Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Ricky Kakà caught offside as the lone striker, grumpy Ronaldinho elbowing an opponent in the face, Kakha Kaladze stood stock still in the centre of midfield…
This was a snapshot of the once mighty Milan on Wednesday evening as they crashed out of the Italian Cup at home to Lazio.
Carlo Ancelotti is looking more and more like Deputy Dawg as he watches his little ‘varmints’ descend into an incredible free-fall, and in another few weeks they won’t even be able to give themselves that self-important title 'World Champions'.
In short, the Rossoneri need a bit of inspiration. And who better to give a few tips on battering the opposition to a pulp than the members of the New Zealand rugby team?
Milan and the All Blacks share the same sponsor hence the sight of the pretty boys of Italian football shivering in their match kit in front of the giants of the oval-ball game.
A puzzled-looking Kaka posed alongside his rugby equivalent Dan Carter before the Brazilian attempted a couple of place-kicks with the alien sphere.
Kaka and the All Blacks Dan Carter examine their balls
Paolo Maldini didn’t look too keen on the scrum, having had his luscious locks perfectly quaffed for the occasion, but, as you might expect, Rino Gattuso couldn’t wait to add a bit of realism to the photo op.
Not even a meaty swat of the hand from All-Black captain Richie McGaw could dampen the feisty midfielder’s enthusiasm for a bit of rough and tumble.
The Rossoneri will need to start rolling over the opposition again if they are to prevent themselves becoming also-rans before the first cracker is pulled at the club’s Christmas party next week.
The thought of being the backdrop for the David Beckham fitness show would be too much to bear so it’s paramount that three points are picked up against Catania at the weekend.
In the past, you would have said: “Catania at the San Siro, no worries.” Not now though and Walter Zenga’s cheeky boys, if you excuse the rugby-themed pun, are no pushovers.
It’s a pivotal weekend in the league. With Inter holding a six-point lead at the top, everyone will be hoping that Lazio can at least hold Jose Mourinho’s ever-improving side to a draw.
Juventus should be too strong at Lecce whose southern kindness to the Turin side is well known (they've lost seven out of 12 meetings at the Via Del Mare).
Meanwhile, a much-needed dash of colour will be provided by the Genoa derby.
The Genoa ultras are probably the closest Italy gets to the sort of loyal, through thick and thin support associated with British fans.
The Luigi Ferraris is also a real football stadium although 'The Derby of the Lantern' will have no bearing on the top of the table, it promises to be played out in a real cup tie atmosphere.
It also brings together the Prince and the Street Urchin, with the league’s top goalscorer, Genoa's Diego Milito, coming up against Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano (fresh from the most hilarious football autobiography this decade).
Cassano: Lady friend not pictured
Serie Aaaaargh! is backing the Prince and a victory for the Rossoblu to go with Inter sneaking past Lazio, Milan drawing with Catania, Juve victorious at Lecce, ditto Roma at Chievo and Napoli back to winning ways at home to Siena.
Followed by Ronaldinho pulling at least one cracker at that Christmas party.
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