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World Soccer views and news

Beckham’s return to AC Milan confirmed

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David Beckham will tread a familiar path once the MLS season is over, joining AC Milan on loan again for a five-month loan spell from January.

Milan have just announced the deal on their website (just in Italian for now), meaning any lingering hopes Premier League clubs had of changing the England midfielder’s mind have finally been dashed.

Milan sound thrilled:

“We are very happy to David Beckham in the red and black shirt again after the splendid experience of last season,” Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told www.acmilan.com.

“We are sure that this period in Europe will help the player to take part in the next World Cup and then to continue his career at Los Angeles Galaxy, whom we thank for their help.”

Serie A coaches gang up on the kids of today

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The coaches of the three biggest Serie A clubs recently indulged in what has always been one of the favourite pastimes of the older and wiser — picking fault with today’s youngsters.

Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho kicked things off when he criticised 19-year-old forward Mario Balotelli’s approach in training and suggested that footballers of his age were more interested in Ferraris and Bentleys than getting on with the job.

Is naturalising players for internationals a good idea?

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Brazil-born Juventus striker Amauri failed to get an Italian passport in time for Italy’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Bulgaria but he hopes the documentation will come through soon.Azzurri coach Marcello Lippi has indicated he will then consider Amauri for international duty but said he did not want the situation to be repeated.This seems to have ended any chance of Inter Milan midfielder Thiago Motta following Amauri’s lead. The former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid player could qualify for Italy if FIFA decided his two Brazil appearances in the CONCACAF Gold Cup did not count as full caps because it was a under-23 team.After Diego’s classy brace in his second game for Juventus, many Italians became excited when they realised the playmaker has Italian lineage. However, they forgot the basic rule that Diego had played competitively for Brazil and therefore was not eligible for Italy.Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva plays for Croatia despite being born in Brazil while the London club’s uncapped Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has often been talked about as a potential England candidate.Is the situation out of hand? I’m just old enough to remember when domestic clubs had a majority of players from the local town. Now few top sides have players from the same country.Is international football going the same way? Why not have Premier League v Serie A rather than England v Italy?Liverpool’s Alberto Aquilani and Andrea Dossena may feel a bit torn.PHOTO: Juventus forward Amauri warms up during a training session at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin March 9, 2009.REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Eto’o's arrival could change Inter’s entire approach

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It is a bit early to be making judgements on the new Inter Milan (especially after a lacklustre first league game) but the 4-0 thrashing of AC Milan at the weekend suggests the Samuel Eto’o-Zlatan Ibrahimovic swap could completely change their way of playing.

Ibrahimovic, who scored on his Barcelona debut in Monday’s 3-0 win over Sporting Gijon, was everything to Inter. He was the target man, the talisman, the go-to man when a flash of inspiration or a goal was needed.

Why Mourinho is raging at Lippi

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Jose Mourinho is no stranger to run-ins with rival club managers, but this week the Portuguese raised his aim and had a swipe at Italian national team boss Marcello Lippi.

The Inter Milan coach had taken exception to Lippi tipping Juventus for this year’s Serie A title.
He accused him of lacking respect, arguing a national team coach should be seen to be impartial even if deep down he wants Juve to win (Lippi had two glorious stints at the Turin club split by a dismal, short one at Inter).

Lippi unmoved by Totti’s come-get-me hints

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While everyone at AS Roma would probably do the Birdie song standing on their heads if Francesco Totti asked, the Italian capital’s golden boy learned his charms have limits this week.

The striker has been hinting for some time he’d like to come out of international retirement, having quit Italy after being part of Lippi’s 2006 World Cup-winning team.

Why it pays to wait for the likes of Cruz and Panucci

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You would think ex-Inter Milan striker Julio Cruz and former AS Roma defender Christian Panucci might be panicking about not having a club just a few weeks before the start of the season.

At 34 and 36, there surely is no time to lose.

In reality, they seem quite happy to bide their time and wait for the right offer like other top players released by their clubs.

The strange case of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the ultimate soccer enigma.

He scores goals for fun when playing Bologna, Chievo and Palermo but often goes missing against AC Milan, Manchester United or Liverpool (which is why he is never in the running for the top awards despite the incredulity of Inter fans).

The tall-yet-skilful attacker has been racking up Serie A titles but the Champions League seems a distant prospect and with all due respect to Sweden, he is not likely to win any honours in international football.

Will Juventus get signings right this time?

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Ever since returning to Serie A following their demotion for match-fixing, Juventus have had a terrible run in the transfer market.

Third and second-placed finishes in their two years back in the top flight are largely thanks to players who stuck with Juve during their season in Serie B such as Alessandro Del Piero and Giorgio Chiellini.

Is Cannavaro right about Italy and Serie A needing an overhaul?

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Italy’s entire soccer infrastructure needs an overhaul, captain Fabio Cannavaro said after the world champions arrived home from their Confederations Cup nightmare.

Elimination in the group stages after defeats to Egypt and Brazil followed a difficult few weeks for Serie A, with AC Milan’s Kaka sold to Real Madrid and other top players threatening to leave the stuttering league.

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