad for the Toro game, which kicks off on Saturday at 19.45 UK time.

However, he picked up a muscular problem in the final training session on Friday and the club released a statement.

El Shaarawy has suffered a muscular lesion on the femoral bicep of the right thigh.

“Over the next few days the player will undergo further tests to stabilise a prognosis and recovery time.”

It is another heavy blow for the Rossoneri, who are already missing Daniele Bonera, Giampaolo Pazzini, Matias Silvestre, Mattia De Sciglio, Ignazio Abate and M’Baye Niang.

This means it is almost certain Kaka will start tomorrow’s game with Torino.

AC Milan to try for Burdisso
14.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan could try and cure their defensive ills by signing Nicolas Burdisso in January, according to reports. believe that the Rossoneri may bid for the Roma veteran in the winter transfer window.

Mattia De Sciglio and Daniele Bonera are currently on the sidelines having undergone surgery, and Massimiliano Allegri’s men could try and plug that gab by bidding for the Argentine.

Burdisso has been linked with a return to Boca Juniors next summer when his contract expires at Stadio Olimpico.

But the website has claimed that the Diavolo could tempt him to stay in Italy in January with an offer.

AC Milan squad for Torino
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massmiliano Allegri has named his 21-man Milan squad for the game against Torino on Saturday, and it includes Kaka.

The Coach admitted in his pre-match Press conference earlier on Friday that the Brazilian was likely to start the match at Stadio Olimpico.

And it seems it wasn’t a bluff, with the playmaker being included in the squad for the clash.

AC Milan squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola, Constant, Mexes, Vergara, Zaccardo, Zapata, Birsa, Cristante, Emanuelson, De Jong, Kaka, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Poli, Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Matri, Robinho.

Ventura has 'total respect' for AC Milan
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Torino Coach Giampiero Ventura has insisted that his side have to have ‘total respect’ for Milan this weekend.

Il Toro play the Rossoneri at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, and the tactician has claimed that he wants to see an improvement from his men.

“The match against Milan will be an important test for us,” he briefly told reporters.

“Playing against such a strong opponent means we have to have total respect.

“But I also want to see growth from a performance point of view. We will try to play proactive football.”

Brighi: Balotelli the one to stop
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Torino midfielder Matteo Brighi has claimed that Mario Balotelli will be the man to stop when they face Milan tomorrow.

Il Toro ply the Rossoneri at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, and the 32-year-old has highlighted the controversial Italy forward as Massimilano Allegri’s key man.

“We have to try and give as little space as possible to Balotelli,” he told Tuttosport.

“He is the man to stop.

“We are all working hard. We won’t play for the draw, but we’re going to have to be tight in defence.”

Boateng: Racism not a reason for move
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin Prince Boateng has rejected the idea that he quit Milan for Schalke because of the racism he encountered in Italy.

Schalke director Peter Peters made that claim in an interview with Bild Sport Plus earlier in the week following the late August transfer of the player.

“What he said disappoints me because it is not true,” the Ghana international told Tuttosport on Friday. “Absolutely not.

“I have never said that I wanted to leave Italy because of racism.

“If I decided to end my experience at Milan then it was simply because I wanted to go and play in a championship that was more suited to my way of playing football.

“I gave it a lot of thought because I knew that I would miss the city, my friends and also Italy.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it was made three months ago with Melissa.”

The versatile midfielder stood up against the racists at the start of 2013 when, after being abused by some fans, he walked off during an abandoned friendly against Pro Patria.

The 26-year-old joined the Rossoneri in the 2010 from Portsmouth via Genoa. It is believed he was sold to Schalke for a fee in the region of €11m.

He scored 17 goals in 100 games for the Rossoneri.

Kaka set to start for AC Milan
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has suggested Kaka will probably start in Saturday’s Serie A game at Torino.

The Brazilian re-joined the club on transfer deadline day – four years after leaving the Diavolo for Real Madrid in a €65m deal.

“I think he will be in the starting XI,” Allegri noted on Friday. “He is in good shape, he has trained really well and he has the enthusiasm of a young boy.

“I think he is a little nervous about his debut tomorrow and it is only normal that he is missing a bit of match sharpness.”

Kaka was widely considered as one of the world’s best when he left San Siro, but Allegri thinks he still has plenty to offer.

“Kaka can give a lot to Milan. He has done some great things here at this club, he hasn’t played a lot over the last three years in Madrid, but he has immediately put himself at my disposal.

“He spends a lot of the day at Milanello and he is a great example for the youngsters.”

With Kaka and Mario Balotelli set to begin in a 4-3-1-2, there is still one shirt in attack available. “Alessandro Matri could start, but I’m thinking of Robinho and Stephan El Shaarawy as well. I have options.”

The latter was dropped in Week 2 and his omission quickly became a talking point after his struggles in front of goal following the arrival of Balotelli.

“There is no problem with El Shaarawy. It doesn’t exist. Stephan’s goals dried up in the second half of the season, but his performances remained good.

“It was his first season under the spotlight, but he did well.

“Since he returned from the Confederations Cup, he’s only really missed the Cagliari game. You can’t fear competition for places when you are in a great team. That needs to be a stimulus.

“El Shaarawy needs to stay calm because he has my faith.”

Milan do have some selection problems going into the Turin clash, especially in defence after this week’s injuries to Mattia De Sciglio and Ignazio Abate.

“I have to thank Cristian Zaccardo, he’s a great professional,” stated Allegri who is set to give the player just his second appearance for the Rossoneri.

“Had he left in the summer then we would be in trouble today. I could use midfielder Andrea Poli at the back, but I prefer to field players who know the role.”

'Neuer can save Balotelli penalty'
13.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Bayern Munich ‘keeper Manuel Neuer has what it takes to stop a Mario Balotelli penalty, says Giovanni Galli.

The Milan striker has a 100 per cent record when it comes to spot-kicks given that he has netted all 20 taken in his professional career.

“I have studied Balotelli for some time,” the former Italy, Milan and Fiorentina goalkeeper told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “I have noticed one peculiarity.

“When he slows down his run up he hits the ball in one corner, when his run is more fluid then he hits the other side.

“I won’t be any more precise as I don’t want to reveal the secrets of Balotelli. If you really want to know, look at the 20 penalties yourself…”

When asked if there was one particular ‘keeper who could finally deny him from the spot, Galli highlighted Germany’s Neuer.

“He has an enormous physique,” the 55-year-old continued. “He covers the goal well and he has excellent reaction times.

“If he dives the right way then he could get to the ball.”

Kaka: 'I feel like a kid'
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ricky Kaka feels “like a kid about to make his debut” and could start for Milan against Torino on Saturday.

The Brazilian was speaking at an Adidas Store event and signed his shirt for fans.

“I am happy with all this enthusiasm. I am training well and feel like a kid about to make his debut,” said Kaka.

“I well remember my debut for Milan away to Ancona. Adriano Galliani saw me during my difficult days, when I didn’t know what was going to happen, but now he sees me happy.

“I am targeting a place at the World Cup, but above all to do well here. I promise the utmost effort and one of my objectives is to reach 100 goals for Milan. I only need five and hope to get there soon.”

Asked about his first week of training with the Rossoneri, Kaka praised his new teammates.

“We joked around in the locker room with Balo and El Shaarawy. We get along well and can play all together. This is a team with great players who respect each other.”

It’s reported he could start Saturday night’s Serie A match against Torino at the Stadio Olimpico.

“It will be an exciting match and I’ll try to stay calm so that I can play at my best. Then there’s the Champions League and I already scored an important goal against Celtic in my career, celebrating my Ballon d’Or.

“I will try to be in good shape and at the disposal of the Coach.”

Silvestre has surgery
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

More injury news for Milan, as Matias Silvestre underwent keyhole surgery today on his right knee.

The defender arrived on loan from Inter over the summer and had been struggling with a meniscus problem.

This afternoon the Rossoneri released a statement confirming that non-surgical therapy had not reached the desired objectives.

Silvestre went under the knife with keyhole surgery on the meniscus in his right knee.

It is not clear when the Argentine will be available, but he joins fellow defenders Daniele Bonera, Mattia De Sciglio, Jherson Vergara and Ignazio Abate on the treatment table.

Galliani: 'AC Milan thank El Shaarawy'
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani thanked Stephan El Shaarawy for Milan’s Champions League berth and measured Kaka’s impact, but won’t comment on Keisuke Honda.

The Rossoneri Vice-President was speaking at a Press conference organised by one of the club sponsors.

“I’d like to remind people that if we are in the Champions League, then part of the credit goes to El Shaarawy,” said Galliani.

“He is only 20 years old and flew up the ranking, so growing up that quickly is difficult. Our judgment on him is absolutely positive, he has a five-year contract and we believe in him.

“He showed how much he cares about the club colours, because over the summer he could’ve moved to a team that was prepared to triple his wages.”

It is widely believed that offer came from the Premier League, either from Chelsea or Manchester City, but El Shaarawy opted to remain with Milan.

This week CSKA Moscow star Honda surprised many by declaring Milan were “only an option” among many for when he becomes a free agent in January, as Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton are also interested.

“I will not say anything about Honda, nor about the transfer market until January 3, so don’t ask me about any player who isn’t at Milan.”

Kaka was a deadline day signing at San Siro and is expected to start on Saturday against Torino.

“Ricky is happy and whether he starts or not is down to the Coach. We have some extraordinary figures on Kaka’s return, such as shirt sales and social network responses. He spread enthusiasm throughout the Milan universe.”

De Jong: Easy to settle at AC Milan
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Nigel De Jong expects new signings Kaka and Alessandro Matri to quickly find their feet at Milan.

The two forward players, signed from Real Madrid and Juventus respectively, were late summer additions to the Diavolo squad.

“It is easy for any player to fit into this squad because everybody knows their role here,” the 28-year-old told Milan Channel.

“Kaka and Matri both need to find a bit of match fitness, but they are working hard in training.

“We are strong as a team, it is just a shame that we have a few injuries at this point of the season. But they will soon be back.

“The team is in good shape and we are going for the win at Torino on Saturday.”

The Dutchman, who missed most of last season after snapping his Achilles tendon, has started 2013-14 well – fuelling claims that he is one of the side’s new leaders.

“It’s hard to say whether I am or not,” he responded. “To be honest, that is something for my teammates to comment on.

“Perhaps there is more than one in this squad…”

Poli open to full-back role
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan midfielder Andrea Poli says he will have no problem in being used as a full-back against Torino this weekend.

The signing from Sampdoria may be fielded in such a role following the injuries to Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio.

“There is that possibility,” the Italian international told Sky Sport Italia. “But it would cause me no issues.

“I was already used in that position by boss Massimiliano Allegri during the summer pre-season tour of America.”

The former Inter player was also asked for an opinion on Kaka, Milan’s transfer deadline day capture from Real Madrid.

“He is an extraordinary player, there is no doubt about that,” Poli continued. “We were happy to welcome him.

“He is training really well and with great desire. He can certainly help us and I’m sure that he will do some great things.

“He has big experience and he can be a guide for us.”

Zaccardo: I'm worthy of AC Milan
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Cristian Zaccardo has admitted he did think about leaving Milan during the summer, but he’s now ready to prove his worth.

The 2006 World Cup winner was signed in January from Parma, but he has appeared in just one game for the Diavolo since.

“I had a few thoughts of moving on,” he told Tuttosport. “That’s only natural after the small number of minutes which I played.

“But then I started pre-season, I trained well and I was given opportunities to impress.

“Staying at Milan was always my first choice, because leaving here would have meant a half defeat for me.

“I happily remained and now I hope to prove myself.”

The 31-year-old could be given a chance in the starting line-up against Torino this weekend given the Diavolo’s injury problems in defence.

“I’m ready and I can’t wait,” he added. “I have a great desire to give the team a helping hand and show that I can be a dependable player for the side.”

Zaccardo has been used as a centre-back in recent seasons, but he could be asked to go back in time on Saturday.

“I was born as a full-back, it is a role I had played for almost all of my career, I won a World Cup in that position.

“I’ll happily go back to playing on the flank and if boss Massimiliano Allegri thinks I’m up to it then I will give my maximum.”

Premier League clubs seek Honda
12.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool are the clubs reportedly tempting Milan transfer target Keisuke Honda.

The Japan international will be a free agent when his contract with CSKA Moscow expires on December 31.

He had until now been expected to join the Rossoneri, but this week hinted they were “only an option” among many.

According to the Daily Star, the other options are in the Premier League in the form of Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.

Everton had already been heavily linked with Honda over the summer, but CSKA Moscow turned down all offers for the player.

De Sciglio out for a month
11.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have confirmed Mattia De Sciglio will be out for “around a month, without complications” after knee surgery.

The 20-year-old defender has been struggling with knee problems for several months and a new relapse saw him go under the knife.

He had the operation this afternoon on the meniscus in his left knee, performed at the La Madonnina clinic in Milan by Professor Herbert Schonhuber.

“The prognosis is around a month, without complications.”

Surgery for De Sciglio
11.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan and Italy full-back Mattia De Sciglio is set to have surgery on Wednesday to resolve a knee problem.

The 20-year-old defender will be operated on by professor Schonhuber in the fashion capital of Italy.

Tests earlier this week underlined the need for an operation to rectify meniscus damage on his left knee.

If all goes well, De Sciglio could be back to full fitness in about 30-40 days.

Balotelli: 'I've never missed like that'
11.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mario Balotelli admits the numerous misses against the Czech Republic shook him. “It’s never happened to me before.”

The striker hit the bar in the first half and missed several sitters one-on-one with Petr Cech, but eventually converted the decisive penalty in a 2-1 Italy victory.

“It’s never happened to me before. I was unlucky, but I kept trying to the end,” he told RAI Sport.

“It is becoming a good group and above all a great squad, as we manage to climb out of difficult situations.

“When Cech parried that shot I thought he would get it if I fired low, so I tried to raise the finish, but I lifted it too much.”

There was some jeering after the series of misses, but the crowd at the Juventus Stadium quickly began chanting his name in support.

“I thank the fans and compliment them, as I wasn’t expecting such a nice reaction. I thank them.”

The Azzurri started out with a 3-4-2-1 system, then switched to a 4-3-3 with Dani Osvaldo on for the second half.

“I feel better with a striker by my side, but we had many chances in the first half too. I personally prefer to have another forward there.”

Balotelli was booked and risked a second card when reacting to a foul, but managed to hold back.

“At times you can react because they go over the top, at times you manage to control yourself. You always try to control yourself, but it’s not easy on the pitch.

“I was trying to get the ball and didn’t even see the player, so in my view it wasn’t even a yellow. I hit him, but it was not voluntary.”

Italy have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the first European team to achieve this along with Holland.

“I think we’re among the favourites. There are still one or two teams who are above us, but they should fear us, not the other way round.”

This week Balotelli raised eyebrows when he missed the visit of Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge, but insists it was a storm in a teacup.

“I am not interested in what people say. I already met Minister Kyenge, I will see her again in future and it was not a mandatory meeting. I was asleep, as were many other players in the squad, but nobody in the media mentioned them.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to represent for you.”

Muntari sees 'mature Kaka'
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sulley Ali Muntari sees a “more mature Kaka” bringing fresh enthusiasm as Milan prepare for their trip to Torino.

In today’s game between ranks, Alessandro Matri scored three goals all set up for him by Kaka, so the late summer signings are already starting to gel.

“Kaka is more mature now and I am sure he’ll give us a big hand,” Muntari told Milan Channel.

“He is one of the best trequartisti in the world and is able to create space for us to push up from midfield.

“We are a great group of players with many youngsters, but also a good selection of the old guard like Daniele Bonera, Christian Abbiati and Nigel De Jong to help strengthen the squad.

“My job and that of Nigel is to act as a filter, so before reaching the goal our opponents have to get through us first. It’s an important role, which is why fitness levels always have to be 100 per cent.”

Milan resume their Serie A duties on Saturday evening, as they visit Torino at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

“We are going to Turin in order to get the victory, though we know it won’t be easy.”

Honda: 'AC Milan not only option'
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Keisuke Honda has frightened Milan by noting they are “an option, but not the only option” for when he quits CSKA Moscow in January.

The Japanese international spoke to the media after scoring a goal in his country’s friendly against Ghana.

“Milan? They are an option, but not the only option. When the time comes, I will make a decision,” he stated.

His contract with CSKA Moscow expires on December 31, so he will be able to join any club as a free agent.

“I have now decided I will leave my club at the natural expiry of the contract.”

This is a surprise, as he had pushed all summer to join Milan, but CSKA repeatedly turned down their offers to buy him six months early.

It had been assumed Honda would therefore sign for the Rossoneri in January, but his statement suggests that is not necessarily true.

Everton were among the clubs who had also shown an interest in the creative midfielder over the summer.

El Shaarawy on idols and Egypt
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy has given an interview to the Spanish Press discussing his idols and Egyptian roots.

The Italy international has quickly become integral to the Milan first team since his debut in 2011, and also forging a starting place for the Azzurri ahead of next year’s World Cup.

But the youngster has gone back into his past in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.

“My idols? I have several,” he told the Barcelona-based paper. “It is great to see Kaka back, and Del Piero was also someone I looked up to.

“Totti as well is someone I like. It is a pleasure to play against him now.

“I’m Italian, so I’ve never thought about playing for Egypt.

“I am proud of my roots, but Italy is my home.

“The best player in the world? I guess at the moment that’s Neymar. I played against him and it was amazing.”

Aguero tips Napoli and AC Milan for success
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has tipped Napoli and Milan to do well in the Champions League this season.

The Premier League club play Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen in Group D of the competition, but the Argentine striker has claimed that the Partenopei and the Rossoneri could cause some problems.

“The Champions League is very tough,” he told Extra Time. “In recent years it has gone wrong for us, but hopefully this season we will do well.

“Our objective is to pass the group stage. Then with some luck hopefully we can get to the final or amongst the last four.

“There are surprises now and then, but you’d have to say the favourites are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern.

“You have to be focused in the Champions League, otherwise anything could happen.

“I think Napoli can lead the way – they can get to the quarter-finals at least. And Milan usually go forward to the latter rounds.”

AC Milan needed Matri, states Oddo
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimo Oddo thinks former club Milan were right to invest in Alessandro Matri rather than signing another defender.

Despite some believing that the Diavolo are a little short of quality at the back, Oddo thinks spending €11m on Juventus forward Matri was the way to go.

“Matri has the characteristics that nobody else has in the Milan squad,” the former right-back told Milan News.

“Boss Massimiliano Allegri is looking to give his Milan side something which they have been missing – attacking depth.

“Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy have a different kind of game, while M’Baye Niang is the closest thing to Matri but he is not a lead striker.

“As a result I’ll go against what is being said and state that Milan needed a striker more than they required a defender…”

Matri, 29, made his League debut for the Diavolo against former club Cagliari in Week 2.

Saponara asks for AC Milan patience
10.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

New Milan signing Riccardo Saponara is on the mend even if he admits he’s still being troubled by a groin problem.

The Italian Under-21 international moved to San Siro in the summer from Empoli, but he’s been hampered by injury.

“I still can’t train at 100 per cent,” he told Milan Channel. “But the pain is slowly disappearing and I’m optimistic that I can return to full fitness quickly.

“I’ll need some time though having missed pre-season training.”

Although he’s had his struggles on the pitch at Milanello, he’s happy with his new life off it following his transfer.

“Milan is different to Empoli, but I’m fitting in well and my teammates are helping with that,” he added.

“I immediately felt a part of the team even if I’ve only played for half an hour of a match and a few training sessions.”

Saponara is a versatile attacker, but one who prefers to play as a trequartista behind two strikers – a role which Kaka also fills.

“Kaka is a great player who has given so much to Milan and has a lot more to give,” the 21-year-old continued.

“It’s emotional playing with him as he was my hero when I was a kid. I’m watching him closely. I really want to learn as much as I can.”

Surgery for De Sciglio
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have confirmed Mattia De Sciglio will go under the knife after picking up a knee problem.

The full-back has undergone tests on his left knee which have confirmed meniscus damage. Professor Schonhuber will operate in Milan at some stage over the next few days.

De Sciglio, still just 20, has had an injury plagued start to the new season seeing as he has appeared in just one of the club’s first four official games.

It is being reported that the Italian international could remain on the sidelines for the next two months.

Meanwhile, right-back Ignazio Abate picked up a muscle strain with the Italian national side and he will undergo further exams in around eight to 10 days times.

Racism a factor in Boateng exit
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kevin-Prince Boateng decided to leave Milan for Schalke 04 this summer after growing tired of racism in Italy.

That is according to Peter Peters, the German club’s chief financial officer, who spoke with Bild Sport Plus.

“Boateng wanted to leave because of the too many racist incidents in Italy,” the official commented.

“Milan President Silvio Berlusconi promised him that he would be able to go if Milan qualified for the Champions League group stages.”

The Ghanaian international helped the Diavolo do that by scoring a brace in the second leg play-off against PSV Eindhoven last month.

Boateng stood up against the racists at the start of 2013 when, after being abused by some fans, he walked off the pitch during an abandoned friendly against Pro Patria.

The 26-year-old joined Milan in the summer of 2010 from Portsmouth via Genoa. It is believed he was sold to Schalke for a fee in the region of €11m.

He scored 17 goals in 100 games for the Rossoneri.

Gattuso calls for Kaka patience
9.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso has told Milan fans to not expect too much too soon from returning hero Kaka.

The Brazilian fantasista has moved back to San Siro this summer after four problematic years in Spain with Real Madrid.

“Patience is needed with Kaka,” the Palermo boss, a former teammate of the 31-year-old at Milanello, noted.

“I hope they don’t expect to see the Kaka of the past. The Brazilian hasn’t played that much over the last three years and he hasn’t been expressing himself at his levels.

“Therefore the Milan fans will need to show him some patience because he is a great player and, especially, a great guy to have in the changing room.”

Kaka, who the Italian club sold to Real for a massive €65m, has re-joined the Diavolo on a free transfer after agreeing a two-year deal.

Kaka: 'To be AC Milan captain...'
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka thanked Marco Amelia for letting him wear the Milan captain’s armband. “It gave me shivers.”

The Brazilian made his ‘debut’ for the Rossoneri in a 4-0 friendly win over Swiss side Chiasso on Saturday.

“It has been a fantastic weekend for me,” Kaka told Sky Sport Italia.

“In the friendly it gave me shivers to wear the captain’s armband and it was a real surprise. I didn’t expect it, so I thank Amelia for this honourable gesture.

“We thought together that it would be a nice thing, both for me and for Milan.”

Kaka was in Monza for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix today, while on Saturday evening he attended Leonardo’s wedding.

The former Milan and Inter Coach’s ceremony to Sky Sport Italia presenter Anna Billò took place at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.

Among those in attendance were Paolo Maldini, Ronaldo, Adriano Galliani, Serginho, Marco Borriello and Billy Costacurta.

Leonardo hit the headlines around the world in March when he proposed to her live on air during an interview.

Spalletti: 'AC Milan and Napoli can win'
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Zenit Coach Luciano Spalletti gave his predictions for Serie A, believing Milan and Napoli are the only real contenders to Juventus.

“Milan are Milan,” Spalletti told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “A year ago everyone said the Rossoneri were ‘horrifying,’ but they still finished in third place and qualified for the Champions League.

“Now they can only grow, as who else has so many talented young players? Mattia De Sciglio is a potential world phenomenon, Stephan El Shaarawy deserves more faith and Mario Balotelli absolutely has to make the final step up.

“At times his exuberance gets the better of him and he loses his place in the game, but when his head is right then he can change a match. Super Mario could take Italy to win the World Cup.

“Milan now also have Kaka, who can make the difference. Ricky cannot afford to look bad or be a disappointment for the fans whose hearts beat faster for him. If he had just the slightest doubt that he was no longer the same Kaka, he wouldn’t have accepted this transfer. His pride will bring out the champion in him.”

Juventus have won the last two Scudetti and Spalletti is surprised at the level of motivation they still show.

“I watched Juve-Lazio and thought how do they manage to always be so rabid for success? Antonio Conte has two great qualities: he is a teacher of football and is very good at forcing his directors to spend big on the transfer market.

“The Bianconeri will try to win the Champions League. That is where Carlos Tevez belongs, as he has the grit and class that’s needed to progress in Europe. Paul Pogba can be the man who lifts the overall quality level of the squad.”

There are other Scudetto contenders to challenge Juventus, though Spalletti only really sees one.

“Rafa Benitez has the right balance for such a fiery club. He reminds me of Ottavio Bianchi, who won the Scudetto with Napoli. Gonzalo Higuain is a top player and I expect Marek Hamsik to make the final step up to superstardom.

“I think Napoli’s greatest strength is off the field, as President Aurelio De Laurentiis does well to remove problems from his Coaches.

“As for Fiorentina, the Della Valle brothers are back on the front line and that is also important, as much as the beautiful football taught by Vincenzo Montella and the Giuseppe Rossi-Mario Gomez pairing. The Viola are excellent, but the Scudetto is a big ask.

“Walter Mazzarri is a magician, but Inter are suffering while the club moves over to new owners. It will take a little time to find the right balance. The Nerazzurri started well and have the best defence in the League.”

Ronaldo: 'Watch Inter and Kaka'
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ronaldo is back in Italy and believes “Inter will have a great season, while Kaka is fired up for Milan.”

The Brazilian legend visited the Peninsula for Leonardo’s wedding last night and is in Monza today for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.

“Inter have the advantage of not playing in Europe, so they can concentrate fully on the Serie A challenges. They will have a great season,” Il Fenomeno told journalists.

“Milan are also right up there. Last night I spoke to Kaka and he’s fired up. Then there’s Juventus, who are very strong, so it’ll be a wonderful championship.”

Naturally, Ronaldo was asked about Massimo Moratti’s negotiations to sell his majority share of Inter to Indonesian investor Erick Thohir.

“The love that Moratti has for Inter will never change.”

Allegri: 'Kaka boosts AC Milan'
8.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Massimiliano Allegri believes Kaka’s presence will help boost all of Milan after he played in a friendly with Chiasso.

The Rossoneri won 4-0 in Switzerland for Saturday’s friendly, which gave Kaka the opportunity to make his ‘debut’ following a transfer from Real Madrid.

“Considering it was his first time playing with his new teammates, Kaka did pretty well,” the Coach told Milan Channel.

“He still needs to find his match fitness, though. Kaka has great quality, is a champion and his presence raises the level of self-confidence throughout the squad. It was generous of Marco Amelia to give him the captain’s armband.

“Kaka is a lovely guy who is eager to work hard, which he proved already in training. I must do well to get the best out of him and help him reach peak fitness. You cannot expect a player, even one of his level, to be ready straight away.”

Kaka was used as a trequartista behind strikers Alessandro Matri and Robinho, setting up one of the goals in this 4-0 win.

“We have to work, as we changed our tactical system with forwards who allow me to vary my options,” continued Allegri.

“I am happy because we have almost everyone available except Daniele Bonera and Giampaolo Pazzini. Riccardo Saponara was able to play a good half-hour and even scored.”

Ignazio Abate was sent home early by the Italy medics after he was stretchered off with an upper thigh twinge in the 1-0 win over Bulgaria.

“We’ll see what condition Abate is in when he returns from international duty, while Mattia De Sciglio will be fully available from Monday.”

Friendly: Chiasso 0:4 AC Milan - goals/highlights
7.9 || webmaster

Kaka joy at AC Milan 'debut' (Chiasso 0:4 AC Milan)
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka wore the captain’s armband and provided an assist on his Milan comeback, a 4-0 friendly win over Chiasso. “I’ve learned a lot.”

The Brazilian completed his transfer on deadline day and pulled on the Rossoneri jersey for the first time since moving to Real Madrid in June 2009.

“Milan looked very good and it was a pleasure to play today,” he told Mediaset Premium at half-time.

“I am lacking a little bit of match fitness and we need to improve, but we have what it takes to do that. At the age of 31 I learned a lot, as now I can choose my passes better and make fewer mistakes.”

Ricky Kaka was handed the captain’s armband by Marco Amelia and played in the trequartista role behind Robinho and Alessandro Matri. The captain for Swiss side Chiasso was ex-Milan star Gianluca Zambrotta.

It took just seven minutes to make an impact, as Antonio Nocerino ran on to Kaka’s through ball to scuff a right-foot shot into the net.

Robinho should’ve made more of another Kaka pass before Matias Silvestre rose to nod in a corner.

Matri hit the woodwork with his header, then before the break Matri deflected Nocerino’s effort to set up a Robinho tap-in.

Kaka went off at half-time, but Milan added to their tally with Riccardo Saponara following up a parried Claveria effort.

Chiasso 0-4 Milan

Scorers: Nocerino 7 (M), Silvestre 23 (M), Robinho 40 (M), Saponara 86 (M)

AC Milan: Amelia; Zaccardo, Mexes (Vergara 46), Silvestre (Pedone 61), Emanuelson (Pinato 46); Nocerino (Rondanini 78), De Jong (Poli 46), Muntari (Modic 46); Kaka (Niang 46); Robinho (Saponara 61), Matri (Claveria 74)

Galliani: 'Kaka like 10 years ago'
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Adriano Galliani explains he’d been working on Kaka’s return since he left Milan, while the Brazilian is “almost the same as 10 years ago.”

Ricky was sold to Real Madrid in 2009 and made his comeback today, wearing the captain’s armband in a friendly against Swiss side Chiasso.

“I had been working on this for 48 months,” smiled Vice-President Galliani on Radio Deejay. “Basically I’d dreamed of bringing Ricky back from the moment he left!

“At that moment the sale suited everyone and in the spring Real President Florentino Perez visited Milan in secret three times to negotiate.”

The return was sealed on transfer deadline day, as Real Madrid released Kaka on a free transfer and the player accepted a large pay cut.

“I told myself that if I went to Madrid there’d be a one per cent chance of getting this deal, but if I stayed in Italy then none whatsoever. It was an extremely difficult negotiation process.

“With regards to the wages, we had some difficulties when the boy’s father, Bosco, asked for 20 per cent more than we had offered. If we had gone over that limit, other players in the squad would’ve come forward to request renewals with higher figures too.”

Kaka is now 31 and struggled with injuries throughout his disappointing Real Madrid career, but Galliani assures those problems are behind him.

“We renewed Milan Lab this year and have a huge archive of data going back to 2002. The medics tell me Kaka’s numbers are almost the same as 10 years ago. A luminary of medicine reassured me his knee is in great shape. If he didn’t perform in Madrid, it was solely down to injuries.”

Galliani was also asked about reports Massimiliano Allegri is the favourite for the Italy job should Cesare Prandelli step down after the World Cup.

“I won’t make predictions, but I can say his contract is due to expire in June and he’ll have to wait. We need to balance the books, so we can only discuss renewals from May onwards, including Allegri.”

Kaka captain on AC Milan 'debut'
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ricky Kaka wears the captain’s armband and leads Milan out in a friendly with Chiasso, his first game for the club in four years.

The Brazilian returned on a free transfer from Real Madrid this week and has been thrown straight into the starting XI for today’s game in Switzerland.

Goalkeeper Marco Amelia graciously handed over the captain’s armband to Kaka, whose last appearance in a Rossoneri jersey was in May 2009.

He takes the trequartista role behind strikers Robinho and Alessandro Matri. This friendly kicks off at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT).

AC Milan: Amelia; Zaccardo, Mexes, Silvestre, Emanuelson; Nocerino, De Jong, Muntari; Kaka; Robinho, Matri.

Zambrotta - Kaka reunion for AC Milan
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka makes his comeback for Milan today against Gianluca Zambrotta’s Chiasso, who believes he can “still be very useful.”

The Brazilian is expected to play in the friendly that kicks off at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT).

“Kaka is a wonderful person and a great professional, both on the field and off it,” Zambrotta told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I think he can still be very useful to Milan. He just needs four or five games to find consistency and you’ll see what he can do.”
Zambrotta is one of the Rossoneri old guard who moved on at the end of his contract and is continuing his playing career in Switzerland with Chiasso.

“It will be a strange feeling playing against Milan, especially as I don’t know so many of the current players, even if it has only been a year.

“I am happy to face Milan again. I am relaxed, as eras come to an end for everybody and the club had to bring down the average age sooner or later.

“However, I did not agree with some of the choices. Massimo Ambrosini was not given the faith he deserved.”

Former captain Ambrosini saw his contract run out and is still in Serie A for Fiorentina.

Petagna learned from AC Milan stars
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Andrea Petagna joined Sampdoria on loan from Milan, but has learned so much from Giampaolo Pazzini and Mario Balotelli.

The 18-year-old striker replied to fan questions in a livechat and is excited about this new experience.

“I am here to do the best I possibly can. My idol is Balotelli, even if Pazzini is certainly the player I most model myself after,” said Petagna.

“Pazzo told me about Sampdoria, that they have great fans and a wonderful club. I settled in quickly, though I am still looking for a house. I’ve found a new family here.”

Next weekend it’s Genoa against Sampdoria at Marassi and Petagna is looking forward to the Derby della Lanterna.

“Many people have already asked me about the Genoa Derby and I can only say I’ll do all I can. I’m already fired up and hope to score, why not?

“I chose the shirt number 37 because it’s mine and I’ll never let it go.”

Injured Abate wants Italy stay
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate explained the injury that saw him stretchered off against Bulgaria, but wants to stay with the Italy squad.

“The doctors were quite pessimistic,” admitted the Milan full-back after the 1-0 win. Straight after the game, Cesare Prandelli called in Fiorentina’s Manuel Pasqual and Sampdoria’s Lorenzo De Silvestri.

“I felt a sort of pinch in my thigh and I tried to keep going, but as soon as I changed gear the pain got worse, so I asked for a substitution.”

He won’t recover in time for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Turin, but Abate hopes he won’t be sent home yet.

“It’s only normal I want to stay with my teammates, as we can celebrate qualification. We played a crucial game tonight to take an important step forward. Now I’ll talk to Cesare Prandelli about the next match.

“Bulgaria moved very solidly in defence, so it was tough to find a way through. After taking the lead we made more of our midfield quality and we played well, apart from the last 20 minutes when we went too deep.

“I think the team has character and temperament, so you could see tonight we wanted to get the three points.

“As soon as Leo Bonucci had the ball I tried to push up, but Todor Nedelev was man-marking me. We struggled to find space down the flanks, but the Coach had warned us about that and rotating the midfield three helped create more room.”

Abate and Antonelli out
7.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonelli are out of Italy’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic, so Cesare Prandelli could call new players.

Abate was stretchered off with a thigh problem and Antonelli sprained his ankle during a tackle in the 1-0 win over Bulgaria.

“Unfortunately Antonelli had a sprain on the same ankle that he hurt this summer,” Professor Enrico Castellacci of the Italy medical staff told Rai Sport.

“He has certainly suffered slight ligament damage. We have warned Genoa’s medical staff and more tests are needed to evaluate the extent of the damage.

“Abate felt a strain at the top of his left thigh. I don’t think it is serious, but he too will need further tests.

“Neither of them can play against the Czech Republic, as it is only four days away.”

In his Press conference, Coach Prandelli hinted he could call up extra players for Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic, as he already lost Andrea Barzagli to injury.

“I honestly could not answer that, as at the end of the game I didn’t have a chance to really speak to the Coach.”

Immobile can't wait for AC Milan test
6.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Torino forward Ciro Immobile has admitted that he is already looking forward to facing Milan next week.

There is no domestic football this weekend due to the international calendar, but the 23-year-old striker has claimed that he can’t wait to play against the Rossoneri on September 14.

“From Monday I will be back in to prepare in the best way possible to challenge Milan,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“My thoughts have already turned to the match. There is so much we want to do to redeem ourselves after the unjust defeat to Atalanta.

“Torino have welcomed me in an extraordinary way. I want to thank everyone at this club.

“My teammates have made me feel really welcome.”

Allegri wins backing of Gattuso
6.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Gennaro Gattuso believes Milan tactician Massimiliano Allegri would make a good Coach for the Italian national side.

Allegri admitted this week that he’d like a shot with the Azzurri and that could happen soon, with Cesare Prandelli set to leave the post after World Cup 2014.

“Allegri has the capability to do well,” the Palermo boss, who worked under Allegri at San Siro, told Sky Sport Italia.

“Leading Italy is a great responsibility, but Max has shown that he is a very good tactician. He would do well if given the role.

“Am I aiming for the Italy job? For now I’m focused on taking Palermo into the top flight,” continued Gattuso.

“Saying that, I, like Allegri, am targeting such a role but I have a long road to go down first. I could think about it one day though…

“I was in the Giro Azzurro for 11 years, I know what a happy Azzurro dressing room is and I’d like to breathe that air again.”

The 35-year-old former midfielder, a World Cup winner in 2006, scored one goal in 73 caps for his country.

Traore leaves AC Milan on loan
6.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Mali international Bakaye Traore has left Milan for Kayseri Erciyesspor, the Italian giants have confirmed.

The midfielder has joined the Turkish outfit on loan after a problematic first season in Serie A with the Diavolo.

The 28-year-old, signed on a Bosman from Nancy in 2012, featured in just seven League games last term and nine in all competitions.

Traore was linked with a possible move to Genoa earlier this summer.

Astori agent denies transfer talk
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Davide Astori’s agent has insisted that there was never the chance of his client signing for another Italian side this summer.

The Cagliari centre-back was linked with switches to Roma, Milan and Napoli during the transfer window.

But his representative has claimed that only Everton were a realistic option for the 26-year-old.

“President Cellino, with whom I have a great relationship, has always stressed the non-transferability of the player,” Claudio Vigorelli told calciomercato. “He is important to Cagliari.

“In any case there was no Italian side that submitted a bid in keeping with the value of the player.

“Our clubs, unfortunately, have been affected by the economic situation.

“Everton? Davide really likes European football, especially the English game – he often follows the League.

“But aside from that, Davide has always said that he is happy in Sardinia.

“He is still young though, so I’m sure there will be other opportunities in the future.”

VIDEO: Kaka official presentation
5.9 || webmaster

'AC Milan tactics require Kaka'
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan insist they signed former hero Kaka because he fits in with the tactics of boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Although Vice-President Adriano Galliani admits there is a special emotional bond with the now 31-year-old, he underlined that he has been netted for footballing reasons.

“I was one of the Kaka orphans when he left, like many of the fans, but this move is not just sentimental,” the official noted.

“We primarily signed him for tactical reasons. Allegri really pushed to have him back and we immediately thought of Kaka after selling Kevin Prince Boateng.”

Kaka, who should play as a trequartista in a 4-3-1-2 system, became one of the world’s best players during his six years at the club before his €65m switch to Real Madrid.

“He didn’t want to leave four years ago, it was Milan who made the decision after the significant courtship of Real Madrid,” Galliani continued.

“Our relationship with him never ended, he was always in our hearts. We knew, sooner or later, that we would bring him home.

“We have wanted him for the last two years and Kaka has underlined his affection to Milan by making a substantial economical sacrifice.”

Galliani added that Kaka had not joined a club in crisis.

“Let’s end talk that Milan are in trouble. We are still one of the top teams in Europe. What I’m basically saying is that Kaka is not joining a team made up of tramps.

“Kaka has also not returned here to play for just three months and then go and join the LA Galaxy. The fans can stay calm as he will remain until at least 2015.”

Kaka unveiled by AC Milan
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka is hoping to fall in love with football again after leaving Real Madrid for former club Milan on Monday.

The Brazilian was sold by the San Siro giants four years ago for €65m, but his stint in the Spanish capital proved to be a problematic one.

“It wasn’t Jose Mourinho’s fault that I left Real Madrid,” the 31-year-old stated after being presented to the media on Thursday. “It wasn’t because of him – he actually made me stronger.

“I looked to give my best for him in these years, making sure I was always at his disposal. Unfortunately I wasn’t always fit and that didn’t help.

“It was a good personal experience for me in Madrid, less so professionally. But it was a spell which helped me to grow, I matured a lot.

“I don’t regret the years in the Real shirt, but, seeing how things went, I did lose a little desire to play. The decision to leave was taken after speaking with Carlo Ancelotti.

“I didn’t play with continuity, partly because of the injuries, partly because of the competition for places.

“I want to play regularly at Milan, that was what I based my decision on. I will re-find the joy of playing football here. My desire was Milan.”

Kaka is now part of a very different Rossoneri side to the one he left, but he’s sure they will be a competitive force in 2013-14.

“Milan are amongst the seven biggest clubs in Europe and we must therefore try to win all competitions,” he added.

“Milan can do well in Italy and in Europe. We have a lot of champions who are used to certain pressures. I’m used to a winning Milan.

“It is a new situation for me though. I now have a different role here, to help the youngsters as I was helped by great champions in the past.”

Kaka has been acquired given that boss Massimiliano Allegri has reintroduced the 4-3-1-2 system at San Siro.

“I’m a trequartista, but I’ll play wherever the Coach wants me for the good of the team,” explained the South American.

“Mario Balotelli and I can work well together. Mario is doing some great things here, as he has for all the teams he has played for.

“But there is not just Mario, we have Alessandro Matri, Robinho, Giampaolo Pazzini, Stephan El Shaarawy. They are all great players.

“I need to find some consistency again, but I’m physically ready to play.”

He added: “These days have been special because my life is here. Being at Milanello today, it is as if I have never been away...”

Mangia denies all AC Milan links
5.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Former Italy Under-21 boss Devis Mangia says he was never a contender to replace Massimiliano Allegri at Milan.

The ex-Palermo tactician has been linked with the Diavolo over recent times as one of the candidates the club could turn to if and when Allegri departs.

“These are things that do not exist,” Mangia stated to Sky Sport Italia. “There has never been anything about that.”

Remaining on the subject of Milan, the tactician was asked about Stephan El Shaarawy’s role at the club after Allegri has switched back to the 4-3-1-2 system.

“He is a player who did very well last season out wide in a 4-3-3,” Mangia continued. “He now needs to evolve and change his movements.

“However, I think he has the qualities to act as a second striker as Allegri and Italy boss Cesare Prandelli have already said.

“But we should remember that this is a boy who was born in 1992, who knows he has to work hard to grow and keep improving.”

FIGC contact Allegri and Zaccheroni
4.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The Italian Football Federation have asked Massimiliano Allegri and Alberto Zaccheroni whether they are interested in becoming the next Italy boss.

Cesare Prandelli is expected to leave once his contract expires after the 2014 World Cup and the FIGC are already considering their next move.

A variety of tacticians have been paired, but Sky Sport Italia claim the Federation have been in contact with Allegri and Zaccheroni.

Allegri, contracted at Milan until June 2014, admitted this morning that he would like to boss the Azzurri at some stage in the future.

Meanwhile, Zaccheroni – who has coached the likes of Milan, Inter and Juventus – is in charge of a Japan side who have already qualified for Brazil 2014.

Allegri targeting Italy job
4.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri admits he’d like to take charge of the Italian national side one day.

Allegri is being named as a contender to replace Cesare Prandelli given that the latter is expected to leave after the 2014 World Cup.

“I’ve said on numerous occasions that the dream of any Coach is to boss your own country and that’s the case for me,” the former Cagliari tactician told Sky Sport Italia.

“Right now I’m at Milan and I’m very happy to be the Coach here, while there is a great man in charge of Italy.

“But it is a role I aspire to, not necessarily now, maybe in 10 years, but it is only normal that I am targeting such a job.”

Allegri could be available for the start of the 2014-15 campaign as his contract at San Siro will expire in June.

In his first three seasons with the Diavolo, he has led the club to a first, second and third-placed finish in Serie A.

Allegri was also quizzed on the return of Kaka, a player who left Milan for Real Madrid four years ago.

“I’m happy,” the 46-year-old added. “Everyone wanted him and Adriano Galliani completed a great market move.

“We were missing a player in that role after the sale of Kevin Prince Boateng. Kaka will allow us to take a step up in quality thanks to his experience and technique.”

AC Milan apologise for UEFA error
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan have released a statement apologising for an error in the Champions League squad list which robbed Mbaye Niang of a place.

The Rossoneri included Stephan El Shaarawy in the A List of players, even though he is eligible for the B List.

That is reserved for players born after January 1 1992 with at least two years at the club.

Because of El Shaarawy’s placement, Niang was left out of the UEFA squad entirely.

This evening Milan released a statement from director Umberto Gandini, who took “full responsibility for the error” in putting together the Champions League squad.

It is now too late to change the list, so Niang remains ineligible.

Mancini or Allegri after Prandelli?
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Rumours continue to circulate that Cesare Prandelli will quit after the World Cup, so Roberto Mancini and Max Allegri are in the frame for the Italy job.

The Coach refused to rule out an exit following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, only telling journalists this in Monday’s Press conference.

“The moment we have mathematical certainty of qualification for the World Cup in Brazil, which for me is the only thing that counts, I will tell you my decision.”

It’s widely believed Prandelli will walk away for a position at a top club, so the race is on to find his successor.

Former Manchester City boss Mancini is the current hot favourite thanks to his experience in Italy and abroad.

Crucially, he is also unattached at the moment and would be available to prepare for this new role.

Allegri is also a very strong contender, as his Milan contract runs out in June 2014.

Luciano Spalletti can be considered an outside bet, as he is still tied down to Zenit St Petersburg.

AC Milan surprises in Champions League list
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Milan’s Champions League squad has Kaka and Alessandro Matri, but no M’Baye Niang or Riccardo Saponara.

The list of players eligible for the group phase of the competition was released this afternoon with a few surprises.

Late signings Matri, Kaka and Valter Birsa are present, as is currently injured striker Giampaolo Pazzini.

However, forward Niang – who played against Barcelona last season – and Italy Under-21 international trequartista Saponara are left out.

Milan Champions League squad: Abbiati, Amelia, Coppola; Abate, Bonera, Constant, De Sciglio, Mexes, Silvestre, Zaccardo, Zapata; Birsa, Cristante, de Jong, Emanuelson, Montolivo, Muntari, Nocerino, Poli; Balotelli, El Shaarawy, Kakà, Matri, Pazzini, Robinho

Kaka unveiled on Thursday
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan have confirmed that Kaka will be officially presented on Thursday September 5 at 12.00 CET.

The Brazilian playmaker joined the Rossoneri on Monday on a free transfer from Real Madrid, rejoining the San Siro after leaving foe Los Blancos in 2009.

The club have confirmed that the 31-year-old will be unveiled at a Press conference at Milanello on Thursday, before joining his teammates for his first training session.

Cannavaro didn't want AC Milan move
3.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

The agent of Paolo Cannavaro has confirmed his client had no intention of leaving Napoli for Milan on transfer deadline day.

“There was this offensive from Milan,” representative Gaetano Fedele told Ita Sport Press. “They offered Cristian Zaccardo to Napoli in exchange.

“However, Paolo wanted to remain in Azzurro and we hope he can become an integral part of the project.”

The centre-back was an untouchable member of Walter Mazzarri’s three-man defence last term, but he doesn’t seem to be in the prime thoughts of new boss Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard has dropped the 32-year-old from the starting line-up since the new Serie A season began.

Kaka: 'AC Milan what I needed'
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka had dinner in Milan with Adriano Galliani and admitted “this is what I needed. We’ll do great things together.”

The Brazilian completed his transfer from Real Madrid this evening and waved to fans outside the window of the club HQ before throwing his Number 22 jersey into the crowd.

“I am so excited, it’s wonderful to see so many people, so many friends, and this is what I needed,” he told Sky Sport Italia outside the Giannino restaurant.

“What do I expect? I expect to experience many joyful moments. I’ve already had so many and hope to have more with these great young players. It’s a different situation for me, as now I’m one of the oldest here.

“My message to the fans? We’ll do great things together.”

Kaka will fly back to Madrid tonight in order to sort out the details of the move with his family and return to Italy on Wednesday.

“There is no business, only pleasurable sensations for a player who is finally coming home. It was very, very difficult, but it’s all over now,” Vice-President Galliani told Sky Sport Italia.

“Everyone had to put the effort in to make this go through. The transfer market? It is definitely closed.”

The financial details of the deal have been kept extremely vague, but Real Madrid have sold Kaka to Milan on a permanent basis and he signed a two-year contract.

Reports continue to circulate that LA Galaxy will be the 31-year-old’s next destination after his spell with the Rossoneri.

Cellino: 'Astori and Nainggolan stay'
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

“Davide Astori and Radja Nainggolan will remain with Cagliari,” announced President Massimo Cellino.

Rumours had emerged of deadline day negotiations with Milan for defender Astori and Juventus for Nainggolan.

However, Cellino made his point by leaving Milan and the transfer market HQ several hours before the deadline.

“I have no intention of upsetting our fans,” he told TMW and the official club website. “Astori and Nainggolan will remain with Cagliari.”

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani also assured there would be no talks for Astori or anyone else after taking Kaka from Real Madrid.

“Our market, in terms of arrivals, can be considered closed.”

Kaka dreamt of AC Milan return
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

New Milan signing Kaka says he’s spent the last 14 days hoping for a return to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

The Brazilian international has signed a two-year contract with the Diavolo today after a free transfer was agreed with Real Madrid.

“It has been two weeks that I thought I could come back,” the man who left for Spain in 2009, at a cost of €65m, told Milan Channel.

“In the last few days, I’ve been dreaming of hearing the fans sing my name in the San Siro again,” he continued.

“Four years have passed and now I’m back. A return to Milan is the ideal for me.

“I have a lot of desire to play and it’s a very important year for me due to the World Cup, but right now I just want to do well for Milan, my team.

“I was very sad to leave this club and now it’s great to be back. I’m very happy.”

Kaka is now expected to provide the assists for Milan ace Mario Balotelli. “He’s a great player and I want to do well with him. I hope I can do with him what I used to do with Pippo Inzaghi.”

Milan chief Adriano Galliani conducted the negotiations personally. “It was around 2.30 last night when the deal was done,” the official noted.

“Now I hope Kaka's orphans, the 12,00 or 15,000 fans that stopped coming to the stadium when he left, will come back now that he has returned.

“He really made a huge effort to come back and has shown real affection for the jersey.”

Kaka is thought to have accepted a pay cut of over 50 per cent in order to make the move happen.

Sampdoria confirm Petagna swoop
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Sampdoria have announced the signing of teenage striker Andrea Petagna from Milan.

The forward, still just 18, has been netted on loan by Doria with the option to buy 50 per cent of his contract at the end of the season.

Petagna this morning revealed that he chose Samp after listening to the advice of Milan duo Antonio Nocerino and Giampaolo Pazzini.

Cannavaro swap with Zaccardo?
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Napoli and Milan are discussing the possibility of swapping Paolo Cannavaro and Cristian Zaccardo.

Cannavaro’s future at the Stadio San Paolo is in doubt as the captain, 32, has lost his place in the starting XI with new boss Rafael Benitez.

His agent last week dismissed associations with the Diavolo, but the two clubs are in deadline day talks about a possible deal for the defenders before the window closes.

The San Siro giants are ready to include Zaccardo in a move seeing that he has barely featured since arriving from Parma in January.

The 2006 World Cup winner, 31, has appeared in just one League game for the San Siro giants.

Milan could also make a late bid for Cagliari centre-back Davide Astori.

El Shaarawy staying at AC Milan
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Stephan El Shaarawy has rejected reports that he could be leaving Milan for Manchester City today.

The youngster’s future has been placed into doubt after the Diavolo signed Alessandro Matri from Juventus and Real Madrid’s Kaka over the last four days.

“I’ve decided to stay at Milan,” he told Sport Mediaset as he arrived in Florence to join up with the Italian national squad.

“I have made a precise decision and, no matter what offer arrives, I want to stay at Milan.

“There's more competition in the squad now, but there will be playing time for everybody. I'll fight for my place in the team.”

El Shaarawy was dropped from the Milan starting XI that beat Cagliari at San Siro on Sunday, but he insists there is no problem with boss Massimiliano Allegri.

“I don’t question the decisions of the Coach,” he responded.

When asked about Kaka’s return to Milan, the 20-year-old smiled: “He is my idol!”

El Shaarawy is now in his third season at San Siro. He has scored 18 goals in 61 League games for the Diavolo.

Kaka handed back No. 22
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka has confirmed he will again wear ‘his’ No 22 jersey at Milan this season after leaving Real Madrid.

The Brazilian is this morning heading to Italy for his medical – four years after leaving the Diavolo for the Spaniards in a €65m deal.

“I’m returning home,” the 31-year-old told Sky Sport Italia after spending six years with the outfit earlier in his career.

“I’m very happy and we have a great team. I want to feel certain emotions again and I can’t wait to play at San Siro…

“I will have the No 22 jersey.”

Kaka will arrive on a free transfer after agreeing a two-year contract with the Diavolo.

Petagna happy with Sampdoria choice
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

AC Milan youth Andrea Petagna opted to join Sampdoria after talking to Antonio Nocerino and Giampaolo Pazzini.

The young striker will have his medical at Doria this afternoon after being pushed out of Milanello by Alessandro Matri’s arrival from Juventus last week.

“I spoke with Nocerino and Pazzini,” the 18-year-old told TMW. “They both advised me to choose Sampdoria.

“They spoke well of boss Delio Rossi and I’m really happy. Now I want to feature as much as I can with the Doria jersey.”

Rossi bossed Nocerino at Palermo and Pazzini at Atalanta. The latter is also a former Sampdoria player.

Petagna will join the Marassi outfit on loan, while Samp will have the option to sign 50 per cent of his contract at the end of the season.

OFFICIAL: Kaka to AC Milan
2.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Kaka has agreed a two-year contract with Milan after a deal was done with Real Madrid, the Diavolo have confirmed.

The Milan website has this morning announced that, after talks in the night, the Brazilian has put pen to paper until June 2015.

The attacking midfielder will arrive on a free transfer – four years after the Rossoneri sold him to Real for around €65m.

Personal terms were agreed in the night. Kaka’s agent had initially asked for a €6m a season deal, but the Italian club were able to reduce that to €4m with additional bonuses.

Kaka and Vice-President Adriano Galliani will arrive in Milan, via private jet, at around midday Italian time. He will then undergo his medical.

The now 31-year-old spent six years at the Stadio Meazza following his 2003 move from Brazilian outfit Sao Paulo.

Serie A: AC Milan 3:1 Cagliari - match report
1.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

Scorers: Robinho 8 (M), Mexes 30 (M), Sau 33 (C), Balotelli 62 (M)

AC Milan got their first Serie A win of the campaign and Robinho broke his goal drought in a hard-fought win over Cagliari.

Alessandro Matri was on the bench against his former club, having completed the transfer from Juventus on Friday. With Kevin-Prince Boateng and Luca Antonini sold this week, the Rossoneri were under pressure to get points after losing their opener 2-1 to Verona. Cagliari won their first game and Coach Diego Lopez was a familiar face, having played in Massimiliano Allegri’s Sardinian side for two years.

The injury list included Giampaolo Pazzini, Daniele Bonera, Riccardo Saponara, Gabriel, Jherson Vergara and Bakaye Traore, but Robinho was surprisingly picked instead of Stephan El Shaarawy. Cagliari also benched Davide Astori again, fuelling reports he’ll move on before the transfer deadline.

Robinho scored his first goal of the season, as he was relatively unmarked from nine yards to turn in Mario Balotelli’s cross from the right, which had squirmed past both Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Ali Muntari. It was the Brazilian’s first Serie A goal of 2013.

Robinho threatened a second with his strike that flashed across the face of goal and they doubled their advantage with Philippe Mexes.

The defender was in the right place to follow-up a parried Balotelli effort, scissor-kicking it in from eight yards.

However, Cagliari immediately got back into the match at San Siro when Marco Sau curled a splendid solo effort into the far top corner from the edge of the box.

Balotelli’s long-range free kick whistled just wide and after the restart a crucial Ignazio Abate sliding tackle blocked Radja Nainggolan’s shot when clear on goal.

Balotelli restored the two-goal cushion when a poor clearance fell to him and he smacked it powerfully under the bar from nine yards.

Matri came on to make his Milan debut for the final 24 minutes at San Siro, though he had grown up in their youth academy.

Sau could’ve put Cagliari back into it when Cristian Zapata gave the ball away to Albin Ekdal, but he fired straight at Abbiati and then collapsed clutching the back of his thigh.

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Emanuelson; Poli (Nocerino 78), De Jong, Muntari; Montolivo (El Shaarawy 88), Robinho (Matri 66), Balotelli

Cagliari: Agazzi; Dessena, Ariaudo, Rossettini, Murru; Nainggolan, Conti, Ekdal; Cabrera (Ibarbo 59); Pinilla (Nene 71), Sau (Eriksson 78)

Ref: Russo

1.9 || webmaster

Source: Football Italia

There are strong reports in Spain and Italy that Milan have agreed a two-year contract with Kaka, as Real Madrid will release him.

The news is reverberating around Europe this evening after Vice-President Adriano Galliani flew out to Madrid for talks.

Cadena Ser and Sky Sport Italia both claim Kaka has agreed a two-year contract with the Rossoneri.

Real Madrid are due to release him for free, which could either mean terminating the contract by mutual consent or letting Kaka go on a two-year loan.

It remains to be seen whether LA Galaxy are involved, as it was also reported this morning that the MLS club would take Kaka on loan in March when their season begins.

Serie A: AC Milan vs. Cagliari - lineups
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Source: Football Italia

AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Emanuelson; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Montolivo, Robinho, Balotelli.

AC Milan bench: Amelia, Coppola, Matri, Birsa, Constant, Nocerino, Cristante, Silvestre, Niang, Zaccardo, El Shaarawy.

Cagliari: Agazzi; Dessena, Ariaudo, Rossettini, Murru; Nainggolan, Conti, Ekdal; Cabrera; Pinilla, Sau.

Cagliari bench: Avramov, Avelar, Astori, Eriksson, Nené, Ibarbo, Perico.

Galliani in Madrid for Kaka talks
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Source: Football Italia

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani confirmed he is in Madrid for “very, very, very difficult” talks with Kaka.

The transfer guru flew out from Linate airport on a private jet this morning, accompanied by the head of Doyen Sports.

“We’ll try for Kaka, but it’s going to be very, very, very difficult,” Galliani told journalists.

There are differing reports on what is happening today, as some sources suggest Galliani is already in a lunch meeting with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez.

The private jet has been warned to stay on stand-by to take off at around 17.30 UK time, which would allow Galliani to be at San Siro for tonight’s Milan-Cagliari at 19.45 UK time.

Other media claim the meeting has been postponed until tonight, which would rule Galliani out of the crowd for the Serie A match.

Italian papers also continue to push the idea that Milan would only sign Kaka for six months, as he would then leave in March to join LA Galaxy for the start of the MLS season.

This would effectively see Kaka fill the gap waiting for Keisuke Honda to arrive on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow in January.

Spanish media maintain Real Madrid have requested €15m for Kaka, but the Rossoneri would prefer to take him on loan or possibly buy in conjunction with LA Galaxy.

Balotelli: 'I can be the best'
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Source: Football Italia

“I only rate Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo above me, but that can change this season,” declared Mario Balotelli.

The Milan and Italy striker spoke to the Sunday Mirror about his ambitions for the 2013-14 campaign.

“I want to be the best player in Europe and I want to prove that this season,” the 23-year-old told the Sunday Mirror.

“At the moment, I only rate Messi and Ronaldo above me, but that can change this season. I am playing good football with Milan and I want to be number one in Europe. To do that, I must perform well in the Champions League.

“We have a tough group. Barcelona are Barcelona and Ajax have some good young players. The atmosphere that Celtic make in Europe is famous, so we also know to expect a tough game.”

Super Mario is also looking forward to the possibility of a return to face Manchester City later in the competition.

“It is a dream to play against Manchester City in Europe. I had a good time there - and had a lot of success there. I still have friends in Manchester and I would like to go back and say hello to the fans that were so good to me.

“It would be mixed emotions, going back - because I would be going there to win, but I hope Milan meet them in the knockout stages.”

Kaka to LA Galaxy via AC Milan?
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Source: Football Italia

It’s reported Milan will fly out today to complete the Kaka deal, but he could stay only until March before moving to LA Galaxy.

The Brazilian declared this week he wanted to leave and Coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed in Saturday’s Press conference that Real Madrid will try to make him happy.

Despite interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, he seems set on a return to San Siro, the club he left for a then-world record transfer fee in 2009.

Italian media suggest Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani will fly out to Madrid today in order to complete negotiations with both club and player.

However, Tuttosport claim this will only be a temporary stop-over for the 31-year-old.

It’s reported Kaka will stay with Milan until March, when the MLS season begins and he will move on to LA Galaxy.

This would enable the Rossoneri to save on his wages, spending €3.5m for six months, and Kaka would essentially make way for Keisuke Honda when he arrives on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow in January.

This morning it was again reported that CSKA Moscow had given the all-clear to sell them Honda, but changed their minds after the Champions League draw on Thursday.

Matri: 'Back where I began'
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Source: Football Italia

Alessandro Matri could get his Milan debut tonight against Cagliari. “It’s a unique emotion to be back where you grew up.”

The striker was signed from Juventus this week for €12m, but began his career in the Rossoneri youth academy.

“It has been 10 years and I gained a lot of experience elsewhere,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s a unique emotion to be back where you grew up. There is also a Coach I already worked with, so there are many positive factors.”

It’s possible Matri will get his Milan debut against Cagliari, the club where he shot to fame under the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri.

“The Coach knows me and that will help me to settle in, but I am not in a privileged position because of that or my return to Milan after 10 years.

“I don’t expect to play more at Milan than I did at Juventus. I hope to, of course, but I am at the team’s disposal.”

Matri inherits the Number 9 jersey last worn by Pippo Inzaghi.

“The 32 was occupied, so the 9 is a nice alternative....”

Antonini: 'Goodbye my Milan'
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Source: Football Italia

Luca Antonini sent a touching message to fans and teammates after his move to Genoa. “I gave my heart for Milan.”

The full-back completed his transfer to Genoa today in a straight swap with Valter Birsa.

“After 23 years in Rossonero, today I salute the team I support,” wrote Antonini on Twitter.

“The time has come for me to go. Goodbye my Milan, I gave my heart for you.”

The 31-year-old grew up in the Milan youth academy and had several loan spells at Prato, Ancona, Sampdoria, Pescara, Modena, Arezzo, Siena and Empoli before settling back at San Siro in 2008.

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