Gilardino transfers from Parma to AC Milan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> AC Milan acquired Italy forward Alberto Gilardino from Parma on Monday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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AC Milan acquired Italy forward Alberto Gilardino from Parma on Monday, culminating a flurry of last-minute negotiations and after an ultimatum from the 17-time Serie A champion to complete the deal before the end of the day. Full terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, although Milan announced that Gilardino had signed a contract through June 30, 2010. Long negotiations His previous contract was due to expire at the end of this season. "I'm very pleased. It was a long negotiation that fortunately was resolved in the best way possible," said Gilardino, who arrived at Milan headquarters shortly before the deal was announced. "This team has everything: the club, history and great players. Why did I choose Milan? Because it's the strongest club in Europe and for me it's an honor to wear this jersey." Earlier, Milan president Adriano Galliani issued an warning to Parma: "Today or nothing." Gilardino had said he wanted to join Milan and has been linked to the club since January, but Milan had been unwilling to match Parma's valuation of the 23-year-old striker. Parma, in debt after the collapse of its owner and main sponsor Parmalat, sought US$36.22 million. Milan initially offered US$28.98 million. Gilardino's contract expires at the end of next season. Goal scorer Gilardino scored 23 goals each of the past two seasons, including one in the second leg of last month's relegation playoff that kept Parma in Serie A. He is the top-rated young striker in Italy. Milan has been seeking a forward after Jon Dahl Tomasson was sold to Stuttgart and Hernan Crespo returned to Chelsea after a season on loan. Filippo Inzaghi is still recovering from a knee injury. Christian Vieri joined after being released by Inter Milan, although the 32-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and is likely to be used sparingly as a reserve. Gilardino is expected to start alongside Andriy Shevchenko. (AP)

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