Sarri denies row with rumoured Barcelona target Pjanic

By Sports Desk June 21, 2020

Maurizio Sarri has emphatically dismissed rumours of a row with Miralem Pjanic as Juventus prepare to resume their Serie A campaign. 

A story in the Italian media claimed the Juve boss had a disagreement with the midfielder - who has been heavily linked with Barcelona - during a training session ahead of the game against Bologna on Monday. 

However, Sarri made clear on Sunday that there has been no clash between the pair, revealing he has a good relationship with Pjanic and branding the report fake news. 

The 30-year-old was allegedly set to be dropped but Juve are lacking options in midfield; Aaron Ramsey is still not ready to play 90 minutes, according to his coach, while Sami Khedira is sidelined. 

"The story of my quarrel with Pjanic is one of the biggest hoaxes of the season," Sarri told Sky Sport in Italy.  

"I talk a lot with Miralem, maybe he is one of the guys with whom I have more discussions and a better relationship. Pjanic has done the same as the team in these last two games - made a good start and then subsequently dropped off.  

"For tomorrow's game, let's see how he is and then we'll decide.  

"Of course we don't have many other solutions in that role at the moment. Ramsey is more likely to play in part of the game, rather than for 90 minutes." 

Juve have played twice already since the action restarted in Italy following the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They drew at home with Milan to progress in the Coppa Italia, only to lose on penalties to Napoli in Wednesday's final in Rome.

Now their focus switches back to the league, Sarri's table-topping squad holding a one-point lead over Lazio as they bid to be crowned champions for a ninth straight season.

"The first games are the most dangerous, because there are no certainties about the teams' responses," Sarri said ahead of the trip to opponents who sit in 10th place.

"Bologna are doing very well, playing good football. We have to hold them in high regard, play a shrewd game and hope to go up a level."

Related items

  • Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds Jamaica's pearl status in the Caribbean against all the odds

    Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

    It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

    My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

    It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

    That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

    Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

    What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

    We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

    We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

    We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

    And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

    These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

    All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

    It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

    A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

    Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

    Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

    Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Dybala a doubt to face Lyon, Sarri impressed with rested Ronaldo Dybala a doubt to face Lyon, Sarri impressed with rested Ronaldo

    Paulo Dybala remains an injury concern for Juventus' Champions League clash with Lyon, but Maurizio Sarri is buoyant about Cristiano Ronaldo's condition.

    Argentina international Dybala went off in the first half of the Bianconeri's Scudetto-sealing 2-0 win over Sampdoria on July 26 with a thigh strain.

    He missed the subsequent defeats to Cagliari and Roma to close out the Serie A campaign and appears to be doubtful to make his return in the second leg of the last-16 tie against Lyon in Turin on Friday.

    Sarri would dearly love to call on Dybala given his side have a 1-0 deficit to turn around from the first leg back in February.

    "It's still in the hands of the medics, although I saw he did something on the pitch in training," Sarri told reporters.

    "We'll see what he can do tomorrow morning, then talk to him and the doctors about what he's able to do."

    There is no doubting the fitness of Ronaldo, though.

    The 35-year-old ended the 2019-20 Serie A campaign with 31 goals - a total only bettered by Lazio's Ciro Immobile - and has scored 10 in 13 appearances since Juve's season resumed in June.

    Ronaldo was rested for the final league match against Roma at the weekend after a hectic schedule.

    Sarri feels that has benefited the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and he has been encouraged by what he has seen from the Portuguese ahead of the crucial clash with Lyon.

    "Cristiano Ronaldo is training well, I saw him score an absolutely stunning goal in training yesterday," said the Juve boss.

    "He's had many games in a short period of time, so quite rightly had a couple of days to rest, then resumed training with intensity and vigour.

    "I think he's approaching this appointment the right way."

  • Sarri: My Juve job doesn't depend on Champions League progress Sarri: My Juve job doesn't depend on Champions League progress

    Maurizio Sarri does not fear being axed by Juventus if they fail to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

    The Bianconeri won a ninth successive Scudetto last month in Sarri's first campaign at the helm, though they somewhat limped over the line having won just two of their final eight matches of the season.

    Domestic dominance is nothing new for Juve - who were also beaten in June's Coppa Italia final by Napoli - so Sarri's detractors may need to see his worth in Europe's premier club competition, which they have not won since 1996.

    Sarri's side must overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in their last-16 encounter with Lyon in Turin on Friday, though the Italian does not view it as a make-or-break contest with regards to his future amid suggestions the club have lined up possible replacements.

    Asked whether he thought it could be his last game in charge, Sarri told reporters: "No, and I think this question is essentially calling our directors amateurish, which I don't think they are.

    "They will have made their evaluation based on the entire season as a whole, so if they've already decided to get a new coach, tomorrow won't make any difference, nor will a victory.

    "It's an important match but it's also important to win the Scudetto, and so we've had plenty of those already this season.

    "It would be important to be part of Europe's elite by reaching the final eight tournament in Portugal, so we care about it, but that makes it an important match, not anything else."

    Despite pipping impressive Inter, Atalanta and Lazio sides to the Scudetto, Sarri's tenure has still been questioned, as was the case at Chelsea, where he won the Europa League and sealed a top-four berth in the Premier League but left amid little fanfare a year ago.

    Sarri feels it is wrong to dismiss his side's achievement in winning the league title just because it has become the norm recently.

    "I don't read or listen to any of it," he added.

    "We are very happy to have won perhaps the most difficult Serie A season in the history of the league due to the many issues that were around it.

    "Juventus is a club accustomed to winning and therefore people can be a little blase about it, but that is absolutely wrong in my opinion because victory should always be treated as a wonderful and extraordinary event."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.