What I am reading now

Monday, December 27, 2004

Litmanen and his fax

Italian sport press has declared that in January 2005, Livorno football club can enroll the Finnish soccer star Jari Litmanen, 33 years old.

Litmanen played with Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, Liverpool and now is playing with Helsinki. Gazzetta claims that Jari has sent to Livorno a fax with his money requests. The team reached the Serie A for the first time since the 60's, has limited budget but is eager to hire this soccer phenomenon. I am sure that Livorno fans will be delighted to see Jari in January. Hopefully he is not injured, as it could be. Mister Yahoo is also waiting for you, Jari....

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Campioni, il sogno (Champions, the dream)

I am watching a new reality show about Soccer. Ciccio Graziani (World Cup winner in 1982) is the coach.

It is a great game. I am amazed to notice that many Campioni players have their own fans club.

The most popular players are Giuffrida (92 enrollments, with also a second fans club (31) and a third fans club (5)), Alfieri (159) and Francesco Gullo (110), who pretended to have played with FC Basel in Switzerland and in Champions League in 2002 (a funny website explaining what was going on is Francesco Gullo at Basilea, Basel FC!!!), Apicerni (117 enrollments) and Maradona jr.

Other players are: D'Innocenzo, the goalie (76), Emanuele Morelli (58), Claudio Moschino, the most talented player at Campioni (34), Fabio Borriello (108) who has a brother playing in Serie A, Spagnoli (53), who is credited to be one of the three winners, Christian Arrieta (55), a newcomer who arrived to improve the quality of the defence team and is pretty popular (see also Christian's new website, Fabio Maffini (82), Matteo Domeniconi (21), Ciro Olivieri (80), who is now injuried and not available anymore until the end of the soccer season, Gualtieri, the "Cobra" (29), Zoran Ljubisic (5) and Marco Pepe (10). Two Brasilians are also in the team: Mario Bordignon, (3) who already played in the third division in Portugal and the ever-injured Jefferson (5).

I am just wondering why Matteo Bondi has no fans club. Do you have the answer?

Friday, September 17, 2004


I finally got my Gmail address. I was waiting since April 2004. However, I am still wondering which address I should have.

My family name is already taken, my name is too short, life is hard.....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Serie A

Juve and A.S. Rome won today in the first round of the Italian soccer Championship (Serie A). Serie A is just started, that's not too bad and it was more or less clear.

What it was less clear is that now for the first time, RossoAlice is offering the Internet broadcast of 10 Italian matches per week for 4euro/month. It is amazing how low is the price for a great service.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

My second blogger

I have just created a second blog, a sort of Italian Tennis blog, mainly focused on the Italian talents Potito Starace and his friends and competitors.
If you have any question, check the FAQ.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Oliver, Rino, Potito and his backhand

During his career, Rino Tommasi, the most influencial Italian sport journalist, has proved many times to be right.

Yesterday he said in his site: “for sure, Starace has to improve his backhand, if he wants to reach a significant improvement (in the ATP ranking). Playing with competitors who are able to attack him in that side, he would have huge problems.” I am not sure that Olivier Rochus had had the chance of reading this quote before his game with Potito. However, he implicitly applied this technique all over the 5 sets with Mr. Starace yesterday at the Court 10 of the US open. I am just wondering what Mr. Tommasi is going to comment about that match.

To be honest, the Italian press suggested other reasons for the defeat with Olivier Rochus (6-1, 4-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3): Potito's low experience on the 5-set games (by the way, Olivier has got the same experience, as pointed out by the Belgian press), as well as his dwindling mental concentration has created a competitive advantage for the Belgian player. In 2000, Rochus, the shorter player in the ATP tour (165 cm) was able to beat, along with his brother Christophe, the Italian team in a historical match during the Davis Cup.
Looking at the game statistics, I have also noticed that Starace was really irregular during the game and he made 36 unforced errors (111% more than his competitor Rochus, and 123% more than he did in the first round with Popp).

Next week, the Organizers of the Genoa challenger ($25k, Clay) are planning to give to Potito a Wild Card for playing there. I wish however that Potito can spend more time in the US, playing fewer Tournaments, but with higher price money and prestige. The ability to reach the top 50 in the next 30 weeks and to stop playing Qualifications at the Grand Slam tournaments is crucially more dependent on his planning than on the progress on his backhand play.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Potito at the Grand Slam in 2004

While Potito is struggling in the 5th set with Rochus, I am publishing a visual analysis of what he did in the Grand Slam Tournament in 2004:

New Potito website

By Googling, I have just noticed that the number of fans of Mr. Potito Starace, the new Italian tennis sensation, has increased in the last few months. After the official website, a new site has been built up from somebody in the San Marino Republic.

So, the real question is: how many?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Potito won the first round at the US Open

I was in Turin in the last few days, so that I haven't had the opportunity to update my blog.
Potito Starace

However, I had the opportunity to see Mr. Starace playing with Alexander Popp in the first round at the US Open (thanks to Eurosport). He did well: after 30 minutes of troubles where he lost 1-6 the first set, Potito won 6-3 6-4 6-3. If he plays in a similar way, he could win with Oliver Rochus. The belgian player reached in the second round, after the match with the young Croatian Mario Ancic, who was in the semifinal at Wimbledon.

Volandri, Italian n°1, and Seppi (with Shuettler Silver Medalist at the Olympics Games in Athens, see the blog of the match) also reached the second round.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The last Medals

Stefano Baldini Stefano Baldini got the Gold Medal at the Marathon but it is very sad that an unidentified man ran onto the race course about 5km short of the finish line and pushed the previous leader, Vanderlei de Lima, into the roadside crowd. "If that spectator didn't jump in front of me in the middle of the race, who knows what would have happened? Maybe I would have won. It disturbed me a lot," De Lima told reporters. To be honest, before the aggression, he was ahead 28 seconds at the 35th km, and he was losing 7 seconds per Km....

It is very sad that the Olympics Games are already over. I wish that in Beijin 2008 the OG will last for 2 or 3 months.

Sport comparison

I made a quick comparison of three of the most popular sports in the world, Basketball (blue), Soccer (green) and Baseball (yellow).

As a tool, I used BlogPulse which compares 3 keywords across all blogs. The result is stunning: Soccer got more hits than Basketball and Baseball. Strange, isn't it?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Wonderful Advertising

I just inserted a quick and dirty adv which is scanning my postings and determining its topic. Google AdSense™ delivers ads targeted to my smirky's content pages. Funny enough: as a title I put "Wonderful Italy". The adv was: "Green card lottery" and Immigration to the US".

Thank you Google ad....

Friday, August 27, 2004

Wonderful Italy!

Athens: basket, Italy in the final

The last time we reached the final at the Olympics Games in Basket was in 1980 at Moscow. Bulleri (in the picture, from Yahoo.com) helped our team to win a fantastic game with Lithuania (100-91). I would have loved to play with the US in the final, but they were unlucky today (sorry about that).

Potito won the third round at the US Open

Potito Starace has got acceptance to the main Tournament. He won today 64 63 with Florent Serra. The statistics of the third round are here. Potito will play on Monday with Alexander Popp, 82nd at the ATP ranking. Also Andreas Seppi won with Uros Vico and he will start on Monday the first round with Rainer Schuettler, number 12 of the ATP and 11 of the seeding at the US Open. There are other 2 Italians at the main tournament, Volandri (with KJ Hippensteel from the US) and Sanguinetti (with Tommy Hass)

Modern Pentathlon


On TV I am watching the Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics Games. It is pretty interesting, but it is very difficult to follow. For instance, at the fencing, every players has to play against each other (Corsini, the Italian Modern Penthathlon athlete who arrived 4th at Athens 2004 is in the right-hand side).

How can this sport be more spectacular?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Potito won the second (qualifying) round at the US Open

Potito Starace won the second round with Fred Hemmes Jr, 6-3, 6-4 from Netherland (see picture below).

Potito will play the third round at the US Tennis Open with Florent Serra, from France. Potito was able to reach the third round at the Roland Garros French tournment, starting from the Qualifying Rounds. Seppi and Uros Vico also qualified for the third round, while Luzzi lost with the Czech Vacek.

More details of the Qualification Rounds at the US Open URL.

Inter signs three young players

News from Inter.it (Thursday 26th 2004)

Inter's youth sector has completed the signings of three promising young players. Siqueira Guillerme Magdalena, a Brazilian left winger with an Italian passport born in 1986, joins the Nerazzurri from Ipatinga F.C. and will be part of the Primavera squad coached by Daniele Bernazzani. Italian central defender Vincenzo Sgambato, born in 1988, is an U17 international and joins Inter's Allievi Nazionali team from Napoli. Former Ancona central defender Andrea Ballini, born in 1987, will play for the Juniores side.

Italian U19 international defender Marco Andreolli, who played for Inter Primavera last season then moved on loan to Padova, has now been bought by the Veneto club in a joint ownership deal.

Inter and the Champions League

Inter Milan will play in the next Champions League within the Group G. The competitors will be:
* Valencia, which has many Italian players (Stefano Fiore, Bernardo Corradi, Marco Di Vaio, Carboni, Emiliano Moretti) and Ranieri, the old trainer of Chelsea FC.
* Anderlecht
* Werder Brema

La Vuelta - the Spanish Tour

In a few days, starting from September the 4th, we can see "La Vuelta", the Spanish tour. Damiano Cunego, the Italian 2004 Giro winner, will be there. I am not sure he is going to compete for the title (I hope so, since he is the guy who can beat Amstrong sooner or later).

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Potito Starace at the US Open

Potito Starace won the first qualifying round at the US Open. He will play the second round with Fred Hemmes Jr. of Netherland. Potito's friend, Federico Luzzi and Andreas Seppi, also got the second round (Uros Vico got the second round too). I hope those guys can make it!

By the way, it is possible to see the update scores. Pretty cool, isn't it?

The king of the mile

From "Reuters, Agence France-Presse" (Wed, August 25th 2004)

Hicham El Guerrouj claimed the gold medal yesterday that had eluded him in two previous Olympic Games, confirming his status as unquestionably the greatest 1,500 metres runner in history. The 30-year-old Moroccan moved to the front at 800 metres in a bold bid to dictate the race. He was still ahead at the bell, as the field began to accelerate, and held off Kenyan Bernard Lagat in the straight to win in 3 minutes 34.18 seconds. Despite four world titles and world records over both the 1,500 and its imperial equivalent, the mile, a question mark had hung over his ability to perform on the biggest stage of all. El Guerrouj fell just before the bell at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was beaten in a frenzied sprint finish by Noah Ngeny of Kenya in Sydney four years later.

But all doubts were assuaged yesterday as El Guerrouj crossed the line first. He then embarked on an ecstatic victory lap draped in the Moroccan flag, stopping at one point to dance an impromptu jig as the theme tune from Zorba the Greek thundered through the Olympic Stadium. "I am really happy," El Guerrouj told reporters. "I feel like a baby, a three-month-old baby."

Last Sunday after the semi-finals, he told reporters he was thoroughly confident that Athens would be different from Atlanta and Sydney. "It will be third time lucky for me," he said. "Just wait and see, I'll make you believe me." The world record holder for the metric mile was as good as his word. Nothing was going to stop the man from Berkane. "Hicham had done everything before this competition, world records, world titles, everything except an Olympic gold medal," long-time coach Abdelkader Kada said.

But Kada admitted last night that he was both stunned and delighted that his pupil had finally passed the greatest exam in athletics. "Now, I think he can claim to be the best miler in history. It's what we've been working toward for the past 17 years."

The summer did not get off to a promising start for El Guerrouj, and many feared he was in danger of entering the athletics history books as the greatest middle-distance runner never to win Olympic gold. He pulled out of one race at the start of his planned 2004 racing program and then suffered a surprise defeat in the 1,500 metres at the Rome Golden League meet. El Guerrouj attributed the defeat to bad weather conditions that curtailed preparations at his Atlas Mountains training base. Sources closer to home also said he had suffered sleepless nights after the arrival of his daughter Hiba. Whatever the reason, all was forgotten when he crossed the line yesterday. "He's a great champion," said Lagat, who beat him just more than two weeks ago in Zurich.

Tears flooded down El Guerrouj's face moments after he crossed the line, but they were tears of joy and relief, compared with the ones of frustration that welled up after his two previous Olympics finals. "Only victory can dry the tears of Atlanta and Sydney," he said recently. "Everything I am doing this year is geared toward winning in Athens because I will move up distance soon. There will be younger distance runners coming into this event soon."

Inter brush Basel aside

Two goals from Adriano lifted Inter Milan past Swiss side Basel and into the lucrative group stages of the Champions League here Tuesday. Inter, semi-finalists in Europe's top club competition two years ago, prevailed 4-1 in this third round second leg qualifier to go through 5-2 on aggregate.

Adriano, whose 44-year-old father died after a sudden and undisclosed illness at the start of the month, put the Italians ahead in the opening minute, the 22-year-old Brazil international doubling up at the start of the second half.

Yugoslav midfielder Dejan Stankovic scored Inter's second with Uruguyan striker Alvaro Recoba completing their haul a minute before the hour mark. Basel's consolation goal came in the 49th minute from Mile Sterjovski.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

No sweat

From the electronic version of the Economist (Aug. 19th)

ADIDAS may be upset that the star Australian Olympic swimmer whom it sponsors, Ian “the Thorpedo” Thorpe, has cast doubt on the firm's claims that its new swimsuits “help you swim faster”. Mr Thorpe reckons that most of the recent advances in swimsuits have been “visual”. But several other top sporting-goods brands have a different reason to fret. The shirts and shoes they make for athletes are the target of perhaps the biggest-ever crusade against sweatshops. The Play Fair at the Olympics Campaign was launched jointly in March by Oxfam, Global Unions, an international confederation of trade unions, and the Clean Clothes Campaign. It juxtaposes the ideals of the Olympics with the realities of the sportswear industry. And big brands such as Puma and Umbro are starting to sweat.

A report by the campaigners describes labour problems allegedly arising from the industry's long and winding supply chains. Big companies outsource manufacturing through contractors, then subcontractors, and fierce retail competition translates into a squeeze on factories in Bulgaria, China, Indonesia or wherever. Deadlines are tighter, and sportswear retail prices have slid by 5-10% in the past five years. Yet the big-brand companies still claim to have proper codes of conduct for labour practices. Seven-day weeks and 18-hour days? Oh, those are the suppliers' fault.

In the general sweat of the clothing industry, why target sportswear? Because it has a few globally known companies with big market shares. The biggest, Nike, Adidas and Reebok, which together have nearly 15% of the $58 billion market, have already been “named and shamed”. After the anti-sweatshop campaigns of the late 1990s, all three joined the Fair Labour Association, which sends inspectors, unannounced, to check on working conditions in factories. But, in an interesting illustration of how modern campaigns by activists against companies can gather momentum, the top-tier companies now complain that lesser ones get away with poor labour practices, and so impede progress in the whole sector. The Olympic campaigners are therefore targeting second-tier brands such as Puma, Mizuno, Umbro and Asics. Several of these have begun talks with the campaign and with the International Labour Organisation, an arm of the United Nations.

The campaigners sent the International Olympic Committee a petition that it said had over 500,000 signatories, calling on the IOC to ensure that products displaying its five-ring logo are made by companies that observe “fair labour standards”. The IOC has ducked, but the European Parliament has passed a resolution supporting this aim, and a bill before the United States Congress seeks to compel that country's Olympics committee to do so. How much consumers care, if at all, remains unclear.

Go Andrew, go!

Andrew, you can make it to the Semifinals tonight!
All Italy is with you tonight.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The soccer star Rooney and Coke

Drinks giant Coca-Cola vowed today to stand by shamed England footballer Wayne Rooney after he admitted visiting prostitutes.
The company, which has a sponsorship deal with the Everton star, backed the 18-year-old striker following revelations in a Sunday newspaper that he had been to a brothel in his home city Liverpool.

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Great Britain said Rooney’s indiscretions were at odds with the company’s image but insisted “everyone deserves a second chance”. She said: “We’re with him for his footballing ability and still believe that he is a great talent on the football pitch. “While the recent revelations about his private life are inconsistent with Coca-Cola values, we know he regretted his mistakes and we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. We now hope that he will fully demonstrate that he will put this behind him, commit himself to taking full responsibility for his actions on and off the field, and concentrate on fulfilling his fantastic potential on the pitch.”

Rooney’s contract with Coca-Cola, which he signed last year, runs until the end of the 2006 World Cup. Rooney also has an agreement with car makers Ford, which supplies him and his family with discounted vehicles. A spokeswoman for Ford UK said it did not have any formal sponsorship deal with the star. She added: “If Wayne and his family wish to continue driving our vehicles then they are more than welcome.” Sportswear firm Nike was also reported to be continuing its sponsorship deal with the star. The company was unavailable for comment today.

Rooney admitted he had been “young and stupid” following the newspaper reports. In a statement, he said: “I now regret it deeply and hope people may understand that it was the sort of mistake you make when you are young and stupid.” The revelations came as a further blow to his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin. Last month the couple were reported to have split up following claims that Rooney had slept with an escort girl. Coleen, also 18 and an aspiring actress, and Rooney are childhood sweethearts who met on the streets of Croxteth, in Liverpool, where they grew up.

Benelli shooted like a machine....

Andrea Benelli of Italy won the gold medal in skeet shooting Sunday, beating Marko Kemppainen of Finland in an event that required two shoot-offs to determine the medals.

Benelli went a perfect 25-for-25 in the final round to tie Kemppainen with a score of 149. Juan Miguel Rodriguez of Cuba won a three-way shoot-off with Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar and Shawn Dulohery of the United States for the bronze medal. The three had finished with 147 points.

Kemppainen scored a perfect 125 in qualifying, equaling a world record, but his lone miss in the final gave Benelli an opportunity.
After winning the shoot-off, Benelli ran joyfully around in front of the spectators with his arms raised. "It is a dream," Benelli said. "I was preparing for four years. I enjoyed the final. I can't describe my feelings. I was lucky in the shoot-off."

The end of the Italian dream in Women Beach volley

A small sea of green and gold-clad supporters cheered Australia's Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson through to the semi-finals of the women's beach volleyball today. The Australian pair survived three sets to edge out Italy's Lucilla Perotta and Daniela Gattelli 2-1 (21-16, 14-21, 15-12) and qualify for Monday's semis. They were well supported by a colourful and vocal crowd at the Faliro Olympic beachball stadium.

Cook, a Sydney gold medallist with partner Kerri Pottharst, and Sanderson will meet Brazil's Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede in Monday's semi-final. Cook and Sanderson led easily in the first set, and despite some great digs by the Italians, held an eight-point lead at 17-9. The Italian pair came back to 15-19, but the Australians reached set point at 20-15 with a spike from Sanderson and then closed out at 21-16 when a scoring attempt from Gattelli went wide.

The 14th seeded Italians came back in the second set to take an early lead. With Cook and Sanderson still in the game at 12-10, Perotta and Gattelli scored five straight points to break away to 17-10. Gattelli sided out with a kill at 19-13 for match point. Sanderson attacked for one more sideout but then faulted her service to the net and the match went into a tie-breaker.

Australia led all through the third set, but Italy kept within range. At 12-11 Perotta missed an attack and the score moved to 13-11. Sanderson foiled a Perotta shot to take the Australians to 14-11. Gattelli then made a kill to pull closer at 14-12 and the Australians called a timeout. When the teams came back on court, Perotta faulted her last service for the final scoreline of 15-12.

Cook was gracious in victory. "They are a fighting team," she said of the Italian pair. "When you have your back to the wall at the Olympics in the final four, you are going to fight. When you've got something to lose, like we had in the second set, we should have come out and got on top of them. I must credit them. They are a great team."

Sanderson admitted she was struggling towards the end of the match, but was able to stay focused thanks to Cook.
"Natalie kept me in the game," she said. "I was pretty nervous but my partner supported me the whole way. She is amazing. She kept smiling, telling me what to do. It was an incredible play and Natalie got me in the end. I am still a bit shocked."

Noguchi triumphs, Radcliffe disintegrates

Hardened by gruelling hill work in the Swiss mountains and undeterred by the punishing Athens heat, Mizuki Noguchi seized a second straight gold medal for Japan in the women's Olympic marathon on Sunday.

Noguchi, 26, matched Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain, the world record-holder and heavy favorite here, stride for stride for the first half of the race before pulling away over the steep incline leading to the 32-kilometre mark. With around five kilomtres to go in the race, Radcliffe doubled over in pain and dropped out in a bitter personal disappointment. Heading into the streets of downtown Athens, the tiny Noguchi - 1.52 metres tall - used her bouncing stride to hold off Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, who closed the gap over the final 5 kilometers but could not make up the difference. Noguchi won in 2 hours 26 minutes 20 seconds. Ndereba finished 12 seconds behind. In a stunning surprise, Deena Kastor surged to take bronze in 2:27:20. It is the first Olympic marathon medal for the US since Joan Benoit Samuelson won in Los Angeles in 1984.

Noguchi, who took second at the world championships last year in Paris, appeared in control throughout a race that was considered Radcliffe's to lose. And lose Radcliffe did, in startling fashion for a front-running woman who clocked 2:15:25 in London last year to set the world record and had won all three marathons she ran before Sunday. Her marathon debut in London in 2002, a 2:18:56, had been the fastest first race at the distance by more than four minutes. Radcliffe, 30, entered Sunday's contest as Britain's best hope for a track and field gold.

But the conditions took their toll on Radcliffe, who had trained in the Pyrenees of Spain and the heat of Seville. As she stopped, Radcliffe put her hands to her head, began sobbing, and dropped to the curb, in disbelief.Noguchi, meanwhile, ran consistently to pull away from her closest pursuers, Ndereba and Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia.

Alemu finished second in Boston this year in a memorable shoulder-to-shoulder duel with Ndereba. Noguchi came into the marathon as part of a Japanese trio who had trained around the globe. Noguchi prepared in St. Moritz, Switzerland; Reiko Tosa in China; and Naoko Sakamoto in Colorado. What they lacked in heat training, the Japanese made up in altitude.

The Japanese, who have won marathon medals in four straight Games, revere the race. The competition takes on an almost patriotic discipline. None of the three, following Radcliffe's model, had granted foreign interviews before the race. Noguchi, however, was considered the main threat to Radcliffe's command of the marathon scene, which she joined after struggling to match the speed of African runners at 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.

Speed wasn't the issue on Sunday. The heat was, and Radcliffe simply appeared to wilt in the 32 degree plus temperatures.
The course traced the approximate route that Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger, ran in 490 BC, carrying news of the great Greek victory over the Persians on the plains of Marathon.
Once in Athens, Pheidippides fell dead after delivering his message of ``Nike,'' or victory.

Radcliffe, who carried the heady expectations of a nation that never had won a long-distance Olympic event, led a pack of 15 runners through 5 kilometres in 17:09. At 10 kilometres, Radcliffe still set the pace, head bobbing in her unique style, at 34:14. But by 15 kilometers, at 52:10, Noguchi had pushed a few metres ahead of Radcliffe, tossing aside her cap and bearing down to test Radcliffe's will and reserves. The pack had dwindled to seven by the halfway mark, where Tosa led in 1:14:02. Noguchi was fourth and Sakamoto fifth, both a fraction of a second behind. At 25 kilometres, Noguchi had opened up a 23-second lead on Alemu, with Radcliffe and Ndereba close behind. The gantlet had been thrown, and none but Noguchi could maintain the pace. After a total of 25 kilometres, in which Noguchi had not run a five kilometre segment faster than 17:09, she strung together intervals of 16:57, 17:02, and 16:56 to put the race away and the gold around her neck.

After her victory, the soft-spoken Noguchi walked quietly past Japanese reporters and fans in the stadium. Noguchi prepared for the hilly course by training hard in the Swiss mountains. ``I was well-prepared for the race,'' Noguchi said. ``I knew there would be difficult conditions, like the heat, the sun, and a great deal of fatigue.'' Kastor, 31, who was runner-up in the US marathon trials, also closed quickly. Kastor passed the half-marathon in 1:15:40, in 12th place and 98 seconds behind Noguchi, before covering the final 13.1 miles in a stunning 1:11:40. The American record-holder (2:21:16) said she didn't know whether she held third or fourth place when she entered Panathinaiko Stadium, the finish line and site of the first modern Games in 1896. ``It's incredible. The whole last lap I was in tears,'' Kastor said.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Out of Blogger

I will be in the mountains for 7 days.

Microsoft and MSN Web Messenger

Microsoft Corp. is testing a new version of its MSN Messenger that can be used over the Web without having to install software, the world's largest software maker said on Friday. The new service is the latest attempt by Microsoft to extend its reach in the market for messengers, used to send instant text messages between users logged on to different computers and devices.

MSN Web Messenger, offered by Microsoft's MSN Internet division, is being tested while being prepared for a wider launch by the end of the year, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. Both the test and final version are expected to be free. Web-based messengers, which typically have more limited features than the ones installed on personal computers, are aimed at users accessing via public computers or on corporate PCs that don't allow software installations.

MSN rivals America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already offer Web-based instant messaging, as do other Web-based messaging service providers. The messenger, available at http://webmessenger.msn.com, is being tested at MSN sites in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Japan.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Porto sack coach Del Neri

European champions Porto fired new coach Luigi Del Neri on Saturday following his repeated absences from the club, news reports said. Del Neri had his contract rescinded at an early morning meeting with club officials in Porto, according to private TSF radio and the website of the A Bola sports newspaper.

Del Neri, formerly the coach at Italy's Serie A club Chievo Verona, was hired in June to replace Jose Mourinho, who left to become manager at west London club Chelsea. Porto officials were irritated by Del Neri's absences, A Bola and TSF said. He took two days off this week and was not at Friday's training session alleging he had missed flight connections while returning to Portugal.

Players and officials also were unhappy with his handling of the team, A Bola and TSF said. They did not mention a replacement. A club spokesman was not immediately available to comment. Porto won the Champions League final in May with a 3-0 victory over Monaco and are defending Portuguese League champions.

Starace is in the Semifinal at the Trani Challenger (€50k)

Potito won with the Spanish Navarro Pastor 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 during the Quarterfinals at the Trani cup. He is going to play today the Semifinal today at 7pm with Filippo Volandri, the Italian number 1 player. In the other Semifinal, Francesco Aldi will play with the Czech Jan Vacek.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Potito Starace won the San Marino (€100K) Tennis Championship

I did not watch the game, but Potito will enter the ATP ranking inside the first 100. Good job!

Next week Potito will be at the Trani cup (€50K). He will be playing the first round on Tuesday with Haehnel, a good French player. It is a great opportunity for him, but I guess he can start other kind of tournaments....

Next week I will be in Heillbron where I plan to stay for a few days.
The town of Heilbronn is situated between the conurbations of Stuttgart and Heidelberg/Mannheim/Ludwigshafen in the beautiful scenery of the Neckar Valley.

No More National Service in Italy

ROME - Farewell to national service. The last young conscript to be called up for military service will leave home no later than December 31 2004. From January 1 next year, that's it. After the end of the year, no more young men will be summoned to the recruiting offices to get ready for the "naja", as military service is known. The last to go will be males born in 1985. Defence minister, free-marketeer Antonio Martino, has ever since his arrival at the ministry viewed military service as an "unjust tax" levied on young men. Mr. Martino has decided to abolish it two years earlier than scheduled and yesterday, his bill became law. There was applause from both sides of the chamber after the vote. One hundred and fifty three years after national service was introduced, the lower house approved the provisions that will abolish it. Opposition parties also voted in favour. The final tally was 433 ayes, 17 noes and seven abstentions (the Greens and Communist Refoundation).

According to the new dispositions,
young men who are able to defer military service for reasons of study until after January 1 will be safe and need no longer worry. The armed forces will follow the example of almost all other Western countries and will be made up exclusively of professionals, that is young people who enlist as volunteers and choose the military life as a career.

Abolition of national service will create an overall shortfall in the ranks of army, navy and air force amounting to about 25,000 personnel. It will have to be filled quickly by holding entrance examinations to enlist new recruits. To ensure a sufficient inflow of young recruits, the law lays down that anyone wishing to enlist in state law enforcement forces, the Carabinieri, the police, the customs authority, fire service or forestry commission, will have to serve for at least one year in one of the three armed forces. Remuneration for this year of military service comprises a salary of 850 euros a month for the first three months, and 980 euros in subsequent months. Anyone refusing to wear uniform for a minimum period of 12 months will not be admitted to the examinations for entry into the law enforcement forces.

Young people who stay in the armed forces for three or five years will be eligible for assistance in finding employment when they are discharged. New opportunities are available in the armed forces themselves. Previously, a total of 61,000 volunteers could opt to remain in the standing army; now, the number has been raised to 73,300. Their salary will be 1,260 euros a month.
Clause ten deals with the "Alpini", the mountain troops. The Alpini are granted a status of excellence in the context of the army. This means that those who choose to don the feathered Alpino hat will be entitled to a special incentive allowance that will boost their salary by about ten per cent. In addition, an Alpino headquarters will be maintained in all the regions where the mountain troops have traditionally been rooted. The provisions will encourage above all young people resident in northern Italy to enlist.

A parliamentary agenda presented by the
Daisy Alliance and approved against the government's advice lays down that the Alpini barracks in Cividale del Friuli, which were scheduled to close, will now be kept open. Mr. Martino calls the law "an epoch-making measure" that is in the "interests of many young people who have hitherto been hindered by military service from entering the world of work". It is not just to the advantage of young people, adds junior defence minister Salvatore Cicu, "the armed forces themselves will also benefit as they need professionals for their arduous missions abroad".

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Police capture 'The Wolf' after 10-day manhunt

Italian police captured the suspected killer of a policeman in a shoot-out today in which a young woman was briefly held hostage near Rome’s Circus Maximus.The suspect, Luciano Liboni, terrorised the city a week ago by firing at police and forcing at gunpoint a motorist with his children to drive him in their car so he could escape.

Major Giovanni Arcangeli told SKY TG24 TV that Liboni grabbed a young woman and started firing when he spotted police officers approaching him near a subway stop across from the Circus Maximus, an ancient, grassy field frequented by tourists. Liboni was wounded in the shoot-out and taken to San Giovanni Hospital, Carabinieri police Col. Vincenzo Conte said. The identity of the hostage wasn’t immediately released.Conte said neither passers-by or police were wounded in the shoot-out, which occurred just before noon.

Italian news reports said Liboni was shot in the head.The subway stop, outside the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Agency, is heavily used on weekdays during work hours, but the area was not crowded today. Liboni’s photograph has been stuck on police dashboards and shown on TV nearly every day since the July 22 shooting of a Carabinieri officer near the Adriatic during a check of his documents. On July 24, police stepped up the manhunt, guarding subway exits, manning roadblocks and patrolling Italian capital in helicopters after Liboni terrorised Rome with a shoot-out near the main train station when police closed in on him. Liboni’s ability to strike and flee earned him the nickname “The Wolf.

Moretti: "Los dos partidos no nos han ido bien, pero podemos mejorar"

Emiliano Moretti, defensa del Valencia, confesó que los dos primeros encuentros amistosos que jugó con su nuevo equipo en la gira por Inglaterra no fueron "muy buenos", aunque se mostró convencido de mejorar su nivel.El lateral italiano se ejercitó por primera vez en la ciudad deportiva de Paterna después de haber estado en Inglaterra con el resto del grupo, pero debido a su incorporación a la selección italiana para acudir a los Juegos Olímpicos no ha podido viajar a Japón.

"La verdad es que los dos partidos no han ido del todo bien, pero se puede mejorar", explicó el ex jugador del Parma, que destacó la comunicación que existe entre los jugadores y el entrenador valencianista, Claudio Ranieri."A Claudio le gusta mucho hablar con todos nosotros para corregir cosas de los partidos y en los entrenamientos", dijo Moretti, que confesó que el hecho de que haya en el equipo otros italianos le ha favorecido para "conocer al resto de jugadores, porque conocen el idioma".

El defensor valencianista confirmó que el próximo 1 de agosto se marchará de Valencia para acudir a la concentración del combinado italiano para preparar la cita olímpica, un acontecimiento que le privará de disputar la Supercopa de Europa y de España."Jugar unos Juegos Olímpicos es muy importante y es muy difícil elegir entre la selección y el Valencia, pero tengo claro que el día siguiente que acabe en Atenas volveré a Valencia para entrenarme", finalizó.

Inter signed Ze Maria, from Perugia

MILAN - F.C. Internazionale informed its supporters in the Official Website that Ferreira José Marcelo Zè Maria (31 years old) has joined the club from A.C. Perugia.

Accompanied by technical director Marco Branca and transfer market consultant Gabriele Oriali, the player signed a two-year contract in president Giacinto Facchetti's office. Ze Maria will be at Angelo Moratti Sports Centre this afternoon to train with the players that haven't been called up to Roberto Mancini's squad for tomorrow's friendly against Bolton Wanderers.

The future of Yukos

From an Article of "the Economist" (July 29th 2004)

OUTRIGHT expropriation is ugly. It scares investors. But it would have been less ugly and less scary than the deliberate dismemberment of one of Russia's best-run firms behind a paper-thin veil of legal due process. Two weeks ago many businessmen in Russia still hoped for a deal between Yukos and the government. They now glumly accept that the embattled oil firm's likeliest fate is to be broken up and at least partly sold off—ostensibly to cover tax bills, but really as a way to put some of Russia's choicest oil-producing assets in state hands for next to nothing. “I told you so,” say those who claimed that was the plan all along.
What convinced the rest was the announcement earlier this month that Yuganskneftegaz, Yukos's main production subsidiary, would be sold to cover a $3.4 billion claim for back taxes for the year 2000. Having given Yukos virtually no time to pay, the government not only ignored its attempts to negotiate a payment schedule and an offer by its on-trial ex-boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky (pictured) to sell his stake to cover the debt: it chose to bite off the biggest, most efficient chunk of Yukos. Yuganskneftegaz is worth $30 billion, reckons the firm, and even in a heavily discounted quick auction it should fetch $12 billion-14 billion, more than all possible back tax claims combined.

Some hardy optimists had still hoped for a fair auction, open to all. But officials have not even bothered to claim that there will be one. And this week's naming of Igor Sechin, one of President Vladimir Putin's closest advisers, as chairman of the state oil firm, Rosneft, sent an unmistakable signal. “[This] presents the government with the perfect opportunity to catapult Rosneft from a mid-ranking oil producer to one of the world's major producers,” wrote Chris Weafer at Alfa Bank in Moscow.

Then came the coup de grace. This week, courts ordered that all the assets of Yukos's three production subsidiaries be frozen. The firm said that this meant it would have to stop pumping oil, a statement that panicked the oil markets into driving up world oil prices to a new high of $43 a barrel. Russian officials denied that the ruling meant that production should stop. There were suggestions that Yukos was scaremongering in a bid to embarrass the government (surely impossible) into doing a deal. Whatever the truth, the incident wiped out the little remaining value Yukos had on the stock market—which may now provide a perfect excuse to sell it for peanuts to the only firm willing to buy.
In the teeth of this assault, good news has continued to trickle out about Russian business. Germany's Siemens announced a joint venture with Russia's Interros for control of Power Machines, the country's biggest industrial machinery firm. The government put its remaining small stake in Lukoil, another oil firm, up for sale; America's ConocoPhillips is expected to buy it. France's BNP Paribas is buying 50% of a unit of Russian Standard Group, which controls one of Russia's top private banks. Such firms still seem to view Yukos's problems as something that only Yukos will face. But the ferocity of its destruction has shocked even the most bullish of Moscow's foreign investment analysts. And among the business elites the question still echoes: “Who might be next?”

Potito Starace

I am following a new Italian talent in the ATP Tennis landscape: Potito Starace, who has just come into the game. Now he is playing at the CEPU San Marino tournament: he is doing well because he already joined the Semifinals. He is playing tonight with Oliver Rochus, n° 86 for the ATP ranking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hefty Beauty Wins Italy’s Miss Chubby Contest

Weighing in at 189 kg (416 lb), Giovanna Guidoni is not your average beauty contest winner. But then again, Italy’s annual Miss Cicciona competition is not your average beauty contest. To compete in Miss Cicciona, which translates as “Miss Chubby”, women have to weigh more than 100 kg. Men hoping to walk off with the title of Mr Ciccione have to be at least 150 kg. This year, 40 women and five men vied for the title.

“The idea isn’t to make fun,” said Gianfranco Lazzereschi, one of the organisers of the festival, held in the Tuscan town of Forcoli. “We wanted to show that the media image of perfection -- being stick-thin -- isn’t the only way to get recognised”. The 20-year-old Guidoni crushed the competition. “Last year I came in second, but this year I was the heaviest contestant,” she said. The secret of her success? Guidoni is part-owner of a restaurant, organisers pointed out. The winner of Mr Ciccione, Fabio Teseo, saw off the competition after tipping the scales at 206 kg.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


Napoleon Bonaparte was not murdered, but was killed by his overenthusiastic doctors, according to a study of records from the emperor's final weeks. Controversy over Napoleon's death in exile on the island of St Helena has been raging for more than half a century. Most historians accept the official version: that he died from stomach cancer.

This was the verdict of an autopsy by his personal physician, Francesco Antommarchi, which was observed by five English doctors. What is more, Napoleon's father had died of the same disease. The most colourful version of events is that the emperor was murdered by his confidant Count Charles de Montholon. The army officer was supposedly in the pay of French royalists worried that Napoleon would return to France. Montholon could have poisoned the emperor by putting arsenic in his wine - an idea that was bolstered by the discovery of arsenic in locks of Napoleon's hair collected after his death.

Now forensic pathologist Steven Karch at the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Department and his team have come up with the idea that it was medical misadventure that finished Napoleon off.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Diego Maradona (not his son) at odds with ex-wife, daughters

Diego Maradona is engaged in a battle with his ex-wife and daughters over where the ailing Argentine football legend should go next to treat his cocaine addiction. Maradona is due to leave a psychiatric clinic where he has been receiving treatment since May in the next few weeks – from there, he wants to return to the drugs rehabilitation centre in Cuba where he has lived since 2000, and after that Switzerland. He is supported by his doctor, Alfredo Cahe, and lawyers - Oscar Moyano and Roberto Damboriana.

But a close family friend who wished to remain unnamed said his former wife Claudia Villafane and his daughters Dalma and Giannina are trying hard to keep him in Argentina. They want Maradona to return to the country estate of a friend where he was been taken in between hospital visits in April. They plan to equip the house to deal with the stricken World Cup winner's medical needs and in this they are supported by a team of psychiatrists and government agencies. If no common ground is found, a local court has authority to rule on Maradona' next step.

The 43-year-old Maradona came close to death in April when he was admitted to hospital here with heart and lung problems.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Zola & Chelsea

Cagliari president Massimo Cellino has admitted he does not have the financial muscle to compete with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for Gianfranco Zola.
Zola had a fantastic season at Cagliari last term and led the Sardinian club to promotion to Serie A. Cellino offered Zola a package which would have made him the highest paid player at the club, but he rejected the proposal.

Zola has been linked with a return to Chelsea in an ambassadorial role and Cellino has stressed he cannot compete with Abramovich. "We made him a huge economical offer," said Cellino. "The highest of the whole team. "I thought it would be a surprise to the player, but he refused it. "I know that this is small change for Abramovich. But I'm Massimo Cellino and I'm not rich like the Russian tycoon."

Despite being disappointed at Zola's exit, Cellino claims he still holds the former Italian international in the highest esteem. "My affection and esteem for Gianfranco have not changed," he said. "We tried everything we could to keep him."

Thursday, July 22, 2004


I have been told that this book about Globalization is the top about the topic. I wish I can read it soon, but I am not sure about it. We will see.

The debate on globalization has reached a level of intensity that inhibits comprehension and obscures the issues. In this book a highly distinguished international economist scrupulously explains how globalization works as a concept and how it operates in reality. Martin Wolf confronts the charges against globalization, delivers a devastating critique of each, and offers a realistic scenario for economic internationalism in the future.

The Etruscan Apollo of Veio is restored to its original beauty

That's great news: the Apollo of Veio shines again after cleaning that has restored the Etruscan masterpiece’s original colours and shed light on techniques used 2,500 years ago. The restoration, unveiled on Thursday at a Rome museum, was the first in decades on the terracotta statue of the Greek god. The statue was discovered shortly after the beginning of excavations in Veio, once a flourishing centre of Etruscan civilisation just north of Rome, which was conquered by the Romans in 396 BC. Together with other statues, fragments of which have also been recovered, it decorated a temple in honour of Apollo.

Pieces of the sculpture were recovered in 1916 near Rome. Three years later the fragments - about 30, including one single big piece of the head, shoulders and torso - were pieced together to form a statue, although the arms and other parts are missing.  Since then, the Apollo has undergone minor cleanups, but never a thorough restoration.

Going into the work, the statue’s structure was stable, but its surface was opaque and covered in heavy layers of dirt, dust, wax and protective coatings applied over the years, officials said.
The restorers stripped the layers with a technique that included the use of distilled water, alcohol and other delicate removers. The statue is now brighter and more colourful. The god’s tunic is light brown and his robe is of a slightly different, more pinkish shade, edged in darker brown. Apollo’s smiling face is reddish, in stark contrast with the light colours of his tunic and the grey of his braids. The six-month, 150,000-euro (185,000 dollars) restoration was also used to learn about the materials and decorating or colouring techniques used to create works of art in the Etruscan period. All the colours, for example, were obtained mixing two minerals alone in varying quantities.

Is Klinsmann the "right" person for the vacant coaching job for Germany's national soccer team?

Speculation is growing that former star striker Jürgen Klinsmann will take over the vacant coaching job for Germany's national soccer team. He would lead the squad into the 2006 World Cup being held in Germany.  The president of the German football federation (DFB), Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, held talks with Klinsmann in New York on Tuesday "to discuss the future planning for staffing of the national team," a DFB spokesman said on Wednesday.  Although it was not yet certain Klinsmann would take over from Rudi Völler, who resigned last month after Germany's miserable Euro 2004 campaign, he expressed his desire to help the national team get back on its feet.
"The World Cup is the most important sporting event of the past 40 years in Germany. It's obvious that I'll help the DFB, independently of the post," Klinsmann said. The 39-year-old former VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan and Tottenham star, who won the World Cup in 1990, currently runs a sports marketing company in California. He holds a training license but does not have any professional coaching experience. 

But according to media reports, Klinsmann was now the frontrunner for the top coaching spot and another former star striker, Oliver Bierhoff, is set to fill the newly created position of team manager. Bierhoff, who is known to be a close friend of Klinsmann, has already expressed his interest working with him.  "If Jürgen will agree to be coach, then I can imagine the job will be a lot of fun -- that would be a good model," Bierhoff said according to the Associated Press.
Klinsmann has also been a vocal critic of the DFB's recent disorganization and bumbling in trying to find a replacement for Völler. After ex-Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld balked at taking the job, German soccer officials have flailed about embarrassingly in their search.  Euro 2004-winning Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said he'd serve out his contract with the Greeks and the DFB has been reluctant to sign a foreign coach like Dutchman Guus Hiddink and Dane Morten Olsen. Most observers believe a Klinsmann-Bierhoff tandem would be an elegant solution, which would represent a fresh start for the national squad. Both are know for their intelligence and international experience that could serve Germany well as it hosts the sport's biggest event in 2006.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


I spent the last few days in Torino, great city in the North of Italy.
Nothing special, but I had a good time!


Diego Maradona jnr. (again)

Dunfermline have pulled the plug on plans to sign Argentina legend Diego Maradona's 17-year-old son. Diego junior, who is currently with his father's old club Napoli, spent time on trial at East End Park earlier in the month. An offer was then made to the youngster, who is now back in Italy, but this has now been rejected.

Dunfermline director of football Jim Leishman said: "We made an offer that we thought was fair for a 17-year-old laddie who has not played for the first team but they thought it derisory so we are not going to pursue it now." Leishman also insisted no contact had been made by Aberdeen over striker Craig Brewster. Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood, who is looking for a frontman, has admitted he is still an admirer of the 38-year-old despite his age. But Leishman insisted: "They have not spoken to Dunfermline and they would have to because he is a valuable contracted player for us."

Meanwhile, Pars boss Davie Hay is set to run the rule over two Italian trialists on the forthcoming tour of Holland. One is a striker (Enzo Catania) and the other a left-sided midfielder

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Diego Maradona jnr. in Scotland for a soccer test

For a new 2006 update about Diego Maradona jr., see here.

Dunfermline manager Davie Hay is already impressed by Diego Maradona Junior despite having initial reservations about the player.


The son of the former Argentina superstar jetted into Scotland on Wednesday night to a barrage of media attention ahead of a two-day trial at East End Park.

The 17-year-old Napoli midfielder was put through his paces at the club on Thursday morning along with fellow Italian trialist Emanuela Catania, as the main stand was opened to supporters to witness the training session.

But the youngster ducked out of an afternoon press conference, leaving Dunfermline staff to explain their decision to bring him to Scotland - 12 months after he failed to show for an earlier trial.

Hay concedes he was sceptical about Maradona Junior but reckons there are already signs he has the ability to forge a decent career.

He said: "The lad hasn't been training and he's 10 days behind the rest of the squad fitness-wise but, despite earlier doubts, I've gone into this with an open mind and he's obviously got talent.

"Already you can see he has got a talent but before you would make a permanent decision there are other issues.

"The boy himself, whether he likes it or not, whether he can adapt to life in Scotland, and then there's the financial aspects.

"From my point of view, would the financial aspects maybe encroach into some other players when I'm looking to strengthen the first team? We have to sit down and make a decision."

Dunfermline only escaped becoming the fourth Bank of Scotland Premier League side to go into administration last season when their players and coaching staff agreed to have their wages slashed.

And there is no doubt that snapping up the son of arguably the world's greatest ever player could be of huge commercial benefit to the cash-strapped side.

The increase in gate money could be just one reason for hiring such a famous name to wear the black and white.

But chairman John Yorkston - who believes the midfielder's first-team chances would be greater at East End Park than in England - insisted the final decision would be Hay's and would be based on football alone.

He explained: "It's trying to get a balance for him. The boy wants to play football. If he was to go to Manchester United his chances of getting into the first team are less than here.

"We have a tight squad and we have to have three under-21 players on the bench next season, so the chances of him being in the squad are greater here than they would be at some of the bigger clubs.

"You're always going to get cynics. Any player that comes here, you're trying to get as much out of them as you can. But you won't get people coming through the turnstiles if he's not getting stripped.

"We brought him over here for Davie to see him and any decision will be a football decision and it will be made by Davie in the first instance.

"Davie's got to want him, if he doesn't want him then end of story."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Man dies after winning vodka-drinking competition

A vodka-drinking competition in a southern Russian town ended in tragedy with the winner dead and several runners-up in intensive care.
"The competition lasted 30, perhaps 40 minutes and the winner downed three half-litre bottles. He was taken home by taxi but died within 20 minutes," said Roman Popov, a prosecutor pursuing the case in the town of Volgodonsk. "Five contestants ended up in intensive care. Those not in hospital turned up the next day, ostensibly for another drink."
Popov said the director of the shop organising this month's contest had been charged with manslaughter. He had offered 10 litres of vodka to the competitor drinking the most in the shortest time.
Russians drink the equivalent of 15 litres of pure alcohol per head annually, one of the highest rates in the world. Some experts estimate one in seven Russians is an alcoholic.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Diego Maradona jnr in UK for a Soccer Test....

BLACKBURN are set to snap up Diego Maradona - SON of the Argentine legend who is fighting booze and drugs problems.

Maradona junior will arrive at Ewood Park this week for a trial in front of Rovers manager Graeme Souness with a view to switching from his Italian club Napoli.

But the 17-year-old says he is desperate to emulate his soccer heroes David Beckham and Alessandro Del Piero - not his father who has been in intensive care with heart problems.
If Maradona Jr proves a hit he will join Rovers' highly-rated youth academy as he tries to make his name in the game as an attacking midfielder.

Rovers have kept the deal under wraps because of the attention the youngster attracts on account of his famous dad. Sources in Italy have revealed Blackburn have been using a codename for the player in an attempt to shield him from the spotlight.

The teenager, a product of Maradona's fling with Italian Cristiana Sinagra, was due to land in England yesterday but his trip was delayed after he picked up an injury in training.

Diego jnr was ignored by his father because of a legal battle with his mother that ended in tests that proved the footballer was his dad. Maradona jnr admits he'll never emulate his father's success. He said: "Is the name a problem? Only in as much as I feel I have to work twice as hard as my team-mates. "My dream is to be a professional footballer."

Orange UK will launch UMTS services on June 19th

Orange UK will launch its UMTS services on 19 July with 3G coverage in major cities including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds. Orange will also be taking advantage of its position within the FreeMove alliance, giving UK business customers the ability to access 3G services in Spain, Italy and Germany at launch, as well as the 3G network of Orange in France. Orange and its FreeMove partners have licences in 14 markets across Europe.
Orange is developing a range of business services, leveraging the high-speed network, to give companies a faster and more productive way to work on the move. The first of these to market will be the 3G Mobile Office Card in the UK.
Orange will be launching its next generation services in France this Autumn (2004) with coverage available in over 20 cities.


While I am trying to set up a wireless connection in my apartment with my new laptop (yes, I got a new one....), I saw this cool site Bay area free wifi. I am just wondering if there is one for Italy....

Sunday, July 04, 2004


You are the best!

Armstrong quickly moves ahead

Armstrong, the leader of the United States Postal Service team, opened the 91st Tour de France here Saturday by finishing second in the short prologue to three weeks of racing, leaving all his major rivals behind.

It was a strong psychological blow by Armstrong, who is seeking a record sixth consecutive victory in the Tour. His performance may go far in dissipating the feeling that his powers are on the wane, as some of his results this spring hinted.

The race, over 3.8 miles on flat streets in the center of Liège and along the Meuse River, was won by Fabian Cancellara, a 23-year-old from Switzerland who rides for the Italian team Fassa Bortolo.
A specialist in prologues and twice, in 1998 and 1999, the junior world champion in the time trial, Cancellara was clocked in 6 minutes 50 seconds, a speed of 33.2 miles an hour.
Armstrong was two seconds slower than Cancellara, who donned the leader's yellow jersey but does not rate as a contender in the Tour.

"I'm satisfied by the way I felt, but I'm disappointed to lose by only a couple of seconds," Armstrong said, according to The Associated Press, after a congratulatory kiss from his companion, the musician Sheryl Crow. "That's the way it goes. The most important thing is, how does it feel? I was very comfortable, I felt strong, and that feels good."

Third in the individual race against the clock was José Gutierrez, a Spaniard with the Illes Balears team from his homeland, eight seconds behind Cancellara. The Australian Brad McGee, with fdjeux.com and the winner of the prologue in the last Tour, was fourth, nine seconds behind. Thor Hushovd, a Norwegian with Crédit Agricole, was fifth, 10 seconds behind. Two other Americans finished in the top 10: Bobby Julich, who rides for CSC from Denmark, was ninth, 12 seconds behind; and George Hincapie, Armstrong's teammate, was 10th, also 12 seconds behind. Levi Leipheimer, the American leader of the Rabobank team from the Netherlands, was 13th, 15 seconds behind the winner.

Three riders considered among Armstrong's top rivals finished at least 15 seconds slower than he did. Jan Ullrich, the leader of T-Mobile from Germany and the second-place finisher in the last Tour and in four others, was 16th Saturday by 15 seconds; Tyler Hamilton, the leader of the Phonak team from Switzerland, who was fourth last year and 18th Saturday, 16 seconds behind Armstrong; and Iban Mayo, the leader of the Euskaltel team from his homeland, Spain, sixth last year and 26th Saturday, 19 seconds behind Armstrong.
With three weeks to go and many mountains ahead, those deficits are not damaging, except to the morale. Mostly they served as a warning that Armstrong is starting the Tour at the top of his game.

"It's just a start," Armstrong said, according to The A.P. "They don't call it the prologue for nothing. It sets the tone of the race for the first week. There is a lot of dangerous racing to go. Just in three days, we have some sections of cobblestones, that if it rains and is windy, will be very dangerous."
A huge crowd watched the prologue in cool and windy weather with occasional sprinkles. The turnout was surprising because of a lack of the usual hoopla to welcome a Tour de France. There were few signs and banners in and around Liège and only the rare store window was decorated with a bicycle motif, in contrast to the standard celebration in a start city.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Muscle Stimulator

I bought a Muscle stimulator, Compex for around 400 euro. That's a great deal, very happy about it. I wish I could use it more during the week, but I can't.

I use it after running, as soon as I can do it.
I am planning to lose 10 pounds after my 2 years in the US, but it is pretty hot running in Milan during this season.


I am reading Information Rules. I bought the book in 2000 in Dublin but I never had time reading it carefully. I hope it is a good time.....

I am planning my trip to Berlin, with Airberlin. I hope I can make it soon. There are many things I want to do there, but I am still unable to speak German.

Friday, July 02, 2004


F.C. Internazionale has just informed its supporters that Argentine player Esteban Matias Cambiasso has joined the club. In the trophy room at Inter's headquarters in via Durini this afternoon Cambiasso, who has an Italian passport, signed a contract which expires on 30 June 2008. He joined Inter from Real Madrid, one of the most prestigious soccer team in the world.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Fed Raises Interest Rate a Quarter Point

WASHINGTON June 30, 2004 — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for the first time in four years, reversing course as the economy strengthened. Policy-makers signaled only slow increases ahead in the rock-bottom rates Americans have enjoyed.
Wall Street rallied modestly on the Fed's continued promise of a "measured" pace for future rate increases as the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 22.05 points to 10,435.48. The muted reaction underscored the lack of surprise in what was the most telegraphed rate increase in Fed history

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Today I have just changed my luggages: SAS had to pay them because when I received them back, 2 out of 4 were in a bad shape. I ordered new ones, but it took some time to get them.
Pretty happy about the choice, now I can leave Milan for Berlin, at least for a week-end.

Sorry that I haven't started my new website, it will be great, but I was working for Milan's election: Penati won it.

Nestle Is Likely to Hold On To Perrier for the Time Being

Nestlé SA is likely to keep its unprofitable Perrier mineral-water operations for the time being, despite the company's statement this year that it could sell the brand amid a fight with labor unions.

But selling Perrier to a buyer in the industry wouldn't be easy, analysts say. Nestlé's French rival, Groupe Danone, is a large producer of mineral water and would face regulatory issues. A sale to Coca-Cola Co. or PepsiCo Inc. of the U.S., or to private French beverages company Castel Group looks more likely, but their appetite is probably small given Perrier's unprofitability.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Staying home - Big Heat On Its Way, Temperatures Will Rise to 38 Degrees

I like sometimes staying home. "But it's not so bad this year". That's a phrase that will no longer be true from tomorrow, according to the Geophysical Observatory of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, forecasting the second big heatwave of the summer of 2004.
There will be a rapid build-up of the subtropical anticyclone, which will interrupt the unusual meteorological and climatic normality. In other words, torrid heat is on its way, along with moderate humidity.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Ulrich Inderbinen died on June 14th, aged 103

Mr Inderbinen was the world's oldest mountain guide.


I want to learn German

I need to learn German, I have to, I want, I should.
I started with this German for travelers site, it is great but I am sure other sites are also available.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

is it true?

Starting in July, Hotmail will increase the amount of inbox storage space for its free accounts to 250 megabytes.

More Millionaires in Italy - Now There Are 188,000

There are now 188,000 people in Italy who have at least a million dollars (820,000 euros) in disposable financial wealth. That means one resident in three hundred. According to the Merrill Lynch-Cap Gemini 2004 report on world wealth, as many as 22,000 of them have joined the "gold list" in the last year alone, which is a rise of 13.25%. If all Italy's millionaires were brought together in one small town, the community would have a total financial wealth of 415 billion dollars (343 billion euros), up from 2002's 366 billion dollars (300 billion euros). The average balance in the current accounts of this hypothetical town's prosperous bank would be more than 1.8 million euros (just under 1.5 million dollars).

However for Gianluca Bussolati, Merrill Lynch's head of private clients in Italy, what is driving this sudden increase is probably the impact of the "fiscal shield", which enabled wealth held abroad to be repatriated. The growth might therefore be more apparent than real.

What does this exhibit tell you?

In August last year, Toyota sold more cars than Chrysler in America. This year, it overtook Ford as the world’s second-biggest carmaker, behind GM. Its stockmarket value already exceeds that of the big three combined. Can it be too much longer before, in terms of units sold, Toyota also has GM in its rear-view mirror?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004


The game was really, but I do not like to have rules where in a game where there are incentives to cheat. It is too bad for Soccer.


I had stopped writing my blog because I was really focused on my National team. We are out, no excuses...

Sunday, June 20, 2004


I finally found the answer to the top Blogger question: how do I post pictures?

from Blogger's FAQ:
"Blogger does not directly provide image hosting, although you are welcome to include any images in your blog if you have them stored online elsewhere. Windows users can also use the Hello BloggerBot to post pictures directly to their blogs.

Once you have an image online, you can include it in either your template or in a specific post by typing in the following tag: . Just replace the URL here with the actual URL of your image."

It is nice to know that....

Not sure

I did not have time to install Linux on my laptop. I had a great time yesterday, with my friends. I missed the soccer match between Holland and C.R. yesterday. It was good.... Today I cannot miss Spain vs. Portugal.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

How come?

Italy played so well yesterday, plobably the best game up to now in the Euro championship.
The Azzurri squad was vastly improved from the one that sleepwalked through its 0-0 opener against Denmark.
Pirlo did a great job but it was not enough.

If they can reproduce this form in the group finale on Tuesday, they should beat the hapless Bulgarians, 2-0 losers to Denmark yesterday. And, given that, if Sweden can beat the Danes — or vice-versa — Italy would advance at the expense of the loser of that match.
I am sure we can qualify, but if Denmark and Sweden ties 2-2, we are out.....

Friday, June 18, 2004

17 million watch England victory in UK

More than three-quarters of the available male TV audience tuned in to watch England's 3-0 win over Switzerland. The crucial match in Portugal attracted 17 million viewers at its peak. ITV1 said 78.1% of the available male audience tuned in to see England triumph with two goals from teenage sensation Wayne Rooney and a Steven Gerrard strike.
The match averaged 14.2 million viewers with a 68.5% share - almost five times the average - peaking at 71.1% for the final 10 minutes.
On Sunday more than 20 million viewers watched England's last-gasp defeat by France - one of the biggest football audiences ever.

British played quite well, they deserved to win and to attend the Quarter Finals. However, it won't be so easy to win in the next match with Croatia. The team is not as good as in 1998, but they have Dado Prso, a great striker, which will join Rangers in a three year deal from Champions League finalists Monaco at the end of the season.


I will install a Linux server during the week-end, with and start the new site as soon as I do so.
I am really excited about it.

Big Day

Italy is playing tonight without Totti but with Pirlo.

I am sure they are going to win, I am not sure it will be easy. We have a great team this year......

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Okan Buruk joins Besiktas -- from Inter.it

July 17th. "MILAN - F.C. Internazionale communicates that an agreement has been reached for the transfer of Okan Buruk to Besiktas. The Turkish midfielder has cut short his contract with Inter by mutual consent, by signing a document (registered at the Lega Calcio offices in Milan this morning) in which he renounces his salary for the 2004/05 season, therefore permitting the club to make a significant saving."

I am just wondering how much the team saved (1 Million Euro? More???), but I guess it will be hard to know.


Tomorrow is going to be a great day. Mr.Robertson III, the famous Californian sculptor is going to visit me in Milan. At the same time, Italy is playing with Sweden.

I want to invite him for a dinner in a good restaurant, Tarantola, in Appiano Gentile (place where my soccer team is training).

However, how can I miss the soccer match?


Italy is waiting for UEFA's decision about Totti, the talented Italian player. UEFA has to decide over 'spitting'. As ESPN mentioned, "Soccer players regard spitting as one of the most disrespectful actions possible by an opposing player." If this claim is true, what is the rationale for spitting?

By the way, he got 3-match ban......


Last Saturday I went to a friend's wedding (not mine!).
At the restaurant, during the lunch, I had a great idea.
I thought I have to build an optimization model in Excel (technically a MILP) in order to identify the optimal layout among tables.

Think about it: John hates Peter, Peter likes Stephanie, Marc(o) does not speak English, Stephen enjoys politics, Carl detests it, friends do not want to be too far from the newlyweds, Anya is vegetarian, Anna wants to talk with the lowest number of persons, grandmother Maria cannot walk too much, etc.

I suddenly realized that it is pretty impossible to introduce many constraints by hand, if you have more than 100 persons. Would it be nice to find an automatic way to do so.

If you have any ideas, I would really appreciate your help: which criteria should I use for finding the optimal layout

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mancini, Inter, business and other

Do you really believe it?

Inter Milan have sensationally named Roberto Mancini as new manager. After leaving Lazio, Mancini replaces Alberto Zaccheroni, who resigned on the same day. Mancini had been Lazio's coach for two seasons. He started his coaching career at the Rome club as aide to Sven-Goran Eriksson, now England's coach. The former Sampdoria striker is Inter's 11th coach since oil industrialist Massimo Moratti took over the team a decade ago. Inter president Giacinto Facchetti said: "It's useless to try and understand what the problems with Zaccheroni were, but he has preferred to resign and so we have changed direction. "With Mancini, who is one of the best young coaches around, negotiations are under way but no agreement has yet been concluded. I say this to underline the fact that he hasn't already been here for a while, which is what some people have been saying."

I am not sure about it, but I guess there is something wrong with Inter's management. But I am still unable to figure out what is wrong.


I did not have the chance to see all first 8 games at the EURO 2004 Soccer tournament, but from what I have heard and seen, England is offering the best game. I was not impressed by many teams, I am sure games are going to be better in the next weeks. Spain is going to play with Greece tonight: it could be an interesting game because both teams won the first round. Spanish coach Inaki Saez already told the press he plans to replace a large part of those guys who played the first game: sounds promising... I was impressed by Latvian players: they won in Sweden in the qualification games, they beat Turkey, and they played quite well in the first game last night. A large part of them plays for Skonto Riga, but there are many (especially the forwards), playing abroad (Germany, UK, Ukraine, Israel, etc). They unfortunately lose, but they could potentially create nightmares to Holland and Germany.

Belarus soccer player will play in Italy (Serie A)

Great news: Mr. Vitalii Kutuzov, 24 years old from Borisov, is going to play with Sampdoria next year. Kutuzov has already played for 4 years in Belarus with Bate Borisov. He moved to AC Milan, where he played few games in First division. He progressed to Sporting Lisbona and came back to Italy with Avellino (second division), where he scored 15 goals without penalties. He was trained by Zenek Zeman, a soccer guru, who is moving to Lecce next season.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

7 days without Blog

It is not that I am busy or lazy, but I do not have too much to say. I plan to buy soon a pair of Rossetti shoes: I am still wondering whether is costs more in London, Milan, Hong Kong or New York. However, I cannot hedge anymore..

My sites, on average, got around 30 visits per week. I could have done a better job, but I am happy for the moment about this great result.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Euro Under21

Euro U21 is playing today. I don't have much to say right now about my life. I am trying to watch this final (Italy-Serbia Montenegro), to have a feeling about soccer.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Italy U21

I did not have the chance to spend my saturday shopping or watching TV today. After my 6 hour test, I went eating a real Italian Pizza (I was really missing one......).

Italy Under 21 qualified for the Soccer U21 competition in Germany. Thanks Gilardino....

Thursday, June 03, 2004


I am finally back after a long, long trip. I stopped by Manchester airport for a few hours. It was a chaos today in the UK: National Air Traffic Services, the company that controls U.K. airspace, said the Flight Data Processing System at the West Drayton control center crashed after overnight testing. As a result, information about flights entering controlled airspace had to be hand-entered into the rest of the control system, resulting in a drastic reduction of capacity and a temporary ban on flight departures.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Packing, Inter and leaving

I spent $247 for sending books to my home town in Italy. It is probably too much for my current salary, but books worth more than $2000.

Inter, my team, officially announced it bought Favalli, from Lazio great player, but older than me...

Tomorrow: JFK. It will be a long day


I am packing all my stuffs. I plan to send my books through USPS this morning. I have 5 cases, I cannot imagine how much I am going to spend.
Moreover, on Saturday, I have to take the CFA exam, level 1: I am really prepared, I have studied three times the Schweser books: I have to pass with flying colors.

Monday, May 31, 2004


My bike is for sale.
It is a wonderful bike, but I don't plan to send it back to Milan.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Big Day tomorrow

Former US President Bill Clinton is going to speak at my University tomorrow. I am pretty excited about it. This also means the end of my American dream. In a few days, I will be back to Italy. I am not sure I am going to stay there, but only God knows it.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Back to Ithaca, NY

I am back to my university, Cornell, for the MBA graduation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Toronto, CA

Tomorrow I am going to Toronto (70 miles from here). I will sleep in the Radisson hotel in Toronto, near the Airport.
Not sure I will be able to connect to internet, even thought the hotel is pretty good.

I have spent few hours today at the border between Canada and the USA.
The Falls were awesome, but the weather not really.

Monday, May 24, 2004

NYC to Niagara Falls, NY

NYC to Niagara Falls, NY: very long trip. We also stop to Ithaca. 427 miles driving: I am exhausted. I went for dinner to the Hard Rock Café: it is better in the pictures than in reality.....
Tomorrow I plan to visit the Falls and go to Canada.

I noticed that Petacchi sets stage record at Giro, by winning 8 times this year. Really impressive.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Niagara Falls, NY

Tomorrow, we are moving from NYC to Niagara Falls.
I am sure I can post some news: check my hotel (Sheraton)....

Too tired - Last day in NYC

I am too tired to write something smart.

I went to Nike Town and to the statue of Liberty.
The first was open (of course), the second is still closed after the Terrorist attacks.
I guess it will reopen during Summer 2004. The most interesting part is that all my batteries (that I used for taking pictures....) went down after I passed my cameras to the check point. We have 2 Digital cameras, DSCP71 and DSCF707, 2 Analogic Cameras, 1 Video Camera. Hopefully, I was able to buy new batteries!

Today Trulli won the Monte Carlo F1, I did not have the chance to see it, but apparently he was awesome.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Met at NYC

Today I had a full day at the Met Museum, very interesting. I took so many pictures there.
I have also studied a little bit for the CFA, but I am not able to maximize the time there.

I found a cheaper internet connection, Easy internet, which I usually utilize in London. Not too bad.

Viel Spass.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Internet at $18 per hour

It is really expensive here accessing internet, if you do not have a monthly subscription, but I cannot avoid connecting to it.

The day in NYC was great, however I am walking too much for now.
I am still studying for the CFA level 1 exam, but I think I will nail it down....

New York, New York

I am ready to explore NYC with my parents.
Pretty difficult to forecast what we are doing here....

Thursday, May 20, 2004


I went to Boston in the last few days. I was unable to connect to internet for the last few days. It was a great trip: Yale and Harvard were awesome.
Now I am back in NYC for a few days.....

Monday, May 17, 2004

Yale - New Haven

I am ready to go.
Not sure my next hotel has internet, but probably not.
My soccer team Inter arrived fourth in Italy and got access to the Champions League.
So happy about that!

I am still waiting for uploading some pictures of the trip.
I will do it as soon as possible.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

New Haven, CT

That's my next destination, tomorrow.
I don't really plan to have an exciting day, but that's ok.
191 miles from here.
I guess I have to drive.....

Philly, only Philly

I have finally finished the assignment, I am planning to leave for Philly soon, but I really don't know exactly at what time (30 min? 1h? 2h?).
I am feeling good right now.

Saturday, May 15, 2004


I am moving again from DC to Philadelphia, that's a hard trip especially because I spent all day in my Holiday Inn hotel by finishing my last assignment for the MBA. Pretty cool, isn't it?

Washington, DC

Today I am in DC, working on a final assignment, while my parents are visiting the city.
Too bad for me....

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Welcome, everybody, my first link is to a website I really enjoyed:

See you later,
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