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EXCLUSIVE: Cristiano Lucarelli Laments Alessandro Diamanti Loss For Livorno caught up with the veteran striker, who has a penchant for finding the back of the net…

Livorno have returned to Serie A and in the summer brought back one of the club’s all-time greats in Cristiano Lucarelli. The former Shakhtar Donetsk forward is looking to help the Amaranto secure their Serie A status and was kind enough to speak with about Livorno and the Serie A in general.

You told Livorno thet they had to sign new players for the upcoming season during the summer months. Now transfer season has finished. Have you changed your mind at all?
We will be a very successful team with our squad. I really believe that.
What do you feel about Alessandro Diamanti’s departure to West Ham?
It’s a bitter blow for Livorno and I am very disheartened. He was a very important player for us.
You have scored 110 goals in your Serie A career. Do you have any specific target for this campaign?
My goal is to score at least 15 goals this season.
Who will be the winner of Serie A this season?
I guess that Inter or Juventus will be the champions of 2009-10.
You’re a modest player and Jose Mourinho, who is known as a very proud person, is in the same league as you now. What is your opinion on him?
I think he’s very important and sympathetic manager. He always tell the truth.
Is Livorno the last stop of your career?
Certainly, it is.


Last Ever UEFA Cup Final Brings Party Atmosphere To Turkey’s roving reporter in Turkey, Onur Yazicioglu, reflects on a day of
excitement both on and off the pitch in Istanbul…

This was the 38th and last edition of  the UEFA Cup final and was
in Istanbul to soak in the atmosphere. It was the second time the city has
hosted a European football final as The Champions League final between
Liverpool and Milan in 2005 was played in the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

But it was the European side of Bosphorus on that historic occasion. This
time, the UEFA Cup crossed the continental line into Asia, to the  Sukru
Saracoglu Stadium. This modern arena is the home of Fenerbahce.

Those fans who came to Istanbul, though, took their time in arriving at the
stadium. Instead they first enjoyed the delights of the city.Approximately 20,000 supporters came to Istanbul especially from Ukraine and Germany. Most of them were Werder Bremen supporters. So 30,000 football lovers in the stadium were local fans. But if we compare the match atmosphere of 2005 and 2009, we can say that the Italian and British fans were more joyful than the German and Ukrainian set of supporters.

uefa2I spoke to both German and Ukrainian supporters before the match. Bremen
fans were more confident. We asked about the absence of Diego. Some of
them were concerned, some of them (who were a little too tipsy from the
booze) didn’t care so much…

Most of Shaktar fans were extremely cool. We asked them about their confidence in coach Mircea Lucescu who trained two teams (Galatasaray and Besiktas) in Turkey. They were angry with him as the team lost out on domestic hounours to Dynamo Kyiv. The UEFA Cup final was the last chance for him to make peace with the fans.

One more interesting side note about the match: The Sukru Saracoglu Stadium is the home of Fenerbahce, the biggest rivals of Galatasaray.  So Fenerbahce supporters made plans to purchase most of the match tickets months ago just in case their rivals made the final, so they could cheer against them.

uefa3Galatasaray were then eliminated by Hamburg in the round of 16 but the tickets were still in the hands of Fenerbahce supporters. It meant that there
were thousands of Fenerbahce fans who were in the stadium during the match. In the 15th minute of the game, these supporters started to sing their
famous song: “Always and everywhere, the biggest is Fenerbahce!”

Supporters of Werder and Shaktar were not impressed and voiced their displeasure, even though they were in a minority. The first goal of the game was scored by Shaktar’s Luiz Adriano in the 25th minute. Ten minutes later, Werder Bremen equalised through Naldo. It was a phyisically tiring game for both teams and the match went to extra time. In the 97th minute, Jadson found the second goal for Shaktar with the help of ‘lady luck’. As a result, the Ukrainian team were crowned the last champions of the UEFA Cup.

Mircea Lucescu has won another cup in Turkey. The Romanian coach has
won local league titles with Galatasaray (2001-2002) and Besiktas (2002-2003) too. This is the second European honour for Mircea Lucescu. The first one was the European Super Cup with Galatasaray.