Miralem Pjanic admits Juventus are putting themselves in "a bit of danger" by failing to be more ruthless in front of goal.

Juve are unbeaten in 13 competitive matches under Maurizio Sarri in 2019-20, sitting top of Serie A after 10 rounds and with two victories from three games in the Champions League.

However, they have at times struggled to win matches comfortably - they have only scored more than twice in a game on two occasions this term and their most recent four victories have all been with a 2-1 scoreline.

Pjanic missed the latest triumph over Genoa, which looked set to finish in a draw until Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty in the 96th minute, but the midfielder will likely return to the starting line-up for the derby with Torino on Saturday.

While he has thrived under Sarri's system, Pjanic has called on Juve's forwards to do more with the chances that are coming their way.

"What I like about [Sarri's] vision is the one-, two-touch game, making the ball move more than us, because the ball always travels faster," he said to Tuttosport.

"Although, recently we've been seeing out matches with few goals compared to what we're creating, and this puts us in a bit of danger and doesn't give us all the satisfaction we could have for how we play.

"We have to be more clinical and take more chances. This will also make opponents have more respect and fear than us.

"Calm and clarity will come once we start to score more, and we'll then keep doing so because this team has so much quality that we'll be able to score goals from every angle. But we have to be more clinical."

Ronaldo was guilty of missing opportunities against Genoa but Pjanic was mostly relieved they got the win in the end, given Inter remain just a point behind them in the table.

He added: "It happens to everyone, but luckily we won in the end and they're three important points, given the results: Inter had won, Napoli lost points...

"It was important to keep up and move forward and to do so until March, which will be the most important month, and maybe see if we can stretch ahead a little."

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain is back in training ahead of Saturday's Derby della Mole showdown with Torino.

Higuain was not part of Juve's squad for Wednesday's dramatic 2-1 victory over Genoa after coming off worse in an aerial collision with Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel last weekend.

The 31-year-old received medical treatment on the field and required stitches to his head after completing the remaining minutes of the match.

However, Juve confirmed on their official website that Higuain trained with his team-mates on Thursday, meaning a possible return to action for the trip to city rivals Torino on Saturday.

Miralem Pjanic, also absent for the win against Genoa, worked separately from the group as he continues his recovery from a minor muscle injury sustained last week.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 96th-minute penalty to help Juventus overcome Genoa, lifting them a point above Inter at the top of Serie A.

Claudio Marchisio has revealed details of an armed robbery at his home earlier this week, telling of how five men held the former Juventus star and his wife at gunpoint.

The ex-Italy midfielder, who announced his retirement earlier this month, was targeted by the armed gang at his property in Vinovo, Turin, on Tuesday.

Marchisio was made to hand over valuable possessions but both he and his wife were left physically unharmed.

Reliving the horrific ordeal, the 33-year-old told Corriere della Sera: "They had their guns pointed at our heads. It was tough, as I'd never seen two real guns before.

"Fortunately, we managed to stay clear-headed. There were five men who broke into our home in Vinovo, they were asking me where we kept the safe. 

"I told them we didn't have one, but they didn't believe me. We really don't. At that point, they took everything they could find and then left. 

"I was frightened for myself and my wife Roberta. Thank heavens the kids weren't at home. They'd gone to play football and their grandfather hadn't brought them back yet.

"In fact, their coach was the first to suspect something was wrong, because we didn't answer the phone. 

"When the robbers realised someone was concerned, they started to rush. That was a stroke of real luck."

Marchisio added: "I know these incidents happen all the time, all over the world. This time it happened to us and fortunately we are safe and sound to tell the tale. 

"That's the most important thing, because I care little for the material possessions that were taken. 

"What remains is the fear but, despite it all, we were able to stay calm, even with a gun pointed to our heads."

Marchisio won 15 major trophies with boyhood club Juventus, including seven Serie A titles, before joining Zenit in 2018 and spending a single season in Russia before his retirement.

Maurizio Sarri admitted Juventus missed the quality of Miralem Pjanic in their dramatic victory over Genoa.

Juve were without the injured midfielder and striker Gonzalo Higuain for Wednesday's Serie A clash at Allianz Stadium, which they edged 2-1 through a 96th-minute penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Italian champions were held 1-1 by Lecce last weekend and were heading for another draw after Christian Kouame cancelled out Leonardo Bonucci's opener.

But sluggish Juventus found a last-gasp winner after Ronaldo won and scored a penalty in a game that ended with both sides reduced to 10 men.

Victory lifted Juve a point above Inter at the top of the table and Sarri was pleased that his side found a solution in the absence of some key men.

"We are speaking about players who are unavailable," he said at his post-match news conference. "We need to focus on those who can play. 

"We played with [Paulo] Dybala and Ronaldo and [Federico] Bernardeschi behind them. Then with Douglas Costa and two very offensive midfielders. 

"We missed Pjanic's quality, of course, and his rhythm, because he moves the ball fast and our play gets faster. 

"Gonzalo is a player that in the last 40 minutes of the game is always in the box more than the strikers we had today. But we had solutions."

Pjanic picked up a knock against Lecce but avoided any serious damage, meaning he could be back in contention for Saturday's Derby della Mole against Torino.

Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey also returned from lay-offs as second-half substitutes in midweek, but Sarri is being cautious over their fitness.

"Ramsey is not completely fit and Douglas only trained twice," the Italian said. "Both are not ready for the 90 minutes. 

"I was worried about Ramsey today, but he reacted well until the end. Anyway, I don't think we need to think about who is missing."

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham may have been humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but he is a target for the German giants.

With Niko Kovac overseeing an inconsistent start to the season in Munich, Bayern are reportedly willing to move on from the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss.

That could open the door for Pochettino, whose Tottenham have struggled to reach the heights of last season following their memorable run to the Champions League final.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN CONSIDER POCH

Bayern Munich are considering Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as a replacement for Niko Kovac, according to Sport1.

Kovac has found himself under increasing criticism following Bayern's inconsistent start to the season.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag – who previously worked with Bayern's reserve team – has also been linked, but sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has reportedly identified Pochettino as the man to replace Kovac should he depart.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Atletico Madrid are eyeing Napoli's Faouzi Ghoulam. The left-back is out of favour and set to leave the Serie A outfit in January.

- Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are keen to sign Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek and Juventus midfielder Emre Can, claims Soccerlink. Piszczek's contract expires at the end of the season, while Can is reportedly eager to leave after being left out of Juve's Champions League squad.

- Sport Bild says Liverpool have joined the race to sign Valencia sensation Ferran Torres. The 19-year-old winger has attracted interest from Dortmund and Barcelona.

Arkadiusz Milik has agreed a contract extension with Napoli, reports Calciomercato. The Poland international's current deal runs out in 2021.

- Former AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso is favourite to take charge of Udinese. It comes as Sky Sport Italia, Tuttomercatoweb and La Gazzetta dello Sport claim Igor Tudor's position is being considered after consecutive 7-1 and 4-0 routs in Serie A.

Dortmund have set their sights on Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun, according to Bild. As the German side reportedly prepare for life without Jadon Sancho amid ongoing links to Manchester United, former Manchester City youth-team player Dilrosun is on their radar.

Cristiano Ronaldo was delighted with the way Juventus kept persisting in a nervy 2-1 win against Serie A strugglers Genoa on Wednesday.

Both sides ended with 10 men and it looked like they would share a point after Christian Kouame's bizarre goal cancelled out Leonardo Bonucci's opener in Turin.

Genoa's Kouame shot the ball with his right foot into his trailing left leg, producing a wicked deflection that wrong-footed Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and appeared as if it may earn Thiago Motta's side a draw.

Ronaldo had a 92nd-minute goal disallowed after VAR ruled he was offside, but he still had time to be the hero, winning and then scoring a controversial late penalty.

"I am very happy," Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.

"[It was] a very difficult match against an organised team but we are Juventus, the motto is to [fight to] the end.

"We are very happy with the three points. We created a lot and we deserved it.

"Inter ahead in the standings was an extra stimulus."

Ronaldo's late spot-kick saw Juventus replace Inter at the top of Serie A – Maurizio Sarri's men one point clear.

Genoa had to play more than 40 minutes with 10 men after Francesco Cassata was given his marching orders in the 51st minute for another foul on Paulo Dybala.

Both of Cassata's yellow cards came for challenges on Dybala.

Referee Antonio Giua levelled things up at the Allianz Stadium in the 87th minute, when Juventus substitute Adrien Rabiot was given a second yellow card.

Many sides would have sat back and taken a point from there, but Juve kept persisting as Ronaldo produced a typical dose of late drama.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 96th-minute penalty as champions Juventus scraped to a 2-1 Serie A win over strugglers Genoa on Wednesday, in a game that both sides ended with 10 men.

Genoa looked set to earn a hard-fought point in Thiago Motta's second game in charge after Christian Kouame's freak goal had cancelled out Leonardo Bonucci's 36th-minute header.

Both sides had a men sent off in the second half, Genoa's Francesco Cassata and Juve's Adrien Rabiot given their marching orders, before Ronaldo took centre stage.

The Portuguese first had a 92nd-minute tap in ruled out by VAR for offside. But that was far from the end of the drama, and there was still time for Ronaldo to fire a sluggish Juve to victory, as the striker himself won the decisive penalty following a coming-together with substitute Antonio Sanabria - VAR this time going in his favour after the spot-kick was checked by the officials.

 

FT | | WHAT A LAST-MINUTE FINISH AT THE ALLIANZ!!!!!!! #JuveGenoa #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/ksl2Gnp5D0

— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 30, 2019

Juve coach Maurizio Sarri had said in the build-up that his side were suffering a "mental issue" in front of goal and they barely threatened in a tame first 30 minutes against a team with the worst defensive record in the league.

A stunning save from Ionut Radu eventually denied Paulo Dybala the opener and that chance finally woke Juventus up from their slumber, as Bonucci soon broke the deadlock.

The defender was aided by Radu's decision to come off his line in an attempt to collect Rodrigo Bentancur's corner, the goalkeeper beaten to the ball by Bonucci, who simply nodded into an empty net.

Parity was restored within five minutes, though, thanks to Kouame's slice of accidental glory.

Aiming at goal with his right foot, the Ivorian managed to kick the ball into his trailing leg, the deflection subsequently wrong-footing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in his 513rd league appearance for the Italian giants, which saw him equal Alessandro del Piero's club record.

Juve ramped up the pressure after Cassata's 52nd-minute dismissal - for a second yellow card - and Federico Bernardeschi then forced an excellent save from Radu with an effort from distance, before Ronaldo tested the shot-stopper from a corner.

Home substitute Douglas Costa fizzed a long-range effort agonisingly wide before Rabiot was given his marching orders - a foul on Sinan Gumus earning him a second yellow - but the hosts still found a way in the dying stages to claim the points, thanks to a spell of VAR-heavy drama.

Initially, Ronaldo scored and celebrated before his goal was disallowed for offside, but then a debatable penalty followed and the Portuguese star stepped up to thump home and send Juventus back to the top of the Serie A table.

 

What it means

Juventus remain the only unbeaten side in Serie A and victory takes them back to the top of the table, one point ahead of Inter. Genoa are just one point above the bottom three in 17th.

 

Dybala's star turn

Juventus were far from their fluent best, meaning Dybala really stood out in an excellent performance.

The Argentina star struck fear into Genoa every time he got the ball, his creativity and ability on the ball particularly eye-catching.

 

Cassata pays the price

Genoa's game plan when Dybala got the ball was obvious: foul him.

Cassata brought Dybala down twice in the first three minutes and was booked for the second, leaving him walking a tightrope for the remainder of the contest.

And the 22-year-old could not help himself, given a second yellow card in the 51st minute for pulling back ... Dybala.

 

What's next?

Juventus visit Torino for a much-anticipated derby on Saturday, while Genoa go in search of successive Serie A home wins for the first time since September last year.

Lionel Messi will be hoping to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo at the Globe Soccer Awards after both were named among the nominees for the Best Men's Player for 2019.

Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool team-mates Alisson, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are also up for the annual honour, which is to be presented in Dubai on December 29.

Bernardo Silva, part of the Manchester City side largely snubbed at the FIFA Best awards, rounds out the seven-man field.

Juventus forward and five-time winner Ronaldo claimed the main prize for the third consecutive year in 2018.

Barcelona superstar Messi has won it once, in 2015.

United States stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan headline the contenders for the Best Women's Player title.

Lyon trio Amandine Henry, Lucy Bronze and Ada Hegerberg are all shortlisted and the French outfit have been nominated for Best Club, alongside Liverpool and Ajax.

Jurgen Klopp, Erik ten Hag, Fernando Santos and Djamel Belmadi, who guided Algeria to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations, are in contention to succeed Didier Deschamps as Best Coach, as is former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Other award categories include Best Agent, Best Sporting Director and Best Revelation, designed to recognise emerging players.

Inter's Antonio Conte, ex-England manager Fabio Capello and Portugal legend Luis Figo form part of the judging panel.

Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Juventus' squad for their Serie A clash with Genoa, but Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic miss out through injury.

Portugal superstar Ronaldo was rested for Juve's trip to Lecce on Saturday, a decision that backfired as the Italian champions were held to a 1-1 draw.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri defended his decision to overlook Ronaldo for selection but has recalled the 34-year-old for Wednesday's home match against Genoa.

However, there is no place in the 22-man squad for Higuain, who came off worse in an aerial collision with Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel late in the match.

Pjanic has featured in every competitive game for Juve this campaign, meanwhile, but will miss out against Genoa after pulling up last time out, though the club have confirmed he did not suffer any muscular damage.

Aaron Ramsey is back after missing Juve's last three squads with a muscle injury, while Douglas Costa is also in contention following a seven-week absence.

Sarri's side trail Serie A leaders Inter by two points ahead of Wednesday's game in hand at Allianz Stadium.

Juventus are dealing with a "mental issue" when it comes to scoring, according to coach Maurizio Sarri, who has been left disappointed by the lack of goals so far this season.

Sarri's unbeaten side sit top of Serie A, though they hold a slender lead over second-place Inter, whose only defeat came against the Bianconeri.

Juve drew 1-1 with Lecce on Saturday as the decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo backfired, Gonzalo Higuain, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi particularly wasteful.

Though they have conceded just eight goals in league action, the reigning champions are the lowest scorers in the the top four as they prepare to host Genoa on Wednesday.

"We are adapting to a new style of football, so it's only natural that it will take a little while to perfect. We can improve a great deal and are on the right track," Sarri told a pre-match news conference.

"The feeling is that we still have some more room for improvement and important potential to express ourselves.

"We have a very low average of shots finding not just the net, but the frame of the goal. In my view, it's more of a mental issue than anything else.

"I expressed my fear with the players about that and we'll try to prepare some training exercises to help, but we also need to be more determined in front of goal.

"We are still the best defence in Serie A. This league has changed, the average goals of all the teams has gone up and in general it is a more prolific competition.

"Besides, lately we conceded pretty much exclusively from penalties, so we need to keep an eye on those situations."

Juve could take on Genoa without Miralem Pjanic and Higuain after they suffered injuries against Lecce, though Douglas Costa may possibly make a return to action in the midweek fixture.

"Pjanic does not have a muscular lesion, but we'll see how he does. Yesterday, he was not in a condition to play," Sarri added. 

"Higuain had a violent knock to the head and was not in good shape yesterday, he had stitches and was shaken up, but again we'll see the situation today. If Higuain can't make it, then it's very unlikely we can make a 4-3-3 work.

"Costa is returning after 45 days out and only had one training session with the squad, but we'll see if he's able to play a few minutes."

Cristiano Ronaldo says he would have been "an imbecile" if he failed to learn from the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs during his early days at Manchester United.

The Portugal international made his name at Old Trafford after joining the Premier League club from Sporting CP in 2003 at the age of 18.

He scored 118 goals in six seasons with United and has since starred for Real Madrid and current side Juventus, recently netting his 700th career goal for club and country.

When asked how he developed into such a prolific forward, Ronaldo told France Football: "By using my brain. If you've got a little intelligence, you look and take example from those who are doing things better than you. 

"That's what I did when I was in Manchester with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand… if you don't learn from guys like that, you're an imbecile. 

"The goal isn't to imitate but to take aspects from those who are the best and adapt it to your own personality. That's what I did. I had some talent and I watched them.

"Sir Alex Ferguson also taught me a lot, and I realised I had the potential to score, not only dribble and pass. I started to think of being a complete player without any weakness.

"I could score with my right foot, my left foot and my head. I'm strong and I'm quick. If you have this and a real ethic and a good lifestyle, you can still do it at 34-and-a-half."

Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or and has been shortlisted for this year's award after an impressive debut campaign in Serie A with Juve.

Now into his 18th campaign at senior level, the Portuguese remains as driven as ever to remain at the top of his game.

Reflecting on Juve's 2-1 comeback win at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League last week, Ronaldo said: "They refused to play and parked the bus in front of their goal.

"It was hard to score. I didn't do it and I was frustrated at the end. That's normal. The most important thing is that the team wins.

"But when I went back to the dressing room, I chilled out. After the match, I went to dinner with friends. I got home at four in the morning. I had a glass of iced water before bed. I slept until 10 then I had my breakfast.

"At 11, I went to work in the gym. If you don't have that discipline every day, you can't stay at the top for 15 years."

Juventus have confirmed Miralem Pjanic did not suffer a muscle injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Lecce.

Playmaker Pjanic – who has featured in every competitive game for Juve this season – pulled up sharply and left the field gingerly 67 minutes into the clash at Stadio Via del Mare.

Examinations on Monday did not show any muscular damage for the Bosnia-Herzegovina international, with the club confirming the 29-year-old took part in a personalised session in the gym.

Gonzalo Higuain also undertook a gym session after requiring a stretcher at full-time of Saturday's game.

Higuain came off worse in an aerial collision with goalkeeper Gabriel but played on, with Sarri confirming the striker was conscious and lucid despite having to be carried from the pitch after the final whistle.

Douglas Costa – who has not played since the 0-0 draw with Fiorentina on September 14 – took part in full training, while Aaron Ramsey participated in in a section of the session after missing out on the past three matchday squads.

Juventus are back in Serie A action on Wednesday when Genoa travel to the Allianz Stadium.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo believes his "healthy rivalry" with Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi during his time in LaLiga made him a better player.

Both men have won the coveted Ballon d'Or five times and are considered to be two of the greatest players of all time.

Ronaldo spent nine years with Real Madrid prior to joining Juventus in 2018 and Messi recently acknowledged the pair spurred each other on in their quest for individual honours.

The former Manchester United star has echoed those views, telling France Football: "A lot of people said that we fed each other, that being together in Spain made us better.

"That's certainly true. I felt his presence more in Madrid than in Manchester. It was a healthy rivalry. We were the symbols of our clubs.

"It's always nice to be spoken of in a flattering way. It's nice if they say I've been the best, a fantastic player.

"Today, I hear everything they say about me, but when it's all over, at the end of my career, I won't mind because I'll disconnect from everything."

Ronaldo is well known for his dedication to training and insists hard work off the field has helped him to become one of the all-time greats.

"First of all, you need talent, otherwise you won't amount to much," he said. "However, talent is useless without hard work.

"I would never have got to where I am today without the culture of hard work."

Ronaldo recently netted the 700th goal of his career in Portugal's 2-1 defeat to Ukraine, 450 of those being scored during his illustrious spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Asked to pick his favourite ever goal, the 34-year-old went with his overhead kick in Madrid's Champions League quarter-final win against current employers Juventus in 2017-18.

"Reaching 700 goals make me proud - it's an impressive total that few players have reached," he said.

"If I had to choose a favourite, I would say the one against Juventus because it was a goal I'd been trying to score for years."

Gianluigi Buffon says it could take another two months before Maurizio Sarri's masterplan for Juventus is fully implemented.

The former Chelsea and Napoli boss is attempting to instil a more attacking approach in the Serie A champions following the departure of Massimiliano Allegri and his more pragmatic style at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Despite sitting atop Serie A after nine games, four teams have scored more goals than them this season – something Buffon expects to change by the start of 2020.

"You are starting to see something different; a constant pursuit of attacking football that we did not have in the last few years," he told TV show Tiki Taka.

"We will see his full system in two months because we could not rely on some important players in the initial part of the season."

Inter are just a point behind Juve at the Serie A summit and look well placed to threaten the Bianconeri's chances of securing a ninth consecutive league title.

Buffon is looking forward to an almighty battle with the Nerazzurri and says he has been particularly impressed with striker Lautaro Martinez, who has six goals in all competitions this season.

"I have great respect for them; they are a great competitor this year," he added. "If Champions League was out of the picture, we would go toe-to-toe up until the end. The continental competition could make you lose some points.

"[Inter coach] Antonio Conte is extraordinary and can pull off some miracles. Lautaro Martinez is in great form. He is very confident and has something more than their other attackers."

After a 1-1 draw with Lecce on Saturday, Juventus will hope to return to winning ways when they host Genoa on Wednesday.

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