Gattuso: Only widespread wage cuts will work

SARONNO, Italy - Players should consider taking paycuts during the global economic crisis but isolated gestures will make no difference, Italy and AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said on Monday. Last month the World Cup winner became one of the first soccer players to suggest cutting his own salary to help his club. "That was said in the spur of the moment given we are talking about a world that's not going through a good moment economically. If the club is okay with it, why not?" Gattuso told Reuters. "But one act does nothing. If a club has to make some choices to return to being competitive, I think players and representatives can sit down and talk with the club." Milan team mate David Beckham took a financial hit to allow his loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy to be extended until the end of the season but few other players have made sacrifices. Gattuso had surgery after suffering knee ligament damage in December and although he is hoping to return for the end of the Serie A season, he is taking extra care. "That's the objective (to come back in May) but I've noted that with knees you don't joke. I must say, it's a bit of a strange situation. I have really good days and days where the knee hurts," he said. "It needs time, and you shouldn't rush because I'm not saying goodbye to my career, I'm 31 and I must recover properly in order to come back like I was before." CALABRIA AMBASSADOR He hopes to regain his place in the Italy squad but is making no predictions for next year's World Cup in South Africa, with the holders well on their way to qualifying. "I hope we do well but you can't set off saying 'we are going to South Africa and we are going to win the World Cup', to win you needs lots of luck," he said. "We must think about getting back to where we were before -- playing as a team," he added. "Soccer needs top players but it is more important to have a united team. A true team is more important than great individuals." Gattuso has become an ambassador for his home region of Calabria, on the toe of Italy, and has featured in a string of adverts publicising the poor area as a tourist destination. The former Rangers midfielder believes the region helped mould him into the tough-tackling but honest player of today. "I think you can't deny your origins and you take away the values of the place where you were born," said Gattuso, who has worked on behalf of Calabrian charities. He also expressed his sorrow for the victims of an earthquake in central Italy, which killed more than 90 people on Monday. "It hurts. I've already heard some controversy about whether it could have been foreseen but I think when things like this happen, you can't foresee anything. It's nature," he said.