Milan's missing men poop on Pompey's party
Paolo MaldiniÃ¢ÂÂs glittering career will remain incomplete... he will never play at Fratton Park.
The legendary defender failed to board the flight for Southampton this morning with the rest of the squad.
Although Portsmouth fans may never get the chance to see the great man in the flesh, itÃ¢ÂÂs probably for the best as he is no longer the dashing and commanding figure of yesteryear.
In fact, his absence may have done the 40-year-old a favour.
We have already witnessed the sight of TorinoÃ¢ÂÂs Rolando Bianchi, of all people, skipping past the old boy on Sunday and the thought of Peter Crouch doing the same would be far too painful to watch.
"Crouch? Sod that, I'm staying in Milan..."
The Rossoneri are well aware that this is probably Portsmouth's most glamorous fixture ever so, apart from Maldini, a full squad headed off from chilly Malpensa airport.
However, just how many of the 'superstars' will take to the pitch at Fratton Park is another matter.
Less slick Samba skills and more Premier League rejects... Philippe Senderos on the bench and Mathieu Flamini in from the start, and let's not forget Andriy Shevchenko.
Further comic value will be added by Nelson Dida whose last visit to the UK ended with the goalkeeper being brutally tickled under the chin by a Celtic fan.
"Wallop! What do you mean we're shooting the other way?"
Watching Ronaldinho warm-up may be worth the entrance fee alone for some, even if he doesn't feature. But the Pompey faithful should not despair too much.
Ricky Kaka will play a part, if not the whole 90 minutes, as GodÃ¢ÂÂs own footballer is suspended for SundayÃ¢ÂÂs league encounter at Palermo having turned sinner in the eyes of the referees this season, picking up four yellow cards already.
Carlo Ancelotti has one eye on the weekend and he knows he cannot afford another winless trip unless he wants to see Inter disappear over the hill and far away before the end of the year is even out.
So Milan are likely to line-up thus: Dida; Zambrotta, Bonera, Favalli, Antonini; Flamini, Emerson, Ambrosini; Kaka; Shevchenko, Inzaghi.
It may be a long way from the heady days of the Champions League but at least the players will get the chance to play in a full stadium, after their last outing in the UEFA Cup saw a paltry 20,000 turn up at the San Siro for the tie against Braga.
In other Milan-related news, reports are surfacing that the club will make a bid to sign William Gallas in January.
"Fancy replacing me? It'll never last at Arsenal..."
At 31, heÃ¢ÂÂs the perfect age, but itÃ¢ÂÂs highly unlikely that the moody Frenchman will arrive as Milan will need to spend big to land their number one target Thiago Silva in the summer.
And who do they face competition from for the Fluminese defender? Inter, of course.
In the meantime, any Maldini fans in the UK who desire a final glimpse of their hero should book a trip to Milan post-haste.