Straight from the dark heart of Italy
It’s a similar flight time from Milan to Portsmouth or Palermo, but a world away in terms of football culture.Carlo Ancelotti’s boys 2-0 down in Sicily with six-minutes remaining would more than likely remain 2-0. If not, home coach Davide Ballardini would be heading for the exit door.The air would have been sucked out of the game as soon as the second goal had gone in, with all method of 'professional' ploys utilised: players falling over and remaining grounded, tactical substitutions, the ball taking an age to reappear whenever it went out.There was no witnessing such questionable activities at Fratton Park last night as the home side continued to flood forward with little regard for the basics of defending or even dropping the tempo a notch or two.
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And it’s this approach that makes English football so popular with Italians – as is US sitcom Friends.
It may be highly-amusing and quite addictive viewing but it’s a world that holds no relation to reality.In the real world of Serie A, there is little chance of ever seeing the names of Nelson Dida, Philippe Senderos, Luca Antonini and Giuseppe Favalli on a Milan team-sheet at the same time.However, you could see that the supposed strutting pin-ups of Italian football were actually enjoying themselves.No one tried to kick Ricky Kaka all over the pitch and Filippo Inzaghi didn’t even fall over once although Andriy Shevchenko must have had some terrible Chelsea flashbacks the way he ran around looking for someone to pass him the ball.
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The game did highlight the lack of depth running through the Milan squad and, above all, the need to find a central defender has become critical.
Thiago Silva has already been mentioned as has William Gallas, but Philippe Mexes of AS Roma could well be the man to move to Milan.Landing quality will only happen if the cash is splashed which will only come to pass if Silvio Berlusconi sells off his greatest asset.As it stands, you would get more for Kaka than Alitalia and only a few days ago the Brazilian was cosying-up to the UK media, telling them how much he liked English football.After witnessing first-hand the acres of green space he would get to run amok in the Premier League, the delights of Eastlands may not seem so far fetched.Now that could be the greatest storyline since Ross got off with Rachel.
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