Barcelona managed to progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of the Italian club AC Milan, who almost knocked out the Spanish club. Milan managed a stunning 2-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg at the San Siro. They came into the second leg at the Camp Nou looking to hold out onto the significant advantage and progress to the quarter-finals. However, they were simply outclassed by a brilliant Barcelona team, as the Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored two goals to set them on their way. Allegri, though, has said that Milan could have given them a great chance had they taken the chances that came their way.
Even though Milan were defeated 4-2 on aggregate, the Italian team could have easily progressed on the away goals rule had their scored just before the fourth and final goal for Barcelona from the defender Jordi Alba. Milan had a couple of chances in the match, while their best was the attempt from M’Baye Niang. He managed to strike the post when the score was just 1-0. It could have easily changed the complexion of the match, as it meant Barcelona would have had to score three goals. As it is, Allegri and his men now exit the competition.
“For a matter of a few centimetres, maybe if Niang had scored, we would be here talking about a different game. After we went 3-0 down we still tried to pressure them and we managed to create chances. But when you are playing Barcelona and you have around five or seven opportunities to score you have to take them. Milan tonight played a worse match than the first leg and in the first half an hour they did not let us play,” said Allegri, as he prepares to focus on the league campaign.
The Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli has said that he has made the right decision to invest in the youth policy for the national team, which is expected to pay dividends in the long-term. He has also praised the Roma midfielder Francisco Totti by saying that he is in exemplary professional. The Roma captain scored his 221st goal in the Italian Serie A recently, which is an incredible feat considering that he is in the twilight of his career. However, he has managed to mould himself in such a way that the team has been able to use his best qualities.
This has especially come to the forte under the current Roma manager this season. The 37-year-old has made 17 appearances for the Roma first-team, while also scoring six goals in the process. Prandelli has praised Totti by saying that he had the experience of being with him in training for a few months. It helped him learn the way to the one of the best professionals in the game. Italy have been criticised for a long time due to the age of the squad. Prandelli has been trying to change this by introducing young players like Mario Balotelli into the squad. He has also praised the performances of the players like Stephan El Shaarawy.
“I had the good fortune to train him for a few months and that was an honour. He is an exemplary professional and is breaking all records at Roma, regardless of age. Totti is a real champion and always manages to achieve his objectives. He’s also a great man. We did well to choose the path of renovation for Italy and the explosion of so many young talents confirms that. The performances of Mattia De Sciglio, Lorenzo Insigne, Mattia Destro and Stephan El Shaarawy are clear for all to see,” said Prandelli.
In the latest scandal gripping Italian football, the Italian football federation head Giancarlo Abete has come out with a statement expressing his sorrow for the Tottenham fans who have been injured after the recent Europa league match with Lazio. The Premier league club took on the Italian club in Rome in a match that finished 0-0. However, the headlines were taken by the off the field incidents, which saw a large group of Italian mobsters attack Tottenham fans in a bar. This left as many as 11 fans injured seriously, while two of the mob have been held for attempted murder.
There have been a lot of anti-Semitic chants over the Tottenham supporters due to the Jewish connection of the club. However, this time the incidents went beyond the chanting, as a number of Tottenham fans were stunned to the on the receiving end of a planned attack from the Lazio fans. Giancarlo Abete has expressed his sincere apology in a letter given to the English FA chairman David Bernstein. He has also said that he will be personally overseeing all the investigation into the matter so as to provide quick justice. The English FA recently said that it planned to report the incident to UEFA.
“I have already had the opportunity to publicly express my condemnation and outrage at what has happened. We would like to extend our apologies to all of the Tottenham fans and, in particular, to the families of the people involved. We are following the investigation closely and remain at the disposal of the authorities to help take this case forward,” said Giancarlo Abete in the letter to the English FA. Abete said that he believes that the attacks on the Tottenham fans were motivated on the basis of religion more than anything else.
Michael Bradley’s agent has dismissed suggestions that his client is looking to move away from the Italian club in the January of the summer transfer window. The 25-year-old has been one of the impressive players for the club in the last few weeks, which have resulted in a number of clubs showing an interest in the player. The Spanish club Valencia have been one of the potentially interested parties. The players agent has confirmed that there has been interest from the Spanish club, but the player is more than happy to stay at the Italian club. He has also said that Michael Bradley wants to be a pillar of the Italian club in the future.
The 23-year-old recently scored his first goal for the club in the 2-0 home win against Atlanta, which was also the first home win for the new manager. He had taken the bold decision to rest high-profile players for this match. After suffering a lot of bad results in recent weeks, the former manager was extremely thrilled at this victory that helped him identify the strong points within the squad. Erik Lamela has also been a huge influence for Roma and he scored in the 2-0 win over Atlanta.
“When there is an interest in a client it is always nice, but right now it does not seem appropriate to speak about other clubs. Bradley, I hope, is close to becoming one of the pillars of this Roma team. I think it was one of Michael’s best performances if we evaluate it in context. He was coming back from a long injury at a time of difficulty for the team, and he scored his first goal for the club,” said the agent of the player. Roma are currently in the fifth position with 11 points on the board.
The Italian national team manager Cesare Prandelli has said that Antonio Cassano is not fully fit at the moment and it is one of the main reasons for omitting the Inter Milan striker from the squad that will face two World Cup qualifying matches. The former AC Milan striker recently completed a move to the arch rivals Inter Milan. However, after recovering from a heart problem last season, the striker is only now returning to full fitness according to the Italian national team manager. The Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is also absent from the squad.
Italy will be playing against Bulgaria and Malta in the first two World Cup qualifying matches. Cesare Prandelli has said that it is vital that the nation start the campaign with a win in order to carry confidence over the course of the remaining qualifying matches that will take place over a period of two years. Prandelli has said that the team is still evolving in terms of the formation and has hinted that he is likely to use a different formation in this match. The Napoli player Lorenzo Insigne is one of the few young players given a chance to impress with the national team.
“Cassano has said that he is currently only at 50-60 per cent and, at this moment, I don’t have time to recover players because we need to win games to qualify. He just has to re-find his form, then there will only be tactical decisions to make. I can’t take any risks in these qualifying games with players who are not in perfect physical condition. There is a lot at stake here,” said Prandelli ahead of the match with Bulgaria. Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and the new AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini are the new faces included in the squad.
The Roma manager Zdenek Zeman has criticised the Italian football by saying that the players within Italian football do not know what it takes to win football matches anymore. The Roma manager was extremely negative when it came to the opinions about the Italian football, but has said that he is confident that his club can finally achieve some glory this season. It has been a difficult few years for Roma after they have not been without the Champions League income. They have found it difficult to compete against the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan without this income.
One of the main objectives for the new Roma manager prior to the start of the new season will be to finish in the top three positions in the Italian league. This will ensure qualification to the Champions League. Last season was extremely disappointing for the Italian club after they finished in the seventh position behind Inter Milan. Roma have made some crucial signings in the summer, while some players have also left the club. Ahead of the start of the new season, the Roma manager Zdenek Zeman has said that the Italian players have forgot the art of winning in recent seasons.
“In Italy, you know, they don’t know how to lose. They don’t even know how to win anymore. I’ve been here for more than 40 years. I feel Italian. We have lost credibility (as a nation). Isn’t football a game? We should play it then. In order to be on par with the big clubs, (Roma) must prove something on the pitch. I hope the team can have a positive campaign and compete with everyone. This term we’re starting from scratch and I think everyone has a chance to prove themselves,” said Zdenek Zeman about Italian football and Roma.