Bonnucci: I'm no traitor

Former Juventus star, Leonardo Bonucci, has defended his move to AC Milan, reminding angry supporters of the seven years of service he gave their club.

The 30-year old made the shock €42m switch earlier in July and has become the recipient of no small amount of scorn from the Turin faithful.

In an interview with Gazetta Dello Sport, the Italy international spoke of the reasoning behind the move, saying that it was a breakdown in his relationship with the club that caused it.

"Life is made up of cycles which open and close," he stated. "When you're part of a group for seven years, you hope to leave something beautiful. In the last part of the season, the link faded on both sides and we decided to move apart.

"Something crumbled in recent months," Bonucci explained. "And this change was the consequence of that. To give 100 per cent, I need to feel important, something that at Juventus was recently happening only in fits and starts.

"I couldn't go with that. Even the most beautiful marriages sometimes end," he added. "I gave Juve so much and they gave me so much. It wasn't an easy choice for me because seven years are difficult to close off and forget.

"The rapport had come to an end though, neither party wanted to continue together. I have to say though, that given how it ended we came out well: myself, Juve and Milan.

"Given what I gave to Juve, I don't feel like a traitor or a mercenary. If they whistle me, they ought to know that, just like the insults I received at Juventus Stadium fired me up, it'll be the same if they jeer me."

Klopp bids farewell to 'fantastic' Lucas

Jurgen Klopp has told Lazio-bound Lucas that the doors at Anfield will always be open for him should he desire a return to the club which he served for a decade.

The Reds boss bid an emotional farewell to a player whom he clearly holds in very high regard, saying that he believes 30-year old has the potential to succeed in football management and promising to find a space for him should he wish to return when his three-year contract at Lazio expires.

"He loves Liverpool. It's unbelievable," Klopp told ESPN. "He comes from Brazil - it's a nice country and the weather is much better. 

"He could imagine staying in Liverpool for the rest of his life. I told him that the door is always open for him after his three years and [if] I'm still here, of course, then we will find a place for him.

"I'm sure he'll be a fantastic coach or manager," the former Dortmund coach said.

"Things change but Lucas is a special case. He asked for it," he continued, referring to the midfielder's request for a transfer, reportedly made in a bid to secure regular first-team football.

"I would say he's a friend. He's a fantastic person. How I know and how he knows, he has a few issues when he's not playing!

"But we always had a very respectful understanding. It was really good. When he left, we both had a little tear in our eye. It was really a special moment.

"For the team, it's difficult. It's the age and it's life. He could sign a long-term contract in Rome and how can I say: 'You stay here, but I don't know if you sign a new contract and I don't know how often you will play next year'. So you need to be honest, especially with a player like him."

Torino chief wants to keep hold of Belotti

Torino chairman Urbano Cairo doesn't want to let go of reported AC Milan target Andrea Belotti, but admits that it's not up to him.

The 23-year-old striker impressed last season with 26 goals in 35 Serie A appearances, leading to plenty of interest in his signature, but Cairo has warned Milan that it will take €100m to prise him away from Turin.

"The lad's done very well with us, but he has to stay with us and he can stay," Cairo told Premium Sport.

"I'll only be forced to sell him if someone abroad comes forward with the player's release clause to buy him.

"I haven't negotiated with anyone.I don't want to sell him, but there's a clause. After that, if he wants to go, it'll be up to him."

The Rossoneri have been very ambitious in this transfer window so far, and have already recruited a promising young striker in Portugal international Andre Silva.

Pep: Kolarov asked for Roma move

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that defender Aleksandar Kolarov is set for a switch to AS Roma after asking to leave.

The Serbian has spent seven seasons in Manchester, but looks set to follow Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, and Pablo Zabaleta through the exit door and seal a return to Italy.

"I don't like to work with people who don't want to stay," Guardiola said after City’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the International Champions Cup.

"Kola helped me a lot last season in terms of many, many things, but he has a big chance to come back to Rome where he was before.

"He spoke to me, with the club but especially to me, and said he would like to leave and I don't like to live still with players that don't want to stay.

"That's what it is the best option for everybody, especially for him. I wish him all the best because he is a really nice guy.

"We had an excellent relationship with him, I was very pleased to train him and I wish him and his family the best."

City already have already brought in full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham, and have also been linked with Real Madrid’s Danilo.

Inter awaiting 'right offer' for Perisic

Inter Milan will take a gamble on Manchester United target Ivan Perisic as they have yet to receive the "right offer" for the winger.

The Nerazzurri value the Croatia international at £48 million - a fee that United have failed to match as they look to negotiate a deal for one of their top transfer targets.

Perisic made the trip to China with the rest of Luciano Spalletti's squad and is expected to feature on their pre-season tour of Asia, despite ongoing interest from the Red Devils.

When asked about the 28-year-old's availability on tour, Spalletti told reporters: "Perisic will play because he wasn't involved in the friendly games in Brunico - he may even play more than the others."

Inter director Walter Sabatini also commented on Perisic's future, saying: "You all know what Inter is asking for him but the right offer is yet to arrive."

Di Francesco challenges Iturbe as Defrel signs

Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco has issued a warning to forward Juan Iturbe after signing Gregoire Defrel from domestic rivals Sassuolo on Thursday.

Iturbe has struggled to live up his  €24.5 million price-tag since arriving at Stadio Olimpico from Verona in 2014.

The Paraguay international spent the last two seasons on loan at Bournemouth and Torino respectively but failed to rediscover the form that made him one of Serie A's hottest properties.

Following the arrival of Frenchman Defrel, who scored 16 goals in 38 games in all competitions for the Neroverdi last term, Di Francesco admitted it's time for Iturbe to step up.

"For Iturbe, he's come back to us and I'm still evaluating him," Di Francesco told reporters after the pre-season draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

"Iturbe has only been with me for three days, he can do a lot more and he needs to make better use of the pace that he has."

Meanwhile, the Giallorossi disclosed the details of his probable replacement: "The French forward, 26, joins on an initial loan deal for a fee of €5 million - with an obligation to make the transfer permanent for €15m should certain sporting targets be met.

"The agreement also includes performance-related payments, worth up to an additional €3m, dependent on achievements on the part of both the player and club."

Spalletti: Facing strong teams will help Inter

Inter Milan head coach Luciano Spalletti is relishing the chance for his team to face tough opposition at the International Champions Cup.

The Nerazzurri will clash with Schalke on Friday before games against Lyon, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea as part of the pre-season friendly competition.

Spalletti is keen to see his players test themselves against strong clubs because he believes that's the best way to prepare for the challenges ahead.

"It's important for me to be able to observe the players in the biggest games," the former Roma head coach told the club's official website. 

"This is going to be a demanding tour both physically and mentally, but we need to give our all. In a sense it's good to start with big matches straight away because those are the games we want to be playing. 

"That's our objective. In the build-up to any match you look at the standard situations, then you go out there to win."

Rummenigge: Milan can't afford Sanches

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has stated that they are willing to sell teenage midfielder Renato Sanches but doesn't think Milan can afford him.

Die Roten manager Carlo Ancelotti is seemingly content to let the 19-year-old Portuguese star leave the club this transfer window, with Milan interested in signing him on loan with the option to buy.

However, Rummenigge has set the asking price at €48m and believes the Rossoneri won't be able to meet the demand.

"He won't get enough minutes at Bayern, so we're willing to negotiate a loan deal and maybe beyond that," Rummenigge said via Tuttomercato.

"I'm not the coach, but I think Renato needs regular football. I can confirm Milan's interest, but talks didn't progress last week.

"If a club are interested in a Bayern player, they must be ready to deal with significant economic figures and I don't feel that Milan are ready to meet our demands.

"We'll say that it wouldn't be bad if a €48m offer came in for him…"

Cassano makes retirement u-turn

Former Italy international Antonio Cassano has announced his return to football, a day after retiring from the game.

The veteran forward, who represented the likes of Roma, Real Madrid, Milan and Inter over a distinguished career that began with hometown club Bari in 1999, signed on a free transfer for newly-promoted Verona last week.

It marked his return to football after a season without a club but after becoming homesick, Cassano released a statement stating his desire to quit the game and return to his family in Genoa.

However, hours later the 35-year-old revealed to the media that he is ready for a 'crazy season' after holding talks with club management.

"This morning I had a moment of weakness," Cassano was quoted as saying by Football Italia. "I had a meeting with (head coach) Fabio Pecchia and the others to say that I wanted to stop.

"I was yearning for my family but the club's management has asked them to come and they gave me the strength to carry on. I want to rise to the challenge and have a crazy season."

Juve call off Schik deal, sign De Sciglio

Juventus have confirmed the signing of Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio but have called off their pursuit of Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick.

De Sciglio, a Rossoneri youth product, arrives with vast experience having featured 31 times for his country and 133 times for the club.

The Bianconeri revealed on their official website that the versatile 24-year-old has arrived in Turin to undergo a routine medical before completing a reported £10.6 million move from their domestic rivals.

However, in a surprise move, the Serie A champions have broken off the deal to sign Schick, claiming the 21-year-old failed his medical.

"The companies UC Sampdoria and Juventus FC announce that it was decided, by mutual agreement, not to perfect the transfer of the player Patrik Schick," read a club statement.