AC Milan and Italy full-back Ignazio Abate is back in full training and hopeful of being fit for the Rossoneri’s Champions League play-off tie with PSV Eindhoven.
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Abate, 26, was sidelined by a shoulder injury he picked up while on international duty for Italy at the Confederations Cup in June, but he appears to have timed his recovery to perfection to be ready for Milan’s first big game of the season.
Last season’s third-placed Serie A side face the Eredivisie runners-up in Eindhoven on August 20, with the return at the San Siro a week later, and Abate is expecting two tough games.
“Let’s say we were not exactly lucky with the draw, but then the same applies to them,” he told Milan Channel. “We’re a side who people wanted to avoid and we’re difficult to come up against. They’re a very quick side so we’re going to have to be careful.”
Milan forward Giampaolo Pazzini has been ruled out of the PSV clash through injury, but Robinho has been included in their 29-man squad presented to UEFA for the play-off round.
The Brazilian has been out of action with an adductor injury since 28 July, but is aiming to be fit for the second leg in Milan at the least.
Sandwiched in between the two Champions League encounters is the start of the new Serie A season, and Abate added: “Milan are part of a group of clubs who should be fighting for honours.
“I still see Juventus a cut above the rest, but we are in a group of five or six clubs who will be looking to cause them problems and remain in the hunt right to the very end. It’s a long season and many problems can always arise so we need to take things step by step, trying to start well, which we failed to do last season, and then we will see where we can go.”