The pressure is starting to tell
on Serie A champions AC Milan, where forwards Antonio Cassano
and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both complained of tiredness and
AC Milan Chief Executive Adriano Galliani, whose side host
Palermo on Saturday, said that he was unworried by the
situation, although the Italian Footballers Association (AIC)
says it is time to help players confront the problem.
Cassano, 29, who scored twice for Italy in a 3-0 win over
Northern Ireland on Tuesday, told RAI television that he had
already made retirement plans.
"I'll play for another three or three-and-a-half years," he
said. "I want to have a good Euro , a good World Cup and a
regular place for the national team.
"I've been involved with the national side for 10 years and
have only 25 caps, I'm always in and out of the team. I'll quit
at 32 or 33 at the latest, I'll get out of football and enjoy
life with my family.
"Football has been the most beautiful thing in the world for
me but despite that, I'm exhausted. I'm stressed, for the last
13 years, whatever I say has been wrong."
Last week, Sweden forward Ibrahimovic said that he had
started to think about retirement, when he said he would be able
to enjoy life.
He also complained he was tired and not enjoying the game as
much as before.
AIC President Damiano Tommassi told the ANSA news agency
said the problem needed to be confronted.
"It's one of our objectives," he said. "We have started a
project to help players, from 17 years onwards, to deal with
"They are boys and there toughest game is to be themselves
and not have to put on a mask."
Galliani said he was confident the pair's form would not be
"I'm not worried," he told reporters. "I'm not a
psychologist, but I speak to the players in private and
everything is fine.
"After 25 years of management at Milan, I known how to do
it. I've spoken to Ibrahimovic, he absolutely wants to play.
There's nothing else to comment.
Milan, a modest 15th in the table after taking only five
points from five games, have been hit by injuries this season
but should at least have Brazil forward Robinho fit again for
"I'm fine, happy and recovered," the former Santos, Real
Madrid and Manchester City forward told reporters.
Leading pair Juventus and Udinese, who have 11 points each
and are the only unbeaten sides, are both away, Juventus
visiting Chievo and Udinese at Atalanta.
Struggling Inter Milan, who have only four points, travel to
Catania for a Saturday game.
The Lazio-AS Roma derby on Sunday will round off the
weekend. Roma captain Francesco Totti is out of the game with a
thigh strain and Lazio's Germany striker Miroslav Klose is
doubtful with a knee injury.
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