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AC Milan who dramatically captured the last Champions League spot will look to have a far better campaign this time around starting from pre-season...

AC Milan who had a terrible start to their campaign recovered to an extent as they managed to cling on to the third and final Champions League spot in Serie A.

The club has still not managed to secure the services of any new players this term though they have been heavily linked with Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda as Massimiliano Allegri would look to revert back to the diamond formation of yore.

Back to work from July


The players returned to training on 8th July as several of them were involved in the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Training was followed up by an inhouse friendly match on 14th July where two teams lined up as Milan Rossoneri and Milan Bianco with the match ending 1-1 a piece.


Pre-Season Encounters

I
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Date: 23 July, 2013

Venue:   Città del Tricolore Stadium, Reggio Emilia

Teams: AC Milan, Juventus, Sassuolo

Schedule: AC Milan vs Juventus
              AC Milan vs Sassuolo

Kick Off: 20:45 local time
18:45 GMT
12:15 pm IST

AC Milan officially start their season preparations by participating in the prestigious TIM Trophy which is held this year in Reggio Emilia to celebrate the promotion of Sassuolo to Serie A, for the first time in their history. Besides these two teams, Juventus will also be a part of the tournament.

The tournament is a three way tie each of 45 minutes duration with all teams taking on each other to determine the eventual winner of the trophy. If all teams end up with one win, head-to-head will be taken into account.


II
Guiness International Champions Cup
Date: 27 July, 2013
Knockout stages from 3-7 August.

Schedule: Valencia vs AC Milan, Mestalla
Kick off: 20:00 Local; 11:30 IST

Teams: AC Milan, Valencia, Everton, Real Madrid, Chelsea, LA Galaxy, Inter Milan, Juventus.

Knockout stages to be held in USA.

AC Milan then participate in the Guiness International Champions Cup which is expected to be broadcasted in 151 countries and sees some of the biggest teams take part. The winner of Milan vs Valencia encounter at the Mestalla will take on the winner of Chelsea-Inter Milan tie which would be held in Indianapolis, USA. This would be the Eastern Phase and the winners will meet in the semi-final in New York on August 4.

                                        Sun Life Stadium in Miami which will host the Finals



The Western Phase sees Juventus-Everton at Indianapolis and LA Galaxy-Real Madrid in Phoenix. The winners will then take on each other in the Western Phase semi-finals in Los Angeles on August 3.

All the teams will take on each other to decide their final position on 6th and 7th August, with 7th-8th and 5th-6th deciders on the first day and the third place decider and final on 7th August, all to be held at the SunLife Stadium in Miami.


III
Audi Cup
Venue: Munich, Germany

Teams: Bayern Munich, Sao Paolo, Manchester City, AC Milan

Schedule:
Manchester City vs AC Milan, 31st July, 18:15 GMT, 11:45 PM IST
Sao Paolo vs Bayern Munich, 31st July, 20:30 GMT, 2:00 AM IST
Final on 1st August

AC Milan will complete their pre-season with a tour to Germany where they participate in the prestigious Audi Cup, whose past winners were Bayern Munich in 2011 and FC Barcelona in 2009.  The first semi-final will be between Milan and Manchester City which will be followed by Treble winners Bayern takin on South American giants Sao Paolo with the winners of both games meeting the next day to decide who takes home the trophy.


AC Milan
AC Milan's Man to Watch
Riccardo Saponara

A player who was snapped up in the winter transfer window itself but has only joined the squad now, after being loaned back has clearly excited the Rossoneri faithful as he is widely regarded as being the next 'Kaka' if he can fulfill his potential.

The Italy U-21 winger who plied his trade in Serie B with Empoli had finished last season with an astonishing 13 goals and 15 assists in 40 matches even though he started off as a winger though was gradually pushed centrally, operating just behind the striker as the coach saw his creative influence.

His movement, ball control and more importantly his incredible vision as he builds up moves has drawn comparisons with Milan legend, Kaka and to good effect. The Milan faithful also think he is the ideal trequartista that they have been searching for as they look to revert back to a diamond formation with Kevin Prince-Boateng clearly unsuited for that role.


What the Bench-warmers need to do...

With Nigel De Jong back in training and Riccardo Montolivo establishing himself as the deep lying playmaker, playing time will be less for Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino who will need to make a fine impression if they want to be integral first team members.

Kevin Prince-Boateng too will go further down the pecking order unless he dramatically changes his game around as he is ill suited to a trequartista role.

 

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