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Gamble backfires for Milan

AC Milan
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Dzeko deal would improve Roma threat

Roma
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Mario Balotelli's Milan return creates another problem for Mihajlovic to solve

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the news that Mario Balotelli has passed a medical for a loan move to AC Milan.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno shares his thoughts on the number of opportunities and playing time Mario Balotelli was afforded at Liverpool.

"I won't talk about players I don't coach," Sinisa Mihajlovic said, bristling. "It's useless you asking me these questions."

So it wasn't true, then, that a covert meeting had taken place with Mario Balotelli behind the tinted windows of a black van in a Florence, Italy, car park 20 minutes from Milan's hotel the night before Milan's Serie A curtain raiser against Fiorentina? "No," Mihajlovic replied. In today's game, a football manager must be both a diplomat and a spy.

Milan's chief executive Adriano...

Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Milan give Mario Balotelli a last chance at success

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti breaks down the news that Mario Balotelli has passed a medical for a loan move to AC Milan.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Alexis Nunes discuss whether Mario Balotelli can find his goal-scoring touch with AC Milan, as reports suggest he is set to return to the San Siro on a season-long loan.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno shares his thoughts on the number of opportunities and playing time Mario Balotelli was afforded at Liverpool.

Mario Balotelli's move to Liverpool was always going to end in disappointment. For all his quality, something just didn't feel right about the Italian ace's fit with the club and there was an air of inevitability that he would be criticised by supporters and the media alike.

While he would have certainly contributed to the problem, the £16m move to Merseyside can essentially be described as a failure. Fast forward 12 months and Balotelli's return to Milan is imminent; he's going back to a...

 By Mina Rzouki

Juventus miss Pirlo, Vidal and Tevez as Udinese claim shock Serie A victory

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti reacts to Juventus' shock defeat to Udinese on the opening day of the Serie A season.

Juventus lost 1-0 to Udinese on Sunday to taste defeat for the first time ever at home on the opening day of the season. The home record also went up in smoke -- after 46 home matches, the hosts were left empty-handed.

It happened when it was least expected, and Udinese executed the most basic facets to the Italian game: a tight and organised defence and a ruthless counterattack.

It is clear the champions have not woken up from their summer slumber, and in the absence of collective brilliance, no...

Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Mihajlovic's gamble backfires as Milan fall to defeat

ESPN FC's Craig Burley shares his thoughts on Mario Balotelli's reported one-year loan to former club AC Milan.

Sinisa Mihajlovic's tenure at Milan started with defeat in Florence on Sunday night, as the Rossoneri fell to a 2-0 loss to Fiorentina. While it is far too early to overreact, it wasn't the most reassuring of starts for the Serbian tactician.

Mihajlovic opted to keep faith in young defensive pair Alessio Romagnoli and Rodrigo Ely after they had impressed in the Coppa Italia on Monday night. However, the latter had a nightmare. After looking shaky in the opening stages, he was then sent off in...

 By Terry Daley

Roma dogged by familiar problems in scrappy opener

Roma will have much greater depth with their summer arrivals, but will not change their shape, according to head coach Rudi Garcia.

A player holding his head in his hands after having missed a chance to score a winning goal is not an unfamiliar sight for Roma supporters. It was missed chances that nearly cost them second place in Serie A last season, so it was no surprise that when presented with glorious opportunities to snatch a barely deserved win from their 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona, both Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan spurned them.

Put through on goal a minute before the end of normal time in their league opener, Pjanic...

 By Mina Rzouki

Juventus out to remind Serie A that they're still the team to beat in Italy

Juventus may have paid a pretty penny for Porto's Alex Sandro, but the Brazilian could prove a truly exciting purchase.

The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. Serie A is back and Juventus play their first match of the season, a home game against Udinese, on Sunday. With so many great leaders departed and as many interesting faces arriving, one big question hangs over the state of this Juve side: are they strong enough to win the league for the fifth consecutive season?

Indeed they are. When compared to the competition and the sides that are best equipped to offer a real challenge, the Bianconeri...