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Juventus patron John Elkann says that he will not accept anything other than first place in Serie A and the Quarter-Finals in the Champions League.

Gianni Agnelli's grandson has taken a more hands on role in the last year and was speaking about his ambition with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Asked to describe what good management meant to him, Elkann replied: “It means winnings things. And it must be recognised that we have had a constant progression since our return to Serie A; finishing third and qualifying for the Champions League, then finishing second. What we now expect are the victories.

“We always need to focus on the top. We don't have to create expectations, but we should believe in ourselves. If you focus on the bronze medals in the Olympics you'll always do worse than those who focus on the gold.”

Elkann went on to talk about his plans for the club, which include a new stadium and consistent investment.

“The stadium is an important project because it's the meeting place between the team and the fans. We have seen throughout Europe that there is a greater desire to go to a stadium when the club owns it, as it increases the link between the team, the club and its fans.

“Juventus will continue to invest in the team and the stadium that will eventually become a reality in 2011. My relationship with Juventus is a strong relationship, but as a fan.”

Finally Elkann responded to speculation linking Italy Coach Marcello Lippi with a role as a Juventus director after the World Cup next summer.

“Let him work in peace. He has a very big job to do in South Africa and he needs to concentrate. At the same time he is part of Juventus' history and with him there is a natural closeness that we live positively,” Elkann concluded.[www.football-italia.net]

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FIGC President Giancarlo Abete has told Fabio Capello he is “wrong to generalise” about Italian football and its fans.

The England Coach claimed “the Ultras are in command” and ruining the sport in the peninsula.

“If Capello wanted to represent the complexity of Italian football, then this was already well known,” replied Federation chief Abete.

“There have been problems and it would be foolish to underestimate them, but it would also be wrong to generalise by suggesting a minority are the key to everything.

“We must try to safeguard those spectators who go to the stadium with a positive approach.”

The rules have already been relaxed so that clubs can build and own their own stadiums, with Juventus already constructing the new Stadio Delle Alpi.

Abete was also asked to comment on the situation in the Azzurri camp after Marcello Lippi slammed supporters at Parma’s Stadio Tardini for jeering his squad against Cyprus.

“We had a negative experience at the Confederations Cup and learned from that. Now everyone in the Federation has a job to do so we can all prepare for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“As for the Parma incident, Italian football is accustomed to great results. Qualifying for the World Cup seems natural, but there are many nations who didn’t achieve that like Turkey, Croatia and Sweden.

“Then there are France, Ireland and Portugal who still have to earn their place through the play-offs. Italian football mustn’t rest on its laurels, but always find the strength and motivation to improve.”[www.football-italia.net]

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Gigi Del Neri feels tomorrow night’s showdown with Juventus will be “the moment of truth” for high-flying Sampdoria.

The Blucerchiati are two points above the Turin giants and only two shy of leaders Inter, but everything could change after the midweek round.

“This is a new sensation, a positive one, as we are playing against a team with a winning mentality that we can learn from in terms of approach and work ethic,” said the Coach.

“It will be the right game to understand if we are getting used to these top of the table clashes. Juventus are four points away from Inter, we are in the middle, so it wouldn’t be bad to hold on to that prestigious position.”

Samp got there by beating the Nerazzurri 1-0 in their head-to-head a few weeks ago, so facing Juve is not making them nervous.

“There is no fear, only respect, which is logical. I think that Sampdoria have a certain attitude in their DNA, this is a team not built to put up barricades, but rather to play with the utmost quality.

“I want to see that approach, how we take on a team of the highest calibre and how we hold out at the top end of the table in future. Everyone will now put their all into facing us and we must get used to that. It’s the moment of truth.”

President Riccardo Garrone has even suggested that the 4-1 win over Bologna reminded him of the 1991 Scudetto-winning side.

“This is a very strange season and one that can’t be predicted,” continued Del Neri. “Everyone struggles to beat everyone else.

“Although Inter, Juventus and perhaps Milan have what it takes to spend the season at the top, other sides have the chance to earn certain results through good football.

“I refer mainly to ourselves, Genoa, Palermo, Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina. Our objective is to consolidate the club, the team and launch the careers of young players.”[www.football-italia.net]

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Roma captain Francesco Totti has had a minor operation on his troublesome right knee and his recovery time is uncertain, his club said.
The 33-year-old striker suffered cruciate ligament damage in April last year and underwent major surgery.
His knee continued to cause him problems last season though and he has missed the last two league games after suffering discomfort.
"No other tears were found in the course of the surgery," Roma said, adding it was too early to say when he might play again.

Totti, who started the campaign in good form, had been linked with an Italy return for next year's World Cup having retired from international football after their 2006 triumph.
Mid-table Roma also announced that former Italy volleyball coach Gianpaolo Montali would work as a consultant for the club for the next two seasons.
He previously worked on the Juventus board and recently turned down an approach to become Napoli's sporting director.[uk.eurosport.yahoo.com]

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Martin Caceres came on for Grygera after the half time break and had a good performance, also contributing to the attacking phase: «I am happy with the 3 points which was the main thing. I came on the second half and tried to contribute in attack when I could do this otherwise I tried to do my job in the defence».

Juventus now play on Wednesday against Sampdoria who are currently 2 points ahead of the bianconeri: «I hope that we will win against Sampdoria just like we did today because it is important to win the home matches».[www.Juventus.com]

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Fiorentina picked up their second victory by overthrowing Debrecen 4-3. Runner-up position in the Group E standings even be theirs, with the flanked Olympique Lyon and Liverpool.

Adrian Mutu who scored two goals in this game satisfied and optimistic claims can be group winners.

Tonight's game was strange because we were a bit careless in the defense, clear quality to the Sky after the game.

I personally feel in good condition and I will be so much better each time got a chance to play, he said again.

I had hoped we could occupy the second position in the standings as the beginning of this year's competition because we know our strengths and we can keep the big teams, he said.

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Filippo Inzaghi can't wait to play his first official game at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and is looking forward to taking on Real Madrid captain Raul.

Inzaghi is not sure whether he will feature in the starting line-up, as Milan Coach Leonardo is yet to decide on his best team for the game.

“I have played in all the best European grounds but never at the Bernabeu,” explained SuperPippo.

“I have never played against Raul either and now I will get the chance to face him in his own stadium.”

Inzaghi and Raul are also battling it out for the title of European competition's all-time top scorer, with the Italian currently edging out the Real star by just three goals.

“The fundamental thing is that Milan win the game and return home with all three of the points at stake,” insisted the Rossoneri veteran.

Marco Borriello is part of the squad that will travel to Spain, but Inzaghi is the established regular in European competition.

“The boss decides whether I am playing or not but I feel good and I am ready if I am called upon.

“I always try to contribute, even when I start from the bench like I did against Roma,” concluded the former Juventus man.[www.football-italia.net]

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Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli has asked his charges not to be overconfident ahead of the Champions League clash against Debrecen in Hungary.

The Viola have performed admirably this season, and have consequently notched up a monumental victory against European powerhouses Liverpool, and secured a draw against Juventus in Turin recently.

“Against Debrecen we are not the favourites and we are making a dramatic mistake if we think differently,” the tactician told Rai.

“The secret to doing well in the Champions League is being cheerful and serene – if we do otherwise we might as well go back home.”

With regards to the positive run of results, Prandelli cited the significant improvement in player development, but held the opinion that it could improve even further.

“Our hard work over the last few years has borne fruit, but our players can still improve,” UEFA.com quotes the manager as saying.

The Gigliati take on Debrecen on Tuesday, which is Matchday 3 in the European competition.[footballitaliano.org]

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Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro hit back to the media after he was cleared of charges of doping case yesterday. Italy captain's 36-year-old, wearing a medicine containing a banned substance, cortisone after a wasp sting on August 28 and failed a dope test two days later.
"You get a bee sting and then find themselves in the paper as if you were using doping," Cannavaro said angrily.
"Some newspapers and television channels have gone too far."
"This is the second time in my life that I've found myself slandered in the newspapers for stories like this."

"I hope this story will not happen again. My career has always been distinguished by respecting the rules."
"I regret that these problems can cause trouble like that."
"My personal history and my career to show my respect for the sport and the ethical principles that support it."

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Milan have been told they need to “get it done” quickly for David Beckham’s loan from LA Galaxy.

The England international has said he is very close to securing a return to San Siro in January so he can play in a competitive League going into the 2010 World Cup.

"We want to get it done, for him and for us, because we have work to do over the next few weeks and I don't want any confusion,” said Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Galaxy owners AEG.

"It's the same with Landon [Donovan], there are a lot of rumours of whether he is staying or going. We're going to clear that up in the next two weeks because we want the team to be focused.”

Last year Beckham was only meant to stay in Milan from January to March, but paid out of his own pocket to have that period extended to the end of May.

He will remain in Europe to begin preparations for the 2010 World Cup, but is warned he won’t be having a summer holiday.

"We're not going to give him as much time off this time. He's going to have to earn his keep! He will have a little time off,” added Leiweke.

“We have a deep appreciation of what he is doing over here with his national team. I wanted him to know that we will support him so we are going to lend him out."[www.football-italia.net]

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The day after the draw against Bayern, the defender from Livorno was the protagonist of a chat with subscribers of JuventusMembership: «In Munich we achieved a good draw. Now we need to obtain maximum points from the matches against Maccabi».

A protagonist at the Allianz Arena in Bavaria and once again a protagonist in the chat with the bianconeri fans. A few hours the match against Bayern and the duels with Ribery and Klose, the defender from Livorno answered the questions asked by subscribers of JuventusMembership.

A moment of relax between a match and another. The match in Munich is still on Giorgio’s mind: «It was important to achieve a good result, yesterday. Playing away to Bayern, we competed against excellent team that can boast of great experience in the cups. In the first half we suffered a bit, but in the second half we adapted to their way of playing and we even had the chance of winning. The draw was a just result, however now we must win the next two matches against Maccabi before the final rush».
With the match in Germany shelved, now it is time for another. From North to South destination Sicily. On Sunday night Juventus will play away against Palermo and Chiellini and friends will have to deal with a fearsome attack driven by former bianconero Miccoli. «We will be going there in an attempt to win, so as to go to the international break tranquilly. Personally, I feel well in this part of the season, even though after so many matches it is difficult to be responsive for the whole 90 minutes».[JUVENTUS.COM]

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Roma talisman Francesco Totti admits he might miss this weekend's southern derby match against Napoli.

The 33-year-old was rested last night as Roma beat CSKA Sofia in the Europa League.

The back problem that has plighted much of his career appears to have returned to haunt him.

“It's true. The back is giving me bother again. I don't know if I'll make it in time for the game against Napoli,” Totti is quoted as saying leaving the dressing room last night.

The news comes as a real blow to Claudio Ranieri as Roma are now in a fully-fledged injury crisis.

Matteo Brighi, Philippe Mexes, Marco Cassetti, Rodrigo Taddei and Julio Baptista were all forced to watch last night's game from the stands.

The club's medical staff expect to recover a couple in time for Sunday, the most likely being Brighi and Mexes.[football-italia.net]

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