News & Current Affairs

August 24, 2008

Shevchenko heads back to AC Milan

Shevchenko heads back to AC Milan

Andriy Shevchenko

Shevchenko has long been linked with a move back to Milan

Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko is to re-join Italian side AC Milan after completing a medical on Monday.

The 31-year-old Ukrainian cost the Blues £30m in 2006 but has failed to make an impact in the Premier League.

Shevchenko is AC Milan’s second-most prolific goalscorer of all-time with 127 goals from 208 games.

“Chelsea have agreed terms for Andriy Shevchenko to return to AC Milan,” said Chelsea’s website. “Details of the agreement will remain confidential.”

Shevchenko failed to earn a regular spot in the first team at Chelsea following his move to Stamford Bridge, scoring just nine goals in 47 appearances.

606: DEBATE
BWI

His first season ended prematurely when he had hernia surgery, forcing the striker to miss the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool and the FA Cup final.

New Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari did not pick him for their first Premier League match of the campaign last weekend, prompting Milan to launch the latest in a string of attempts to bring the Ukraine international back to Italy.

AS Roma and Sampdoria also expressed an interest but returning to Milan was always his preferred choice.

“For me it’s like winning the Champions League,” Shevchenko told Italy’s ANSA news agency. “There were complications but now everything is resolved I’m really happy.”

Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani was overjoyed to re-sign Shevchenko.

“After a series of frenetic phone calls during the whole day, we reached an agreement with Chelsea,” said Galliani.

“Tomorrow he will be in Milan, Monday he will undergo a medical and then sign a contract.

“We have managed to bring home a player who has scored the most goals in our shirt in the last 50 years.”

Galliani had said earlier this week that talks over Shevchenko had stalled with Milan wanting a loan deal but Chelsea only interested in a permanent transfer.

The details of their eventual agreement remain confidential.

Andriy made a mistake in leaving and I think after two years he has understood that this is his home
Milan chief Adriano Galliani

After buying Ronaldinho from Barcelona at the start of the close season, Milan had said they would not bring in any more players.

However, an injury to Marco Borriello, Alexandre Pato’s stuttering form for Brazil at the Olympics and Filippo Inzaghi turning 35 have made the signing of another striker necessary.

“I have heard from Andriy about 48 times in the last three hours. Andriy made a mistake in leaving and I think after two years he has understood that this is his home,” Galliani added.

“Now he has made economic sacrifices but at this point what counts is that he has come back to us.”

Shevchenko began his career at Dynamo Kiev, winning five league titles and two national cups with the team between 1994-99.

He spent seven successful years at Milan, helping the Rossoneri clinch the 2002/03 Champions League 2003/04 Serie A title.

He was also named European Footballer of the Year in 2004.

However, he missed the penalty that gave Liverpool victory in the 2004/05 Champions League final.

The Serie A season kicks of 31 August with Milan due to host Bologna in their opening game.

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August 21, 2008

Capello defends England tactics

Capello defends England tactics

Fabio Capello

Capello said he played Gerrard in a supporting role behind the striker

Coach Fabio Capello gave England’s performance in the 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic a mixed review and defended his use of Steven Gerrard.

The Italian was criticized for playing the midfielder on the left wing.

Capello explained he was using Gerrard in a 4-3-2-1 system, with the Liverpool captain and Wayne Rooney supporting Jermain Defoe as a main striker.

“The position he had to play was in the line of the full-backs and midfield,” he said. “He never played on the left.”

Capello sought to get the best out of Liverpool’s influential captain and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in the same line-up, a conundrum that has dogged his predecessors in the England job.

On this occasion he opted to partner Lampard with Gareth Barry in the middle with David Beckham to the right of the trio.

Capello added: “We played 4-3-2-1. We played Defoe, Gerrard and Rooney and three midfielders behind them. He [Gerrard] went to the left and to the middle.”

Gerrard was replaced by Joe Cole after an hour and the Chelsea midfielder admitted he was played out of position.

“I’m a winger, but the manager wanted me to play off the front man,” said the 26-year-old. “New manager, new ideas. We’ve got to try things.”

Only a last-minute goal from Cole saved England from defeat at Wembley, but Capello drew some positives from the salvaged draw, saying the performance was another step forward for his side ahead of World Cup qualifying campaign which begins in Andorra on 6 September.

He was also concerned by the ease in which England were exposed by a fast counter-attacking Czech side and admitted it is something they will need to work on.

“I think in the first half we played well, we had a lot of chances.

“After the second goal from the Czechs, the direction was not so strong.”

The problem is not with the style we played, but the difficulty we have when the other team play the counter-attack
England manager Fabio Capello

“The problem is not with the style we played, but the difficulty we have when the other team play the counter-attack,” added the 62-year-old.

“It is always dangerous and we have to study this problem.

“At this moment the players are not 100% physically, and important players like Rooney and Gerrard have played just one game.

“I think this result is important. We played against a very strong team and we’ll have more confidence for the next game.”

England’s uncomfortable night was compounded by the announcement that the Football Association’s chief executive Brian Barwick would leave his post by the end of the year.

Barwick was instrumental in the appointment of Capello, but differences with chairman Lord Triesman have led to their relationship becoming unworkable.

When asked about his departure the Italian said: “I am a friend of Brian, but it’s not my job [to comment] – it’s a board decision.”

Meanwhile, captain John Terry conceded that there had been “some plusses, but also some negatives” from their final warm-up game before the World Cup qualification campaign begins.

“Maybe we should have won the game with the players we had out,” the re-appointed skipper said

Of the crowd booing the players off, he said: “The crowd were frustrated as they’d paid a lot of money for their tickets, and we’ve got to put on a better show than that.

“It’s going to be a slow process, but hopefully we can get off to a good start against Andorra and go from there.

“We’ve got players playing in the biggest competition in the world [the Champions League], but sometimes we don’t click on the international stage.

“But I don’t think we should be worried. We have to stand up and be counted, raise our game, match teams with the commitment they show and hopefully our quality can overcome them.”

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