Monday April 1 2013
Galliani nets for Milan

Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani played his part in the battle for a Champions League place, as Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up the latest action.

When Adriano Galliani goes into battle, he is used to coming out victorious. Years in the upper echelons of one of Italian football’s biggest sides and a role near the top of Serie A’s governing body have made him a powerful figure. Easter weekend allowed him to chalk up another triumph with a masterful piece of mind games and misdirection.

The Milanista maestro started his assault from a solid base in incontrovertible fact – the situation with Cagliari’s Is Arenas stadium is a total shambles. How he then chose to spin that evidence was more skilful than a spider. Somehow, he argued, the whole League season had been compromised and, what was more, the Rossoneri had been among those to suffer most.

His logic for making such claims appeared to be that Max Allegri’s men had been one of a handful of teams to have to play in Sardinia in front of a home support. Those who played behind closed doors, at a neutral venue or were awarded points had gained an unfair advantage. On the surface, you might agree that there was a prima facie case to answer.

However, it is worth considering the timing of his outburst when you are weighing up its merits. Milan travelled to Cagliari nearly a couple of months ago and yet Galliani waited patiently to make his complaint. It duly arrived on the eve of his team’s closest rivals for a Champions League berth making the trip to the island. Coincidence? You really don’t know the man or the machinations of Italian football if you believe that is the case.

And all the pot-stirring worked out wonderfully well. Fiorentina – one of the teams presumably being assisted by playing a game shielded from home fans – went down to defeat in the eerily quiet ground. Later in the day, the Rossoneri ground out another win on a potentially tricky away trip to Chievo. Breathing space in the fight for a top three finish had been secured. Rest assured that the claims of a “falsified” championship will be filed away unless Galliani fears that spot slipping away once again.

That was not the only spice of a tasty Easter Saturday of action. There was the little matter of the Derby d’Italia too although it had lost a bit of its heat thanks to the huge gap between its protagonists. Nonetheless, it still packed a little of the piquancy of a pan full of peperoncino.

There was a Fabio Quagliarella wondergoal, the kind he has made his trademark. There then followed a string of Inter penalty claims, an equalising goal, a renewed advantage for Juventus and, in injury time, a horror tackle from Esteban Cambiasso on Sebastian Giovinco. Few could have left the San Siro feeling short-changed.

When the dust settled, of course, it was the Bianconeri who were understandably the happier side. They had made another precious step closer to retaining the Scudetto with a performance in which, it seems fair to say, they looked the better side for most of the match. Bring on Bayern Munich.

Inter, for their part, deserved to take some heart from the encounter too. They never looked quite good enough to take anything from the game but, at the same time, they appeared less in disarray than they have at times recently. There was, at least, something to build on – even if they could not dent La Vecchia Signora’s leisurely passeggiata to the title.

Saturday’s late game saw Napoli’s Blerim Dzemaili earn the crown of most ungrateful former employee of the week. He fired in a hat-trick against the team which first brought him to Italy, Torino, in an eight-goal spectacular. Walter Mazzarri’s men eventually saw off the Granata to keep their second place intact, but they needed a late Edinson Cavani double in order to do so.

Elsewhere, Lazio managed a come from behind win to down Catania and boost their European prospects. It was a timely pick-me-up for Vlad Petkovic’s side after their struggles of late. They need a late season rush to earn the place in at least the Europa League which looked to be theirs for the taking for much of this campaign.

In mid-table both Sampdoria’s trip to Atalanta and Bologna’s travels to Udinese failed to produce a goal. They were the classic kind of results which helped make relegation a more distant prospect for most of the protagonists but did little to stir the blood. The same could not be said of the 2-2 draw between Genoa and Siena, although for all its excitement it did little to help either side’s predicament near the bottom of the table.

With Pescara tumbling to defeat at Parma – including another Amauri cracker – there was only one side made real progress in the lower reaches. At last Josip Ilicic and Fabrizio Miccoli stood up to be counted in Sicily and helped curb the Aurelio Andreazzoli revival at Roma. It might not have been enough to keep Palermo afloat but at least it threw them a lifebelt to cling on to for a little while longer.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with

Have your say...
Yeah Maldini, I hear you about Juve. We all love to take that scalp but at the end of the day they are family too.
I didn't see the games today but they are recorded and waiting for me in the company of a few nice cold dark beers :)

I was not aware of the Kaka/Gigi incident ... that's a rare gesture in this era when football is big business and the majority of the herd are contractors and mercenaries.

They just don't make 'hem like Paolo anymore :(
on the 3rd April, 2013 at 1:22am
What an awful night. Bayurn where great but juve where awful. Pirlo was crap, the whole team where awful. Buffon was unlucky on first goal but should have done a lot better on 2nd goal, although he made great saves throughout. Bayurn will win 2nd leg to. Just lazio left, and dont see them winning. Depressing.
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 10:04pm
@ Zoli I think Pirlo's demise at Milan was more to do with Allegri's tactical failings than the player or Galliani. Still Allegri replaced him with Van Bommell and delivered the league title so I can't be too critical. Nonetheless it is still frustrating to see Juve capitalising. Do you remember in 2005 when Kaka injured Buffon in pre-season and so Milan gave Juve Abbiati? Talk about helping out your rivals. And we were then held to ransom by any ever deterioarting Dida! Unbelievable
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 4:36pm
@ Zoli I don't think clearing out some of the names mentioned in my post will have the same impact as selling Ibr and Thiago Silva. I take your point about Bojan. I'm in two minds about him but I'm also concerned about squeezing out Pazzini and Niang and Ganz and Petagna from the youth team. Allegri can't handle too big a squad since he keeps changing the starting line up (why did he give Robinho a go against Chievo?) and Barca, Juve and Man U have all cut back on the size of their squads
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 4:25pm
Does anyone share my feeling that in the last few years Pirlo wore our colors, he caused just a little more concern - when it mattered - then satisfaction?
I wonder why ? He needs nothing more added to his rich and well deserved resume and I don't think Conte somehow mastered to squeeze the last drop out of him. He is, pretty much, still running the show.
What is Juve doing better then this Milan can do/could have done?
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 3:29pm
All good points Maldini.
The problem with something of the transfer magnitude you suggest could be that the team will have yet another "shock-treatment" while it is still recovering from the one administered last summer.
I would keep Bojan as I feel that once that missing element from his game is found, he will do great. And I feel sorry for Flamini. When he came over it seemed like a match made in heaven but it just never really worked out for him. Too bad.
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 2:15pm
We cannot allow Juventus to once again pick up the best signings which means we need to sign Perin, Ogbonna and get Astori back. We do not need to sign Santon because we already have Abate, De Scigilio and Constant competing for 2 full back positions. We do not need more strikers because we already have too many. We need to sell one of Amelia or Gabriele, Vila, Yepes, Mexes, Bonera, Traore, Flamini, Robinho and Bojan and give opportunities to Christante and Saponara
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 11:04am
The current squad has enormous potential but this depends on a well thought out transfer policy. We need to cut back on pointless Traore type signings, allow the young players we have to grow and only sign 2 or 3 world class players in key positions who are the beginning of their careers rather than trophy signings like fat-Ronaldo's. What this basically means is this summer we need to get rid of the fringe squad players, sell liabilities like Bonera and focus on sorting out our defence.
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 11:00am
I would hold off on the praise of Galliani. This is not Allex Ferguson winding up Kevin Keegan and he is the person responsible for Milan's current failings given his failure to properly plan over a number of years. Milan's record in terms of domestic league titles is not particularly impressive since the mid-90s and this is down to a largely hit and miss transfer policy and non-existent youth policy with only a relatively small number of world class or even sensible signings.
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 10:57am
Galliani's point is valid but he kinda overshot the runway by trying to turn this into a conspiracy theory.

But if Fiorentina lost solely because of this "pot-stirring", imagine the color of their underwear walking out of the Nou Camp tunnel to face 90K+ fans that want to make your next 90 minutes as miserable as possible. And then there is Barca, of course, for purely insurance purposes :)
on the 2nd April, 2013 at 2:59am
Good luck to juve and lazio. Juve this is your time make it happen. Buffon we love you. Its your year juve. Forza juve. An away goal is crucial.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 9:25pm
Barca has Messi and Messi alone. He scores more than 75% of their goals. Cavani at Napoli. Juve is exceptional (kind of like Italy at 2006 WC). ManU has van Persie. (Rooney who?) There may be exceptions but in Milan's case, Balotelli is the ultimate focal point. Allegri won't even consider benching him. If you think that SES is not unhappy about his post-Balo role then you delusional. Everyone at Milan knows that SES is unhappy and it shows when they talk about him. SES CANNOT coexist with Balo.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 6:04pm
@Anthony You are absolutely right! Though my opinion is that Balo and SES can't coexist at this Milan side. SInce Balo's arrival SES has scored less and less for Milan. Im certain that unless SES changes something about his game we will see him being forced out of the starting eleven and down the line out of the club as well.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 2:33pm
I think El Shaarawy was great in the Chievo game. He was running up and down the field, helping defense and starting attacks. The issue for him has been the introduction of Balotelli. For whatever reason, Balo hasn't given El Shaarawy the space to cut inside. El Shaarawy scores ALL of his goals by cutting inside (other than tap-ins). I think El Shaarawy has two options now: start taking on his man (which he showed he can do yesterday) or play a little more centrally.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 12:48pm
Rahul what are u banging on about, this is an exciting for Milan players playing with some swag now players playing in positions they wanna play is the most important ingredient to get the best out if players eg SES, montolivo, etc also don't forget all the assures SES has been doing while in the left and having that spark to create something come on Milan string finish now
on the 1st April, 2013 at 12:22pm
Steve - You may say that left wing is El Shaarawy's natural position, but after scoring 15 odd goals in a central position, he clearly doesn't like being on the sidelines (so to speak) anymore. Milan have improved dramatically from the start of the season, but of the top teams playing right now, Milan seem least determined. Technically, we are below many top teams. We deserve the 3rd place but I feel that we reached too early without much of a fight. Fiorentina are also worthy of the third spot.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 11:21am
Rahul, are Xavi and Iniesta not protagonists alongside Messi in the Barcelona side? Schweini, Ribery, Robben at Bayern? Gotze, Reus & Lewandowski? Cavani & Hamsik? I could go on for a while longer.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 11:11am
Dear Rahul stop stop smoking whatever is that you smoking because CLEARLY has damaged you knowledge for football. SES himself has stated millions of times that likes play on the left as he sees more of the ball and he stretches and cuts the defenders from the inside, Prandelli is changing he's formation due to the fact that SES and Balotelli are playing that way for Ac Milan.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 11:06am
do you mean every player as a non-protagonist could bot be great? Milan Center is weak, this is the reason for absence of full-potential EL92. Montolivo, cannot support both middle-defence and middle-attacking. If De J comes back, then things will go better. The best signing for Milan without a doubt would be Eriksen. Such player let a powerful balance which enables many players to play fully focused on their responsibility, unlike now, that EL92 has to make opportunity himself.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 10:42am
Rahul you may be a Milan fan like myself, but you clearly know nothing about the way our players play, and how this season has gone.
Firstly El Sharaawy's best part of his career has been played on the left wing. It's only like scenarios like last year when he is put in a more central role where he faulters. Also we're you even watching the start of the season! Allegri and the players turned the performances around NOT luck. The penalties given were justified as well! 3 points are 3 points mate
on the 1st April, 2013 at 10:27am
El Shaarawy. He will never ever be able to achieve his potential with this Milan if he continues to play on the left. He knows it too and is the reason why he is so unhappy. No team has more than 1 protagonist. Milan had Sheva and Kaka, but they sold Sheva so that Kaka could become what he became. Sooner or later, the faraone will be sold by the great Galliani you are talking about in order to balance the books.
on the 1st April, 2013 at 9:47am
I don't understand why people are ignoring the amount of luck Milan are having at this moment. There were too many penalties in the last few games and the victory against Chievo showed the (missing) resolve of Milan players. Add to that the misfortune of Lazio and Napoli et Voila, Milan are at 3rd position and most likely will end 2nd if things continue this way. I am a Milan fan btw...
on the 1st April, 2013 at 9:44am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.