Tag Archive | "AC Milan"

So Long Sol

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Sven Goren Eriksson’s Notts County revolution has taken a hit as Sol Campbell has decided to leave the club—after only one match. No reason has been given for Sol’s departure, but maybe the fourth division reminded him too much of playing for Portsmouth.

Unfortunately, allegations of racism have tarnished the third round of the Carling Cup. Blackpool’s Jason Euell was the victim of verbal abuse while El-Hadji Diouf, now of Blackburn, claims to have had bananas tossed at him. Unlike Euell, nobody believes Diouf…hmm, I wonder why.

Avram Grant is back…well sort of. The former Chelsea manager has agreed to a coaching role in the remote Russian republic of Komi. What a fall from grace for a man who was one John Terry missed penalty from winning the Champions League. Football really is a fickle bitch.

On the subject of remote coaching outposts, Bryan Robson has agreed to coach the Thai national team. He replaces another Englishman, Peter Reid. The English might not rate their own managers, but apparently they’re more than good enough for Thailand.

You might remember Joe Cole. Plays for Chelsea, had a great goal in the 2006 World Cup, and has been injured for the past two seasons. Well he’s recovered and he’s ready to be the point in Chelsea’s new diamond formation, or what Joe refers to as the ‘sausage roll’ position. Seriously folks, he’ll be here all week.

And in economic news, season ticket sales are down in Italy. And no club has been hit harder than AC Milan. Looks like an aging Ronaldinho isn’t as big of a draw as fan favorite Kaka. And to add insult to injury, no one has sold more season tickets than cross town rivals Inter Milan. Ouch, that’s got to hurt.

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The Drunk’s Back With Winners

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You can bet your balls that the Drunk's got picks.

You can bet your balls that the Drunk's got picks.

So you may be wondering where I’ve been, and the answer is a little place called none-of-your-g*d-damn-business. Actually after giving you so many winners last year, I decided to take a rest from being the best handicapper on the web Natural Hat Trick. So instead of giving you just three money picks, I’m going to give you the result of all eight of today’s matches. Bold I know, but then again I am The Drunk. Let’s hit it. Read the full story

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Kaka’s A Galactico

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Kaka makes the move to Spain.

Kaka makes the move to Spain.

The soap opera didn’t last long as Kaka signed with Real Madrid last night. Madrid paid AC Milan £59m for the Brazilian playmaker, surpassing the record transfer fee of £46.7m that Madrid paid to Juventus in 2001 for Zinedine Zidane. Kaka will also wear the #5 shirt that Zidane wore for Los Blancos. Kaka reluctantly left Milan for financial reasons (and after speaking with David Beckham) and most certainly won’t be the last big name player to be moved for such reasons. While Milan is left to ponder who can replace the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, Madrid has set their sights on long sought after prize Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Don’t Let ‘The Duck’ Walk

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This is how many titles AC Milan will win if they sell Pato.

This is how many titles AC Milan will win if they sell Pato.

Monday is the day AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi will announce to the world where superstar Kaka will be playing next season. With reports already circulating that he has reached an agreement with Real Madrid, and with Chelsea submitting a very hefty last-minute bid, it seems eminent that the Rossoneri talisman will be playing outside of Italy next year. And the reason for his departure is, as AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani himself admitted, ‘solely economic.’ This transfer is yet another blow to the once dominant Serie A. But the move that could damage the Italian top flight even more is if Milan lost teenage sensation Alexandre ‘The Duck’ Pato to Chelsea.

While Milan supporters may be, and rightfully so, angry and disappointed by the departure of Kaka, it’s a harsh reality of today’s world that there are few clubs who can afford to turn down €70m for a player. And the fact of the matter is that Kaka is 27-years-old and spent much of the past season injured. It’s true that he’s only two years removed from being named FIFA World Player of the Year, and he still has some very good years ahead of him, but it wouldn’t be blasphemous to say that he’s on the downside on his career. And what AC Milan, and all of Serie A, desperately need is a massive infusion of youth. And €70m can buy a lot of talented youth.

That’s why losing Pato would be a massive loss, to not only Milan, but all of Italian football. The 19-year-old has a more than respectable tally of 23 goals in 51 appearances for Milan and is becoming a Brazilian national team regular. ‘I have seen him in training and on the pitch,’ says David Beckham, ‘He is only 19 years of age and I think he can become one of the greatest players in the world.’ Not small praise from someone who has played with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Eric Cantona. The Duck is exactly the type of player that you build a team around, not sell—especially if you’re AC Milan.

The Serie A may not have as much money to throw around as it did in the late 80s and early 90s, but it’s far from broke. In fact, according to Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance 2009, Serie A enjoyed the highest one year growth in revenue of all the big five European leagues. But its wages/revenue ratio was 6% higher than that of clubs in England and Spain. If you combine that stat with the fact that the Serie A generates less total revenue than its English counterparts, it means that English clubs have €27m more to spend on players. If you have less money to spend you need to make shrewd purchases. Instead of spending €24m on a flop like Ricardo Quaresma, wouldn’t it make economical sense to find, develop and play less expensive youngsters?

Milan has already lost one talented youngster in midfielder Yoann Gourcuff. After appearing in just 18 games (14 of those as a substitute) for the Rossoneri in 2007/08, the 22-year-old was loaned to Bordeaux. He went on to start 35 matches for the Ligue 1 champions this season, and all he did was score 12 goals and assist on 11 others. Fed up with his lack of playing time at the San Siro, he recently made his loan move permanent and signed a four year deal with the French club. He only cost Bordeaux €10m. That’s the same amount AC Milan paid the LA Galaxy for 32-year-old David Beckham.

If every player were Gary Neville or Paolo Maldini, fans wouldn’t have to deal with their heroes leaving their club for another. But the reality is that player’s move around—a lot. And at 27, you can’t blame Kaka for wanting to play in another country or make more money. He’s also helped to bring many trophies to the San Siro, and fans should appreciate him for that. He should be allowed to leave if that’s his wish, but to let The Duck walk would be a devastating mistake. If Milan and Italian football want to be back on top, it’s talented, affordable young players like Pato that will lead the way.

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What’s This Shirt Worth?

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schalke04shirt2Now that Manchester United has secured the richest shirt sponsorship known to mankind, we thought that we would give you the most lucrative shirt sponsorships in the world. There aren’t many surprises, but we thought it was interesting nonetheless.

Second on the rich list is recent title holder, Bayern München.  They receive £17m a year from telecom giant T-Home, but apparently it’s still not enough to keep Franck Ribery.

Next up is Spanish runners-up Real Madrid. They’re deal is with Bwin. The Austrian-based gaming company shells out £15m a year for the right to be shown during a Champions League quarter-final loss.

Bwin is also the shirt sponsor of AC Milan. But the company apparently thinks their shirts aren’t worth as much as Madrid’s and only pays Milan £10.22m. Of course if David Beckham plays all of next season, who knows how much more Milan could squeeze out of them.

Lord knows they don’t need the money, but Chelsea is next on the list with a £10m deal with Korean electronics giant Samsung. If any club should donate their shirt space to charity, don’t you think it should be Chelsea?

Who knows why or how it happened but next on the rich list is Schalke 04. Finishing in eight-place in the Bundesliga this year isn’t stopping them from making £10m from Russian natural gas company Gazprom.

It’s a fact that Liverpool collects £8m from long time sponsor Carlsberg. Yet another reason why, I’m sure Rafa Benitez will tell you, that Liverpool can’t monetarily compete with the other ‘big four’ of the BPL.

Another team that doesn’t need the sponsorship money, Manchester City, just signed an £8m deal with Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad. I’m sure their billionaire sheik owner had nothing to do with this deal.

And finally, a shout out to newly crowned European champions Barcelona. Not only does the club wear children’s charity UNICEF on their chest, they pay UNICEF £1.5m a year to do so. Now that’s a fantastic shirt deal.

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Rumors And Excuses

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Who’s going where and what went wrong? At this time of year, players who suffered disappointing years are trying to find homes for next season, while managers whose clubs didn’t quite finish where they wanted are making excuses as to why. If the beginning of the season is like the start of your freshman year of college when you had plans of a 4.0, then this is like the end of freshman year when you’re explaining to your parents why you’re on probation and you should be allowed to go back for your sophomore year.

He hasn’t been mentioned on this site in a while, but no one makes more excuses than ‘Facts’ Benitez. Last week he said he couldn’t win the league because he doesn’t have the transfer funds of the other members of the ‘Big Four.’ Well this week the reason they’re finishing runner-up is that Fernando Torres was injured most of the season. If excuses where titles he’d be up to his double chin in them. And be sure you don’t call Liverpool a defensive club.

Maybe the ‘Fact Man’ should take a note out of his cross town rival’s book. Everton’s David Moyes has probably one-eighth of the transfer budget of Liverpool, but that hasn’t stopped him from competing for the FA Cup trophy this season. According to Moyes, it comes down to his private investigator tactics when scouting players. Can’t you just see him sitting outside a player’s house with a pack of smokes, thermos of coffee and a pair of binoculars?

Too bad he didn’t use his powers of investigation to see that Louis Saha would spend more time in the trainer’s room than on the pitch this season. But the black Michael Owen claims he has more to give next season. And he’s not talking about hamstring injuries.

Yesterday we wished a fond farewell to Steve Coppell who resigned as Reading manager saying he needed a break. We speculated that he wouldn’t be out of football for long and reports today are saying that he has been offered the job of Premier League Head of Youth. See, sometimes we are on the right path.

Who says you can’t go home? AC Milan don’t want him and Chelsea refuse to take him back, but Dynamo Kiev are ready to welcome Andriy Shevchenko home.

At least Andriy has a suitor. His fellow AC Milan flop Ronaldinho’s agent has admitted that he’ll be looking for a new club this summer. Insisting that his client wishes to remain in Europe, I can’t imagine any big time club taking a change on the former World’s Greatest Player. Two years ago who would have thought that these two former heavyweights would be begging for work? At least they’re still good on EA Sports FIFA ’09.

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Is Becks Cheating On Posh With Her?

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Becks new girl?

Becks new girl?

According to the Daily Star, David Beckham has been e-mailing Hungarian model Mariann Fogarassy. She claims to have met him at an AC Milan match in Budapest last week. Why was Milan playing a no-name Hungarian team in the middle of the week? Apparently to find Becks a girl. They really are pulling out all the stops to convince him to stay.

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Life Outside The Champions League

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Believe it or not, there’s actually football news that isn’t about the Champions League semi-final matches. You may not care but it’s there and you can’t just sit there and ignore it. Ok, maybe you can.

Phil Brown once declared he would one day be the English national team manager. Before that happens he better hope he can keep Hull City in the Premiership. But things don’t seem to be going his way. First he’s told last season’s playoff hero Dean Windass to stay away from the club for the rest of the season. And now, his son’s been arrested for possession of cocaine. It looks to me like Phil might be hitting the slopes they way he gyrates on the touchline during matches.

Bye-Bye Jurgen Klinsmann. We hardly knew ya. But now is the time to talk about his replacement. And wouldn’t you know it, Guus Hiddink tops Bayern München’s list. I don’t think he would turn down Chelsea’s billions for Bayern’s millions, but isn’t he supposed to return to Russian anyway. The way teams are fawning over him, you think he lead Russia to victory in the last World Cup.

Recently named PFA Player of the Year Ryan Giggs is being touted for knighthood by a group of online supporters. And while the classy Welshman deserves consideration, he still might have one more shirtless goal celebration in him.

Too bad things aren’t going so smoothly for his future replacement Nani. It doesn’t seem as if the Portugueser will be at Old Trafford much longer.

Just because you haven’t heard it for a while: AC Milan wants to make David Beckham’s deal permanent when he returns next fall. Groundhog Day type stuff here kids.

Now how about that Champions League?

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Managerial Tales

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Football managers are special people. One moment they’re defending a completely shitty striker, the next they’re complaining how the schedule is unfair to their club. Basically they’ll say whatever’s necessary to deflect criticism from themselves and their teams. And with this being a Champions League week and the announcement of the PFA awards in England, mangers are double-talking out of both sides of their mouths at a furious rate.

Arsene Wenger is so adept at finding slights around every corner, he should really become a professor and teach a class on the subject. After hearing that five out of the six finalists for the PFA Player of the Year are from Manchester United, the Arsenal gaffer believes that the voting comes too early in the season.  He claims it only rewards those that play well early in the season, and not down the stretch when it matters. That must be the reason why his astonishing young Gooners weren’t nominated for anything. But the old guy isn’t done. He also demands that Arsenal supporters get off their duffs and make the Emirates a fortress. A man can dream can’t he?

Longtime nemesis Alex Ferguson doesn’t necessarily disagree with the Professor’s assertion that the PFA voting may come a tad early. But that doesn’t prevent him from naming Nemanja Vidic his choice for the award and taking a shot at the Frenchman. But Arsene shouldn’t be upset at the dig, Fergie also dished out a little friendly reminder to Cristiano Ronaldo to play better.

What’s that? That’s the sound of another old man from Real Madrid claiming that a secret deal is completed to bring Ronaldo to the Bernabéu. I may not be Spanish but I thought a secret is when not everyone knows something and you don’t hold a press conference to announce it. But that’s just me.

What isn’t a secret is that Newcastle’s nightmare of Championship football is closer to becoming a reality. Ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given thinks that Alan Shearer’s the man to keep them up, but fears he won’t have enough time to save them. I’m sure that the fans are happy to hear that you’re rooting for them after you ran away to Manchester City.

Whatever happens in Newcastle won’t affect Shearer’s legend status. Too bad Bayern München manager Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t getting the same support in Germany.

It you can’t beat ‘em, have ‘em overturn the result. Realizing that they’re probably never going to play in Europe again, Leeds United are asking UEFA to overturn their 1973 European Cup Winners’ Cup final loss to AC Milan. Leeds claims the match was fixed. There’s only one thing to say to that: Get over it, you sad bastards.

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The Ups And Downs Of Football

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One day you’re riding high, and the next you’re back to being a bum. Such is life in the world of football. Just ask Rafa Benitez and Jurgen Klinsmann. Leading up to the match, the ‘Fact Man’ was busy telling the press how terrified other teams were of his juggernaut Reds, and then they went out and got embarrassed at home by Chelsea. Meanwhile, Klinsy’s job status—never the most secure in Europe—took as serious hit as they played the Washington Generals to Barcelona’s Globetrotters. Football is a fickle game indeed.

Not only did Chelsea exercise their demons last night at Anfield, according to Frank Lampard, they’re now the team to beat. Not one to get carried away, is he? If you ask John Terry, Liverpool were getting carried away with the dirty tricks they were using to try and get him booked. Fortunately for the Blues, they have ‘supernatural’ Branislav Ivanovic on their side.

I’m not sure exactly what Ivanovic’s powers may be, but I wonder if he had anything to do with bringing Adriano back from the dead.

Spanish relegation battlers Osasuna don’t need help from the dark side, all they need is a little pork. Two weeks ago a local pig breeder offered twelve suckling pigs if they beat fellow bottom feeders Espanyol, which they did 1-0. Then they followed that up with a 4-2 demolishing of Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón—which earned them twelve more delicious piggies. Good news for everyone but Osasuna’s two Muslim players.

In case you really want to know, Kaka doesn’t want to go to England and wishes to stay at AC Milan. Maybe he’ll change his mind when he hears Craig Bellamy’s offer to clean his boots. No word on what other services the Welshman has offered.

Boot cleaning might not be enough to lure Kaka, but it might convince Zenit St. Petersburg striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to move to City. The Russian is keen on a move to England, as long as it’s not Blackburn. Can you really blame him?

It seems Lukas Podolski’s love slap isn’t going completely unpunished. The German police are now involved and investigating the incident. Good to see the German police have nothing better to do. I guess I better get my ‘Free Lukas’ t-shirt ready.

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