Ronaldo focused on recovery after missing Atalanta trip

By Sports Desk November 22, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo says is focused on returning to full fitness after being left out of the Juventus squad for Saturday's Serie A game away to Atalanta.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri told reporters Ronaldo was unlikely to be available for the trip to Bergamo and he was duly absent when the squad was named later on Friday.

Ronaldo has been substituted in Juve's last two games, prompting rumours of a rift between the forward and Sarri, though both men have denied that is the case.

It is unclear whether the Portugal star will be ready to return for Tuesday's Champions League group game at home to Atletico Madrid.

"Focused on my recovery to come back soon!" Ronaldo posted on Instagram after being left out of the Juve squad.

Serie A leaders Juve are on track to reach the next round of the Champions League after taking 10 points from their first four games in Group D.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-0 demolition of Lithuania before netting his 99th international goal in a 2-0 win against Luxembourg.

Sarri previously said the 34-year-old is battling a knee issue and Ronaldo revealed he has been playing through pain.

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    The midfielder was substituted with eight minutes of normal time remaining at the Via Del Mare after a clash with Alessandro Deiola.

    The Croatia international had an MRI scan on Tuesday, with Inter confirming: "The tests revealed a sprain to his left ankle. The player will be assessed on a day-by-day basis."

    Brozovic's injury is said to be part of the reason Inter have stepped up plans to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen this month.

    Sporting director Piero Ausilio said on Monday that a bid for the playmaker had been lodged, although Spurs boss Jose Mourinho intends to have Eriksen in his squad for Wednesday's Premier League game against Norwich City.

    Brozovic has played in all but one of Inter's 27 matches in all competitions this season, scoring twice.

    Antonio Conte's side are second in Serie A, four points behind champions Juventus.

  • Rumour Has It: Inter to increase offer in bid to seal Eriksen deal Rumour Has It: Inter to increase offer in bid to seal Eriksen deal

    Inter are reportedly "confident" of finally sealing a deal for Christian Eriksen.

    The Serie A title hopefuls are said to be preparing an improved offer as they seek to tempt Tottenham into selling the midfielder this month.

    On Monday, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio confirmed an official bid had been lodged with the London club.

     

    TOP STORY – INTER BACK IN FOR ERIKSEN

    The chase for wantaway midfielder Eriksen could come to an end when Inter increase their proposal to €15million (£12.8m) plus add-ons.

    The Guardian suggests Tottenham will soon have another offer to contemplate after rejecting the Nerazzurri's previous approach, which involved an initial €10m (£8.5m) sum.

    Eriksen, also linked with Manchester United, is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

     

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    - Ashley Young has arrived, Eriksen could be close and Inter's raid on English football is not finished there. Victor Moses has been pictured in Milan and Sky Sport Italia claims the Chelsea wide man will undergo a medical on Tuesday.

    - Eriksen's future is not Tottenham's only cause for concern. According to the Daily Mail, Danny Rose and manager Jose Mourinho were involved in a "heated exchange" on Sunday after the left-back took issue with his omission from the squad that draw 0-0 at Watford.

    - Chelsea have made enquiries about Edinson Cavani and are ready to rival Atletico Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain striker's signature, reports the Telegraph.

    - LaLiga champions Barcelona admire Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang more than the other centre-forwards on their shortlist of potential signings, says Mundo Deportivo.

    - Bayern Munich are hunting a new right-back and have identified Real Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola as a strong candidate to fill the problem position, reports Sky Sport Germany.

  • We'd need a 400-day year! - Guardiola wants fixtures reduced, not Champions League expansion We'd need a 400-day year! - Guardiola wants fixtures reduced, not Champions League expansion

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    The European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA are said to be in talks about adding another four matchdays to the Champions League schedule, which would result in finalists playing 17 games.

    However, with City's trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday their eighth game in the past three and a half weeks, Guardiola is an advocate of taking a scythe to the gruelling schedule in England.

    "I think the solution is you have to make a year of 400 days, that is a solution, 400 or 500, more or less. After that we can book another competition. Maybe UEFA or FIFA can talk about it. We have few days a year, that's the problem," said Guardiola.

    Champions League expansion would likely have negative ramifications for the EFL Cup.

    After stating the EFL Cup "wouldn't be interesting" if Premier League sides withdrew in order to lighten their loads, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona offered a more ruthless alternative.

    "Eliminate competitions. Take them out completely - so less games," he said.

    "Less games, less competitions, less teams, more quality, less quantity. The people are going enjoy it. The people are going to go to the theatre, to the cinema, restaurants, to watch the fireworks. That is what they would do."

    At the crux of Guardiola's argument is a desire to reduce the physical workload on players.

    He said: "There are less games [in Germany in Spain], much less than here. In the Bundesliga there are 18 teams not 20, one cup not two. They have a break, in Spain they have a break.Tthe cup is run with one game, not two. So it's a big difference.

    "It's just to protect the players … For them they'd enjoy it more, the people too. People say they can't live without football, they can live without football for a while. It's too much, honestly."

    The City boss suggested serious injuries sustained by Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford since the turn of the year were a result of the excessive demands.

    Kane's hamstring problem and Rashford's back issue were a blow to Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020, but Guardiola feels those in charge of the game in England cannot be surprised.

    "It's a big blow for Gareth, for the national team. Kane and Rashford are incredibly important players for them. Hopefully there isn't another one who does that and they can recover," he said.

    "It's an incredible amount of games. Now we're talking about it because they are [injured], but looking back at the injuries Newcastle have had, we have had, all the teams. That is normal. With that number of games, sooner or later the players break down.

    "I'm not really surprised. I’m so sorry for them, but with this amount of games it happens. The big administration people cannot complain because it's normal this happens.

    "Of course it is [too much to expect]. They arrive in the Euros, playing with the national teams trying their best, then [back here] after no more than 20 days because the business, the show, must go on. It's unsustainable.

    "Sooner or later the players fall down. It's too much. I'm so sorry for Kane and Rashford because they are incredible and good for the league, but we demand a lot from the players, it's too much.

    "They should reflect [on] it but all the managers complained about it and they don't care. Now Boxing Day is over, another season, and prepare for the next one. A distance of two or three days again and again.

    "The players in the end suffer. They want to do well and the clubs have a lot of pressure to win titles or qualify for the Champions League, the players want to do well. We push them and we are being pushed.

    "At some moment the body says stop, it's enough."

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