Inter v Sassuolo called off, players banned from internationals after more positive COVID-19 tests

By Sports Desk March 18, 2021

The match between Inter and Sassuolo has been postponed after two further positive tests for coronavirus within the Nerazzurri squad.

Inter announced via a statement that Stefan de Vrij and Matias Vecino have gone into quarantine after testing positive. Samir Handanovic and Danilo D'Ambrosio had already begun isolating after previously returning positive tests.

Authorities in Milan have declared Inter must suspend all team activities for the next four days, which includes Saturday's game with Sassuolo and a ban on international players joining up with national squads.

The whole first team will undergo further tests on Monday.

The four positive tests within the Serie A leaders' squad have come as coronavirus cases across Italy continue to rise.

On Tuesday, Italy recorded 502 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily number since the end of January. Approximately half the country entered a strict lockdown this week to combat spikes in case numbers and remaining regions are set to follow suit at the beginning of April.

Sassuolo's game against Torino on Wednesday had been rearranged after authorities called for it to be postponed due to concerns over virus cases.

Inter are top of Serie A heading into the final weekend of games before the international break, nine points clear of Milan and 10 ahead of champions Juventus, who have a game in hand.

Related items

  • Chiellini leaving Juventus and Italy retirement 'a pity for everyone', says Mancini Chiellini leaving Juventus and Italy retirement 'a pity for everyone', says Mancini

    Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has declared Giorgio Chiellini's decision to leave Juventus and retire from international football as a "pity for everyone".

    Juve great Chiellini confirmed after the 4-2 Coppa Italia final loss to Inter last week that he will depart Turin at the end of the season, ending a 17-year spell with the Bianconeri that has seen him lift 20 trophies.

    The centre-back has also already revealed he will retire from international duty with Italy after the Azzurri play Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1.

    Chiellini opted to play in the Finalissima, a new final pitting the winners of the Copa America and European Championship against each other, as a fitting conclusion after Italy lifted Euro 2020 at Wembley in July.

    Reports suggest 37-year-old Chiellini may accept an offer to play in MLS before taking his sizeable experience into management or a coaching role.

    Mancini, speaking at the Prisco Prize in Chieti where he received a Special Jury Prize, was quick to heap praise on the veteran Chiellini as he reflected on the influence he has had on Italian football.

    "It is a pity for everyone because he was a great player for the national team and for Juve," Mancini said, as quoted by Corriere dello Sport.

    "Unfortunately, time passes for everyone. He made this decision but leaving after winning the European Championship in a race like the one at Wembley is still important."

    Napoli talisman Lorenzo Insigne has also announced he will leave Serie A to move to Toronto FC at the end of the season.

    The 30-year-old scored on his final home appearance for Napoli on Sunday, becoming the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history as he moved clear of Marek Hamsik's tally of 121.

    Only team-mate Dries Mertens, with 148, has managed more goals for Napoli, and Mancini spoke glowingly of Insigne after his efforts in Naples and with the national side.

    "He will go on to have an important experience anyway. He gave a lot to the national team and I hope he can do it again," the Azzurri boss added.

    With those two experienced campaigners leaving Serie A, Mancini believes it is time for the Italian top flight to provide more young talent to fill the void Chiellini and Insigne will leave.

    Mancini and the Italian system came into criticism for not trusting younger players after Italy failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup following play-off defeat to North Macedonia in late March.

    "The important thing when things didn't go well is to get up," he continued. "We will have games in the summer and then the Nations League restarts. 

    "There are several interesting youngsters in the championship but we would like more."

  • Man Utd target Milinkovic-Savic references Pogba as an inspiration Man Utd target Milinkovic-Savic references Pogba as an inspiration

    Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cited Manchester United's Paul Pogba as an inspiration as speculation grows over a transfer to Old Trafford.

    Milinkovic-Savic has played an integral role at Lazio since joining from Genk in July 2015, appearing over 200 times in Serie A.

    The Serbia international has again delivered for Maurizio Sarri's side this season, providing 10 goals and 11 assists in the league, while no Serie A midfielder can match his 21 goal contributions.

    Meanwhile, no Lazio player has started more Serie A games than the 27-year-old this term, while he also ranks top for tackles (67) and duels won (247).

    A creative presence as well as a dominant midfielder, only Luis Alberto (64) has created more chances than Milinkovic-Savic (47), but reports in Italy suggest Lazio are ready to sell their star midfielder.

    Paris Saint-Germain and United are among the favourites to sign him, with Lazio's preference not to sell to fellow domestic side Juventus, and Milinkovic-Savic has referenced two Premier League players as his idols.

    Pogba, who appears set to depart United at the end of the season, came under special praise from Milinkovic-Savic, while Thiago Alcantara's creativity for Liverpool was also cited.

    "Comparisons between me and Pogba? I learned a lot from him at the beginning when I arrived in Italy and he was at Juventus," he told DAZN.

    "He is tall like me, has the technique and always makes a difference."

    On Thiago, he added: "Against shorter players, I struggle more because I have to lower myself too. Who do I get my cue from? I always look at Thiago from Liverpool.

    "I developed some body movements thanks to Futsal, a sport I practised as a child."

    Milinkovic-Savic acknowledged he was pleased to continue developing after producing arguably his best season and spoke long term about harbouring Ballon d'Or ambitions.

    "My best year? For a few years, the statistics say, I play a little better," he added. "If I feel undervalued? I don't think about this, when I finish the game if I have time I see it again and then I decide if I did well or not, I'm honest with myself.

    "In the movements without the ball I have grown a lot over the years. Little by little I have worked and this year you can see the results.

    "Five years from now? I don't think so much about the future, I look day by day and I don't think too much about things. Ballon d'Or? Of course, I'd like to win it!"

  • Madrid, Man Utd or Liverpool? Monaco star Tchouameni non-committal on his future amid transfer speculation Madrid, Man Utd or Liverpool? Monaco star Tchouameni non-committal on his future amid transfer speculation

    Monaco prospect Aurelien Tchouameni remained non-committal over his future amid growing speculation of interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool.

    Tchouameni came through the Bordeaux academy before joining Monaco in 2020 on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

    The midfielder has appeared 34 times in Ligue 1 this campaign, with only Wissam Ben Yedder (36) and goalkeeper Alexander Nubel (37) featuring more for Philippe Clement's side.

    The 22-year-old Tchouameni represents a threat at both ends of the pitch, leading Monaco's charts for successful opposition-half passes (912), while making the most tackles (84) and winning the most duels (258).

    That presence has led to interest from the likes of Madrid, where fellow France youngster Eduardo Camavinga joined last season, Liverpool and United, who are reportedly also interested in Declan Rice.

    Tchouameni, speaking at the annual Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionels (UNFP) award ceremony in Paris, where he was named in Ligue 1's Team of the Year, played his cards close to his chest on his future.

    "Good question. I have a contract with Monaco," he said when asked about the transfer speculation.

    "I'm very good there. The most important thing is to finish the season well. We'll do the accounts at the end and we'll see what the future holds for me."

    Tchouameni and Monaco conclude their French top-flight season with a trip to Lens on Saturday, with Clement's side second in the table, ahead of Marseille on a goal difference.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.