Arsenal's Ospina could be set for Napoli stay

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina will reportedly make his move to Napoli permanent after producing some good performances on loan in Serie A.

According to the player's father, Hernan, it seems likely he will remain with Gli Azzurri on a permanent basis in future.

The Colombia keeper was allowed to leave the Gunners on loan ahead of 2018/19 by new manager Unai Emery, as the arrival of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen greatly reduced his chances of playing with Petr Cech also on board.

Ospina has managed 11 appearances for his club this campaign in Italy which includes a clean sheet against Liverpool in a UEFA Champions League tie. In the player's contract is a clause which says if he plays 30 times, a permanent deal will be sealed.

The 30 year old's father told Radio Marte: "Yes, I hear it said here by all the media. The Napoli wants to keep it regardless of the 30 games.

"He is happy, has a good contract, is doing very well with the whole team and is in one of the best clubs in Italy.

"In Italy there is a great team like Juventus that keeps Napoli behind, but I think that with the season that are playing the Azzurri deserves the first place, David calls me before every game.

"He is a very professional and dedicated to his job. It is a person who usually shares everything with us parents, is a man who sacrifices himself for his team, is a great boy and is focused on giving his best for Naples and his national team.

"He is living a great moment. We believe it can become one of the best goalkeepers in the world, this is our hope."

Conte waiting for a 'new team and new project'

Antonio Conte says he will take his time in considering a new coaching job, having steered clear of talks with Real Madrid.

The former Chelsea boss was one of the frontrunners in the media to take over from sacked Julen Lopetegui, with interim boss Santiago Solari now looking to be handed the job on a full-time basis.

Conte has been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea in July 2018 but is in no rush to take up a new role just yet.

He spoke to Sky in Italy about a potential move to Serie A, saying: "Let's see what happens in the future, but for sure Italy. I would like be in Italy and work again in Italy, without excluding that I might work again abroad."

Conte added: "For a manager of my level it is better to wait instead of jumping on a train. I prefer to wait for June and to start a path with a new team, a new project.

"For the moment, I don't feel the urge to go back to work. Maybe in a two or three months I will feel the desire and I'll say something different from what I am saying now."

Ronaldo: We gifted the game to Man United

Cristiano Ronaldo says Manchester United were not deserved winners of their Champions League encounter in Turin on Wednesday night.

Ronaldo had opened the scoring for Juventus with a phenomenal strike on 65 minutes.

The Italian side looked to be in control and cruising to victory, but a rash of second-half substitutes from the Premier League team turned the tie on its head as United emerged as 2-1 victors.

First Juan Mata came off the bench to curl home an exquisite free-kick on 86 minutes before Ashley Young's 89th minute was turned home for an own-goal by Alex Sandro, after Marouane Fellaini, also fresh off the bench, got a vital flick.

After the game, an annoyed Ronaldo bleated on Sky Sport Italia: "We dominated the game for 90 minutes, had so many chances, could've killed it off three or four times, but we relaxed and were punished.

"Manchester United did nothing to win the game. You can't even talk about luck, because you have to find your own luck and in this case we just gifted it to them.

"Now we've got to lift our heads, as we played really well and are still top of the group."

A draw would have seen Juventus qualify for the knockout rounds, but now they need something of a result against Valencia in three weeks.

Mourinho explains gesture to Juve fans after Man United win

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says his gesture towards Juventus fans after Wednesday's 2-1 UEFA Champions League Group H victory was justified.

It appeared Juve were on course for victory after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning volley in the 65th minute at the Allianz Stadium in Torino.

However, United showed great resolve as they won the encounter following a superb Juan Mata free-kick as well as a last minute own goal by Alex Sandro.

The result sees the Red Devils move to seven points in the standings, just two behind the Italians in Group H. Valencia are in third on five points while Young Boys are in last position with just a single point to their name.

Nonetheless, after the final whistle again I Bianconeri, Mourinho walked out on to the pitch while cupping his ear in a provocative manner towards the home fans.

However, the Portuguese explained he was justified to do so after they verbally abused him throughout the game.

Speaking to BT Sports, he said: "In a beautiful Italian city, they insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn't insult them. I just made a little thing.

"I know the millions of Inter fans are happy with that. But I respect Juventus, their players, the manager, the quality they have."

The 55-year-old added of the picking up a vital three points against the Serie A champions, "We performed at a high level. After the goal we had five minutes to wake up again.

"We were there from the first minute until the last. It is a big victory for us, not just because we needed the points but because it was away from home against an amazing team.

"They are a fantastic team with an amazing record at home. We had to come and not feel inferior. They have more potential than us. Everybody knows their ambitions."

Juventus stunned by United

Manchester United astonishingly came from a goal down to beat Juventus 2-1 in Turin on Wednesday night.

Match summary

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a phenomenal volley on 65 minutes.

And despite looking good for the win, Jose Mourinho had other ideas, as Juan Mata came off the bench to level with 85 minutes played.

Alex Sandro was then unfortunate to turn an Ashley Young free-kick into his own net at the death.

Full report

There was an edge to the start of this game, with Anthony Martial nervy as he harried for the ball in the opening exchanges, while Ronaldo saw an early volley blocked as he linked up with Paulo Dybala.

Chris Smalling got in the way of a tame Ronaldo shot minutes later, before Rodrigo Bentancur saw his goalbound effort deflected wide by the busy United centre-back.

Nemanja Matic then chipped on for Alexis Sanchez as the away side got on the ball, but the pass was just too far ahead of him as Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny guided the ball out of play.

Sami Khedira could not beat David de Gea as the home side strode forward, ahead of a sharp stop from De Gea on 34 minutes.

Juan Cuadrado's cross from the right took a deflection off Matic and towards goal but De Gea was out quickly to make a good low stop.

Khedira should have opened the scoring with the half wearing down, but he dragged his shot from a Ronaldo cross wide from the penalty spot.

Andre Herrera had to be alert to clear ahead of Leonardo Bonucci as he connected to a Dybala free-kick from the right in the final few minutes, while the second period started with some good link-up play, and Martial curling just wide of the right-hand upright.

A brilliant effort from Dybala on 50 minutes was just a few inches too high as it struck the United crossbar, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with a strike on the volley from Ronaldo on 65 minutes.

The Portugal striker raced onto Bonucci's ball over the top and smashed it past De Gea as it dropped over his shoulder for a truly excellent goal.

Stunned by the strike, the away side nearly conceded a second as Dybala got free in the box, only to see De Gea make an excellent save.

Miralem Pjanic sidefooted wide as Juventus went in search of a second, with United opening up in defence, while Cuadrado could only sky his effort from close range after being teed up by Ronaldo.

Juventus were pilling on the pressure, while United searched for a way back into the game. They brought on Marcus Rashford, Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata for Jesse Lingard, Herrera and Sanchez.

Juve made a switch as Bentancur was replaced by Andrea Barzagli, with Blaise Matuidi earlier on for Khedira.

And it was the United changes that had the bigger effect on the game, as Mata curled an 85th minute free-kick over the wall and into the corner, and out of the reach of Szczesny.

But even more astonishingly, was a 90th minute winner from United, that went down as an Alex Sandro own-goal. Young's curled free-kick from the left was deflected in off Bonucci and Sandro, with Fellaini appearing to have got the slightest of flick's on the ball through.

The result means that Massimiliano Allegri's side stay on nine points from four games, and United move onto seven points. A draw would have been good enough for Juventus to qualify for the next round, but not as group leaders.

 

Ronaldo has some set-piece duties stripped by Allegri

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has revealed he took some free-kick duties away from Cristiano Ronaldo, due to the success of Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala.

When Ronaldo joined the Italian Serie A giants from Real Madrid, he was reportedly responsible for all free-kicks attacking the goal, however, Allegri has now made a change to his plans.

Dybala and Pjanic have scored 16 goals between them from free-kicks over the last three seasons, whereas, Ronaldo managed just three for Madrid over the same period.

Nonetheless, Allegri explained that the Portugal superstar will still take free-kicks from a longer distance although any strikes closer to the goal will be handed to either of his two Juve teammates.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said: "Ronaldo is a smart guy, he knows Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala are excellent free-kick takers and they are going to take those close to the area.

"When there are free-kicks from far away, Ronaldo can kick them but we've decided that Dybala and Pjanic will take the set-pieces close to the area."

I Bianconeri are next in action on Wednesday in a UEFA Champions League Group H clash against Manchester United at the Allianz Stadium in Torino.

Montoya: Neymar wants Barcelona return

Former Barcelona star and current Brighton & Hove Albion right-back Martin Montoya believes that Neymar wants a return to Barca due to his connection with the club.

Neymar spent four seasons with the Spanish giants from 2013 until 2017 where he scored 105 goals in 168 appearances.

However, he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a fee of 222 million euros and has scored 40 goals in 44 appearances during his time with the Parisians in Ligue 1.

Nonetheless, recent reports speculate the Brazil superstar wants a return to Camp Nou as he desires to link up again with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Speaking to Goal, Montoya said: "I think Neymar wants to go back to Barcelona because he felt comfortable and adapted during the three years he was at the club. He had a wonderful connection with Luis Suarez and Messi.

"PSG are also a great team and I do not think they'll let him go easily. They paid a lot of money for him and I do not think Barcelona will pay the same price to bring him back.

The former Inter Milan defender added that Barca were favourites in Tuesday's clash with I Nerazzurri in a UEFA Champions League tie at the San Siro Stadium.

He concluded: "Barca is always Barca. They are one of the best teams and can beat you whenever. They have fantastic players.

"Look at Tottenham, they're a great team and they were beaten at Wembley. The game is very close, but I think Barcelona is the favorite."

Benatia could be open to January exit

Juventus defender Medhi Benatia admits he could seek a January exit if his 'unpleasant situation' does not improve in the next two months.

The Morocco international featured 20 times for the Bianconeri last term as they won a seventh consecutive Serie A title, having made his loan switch from Bayern Munich permanent in May 2017.

But the return of Leonardo Bonucci from Milan during the off-season has led to a lack of regular game-time for Benatia in the opening three months of the new campaign.

After managing five starts in all competitions for Massimiliano Allegri's side, the 31-year-old centre-back suggested he could look elsewhere for first-team opportunities in the New Year if his circumstances don't improve.

"If you need me in the Champions League, I will make myself ready," Benatia told La Stampa. "But I can hardly play a game every so often.

"Last year I did well because I had more continuity. Unfortunately now I don't have it and this is part of my job. I always work to make myself ready, but it is not a pleasant situation.

"I am available to the team and as long as I stay here I will give my best. I'm 31 and I have to try to play as much as possible. Let's see what will happen in January."

Ronaldo helps Juventus to best ever start to season

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has helped his club to their best ever start to a Serie A season in Italy.

Ronaldo was in the starting line-up on Saturday as Juve saw off Cagliari 3-1 with the goals coming from Paulo Dybala, an own goal from Filip Bradaric while substitute Juan Cuadrado got the third.

The away side's goal came from Joao Pedro to make it 1-1 before the Italian champions quickly stamped their authority to make it 3-1.

Ronaldo got an assist in the encounter when he assisted Cuadrado's third in the contest.

By winning 10 of their opening 11 matches and drawing the other, Bianconeri have set a new club record for the best start to a campaign at the highest level.

Currently, Massimiliano Allegri's men enjoy a six point advantage at the top of the standings ahead of rivals Napoli and Inter Milan.

Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer is the second highest scorer in Italy with seven goals, while Genoa's Krzysztof Piatek is slightly ahead of him with nine strikes.

Report: Juventus pull out of pursuit for Ajax's de Ligt

Juventus have reportedly ended their pursuit of Ajax Amsterdam centre-back Matthijs de Ligt after concerns arose about his 60 million euro asking price.

The 19-year-old defender, who is an Ajax youth product, has caught the attention of a number of top European sides following his top performances for De Godenzonen since the 2016/17 season.

The talented teenager is already a full international with the Netherlands and appears to have a bright future in the game at the highest level.

However, it appears he won't be leaving his current side to join the Italian Serie A giants in future after they were said to be put off by the high asking price for the young starlet.

According to Tuttosport, the side believe the transfer fee is too high and they cannot compete with English giants Manchester City, who are also said to be interested in his services.

Other sides who reportedly have the Leiderdorp-born man on their radar are Barcelona as well as Bayern Munich.

Nonetheless, the player will not be leaving in the January transfer window after Director of Football Marc Overmars said he would only possibly leave at the end of 2018/19.

In the current campaign de Ligt has made 18 appearances in all competitions for the Erik ten Hag-coached outfit.

Ajax midfielder linked with move to Roma

Ajax Amsterdam central midfielder Donny van de Beek has been linked with a move to Italian giants Roma following some good displays for de Godenzonen.

The 21-year-old was the subject of much transfer speculation ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, though he eventually decided to remain with the Eredivisie giants.

Nonetheless, Roma are said to be monitoring the player with a great deal of interest and could make a move for him either in the January transfer window or at the end of the current campaign.

It is thought the Serie A side could potentially land his services after Ajax and I Giallorossi developed a good working relationship involving the transfer of forward Justin Kluivert in June.

According to a report in Calciomercato, the Italians are hopeful that this may give them the advantage in the race to land his signature in future.

Van de Beek appears to be a highly prized target in European football and has been linked with a move to English Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur as well.

In the current campaign the midfielder has made seven appearances in all competitions while scoring one goal and tallying a single assist.

Gattuso concerned by lack of conviction

Gennaro Gattuso was pleased and relieved to come away from AC Milan's Serie A clash with a narrow 2-1 defeat of Genoa.

Suso's fourth minute goal got proceedings underway at the Giuseppe Meazza, but an own-goal from Alessio Romagnoli on 56 minutes threatened the prospect of a second successive win - after victory over Sampdoria last time out.

But the centre-back sensationally made up for his earlier error with the winning goal in extra-time to claim all three points for Milan.

After the game, Gattuso told Milan TV: "We started off well, then we started making mistakes, losing conviction, the game changed because of this: the team created a lot, but we conceded another goal."

The result put I Rossoneri fourth in Serie A, with 18 points from 10 games, 10 points off leaders Juventus.

Gattuso added: "I am satisfied with the 18 points but I am concerned about how we play, how we face the opponents, we have too many ups and downs, we still have some work to do. Today, I chose a three-man defense because I wanted more ball possession in the middle of the field, we behaved differently when we had control of the ball".

The manager concluded: "We have to stay in this position, we are aware of the sacrifices we have made to improve our standings, we need to rest. We have to recover energy because the boys are spending a lot at a physical and mental level".

Up next for a seemingly improving Milan side is an away trip to face 16th-placed Udinese on Sunday.

Pjanic: Napoli and Inter will push us all the way

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic expects Napoli and Inter Milan to give the Old Lady a run for their money in the Serie A title race.

The Bianconeri will be hoping to make it eight Scudetto titles in a row after an impressive start to the 2018/19 season.

The Bosnian midfielder is confident they will also challenge for the UEFA Champions League.

"The Scudetto takes a whole year of work to win. People think it must be very easy and immediately say 'Obviously Juve will win it,' but people must know it's not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to achieve that," Pjanic told reporters.

"Napoli are strong and to be respected. I know Inter's Coach well, Luciano Spalletti is very smart. They had a few problems at the start, but are now doing very well and we saw it in [Monday's] victory against Lazio.

"I expect these two sides to be up there with us to the end. It's a long campaign, we are only at the beginning and it'll be a great battle. We hope to win, but nothing is to be taken for granted with those two behind us.

"Obviously, the Champions League is one of the prime objectives for us, the club and the fans. The team is aware of its potential and we want to win everything possible, because it's such a large and competitive squad.

"We are strong enough to try to win everything there is to win."

Neymar: Messi and Ronaldo improve my game

Paris Saint-Germain attacker Neymar has revealed that sharing a football pitch with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo helps bring out the best in him.

Neymar played alongside Messi for Barcelona from 2013 to 2017 before moving to Paris Saint-Germain. He has also often faced Juventus' Ronaldo, who starred for Real Madrid during Neymar's time in Spain.

"Facing Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo -- and I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football," Neymar told The Players' Tribune when asked what it is about Messi and Ronaldo that the average person doesn't comprehend.

"With Messi, I learned every day, whether during our practice, or playing with him, or just watching him play. And that made me stronger and it increased my capacity on the field because I kept learning a lot from him.

"As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a monster. Facing him is a pleasure and an honour, but we have to be more prepared. He is one of the greatest in football so you get smarter, you get alert, but at the same time you learn a lot, too.

"So, they are two of the big guys that I can relate to, because I want to learn, I want more, I want to win, I want more trophies, score more goals ... so I keep learning from them every day."

Having scored 19 goals in 20 Ligue 1 appearances in his debut season for PSG, Neymar has netted eight times in nine matches during the current campaign.

At 26 years of age, he will be hoping to propel himself to new heights as Messi and Ronaldo enter the twilight of their careers.

Abate backing underfire Gattuso

AC Milan defender Ignazio Abate has thrown his weight behind under-fire Gennaro Gattuso and feels his manager needs time to get things right at the club.

The Rossoneri over the weekend bounced back from two defeats in a row with a 3-2 victory over Sampdoria in the Serie A.

Reports in Italy have suggested that the hierarchy at the club is unhappy with the inconsistent performances shown in the 2018/19 season and want a new manager to replace Gattuso.

"It's in his blood. He has all the elements to have a great career," Abate told the club's official television channel.

"This is his home and he carries the fate of this club in his heart more than anyone. He's very well-prepared, he knows how to sound the right notes with us every day in training.

"The team showed (against Sampdoria) that it is united, we wanted to give a signal to the outside about how we work at Milanello, with great intensity and professionalism with a Coach who feels like one of us.

"We'll try to get results, then anything can happen on the pitch."

Spalletti staying grounded after Lazio win

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti refused to get carried away after watching his side cruise to a 3-0 victory away at Lazio on Monday.

Mauro Icardi’s brace and a Marcelo Brozovic strike were the difference between the sides at the Stadio Olimpico.

The result extended Inter’s winning streak to six league games, lifting the Nerazzurri to second in the table, just six points behind leaders Juventus, although Spalletti emphasised he would not get carried away.

“The performance is the fundamental thing,” Spalletti told Sky Sports.

“We have the possibility to control games the way we did in the first half, whereas in the second we gave the ball away too much, allowed Lazio to cause us problems and in those situations I see a lot of what we should not do.

“This is why I say we’re not the anti-Juve, because if we make those errors, we are anti-nobody. We had one decent half, that’s it. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“Anyone who wants to leave things the way they are had better get out of the way. The president has spoken clearly. These are the ambitions of Inter, to have this attitude and control the game at the Stadio Olimpico against a very impressive Lazio.

“The results might not always be like this, but the approach has to be for Inter.”

Spalletti also defended his decision to leave defender Stefan de Vrij on the bench.

The Dutch defender, then a Lazio player, conceded a critical penalty against Inter in the final match of last season that saw the Nerazzurri qualify for the Champions League instead of Lazio.

“I didn’t think it was fair to play De Vrij when he would be jeered by the entire stadium, which is what would have happened,” Spalletti said.

“He is a remarkably sensitive lad and if he had made a couple of errors, he could have gone into a spiral.”

Joao Mario delighted with rare run-out at Inter

Inter Milan midfielder Joao Mario says he was delighted to get a rare run-out for the Nerazzurri after a surprise start in the 3-0 win over Lazio on Monday.

The Portugal international has not featured for Inter in the Serie A since January 5, having also spent the second round of last season on loan at West Ham United.

The 25-year-old was heavily linked with a move away from the club in the off-season after making it public that he would prefer to play his football in England or Spain.

"I prepared well and am trying to train to the max every day in order to earn this opportunity,"Joao Mario told Sky Sport Italia.

"The most important thing is to be ready. It was my turn in this game and I am very happy.

"I have grown up a great deal. It is in moments of difficulty that you really grow up as a person and I've been through a lot of those. I try to do better, become another person and another player.

"I said that I wanted to transform the jeers of the fans into applause. I am happy the supporters gave me this gift of applause as I left the field and I thank them.

"Now it'll be important for me to be ready at all times, so I'll keep working hard."

Ronaldo stopped feeling essential to Real

Cristiano Ronaldo claims he left Real Madrid during the off-season because their president, Florentino Perez, no longer viewed him as "indispensable".

The 33-year-old forward enjoyed a stellar nine seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, where broke numerous records and became the club's all-time leading scorer with 451 goals.

Ronaldo helped Los Blancos win four UEFA Champions League titles in the last five years, but felt his star waning in the eyes of Perez.

The Portugal international opted to join Juventus in July after his participation the 2018 World Cup, although he insists money had nothing to do with his decision to quit Real.

"He [Perez] only ever looked at me as a business relationship. I know it. What he told me never came from the heart," Ronaldo said in an interview with France Football.

"I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start. In the first four or five years there, I had the feeling of being 'Cristiano Ronaldo'. Less afterwards.

"The president looked at me through eyes that didn't want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean. That's what made me think about leaving.

"Sometimes I'd look at the news, where they were saying I was asking to leave. There was a bit of that, but the truth is that I always had the impression that the president would not hold me back.

"If it had all been about money, I'd have moved to China, where I would have earned five times as much than here [at Juventus] or at Real. I did not come to Juve for the money. I earned the same in Madrid, if not more.

"The difference is that, at Juve, they really wanted me. They told me that and made it clear. They showed me that."

Juve confirm surgery for Can

Juventus have announced that Emre Can has undergone surgery on a thyroid nodule, which is likely to sideline him for the visit of Cagliari on Saturday.

The off-season signing from Liverpool has made eight Serie A appearances for the defending champions, who are undefeated after 10 games this season.

Can's last outing came in the 2-0 win over Udinese on October 6, although he featured once for Germany during the international break.

The 24-year-old midfielder was operated on in his hometown on Monday and Juve have yet to give a timescale for his return to action.

"The operation was carried out today in Frankfurt by Professor Vorlaender, in the presence of Dr Claudio Rigo and was a complete success," the Italian club said in a statement.

"The prognosis for the resumption of physical activity will be better assessed in the coming days."

Spalletti: Champions League qualification like silverware

Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti has claimed that qualifying for the UEFA Champions League is similar to lifting a trophy and should be prioritised.

The Nerazzurri are competing in the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12. However, no Italian team has won the competition since their last triumph, in 2009/10.

"Inter as a club are only satisfied by big results in big matches, taking up a place in the top four," Spalletti told a news conference ahead of Monday's away Serie A clash with Lazio.

"To stay in the Champions League is now a goal, it's like winning a title, and there are strong teams at the top as there have been for years.

"The team has put in excellent performances recently and picked up excellent results."

Despite their fine form, Inter sit third in Serie A, nine points behind leaders Juventus, albeit with a game in hand. However, with five consecutive league victories in the bag, they are well on course for another season in Europe's premier club competition.