AC Milan Director Marco Fassone Complains About Shared San Siro & Hints at New Stadium Plans

Last Monday, San Siro Stadium was the setting for Italy’s ultimately doomed second leg World Cup qualifier against Sweden. 

Although the 0-0 draw ultimately mean the Italians will not be in Russia next summer, supporters brought an incredible atmosphere to the historic ground, which has still never hosted a defeat for the national side. 

However, while San Siro was packed to the rafter for the World Cup playoff the same cannot be said when either AC Milan or Inter play their domestic games, as the stadium is often half empty, while there is much debate over whether alternate venues should be sought for the two rivals.

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AC Milan managing director Marco Fassone has added his voice to the debate, complaining that the money invested in the ground, which has been Milan’s home since 1926, is not worth it and that some change is necessary. 

He told to cameras (via Sky Sport Italia) that the Rossoneri should have their own stadium, which should be separate from Inter’s. 

He said: “The gap between Italian clubs and other top clubs in Europe is cause by the stadiums. We believe that San Siro stadium does not allow us to make the profits that we could potentially make elsewhere.

“Something needs to be done and we will need a stadium that belongs only to Milan. I’m not sure whether it will be San Siro or a new one, but things must change if we want profits and have more direct empathy with our fans.” 

The Italian giants, who are already going through a period of relative financial instabilities, are reportedly considering their options. 

Fassone commented: “Everyone would love to have a stadium that can count 80,000 seats, but the truth is that San Siro gets full only three times a year, and during the other matches it’s always a bit empty.” 


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He concluded: “We still don’t know what to do yet: we could other opt for renovating San Siro or building a brand new one in Milan or just outside the city.” 

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Inter vs Atalanta Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News & More

​Inter take on Atalanta on Sunday, hoping to continue their title challenge following a positive start to the season. I Nerazzurri have registered nine wins from their opening 12 games, putting them in third place, just two points behind leaders Napoli. 

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Luciano Spalletti’s side will come up against an Atalanta team who have won four, drawn four and lost four of their opening fixtures. A win for the away side would move them up to seventh, but beating Inter is something no side has done so far during this campaign. 

Both sides have no fresh injury concerns, but Atalanta may set up defensively at the San Siro to try to hit the home side on the break. Mauro Icardi is once again on fire up top, so centre-backs Mattia Caldara and Rafael Toloi will have a busy afternoon.


Classic Encounter

Last season, Inter took their opponents apart in their own backyard with a stunning 7-1 victory. Icardi and Ever Banega had to share the match ball as they both grabbed a trio of wonderful goals, with Roberto Gagliardini notching the other. 

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Before the match, Atalanta were ahead of their opponents, sitting fifth in the table after 28 games. But the phenomenal performance lifted Spalletti’s side into fourth, closing the gap on third placed Napoli. 


Team News 

Both sides will go into the match with no fresh injury concerns and are expected to field the same side as their last game. Inter should go with Perisic, Valero and Candreva behind Icardi, with Vecino and Gagliardini holding.

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As for Atalanta, they are still without Remo Freuler due to suspension, however, Joao Schmidt may feature at some point after being out since September. 


Potential Inter Starting Lineup: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Skriniar, Nagatomo, Vecino, Gagliardini, Candreva, Valero, Perisic, Icardi

Potential Atalanta Starting Lineup: Wolfli, Toloi, Caldara, Palomino, Hateboer, de Roon, Kurtic, Christante, Gomez, Petagna


Prediction 

Although Inter aren’t likely to replicate their 7-1 victory, I can’t see anything other than a home win. Still unbeaten in the league, Inter have a solid squad in all areas, and they will have too much for Atalanta to compete with. 

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The away side have showed their quality in a number of games this season, but their inconsistencies may be their downfall in this fixture. 

Inter 3 – 0 Atalanta 

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Atalanta on Sunday

​Having enjoyed a solid start to the campaign, Inter will be hoping their early season form can help them overcome an Atalanta side who have had a mixed bag thus far. 

Compared to the rest of the top four, Inter have struggled for goals, with much of that burden weighing heavily on Mauro Icardi’s shoulders. 

I Nerazzurri could only draw in their last game against Torino, but with no fresh injury concerns, they are likely to field the same side once again. 

Goalkeeper

  • Handanovic

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The 33-year-old has yet again been an ever-present for Luciano Spalletti’s side, being a big influence on his side only letting in nine goals so far. ​

Defence

  • D'Ambrosio

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  • Miranda

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  • Škriniar

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  • Nagatomo

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Inter’s backline has again been consistent and strong in their opening 12 games. Skriniar and D’Ambrosio will be disappointed not to have qualified for the World Cup, so they’ll be hoping to pick themselves up with victory at the San Siro. 

Nagatomo and Miranda will be at the World Cup, and they should be fresh after getting in good time during the international week. ​

Midfield

Although Eder scored the equaliser against Torino, he isn’t likely to start against Atalanta, with Borja Valero expected to come in behind the striker. Candreva and Perisic will provide width​, with the latter full of motivation after helping his country qualify to play in Russia next year. 

Gagliardini and Vecino should be the two holding midfielders, with Vecino sitting deeper, allowing the Italian to push forward with the attacking trio in front of him. 

Forwards

  • Icardi

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Inter’s captain has proved yet again that he will be crucial if his side are to achieve any silverware this season. The captain showed his importance by scoring a hat-trick in the Milan derby earlier in the campaign, adding to the 11 goals he has in 12 games thus far. 

At only 24, Icardi’s future is bright, and the Argentine has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich as Robert Lewandowski’s replacement, should the Polish forward leave. 

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Inter Set to Bid for Atletico Madrid Defender Jose Gimenez to Partner Milan Skriniar

Inter reportedly intend to sign Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez during the winter transfer window as they aim to find a valid alternative to Miranda who could play alongside Slovakian star Milan Skriniar. 

The Uruguayan has barely had the chance to play at Atletico after four years at the club, and Italian news outlet Corriere dello Sport claims that he could now be keen on moving to a club where his role is better suited. 

This year, Atleti manager Diego Simeone has rarely featured the 22-year-old after he picked up an injury, with the last time he was in the starting XI as far back as September 30.

His chances to claim his role back are not particularly good, and Inter are in search of fresh help in the defence after suffering too many goals in the last Serie A matches before the international break. 

This has led them to eye the Atletico Madrid defender, whose skills and technical characteristics may be of good use for Luciano Spalletti’s team. 

If he is to accept a switch to the Serie A giants, he would be able to replace former Atleti player Miranda, who is thought to be ready to leave the club at the end of the season. He would also be able to play alongside fellow Uruguay teammate Matias Vecino.

Miranda’s contract expires in 2018 and there is no sign of a possible renewal so far, which has led the Nerazzurri to search for an heir in June. 

If Inter chose to pursue Gimenez, who is currently on a contract until 2020, they would need to trigger his release clause, worth €65m. 


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The Milan side will also face competition with other Serie A giants who are equally interested in signing the youngster, namely Roma and Juventus. 

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Inter’s Milan Skriniar Denies Barcelona Rumours as Catalans Target New French Star

Defender Milan Skriniar has denied speculation of a transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona or Real Madrid and has claimed that he wants to remain at Internazionale. 

The Slovakian star has reportedly attracted interest from the top Spanish clubs and was thought to be close to leaving Inter either in January or at the end of the season. 

However, he reassured Nerazzurri fans in an interview with Sky Sport Italia, where he said that his place is in Italy: “I’m here in Milan now and I’m very happy, so I have nothing else in my mind for the moment.

“In this time of the year, with have to think about making good results and not about the transfer market. Don’t worry, I won’t be leaving next season.”

Inter had a more than convincing start of the season, boasting nine league matches and three draws that have led them to a solid third place in the table, only a couple of points adrift leaders Napoli. 

For these reasons, Skriniar has said the keeping up with the good work is Inter’s main goal.

“Having never lost makes us very proud and we have to remain at the top. There is no need to talk about winning the Scudetto or even reaching the Champions League now.”

Meanwhile, following the 22-year-old’s declarations, Barcelona have moved their interests elsewhere, as ​Calciomercato reports that the Catalans and Juventus are now targeting French starlet Lucas Tousart.

Both clubs are keeping an eye on the Lyon midfielder, who, despite his young age, has shown impressive skills during France Under 21’s match against Bulgaria last week. 


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After securing the transfer of Samuel Umititi with the Ligue 1 side more than a year ago, Barcelona are in good terms with Lyon and seem more likely to sign Tousart in the summer. 

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Inter Dealt Ramires Blow as Jiangsu Reportedly Refuse to Sanction Midfielder’s Departure

​Inter Milan’s hopes of securing Ramires in the January window have been hit after Jiangsu Suning reportedly stated their desire to keep him.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t ​Football Italia) has claimed that the Chinese Super League club don’t want to let the 30-year-old leave ahead of the new season starting in the spring.

Inter had been on the cusp of securing Ramires’ services on a six-month loan deal until the end of the 2017/18 campaign, but may have to look elsewhere for reinforcements if Jiangsu don’t want to play ball.

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The midfielder has been heavily linked with joining I Nerazzurri in the winter window after starring for Jiangsu ever since he completed a £25m move from Chelsea to the Far East.

Inter boss Luciano Spalletti had earmarked Ramires as the man tasked with bolstering his first-team squad as the sleeping Italian giants look to build upon their impressive showing in Serie A so far this term.

Inter have taken 30 points from a possible 36 in Italy’s top flight and are yet to taste defeat domestically – form that has them within two points of current league leaders Napoli.

Ramires was expected to arrive in Milan in December ahead of being officially registered as an Inter player once the window opens on 1st January.

Those plans have now hit a snag with Jiangsu seemingly unwilling to let him go, and it remains to be seen whether Inter will try and make it worth their while to greenlight his move away.


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Ramires has notched 16 goals and 11 assists in 70 appearances for Jiangsu since he made his debut in the 1-1 AFC Champions League draw against Vietnamese side Becamex Binh Duong in February 2016.

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Italy Confirm Departure of Head Coach Gian Piero Ventura Following Failure to Qualify for World Cup

​The Italian FA have ​come to terms on the departure of national coach Gian Piero Ventura following the Azzurri’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Ventura was named as the successor to current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte in June 2016 – stepping into his role the following month – signing a two-year deal at the time. He guided Italy through World Cup qualifying but only saw his side finish second in their group to Spain, and into the playoffs.

Italy v Sweden - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg

Sweden however put paid to Italy’s hopes of reaching Russia next summer with a 1-0 aggregate win, following Jakob Johansson’s first leg goal and a valiant defensive showing in the second leg at San Siro on Monday night. Italy’s failure to qualify saw the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele De Rossi all announce their retirement from the international game.

Ventura’s departure has been strongly rumoured in the days since the loss, though the coach admitted after the game that he would need to discuss his position with the Italian FA before making a decision on his future. That decision however now appears to have been made for him.

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Carlo Ancelotti, who has been out of work since leaving Bayern Munich earlier this season, has been strongly backed to replace him.

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Paris Saint-Germain to Demand £18m for Chelsea & Liverpool Target Javier Pastore

​Paris Saint-Germain have set an asking price of £18m for reported Premier League target Javier Pastore, ​L’Equipe have reported.

The 28-year-old is considered dispensable by the Ligue 1 leaders, particularly as they look to comply with FIFA regulations, and appears likely to be shipped out in the January transfer window.

PSG need to sell players to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, which has alerted the attention of interested clubs.

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Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League have been repeatedly linked with Pastore, although Inter are reportedly leading the race to secure his signature.

The Serie A giants are expected to pursue the Argentina international in January, while Liverpool and Chelsea could miss out.

Pastore has fallen down the pecking order at the Parc des Princes after the high-profile arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the summer, making just five starts in all competitions.

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The former Palermo man joined PSG for €43m back in 2011 as one of the first big-money signings under the club’s Qatari ownership.

He has gone on to make over 200 appearances for the Parisians, winning Ligue 1 on four occasions and lifting the Coupe de France three times.

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PSG are expected to make a considerable loss on Pastore, but they have been left with little choice but to offload players deemed surplus to requirements after their summer of lavish spending.

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Inter Milan Monitoring Everton Summer Misfit Sandro Ramirez With View of January Acquisition

It is on good authority that ​Inter Milan are monitoring the situation of Everton striker Sandro Ramirez and could make a move for the Spaniard for a reduced fee in January. 

Reported by Tuttosport, via TalkSport, the Italian giants see the striker as a back up to club captain Mauro Icardi, as both possess similar styles of play, which will suit the Nerazzurri if anything potentially happened to their mercurial skipper. 

The San Siro club have had a tremendous start to the season in Serie A, which currently sees them positioned third in the league, two points behind leaders Napoli and still undefeated after twelve games.

Ramirez has found his transfer from Malaga in the summer challenging where is still yet to score for the Goodison Park club. The adjustment in the style of play between the two leagues and trying to settle in a new country are all contributing factors to the striker’s sluggish start to his career at Everton. 

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A move to Serie A might be the outlet that Ramirez needs to reignite his career and it would look an attractive proposition. 

However, due to the unsettling situation at the Merseyside club as they continue their search for a new manager to replace Ronald Koeman, patience should remain the key focus to see the benefits of what the Spanish U21 international can truly offer. 

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No doubt that Inter Milan officials will be hoping that the 22-year-old continues to fail to capitalise on opportunities in front of goal as this will provide them with the bargaining power to acquire his services for significantly less than the reported £5m that the Toffees paid Malaga. 

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How a Resurrected Italy Might Line Up at the 2022 World Cup

Italy will not be at the World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years, when somewhat fittingly the tournament was hosted by Sweden.

The turgid draw with the Swedes at San Siro on Monday night was the last hurrah for some of the finest a generation had to offer.

There is now rebuilding work to be done for Gli Azzurri as they look ahead to life after Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele De Rossi.

Here’s a very early and very hypothetical look at how the four-time winners could line up at the next possible World Cup in 2022…

1. GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 23

Groomed to succeed Buffon ever since his debut for AC Milan at the age of 16, Donnarumma’s time for Gli Azzurri starts in earnest now.

He has some mighty big gloves to fill but, but the 18-year-old has the makings of a world class stopper and has had Buffon as a mentor since his senior Italy debut last year. 

Whether he will still be in Milan (Real Madrid and Juventus were both linked during his contractual standoff last summer) by the time the Qatar tournament rolls around remains to be seen.

Other option(s): Mattia Perin (28)

2. CB: Daniele Rugani

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 27

From Buffon’s successor to Leonardo Bonucci’s. 23-year-old Rugani is finally coming into his own at Juventus and has benefitted heavily from Bonucci’s sale to Milan in the summer.

He is, much like his predecessor, tall, technically gifted and while not very quick he is an astute anticipator.

His honours including two Scudetti and one inclusion in Serie A Team of the Year are likely to increase many fold by 2022.

Other option(s): Leonardo Bonucci (35), Alessandro Bastoni (23)

3. CB: Alessio Romagnoli

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 27

AC Milan centre back Romagnoli might have already been well into double figures in national team caps if it wasn’t for the enduring presences of Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli.

Instead the Roma graduate has had to bide his time for a chance with Italy’s seniors, despite being a regular for Milan and Sampdoria since the 2013/14 season.

Likely to feature on the left side of a back three, Romagnoli has drawn comparisons with the legendary Alessandro Nesta for his completeness as a defender and attacking threat.

Other option(s): Filippo Romagna (25)

4. CB: Mattia Caldara

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 28

A fixture of the U21 Italy side that reached the 2017 European Championship finals, Caldara was snapped up by Juventus last winter for a fee that could rise to €25m and loaned back to Atalanta until 2018.

The cultured young defender possesses all the necessary qualities of the archetypal Italian defender – positioning, coolness and a threat from set pieces and looks a likely successor to the now-retired Andrea Barzagli at international level.

Other option(s): Alex Ferrari (27), Elio Capradossi (26)

5. RWB: Andrea Conti

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 28

A major player in Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side that finished fourth in 2016/17, Conti secured a €24m move to AC Milan this summer and looked set for a very bright future, until a ruptured ACL in September stunted his progress.

His pace and crossing threat make him a typically modern wing back, but eight Serie A goals for Atalanta last season means he also carries a surprising goal threat himself.

If he recovers well from injury, Conti is likely to be Italy’s starting wing back for years to come.

Other option(s): Davide Calabria (25), Mattia De Sciglio (29)

6. LWB: Leonardo Spinazzola

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 29

Less of a shoo-in than some of the others on the team sheet, 24-year-old Spinazzola is currently on his seventh loan spell from parent club Juventus, and is contracted to Atalanta until the summer of 2018.

He earned his international debut in a friendly victory over the Netherlands this year thanks to his form with his latest loan club, but has since been outspoken in his desire to return to Turin.

If and when he does return to Juventus for a shot at the first team, ousting Alex Sandro may prove the most difficult task of his career and could define his prospects at international level.

Other option(s): Antonio Barreca (27)

7. CM: Manuel Locatelli

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 24

A regular at various youth levels Locatelli is yet to make the step up to the senior team, but the fallout of the failed 2018 qualification campaign will likely see the 19-year-old blooded in as several of the old guard step aside.

A versatile talent, the midfielder who has been with AC Milan since the age of 11, is both a strong ball winner and able to dictate the tempo of a game. 

He has made just one start for under-performing Milan this season, but has been part of successful youth Italy youth teams including the U19 squad that finished runners up to France in 2016.

Other option(s): Lorenzo Pellegrini (26), Marco Benassi (27)

8. CM: Marco Verratti

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 29

While it will be sad not to have the Paris Saint-Germain playmaker in Russia next summer, Verratti should still be in his peak at the time of the Qatar World Cup.

His passing range, vision and work rate have seen him grow into the role as Andrea Pirlo’s successor and he could well be captain by the next tournament, as one of the most experienced players in the group. 

While the regista, who made his senior team debut way back in 2012, may be used to fill the Pirlo shaped hole in midfield, matching his success is another thing altogether.

Other option(s): Roberto Gagliardini (28), Jorginho (30)

9. AM: Federico Bernardeschi

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 28

The elegant attacker was thrown on as a last ditch measure on Monday night but was unable to prevent Italy’s fate.

Bernardeschi has had a slightly slow start to life at Juventus following a big money summer move from Fiorentina. However, despite earning just two Serie A starts to date, he has as many goals and assists.

Deployed occasionally as a wing back, he will likely earn his place in on the right side of a front three at both Juve and Italy eventually.

Other option(s): Riccardo Orsolini (25)

10. AM: Lorenzo Insigne

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 31

Many (including Daniele De Rossi) were baffled by Gian Piero Ventura’s decision to leave Insigne out of the playoff second leg, as Italy toiled in finding a way past the Sweden back line.

26-year-old Insigne, who is top for key passes in Europe’s top five leagues this season, will now not get a chance to go to the World Cup in his prime years.  

The Napoli forward has been in scintillating form for Napoli over the last two and half seasons and should have the national team attack built around him for the near future. If that happens and his trajectory with Napoli (or beyond) remains the same, he will be a key figure in 2022.

Other option(s): Domenico Berardi (27), Moise Kean (22)

11. ST: Patrick Cutrone

Age at time of 2022 World Cup: 24

Despite all the money spent this summer, Vincenzo Montella chose to line up against Crotone at the start of the Serie A season with teenage academy product Cutrone up front alone.

The muscular Como-born striker immediately repaid the faith with a goal in his first senior start.  Despite featuring more regularly from the bench in recent times, Cutrone has another goal to his name in the league and one in the Europa League too, as he challenges the likes of established stars Nikola Kalinic and Andre Silva for places.

He has been a regular for Italy since U15 level and has four in four for the Luigi Di Biagio’s U21s.

Other option(s): Andrea Belotti (29), Andrea Pinamonti (23), Federico Chiesa (24)

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