Chelsea are looking to break football's transfer fee record to sign AC Milan star Kaká.
According to Globoesporte, Chelsea are poised to put together a record-breaking €100 million offer for the services of the Brazil international.
It is reported that talks between the two clubs are at an advanced stage already, with a representative of the player having flown to London earlier this week to engage in talks with the London outfit and hear their offer.
After that, a Chelsea emissary reportedly travelled to Milan to meet with the Rossoneri vice-president, Adriano Galliani, and make their interest official.
Kaká has a valid contract with AC Milan until 2012 and could be tempted to join Stamford Bridge to meet compatriot Scolari, who was appointed as coach earlier this summer.
The creative midfielder is expected in Milan tonight but will not be involved in the negotiations, at least not directly, according to reports.
Should the World Player of The Year agree to join Chelsea, he will become Scolari's second signing while at the club, following in the footsteps of Brazilian-born Deco.
Despite their adamant protests throughout the summer so far - as well as this time last year when Real Madrid came calling - the Rossoneri may be coaxed into selling their star player following the purchase of Ronaldinho, a ready-made replacement who they bought at a fraction of the price.
Vice-president Adriano Galliani in fact touched on the issue of a possible sale just under two weeks ago, ruling out the notion despite their debt. “The fans should be happy, as all we’d need to do in order to wipe out or debts is sell Kaka and Andrea Pirlo," he explained. "Instead they won’t move, so if that’s not a show of love for this side, I don’t know what is."
However, the debts remain a problem and, should the likes of Didier Drogba be included as part of the deal, it may prove too good to turn down.
According to the Corriere della Sera, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will demand within the next 48 hours that he be allowed to join Inter Milan.
Lampard’s proposed move to Inter has become something of a soap opera this summer. The Nerazzurri have had an initial €10m bid for the England international rejected, and although the 30-year-old appears to want to move to San Siro, Chelsea, and in particular owner Roman Abramovich, have no intention of selling him.
Reports in the English press over the weekend suggested that Lampard would see out the final year of his Chelsea contract before signing for Inter on a Bosman transfer in the summer of 2009.
However, the Corriere della Sera is now claiming that Lampard, who has so far remained quiet on the matter, will openly declare his intentions to join Inter immediately within the next 48 hours.
It is also claimed that Abramovich may be persuaded to do business with Inter, provided troubled Brazilian striker Adriano is included in some form of player exchange deal.
‘The Emperor’ has had a miserable two years on-and-off the pitch, and has spent the last six months on loan at Sao Paulo. Having since rediscovered some of his best form, and returned to Inter, his future with the Italians is still uncertain given the presence of a whole host of top class strikers such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Julio Cruz and Mario Balotelli.
If the Nerazzurri fail to lure Lampard to San Siro, they will instead focus their attentions back on Porto’s Ricardo Quaresma.
Another stormy night in Vienna saw Spain outclass Russia and set up a final with Germany. Goals from Xavi, Guiza and Silva were enough to see off Gus Hiddink’s men who were outplayed by a vibrant Spanish side, who also lost top scorer David Villa to injury in the first half.
An engaging first half ended goalless although both sides had their chances. Spain started the game marginally the quicker of the two sides, Xavi bending in an early cross which Sergio Ramos just failed to connect with and Villa and Torres combining well moments later, but Torres, after swivelling past his marker, could only manage a weak shot at goal.
The Russians slowly grew into the game and with the much vaunted Arshavin being well marshalled by the Spanish defence it was fellow striker Pavlyuchenko who had the best chances for Gus Hiddink’s side.
A free kick from fully 40 yards which flew inches over was his first warning, quickly followed by a speculative shot from range which he tried to bend past Casillas. His shot may have been going wide but the Real Madrid goalkeeper was taking no chances and managed to tip it around the post.
After losing their group game to the Spaniards 4-1, the Russians were clearly growing in confidence as the match progressed and just after the half hour mark they had even more reason to be happy.
David Villa, the tournament’s top scorer and the man who had hit a hat trick when the two sides had met earlier in the tournament was taken off injured. However, Russian joy was surely short lived as his replacement Cesc Fabregas had also scored against the Russians.
The change interrupted Spain’s rhythmn momentarily and Russia continued to pose a threat. Pavlyuchenko, again having the best chances, heading wide from an Anyukov cross before missing the target again with another shot, after chesting down a long ball inside the box.
As the half drew to a close Spain came back into the game, their slick passing once again in evidence and Torres taking advantage of Zhirkov’s forward runs and causing a problem down the right. However, neither side could make the crucial breakthrough and they headed for the interval level.
The deadlock didn’t last long and within five minutes of the restart Spain were ahead, their Barcelona midfielders combining to deadly effect. Some great work from Iniesta on the left saw him eventually put the ball into the box where Xavi, making a great run, was on hand to poke the ball home to give the Spanish the lead.
The goal galvanised Spain and they threatened to take an unshakeable hold on the game. Gus Hiddink responded with a double substitution throwing on Bilyaletidinov and Sychev but the Russians were left chasing shadows as the Spanish began to zip the ball around with confidence and completely dominate possession.
With Villa watching miserably from the sidelines the chances fell to Fernando Torres. Twice in a matter of minutes, on the hour mark, he had the opportunity to double Spain’s lead but his shooting was wayward and the Russians survived.
They were to prove his last chances, Luis Aragones choosing to replace Xavi and Torres with Alonso and Güiza. The strength in depth of Spain’s squad clearly in evidence and the substitutes combined well to double Spain’s lead with a little under twenty minutes to go.
Sergio Ramos again breaking down the right played the ball into Fabregas whose dinked ball over the top found Güiza running in on goal. A delightful finish by the substitute made it two nil and gave the Spanish some breathing space.
With a two goal lead the Spanish were now completely dominant, their short, slick passing game simply too much for the Russians. With ten minutes to go, they made it three to give the match the scoreline their superior football deserved.
Iniesta was again involved, setting Fàbregas free on the left. The young Arsenal man, who must have been wondering if he had done enough to find himself in the starting line up for Sunday’s final, found Silva in the box with a perfect pass and the Valencia man finished well past Akinfeev to put the gloss on a wonderful night for Spain.
Although the Russians couldn’t live with Spain defeat holds little shame for Hiddink’s men who have illuminated this tournament and surprised many by reaching the semi final. Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko, in particular, have produced some memorable moments and Hiddink’s already fearsome reputation, can only have been enhanced further.
Spain, meanwhile, must now go into Sunday’s final against Germany full of confidence. The quality of their football and the strength in depth of their squad is without question, although even then Villa's presumed absence from the final will be a hard knock to take.
After so much disappointment the question is now, could this finally be their year? With footballers of the quality of Villa, Torres, Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas they have no reason to fear any side. However, whilst Germany have largely been unconvincing so far it would be dangerous to write them off; Sunday’s final promises much.
0-3 Spain (Silva, 81)
0-2 Spain (Guiza, 72)
0-1 Spain (Xavi, 49)
Russia: Akinfeev, Anyukov, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Zyryanov, Semak, Semshov (Bilyaletidinov, 55), Saenko (Sychev, 56), Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko
Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila, Senna, Iniesta, Xavi (Alonso, 68), Silva, David Villa (Fàbregas, 34), Torres (Güiza, 68)
Football legend Paolo Maldini has reached yet another landmark, as the AC Milan symbol celebrates his 40th birthday today.
Maldini made his debut for Milan way back in January 1985, however almost a quarter-of-a-century later he is still going strong.
During his entire club career with the Rossoneri he has won seven Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, five Italian Super Cups, five Champions League titles, five European Super Cups and three World Club Cups.
He is both Milan and Italy’s all-time appearance maker, and is regarded by some as the best defender in the history of the game.
“Birthday wishes from the hearts of everyone at the club,” reads a statement on Milan’s official website.
“After a 23-year career and 1009 official games in the League, Cup and for his nation, Maldini decided to stay for another season.
“That choice brought such joy to all the fans, who woke up this morning thinking about him on his birthday.”
Maldini was due to retire from football this summer. However some brilliant performances last season from the defender saw have a change of heart, and he recently signed a one year extension until 2009.
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