Juventus want Darmian, Perin

Juventus have confirmed their interest in signing Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian and Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

Darmian has struggled for game time at the English Premier League giants while the club is looking at Perin to give Wojciech Szczesny competition following the departure of legendary goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.

Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta said the club will explore the market to look at players that will help strengthen the squad going into the new season.

He said Darmian fits the profile of what they will be looking for being an Italian international, while Perin has the abilities to give Szczesny competition.

Marotta told journalist during a book launch: “We’ve talked a lot about Perin and Darmian.

 “We can say that Buffon’s natural heir is Szczesny, we made a choice last year and we’re very happy with that choice.

“As I’ve always said though, being a great club like Juventus that participates in several competitions means having two top goalkeepers. So I won’t hide that we’ll go in search of a high calibre goalkeeper.

“Perin is a high calibre goalkeeper, but there’s a long way between where we are now, starting a negotiation, and defining the relationship.

“Darmian could fit in terms of those opportunities, players and profiles we’re looking for. He’s also an Italian player and we always think that the hard-core of a squad like Juventus should be represented by players who can also wear the Azzurri shirt.

“Italians have more ability and speed in terms of understanding our environment, so I can’t hide that Darmian is a player who interests us.”

 

 

Insigne: The arrival of Ancelotti is a real coup

Lorenzo Insigne has welcomed the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as the new Napoli manager, saying his arrival is a coup for the club.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced the arrival of the veteran manager on Wednesday, who has joined the club on a three-year contract to replace sacked Maurizio Sarri.  

The Italian striker also thanked the outgoing manager for his contribution to the club in the previous season.

Napoli finished the recently ended Serie A season as runners-up to Juventus but Insigne is confident the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager is the right person to end the club's long drought for the Serie A title.

Insigne told Sky Sport Italia: “I wish Carlo Ancelotti all the best and hopefully he can help us.  

“He’s a great Coach. I didn’t expect this, but we know our President has these cards up his sleeve. The arrival of Ancelotti is a real coup, he’s a great tactician.

“As for Sarri, we can only thank him. He gave us so much and taught something to all of us. We’ve all improved under his tenure and that is thanks to him.”

Napoli appoint Ancelotti to replace Sarri

Carlo Ancelotti has been appointed head coach of Serie A side Napoli.

The 58-year-old replaces Maurizio Sarri who impressively led the club to second-place finishes in two of his three seasons, while ending third in 2016/17.

Ancelotti joins on a three-year deal after reportedly turning down a number of offers, most notably the Italian national team post, that was accepted by Roberto Mancini.

The serial league winner left his last post with Bayern Munich in September 2017 having previously managed Reggiana, Parma, Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

Sarri, meanwhile, is a leading contender to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea, should he leave, although Zenit St Petersburg is also a possible destination.

Napoli Chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis posted on his Twitter account a message of thanks to his departing managing.

"I would like to thank Maurizio Sarri for his precious dedication to Calcio Napoli, which has made it possible to give prestige and emotions to the city and to the blue fans all over the world, creating a model of play admired everywhere and by anyone. Bravo Maurizio."

Ancelotti was naturally delighted to have been appointed to the famous club.

He said: "I am really happy and honoured to manage a team with a unique city and incredible fans."

Hamsik: I’d like to try something new

Marek Hamsik has given a hint that he could be on the verge of leaving Napoli having told the media in Italy that he wants to try something new.

The Slovakia international admitted that he is tempted to try something new after his side once again failed in their attempt to win the Serie A title this past season.

Reports have suggested that the player has offers from the Far East and is likely to end his long stay with Napoli.

Hamsik has been on the books of Napoli since 2007 when he joined the club from Brescia.

Hamsik told Pravda: “Maybe now is the time when our paths will diverge.

“We believed we could finally get the Scudetto this year.

“I’m disappointed that we missed out on the title again. I’m sorry, because our great fans deserve this triumph, and I thank them for their great support.

“I’ve spent all this time here, giving all my strength. Maybe now is the time when our paths will diverge, I’d like to try something new.”

 

Monchi: No chance Alisson will be sold

AS Roma sporting director Monchi has made it clear that goalkeeper Alisson will not be sold in the upcoming transfer window.

The Brazil international is reportedly a transfer target of Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain, but Monchi insists the probability of his departure is zero.

Alisson made 49 appearances for the Giallorossi across all competitions this season and kept 22 clean sheets.

Monchi was asked about the 25-year-old at the Serie A awards where he was recognised as the best sporting director of the season. Asked about Alisson, he said: "If he leaves, it's just because I've gone back to being a goalkeeper!

"This is the only way he'll leave, but I don't know if I'm ready to play again."

Monchi was also asked about striker Edin Dzeko's future. The former Manchester City man scored 24 goals in all competitions this past season and was linked with a move to Chelsea in January.

"He'll stay with us," Monchi added. "I expect him to have a similar next season to this one. We all want him to stay."

Icardi: I want Inter stay

Mauro Icardi has revealed that he is keen to stay with Inter Milan after helping the Italian giants secure qualification for next season's Champions League.

Inter clinched an impressive 3-2 win over Lazio on the final day of the Serie A to make a return to the European competition.

The forward said he will meet with his club bosses soon where he hopes to have his future sorted.

The player has been linked with a move away from the club, but playing in the Champions League in the new season might convince him to change his mind.

Icardi told Sky Sport Italia: "Now I’ll talk to the club, where we can find the best solution and decide together, but you know my desire to stay. I’m Inter’s No 1 fan.

“New house in Milan? It’s all been arranged. When it’s ready, we’ll have a barbecue there. The fact that we’ve bought a new house here in Milan is a sign.

“We’ll talk with the club and do what is best for Inter. The target was the Champions League, we achieved it and will go from there.

“We’ll have more options on the transfer market now and the club will try to do something. Last year, they did all they could and improved the squad.”

Nainggolan left out of Belgium World Cup squad

Radja Nainggolan has announced his retirement from international football after being left out of the Belgium squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 30-year-old midfielder is said to have had a bumpy relationship with Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, which has led to his omission from the World Cup squad despite playing a key role in Roma reaching the semi-finals of this year’s Uefa Champions League.

Nainggolan was twice this year dropped from the Belgium squad, but was involved in his country's last match against Saudi Arabia.

Martinez told a press conference: “Nainggolan is a top player. The reason is tactical.

“In the past two years the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles.

“We know Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad.”

The midfielder immediately responded to his exclusion from the Belgium squad by announcing his retirement through his social media account.

Nainggolan said on his social media account: “Very reluctantly my international career comes to an end.

“I've always done everything I could to represent my country.”

The Belgium squad is headlined by Manchester City duo Kevin de Bruyne and Vincent Kompany as well as Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United.

There is also a place for Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace, who makes a return to the Belgium national team having been left out for the last international friendly against Saudi Arabia.

Belgium's initial 28-man squad for the World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels, Koen Casteels

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker, Laurent Ciman, Christian Kabasele, Vincent Kompany, Jordan Lukaku, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Dries Mertens, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku.

Sarri hints at move abroad amid Chelsea links

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri admits he may be heading to a club outside Italy in the off-season if he parts ways with the Partenopei.

The 59-year-old tactician has been linked with Premier League outfit Chelsea, who won the FA Cup under manager Antonio Conte on Saturday night, and he has revealed that a move abroad may be on the cards.

The Italian led Napoli to a second-place finish in Serie A this season, finishing only four points behind the Juventus juggernaut which has claimed seven consecutive Scudetti.

Sarri told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Everything in life ends and it is better to finish things after writing a beautiful story.

“I don’t know if I will stay, I have to talk about it with my family.

“The situation is complicated. You can’t say you’re ready to go and try again with this squad when you don’t know that everyone will remain here. I don’t know if the club will manage to keep the players who have release clauses when offers will come in from big clubs.

“What I do think is that I could not go directly to another Italian team, and that if I had to make a change I would prefer to go abroad.”

He added: “We devoted so much to getting more than 90 points and until now that’s all I’d been thinking about.

“Tomorrow (Monday) I will talk to my family and work out what is the best thing to do. I know the president needs an answer from me as soon as possible as he needs to plan.”

Milan hoping to sign Fellaini on a free

AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli is optimistic that the club can secure the services of Marouane Fellaini, once he becomes a free agent.

The Manchester United midfielder's current contract is due to expire at the end of June and he appears unlikely to sign a new deal, which means he will be available on a free transfer.

The Rossoneri are seemingly eager to bring the Belgium international to Milan in the off-season, but Mirabelli admits it's not yet a done deal.

"Fellaini could be an important player, he is," Mirabelli told Sky Sport Italia.

"We know he is not going to renew with United, but it's difficult to say that we have closed the deal.

"He has important attributes. We will do something in that role but we are keeping everything in reserve.

"First we have to secure our signings, then announce them."

Fellaini has been on the fringes of Jose Mourinho's United team this past season. He made only five Premier League starts for the Red Devils this campaign, while coming off the bench 11 times.

Buffon makes emotional farewell

Gianluigi Buffon received a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time for Juventus in Saturday's 2-1 win over Hellas Verona.

The 40-year-old legendary Italian goalkeeper revealed earlier in the week that he would be leaving the Serie A champions after 17 years with the club.

Buffon retired from national team duty in November when Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup. He was expected to announce his retirement from club football as well, in his press conference on Thursday, but left open the door to continue playing away from his beloved Juve.

Goals from Daniele Rugani (49') and Mirelem Pjanic (52') sealed all three points this weekend, with only Alessio Cerci (76') on target for Verona.

Buffon was replaced by Carlo Pinsoglio in the 63rd minute at the Allianz Stadium as Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri allowed his long-standing keeper a memorable and emotional send off.

Shortly after leaving the pitch, Buffon made a lap around the field, saying his goodbyes and thanking the fans.

After winning the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Cup with Parma, Buffon went on to claim 11 Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia's and five Supercoppa Italiana's with Juve, while also winning the World Cup in 2006 with Italy.

Stephan Lichtsteiner, who is also expected to be on his way out of the club, saw his 85th minute penalty expertly saved. He also left the field to ovation from the fans, albeit with a minor knock.

Marotta: You can read my smile

Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta has given a hint that his club could be closing in on a deal to sign Emre Can from Liverpool.

Can’s contract with Liverpool expires in June and has long been linked with a move to Juventus.

The 24-year old midfielder was this week left out of the German squad for the World Cup in Russia, having missed the last two months of the season due to injury.

The midfielder is part of the Liverpool squad that has travelled to a training camp in Marbella ahead of the Champions League final with Real Madrid on May 26.

He has failed to agree a new deal with Liverpool and reports have suggested that he will be unveiled as a new Juventus player after the Champions League final.

He has made 166 appearances for the Reds scoring 14 goals since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014.

However, Marotta feels it might prove very difficult to re-sign Chelsea's Alvaro Morata, who has also been linked with a move to the Old Lady of Turin.

Marotta told Mediaset Premium: “Morata always expressed sincere appreciation for Juventus and the city of Turin, but it was a very expensive transfer, so it’s practically impossible to get him back.

“Emre Can? I am very optimistic. You can read my smile.”

 

 

Zanetti: Inter belongs in the Champions League

Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti reckons the Italian giants are a club that should be playing in the Champions League every season.

Inter have to win their final Serie A game against Lazio on Sunday to qualify for next season’s European competition.

Zanetti spoke of the need for Inter to secure qualification for the Champions League after starring for his club’s legends in a match against the Chelsea legends at Stamford Bridge on Friday night.

The former Inter captain is confident his beloved club will win Sunday's must-win match to make a return to Europe’s top competition.

Zanetti told FCInterNews: "We won a very important game here eight years ago on our way to the Champions League. It’s always a pleasure to wear the Inter jersey and represent it all over the world. I think like a director now, but it’s always a pleasure to play with friends and a responsibility to wear the armband.

 “We hope Inter can put in a great game. I think the Coach, his staff and the players deserve to be in the Champions League next year. Luciano Spalletti has so much experience; he’s preparing the team well for a great performance.

“The Champions League is a competition Inter belong in. If we do enter, then we’ve got the chance to create an even stronger squad. Even if we don’t make it, I think we’ll keep the same men, because we’re at the start of an important journey.

“The Coach realised from the start what it means to represent Inter. He works hard and the players follow him, so hopefully on Sunday we can achieve our goal.”

Parma back in Serie A

Parma earned a sensational return to Italy's top flight on Friday - just three years after being relegated to the fourth division when the club were declared bankrupt.

The once mighty side’s record third successive promotion was sealed with a 2-0 win over Spezia thanks to goals from Fabio Ceravolo and Amato Ciciretti.

Promotion rivals Frosinone conceded an 89th-minute equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Foggia to hand Parma second place in Serie B.

They were promoted courtesy of their better head-to-head record.

In the 1990’s, Parma were one of Italy's top sides, winning the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with teams featuring the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram Fabio Cannavaro, and Hernan Crespo.

They were relegated to Serie D after going bust in 2015.

Parma join Serie B champions Empoli, who finished 13 points clear, in gaining automatic promotion to Serie A, while Frosinone, Palermo, Venizia, Bari, Citadella and Perugia will decide third place via the play-offs.

Agent: Jorginho's City move up to Napoli

Napoli midfielder Jorginho could be on his way to Premier League champions Manchester City in the off-season, according to his agent Joao Santos.

The 26-year-old is reportedly a transfer target for City, who may need to fork out around £56million for his serves, but his agent has revealed that the deal hinges on whether Napoli agree to sell him. Jorginho has two years left on his contract with the Partenopei.

"Jorginho is still under contract but if Napoli finds an agreement with City, the player will go to Manchester," said Santos, as quoted by Sky Sports.

"Finding an agreement with the English club will not be a problem considering the importance of the team.

"But, I repeat, that will depend on the decisions of Napoli as the player is tied for another two years.

"City are the champions of England and are one of the top European clubs. If Napoli and City find a solution, we can talk about it. Otherwise, he will be happy to continue in Naples.

"At the moment, I have not heard anything from the leadership of Napoli. I hope to hear from the director and maybe in the next few days I will be in Naples to talk about it."

The defensive midfielder has made 38 appearances for Napoli across all competitions this season, contributing with four goals and four assists.

Juventus confirm Chiellini as new captain

Juventus have confirmed that veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini will replace departing goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as the captain of the club.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli made the announcement during Buffon’s press conference, where the goalkeeper revealed that he will be leaving the Old Lady of Turin after 17 years of service.

Buffon said Saturday's final game of the season against Verona will be the last for him in the colours of Juventus. He is leaving after making 656 official appearances for the club.

The 40-year old goalkeeper said the lanky defender is the best candidate to take over the armband having also given a long service service to Juve.

Buffon told a press conference: “I can’t give Giorgio advice. We basically lived in sync for 13 years, in the locker room and on the field.

“Giorgio, in my view, perfectly encapsulates the role of Juventus captain. I wish him the best and feel full of affection for him.

“If I thought the Serie A unbeaten record was all down to me, I’d have to be locked up!

“I was one 20th of that and a lot of it was down to Giorgio, who was always a figure of certainty in front of me. I’m sure he’ll ensure I’m not missed.”

Buffon says enough is enough

Gianluigi Buffon has finally called time on his career and will play his final game for Juventus on Saturday.

The 40-year-old bows out of the game in a season of heartache as Italy missed out on World Cup and Juve lost to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Italian giants did, however, cruise to their seventh consecutive Serie A title, and will complete their season against Hellas Verona at the Allianz Stadium this weekend.

Buffon, who has been at the club for 17 years, has won nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia's, five Supercoppa Italiana's, not to mention the World Cup in 2006.

He also claimed a UEFA Cup with Parma but retires without a Champions League winners medal, having lost the 2003 final to AC Milan, before defeat to Barcelona in 2014 and in 2017 to Real Madrid.

It appeared as if Buffon was set to continue playing on next season but explained he will reveal his next career step after taking a rest from playing - with a coaching role at Juventus the most likely option at this stage.

He said: "Next week, after two or three days of reflection and serenity, I will take my decision.

"Fifteen days ago, I was already an ex-player. Now I'm not sure any more. Proposals have arrived for some new challenges on and off the pitch. The most important off the pitch is from Juventus."

He added: "Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special."

Figo: Inter can't sell their best players

Inter legend Luis Figo has warned the club that they need to hold on to the likes of Mauro Icardi if they intend to get themselves back to the top of Italian football.

Icardi could be on his way out in the off-season, despite his hefty €110m release clause, if the Nerazzurri fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Figo, who won four Scudetti with Inter, believes it's vital for the club to hold on to him.

“Big teams must have the best players,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“With them, they have a better chance to reach their objectives. However, there must be a balance between sporting and economic levels.

“Inter started this season very well but encountered a harder time in December and January, which took them out of the Scudetto running.

“I hope they can qualify for the Champions League, it would be an important accomplishment for Inter because it would mean a lot financially.

“Inter are a big team. The transition they made after Moratti’s departure was negative in terms of the results.

“They walked through the desert a bit, but I hope they recover and go back to winning like the old days.”

Inter's final Serie A game of the season is a crucial clash with Lazio on Sunday. The Nerazzurri are fifth in the standings, three points below fourth-placed Lazio.

Victory would put them into the top four and the Champions League, as a win would give them a superior head-to-head record over their opponents, after drawing 0-0 in their previous Serie A tie this season.

Allegri backed to stay at Juventus

Former Juventus and Italy striker Gianluca Vialli believes Bianconeri manager Massimiliano Allegri should stay at the club, as he has all the tools available to him to succeed.

Allegri has led the Italian giants to four consecutive league and cup doubles since being appointed in 2014 to take over from Antonio Conte.

In addition, Juve have also had some measure of success in the UEFA Champions League as they were losing finalists in both the 2014/15 and 2016/17 editions of the competition.

Nonetheless, Vialli, who scored 16 goals in 59 appearances for his country during his playing career, takes the view that Allegri can build an even greater legacy if he stays on at the club.

Speaking to Agnelli-owned newspaper La Stampa, he said: "Max is very good on both a technical and tactical level, because he is able to adapt his team’s system to suit certain situations and different opponents.

"In terms of management, his ability is often underestimated. I would like to have been coached by him.

"Today, footballers are like brand names. A coach has to take this into account. I do not think Allegri is looking for stimulation elsewhere.

"Sometimes (Sir Alex) Ferguson (legenadary Man United manager) may have thought about it, but he was at the same club for more than 25 years.

"Maybe one day we’ll talk about Allegri as “Sir Max.” It is not easy to leave Juventus because it is hard to find somewhere better."

Allegri: I’m staying at Juventus

Max Allegri has finally spoken on reports linking him with a move to England, saying he will remain at Juventus unless the club fires him.

Allegri on Sunday led Juventus to their seventh consecutive Serie A title having also won the Coppa Italia for a fourth season in a row on Wednesday.

The Juve manager has been linked with Arsenal and London rivals Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Arsene Wenger ended his long reign at Arsenal on Sunday while there is uncertainty over the future of Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

However, Allegri says he is happy to remain with the Serie A giants unless they fire him.

Allegri told a press conference: “If they don’t fire me, then I think I’m staying at Juventus next season too.

“It’s not an issue of decisions on the future, it’s about planning what the future of Juventus will be, because once we’ve finished celebrating, we have to sit around a table with clear heads.

“When the next season begins, we all start from zero points and must continue proving we are competitive.”

 

 

 

 

Juve win seventh successive Serie A title

Juventus earned a historic seventh consecutive Serie A title on Sunday after a 0-0 draw with 10-man Roma.

The point was enough to give Juve an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Napoli with just one game remaining.

The success is the club’s 34th top-flight title and a fourth double in four seasons for coach Massimiliano Allegri following Wednesday's Coppa Italia success over AC Milan.

Napoli needed Juve to lose both their games to have a chance of success, and despite a below-par performance from the defending champions, Roma’s chances of victory were effectively ended when Radja Nainggolan was dismissed for his second yellow card midway through the second half.

A 2-0 win for Napoli at Sampdoria ultimately proved fruitless.

It marked a disappointing end to the season for the southern club, who had taken the race for the Scudetto down to the wire when they defeated Juventus in Turin on 22 April.

However, a 3-0 loss at Fiorentina and then with a 2-2 draw with Torino left the Neapolitans' hopes of claiming a first Scudetto in 20 years in ruins.

Following the win, Allegri said the motivation to win again next year would still be there.

"Motivation is always there at Juventus…. the objective will be to be in the running for every objective in March again.

"You have to work on yourself and find the motivation within yourself too, setting personal targets as well as those for the group.

"It's a wonderful feeling, as it's never easy to win. There are players here who won all seven titles and deserve Saturday's salute in front of their home fans. We want to celebrate all together in Turin.''