Monday September 23 2019
Ancelotti: Madrid 'resisted' James sale

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Real Madrid put up “too much resistance” for James Rodriguez and urged Milan to give Marco Giampaolo time.

Napoli were heavily linked with James throughout the summer, but a deal never took off as Madrid were not willing to send the Colombian back out on loan.

“With James, there was the will to sign him but we clashed with the resistance of Real Madrid,” Ancelotti told Radio Anch’io Sport.

“Now he’s playing for Los Blancos, so there was no possibility of signing him in the end.

“Overall we had a sensible market. Excellent players arrived, from Di Lorenzo to Manolas, Elmas, Llorente and Lozano.

“Just as there’s rotation for the outfield players, there’s rotation for goalkeepers. Ospina has huge experience, whereas Meret is very good but doesn’t have that experience yet.

“I rotate not because I love it but rather because my players give me guarantees so rotation becomes almost automatic.

“We can say if we’ve closed the gap at the end of the season. We want to be competitive with everyone - Inter, Juve and all the others.

“However, I can’t make any conclusions as of today. Mine are a team I really like in terms of quality, character and personality. We’ve grown in the last period.

“The next round of fixture seems favourable for us, but Cagliari have strengthened so much and are in a good run of form. The Italian League is always complicated.”

Giampaolo came in for criticism after Milan’s 2-0 derby defeat to Inter, so should the Rossoneri pull the plug on the Coach?

“They’re not in good form, they’re a team still looking for a precise identity and when you’re midstream like they are, it’s complicated.

“Things don’t come naturally, despite your will. It takes patience, a new Coach has arrived with different ideas and new players that have yet to be integrated.

“Roma can get back into the title race. Fonseca’s a great Coach with some interesting ideas. He’s brought vigour and enthusiasm to a young team.

“This is perhaps the time of the older guard: Llorente, Dzeko, Ribery, Ronaldo...”

Serie A appeared to take a step forward in their fight with racism at the weekend as referee Daniele Orsato suspended the match between Fiorentina and Atalanta after Dalbert had been singled out for abuse.

"I don’t know why we’re like this... We have to move forward. Yesterday Orsato did well to suspend the game, it’s a step forward and there will be others.

“We need to follow this line. Like [Gianni] Infanto, I’ll also say ‘enough is enough’. We need to be harder in applying the rules that are in place.

“We have the advantage that there are so many cameras at stadia, so we need to intervene more.

“If Italian teams want to grow, the Serie A brand needs to improve. First it was the best-selling League abroad, but it’s since been supplanted by the Premier League.

“The quality of Serie A must be improved, not only from a technical point of view but also in terms of stadia, for example.

“There’s better attendences this season, and I hope we can also eliminate incidents of racism.”