Spurned lover Milan must upset odds in Madrid
AC Milan are acting like the spurned lover who is about to head off to the ex's house for a party.
They are putting on a brave face, insisting that they are doing fine and arenÃ¢ÂÂt at all concerned that their old flame has found someone a little more sexier and certainly a little fuller up-front, so to speak.
Ricky Kaka has been all smiles ever since he demurely pulled on that virginal all-white Real Madrid shirt.
And in between quiet little weeps the Rossoneri cannot believe the Brazilian hasnÃ¢ÂÂt even popped around to collect his old CD collection.
It will take some time for the broken heart to heal, and maybe this meeting in Madrid has come a little too early.
There may have been an ego-boosting one-night stand against AS Roma on Sunday, but there is nothing permanent on the horizon to soothe the heartache.
No doubt Kaka will be all charm and good manners before kick-off, but his new love will want to put the old model in their place - and on recent evidence it could get quite embarrassing at the Bernabeu.
Roma had four gilt-edged chances to be out of sight before half-time, but a team that has scored 21 goals in the league and eight in two Champions League group games will surely not be so profligate.
LeonardoÃ¢ÂÂs men need to take at least a point from this game, having being rolled-over by the Swiss at home.
Midfield would seem to be the key as always - the Rossoneri must seal that 20 to 30-metre area to frustrate the Blancos but that will be asking a lot from Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo and Mathieu Flamini or Clarence Seedorf.
Having said that, Adriano Galliani has lived by the mantra of Ã¢ÂÂthe Champions [League] is in MilanÃ¢ÂÂs DNA,Ã¢ÂÂ and of course during past times of crisis Europe has been a welcomed escape - the 2003 triumph started out with an away goals win over Slovan Liberec.
If anything Milan need to take the game to the hosts and provide the platform for Ronaldinho and Alex Pato to test the home defence.
On a completely personal level both Brazilians will want to demonstrate to the folks back home in South America that they are still worth a look-in for South Africa.
Then, of course, there is the man for European nights, Filippo Inzaghi Ã¢ÂÂ one goal away from equalling Gerd MullerÃ¢ÂÂs goalscoring record in European club competitions.
However, the team comes first, and escaping from this group without taking something from the back-to-back encounters with Real would seem nigh on impossible Ã¢ÂÂ and force the club to finally search for a new blueprint.
Most of the team that won the competition three years ago are still knocking around providing ever-decreasing returns, while the rest of EuropeÃ¢ÂÂs elite including WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs opponents have continuously revamped their squads.
Then again, Silvio Berlusconi cannot afford a new wardrobe and with the laughing cavalier facing a Ã¢ÂÂ¬750 million bill over a long-running legal dispute concerning his Fininvest company, the names of Albanian tycoon Rezart Taci and Colonel Muammar Geddafi of all people have been mentioned as potential buyers.
The PM has denied he will walk away, so keep saying it ainÃ¢ÂÂt so Silvio.
Better the devil you know, and at the same time letÃ¢ÂÂs see a bit of that mischievous sprite and less of the moping around in Madrid.
Barcelona and Liverpool all fell to shock home defeats, while Inter were held to a draw,
So why not another surprise in what is MilanÃ¢ÂÂs true love: Ã¢ÂÂthe ChampionsÃ¢ÂÂ as we say in these parts.
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