AC Milan strengthen ties with UAE

Alam Khan 2/12/2014
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Plane sailing: Emirates president Tim Clark with Milan’s Barbara Berlusconi.

AC Milan will head out to Dubai this month having strengthened its links with the UAE by signing a new five-year shirt deal with Emirates Airline.

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The Italian giants, who face European champions Real Madrid on December 30 at The Sevens in the Dubai Football Challenge, yes­terday extended their agreement, reportedly worth around $85 mil­lion (Dh388m), until the 2019/20 season.

And Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, said it would also be interested in naming rights of a new stadium Milan are looking to build in the Rho area as they plan to move out of the city-run San Siro it currently shares with rivals Inter­nazionale.

“We’ve already done it with Arsenal and it’s been a great suc­cess,” said Clark. “If there will be an auction, Emirates will participate.”

Barbara Berlusconi, general manager and vice-president of AC Milan, added: “We love the San Siro, but football is evolving and chang­ing rapidly. We hope to announce something in this direction in the near future.

“It is something very important for Milan and the whole of Italy, which is why we want to move on with this project.

“When we’re ready, Emirates are the first people we will present the project to. It would be a dream to collaborate with them on this project.”

Despite the recent announce­ment that it had ended its associa­tion with FIFA and as a World Cup partner, Emirates has maintained its strong presence within Europe­an football following this move.

It also has high-profile sponsor­ship agreements with Madrid, Pre­mier League's Arsenal and French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

As part of the new partnership with Milan, there will be Emirates branding on playing and training kits and within the San Siro, spon­sorship of the youth team as well as a number of marketing rights.

The signing also co-incided with the airline’s new A380 service to Milan and Clark added: “It’s a dou­ble celebration for Emirates as we deepen our relationship with this great city, heralding two iconic moments, the renewal of our AC Milan sponsorship and introduc­tion of our dedicated A380 service to Milan.

“Milan are known everywhere. We know there are Milan fans in every corner of the globe, all going around in Milan shirts. This could be the beginning of something even bigger.”

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#360stats: EPL facts and figures

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Excellent record: Robin Van Persie will be hoping to add to his impressive record against Stoke City on Tuesday night.

Ahead of every round of Premier League games, Sport360 – with some help from our friends at Opta Stats – will provide the pick of the facts and figures. Here are this week's highlights:

Tuesday, December 2

Burnley v Newcastle United

  • The Magpies have lost four of their last five trips to Turf Moor in the league, including the last three in a row (W1).
  • Newcastle haven’t scored a PL goal earlier than the 37th minute so far this season and are the only side yet to score in the opening 30 minutes of a PL game in 2014-15.
  • Burnley have conceded a league-high nine headed goals this season.

Leicester City v Liverpool

  • Leicester have lost just one of the last six Prem home games against Liverpool (W2 D3 L1).
  • Liverpool have already lost four Premier League away games this term; the same number they lost on the road last season and just one fewer than they suffered in 2012/13, Brendan Rodgers’ first campaign at the helm (5).
  • Leicester have not failed to score in three consecutive home league games since March 2008, and have not done so in the top-flight since September 1983.

Manchester United v Stoke City

  • Stoke have lost their last 11 away games against Manchester United in all competitions.
  • Robin van Persie has netted one goal in each of his four Premier League games against the Potters in a Manchester United shirt.
  • Overall, Van Persie has scored 10 goals in nine Premier League appearances against Stoke.

Swansea City v Queens Park Rangers

  • There have been 13 goals scored in the last three Barclays Premier League matches between QPR and Swansea.
  • QPR have taken just one point from the last 33 in the Premier League away from home.
  • QPR have conceded the first goal of the game on a league-high 10 occasions this season.
  • Conversely, Swansea have conceded the first goal of the game on the fewest occasions in the PL this season (2).

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa

  • Palace won both Premier League meetings against Villa last season by a 1-0 score line.
  • Villa have not won away against Palace since September 1980, losing five and drawing six of their last 11 visits in all competitions
  • Mile Jedinak has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League apps, this after netting just once in his first 42 in the competition.

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

  • Five of the last seven Premier League meetings between the Hammers and the Baggies have ended as draws, with one win apiece in the other games in that run.
  • West Ham have gone 12 Premier League games away from home without a clean sheet.
  • Nine of Berahino's last 10 competitive goals for West Brom have come at the Hawthorns.

Wednesday 3rd December

Arsenal v Southampton

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games vs Southampton (W5 D4).
  • Olivier Giroud has scored three goals in his last two Premier League games against the Saints.
  • Arsene Wenger has come up against Ronald Koeman on seven occasions, winning just one match, drawing four and losing two.
  • Arsenal have been trailing at some point in five of their six Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium this season.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur

  • Tottenham have not won away at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).
  • Jose Mourinho’s side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches.
  • Chelsea have lost only one of their last 17 Premier League London derbies (W12 D4) – this coming in a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in March.
  • Chelsea have won all three Premier League games that they have conceded the first goal in this season.
  • Chelsea and Spurs have both won the most points from losing positions this season (9).

Everton v Hull City

  • Everton have won four of the six Premier League meetings with Hull (W4 D1 L1), including all three at Goodison Park.
  • No Hull City player has ever scored a second half goal in the Premier League against Everton, with their only goal (of the seven overall) they have registered coming after half-time from a Phil Neville own goal.
  • Everton have won just three of their last 9 Premier League games at Goodison (W3 D2 L4).
  • Hull have failed to score in four of their last five Premier League games and only netted once in the other game during this run.

Sunderland v Manchester City

  • Sunderland have lost just one of the last six Barclays Premier League games against Manchester City (W3 D2 L1).
  • The Citizens have failed to win of their last five Premier League visits to the Stadium of light losing the last four in a row.
  • The last four meetings between City and Sunderland at the Stadium of Light have ended in 1-0 wins for the home side. Only one exact fixture in Premier League history has ever finished with the same scoreline in five consecutive matches (Spurs 2-1 Man City, 2004/05 – 2008/09).
  • James Milner has scored more goals against Sunderland (5) than any other Premier League opponent.

All statistics and facts are brought to you by Opta Sports.

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Ronaldo, Messi, Neuer up for Ballon d'Or

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Thee top guns: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer are the contenders for FIFA World Player of the Year.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have between them been named the world's best footballer for each of the past six years, face opposition from Germany's World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the shortlist for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

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Ronaldo, who is the present holder of the title having also won it in 2008, scored a record 17 goals in a Champions League campaign as Real Madrid went on to win their 10th European Cup last term.

Messi, the only player to have won the award four times, failed to win a title this year either with Barcelona or Argentina, although he was integral in his country reaching the World Cup final, where they lost 1-0 in extra-time to Germany.

The 27-year-old did pick up the consolation of player of the tournament.

Neuer, who was outstanding in goal for Germany and for Bayern Munich as they won the domestic double, would be only the second goalkeeper to win the award, which is announced on January 12 in Zurich, after the then Soviet Union's Lev Yashin.

Coach of the year is to be fought out between Neuer's national coach Joachim Loew, Ronaldo's boss Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone, who guided the far less moneyed Atletico Madrid to the Spanish title and the final of the Champions League.

The trio selected for the Puskas Award for best goal are Colombia's James Rodriguez, for his goal against Uruguay in the 2-0 victory in their World Cup last 16 clash, Robin van Persie's leaping header against Spain in their World Cup group game and outsider, Irish female player Stephanie Roche for her goal for Peamount United against Wexford Youths in October 20, 2013.

Roche doesn't make the women's Player of the Year shortlist, which consists of Brazil's five-time winner Marta, Germany's European Player of the 2013-14 season Nadine Kessler and USA's all-time record goalscorer Abby Warmbach, winner in 2012.

Japan's Asian coach of the year Norio Sasaki, who has been in charge of her national side since 2007, Ralf Kellermann, who guided VfL Wolfsburg to the women's Champions League title and his compatriot Maren Meinert, who coached the German Under-20 team to their age category global title, are in line for the women's coach of the year crown.

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