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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
AC Milan pen pics
By John May

AC Milan are aiming to win their seventh European Cup when they take on Liverpool in Athens on Wednesday.

The Olympic Stadium will be the scene for a reunion between the sides that featured in the extraordinary 2005 final, when Liverpool battled back from 3-0 down before beating Milan on penalties.

BBC Sport checks on the AC Milan squad charged with facing Rafael Benitez's side.

THE MANAGER

Carlo Ancelotti
CARLO ANCELOTTI Astute, clever tactician who always seems to have the right player in the correct position. The way he employs Gattuso, Ambrosini and Pirlo allows Kaka to be such a threat.

THE GOALKEEPERS

Dida
DIDA His reputation took a knock two years ago when he seemed nervous in the face of the 2005 showdown and he has been criticised by the Milan fans this season. An excellent shot-stopper and an imposing figure when he chooses to command his box.

Zeljko Kalac
ZELJKO KALAC The big Aussie is nicknamed Spider. A well-travelled, experienced keeper who has found opportunities limited because of Dida's consistency, but a more than able back-up.

THE DEFENDERS

Cafu
CAFU Once dubbed "A man with two hearts" by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for his seemingly boundless energy. At 36, he is still a world-class defender and, while he might have lost a yard or two in pace, he can still rampage up and down the flank.

Paolo Maldini
PAOLO MALDINI Imperious, regal, peerless. His pace and his very future were questioned in the aftermath of the 2005 final defeat. His ability to read the game and his speed of thought mean he is rarely exposed for pace.

Kakha Kaladze
KAKHA KALADZE Will come into the side if Maldini is not fit and the 29-year-old Georgian is a more than able deputy. Signed by AC Milan from Dynamo Kiev to play at left-back, his natural position is in the centre of defence.

Alessandro Nesta
ALESSANDRO NESTA Some say Nesta is not the player he was when he was ranked the best central defender in the world. Like Maldini, the edge might have gone off his pace but he is another player who has turned defending into an art form.

Marek Jankulovski
MAREK JANKULOVSKI Perhaps the best testament to Jankulowski is that Milan admire him so much as a left-back that they moved Maldini inside. The 27-year-old is a swashbuckling defender who loves to raid down the flank.

Massimo Oddo
MASSIMO ODDO Only arrived at the San Siro in January from Lazio but is good enough to keep Cafu on the sidelines. A rock-solid defender but also gets forward as Milan's narrow midfield necessitates the full-backs supplying the width.

Dario Simic
DARIO SIMIC Typically uncompromising Croatian defender. Yet another central defender over the age of 30 but strong in the challenge and good in the air.

Daniele Bonera

DANIELE BONERA Highly rated by Milan but relatively unknown as he tends to be squeezed out for Champions League games. Only Jankulowski has played more Serie A minutes in the Milan defence this season than the pacy 25-year-old.

THE MIDFIELDERS

Gennaro Gattuso
GENNARO GATTUSO Everyone raves about Kaka and purrs over Andrea Pirlo but this is the man you would want in your team. A snarling, snapping bulldog who does the dirty jobs, which allows the others to play. His duel with Steven Gerrard will be a key battle.

Clarence Seedorf
CLARENCE SEEDORF The Dutchman seems to be blossoming with age. Supremely fit and superb with the ball at his feet. His ability to hold the ball under pressure and then time a pass to a runner off him makes him dangerous. Still has a shot on him.

Yoann Gourcuff
YOANN GOURCUFF Is he Zinedine Zidane's heir-in-waiting or the next Youri Djorkaeff? Whatever, Milan saw enough in the 20-year-old Frenchman to offer him a contract up to 2001. Skilful, elegant, pacy and with an eye for goal.

Andrea Pirlo
ANDREA PIRLO Superb passer of the ball, sits just in front of the back four as a playmaker. As a result, he's difficult to pick up and has an uncanny knack of spotting Kaka's runs. Dead-ball specialist.

Kaka
KAKA The elegant genius dismissed Cristiano Ronaldo's pretensions to the crown of best player in the world in the semi-final against Manchester United. Ancelotti has cleverly placed players around Kaka to allow him to hurt the opposition.

Massimo Ambrosini
MASSIMO AMBROSINI Milan's narrow midfield allows them to effectively have two defensive midfielders and, while Ambrosini may not be a bulldog like Gattuso, he is no puppy. Strong in the challenge and an intelligent user of the ball.

Christian Brocchi
CHRISTIAN BROCCHI Perhaps it's unfair to call him 'Gattuso Lite' but Brocchi is very similar to him. Small of stature but big of heart, Brocchi is a bustling player who has seen plenty of action this season in Serie A. Normally operates on the right.

THE STRIKERS

Filippo Inzaghi
FILIPPO INZAGHI One of the great goalscorers in Italian football. At 33, he is a canny and wily penalty-box predator. He will always play on the last defender and his kick of speed over three yards can get him goal-side and into a scoring position.

Alberto Gilardino
ALBERTO GILARDINO A big, strong front man who cost Milan 18m from Parma in July 2005. Initially failed to live up to the price tag but provides a focal point for Milan's attacks and plays a key role in holding the ball until the midfield cavalry arrives.

Ricardo Oliveira

RICARDO OLIVEIRA Milan paid a hefty price to prise the Brazilian from Real Betis, paying 15m plus Johan Vogel. Skilful, instinctive and quick, Oliveira is another player who gets his fair share of Serie A action but steps aside in the Champions League.



SEE ALSO
AC Milan v Liverpool
21 May 07 |  Europe
Liverpool pen pics
22 May 07 |  Liverpool
Benitez to revamp Liverpool squad
22 May 07 |  Liverpool
Boban expects no repeat of 2005
22 May 07 |  Europe
Liverpool's famous five
21 May 07 |  Liverpool
Road to Athens photos
22 May 07 |  Football
Alan Hansen's column
21 May 07 |  Premier League
Tim Vickery column
21 May 07 |  Football


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