Ahead of Friday's UEFA Champions League draw in Athens, AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is keen to avoid an all-Italian quarter-final, telling uefa.com: "No way do I want to play AS Roma."
After their 1-0 extra-time win against Celtic FC on Wednesday, the Rossoneri are in the last eight of Europe's premier club competition for the fifth time in succession, but unlike friend and Roma captain Francesco Totti, who expressed a desire to be drawn against the six-time European champions after their defeat of Olympique Lyonnais, Gattuso hopes to sidestep the only other remaining Serie A side.
"No way," said the 2006 FIFA World Cup winner. "I would rather not play an Italian team because I want them to go as far as possible. I wouldn't mind playing Roma in the final - that would be fantastic - but at this stage it's always nice to play European ties against foreign sides."
Gattuso was beaming after overcoming the Scottish champions in a tense tie at San Siro, insisting Milan's European pedigree is never a guarantee of success. "We're the side with the most European Cups left in the competition and the only quarter-finalists from last year to have made the last eight. But football is strange. There's nothing to choose between the remaining teams."
Although Carlo Ancelotti's men take on city rivals FC Internazionale Milano at the weekend, Gattuso's thoughts remain on the UEFA Champions League. "We've got the derby against Inter on Sunday, but I don't want to think about that yet," said the 29-year-old. "I want to enjoy the moment. It's a huge satisfaction to reach the last eight in Europe. It gives me immense pleasure and I'm absolutely delighted."
After a torrid start to the campaign, beginning with Milan having points docked for their part in the Calciopoli scandal, Gattuso believes his side have finally turned a corner. "It means so much to get through because it's easy to forget that only a few months ago, we were in trouble at the bottom of the league and struggling to emerge from our crisis. Things are looking rosy so let's enjoy the moment."
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