DUBAI // The money-saving mentality of AC Milan's paymasters could force the Italian league leaders to replace half their squad at the end of the season, captain Massimo Ambrosini has warned.
Ambrosini, 34, is one of several Rossoneri players who find themselves employed on one-year rolling contracts, and while some managers believe such contracts are a clever means of motivation - forcing players to play for their futures - the Italian said yesterday that Milan must be careful.
"I have a one-year contract and I don't know what will happen," said Ambrosini, who joined Milan in 1994. "It is club policy; they decided if you are more than 32 years old, you are going to be offered a one-year contract each season. That's the choice."
Of the 29 players who have travelled to the UAE, nine are over 32, while Mario Yepes, the Colombian who stayed home but featured several times this season, is 35.
"This year we have 10 or 11 players without a contract for next year, so if everyone decided not to sign a new one, Milan would be forced to buy many new players in the summer," Ambrosini said. "It is dangerous."
Milan have the oldest squad in the Champions League this season with an average age of 29.2 years, yet in previous seasons fielding veterans has appeared to work for the Rossoneri.
In 2007, the then-manager Carlo Ancelotti fielded the oldest starting 11 ever to contest a Champions League final - including Paolo Maldini who was 38 years and 331 days. Milan beat Liverpool 2-1.
"It is the Milan mentality," Ambrosini said. "They prefer to have old players with experience rather than a young player with no experience, but maybe they should change a little bit because they need to look to the future."
– GARY MEENAGHAN
JUVENTUS OPEN SIX-DAY CAMP IN DUBAI
Juventus, the Italian giants, have arrived in Dubai for a training camp during Serie A’s winter break.
The Turin club will take on Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in Riyadh on Thursday as part of the six-day training camp as they prepare for the resumption of the Italian season.
Juventus, second in the table on goal difference behind AC Milan, take on Lecce away on Sunday.