Kaka ready to break old boys' hearts
Brazilian has no mercy for former side Milan who he faces for first time tonight
Wednesday 21 October 2009
The Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra and defender Alvaro Arbeloa have shaken off injuries and should be available for tonight's Champions League Group C match against Milan, coach Manuel Pellegrini said yesterday.
Diarra was unable to train with the squad on Monday after picking up a knock in La Liga action at the weekend and Arbeloa had been suffering from a knee problem but Pellegrini has included both in his squad for the match at the Bernabeu.
However, midfielder Guti is still not at full fitness and misses out, Pellegrini added. "Guti has an ankle problem that is preventing him from being at 100 percent," the Chilean said. "Arbeloa is in good condition despite being still in the recovery phase and 'Lass' has no problems."
Real's Kaka will be playing against his former club for the first time since he joined from Milan for around €67m (£61m) in the close season. "For me it's the first time in my career that I will play against an ex-club," the Brazilian said. "It's a new thing for me but I am professional and now I play for Real Madrid and I will give my all."
Real top Group C with two wins out of two and Milan are in third after last month's shock 1-0 home defeat by FC Zurich. The Spaniards' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo is sidelined with an ankle injury and midfielder Fernando Gago, striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and defender Christoph Metzelder are all out of action with various ailments.
Milan goalkeeper Marco Storari and midfielder Gennaro Gattuso have been ruled out with thigh and knee injuries respectively. They have struggled under coach Leonardo who took over in the summer after Carlo Ancelotti left for Stamford Bridge, with their slow pace of play a particular problem, although Sunday's 2-1 win over Roma has eased the pressure.
Real defender Raul Albiol believes Milan's poor form in Serie A this season would be irrelevant once the two European heavyweights take to the Bernabeu pitch. "It's true that Milan are having a difficult time in their domestic league but are a great team and they always show their best face in the Champions League," Albiol said.
"They have a lot of experience in the competition and very good players and will be extremely tough opponents. We are playing at home in front of a full house and we want to show what level we have reached."
Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi, 36, is largely being kept back from Serie A action in order to use his experience in Europe but there are doubts over the formation with Leonardo switching between 4-3-1-2, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in recent games. "All teams have problems, we must not believe that Milan have more problems than others," Leonardo said. "If we manage to express ourselves at our best, we will be able to do much better than what we have done so far."
Brazilian Ronaldinho, still nowhere near the form he showed at Barcelona despite an improvement against Roma, will be keen to prove to the Madrid public that he can still perform. In the 2005-06 season, he produced a sublime performance at the Bernabeu to lead Barça to a 3-0 victory, scoring two stunning solo goals in a display that brought the home crowd to their feet. "It's a stadium in which I have done some really beautiful things but now I am, and we are, in a different situation," he said.
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