Emerson Slams "Distant" Madrid

In a brief interview with Radio Marca, new AC Milan signing Emerson had some harsh words for his former employers, Real Madrid...

Emerson's departure from Real Madrid was not a happy one, and the Brazilian midfielder has wasted no time giving his version of the events leading to his Bernabeu exit.

The midfielder arrived at AC Milan yesterday after a one year spell in Spain, during which he lifted the Liga trophy with his Real Madrid teammates.

Much of the Liga success, he attributes to Fabio Capello, the former Bernabeu coach who was sacked earlier this summer. Emerson praised the Italian's ability to forge a strong team spirit out of what could be a difficult squad to work with.

This helped Real Madrid develop an ability to stage comeback victories - not least that over Mallorca on the final day of the season that gave the blanquillos the championship.

Emerson was not one of the more popular players at Madrid, but insisted that "I have always thought about the team, and always did my best for it."

To this end, he denied ever refusing to play, such as against Bayern Munich. He claimed that it was, in fact, Fabio Capello's decision not to field the former Juventus midfielder.

Overall, he leaves on a sour note. He claimed, "In Madrid, the distance between the club and the players is very great," he grumbled - and perhaps never moreso than when president Ramon Calderon publicly stated the club's intention to offload Emerson earlier this summer.

They got their wish eventually, with AC Milan paying around 5 million euros for the man who had cost Madrid 16 million just twelve months earlier.

Materazzi Could Miss France Clash

Marco Materazzi's knock, sustained against Hungary, could see him miss the vital Euro 2008 qualifying mtch against France on September 8...

Marco Materazzi has two weeks to recover, or risk missing the Euro 2008 grudge match with France.

The French beat the World Champions 3-1 in the earlier fixture in Paris, with Italy desperate for revenge - and to gain the advantage at the top of the qualfiying group.

But the "Matrix" faces a race against time to join the squad for the clash - not to mention Inter's Serie A opener this weekend.

The veteran stopper suffered thigh bruising and general trauma, sustained after a Hungarian player landed on top of him.

Such was the damage from the latter incident that a shaking Materazzi vomited after the game, but opted to wait until returning to Italy before going to the hospital.

Team doctor Andrea Ferretti said, "Materazzi received a serious blow when an oposition player fell on top of him."

"It was a serious trauma and we will have to see how it develops in the next few hours. The recovery won’t be a matter of days and there is a real doubt that he will be back to play against France."

A dreadful Italy performance saw them capitulate to a 3-1 defeat in Hungary on Wednesday night. They face the French in 15 days time in Milan.

Buffon Slams Azzurri Display

Italy number one Gianluigi Buffon has slammed his team's poor showing in the shock 3-1 defeat to Hungary in Budapest.

Italy took the lead in the 49th minute through Antonio Di Natale, but three goals in sixteen minutes saw Hungary come back to heap a humiliating defeat on them.

"Certainly we expected to be in poor shape physically, even though after taking the lead we could have had at least a draw with a little more determination," said an unhappy Buffon after the game.

"We made the mistake of thinking our work was done and were punished by their hunger.

"I understand we are lacking in fitness at the moment, but we can always make up for that a little bit with more determination and grit.

"I think that after nights like this the media will always look to find fault with individuals, but I think we can only all come together and apologise, take our responsibility and work for the future."

He also spoke about whether the Azzurri will be able to recover in time for the Euro qualifiers against France and Ukraine.

"Will 15 days be enough to face France? They have to be," he said. "We know how important these games are and that we have to play our best and hope to get the results we want against France and Ukraine.

"We do have to evaluate how we work together as a team and I think that’s what really went wrong tonight – we were not as compact as we were in our last outing. That is something we have to work on in the next two weeks."

The problem, of course, is that the two weeks comprise of two rounds of Serie A action, with the likes of Inter, Lazio, Milan and Roma all involved in games during the middle of next week as well.

The two weeks will see Antonio Cassano's make his debut following his return to Italy, and the forward is one of many who could force their way into the Italy squad.

"I think it depends only on him," said Buffon. "Mother nature has given him many qualities and skills, but he now has to make the most of them. He needs to prove he is the champion we always said he was. He is a lovely, generous lad."

Cassano Ready For Azzurri's Call-up

The new Sampdoria player declared that he's on good terms with Italian national team coach Roberto Donadoni and this might be the season where he is back on the international level.

Antonio Cassano is ready if Donadoni calls him up for the Azzurri's squad, after the national team coach had opened up the doors for the former Real Madrid player in the past days.

"I created a good rapport with the coach," he confirmed. "He has always been clear with me and even when he did not call me up, we spoke calmly as if we were two friends.

Roma is still in Cassano's heart.

"The people who know me, know that I am still very tied to Rome and Roma," he continued. "Going back, I would have never left Roma, because Roma is in my heart and I will go to live there.

"However, now it's something which has passed. I carry Roma in my heart, but the past is past."

Galliani Hails Emerson Signing

AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani believes that the club are a big step closer to being the ideal side following the acquisition of veteran Brazilian midfielder Emerson from Real Madrid.

Before the €5 million deal was struck, many critics identified the Rossoneri’s lack of depth in central midfield as a key weakness, but Emerson’s experience and quality practically ensures that this is no longer a chink in Milan’s armour.

"In the other areas the substitutes are abundant," Galliani began to explain. "In the three midfield positions we only had five players. With the arrival of Emerson, the others can take a deep breath."

Galliani was also highly complimentary of the fact that the 31-year-old accepted a salary reduction in order to join his ‘dream club’, with his yearly income reportedly being reduced from €4.8 million to €3.3 million.

"It's a nice demonstration of good will," the Rossoneri VP added "He's motivated and that pleases us. Plus, he's been training. I think he'll already be available to (coach Carlo) Ancelotti by Friday.

"Finally we've closed the circle. Let's say that Pato is the promise and Emerson is the guarantee of this acquisition campaign, which makes Milan ever more Brazilian.”

We Must Learn From Our Mistakes Says Stankovic

The Inter midfielder believes that the Nerazzurri's side which played against Roma last Sunday was not the real Inter team which won the Scudetto and which will be targeting all major competitions this season.

Dejan Stankovic reassured the Inter fans that the team 'admired' against the Giallorossi last weekend was just 30% of the real one, and when asked by Sky if the Nerazzurri were more like the one seen against Manchester United or Roma, the Serbian player answered in a diplomatic way.

"Sincerely I think we're somewhere in between," he replied. "Against Manchester it was a friendly during the summer training and the one against Roma should have been a real game as there was a trophy at stake, but it's useless to cry over spilled milk.

"It was a good school, we must learn from those mistakes. From Sunday's game we must eliminate the errors and continue with the work on the path we know.

"What is for sure is that the team against Roma is not the real Inter, not even at 30% of what we can give."

Too Many Errors

Roberto Donadoni was left disappointed with the way his team crumpled in the second half against Hungary's onslaught.

"We met a team that had fresher legs and was more determined on the night," he began.

"We went OK in the first half, then lost our focus after the break and were punished for some silly errors."

Those errors will now have to be corrected during the five days ahead of the France game, with the FIGC having ruled out preponing the start of the Serie A season to give him more time.
"We can’t talk about that now, the situation is what it is," he said. "We have suffered a defeat and will try to work hard to get fit as soon as possible."

"There are two Serie A rounds first in which we can hope to get back the kind of form we need to take on France," he continued, trying to look at positives, and hoping that his players will pick up some much needed match fitness over the coming weeks.

"There were some mistakes, but these things happen and we must not demonise the defence.

This is football and sometimes the breaks go your way, sometimes they don’t.

"However, I clearly cannot be happy after a 3-1 defeat."

Del Piero Is Staying, Says Ranieri

The Juventus coach reassured the Bianconeri fans that despite the fact that no new contract has been signed by the Old Lady's captain, Del Piero will not be leaving the Turin-based team.

Alessandro Del Piero has not renewed his contract with Juventus, but Claudio Ranieri isn't worried.

"He's the symbol and flag of Juventus, he will stay with us. These are just skirmishes tied to the contract and he will remain here," confirmed Ranieri at the end of the small friendly match played by Juventus against Biellese which the Bianconeri won 4-0.

The former Chelsea and Parma coach sees a Juve side which can compete against the big teams in Serie A this season.

"All of the tournaments against important teams made us understand that, even though for eight elevenths the new lads were coming from Serie B, we faced without fear a great Milan who won thanks to Inzaghi, who also scored in the Champions League final against a certain Liverpool.

"We obviously have defects, but we're there. It will be tough, but we shall be competitive. I'm curious to see where we can arrive.

"I don't need to stimulate the champions because they don't need to, I must manage the new arrivals."


Fiore Denies Mantova Link

Unsettled Valencia outcast Stefano Fiore was recently linked with a shock move to Serie B side Mantova in order to allow him to rebuild his career. However, the Azzurri international has since denied these rumours as he seeks clear-the-air talks at the Mestalla.

Forsees Juve Stay

He may have helped Juventus to the Serie B title last year, but many feel that Jean-Alain Boumsong's chances with the Old Lady this season are limited. However, the player has revealed that he's yet to receive an acceptable concrete offer to tempt him away from the Stadio delle Alpi, and thus he's set to remain.

Luccin Could Leave Atletico Madrid

With clubs in England, Spain and Italy said to be interested in his services, Atletico Madrid midfielder Peter Luccin is ruling nothing out ahead of the transfer window's closure next week.

"Inter Are The Favourites

AC Milan superstar Kaka, currently on international duty with Brazil, spoke to the Gazzetta dello Sport today about the upcoming season, declaring Inter the favourites to retain the Scudetto.

Tonight Italy face Hungary in a friendly match at the Puskas stadium in Budapest ahead of the decisive Euro Qualifier matches against France and Ukraine in program in September.

National team coach Roberto Donadoni is satisfied to have found back a united group as the Azzurri prepare to face Hungary tonight in a friendly game which will serve as a good training for the World Champions.

Nedved Looking Forward To New Season

The Juventus midfielder is looking forward to the new season in which he wants to enjoy every single game even though he admitted that they will be difficult.

Di Vaio Looking Forward To Milan Challenge

Marco Di Viao the Genoa striker will make a return to Serie A following his disappointing adventure at Valencia and after leading the Grifoni back to the Italian topflight.

Di Vaio admitted that he has been looking forward to make another debut in Serie A and the opportunity arrived now with the big clash against the European Champions AC Milan this weekend.

Mazzarri Pleased With Sampdoria’s Progress

The Blucerchiati's coach is more than satisfied with how things have gone during this pre-season training camp and is looking forward to the start of the new Serie A season.

Cagliari Is Ready, Confirms Giampaolo

The Coach of the Rossoblu drew a balance of this pre-season where for him the Sardinian side has done very well ahead of the start of the new Serie A campaign.

Very Difficult Season Ahead For Parma, Admits Morrone

The midfielder of the Gialloblu knows that the Emiliani have a long way to go to improve from last season as the Serie A season kicks-off this weekend.

I Never Considered Leaving

Gianluigi Buffon insists that he had an “infinite number of reasons” to stay at Juventus despite being heavily tipped for a mega-bucks move earlier this summer.

Scudetto Only A Dream

Juventus President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli has insisted that an automatic Champions League qualification represents the limit of club’s ambitions this season after a year spent in the doldrums of Serie B.