Milan on the brink

European football
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AC Milan have kept the champagne on ice for the last week but know a win in today's home game against Fiorentina will guarantee them the Serie A title, their fourth in five years.

Milan are seven points ahead of second-placed Juventus with three games to play, but their coach Fabio Capello continues to urge caution: "I've no illusions about this. I'm experienced, I've won titles both as a player and a coach and in the past I've spoiled the victory celebrations of people in too big a hurry."

If and when Milan finally do clinch the title, Capello will announce whether he will return for next season or, as widely reported, take over at Real Madrid.

Capello's signing might ease the pain slightly should Real's cross-town rivals, Atletico Madrid, fulfil all expectations by winning this season's title, their first since 1977.

With the season nearing its end, Atletico are six points clear of second- placed Barcelona, having thrashed the Catalans 3-1 just last week. But they face a tricky game today against Valencia, at present lying in third, while Barcelona face an easier plight against lowly Sporting Gijon.

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