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Nesta flies the nest

Published: Saturday 31 August 2002, 23.07CET
Milan AC have completed the €30.2m signing of Italian international defender Alessandro Nesta. features

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Published: Saturday 31 August 2002, 23.07CET

Nesta flies the nest

Milan AC have completed the €30.2m signing of Italian international defender Alessandro Nesta.
Milan AC have completed the €30.2m signing of Italian international defender Alessandro Nesta from S.S. Lazio on a five-year contract.

Transfer deadline
The 26-year-old, who has played his entire career with Lazio, winning the Scudetto in 2000, two Italian Cups in 1998 and 2000, and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1999, agreed to the move this morning ahead of the European transfer deadline.

Strong signings
Milan had already signed several stars during the summer like FIFA World Cup hero Rivaldo from Barcelona FC, Dutch international Clarence Seedorf from Internazionale FC, Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson from Feyenoord and Samuele Dalla Bona from Chelsea FC, but were keen to strengthen their defensive line.

The new Baresi
Nesta had been a long-term target of Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who considers the Rome-born player the natural successor to Franco Baresi - leader of Milan's defence during the 1980s and early 1990s.

International pedigree
Nesta has been capped 46 times by Italy and played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals as well as at EURO 2000™ where Italy were losing finalists against France.

Champions League challenge
His arrival will strengthen Milan's challenge for the UEFA Champions League. Having won the European Champion Clubs' Cup five times in their history, Milan begin their campaign for the 2002/03 trophy in Group G alongside FC Bayern München, RC Deportivo La Coruña and RC Lens.

Financial necessity
Meanwhile, Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti said that selling Nesta had been the sacrifice needed to keep Lazio financially solvent. "The sale of our captain Alessandro Nesta is a great sacrifice that has had to be made to improve our financial status and allow us compete in the elite of world football," he explained.

'A very big thank you'
"To Alessandro, I say a very big thank you for everything you have done for Lazio in your years in the Biancocelesti shirt," added Cragnotti. "He knows he has simply been sold because of the economic needs of the club. Alessandro Nesta will always have a place in the hearts of the fans."

Baronio on loan
Lazio have also allowed midfield player Roberto Baronio to join AC Perugia on loan. The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at AC Fiorentina.
Last updated: 02/09/02 11.42CET

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