Arthur was left out of the Barcelona starting line-up to face Celta Vigo amid reports he will have a medical at Juventus on Sunday.

Brazil international Arthur was named among the substitutes for Saturday's LaLiga clash at Balaidos but in the next 24 hours is expected to undergo tests prior to a switch to Juve that could cost €80million.

It is also claimed that Bianconeri midfielder Miralem Pjanic will have a medical on the same day before heading in the opposite direction.

Pjanic played the full 90 minutes as Juve defeated Lecce 4-0 on Friday and will reportedly command a fee of €70m.

After that game, Juve boss Maurizio Sarri said: "I don't know if Pjanic will no longer play with Juventus, I have not received any communication.

"These are not things that interest us, the market only starts in September. Miralem's a professional, he understands situations quickly. 

"I don't know anything at the moment, but I'm not worried."

Barca boss Quique Setien was unwilling to discuss the possibility of Pjanic arriving at Camp Nou at a news conference on Friday and said Arthur remained in his plans.

Setien said: "In principle I still have Arthur. He is important like the rest. He will train and in principle he will travel and has the possibility of playing.

"I hope all this noise does not affect him and that if he plays, he tries to give the best of himself.

"Any player who is in such a situation must make it clear the season is not over, win a title and leave a good impression until the last day he is here.

"I do not take it for granted that he is going to leave. The club has not informed me Arthur is leaving. He will be with us until the last game of the season.

"If it happens, I will try to convince him to leave a good impression. The most important thing is to be honest until the last day and I am convinced he is."

Achraf Hakimi appears to have found a new home.

The Morocco international has impressed during his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, attracting plenty of interest.

But LaLiga giants Real Madrid are reportedly ready to cash in on Achraf.

 

TOP STORY – INTER AGREE ACHRAF DEAL

Inter have agreed a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Achraf has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, who have been interested in signing the Morocco international permanently.

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been among the clubs interested in Achraf, but Madrid are set to sell the 21-year-old to Antonio Conte's Inter for a reported €40million fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport1 claims Leroy Sane's proposed move to Bayern Munich is on hold until 2021. The Manchester City star is tipped to leave the Etihad Stadium for Bundesliga champions Bayern, though the two clubs have been unable to strike a deal. Sane now looks likely to depart once his contract expires next year.

Arthur will travel to Turin in the coming days to undergo a medical ahead of his move to Juventus, according to RAC1. Barcelona midfielder Arthur is set to join Juve, with Miralem Pjanic moving in the opposite direction.

Roma are plotting a move for free agent Edinson Cavani, says Calciomercato. Cavani is available on a free transfer after leaving PSG, with Atletico Madrid, Inter and Napoli eyeing the Uruguayan forward.

- Sport reports the Champions League will determine Neymar's future at PSG. Neymar has long been linked with a return to Barca following his world-record departure in 2017.

- Calciomercato says Milan are focused on signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. However, PSG and Arsenal are also among the teams eyeing the 19-year-old Hungarian.

Manchester United are among the possible destinations for Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who faces an uncertain future with the London club, according to L'Equipe.

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will improve the more he plays after the coronavirus-enforced break, according to head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Ronaldo converted a penalty as Serie A leaders Juve routed 10-man Lecce 4-0 in Turin on Friday – the defending champions opening a seven-point advantage over scudetto challengers Lazio.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner took his tally to 23 goals in Serie A this season, though Ronaldo has been in the headlines for his lack of form since the 2019-20 campaign restarted earlier this month following the COVID-19 crisis.

Asked about Ronaldo post-match, Sarri told reporters: "Cristiano now can play with a good fit. He needs to improve after the break and he is doing match after match.

"He needs to play a lot. In the future we will find the way to preserve him across matches or for some matches.

"He is great in listening to himself and he will realise when he will need to stop and rest. But now I think he fits quite well."

Juve overran Lecce following a goalless opening 45 minutes which saw Fabio Lucioni sent off, with Paulo Dybala, Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Matthijs de Ligt on target in the second half.

Ronaldo teed up Dybala to score a brilliant 53rd-minute opener before doubling the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later.

Juve forward Ronaldo was again influential for substitute Higuain's strike in the 83rd minute, with De Ligt rounding off the rout five minutes from the end.

Amid doubts and criticism over Higuain, Sarri said: "For us he is very important. He is powerful, one of the strongest centre forward in the world right now. He can be decisive for us at the end of the season."

Juve – top of the table through 28 matches – travel to relegation-threatened Genoa on Tuesday.

Maurizio Sarri admits he does not know if Miralem Pjanic will remain at Juventus beyond the end of the season but is not overly concerned by reports over the midfielder's future.

Pjanic played 90 minutes as the Bianconeri overran 10-man Lecce 4-0 in Friday's Serie A contest to open up a seven-point lead over scudetto challengers Lazio.

The future of Pjanic has been the topic of much debate amid reports he is headed to Barcelona in a swap deal that will see Arthur move to Turin.

Sarri spoke before the game to say he has had no update on such a deal and continued to follow a similar party line when speaking to Sky Sport Italy following the win.

"I don't know if Pjanic will no longer play with Juventus , I have not received any communication," he Juve head coach said. 

"These are not things that interest us, the market only starts in September. Miralem's a professional, he understands situations quickly. 

"I don't know anything at the moment, but I'm not worried."

Sarri added: "He'll be with us until the end of August. I hope he'll stay with us even beyond that, but these are decisions that will be made at a later stage."

Juve were slow off the mark against Lecce and the game remained 0-0 until half-time despite a straight red card for Fabio Lucioni.

But the floodgates opened in the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo teeing up Paulo Dybala to score a brilliant opener before doubling the lead from the penalty spot.

Ronaldo was again influential for Gonzalo Higuain's strike, with Matthijs de Ligt rounding off the rout.

Sarri was particularly happy for Higuain given how the coronavirus crisis has affected the Argentine striker, an issue he had spoken about pre-game.

"He had a difficult time on a personal and global level, because the coronavirus emergency hit him a lot and left a mark on him," Sarri added. 

"He has returned, had a minor injury and is now getting back into shape. I am happy that he scored immediately, he is a player who will give us a lot in this season finale."

Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain helped Juventus move seven points clear at the top of Serie A with a resounding 4-0 win over 10-man Lecce at the Allianz Stadium.

Fabio Lucioni's first-half dismissal left lowly Lecce, who had started brightly, facing a daunting task yet it needed a moment of brilliance from Dybala to open the scoring after 53 minutes.

Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi were guilty of woeful misses in the opening period but the former lashed home his 23rd Serie A goal of the campaign from the penalty spot before excellently setting up Higuain.

Matthijs de Ligt added a fourth that was harsh on Lecce as Maurizio Sarri's men stretched their lead on Lazio, beaten 3-2 by Atalanta last time out, albeit their rivals have a game in hand.

Andrea Rispoli flashed wide on the half-volley as Juve were carved open after four minutes.

Gabriel parried Adrien Rabiot's long-range shot and Ronaldo drilled wide of the right post as Juventus came to life and soon found themselves a man up.

Rodrigo Bentancur caught Lucioni in possession 40 yards from goal and the centre-back chopped down his opponent to earn the straight red.

Ronaldo incredibly put a close-range header from Dybala's corner over the top when unmarked then teed up Bernardeschi, who missed an even bigger sitter when blazing high from inside the six-yard box.

Gabriel was in action again to keep out Leonardo Bonucci's header just after the restart but was powerless to stop Dybala opening the scoring.

Evgen Shakhov's careless pass was picked up by Ronaldo, who teed up the Argentina forward to curl a sumptuous left-foot effort into the top-right corner from the edge of the area. 

It was game over just after the hour when Ronaldo lashed home the penalty he won after being tripped by Luca Rossettini.

The Portugal superstar would have had another had Gabriel not kept out his point-blank header but his ingenious backheel after a fine run deflected into the path of Higuain, who drilled home the third.

De Ligt then nodded in Douglas Costa's corner as Juve ultimately ran out comfortable winners.

Arthur has been named in Barcelona's squad for Saturday's trip to Celta Vigo amid intense speculation regarding a potential switch to Juventus.

Brazil international Arthur is supposedly set to be involved in a swap deal that sees Miralem Pjanic arrive at Camp Nou, with some of the belief he has failed to adequately replace Xavi since arriving from Gremio in 2018.

Despite the media reports, Barca coach Quique Setien insisted in his Friday news conference that the club have not told him the 23-year-old is leaving.

But Setien did hint there was some truth in the rumoured interest from Juve, saying that "if it happens, I will try to convince him to leave a good impression".

Arthur will seemingly be available for selection at Balaidos on Saturday having been named in Barca's travelling party, though a starting berth appears unlikely after Setien suggested Riqui Puig will get the nod.

Victory in Vigo will lift Barca back to LaLiga's summit ahead of Real Madrid, though Los Blancos will expect to move ahead of the Blaugrana again on Sunday when they go to rock-bottom Espanyol.

Quique Setien says he has not been told Arthur will be leaving Barcelona for Juventus, urging the Brazil international to stay focused for the rest of the season.

Arthur is reportedly set to join Serie A champions Juve for €80million, with the more experienced Miralem Pjanic potentially heading in the opposite direction for €70m.

Barca take on Celta Vigo at Balaidos on Saturday and Setien insisted the former Gremio midfielder remains available for selection and could feature.

"In principle I still have Arthur. He is important like the rest. He will train and in principle he will travel and has the possibility of playing," said the Barca boss.

"I hope all this noise does not affect him and that if he plays, he tries to give the best of himself.

"Any player who is in such a situation must make it clear the season is not over, win a title and leave a good impression until the last day he is here.

"I do not take it for granted that he is going to leave. The club has not informed me Arthur is leaving. He will be with us until the last game of the season.

"If it happens, I will try to convince him to leave a good impression. The most important thing is to be honest until the last day and I am convinced he is."

Setien was unwilling to comment on the possible signing of Pjanic and suggested Arthur has struggled to adapt to the style of football he wants Barca to play.

"Since he has been with me, he has put a lot of interest in doing what we asked him to do," Setien said.

"Maybe he lacked a little continuity. It is not easy to change things in a footballer that other coaches told him were very good. When they tell him it is very good to keep the ball and we come and we want to play two touches, it is difficult.

"Yes, it's possible he lacked some physicality, but he is on the right track."

Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at Real Madrid was truly phenomenal – there's certainly an argument for him being the greatest signing in the history of the sport.

But when his move from Manchester United to the Santiago Bernabeu was completed on June 26, 2009, there was certainly more than a hint of scepticism.

Let's not forget, when Madrid paid a reported €94million (£80m) for him, Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer ever at the time, breaking a record that had stood for eight years.

There were plenty of people suggesting Madrid had paid over the odds for him, but now we all know what a remarkable signing he was for Los Blancos and Spanish football until his departure for Juventus in 2018.

On the 11th anniversary of Ronaldo joining Madrid, we look back on his time with the club and his legacy, with a little help from Opta.

The early years – finding another level

Ronaldo had already won the Ballon d'Or during his time at Old Trafford, so his quality was never in doubt, but a haul of 33 goals across all competitions in his first season with Los Blancos was an impressive start, particularly given it was an increase of eight on his final campaign in England.

But it was just the tip of the iceberg. As it would turn out, 2009-10 was the only one of Ronaldo's nine seasons with Madrid in which he failed to reach the 40-goal mark.

Granted, the Portugal star played significantly more games over the next few years, but to maintain that consistency – and arguably improve on it – over 50-plus matches without suffering fatigue is genuinely remarkable.

In 2010-11 Ronaldo claimed his first trophy for the club – the Copa del Rey – and had a hand in 69 goals (53 scored, 16 assisted) in 54 matches. He then improved on that further the next year, his 60 goals and 15 assists helping Madrid to their first LaLiga title in four years and the Champions League semi-finals.

By 2012, Ronaldo was already finding himself mentioned in debates regarding the "greatest player of all time" – that would only intensify in the coming years.

Sustaining greatness

The Champions League has long been an obsession of Real Madrid's, and so too it became a major goal of Ronaldo's – after all, three successive last-four eliminations meant five full seasons passed without the forward lifting the famous trophy.

For Madrid, the barren run had been even longer. They'd been chasing 'La Decima' since 2002, but finally, in 2013-14, the wait was over – Ronaldo's 65 goal involvements (51 goals, 14 assists) leading them to a European and Copa del Rey double. His late penalty in the 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid that saw them crowned Champions League kings took his tally to 17 goals for the season in that competition, a record.

Three more Champions League titles followed over the next four years, though 2014-15 – when Ronaldo enjoyed the best individual season of his career with 61 goals and 21 assists – was the anomaly. He would only score in one of those three finales, however, the 4-1 over future employers Juventus, though he did net the decisive shoot-out spot-kick a year to again break Atletico hearts in 2016.

Ronaldo's final two years in Madrid saw the club win a total of eight trophies, while he scored 86 times and moved level for a while on five Ballon d'Or wins with Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo became synonymous with the Real Madrid brand – it became difficult to imagine the two without each other, but in 2018 they parted ways, ending one of the most iconic player-club associations in modern football.

The legacy

Across his nine years with Madrid, Ronaldo scored 450 goals and laid on another 119. The former figure makes him the club's all-time leading scorer.

He surpassed Raul (323) in October 2015, having already cruised past the like of Ferenc Puskas, Carlos Santillana and Alfredo Di Stefano.

Of those goals, 311 came in LaLiga, a figure only Messi (440) can better – though the Argentina star has spent his entire career in Spanish football.

While all defenders are likely to have been glad to see Ronaldo leave LaLiga, he had a particular penchant for netting against a select few teams. Barcelona (18), Celta Vigo (20), Atletico Madrid (22), Getafe (23) and Sevilla (27) were his most frequent victims.

But it wasn't just LaLiga opposition against whom he thrived – he was the first player to score 10 Champions League goals in seven successive seasons and to reach a haul of 100 in the competition for a single club.

At the age of 35, he continues to excel for Juve in Serie A. But it was with Madrid where his impact was most felt, and it will be a long time before the club see anything even remotely comparable again, if they ever do.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich appear to be keen on adding more local talent to their squad.

Spaniard Thiago Alcantara is reportedly unwilling to extend his Bayern contract beyond 2020-21.

So, Bayern could use the star midfielder in their efforts to prise Germany international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT THIAGO OUT AND HAVERTZ IN

Bayern Munich want to sell Thiago Alcantara to fund their move for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to Kicker.

Thiago reportedly wants to leave Bayern amid links to Liverpool after opting against a new deal in Bavaria.

Now, Bayern are looking to offload Thiago for €60million (£53m) in order to sign Havertz for €80m.

Havertz has also been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Munich and Kicker also claims Bayern have joined Borussia Dortmund and United in the race for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham.

- TF1 says Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has been in contact with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Inter over an exit from London.

Liverpool have made a big offer to sign Wolves speedster Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. Traore has also been linked to the likes of Barca and Madrid.

- According to Fichajes, Tottenham have made an offer for in-demand Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The likes of Napoli, Everton and Madrid are also looking to sign the Brazilian.

- Is Hellas Verona's Marash Kumbulla set for Lazio? Gianluca Di Marzio reports Lazio have tabled an offer for the defender, who is also wanted by Juventus and Inter.

- Could Tanguy Ndombele and Philippe Coutinho swap clubs? The Independent says Barca have reached out to Tottenham over an exchange deal involving either Coutinho or Nelson Semedo for wantaway Spurs midfielder Ndombele.

Arsenal could make moves for Chelsea's Willian or Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

Milan are in talks over the return of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, says Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at San Siro.

Maurizio Sarri revealed Gonzalo Higuain could feature for the first time since the resumption of the Italian season when Juventus host Lecce on Friday.

The Serie A leaders have the chance to extend their advantage over nearest rivals Lazio - who let slip a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at Atalanta on Wednesday – with a victory over relegation-threatened opponents in Turin.

Juve marked their return to league action with a 2-0 triumph away at Bologna earlier this week having already played twice in the Coppa Italia, though Higuain played no part in any of the fixtures.

Sarri previously said the striker was missing due to a slight injury issue but has now revealed the coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact on the player, although he is now training again with the rest of the squad.

"Higuain is a very sensible person, he's been touched in a particular way from the events of the world and from his personal experiences," Sarri told the media.

"At the time of his return he thought it was not even right to go back to playing, while in addition he had this little injury.

"Now it seems to me that he is finding that desire he had at the beginning. For us, his return is important."

Juve will be glad to have Higuain back as the games come thick and fast following the restart.

Lazio's slip means the reigning champions are four points clear at the summit, though Sarri is taking nothing for granted with 11 games still to play in the league.

"The games are all difficult as physical conditions are not optimal. We'll need to be ready," the former Napoli boss said.

"We should not be looking at the other games but, instead, at our performances, which in the end will bring us the results.

"The league advantage isn't substantial as there are still 33 points up for grabs. We need to have the right mentality, always."

 

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri says he has no concerns about Miralem Pjanic's suitability to his plans despite talk of an imminent swap deal involving Barcelona's Arthur.

There is a growing belief that the two clubs have agreed to a deal that would see Juve pay Barca €10million and send Pjanic to Camp Nou in exchange for Brazil international Arthur.

Rumours of such a deal have persisted for many weeks, with both clubs said to see the arrangement as a useful way of balancing the books amid the financial uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but Arthur was reportedly not interested in a move until a change of heart in the past few days.

Speaking ahead of Juve's Serie A clash with Lecce on Friday, which could stretch their lead over Lazio at the top of the table to seven points, Sarri insisted he has not been told by the club that Pjanic is bound for the exit.

He also made it clear he is not pushing for the midfielder to leave despite suggestions Pjanic is not wholly compatible with Sarri's preferred system.

"If he is sold, it'll be for other reasons. He is not under discussion from a technical point of view," he said on Thursday.

"But the club haven't given me any signals in that sense, so I don't take it into consideration.

"The discussions between him and me are on technical and mental aspects. He mustn't worry if he misses a game, but he has to react quickly.

"I'm happy with Miralem and I'm sure, in that role, he can improve further."

When asked specifically about Arthur, Sarri replied: "Arthur is a Barcelona player and I don't want to talk about him."

Sarri had appeared irked by the fact Barca counterpart Quique Setien spoke about the rumours this week, claiming Arthur was affected by the speculation.

"Given how things are, we need all of our players and we'll try and isolate ourselves from this situation and the media who are reporting on and talking about these rumours," Setien said.

"We need him to be focused. It's true it is a difficult situation but we have to overcome it somehow."

Kalidou Koulibaly has been a man in demand for quite some time.

Clubs in Europe have reportedly queued up to sign the Napoli centre-back.

Koulibaly could finally get his move, with a Premier League giant reportedly working on a deal.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONTRUNNERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City are favourites to prise Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a Napoli exit – City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reported admirers.

But it seems the star defender is more likely to join Pep Guardiola's City than Premier League leaders Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is among the alternatives to Inter's Lautaro Martinez for Barcelona, says Sky Sport Italia. Barca want to sign Martinez but the LaLiga champions are struggling to meet Inter's demands. Now Cavani, who will not sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is a free agent, could end up at Camp Nou. The Uruguayan forward has also been linked to Inter and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the list, though Juventus are reportedly eyeing the disgruntled Gabon international.

Juve and Barca have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic, reports Goal. Arthur had been reluctant to leave Barca for Juve but the Spanish giants could receive a fee of €70million.

Liverpool are frontrunners to sign Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Bild. The Spanish midfielder had been set to extend his contract but he has apparently backed out of a new deal.

Borussia Dortmund may keep Jadon Sancho after all. The England international has been tipped to join United at the end of the season. Unless Dortmund receive £117m (€130m), they will continue with Sancho, reports Sport Bild, which also claims the Bundesliga club could offer a bumper new deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Lazio and Inter are battling over the signing of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. Inter have reportedly made a €25milion offer for Kumbulla, who has also been linked to Juve.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, claims WinSports. Chelsea are believed to have submitted an offer worth £8m (€8.8m) more than Madrid's bid.

Fred is ready to discuss a new long-term contract with United, the Sun reports. After a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, the Brazilian has established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

- According to Le10 Sport, Madrid and Barca are interested in Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.

Simone Inzaghi admitted the Serie A title was "a little bit far" for Lazio after their loss to Atalanta on Wednesday.

Lazio gave up a two-goal lead as their 21-game unbeaten league run came to an end with a 3-2 loss in Bergamo.

The loss dealt a huge blow to Lazio's chances of winning a first league title since 2000 as they were left four points behind leaders Juventus.

Inzaghi accepted winning Serie A looked difficult, but the Lazio head coach is not giving up on his team's chances.

"This is what the table says," he told a news conference.

"[The title] is now a little bit far, but we have 11 games, 33 points and we have to win again.

"Saturday will be a tough match against Fiorentina but we will prepare it at our best."

A Marten de Roon own goal and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's strike inside 11 minutes had Lazio in control.

Robin Gosens reduced the deficit for Atalanta before goals from Ruslan Malinovskiy and Jose Luis Palomino saw the fourth-placed hosts to their win.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said the club are not looking to sell Lautaro Martinez amid strong links to Barcelona.

Martinez has been strongly tipped to swap Inter for LaLiga champions Barca at the end of the 2019-20 coronavirus-hit season.

Barca are reportedly struggling to meet Inter's demands, with a release clause of €111million for the Argentina international.

Inter CEO Marotta was again asked about Martinez prior to Wednesday's thrilling 3-3 Serie A draw against Sassuolo.

"We have been very clear on Lautaro, stating more than once, Inter are a noble club and have no intention of selling the best players," Marotta told DAZN. "That goes for Lautaro.

"If the player does not manifest the desire to leave – and he has not – then there's no reason why he should go to another club."

Martinez came off the bench in the 62nd minute but he was unable to help Inter claim all three points at San Siro, where Sassuolo twice came from behind inside the final nine minutes.

The 22-year-old has scored 17 goals across all competitions for Antonio Conte's Inter this season.

Martinez and third-placed Inter will be back in action away to Parma on Sunday.

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