(Photo: Club captain Riccardo Montolivo in action against Juventus on 9 April 2016)
MILAN – Here are all the interesting statistics and figures from Football Data ahead of the Italian Cup Final between Milan and Juventus:
Milan have not conceded a goal in the Italian Cup for 220 minutes: the last was Milan-Carpi 2-1 on 13 January, Mancosu on 50’. Added to the 40’ are the two matches with Alessandria, 1-0 and 5-0.
This will be Milan’s 11 final. Five wins (1966/67, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1976/77 and 2002/03), five defeats (1941/42, 1974/75, 1984/85, 1989/90 and 1997/98.
Milan won all six of their ties this season: home to Perugia (2-0) and Crotone (3-1), away to Sampdoria (2-0), at San Siro against Carpi (2-1), in the neutral venue of Turin against Alessandria (1-0) and the return (5-0 at San Siro). The last defeat in the competition was on 27 January 2015 when Lazio won 1-0 at San Siro. Last time Milan won seven in a row was between 4 September 1966 (3-0 at Pisa) and 3 September 1967 (2-0 at home to Cagliari).
Juventus have reached the Italian Cup final 15 times. Won 10 (1937/38, 1941/42, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1964/65, 1978/79, 1982/83, 1989/90, 1994/95 and 2014/15), lost five (1972/73, 1991/92, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2011/12).
Mario Mandzukic will turn 30 on 21 May. Born in Slavonski Brod (Croatia).
It will be his 800th appearance overall between Parma and Juventus if Gigi Buffon plays. The goalkeeper has played 589 games in Serie A, 37 in Serie B, 26 in the Italian Cup, 139 in European competitions and eight others in post-season tournaments. He made his debut on 19 November 1995, Parma-Milan 0-0, in Serie A.
SOURCE: Football Data.
(IN THE PHOTO: the press conference)
MILAN – Coach Cristian Brocchi and club captain Riccardo Montolivo took questions from the press on Friday night ahead of the TIM Cup final with Juventus. This is what the two men had to say:
CRISTIAN BROCCHI"It’s always nice and special to take part in a final and I think the team will have the desire for this big occasion. Chances to win silverware don’t come around every day. The words of the President and the visit to the Vatican only strengthen this feeling. Every team has its weaknesses. The key thing is to have a ferocious determination and the mental approach, something which Juve have, as well as the desire to battle. Winning would be brilliant and fantastic. For the fans and for those that have suffered in recent years and for those who want to celebrate and a reason to smile. I won’t give in, let that be clear, even in this difficult moment. I am very determined. We are coming to the end of this brief experience and I hope we can achieve something important. I have seen a different spirit, but I won’t take anything for granted because even before the Roma game the players trained well and then we saw what performance was produced. I hope this final will get the best out of the players and their true worth. A lot of players are playing for their futures, those that are coming towards the end of their contracts, those who want to stay, those that will go elsewhere. We cannot think about the past but rather focus on the present. The spirit and the sense of belonging will be key factors tomorrow. The Juve team always help each other out even when one or two players might be having an off day. Spirit and working as a team are needed tomorrow. The last time I was here was for the TIM Cup final in 2013 and it is bringing those memories back. This has been a tough period but unfortunately there have been some match incidents that haven’t gone our way. We knew it was going to be hard and nothing was to be taken for granted. This has been an immense experience. I have learnt a lot of things and how to manage situations on and off the pitch. I am massively motivated. I am a coach now, but I still experience the same emotions of a player. I will have to be sharp enough to make the right choices during the game tomorrow against a great and prepared coach like Allegri. The team have a big chance to make the club and the fans happy. This means a huge amount to me, even if I repeat the most important aspect is the team. Niang has trained over the past two weeks. The medical staff have achieved a minor miracle. He isn’t fit enough for the full 90 minutes, we cannot expect to have him from the start, but I am thinking about giving him some playing time if we need his contribution. Donnarumma has shown that he doesn’t let the emotion of it all get the better of him. He is calm and composed. A top goalie handles the pressure. He does this with no problems at all. There are occasions when the result is what matters most. I have explained my ideas, hoping that the players understand my vision. All that matters tomorrow is making life hard for Juve and making the fans and club happy. I would be happy should I be kept on next season. At the moment though the cup final is what counts. Whatever happens, I have lived my dream. The President is a brilliant motivator. It’s great when he speaks and everyone listens in. Abate and Antonelli are two important absentees. We only have De Sciglio and Calabria as full backs."
RICCARDO MONTOLIVO"This is a big chance. This is the final call for us. But I believe in this team, even if Juve start as favourites. We have the ability to create them problems. We could have easily beaten them in the second league meeting this season. We won’t start off defeated. We are going to battle and you will see a fully focused Milan. I want to tell the fans that we are the first to believe we can win. We have trained very well and whenever we have taken to the pitch with the right focus we have always played well this season. We will be ready tomorrow. I hope our fans will be in good voice. Tomorrow will be my second final, after EURO 2012. We are all eager to get the match underway, we cannot wait. It’s a final, they are the favourites, but we have plenty of ways to hurt them. We will need to be on our toes tomorrow and play as a team. We have shown this on several occasions this season while in others we haven’t and we have put in some woeful performances. Team spirit will be needed. If we are compact and close down the space between their midfield and attack, we will be able to have our say. But talk is cheap, tomorrow is the last chance for this team to show that we’re up to the Milan standard. We have to let our football do the talking. The whole team has to play a leading role. We have to play as one and then the qualities of each player will emerge."
(IN THE PHOTO: team-talk before training)
ROME – After the coach and the captain’s press conference, click here to read more, the Rossoneri held a final workout on Friday at the Olimpico ahead of Saturday’s TIM Cup final with Juventus. The club’s joint-CEO Adriano Galliani was also on hand at the venue for the big match to watch over the session.
Before training started, the coach called the players together along with the coaching, medical and kit staff for a motivational talk and at the end of his speech Brocchi received a round of applause from the group. The workout then got underway with a keep-ball drill, warm-up and stretching before tactical exercises 11 v 11 on a reduced size pitch.
(IN THE PHOTO: Milan with the Pope)
MILAN – A very special and emotional moment for Milan who were at the Vatican on Friday to meet Pope Francis. Here is how the day went for the Rossoneri:
10.43 – the Milan players, coaching staff and management arrived by coach ahead of the audience with His Holiness. Juventus arrived afterwards while the Lega Serie A President Maurizio Berretta arrived just before 11.00. The match officials for the TIM Cup final were also present.12.00 – the audience with the Pope started with the Lega Serie A President introducing Milan and Juventus to the Pope and making reference to them as being amongst the most decorated clubs in the world. His Holiness then spoke to the players, calling on them to look inside themselves as men and professionals in order to keep being an example to the young. On behalf of Milan, Barbara Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani, and on behalf of Juventus, Andrea Agnelli and Giuseppe Marotta, gave a series of gifts to the Pope, including signed shirts, each one with number 1 Francis on the back. The audience came to a close with each person present meeting the Pope.
Here is what Pope Francis had to say: "Be champions in sport, but above all champions in life. Your presence gives me the opportunity to express my appreciation for the professional qualities and beautiful traditions that distinguish your clubs and the football environment in general. I think many fans, especially young people, really follow you with a lot of enthusiasm. You attract the attention of these people, who admire you; and thus you are called to lead so they can always see in you the human qualities of athletes committed to witness the true values of sport. The success of a team is the result of a variety of human virtues: harmony, loyalty, the ability of friendship and dialogue, solidarity; it comes from spiritual values which become sporting values. By exercising these moral qualities, you can make the true purpose of the sports stand out even more, which at times is also marked by negative elements. You have to prove that each of you, before being a football player, is a person, with his limitations and strengths, but above all with his conscience, which I hope is always illuminated by the relationship with God. You should never be lacking in fraternity, mutual respect, understanding and even forgiveness.
"Man should always be in harmony with the athlete. You always have to praise what is truly good and beautiful, through a sincere witness to the values that should characterize true sport; and not be afraid to make known with serenity to the world of your moral and religious principles to which you want to inspire to in your life. Serie A is playing its part so that football can be a positive message for the whole of society."
CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTOS
MILAN – You can enjoy all the atmosphere of the Italian Cup Final at Casa Milan this Saturday evening at 20.45.
There will be a giant screen to watch the build-up and the match at the Rossoneri headquarters.
For more information: casamilan.acmilan.com