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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 24, 2006

Crespo desperate to return to Italian football

Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo is desperate to return to Italy despite the efforts of Blues owner Roman Abramovich to keep him at Stamford Bridge.

The Argentina international still has a home in Limido Comasco, near Milan, and is prepared to take a cut in wages to return to Serie A.

'Abramovich has offered me a house, a private jet and more money, but I told him I simply want to return home,' he told Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport.

With Italian football in turmoil and Chelsea - boosted by the arrivals of Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack - preparing an assault on four trophies next season, Crespo's desire to leave London may come as a surprise.

'The fact is I love Italy. The money and success don't come into it,' he said. 'Italy is my natural environment, it is the place where I will live when I retire and it is the best place to play.'

Inter Milan and AC Milan are both ready to move if Crespo is made available for transfer in the next few days.

Crespo, 31, spent a season on loan at AC Milan in 2004-05, reaching the Champions League final with the Rossoneri, before returning to London.

He has voiced his respect and admiration for Abramovich, but added that he wanted a change of scenery.

'Abramovich is a marvellous person and Chelsea is a fantastic club - they have treated me like a king,' he said, 'The fans have been great to me too, telling me `He wants to move to Italy, but he still gives it his all on the pitch'.'

However, his mind is made up and he wants to move.

'I am waiting here, hoping my mobile will ring,' he said. 'I can just guarantee that I am a healthy striker with just one wish - to return and play my sort of football.'