Where will Fabian Ruiz be playing by the end of January?

Napoli will be hoping Fabian remains at Stadio San Paolo.

However, LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are determined to bring the former Real Betis midfielder back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID SURPASS BARCA IN BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Madrid have moved ahead of Barca in the race for Napoli star Fabian and want to sign the midfielder in January, according to Marca.

Fabian has attracted plenty of interest since swapping Betis for Serie A side Napoli, where the Spaniard has starred since his €30milion arrival in 2018.

Barca have been keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, but rivals Madrid have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Fabian is of interest, Tuttosport says Barca are eyeing Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who has a €111m release clause.

- There is plenty happening at Camp Nou. Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are willing to let Ivan Rakitic and Carles Alena leave in January. Barca are also reportedly not interested in signing a new centre-back as they trust Jean-Clair Todibo or Ronald Araujo, with Marca saying right-back is an area they are looking to strengthen.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Fiorentina are targeting in-demand Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old has been linked to Juventus and Manchester United.

- AS claims Madrid are considering a move for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, before his contract expires at the end of the season.

Hakan Calhanoglu's time at AC Milan could be coming to an end, with Calciomercato reporting the struggling Serie A side may sell the 25-year-old. Calhanoglu has struggled for consistency since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017.

Barca are lining up an approach for PSV sensation Donyell Malen, according to Sport. It comes as AS reports Ernesto Valverde's side are set to hand contract extensions to Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Nelson Semedo.

Roberto Mancini is prepared to wait on Gabriel Martinelli as Italy try to secure the Arsenal forward's international future.

Martinelli, 18, was born in Guarulhos in Brazil but is said to be eligible to represent Italy through his father.

It was reported on Monday the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) contacted Martinelli to try to convince him to reject Brazil and commit his future to the Azzurri.

Mancini, though, accepts it will take time for the process to be completed.

"In the case of Martinelli, it is not so easy," the Italy boss told reporters on Monday. "You have to submit a request and it may take a long time. It is a long wait for these players who have a double passport."

For now, Mancini is not considering many changes to his squad before Euro 2020.

Italy can qualify for the tournament if they beat Greece on Saturday and Armenia fail to defeat Liechtenstein, and Mancini already has most of his team in mind.

"The group is more or less decided. Two or three players might come in or out, maybe," he said. "If someone is suddenly unavailable then we'll see what happens, but the players who will go to the Euros are all here."

That could prove bad news for Mario Balotelli, who was overlooked for the latest squad and has only made two appearances for Brescia this season.

Mancini, though, suggested his former Manchester City striker could still get back into his plans if he can put together a strong run of performances.

"He's only just come back after months out and he's not quite there physically yet," said Mancini. "He did well against Napoli but he needs to play more games."

Marco Giampaolo's time at AC Milan could already be over and the Serie A giants are considering replacements.

Milan overcame Genoa for their third win in seven league games this season, but they are still struggling in 13th in the table.

Giampaolo's stint at the helm at San Siro may be over already after just over three months in charge.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN CONSIDER GIAMPAOLO'S FUTURE WITH PIOLI, SPALLETTI FAVOURITES

Milan are leaning towards sacking Giampaolo despite the win over Genoa, according to CalcioMercato.

SempreMilan reports the club almost sacked Giampaolo at half-time, when the side were trailing before fighting back.

According to Sky Sport, former Inter coaches Stefano Pioli and Luciano Spalletti are favourites for the Milan job.

 

ROUND-UP

- Looking to strengthen in January, Manchester United sent scouts to watch Lyon forward Moussa Dembele against Saint-Etienne on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. Dembele came off the bench for struggling Lyon in the 1-0 loss.

- Juventus and Inter look set to battle for the Serie A title and they could be fighting elsewhere too. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Italian giants are set to fight to sign Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- Leicester City are looking for a replacement for Ben Chilwell as they prepare for clubs to bid for the left-back, according to The Sun, which links Manchester City and Chelsea with £50million moves for the England international.

- Out to improve their defence, Arsenal are targeting Wolves centre-back Willy Boly, according to The Sun. A France youth international, Boly joined Wolves from Porto, initially on loan before the move was made permanent last year.

- Newcastle United could make a move for Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall in January, The Sun reports. Worrall, 22, is coming out of contract at season's end and the Premier League club could land him on the cheap in early 2020.

Napoli defender Kostas Manolas was taken off against Brescia due to muscle fatigue, the Serie A club have confirmed.

Manolas scored his side's second goal in Sunday's 2-0 win at Stadio San Paolo but had to be withdrawn 20 minutes into the second half.

However, Napoli have allayed fears of a possible lay-off for the Greece international, who has started five of their opening seven matches this term.

Defensive team-mate Nikola Maksimovic could be facing a spell on the sidelines, though, having limped off with a hamstring injury later in the match.

"Tests have revealed that Nikola Maksimovic suffered a pulled right hamstring," a statement read on Napoli's official website. 

"Kostas Manolas was also taken off during the match, but the Greek defender was just feeling some tightness."

Dries Mertens and Manolas gave Napoli a two-goal lead at half-time, but Mario Balotelli pulled one back for Brescia with a 67th-minute header - his first goal in Serie A since returning to Italy last month.

Brescia boss Eugenio Corini told reporters: "Mario is a player you all know, he arrived with great motivation. 

"His technical qualities are recognised. From him I always expect something more, an important individual performance which can help the team."

Victory for Napoli got them back on track following their surprise 1-0 home loss to Cagliari in midweek, but they were made to fight for the three points.

"Suffering is natural in these games, because if you don't kill it off with 3-0 and then concede a goal, it all opens up again," Carlo Ancelotti told DAZN.

"We played an excellent first half, the second was less impressive, but the temperature was very warm and it made the teams get more stretched out."

Napoli face Genk in the Champions League on Wednesday, before returning to Serie A action with a trip to Torino in a week's time.

Brescia have been hit with a partial stadium closure following racial abuse aimed at Juventus' Miralem Pjanic, although the punishment is suspended.

The midfielder hit the winning goal in a 2-1 victory for the Serie A champions on Tuesday but was reportedly subjected to chants of "zingaro", which in English translates as "gypsy".

Bosnia-Herzegovina international Pjanic subsequently condemned "demented racists" in a post on Instagram about the incident.

Serie A disciplinary chiefs stated in a bulletin on Friday that Brescia's 'Curva Nord' section of their stadium would be closed for one home game; however, it added that the punishment has been suspended for a period of 12 months.

Earlier this season, Cagliari avoided punishment from the league after Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was racially abused.

Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants, yet it was ruled by the sporting justice panel of the Italian FA that there was too much shouting and whistling to identify the "discriminatory" nature.

The recent Serie A game between Atalanta and Fiorentina was also suspended for a short period after racist insults were aimed at Viola defender Dalbert.

Roma this week banned a fan for life after sending Juan Jesus racist messages via social media.

"Are you really serious about tackling racism in Italian football, @SerieA? It's time for zero tolerance," Roma posted on Twitter on Friday.

The Lega Serie A account replied, suggesting Roma had been slow off the mark themselves in one respect, stating: "Dear @ASRomaEN, we're all on the same side. Together, we're building the Serie A TIM team against racism: we've been eagerly awaiting the name of your ambassador for three weeks!"

After requesting a move away from Paris Saint-Germain, who would have thought Neymar could be in line to sign a contract extension?

Neymar was determined to return to LaLiga champions Barcelona but a deal did not materialise prior to the transfer window closing.

Now, Neymar's long-term future could be in Paris…

 

TOP STORY – PSG HOPEFUL OF EXTENDING NEYMAR CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of signing superstar Neymar to a new contract, reports Le10Sport.

LaLiga champions Barcelona were in talks to re-sign Neymar from PSG after the Brazilian's world-record €222million transfer in 2017, however, an agreement could not be reached.

Neymar, though, has reportedly held talks with PSG over extending his contract in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun says Manchester United will target Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic in January. The 33-year-old Croatian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the window shut. But with United facing a crisis following injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez's exits, the Red Devils are believed to be weighing up Mandzukic.

AC Milan turned down the chance to sign Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The 21-year-old has already scored seven Premier League goals this season. However, Milan reportedly pulled the plug on the deal due to his apparent inexperience at the top level.

United and Juventus are reportedly scouting Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a United scout was in attendance for Tuesday's Serie A clash between Brescia and Juve. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing the 19-year-old.

Napoli are in talks with centre-back Nikola Maksimovic over a new long-term contract, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Boca Juniors sensation Agustin Almendra. LaLiga rivals Sevilla and Valencia have also reportedly inquired about the 19-year-old.

Maurizio Sarri admitted Juventus must improve defensively despite the champions moving to the top of Serie A with victory over Brescia.

Juve came from behind to win 2-1 at newly promoted Brescia on Tuesday as they climbed above rivals Inter, who have played a game less, at the summit.

Alfredo Donnarumma had given Brescia an early lead before a Jhon Chancellor own goal and superb striker from Miralem Pjanic transformed the contest on what was Mario Balotelli's debut for Juve's opponents.

Juve achieved the result without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who was left out as a precautionary measure with an adductor problem.

While there were plenty of positives for Sarri to take, the former Chelsea head coach conceded there remains work to be done, particularly in a defence which has now conceded five times in their opening five league matches.

"We improved our passing with the 4-3-1-2 formation played," Sarri told DAZN. "I saw some steps forward in the chances created.

"We need to improve the defence. Which formation will we use? We can use both solutions. We struggle with offensive wingers at this time while we have a lot of quality midfielders so it seemed obvious to try this formation.

"Then, if a month from now the wingers find their form, we can evaluate the options, but the team must be prepared with both formations."

Asked about the performances of defender Matthijs de Ligt, a €75million close-season arrival, Sarri added: "He's improving a lot, he needs time."

Sarri was impressed with the performance of out-of-favour attacker Paulo Dybala, who played a part in both goals for his team 

"Dybala had a good match both offensively and defensively," Sarri said. "He was excellent with quick passes and he left the pitch hurting. We hope he can recuperate for the next game [SPAL on Saturday]."

Champions Juventus moved top of Serie A despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo after Miralem Pjanic's second-half strike saw them come from behind to beat Brescia 2-1 on Tuesday.

A fourth-minute strike from Alfredo Donnarumma handed Brescia, who gave a debut to Mario Balotelli, an early advantage.

Maurizio Sarri's team levelled shortly before the interval courtesy of Jhon Chancellor's own goal before Pjanic's stunning strike just after the hour mark.

The victory sees Juve leapfrog Inter at the Serie A summit as they continued their unbeaten start - and the result was all the more impressive given they did so without star man Ronaldo, who was left out as a precautionary measure with an adductor problem.

 

Real Madrid have set their sights on Mauricio Pochettino to be their next coach and they are also interested in a Premier League star, according to reports.

Pochettino has regularly been linked with a move away from Tottenham, where he has impressed since taking charge in 2014.

And the LaLiga giants are said to be eyeing the Argentinian amid pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYEING POCHETTINO, STERLING

Real Madrid are ready to make an approach for Pochettino, according to The Mirror.

The Tottenham manager will be Madrid's top target if they decide to replace Zidane, the report says.

Madrid eased the pressure on Zidane with a 1-0 win at Sevilla on Sunday, moving them level on points with LaLiga leaders Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, The Athletic reports Madrid met with Manchester City star Raheem Sterling's representatives during the off-season and the attacker is keen to play for the LaLiga giants one day, while the Premier League champions are confident the England international will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have made a poor start to the season, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to get backing in January. The Daily Mail reports United will back Solskjaer if he wants to strengthen his team, who are eighth in the table.

- Needing to bolster their defence, Juventus could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier in January, according to Tuttosport. A deal could include midfielder Emre Can heading to Paris.

- Previously linked with Manchester United, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to renew his contract at Lazio, according to Il Messaggero. The deal, to be worth €3m per season, will reportedly be done by December.

- Mario Mandzukic is still unsure about his future. Tuttosport reports clubs in Qatar are still trying to sign the Juventus striker, but the Croatian may instead wait for a move to the Premier League in January.

- Italy youth international Sandro Tonali is catching the eye at Brescia. AC Milan and Manchester United are monitoring the 19-year-old midfielder, according to Calciomercato.

- Staying at Milan, Calciomercato says the Serie A giants are still looking at PSV forward Donyell Malen. The 20-year-old Netherlands international has scored seven goals in six Eredivisie games this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature for Juventus against Brescia on Tuesday after the forward was left out of a 20-man squad for the Serie A fixture.

The Portugal international will miss the midweek trip to Stadio Mario Rigamonti due to "slight fatigue in the adductor", according to the club, having played three times in the space of eight days.

Ronaldo was on the field for every minute of the league games against Fiorentina and Hellas Verona, with a 2-2 Champions League draw away at Atletico Madrid sandwiched in between.

 

While Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa all remain sidelined, Gonzalo Higuain is included in the squad list.

The striker suffered a facial injury following his second-half introduction during the 2-1 triumph over Verona on Saturday, though he did not break any bones in his nose and could feature in the clash with Brescia.

Juventus have posted three wins and a draw in four Serie A outings so far this season, leaving them two points behind leaders Inter in the table.

Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness will be assessed ahead of Juventus' Serie A clash with Brescia on Tuesday.

Juve boss Maurizio Sarri confirmed Ronaldo had suffered with muscle fatigue over the weekend, putting his participation in doubt.

Sarri said he expected to have to juggle his selection after a busy week in which his side played three times.

"I want to see the current conditions. Ronaldo yesterday [Sunday] had a little muscle fatigue but it is quite normal after three games in seven days," he said.

"We'll see if it is necessary or not for someone to rest. It's important that we have continuity in this moment, but there are also other factors to consider.

"We'll have to make some evaluations."

Brescia were 1-0 winners at Udinese last time out and Sarri, whose side surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League before overcoming Hellas Verona 2-1 in Serie A, is expecting a tough challenge.

He also cited a potential Brescia debut for Mario Balotelli as an added layer of difficulty for the away fixture.

"Brescia are a dangerous team," he said. "They play decent football in an enthusiastic environment and a lot of work has gone into it. The game is undoubtedly a tricky one.

"Balotelli's return could give them additional enthusiasm, they are in great shape."

Ronaldo is on the three-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player award on Monday, alongside Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk. 

Mario Balotelli is "very happy" being back in Brescia and can be a real success for his hometown club, according to former team-mate Nigel de Jong.

The enigmatic former Inter, Manchester City and Nice striker returned to Italy in August, signing a multi-year deal with the newly-promoted Serie A side.

Balotelli, 29, spent much of his childhood in the Brescia region and revealed his mother cried when she found out he was signing for the Lombardy outfit.

De Jong played alongside Balotelli at City and AC Milan, and he expects the move home to bring the best out of his friend.

"Of course [he can succeed], he's back in his home town Brescia with his family around him," the former Netherlands international said after Vincent Kompany's testimonial match, which Balotelli attended as a spectator.

"I know him very well, we speak quite often, and he's happy.

"For me, it's important for Mario to be in an environment he's happy with and [where] he's back with his family.

"I think he needs two more weeks before he's really fit and he can play his first game.

"Mario's Mario – the qualities will always be there. We just hope that he can pick up where he left off [in France] and show his qualities for Brescia because they're going to need it this year.

"He is very happy. So we'll see."

De Jong and Balotelli were part of the City outfit which won the Premier League in famous fashion in 2011-12.

Pipping rivals Manchester United paved the way for a sustained period of success, during which the so-called 'noisy neighbours' have secured a further three league titles.

The hard-nosed midfield anchor of Roberto Mancini's side believes the Etihad Stadium has become an attractive destination in the eyes of top players for more reasons than money.

"There are more players coming in and it's due to the fact people will choose Manchester City now over other teams," De Jong said.

"City, back in the day, you had to come in and say, 'Listen, here's the contract, here's the big money, come play for us', instead of watching the whole culture.

"Now [some players would] rather choose Manchester City over Barcelona or Madrid. That is a change, a momentum shift.

"United as well. I think a player would rather choose City at this moment than the other side of town.

"It is what it is, that's football. It shifts. We'll see how it goes."

AC Milan head coach Marco Giampaolo defended his decision to bench Krzysztof Piatek, while he said Lucas Paqueta must learn to be "a little less Brazilian."

Piatek was named among the substitutes as Milan edged Brescia 1-0 at San Siro on Saturday to celebrate their first victory under Giampaolo.

Giampaolo made changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Udinese on the opening weekend, with prolific scorer Piatek dropped to the bench in favour of Andre Silva before he was introduced just past the hour mark.

The move sparked questions and Giampaolo explained his decision after Hakan Calhanoglu's early header settled the contest in Milan.

"Every game requires its own choices and in this one I chose Andre Silva and [Ismael] Bennacer," Giampaolo told DAZN.

"Milan have a strong squad, so I have the option to choose between various alternatives. I don't know if Andre Silva is leaving before the transfer deadline, but he is a professional, he is at our disposal and therefore he can play.

"Piatek is a great player, but if he is on the bench occasionally, the world isn't going to end. Players must think only of giving their all for Milan, then I'll make my decisions. Maybe I saw he wasn't quite as sharp during the week in training as some others."

Brazilian midfielder Paqueta also started on the bench after he was named in Giampaolo's line-up against Udinese last week.

Asked about Paqueta – who was introduced for scorer Calhanoglu in the 65th minute – Giampaolo said: "In the way I see things, Paqueta can be an excellent mezz'ala.

"He just needs to learn to be a little less Brazilian at times, more solid and less playful.

"I think he can be a mezz'ala, but then in the final 10 minutes, in some situations, he could be used as a trequartista, but I like a player who is more attacking in his characteristics."

Hakan Calhanoglu's early header was enough for AC Milan as they held off Brescia 1-0 at San Siro to collect their first victory under head coach Marco Giampaolo.

After failing to register a shot on target in their 1-0 loss to Udinese on the opening weekend of the Serie A season, Giampaolo responded by leaving out prolific scorer Krzysztof Piatek and changing Milan's system.

The Rossoneri again struggled to get going in Saturday's clash, but Calhanoglu's 12th-minute goal got them off the mark under their new boss.

Brescia, without the suspended Mario Balotelli, were unable to respond as they were joined on three points by their opponents.

Looking to avoid back-to-back losses to begin a Serie A season for just the third time in their history, Milan were ahead early on.

An unmarked Calhanoglu sent a downward header into the bottom-left corner after being left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard, profiting from Suso's impressive play down the right.

A good chance went begging for Dimitri Bisoli to equalise eight minutes later, prodding over from close range, and Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a good save to keep out Stefano Sabelli's deflected strike.

Milan struggled to build on their early goal, with Samu Castillejo wayward from a rare attempt early in the second half.

But the hosts rallied late on and should have added to their tally, substitute Piatek twice being denied by Jesse Joronen in the final 10 minutes, either side of firing against the post


What does it mean? Still work to be done for Giampaolo

Giampaolo accepted he needed to make changes following the loss in Udine and leaving out Piatek for the first hour, the Poland striker having hit 22 league goals last term, was a brave decision - especially considering Andre Silva has been heavily tipped to leave.

Milan may have earned the win but they looked disjointed at times and it appears further tweaks will be needed before the new head coach stumbles upon the right system.


Suso shines after last week's shocker

Calhanoglu scored through Milan's first on target attempt of the new season and it came as a result of Suso's work.

Spanish winger Suso had a poor game at Udinese last week but he responded well and played more key passes than anyone else on the pitch, including making the decisive assist.


Castillejo struggles to get involved

Castillejo should have profited from the tweak in system but he had fewer touches than any Milan player to complete the game and squandered a promising opportunity early in the second half. He did win his fair share of aerial duels, though he was replaced late on after seemingly sustaining an injury.


What's next?

Milan travel to Verona in their first match back after the international break, while Brescia have a home meeting with Bologna.

Mario Balotelli says his mother cried when she found out he was signing for Brescia.

Balotelli, a free agent since leaving Ligue 1 side Marseille, has agreed a multi-year contract with his hometown club.

It marks a return to Italy for the former Inter and AC Milan striker, who has not played in Italy since 2016.

Spells with Nice and Marseille have rebuilt Balotelli's career and he revealed his mother's delight at his latest move.

"At the beginning she was crying. She was very happy," Balotelli told a news conference on Monday.

"My father was from Brescia, he was always in Brescia, for him it would have been a dream to see me here.

"I chose Brescia, I thought of nothing else when I got the offer. Brescia can give me everything, it is the team of my city And I can give more to Brescia than to others."

During his time at AC Milan Balotelli was targeted by racist abuse, which has continued to blight Serie A in recent years.

"I don't know what to expect," he said when asked about racism in Italian football. "I hope things don't happen like in the past."

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