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Bertolacci completes AC Milan move

Italy international midfielder Andrea Bertolacci said he can't wait to be part of AC Milan's "important project" after officially joining the fallen Serie A giants from Roma on Monday.

Bertolacci completes AC Milan move
IItaly international midfielder Andrea Bertolacci joined AC Milan on Monday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini|AFP

Bertolacci, considered one of the brightest talents of his generation, became the Rossoneri's first major signing of the summer when he joined the club on four-year deal worth a reported €20 million ($22.4m, £14.2m).

“A.C Milan communicate that Andrea Bertolacci has been officially signed from AS Roma. The midfielder has signed a contract until 30th June 2019,” said a club statement.

In an earlier statement the 24-year-old Bertolacci – who has spent the past three seasons playing for Genoa, scoring six goals in 35 league appearances last term – said: “It is going to be a great feeling to arrive at the San Siro with a Milan shirt, I cannot wait to start.

“My first choice was Milan, there is an important project and I will be ready for training camp. I am 24 and I  an still improve, I want to back up the good work I did last season and take Milan a long way.”

Until last week Bertolacci had been co-owned by Genoa and Roma although the latter bought the player outright with a payment of €8.5 million to Genoa.

Roma's move preceded his sale to Milan, who in recent weeks have been trailing behind city rivals Inter in the summer transfer market after they captured France midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia from Monaco.

The Nerazzurri remain linked to Atletico Madrid defender Joao Miranda and have recently welcomed Jeison Murillo from Granada having signed the Colombian international defender in January.

Milan are reportedly close to signing Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca as both Milan clubs look to rebuild after finishing in mid-table and missing out on Europe next season.

Rossoneri coach Filippo Inzaghi was fired just over a week ago and replaced by Sinisa Mihajlovic, who led Sampdoria to a seventh-place finish last season and a place in the Europa League.

Mihajlovic has a tough task ahead if he is to hoist Milan out of the doldrums.

But Bertolacci said he is willing to play in any position if it means pulling on the famous red and black shirt.

“I have spoken to Luca Antonelli, Alessio Cerci and the coach, and everyone wants to do well,” he added.

“This club has an important history and I am happy to be here with lots of class players. Last season I played as a midfielder but I will do what the coach wants.

“This year will be important for all of us, I will try to do my best and hopefully we will finish high up the table.”

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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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