Gianluigi Buffon has confirmed he will leave Juventus at the end of the season but he is yet to decide if retirement beckons.

The 43-year-old re-joined the club two years ago having spent 2018-19 at Paris Saint-Germain, but he feels the two parties have reached the "end of a cycle".

Over the course of his second spell in Turin, Buffon has been second choice to Wojciech Szczesny, playing 16 times in Serie A since the start of 2019-20.

He won his 11th league title last term, but under the guidance of his former team-mate Andrea Pirlo, 2020-21 has been a drag for the Bianconeri, who sit fifth in the table with three games to go – Inter have already claimed the Scudetto.

Now he feels it is time to move on again, though he has not come to a decision as to what comes next.

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo has urged his players to not feel sorry for themselves after a humbling and potentially decisive 3-0 defeat to Milan, adamant they still have a chance of finishing in the top four.

Milan left Turin with a comprehensive victory on Sunday that propelled them back into the Champions League spaces at the expense of Juve.

It was Milan's first away win at Juventus since March 2011, with the Bianconeri conceding for the 11th league game in succession, their worst such run in just over 11 years.

Milan, who are third, now have a three-point cushion to Juve in fifth, though Pirlo's men are only one adrift of bitter rivals Napoli.

All three and Atalanta – ahead of Milan on goal difference – have three matches left this term, and Pirlo was keen to remind his players that their Champions League hopes are far from over.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Sassuolo, the under-pressure Pirlo said: "Juve will have to play a great game, I don't want to see resignation in the boys.

"We still have three games and we are one point from the Champions League [places]. In football I have seen all kinds of things, there must be no resignation but great positivity.

"We have even the chance to get into the Champions League, this must be the most important thing.

"There was great disappointment because we lost 3-0 to Milan. In football anything can happen, our goal doesn't change. I go ahead with my work. We have a duty to believe in it until the end.

"Tomorrow we need a show of collective pride, regardless of who will play. We must honour this shirt, we cannot afford performances like Sunday."

Juve's on-pitch struggles are not being helped by off-field matters and controversy, with the club currently having to deal with reports of in-house tension between sporting director Fabio Paratici and vice-president Pavel Nedved, while Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina has threatened to kick them out of Serie A if they do not renounce the European Super League.

But Pirlo insists he is paying such matters no mind.

"I don't even want to talk about gossip and invented things," he said. "I don't even want to go into it.

"These are external things, our goal is to show on the pitch that we deserve the Champions League, and we can only do it with the results."

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland together at Camp Nou?

Barcelona are among a host of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund's Haaland.

Joan Laporta is reportedly fighting to bring Haaland to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA NOT GIVING UP ON HAALAND

Erling Haaland remains Barcelona's number one transfer target, according to Diario Sport.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester CityChelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their financial problems and cheaper alternatives, Barca are determined to prise Haaland to Camp Nou, though Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Tottenham star Harry Kane remain possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Arsenal are desperate to lure Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga to London. Camavinga is in demand amid reported interest from Madrid, United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Barca are eyeing the France international as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

- Milan intend on signing Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea, reports Fabrizio Romano. Tomori has impressed since arriving at San Siro on loan. It comes as Chelsea work to extend Thiago Silva's contract.

- FT says Bayern star Kingsley Coman wants to double his wages in a contract extension. The France international has previously been linked with United.

- Liverpool have shown interest in Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, according to The Athletic.

- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter and Lazio are targeting Chelsea veteran Olivier Giroud, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge amid the Blues' links with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and City free agent Sergio Aguero.

Juventus have been warned by Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina that they face being kicked out of Serie A unless they officially withdraw their support for the controversial Super League.

The Italian giants, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, are one of only three of the 12 European heavyweights that signed up to the controversial project to remain committed to its inauguration.

Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid pulled out of the competition shortly after it was announced last month, following the lead of England's 'big six' clubs, but Juve are yet to renounce the proposed competition as they push for reform in European football.

UEFA last week warned the three rebels clubs that they risk being sanctioned due to their unwavering stance.

However, Juve released a joint statement describing those warnings as "intolerable" and "unacceptable", stating that structural reforms are a must for the good of the game.

FIGC chief Gravina is hopeful the Bianconeri will distance themselves from the proposed new competition, or else they face expulsion from the Italian top flight.

"There are simple principles, affirmed by the Olympic Charter and then reported by the statutes of national and international federations," Gravina told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"We are all a bit tired of this tug-of-war between UEFA and these three clubs. I hope to be able to mediate between Juventus and UEFA.

"It's not good for international football, Italian football, Juventus. We have already said that the football association respects the rules.

"The rules foresee the non-participation in our championship if the principles established by the federation and UEFA are not accepted. I hope this dispute can be resolved soon."

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has been credited with playing a key role in the organisation of the Super League.

Speaking two weeks ago, Juve boss Andrea Pirlo insisted the club are not scared of possible UEFA sanctions that may follow.

The Bianconeri slipped to fifth in the Serie A standings on Sunday, one point off a Champions League qualification spot, after a 3-0 loss to Milan.

Fabio Capello labelled Juventus' display in their 3-0 loss to Milan "embarrassing" as the pressure continues to grow on head coach Andrea Pirlo.

Juve's first home league defeat at the hands of Milan since March 2011 leaves them fifth in Serie A and a point off the Champions League spots with three games to go.

Brahim Diaz opened the scoring for the visitors on the brink of half-time and Ante Rebic added a second 12 minutes from time after Franck Kessie had a penalty saved.

Fikayo Tomori rounded off the scoring late on at the Allianz Stadium in a game in which Juve managed only one shot on target across the 90 minutes.

It is the third time in five games they have failed to test the opposition keeper before half-time, with Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo touching the ball once in the penalty area between them during the first 45 minutes.

At the opposite end of the field, the Bianconeri have conceded goals in each of their past 11 Serie A games, which is their worst streak since April 2010.

While Capello does not believe Milan deserve any special praise for their performance in Turin, he has questioned whether Juve can currently be classed as an elite club.

"What we saw from Juventus was embarrassing," he told Sky Sport Italia. "In the first half they did not exist. It was the same against Udinese last week. 

"They were without ideas and Milan did their part, without having to do difficult things. Juventus tried to press but without aggression and never managed to recover the ball. 

"In the first half there was a huge amount of wrong passes. Watching the game, I had to ask, 'are these Super League teams?'. 

"The second half was a bit better. Milan's goals unlocked the game and Juve woke up after the missed penalty, but not enough. Gianluigi Donnarumma made only one save."

Having missed out on the Scudetto for the first time in a decade, Juve now risk failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2010-11.

Pirlo insisted after his side's sixth league loss of the season that he has no intention of stepping down, with club officials reportedly discussing his future on Monday.

Capello, who both played for and managed Juventus, believes Pirlo has to take responsibility for confusing his players with a change of system.

"Juventus' problems are in midfield. Ronaldo did not have the service and [Giorgio] Chiellini is the only player who played some throughballs," he said.

"It should not possible that Chiellini is the key man in midfield. There has been confusion from the beginning – they started with a three-man defence then changed.

"The players feel the coach does not have clear ideas. They smell the situation and find it difficult to follow him. Juventus need a clear direction to improve."

Juve are back in action on Wednesday with a trip to Sassuolo.

As the 2020-21 season comes to an end, Jadon Sancho's future is dominating headlines.

Having been tipped to leave Borussia Dortmund at the start of the campaign, the England international is once again in the spotlight.

A move could be on the cards but remaining in Germany is also an option.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN TO SWOOP FOR SANCHO?

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Telegraph.

Sancho has long been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United, as well as Liverpool and Chelsea in the past.

But Bayern are believed to be ready to prise Sancho from Dortmund as they also reportedly wait to prise in-demand team-mate Erling Haaland to Bavaria.

Haaland, who has a release clause that is not valid until 2022, is wanted by Bayern, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- After re-signing Neymar, PSG are on the right track to lure Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to the French capital, claims ParisFans. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and yet to renew with Madrid.

Leicester City are set to sign Lille star Boubakary Soumare for less than £26million (€30m), reports Fabrizio Romano. He has previously been linked to United.

- Romano and L'Equipe say Julian Draxler has signed a contract extension with PSG. Arsenal and Bayern had reportedly been eyeing the German.

- Telefoot continues to link PSG with Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, who has a host of admirers, including United, Barca and Madrid.

Roma and Juventus are eyeing former Inter captain Mauro Icardi as ParisFans says the PSG striker's future could be away from Paris at the end of the season.

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici refused to comment on Milan goalkeeper and reported transfer target Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season but the star Italy international is yet to re-sign at San Siro amid mounting speculation over his future.

The 22-year-old's contract situation has seen him heavily linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, as well as Manchester United and Chelsea, while Milan have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Lille's Mike Maignan should Donnarumma depart.

Paratici, however, refused to give much away prior to Juve's crushing 3-0 defeat at home to Milan in Turin on Sunday.

"Donnarumma is a very good player, he belongs to Milan and tonight we are concentrated on the match," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"We have always made the decisions together with the president, with Pavel Nedved, with the directors. We discuss between ourselves and when a decision is made, it is shared by everyone."

Paratici added: "It's not just Donnarumma, the transfer market lasts all year round now, especially for the media.

"We are accustomed to the constant gossip over many different players, it's just right now it's Donnarumma."

Donnarumma has made more Serie A appearances than any other player (212) since his Rossoneri debut in 2015, but supporters unhappy with stalled contract negotiations had reportedly demanded he miss the Juve showdown.

This season, Donnarumma has featured in 34 league matches as Stefano Pioli's Milan sit third in Serie A – level on points with Atalanta but 13 points behind champions Inter in their quest to qualify for the Champions League.

Juve, meanwhile, are at risk of missing out on the Champions League after slipping to fifth in the table, one point adrift of Napoli with three rounds remaining.

Andrea Pirlo has no intention of resigning as Juventus head coach after the Bianconeri's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League suffered a significant blow on Sunday. 

Juve slumped to a resounding 3-0 home defeat to Italian rivals Milan as they slipped to fifth in Serie A with just three league games remaining in the race for the top four.

It was the first time Juve had been beaten at home by the Rossoneri since March 2011, while it marked the first time they had conceded three goals at home to Milan since January 2010. 

Pirlo has endured a dismal first season in charge of Juve after replacing Maurizio Sarri. Not only did they relinquish their nine-season stranglehold on the Serie A title to Inter, but they were dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Porto. 

While the decision could yet be taken out of his hands, first-year boss Pirlo insisted he has no plans to step down from his role.

"No, I won't step aside," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I took this role with a great deal of enthusiasm amid certain difficulties. 

"I am at the disposal of the club. There are still three games to go, so I will continue doing my work as long as I am allowed to."

Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori were on target for a dominant Milan, who could even afford the luxury of a missed Franck Kessie penalty with the score at 1-0. 

Juve have now conceded in each of their last 11 league games – their worst streak since April 2010. 

While Pirlo accepted responsibility for his side's failings this season, he suggested he was not given what he was promised by the club.  

"I had a different project in my mind and thought I would have a different group at my disposal," Pirlo added. 

"I had been working on some concepts, but then I had to make changes in order to suit their characteristics and had to adapt."

Asked if his side are resistant to change, he said: "It's not that this team is resistant to change, but if you have some things in your mind and they become more difficult with certain players.

"If I cannot get the best out of these players, that is my fault and I certainly need to do better.

"If something didn't go right, I take responsibility. This squad is made up of great players, clearly something did not work."

Juve have the chance to return to winning ways when they travel to Sassuolo on Wednesday.

Stefano Pioli warned his Milan players against complacency after they took a significant stride towards Champions League qualification with a resounding 3-0 win over top-four rivals Juventus on Sunday. 

Brahim Diaz opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Franck Kessie missed the opportunity to double their advantage shortly before the hour mark, when Wojciech Szczesny pawed away his penalty. 

It mattered little in the end, though, as substitute Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori sealed a first away Serie A win against the Bianconeri since March 2011 inside the final 12 minutes. 

The victory was Milan's 14th away from home in the league this season, with only Inter in 2006-07 (15) registering more in a single campaign in the history of the competition. 

Pioli was thrilled with his side's efforts, but says they need to quickly turn their focus to Wednesday, when they return to Turin to face Torino. 

"This was a team that believed, that showed a spirit of sacrifice, that gave it's all and showed quality, too," he told Sky Sport Italia.  

"We want to thank our fans, who really moved us this morning with their support, but now we have another game coming up and that might be even more difficult than this."

The win moved the Rossoneri up to third in the table, three points above Juve, who dropped down to fifth with just three games remaining. 

Pioli hailed the determination of his team after they scored three goals away to Juve for the first time since January 2010. 

"We have had big wins this season, but admittedly this was a head-to-head, with the table so tight and so much in the balance," he added. "Unfortunately, it is not the final game of the season so we still have to keep going.

"When it comes to determination, team spirit and preparation to sacrifice, we were perhaps the best team in Italy for a long period of time.

"There was inevitably some mental fatigue after a long campaign, but we knew that today we had to step it up and put in a different performance.

"When it was time to make challenges and fight for every ball, we did not hold back."

Rebic replaced Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 66th minute, the Sweden international limping off with a knee injury. 

Pioli, though, is confident it is nothing serious. 

"Zlatan was not at 100 per cent, he had half a training session with us on Friday, but he wanted to be here at all costs," he said. 

"He has a sore knee, but I don't think it's anything serious. We'll evaluate it."

Milan emphatically enhanced their Champions League hopes at Juventus' expense after a thumping 3-0 win at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. 

Rumoured Juve target Gianluigi Donnarumma enjoyed a quiet game after a controversial week in which Milan supporters reportedly demanded he missed the clash after contract negotiations had stalled, but the same could not be said for his Juve counterpart. 

Wojciech Szczesny's tepid punch allowed Brahim Diaz to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, although the Poland international redeemed himself to some extent by keeping out Franck Kessie's second-half penalty. 

There was little he could do about Ante Rebic's stunning strike, however, and Fikayo Tomori's late header made certain Stefano Pioli's side moved up to third in the table. Juve, meanwhile, drop down to fifth with just three games remaining.

Giorgio Chiellini had failed to take a glorious chance to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, the veteran defender heading wide at the back post from a corner with a flailing Donnarumma nowhere to be seen.

Milan then went ahead in stoppage time when Diaz superbly whipped into the top-right corner after Szczesny's weak clearance from Hakan Calhanoglu's free-kick had fallen kindly to him.

Szczesny made amends for his role in the opener, turning away Kessie's 58th-minute spot-kick after Diaz's shot had hit Chiellini's arm - the penalty given after referee Paolo Valeri had reviewed the incident on the pitchside monitor – but the reprieve did not trigger a Juve fightback.

Instead, Rebic, who had replaced the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 66th minute, put the game out of the home team's reach with a glorious long-range strike into Szczesny's top-left corner.

On-loan Chelsea defender Tomori powered home a header from Calhanoglu's cross with eight minutes remaining as Milan ended a run of nine straight away league defeats to Juventus in eye-catching style.

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho ahead of the 2020-21 season.

But, United were unable to prise Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

United, though, are reportedly still pursuing the England international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT SANCHO

Manchester United are lining up a bid for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star.

United were heavily linked with Sancho at the start of the season but a move did not materialise, while the Red Devils have since been mentioned as suitors for fellow Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

But United have reportedly cooled their interest in Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich target Haaland as they make Sancho their top transfer priority.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Juventus have rejected a renewed effort from Barca to sign Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

- Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, City defender Nathan Ake and RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer are on Jose Mourinho's list of targets as he prepares to take charge of Roma, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Corriere dello Sport also claims Lille midfielder Renato Sanches is wanted by Mourinho.

- Mundo Deportivo says Barca are continuing to chase Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravernberch. Barca have also been linked with Liverpool's soon-to-be free agent Georginio Wijnaldum, who has since emerged as a reported target for Bayern.

Chelsea are frontrunners to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham according to Football Insider. Kane has been linked with United, City, Barca, Paris Saint-Germain and Madrid, while Chelsea have also emerged as a possible destination for Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is set to start against reported suitors Juventus in a mammoth match for Champions League chasers Milan on Sunday.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper has made more Serie A appearances than any other player (211) since his Rossoneri debut in 2015, but supporters unhappy with stalled contract negotiations had reportedly demanded he miss this weekend's game.

An exchange between Donnarumma and a section of fans was said to have left the keeper in tears.

Talk of an offer from Juve for Donnarumma, whose existing deal expires at the end of the season, was seemingly a particular point of contention.

Technical director Paolo Maldini subsequently halted discussions but insisted supporters could have no say in who represented Milan on the pitch.

Speaking on Saturday, Stefano Pioli said he would act in the best interests of the club, seemingly assuring a start for the keeper who ranks second for saves (609) and penalty saves (eight) in his Serie A career.

"At the moment, certainly all of Milan, we all have only one goal here: Milan's interest, not personal interest," Pioli said.

"They have always sweated. For this reason, I think it is right to support them, regardless of how it will go and the future of each of us.

"We are focused only on the match and finishing the championship well."

Asked if he had spoken to Donnarumma, whose save percentage has dipped to 68.9 this term, Pioli replied: "I talked to him, as with everyone.

"We talked about the match, what it is and about the strategy, how we have to interpret it. He and everyone is focused on giving their best."

Milan entered the weekend fourth, level on points with Juve in third, but could be fifth by the time they kick off.

Since their most recent Scudetto win in 2011, no side have lost to the Bianconeri in Serie A as often as Milan (15 times).

Pioli is confident their top-four hopes are not pinned solely on the outcome of this weekend's match, however.

"Whoever wins has a great chance of going to the Champions League, but it doesn't finish tomorrow night," he said. "Another nine points is a lot.

"We have two direct clashes from here to the end. We are masters of our destiny. If we win them, we have huge chances.

"The calendar is like this, it's strange to see a midweek round with two rounds to go. For now, we only think about tomorrow.

"We are on equal points, they have quality, but we do, too.

"It would be very important and exceptional to win in Turin against Juve. We will have to give our all. There will be difficulties, but we must work to resolve our mistakes."

He added: "It can be [a turning point]. I don't know if it will be so decisive for the future as well, certainly, however, [it can be] for our moment and for what we hope to achieve, to return to high levels.

"A positive result would give us the confidence and conviction to reach our goal. I see a mentally prepared team."

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have described warnings from UEFA as "intolerable" and "unacceptable" as the three clubs continue to back a breakaway European Super League.

Spain's biggest two clubs and Italian outfit Juve are the only three remaining of the 12 European giants who signed up for the controversial project, with all others having withdrawn just days after the competition was announced last month.

UEFA on Friday stated that Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid would not face Champions League or Europa League bans after pulling out of the proposed Super League.

The governing body warned that the three remaining rebel clubs could be sanctioned due to their unwavering stance.

UEFA stated: "UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called 'Super League'. The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies."

Barca, Madrid and Juve released a joint statement on Saturday to make it clear they are not happy with UEFA's actions.

The statement said: "The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue.

"This is intolerable under the rule of law and tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending."

The three clubs defended the Super League proposal by stating that "structural reforms are vital to ensure our sport remains appealing and survives in the long-term".

They added that the founding clubs agreed that the new competition would only take place if it was "recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions".

Juve, Barca and Madrid claim the Super League provided "a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport".

The trio of clubs say they are "ready to reconsider the proposed approach" but it would be "highly irresponsible" if they abandoned a mission to "provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry".

Neymar's long-term commitment to Paris Saint-Germain has been in question at times. 

A return to Barcelona had been rumoured. 

Now the Brazil international is set to stay in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR TO FINALISE PSG EXTENSION

Neymar is set to sign a new contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain this weekend, L'Equipe reports.

The four-year extension will be worth €30million (£26m) per season and run through 2026, nearly a decade after he arrived from Camp Nou for a record €220m fee. 

The signing would come days after a report that Barcelona approached PSG about Neymar, but the French club insisted he was not for sale. 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are casting a wide net to bolster their attack, with Bild reporting Mohamed Salah is on Thomas Tuchel's shortlist along with Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku

- Zinedine Zidane may return to Juventus as head coach after Real Madrid's Champions League exit, Tuttosport reports, adding that the Real Madrid boss also is considering taking some time away from the sport. 

Georginio Wijnaldum's Liverpool deal expires in June and the midfielder could be on the way to Bayern Munich, Sport1 reports. 

- Memphis Depay remains a top target for Barcelona, but the Spanish giants could turn to Donyell Malen of PSV if they cannot land the Lyon star. 

- Marca claims Eden Hazard is on the way out at Real Madrid, with Los Blancos ready to listen to offers for the forward. 

- Jan Oblak could be moving to the Premier League this summer, with ESPN saying Manchester United are among the potential destinations for the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper. 

- Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard will sign for Leicester City, Teamtalk reported. The 23-year-old also has drawn inquiries from West Ham and Liverpool

- Aston Villa will offer £15million for Burnley's Dwight McNeil, Football Insider reported. McNeil is under contract through 2024. 

The Serie A title has gone for both last season's champions Juventus and 2020-21 pace-setters Milan, but they still have plenty to play for on Sunday.

The two Italian giants are third and fourth heading into the weekend but neither are yet assured of Champions League qualification.

The losers when the sides meet in Turin – or both teams in the event of a draw – could soon be caught by those below them.

And Milan's preparations have been impacted by speculation around regular goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, as Stats Perform explains.

What's happened with Donnarumma?

The Italy international is out of contract at the end of the season and his failure so far to commit his future to the club has riled Milan supporters.

No Serie A player has made more appearances or starts (both 211) in the competition than Donnarumma since his 2015 debut – he ranks second behind Samir Handanovic (80) with 67 clean sheets – but fans reportedly confronted the keeper last week and demanded he either sign a new deal or sit out the Juve game.

It was an exchange that was said to have left Donnarumma in tears.

"It is important to firmly reiterate that nobody outside of Milan can decide who stays at the club and who renews," Milan technical director Paolo Maldini told ANSA in response.

"Choices regarding what happens on the pitch are down to the coach, while the club is in charge of contractual issues.

"From this moment, every single negotiation for new contract renewals is frozen until the end of the season so that the team can focus solely on the league.

"In the meantime, we will continue to protect our players, as we always have done."

A predictable complication is Juve's status as the most likely suitors for Donnarumma, who has lost more matches to the Bianconeri in Serie A (eight of 10) than any other side.

Why leave Milan?

Reported interest in Donnarumma from elsewhere is nothing new, but he has surely never been closer to quitting his only club.

The 22-year-old holds the power this time given his expiring contract, and patience could understandably be wearing thin at San Siro.

Donnarumma has been kept extremely busy by a misfiring Milan team in recent seasons. He ranks second for saves (609) and penalty saves (eight) – behind Andrea Consigli (642 and nine) in both categories – over the course of his Serie A career.

These heroics have not yet been enough to return the Rossoneri to the Champions League, where Donnarumma is remarkably still to make his bow, and a top-four finish in 2020-21 is now far from assured.

Milan were unbeaten in the league this season before hosting Juve in the reverse fixture in January but have since lost seven times.

A young team may be blowing their best shot at qualifying for Europe's top club competition, while Donnarumma's form has started to wobble, too.

The keeper has saved 72.6 per cent of shots since his Serie A debut, but that figure has dropped to 68.9 this term. He has also conceded 35 non-penalty goals from shots worth just 33.1 expected goals on target.

If Milan miss out on the Champions League again, Donnarumma could reasonably argue he is in need of a fresh challenge.

Would Juventus be interested?

Four keepers have made 100 or more saves in Serie A while keeping out a greater share of shots than Donnarumma during his Milan career. Two of them already play for Juve.

Along with Alisson (79.3 per cent), who left Roma for Liverpool, and Inter champion Samir Handanovic (73.1), Gianluigi Buffon (77.0) and Wojciech Szczesny (73.7) have bettered Donnarumma's output.

Juve may not even be getting an upgrade then if they tempt the Naples-born star away from Milan.

But Buffon is now 43 and Szczesny 31, meaning both are likely to wane as Donnarumma presumably improves.

Illan Meslier, in 2020-21 at Leeds United, is the only keeper born after Donnarumma to have made 30 starts in a single season in one of Europe's 'top five' leagues. Donnarumma has done so six times already.

And not only is the Italian young, he is, of course, cheap.

Juve love a bargain deal for a free transfer, willing to pay the various related sums to avoid transfer fees for Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, among others. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic and its financial crisis.

The Turin giants might be able to pick up their keeper of the future for nothing. Alternatively, he could on Sunday further dent their own Champions League aspirations.

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