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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, Publisher.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Trofeo Berlusconi

On Saturday night, two arch rivals will square off at the San Siro in Milan. But for the first time in the reign of Mr. Silvio Burlesconi, the patron of the Milanese, this will not be a game between Serie A rivals. The annual AC Milan v. Juventus "friendly," which usually takes place in August, will only contain one team in the Serie A.

Gigi Buffon, the keeper of Juventus, was seriously injured during the 2005 Trofeo game. He made some interesting comments today in his usual frank but intriguing manner. I will paraphrase:

"The game means more to us this time... I hope that I don't get hurt like the last time (Ricky Kaka' collided with him and Gigi's shoulder required surgery)... I have great affection for Juventus which is why I went down to Serie B... It is nice to be called one of the best keepers, and for that reason, I need to play at a high level. But not for a Serie A team in 12th place in the table."

The last reference was a veiled taunt to AC Milan who have made no secret to acquire the services of Buffon. Presently, Milan is in 12th place, and 28 points behind their city rivals, Inter Milan, who lead the Serie A. Whether Gigi stays with Juventus for their anticipated return to the top flight remains a mystery. He and others who sacrificed want assurances that Juventus will be competitive. They have not lost a game in the Serie B; however, their attitude at times has been disappointing to Coach Deschamps.

It should be an interesting evening for both clubs. Carlo Ancelotti used to coach Buffon at Parma and Juventus. Pippo Inzaghi used to play for Juventus. Paolo Maldini, the legendary captain of AC Milan, said before the season began that "It will not be the same Serie A without Juventus." Ironically, his team is not taking advantage of their absence.

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