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Alessandro Nesta


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MILAN: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli; Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kaka , Serginho; Ricardo Oliveira

FIORENTINA: Frey; Jorgensen, Kroldrup, Gamberini, Pasqual; Pazienza, Liverani, Montolivo; Reginaldo, Pazzini, Mutu

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Milan 0: Dida; Cafu, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli; Gattuso (Brocchi 76), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kakà, Serginho (Jankulovski 46); Ricardo Oliveira (Inzaghi 68)

Fiorentina 0: Frey; Jorgensen, Kroldrup, Gamberini (Dainelli 51), Pasqual; Pazienza, Liverani (Blasi 64), Montolivo; Reginaldo (Kuzmanovic 84), Pazzini, Mutu

Ref: Rosetti

Missed penalty: Kaka 26 (M)

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AC Milan 0:0 Fiorentina - match report

Kaka missed a penalty and had a goal controversially disallowed in this stalemate at the San Siro with Fiorentina.

Although both teams were docked points in the Calciopoli scandal, this was still a head-to-head battle for a place in Europe. A win would all but secure the Rossoneri's Champions League status - days after earning a place in the Athens Final against Liverpool - while the Viola were looking to claim a UEFA Cup spot.

Luca Toni was left at home with a recurring ankle problem (and insistent rumours he's moving to Bayern Munich), but Milan may have lost Ronaldo for the rest of the season due to a thigh strain. With Alberto Gilardino suspended, Carlo Ancelotti was unable to rest his key players.

Milan hit the back of the net after six minutes, but the goal was controversially disallowed. Giuseppe Favalli robbed Martin Jorgensen in his new right-back slot and crossed for Kaka's header, but the Brazilian was judged to have pushed his marker. It was an extremely generous decision, as there barely seemed to be contact.

Giampaolo Pazzini was sent clear by Alessandro Potenza's through ball and Nelson Dida skid forward to block at the Under-21 international's feet. Pazzini held up the ball for Reginaldo's splendid half-volley that Dida fingertipped on to the woodwork.

Soon after there was more controversy, this time against Fiorentina, as Alessandro Gamberini was judged to have handled the ball inside the area, when it seemed to be an unlucky ricochet off his chest and then on to his arm. Kaka took the penalty and it struck the inside of the near post to go all the way across the face of goal and back out again.

Adrian Mutu had a wonderful opportunity to give Fiorentina the lead when he pounced on Kakha Kaladze's error, but veteran Favalli dived in with a decisive tackle as the last line of defence.

On the stroke of half-time Ricardo Oliveira's splendid angled drive from the edge of the area was fingertipped round the post by Frey.

Andrea Pirlo's screamer was just over and then the midfielder sent Cafu clear in the area, but although his first touch was sensational, something between a cross and a shot saw the chance go begging.

Pirlo fired one of his trademark free kicks just past the post and at the other end Pazzini's snapshot drifted wide of the woodwork. Deep into stoppages Kaladze's desperate tackle charged down Pazzini at the by-line.

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Reaching the Champions League final may be one thing but winning the competition is what is imperative for Alessandro Nesta

MILAN - Alessandro Nesta has been speaking to Milan Channel about his form since returning to action against Roma on March 31: 'I came back at the right moment, it was the finishing touch, the team were turning over again and so were my legs. The good results have arrived since then. The three-month rest did me good, it would have done anyone good.' Nesta's good friend Marco Di Vaio then came on the line: 'We have been friends for a long time,' said Nesta. 'We started out together, we arrived at the heights together and although we have taken different roads we have always kept in touch.' Di Vaio replied: 'It would be too easy to talk about Nesta the player, he has been in great form after his break. I send my compliments to the man, he's a splendid person. It's an honour to be his friend, that says everything about our relationship. He's a good Roman, we have and will have some good evenings together. I'll have to invite him to dinner because he is also good company.' Nesta: 'I hope that they get back into Serie A and we have a date. The final is like all finals. Milan arrive there in great spirit and strength. After Bayern and especially Manchester United, Milan have acquired the strength and conviction. It will be a difficult game because Liverpool are a team that do not let you play but Milan arrive at this game in the right spirit.' What part has Ancelotti played in this great sting in the tail? 'I believe coaching Milan is really wonderful but at the same time also very difficult. Milan are one of the strongest sides in the world, the pressure and criticism is tripled and the coach has done well to put up with it and leave the team as relaxed as possible.' The toughest striker he has ever faced: 'Definitely Ronaldo. I well remember the UEFA Cup final between Inter and Lazio, we let in three. For Milan, and also the opponents, Ronaldo was a very important buy. He's getting back to form and we hope we will do well next season.' As for Costacurta becoming a coach next season: 'The club have recognised that he has given a lot to the shirt. We celebrated yesterday evening and I saw that Billy was a bit affected. He will be a further arm next season.' During one press conference, Nesta said he wanted to back to the top for the Champions League nights at the San Siro: 'I believe that these games are the maximum for a player. You cannot lose against Bayern or Manchester. I have come through them and I am pleased to be playing again. Now slowly I will get back with the international side.'

What was the incisive point between the return against Bayern and Manchester? 'We played Bayern away second. It was positive that we were at home to Manchester for the return.' As for Totti supporting Milan against Manchester? 'If he said that then he thought that. Despite the football rivalry in the past we have always had a good relationship.' And Roberto Donadoni: 'We have spoken. We'll see how the fitness copes. The Azzurri shirt means a lot but I need to show what I can do and leave the past behind. In a player's career at the highest level you have two or three operations. I have had six and the last one left a mental mark. I am proud to get back to playing at the highest level.' Sandro then returned to when he calmed the side after conceding a goal in the first five minutes at Old Trafford: 'The team had the experience to come out of a situation like that undamaged. He closed up a bit, with Kakà further forward, we then played in three-quarters of the pitch and took the situation under control.'

Another link-up was with Kakha Kaladze and Nesta said: 'He's also returned to top form. He did well on Sunday and was always there in front. Bonera has also had a great championship. We are a team that has some years ahead of us.' Kaladze said: 'I was surprised to read that I may be sold. I was surprised because I said no to Chelsea a year ago. I thank Doctor Galliani for what he said.' Finally, a look ahead to Athens: 'These evenings make history, we need to win. I have played in Athens with Lazio. We won then...'

After signing the number 13 shirt, Nesta thanked all the subscribers and spoke about his contract. He said with a smile: 'Doctor Galliani telephoned me last night and something has moved on.'

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Nesta charmed in Athens

Alessandro Nesta has had good fortune in Athens and hopes that lucky charm continues when Milan face Liverpool on May 23.

“These are the nights when history is made, so we must win,” he said of the Champions League Final.

“I have already been to Athens to play with Lazio. On that day, we got a victory…”

The former Biancocelesti defender beat Panionios Athens 4-0 on their way to the 1998-99 Cup Winners’ Cup.

Most famously, the Olympic Stadium – the same where they’ll take on Liverpool later this month – was the stage for Milan’s 4-0 demolition of favourites Barcelona in the Champions League Final.

With Paolo Maldini still a doubt to play on May 23, the return of Nesta after a long injury lay-off has been crucial.

“I came back at the right moment, I couldn’t have timed it better,” he told ‘Milan Channel.’

“The team was hitting its stride and so did I, that’s where the good results came from. The three-month rest did me a lot of good – as indeed it would have for anyone.”

There is speculation over Nesta’s future at the San Siro, but he insisted there was nothing to worry about.

“Yesterday I received a phone call from Adriano Galliani. Something is in motion now,” he smiled.

It has been reported that Milan’s stars will receive £136,000 each as a bonus if they win the Champions League this season.

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Sandro Nesta looks set to end his career at Milan after extending his contract for another four years

MILAN - On such a wonderful occasion such as this when he has decided to play out his career at Milan, it would be too easy to celebrate the splendid athlete who returned to wearing the red and black shirt on March 31 at the Olympic stadium against Roma in a league game. It would be too easy to limit our expressions around what he has achieved. However, it is better to start with Sandro Nesta back in November: a shoulder injury that had caused him problems in the derby at the end of October, and was just another injury in a catalogue of set-backs which the defender had suffered over the last year. He had tried to battle through the pain but in the end was forced to succumb to an operation.

He came through that and a long rehabilitation in Miami to state at a press conference on his return to Milanello: 'I want to get back to the top and live the Champions League nights at the San Siro.' He has certainly done that after missing out last year against Barcelona due to injury and then forced to the sidelines in the World Cup. Another injury against Anderlecht on November 1 summed up Sandro's situation but he has turned things around. Now about to become a dad, he has set out the rest of his career at Milan. Signing a contract until 2011 will take him to 35. In fact, he has not looked back since the Roma game and has been back to his majestic best. That's Sandro Nesta for you...

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Nesta pens AC Milan deal

Alessandro Nesta has extended his contract with Champions League chasing Milan until 2011.

The defender’s previous agreement with the San Siro outfit was due to expire in 2008 and he had been linked with a sensational return to Lazio.

However, as expected, Nesta has ended the speculation about his future by making a fresh Rossoneri commitment.

“Milan confirm that they have extended the contract which ties the footballer Alessandro Nesta to the Rossoneri club until June 30, 2011,” read a statement on the side’s website.

Nesta, who is back at his best following shoulder surgery in November, is in his fifth season with Milan after growing up in the Lazio youth system.

The former Biancocelesti captain has won a Scudetto, a Champions League, a European Super Cup and a Coppa Italia since his arrival and is expected to be a protagonist in the European Cup Final against Liverpool next week.

The 31-year-old, who was named by Pele as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers, has appeared over 70 times for the Italian national team and was part of the 2006 World Cup squad.

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