Ronaldinho relishing Inter clash

In-form AC Milan star considers finishing his career at Serie A club.

    Ronaldinho praised his good relationship with coach Leonardo [GALLO/GETTY]
    Ronaldinho's return to form is a boost for AC Milan ahead of their city derby against Inter Milan this weekend.

    A win for Italy's Serie A underdogs Milan could open up the championship race and the recent performances of a reinvigorated Ronaldinho bodes well for coach Leonardo's side.

    The former two-time winner of the Fifa world player of the year award has so far scored nine goals this season, most recently a hat-trick against Siena and is talking of ending his career with Milan.


    Ronaldinho praised his relationship with coach Leonardo, saying it was a key to his current run of form.

    "I have a good rapport with the coach,'' Ronaldinho said.

    "It's helping me with my form as I can speak to Leonardo about anything and when I go on the field I feel the coach's trust.

    "Against Inter I want to continue how I'm playing,'' he said.

    "But Inter has a strong team, with good players and a manager who knows how to win.''

    "I am going through a great patch and Milan are playing very well. And it will be a very important game for us.”

    Ronaldinho scored the winning goal in his first Milan derby appearance in September 2008.

    AC Milan management are reportedly seeking to keep Ronaldinho in a new long-term deal to keep him at the San Siro until 2013, according to Italian daily Corriere dello Sport.

    "I would have nothing against ending my career here at Milan," said Ronaldinho.

    "I hope to be able to do like Maldini or Romario.

    "I want to play football for as long as possible because that's how I feel happy and accomplished."

    A Milan win would close the gap to leaders Inter to three points, and Leonardo's side also have a game in hand.

    Inter top the standings with 46 points, with Milan on 40.

    Both teams are in good form; Inter have gone five games since their last loss, while Milan have won eight of their last nine matches, with only a defeat to Palermo ruining the record.

    Toni return

    AS Roma will aim to cement third place away to Juventus, who have lost four of their last five games and slipped into fifth.

    Results & fixtures

    Wednesday January 20

     Bologna 2-2 Atalanta
     Genoa 1-1 Bari

    Saturday January 23

     Catania v Parma
     Juventus v Roma

    Sunday January 24

     Bologna v Bari
     Genoa v Atalanta
     Inter Milan v AC Milan
     Lazio v Chievo
     Livorno v Napoli
     Palermo v Fiorentina
     Siena v Cagliari
     Udinese v Sampdoria

    Italy striker Luca Toni has joined Roma on loan from Bayern Munich in a bid to win his place back in the Italy team and he has already hit two goals in two starts.

    "It is great, there's a lot of enthusiasm,'' Toni said.

    "I came to Roma to play games and I know this is the right place to do that, but we are only just starting and have to continue this way.

    "Marcello Lippi knows what I can do for the national team,'' Toni said.

    "I know that if I can continue to do well for Roma, I'll have a chance of getting back in.''

    Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara is fighting to hold on to his job. The team are out of the Champions League and slipping away from the qualification places for next season.

    Furthermore striker Amauri has failed to show the form that linked him with a place in the Italy side, while midfielder Diego has struggled to replicate his impressive displays from earlier in the season.

    "I am convinced that this team has quality that we aren't seeing at the moment and we have to work out why,'' Ferrara said.

    "I want the guys to feel more secure about the situation, play them in their natural roles and get them in condition to play their best.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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