Miralem Pjanic has praised Massimiliano Allegri for "making everything work in the best way" during his time in charge at Juventus.

Allegri will take charge of Juve for the final time on Sunday when the Serie A champions travel to Sampdoria, bringing the curtain down on his hugely successful tenure in Turin.

The former AC Milan boss has won the league five times and also the Coppa Italia on four occasions since taking over in 2014.

Pjanic arrived from Roma two years into Allegri's reign but has been impressed by the way the Italian has continually pushed a star-studded squad to get better.

"We are a fantastic group and I have to congratulate our coach, who has always managed to make everything work in the best way," he said at a club event on Thursday at the Allianz Stadium.

"With him, we managed to win. In football you always have to work to improve, I have always had this mentality."

Allegri departs after Juve once again failed to crack the Champions League, losing at the quarter-final stage to Ajax despite the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

On the Portuguese superstar, Pjanic added: "His concentration levels have always been out of the ordinary, both when things are going well and also when that's not the case."

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international – who has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain – also revealed he turned down the chance to represent France, having moved to the country as a teenager to join Metz.

"I left my country, Bosnia, very young because of the coming war. I lived in Luxembourg, a very small country, then I moved by myself to France, still young, to follow the dream of football," Pjanic explained.

"I am happy to have chosen to play for Bosnia even if I could have played for France instead. I was only 18 at the time and [France coach] Raymond Domenech called me to see what my plans were.

"I went to see a Bosnia-Denmark game when I was 13 and from that moment on, I knew I wanted to represent Bosnia."

Union Berlin twice pegged back Stuttgart in an absorbing 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Bundesliga relegation play-off.

Having missed out on automatic promotion to Paderborn on the final day of the 2. Bundesliga season, Union grabbed two away goals at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Thursday to seize the initiative. 

Christian Gentner opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for Stuttgart, but Suleiman Abdullahi controlled a flick-on from a long ball to beat goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler and level before the interval.

Marvin Friedrich's unfortunate deflection on Mario Gomez's shot edged Stuttgart back ahead in the second half, only for the defender to make amends by powering home a header from a 68th-minute corner.

Zieler spared the hosts from defeat with a fine save to tip over Sebastian Andersson's dipping effort in the closing stages, though Stuttgart – led by interim head coach Nico Willig – have work to do in the return fixture if they are to retain their top-flight status.

A late booking for Union substitute Felix Kroos means the midfielder will be suspended for the second meeting in Berlin, which takes place next Monday.

Twenty-six-year-old midfielder Havana Solaun is the final player selected to Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz squad that will campaign in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next month.

Gareth Bale's future at Real Madrid has been the subject of constant speculation – and it appears the majority of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful would be glad to see the Welshman move on.

There is expected to be plenty of transfer activity at Madrid in the coming months after a disappointing season which saw Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari both fired, before the club finished some 19 points off the pace in LaLiga under the guidance of the returning Zinedine Zidane. 

Bale found himself frozen out of the Frenchman's plans towards the end of the season, failing to play a minute of the final three games of the season.

And when AS polled over five million fans to gauge the popularity of each member of Zidane's squad, Bale received just nine per cent approval.

Other standout members of the team to have lost the backing of those in the stands were Isco on 31 per cent, Marcelo on 33 and Toni Kroos on 36.

During the Clasico defeat to Barcelona in March, Bale was jeered by fans when he was replaced by Marco Asensio.

Dani Carvajal proved to be the most popular member of the Madrid squad with 92 per cent approval, with Vinicius Jr second on 89 and club captain Sergio Ramos third on 84.

Another player linked heavily with a Bernabeu exit is goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but he got 76 per cent of fans' backing, ahead of Thibaut Courtois, his principle rival for the number one shirt, on 65.

Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric only got a middling score, with 63 per cent backing the Croatia star.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is a target for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, club president Uli Hoeness has confirmed.

The 23-year-old has shone since moving to the Etihad Stadium from Schalke three years ago, but found himself down the pecking order towards the end of the Premier League season.

Bayern are in the market for reinforcements on the flanks, with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both drawing a curtain on their illustrious careers at the Allianz Arena at the end of the campaign.

Speculation has increased over the previous few weeks that they were looking to Germany international Sane as a potential signing.

 

From us all at #FCBayern, DANKE! @R13_official @FranckRibery@ArjenRobben pic.twitter.com/cl9KG92soi

— #MEIS7ER (@FCBayernEN) May 23, 2019

When asked by Suddeutsche Zeitung about Bayern's interest in Sane, Hoeness replied: "We are considering him."

Hoeness' revelation comes just a day after star striker Robert Lewandowski claimed Sane could "immediately take us higher".

Bayern have also been linked with RB Leipzig star Timo Werner and Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri.

UEFA has dismissed an appeal from the Football Association of Montenegro over a one-game ban handed out for racist behaviour by their supporters in the Euro 2020 qualifier against England.

Montenegro were ordered to play their next competitive home fixture behind closed doors, as well as display a banner with the wording '#EqualGame' following incidents during the fixture on March 25.

England players Callum Hudson-Odoi, Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling were subjected to racist chanting during their side's 5-1 victory in Podgorica.

While Montenegro challenged the outcome of an Ethics and Disciplinary Body hearing on April 26, UEFA upheld the initial punishments, including a €20,000 fine for setting off fireworks, throwing of objects, crowd disturbances and the blocking of stairways.

Meanwhile, UEFA announced Bosnia-Herzegovina's appeal against a two-game suspension for Miralem Pjanic was partially upheld.

The Juventus midfielder was shown a straight red card for a challenge in the second half of the 2-2 Group J draw with Greece on March 26.

However, Pjanic's ban has been halved, meaning he will only miss the trip to Finland on June 8 before returning for the clash with Italy three days later.

 

Andre Silva missed out on Portugal's squad for the Nations League Finals due to fitness concerns, Fernando Santos has confirmed, paving the way for Joao Felix to potentially make his senior debut next month.

Silva was not included in a 23-man squad for the games on home soil, the striker having not featured for Sevilla since April 4.

A knee injury kept him sidelined at the end of the Spanish domestic season but the LaLiga club felt the player, signed on a loan deal from AC Milan, was exaggerating the issue - and called on UEFA to intervene if he was picked to play for his country.

The 23-year-old told A Bola he had a "clear conscience" and was not simulating injury, and Santos confirmed on Thursday the decision to leave out Silva was down to the advice of Portugal's medical team.

"Andre Silva was monitored by our medical department and the final report gave him as an unfit for these games," he told a media conference.

Cristiano Ronaldo is included, along with Benfica's teenage sensation Felix.

The 19-year-old was called up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Ukraine and Serbia in March, though he did not make an appearance in either fixture.

Still, Santos confirmed he would have no hesitation in calling upon a highly rated forward who has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United.

"The criteria to make the squad is quality. Felix is one of 23 players in the squad that can play," Santos said.

The reigning European champions face Switzerland in the first Nations League semi-final on June 5.

Portugal's Nations League Finals squad in full:

Beto (Goztepe), Jose Sa (Olympiacos), Rui Patricio (Wolves); Joao Cancelo (Juventus), Ruben Dias (Benfica), Jose Fonte (Lille), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Pepe (Porto), Mario Rui (Napoli), Nelson Semedo (Barcelona); William Carvalho (Real Betis), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting CP), Joao Moutinho (Wolves), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Danilo Pereira (Porto), Pizzi (Benfica); Joao Felix (Benfica), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Diogo Jota (Wolves), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Rafa Silva (Benfica), Dyego Sousa (Braga)

Juanfran said an emotional goodbye to Atletico Madrid as he prepares to leave when his contract expires in June, claiming he "came a Viking and I leave as an Indian."

Atleti arranged a ceremony where the experienced right-back made a departing speech and was hailed by president Enrique Cerezo before being gifted a signed shirt.

"These are my last few days at Atletico, I hope to return soon, this is my home. They have been wonderful years, the best of my career," Juanfran said.

"It is an honour to be considered a legend of this club and it is incredible that people think I'm one of them."

The Spain international has made 355 appearances for Los Rojiblancos since joining from Osasuna in 2011 and has won seven trophies, famously including LaLiga in 2013-14, one Copa del Rey, a Supercopa de Espana, two UEFA Super Cups and a pair of Europa League titles.

He also started for Diego Simeone's side in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, where Atleti were edged out by bitter rivals Real Madrid - the club where Juanfran started his career.

"I came from a Real Madrid past, a Real Madrid father [but] I quickly changed to Atletico," he said.

"The other day I read 'he arrived a Viking, he left an Indian", and that's how it is. I leave as an Indian after feeling the magic of Atletico, the values and all those people who have let me give them all the heart I have.

"I have had wonderful colleagues who have made me be the good person and good professional that I am."

Cerezo, who has been Atletico president since 2003, offered a touching tribute to his now former player.

"There are two words that define the years of Juanfran - delivery and commitment," he said. "From the first training session to the last match.

"We do not say goodbye to you since this will always be your home. For your passion, courage, commitment, thanks with all our heart."

Juanfran added: "Thank you very much for loving me, being proud of me, chanting my name in the Calderon and Metropolitano. That is much bigger than these titles. People want titles but before this there's love and respect.

"Los Rojiblancos are my family. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I will return soon to try and make us better. It's a moment of change, of transition.

"Others are staying to continue to pick up the slack. Koke is staying to be captain, there is no one better than him. I have lots of hopes for Atletico in the years to come. We will return to being champions."

Star forward Antoine Griezmann has announced his intention to leave the Wanda Metropolitano, while Juanfran's fellow defenders Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez have departed.

Midfielder Rodri has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, while the futures of Filipe Luis and Thomas Partey are also uncertain.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe's futures at Paris Saint-Germain are far from certain, with Thomas Tuchel promising to "find solutions" in the event of the duo's departure.

While Neymar has been linked with a move back to LaLiga since heading to the French capital from Barcelona two years ago, Mbappe hinted at Ligue 1's end-of-season awards that he could be tempted by "a new project".

PSG coach Tuchel feels the nature of the modern game makes it difficult to guarantee the pair will remain with the Ligue 1 champions, but he is confident the club would find a way forward without them. 

"This is football," Tuchel said at a media conference when asked about the transfer speculation over his two prized assets. 

"Many clubs want to transfer many players. But if you ask me, the manager, yes I want them here next season. But if not, we will find solutions."

Tuchel also played down the significance of Mbappe's comments, saying they were normal for a player of his stature.

"He doesn't need to give a speech to say that," said the German. "He's a special guy, and just wants to score, score and score again, to have all of the trophies possible.

"The guys are special, we have to accept that. I'm not annoyed.

"I'm not going to lose my head about that speech. I talk to Kylian every day, he knows what I want; we have a trusting relationship between us."

 

 #CHAMPI8NS

In the latest episode of the L'instant Laure with Orange, join @le12emehomme and @laureboulleau as they go behind the scenes of Saturday's title celebrations! pic.twitter.com/vZc2AfpmDN

— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 20, 2019

Mbappe can join Barcelona's Lionel Messi at the summit of the European Golden Shoe rankings with four goals against Reims on Friday, but Tuchel acknowledged that is a tall order.

"It's very difficult to score four goals in one match. We lack respect for our opponents in saying that. It's an objective for Kylian," he said.

"To go for four goals is a bit much I think. I have to speak to my team about this goal. He has great targets and he is very confident."

Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and Sebastien Haller could all leave Eintracht Frankfurt in the close season, admits sporting director Fredi Bobic.

Jovic, who only moved to the Commerzbank-Arena on a permanent basis in April having proved a success since arriving on loan from Benfica in 2017, has been heavily linked with a switch to Real Madrid after scoring 27 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions this season.

Croatia international Rebic has been touted as a potential target for Arsenal and Tottenham, while Haller is also reportedly being chased by a host of Premier League teams.

"Anything could happen, and, of course, it could be that we lose all three," Bobic told Bild.

"I can guarantee that all three are happy here. The love of the fans is an important factor.

"But at some point other forces will come into play."

The trio helped Frankfurt reach the Europa League semi-finals, but a late dip in form saw them slip to seventh in the Bundesliga and miss out on Champions League qualification.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Presnel Kimpembe has undergone surgery on his groin that will end his season.

The Ligue 1 champions bring their campaign to a close on Friday with a trip to Reims but will be without the 23-year-old centre-back.

"Presnel Kimpembe underwent a procedure on his groin on Thursday morning at the Sports Clinic in Paris," a club statement read.

"Led by Dr. Gilles Reboul, the intervention was conducted without problems. His rehabilitation will begin in the next few days."

Kimpembe, a World Cup winner last year, has also been left out of Didier Deschamps' France squad for the upcoming matches against Bolivia, Turkey and Andorra as he looks to recover from his injury problems.

Barcelona have signed teenage Groningen midfielder Ludovit Reis for €3.25million.

Reis was reported to be close to joining Barca by his agent earlier this month and Groningen announced on Thursday that the 18-year-old has agreed a contract running until 2022, with the option of two further years.

The multi-season deal contains a €100m release clause.

Reis first came to prominence in October 2017, when his goal at Sparta Rotterdam made him the first player born in the 21st century to score in the Eredivisie.

The Netherlands Under-19 international turns 19 next month and, having played 50 senior games for Groningen, he is expected to start life in Catalonia as part of the Barca B squad.

"It's a dream come true for me, I'm very happy." Reis told Barca TV. "I still do not believe it, I dreamed every night of this moment when I played football with my friends.

"I want to learn so much from the rest of the players, who are the best in the world."

He explained that one of those players in particular serves as an inspiration.

"My position is a defensive midfielder, but I can play also offensive a little bit. I can play the two positions," Reis added.

"My goal is to play with the first team and learn from Sergio Busquets, [and] so many players here."

Barcelona have completed three signings for next season, with Atletico Mineiro's Emerson and Ajax's Frenkie de Jong – a Dutch midfielder arriving at considerably greater expense – having already agreed terms.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi's lawyer has denied an allegation of corruption against his client relating to the hosting rights for the World Athletics Championships.

According to reports in France, the Paris Saint-Germain president is accused of validating an illicit payment of €3.1million to help Doha's bid to stage the finals in 2017.

However, his lawyer, Francis Szpiner, has described the allegations as "totally inaccurate".

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi's name does not appear on any of the documents in the file," Szpiner told Le Parisien in reference to a case compiled by investigating judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke in Paris.

"It should be noted that Nasser Al-Khelaifi's initial hearing was only the result of a regrettable confusion by the investigating magistrate," Szpiner added, with Al-Khelaifi having voluntarily appeared before a judicial inquiry investigating the case in March.

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi has never been operationally involved in Doha's bid for the World Athletics Championships."

Qatar was unsuccessful in bids for the 2017 event and the 2020 Olympics but won the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships, which are due to take place between September 28 and October 6.

Former Juventus boss Alberto Zaccheroni believes the Turin club's fans will look back fondly on Massimiliano Allegri in years to come.

The 51-year-old Allegri is set to leave the Allianz Stadium at the end of the season after five successful campaigns in which they were crowned Serie A champions each year.

He had previously been a rival of Juve at AC Milan and replaced club legend Antonio Conte in charge in 2014, while some fans have grown frustrated with the team's style of play this season and their inability to win the Champions League.

But Zaccheroni, who was head coach in 2010, believes Allegri will become a popular figure down the line.

"Allegri has been great," he told Omnisport.

"You can achieve success in different ways, but Allegri wants balance and looks after the defence and the attack, just like Antonio Conte. Maybe there are differences in intensity.

"Conte has always been a Juventus icon and managed to take Juventus back to their level and this leads to the fans loving him more than Allegri. Juventus fans will love Allegri in the future…"

One of the names touted as a potential replacement for Allegri is Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, whom Zaccheroni coached during his playing days at the capital club.

The 66-year-old admits he has been taken aback by seeing Inzaghi forge a successful coaching career.

"Having managed him as a player, he didn't look so determined," Zaccheroni said. "I remember he was very passionate about football. But I didn't expect him to become a manager. He lacked determination.

"He had quality as a player although he could have achieved much more. He still had a very decent career, but I didn't see that determination in him that he could pass on to his players."

Daniel James has withdrawn from Wales' training camp in Portugal following the death of his father.

Swansea City offered condolences to their 21-year-old winger in a statement on Twitter.

"Everyone at Swansea City has been saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Daniel James' father," it read.

"Everyone at the football club send their condolences and our thoughts are with Daniel and his family at this sad time."

James, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Swansea this season – scoring four goals and laying on seven assists in 33 Championship appearances.

Ryan Giggs' Wales squad are in training ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers in Croatia and Hungary next month.

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