ready to bring Coco back from Barcelona
MILAN, April 3 (Reuters) - AC Milan will
bring Francesco Coco back from Barcelona if the Spanish side decide against
a permanent transfer, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.
Italy international Coco joined Barcelona
from Milan last August on a loan deal which includes an option to extend
it into a full transfer at the end of this season.
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani,
who runs the club on behalf of president Silvio Berlusconi, said on Wednesday
that Barcelona had until the end of next month to decide if they wanted
to keep Coco.
But he made it clear if they failed to
do so then Milan would welcome the player back.
'Barcelona have until May 31 to exercise
their option. We don't know what their intentions are but certainly if
they don't keep the player, Coco will return to Milan,' Galliani said on
the club's official website.
Coco quit Milan after a training-ground
row with the club's former coach Turk Fatih Terim.
But ever since Terim was sacked and replaced
by Carlo Ancelotti in November, there has been constant speculation that
Coco could return to the San Siro.
In January he said he would consider returning
to Italy, having lost his place in Barca's starting line-up when club captain
Sergi returned from injury.
However, injury has again forced the Spanish
international on to the sidelines and Coco has been enjoying another run
in the first team.
On Tuesday Coco said he was happy at Barcelona
and would be satisfied if the club opted to keep him on.
'Whether or not I stay depends on the club,'
the Italian was quoted as saying on Barcelona's official website.
'Personally I feel very comfortable here
and if Barca want to keep me I would be very glad to stay.'
Coco began his career in the youth team
at Milan and made his senior debut in the 1995-96 season.
But it was not until the start of last
season that he established himself at the San Siro after loan spells with
Vicenza and Torino.
His performances caught the eye of Italy
coach Giovanni Trapattoni and he was handed his international debut against
Romania in October 2000.
Coco was a regular throughout Italy's unbeaten
World Cup qualifying campaign.