MILAN - Brief news
ahead of Thursday's Serie A matches.
New Inter Milan centre-back Andrea Ranocchia could make
his debut when the champions host second-placed Napoli as Serie A gets back under way after the mid-season break.
The Italy defender has been brought in from Genoa on a
contract until 2015 and could slip straight into the team
alongside Lucio with Walter Samuel out for the season and Ivan
Cordoba and Marco Materazzi failing to convince.
New coach Leonardo is set to be without goalkeeper Julio
Cesar for his first match in charge after the fellow Brazilian
suffered a thigh strain so Luca Castellazzi will again deputise.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is fit for the
first time since injuring his back at the World Cup but is
unlikely to be risked in the home game with his ex-side Parma.
Stand-in Marco Storari has been in such good form between
the sticks that coach Luigi Del Neri has said Buffon faces a
battle to regain his first team place, sparking speculation
fourth-placed Juve could listen to offers.
Centre-back Leonardo Bonucci misses out though suspension
while striker Vincenzo Iaquinta has a thigh problem so
Alessandro Del Piero may come into the team given Amauri is
only just back in training after a long layoff.
Leaders AC Milan are struggling for numbers for the trip
to coach Massimiliano Allegri's old side Cagliari.
Forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended, Ronaldinho is in
Brazil trying to find a new club, Gianluca Zambrotta needs
minor knee surgery while Kevin Prince Boateng is a doubt with
an adductor injury.
Robinho looks set to be fit despite needing stitches in
his leg after colliding with a television camera in this
week's friendly in Dubai.
Alexandre Pato is back after a two-month layoff and new
signing Antonio Cassano may feature despite not having played
since October when former side Sampdoria suspended him for
Cagliari and Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti,
dropped at the start of the season for asking for a transfer,
remains third-choice after a hearing into his discrimination
case again the Sardinians was again postponed.
Lazio in third travel to Genoa with wily coach
Edy Reja, credited by club president Claudio Lotito for their
rejuvenation, banned from the dugout after being sent to
stands for arguing with officials in the 3-2 win over Udinese
Sampdoria face a race against time to fully register
loan signing Federico Macheda from Manchester United so the
striker can play at Palermo.
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
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