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terça-feira, janeiro 27, 2004

RUI COSTA'S RETURN TO SCORING

MILAN – The return to the goal has given him back tranquillity. That attitude which Rui had tried to maintain, while waiting for that goal which seemed it wouldn't come. Then, in the 71st minute of Milan's 5-0 victory over Ancona the Portuguese playmaker ended his draught, beating goalkeeper Sergio Marcon with a pinpoint low shot.
He could finally celebrate it, first almost 'suffocated' by the hug of the team-mates, then with a bow in front of the San Siro fans in a frenzy for him. A great emotion, a well-deserved joy. The day after Rui answered the questions of the journalists at the usual club's press conference.
He started from his long-awaited goal and said: 'Don't pull my leg as it has snowed! I hope it won't pass so much time before my next, now I've gained more confidence. I was a bit afraid of scoring before, now it may go better with shooting in the box.
However, my objective doesn't change: I work hard to help the team to have good performances.' And he stressed: 'This goal doesn't change my career, I've always made my contribution for Milan, although I haven't scored. However, I'm really happy, the congratulations I received yesterday, the hug with my team-mates, the fervour of the fans. It was all fantastic, the best moment since I joined Milan, apart from the Champions League success.
All those praises even embarassed me.'And, as far as we know Rui, you can believe him because he is a honest man, never banal. Even when he explained the question of the penalty takers. He said: 'I think you don't have to create polemics which do not exist. It is true that [Carlo] Ancelotti was not very happy, but there is no problem. The coach has already made clear the situation, [Jon Dahl] Tomasson and [Andriy] Shevchenko didn't steal the ball from [Andrea] Pirlo.
The goal is essential for the strikers, Sheva really wanted to shoot and he scored. Then Andrea thought it was right to give a chance to the second forward, Jon. It was nice of him, an altruistic gesture. Don't make dramas out of it, no need, it has all been sorted out in a calm and civilized manner.' He doesn't want to hear about polemics or possible favours from the referee.
He said: 'We won 5-0, I think there is little to be complained about it. I think there can be controversial episodes during a game, it has happened also to the other teams and we didn't lament it, as it should be. It would be good if everyone behaves like this.' Then the Portuguese star thanked Billy Costacurta who stated that he would like to have the same Rui Costa of the last two seasons, although he had not scored. Rui replied: 'I'm happy that he is aware of my contribution, I have appreciated his words and the fact that the team-mates have been so close to me. They have helped me very much and this shows that we are a very compact group. When you need it, you can always count on someone who supports you.'A united group who has also improved a lot from last season. Manuel conceded: 'We have undoubtedly improved thanks to the contribution of the new recruits but especially thanks to the experience we have gained.
Now we have learnt to wait for the right moment to come out, we are more patient and are able to hold on. To be European champions gives confidence, to have an important season behind ourselves has helped us.'On Wednesday Siena will travel to the San Siro. Rui is aware it is a further obstacle on their way to the final success.
He said: 'They won't be content with a goalless draw. They are a very good team, we will have to suffer and pay attention. I watched them against Perugia, they never stopped until they took the lead. From now onwards, every game is more difficult and for every point conceded it is harder to close the gap.


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