What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

For so long, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

However, Mbappe is believed to be attracted to the idea of leaving Parc des Princes for Anfield.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE INTRIGUED BY LIVERPOOL

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Le Parisien.

Mbappe is contracted to PSG until 2022 but the France international forward has reportedly made it clear he has no plans to extend his deal in Paris.

He has long been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though the 21-year-old is attracted to Liverpool's style of play. Barcelona have also emerged as a possible destination.

 

ROUND-UP

Zinedine Zidane retains the backing of Madrid following last week's shock defeat to newly promoted Cadiz, says AS. Head coach Zidane has come in for criticism after Madrid's first loss of the season. While delivering LaLiga glory last term, Zidane is reportedly under pressure to succeed in the Champions League following their last-16 exit in 2019-20.

- The Daily Star says Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil is wanted by MLS outfit DC United. Wayne Rooney previously played for DC between 2018 and 2020.

- Todofichajes claims PSG and United are interested in Inter midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has struggled to establish himself in Milan since arriving from Tottenham in January.

Tottenham are close to agreeing a contract extension with Spurs star Son Heung-min, reports The Athletic.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be ready to extend his contract at Milan after a fine start to the season. 

Ibrahimovic returned to the Serie A club in January, extending his deal in August through until the end of the 2020-21 season. 

However, the veteran striker could be set to remain at the club for longer, per speculation in Italy.

 

TOP STORY – IBRAHIMOVIC COULD RENEW AT MILAN UNTIL 2022

Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola is already studying a plan to extend the striker's deal at Milan until 2022, according to Corriere della Sera.

The 39-year-old has scored four goals in two Serie A games for league leaders Milan this season, including a brace in the derby win over rivals Inter at the weekend.

Ibrahimovic netted 10 goals and provided five assists in 18 league appearances in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Unhappy about being left on the bench against Crotone, Paulo Dybala's future at Juventus is again a subject of interest. However, Tuttosport reports the aim is still for the playmaker – who is contracted until 2022 – to renew his deal before January.

- Barcelona could be set for good news. Goal reports Barcelona are working on new deals for Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet after agreeing to a contract with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Meanwhile, AS says Gerard Pique is ready to accept a pay cut.

- Phil Jones is yet to play for Manchester United this season and could leave in January. The Sun reports United could demand £20million for the defender, who is contracted until 2023.

- Maurizio Sarri could be set for a return to coaching. CalcioMercato reports the former Juventus and Chelsea boss is a target for Fiorentina amid pressure on Giuseppe Iachini after the club collected just four points from their opening four Serie A games of the season.

- Out of contract at Marseille at season's end, Florian Thauvin could be set for a move. Le 10 Sport says Milan are interested in the forward.

- With Virgil van Dijk out due to a serious knee injury, Liverpool could be looking for a defender in January. Football Insider says Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White remains on the Premier League champions' radar.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a greater impact on Italian football than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to former Milan and Juventus head coach Alberto Zaccheroni. 

The 39-year-old has made a considerable impact since rejoining Milan in January, scoring 11 goals in 20 appearances in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign.

He has been in equally impressive form this season despite missing almost a month after contracting COVID-19, taking his tally to four goals in just two games with a double against Inter at the weekend. 

One of the best strikers of his generation, Ibrahimovic spent two years with Milan earlier in his distinguished career, a stint that included securing the Serie A title in 2011. 

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been just as prolific since he joined Juve from Real Madrid in 2018, scoring 68 goals in 91 appearances across all competitions. 

Zaccheroni, though, is in no doubt which player has had more influence on Serie A. 

"I have coached great champions in my career, from [Oliver] Bierhoff to [George] Weah up to Adriano but the only regret I have is that I never trained Ibrahimovic," he told Il Giornale.

"He is eternal and I still don't understand why he never won the Ballon d'Or.

"In Italy, he has shifted the balance more than Ronaldo. It is no coincidence that many young players have grown exponentially since his arrival.

"He doesn't just score. He transmits confidence to all his team-mates, carrying the team on his shoulders in difficult moments."

Paulo Dybala was "angry" at being left on the bench for Juventus' draw at Crotone but is again available for the Bianconeri's Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev, says head coach Andrea Pirlo.

Argentina forward Dybala has yet to feature in Serie A this season, although he was named in the XI for the side to face Napoli in a match that never took place when their opponents were unable to fulfil the fixture due to travel issues caused by coronavirus restrictions.

Dybala has been contending with a muscular injury and Pirlo had planned to give him some game time in the 1-1 draw against Crotone only for a sending off for Federico Chiesa on debut to complicate his plans.

Reports said Dybala had an angry confrontation with Juve's chief football officer Fabio Paratici in the tunnel and Pirlo explained his side of events.

"I talked to him [Dybala] yesterday as I do to everyone else. He was a bit angry for not having played in Crotone but we have to remember that he hasn't played for three months," Pirlo said. 

"He spent 10 days in his room in Argentina taking medicines because he couldn't train. 

"I took him to Crotone to let him do a few minutes but unfortunately there were 10 of us left and I couldn't add him. He is available and we will see what to do."

On Tuesday, rookie coach Pirlo will pit his wits against a man set to become the oldest to lead a team in the Champions League in the form of 75-year-old old Mircea Lucescu.

Lucescu is the man who gave a 16-year-old Pirlo his debut at Brescia and later signed him for Inter.

Pirlo spoke fondly of his former boss and revealed he is still in contact with him.

"Lucescu was my first coach, he put me in the first team at the age of 15 and I made my debut at 16," he added. 

"I have a wonderful memory of him as a coach and as a person, sometimes we still talk. I will forever be thankful to him. It will be a good challenge between us."

Asked how he was feeling ahead of his Champions League debut as a coach, Pirlo replied: "I am calm and serene. I'm looking forward to my first match as a coach in the Champions League. 

"In this competition it is essential to start with a win, and we know what we have to do."

Cristiano Ronaldo is a "machine of sacrifice" who should never have been allowed to leave Real Madrid, according to Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Luis Castro.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored a club-record 450 goals for Madrid and won five trophies during his nine years in the Spanish capital.

He left for Juventus in a mega-money deal in July 2018 and has maintained his impressive form with 68 goals in all competitions, helping his side to successive Serie A titles.

That includes a return of a combined 69 goals and assists in the Italian top flight since the start of 2018-19 – two more than next best Ciro Immobile at Lazio.

Ahead of Shakhtar's Champions League Group B opener with Madrid on Wednesday, Castro has questioned the LaLiga giants' decision to let the superstar forward depart.

"When you have Cristiano on your team you should never let him go. Never," he told Marca.  

"We are talking about the best, the most effective footballer in the world, a machine, a machine of sacrifice."

Ronaldo was crowned the world's best player five times at Madrid and once during his spell with Manchester United, where he spent six seasons after joining from Sporting CP. 

And Castro argued the Portugal international has done enough throughout his career to rightly be considered the greatest player to have ever played the game.

"I do not like to compare. But yes, for me he is the best," Castro said. "Cristiano has a story behind him that is exemplary. 

"He moved at just 11 years of age to Lisbon to be a footballer, leaving his home. Cristiano is someone that has risen alone, with a unique determination.

"For me he is an example for all children. People criticise Ronaldo too much. 'What if he does this, what if he spends so much money on this or the other?'.

"Yet he responds on the field every game, being aware of where he comes from. 

"The day they make a Cristiano movie and people see where he really comes from, how he became a footballer, he will be valued much more."

Andrea Pirlo described Pep Guardiola as a "model for the whole football movement" and admits he never dreamed he would one day be coaching Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Italy great Pirlo has taken his first steps into coaching with Juventus this season and his side have eight points from his four Serie A games in charge. 

There are some parallels to be drawn with Guardiola, who cut his managerial teeth at Barcelona – initially with Los Cules' B team before going on to oversee one of the greatest sides of any generation with a star-studded cast including Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. 

He consequently went on to coach Bayern Munich before joining Manchester City in 2016 and Pirlo sees Guardiola as an example for any rookie coach. 

"Guardiola is an example for all of us, he is one of the best. He gave a way forward for young coaches who wanted to promote a certain type of offensive football," Pirlo told UEFA.com. 

"Each of us has his own ideas and wants to carry them forward, but he is certainly a model for the whole football movement.  

"I like his style of play: always attacking and influencing the game in order to always manage situations. This must be our goal for the future." 

At Juve, Pirlo has Portugal superstar Ronaldo among his ranks – a player considered one of the greatest of all time. 

During his career, Ronaldo has lifted the Champions League five times, claimed domestic titles in England, Spain and Italy and is a five-time Ballon d'Or winner. 

Pirlo spoke of the pride he feels at working with a player of his calibre. 

"No, I never would have imagined it, but I am happy to have a great football player available and to see him train and play. For me and for the whole team it is a great pleasure," he added.  

"At 35 he works like a young boy, with the same passion and the desire to commit himself every day. He is an example for everyone." 

Lionel Messi is the world's best player because he is "always a step ahead of everyone else", according to Inter striker Lautaro Martinez. 

Martinez had been tipped to join his compatriot at Barcelona during the transfer window, but the Catalans were unable to strike a deal with the Nerazzurri even after Messi had ended his attempt to leave Camp Nou. 

Still, Messi and Martinez have played together for Argentina since the latter made his international debut back in 2018. 

The 23-year-old says he always tries to learn from the six-time Ballon d'Or winner – a player he claims understands football on a different level to his contemporaries. 

"I know Leo more from the times we've been team-mates for the Argentina national team rather than from having come up against him," Martinez told UEFA.com. 

"I've said it in the past and will say it again now and in the future: he's the best player in the world. The fact he's Argentinian is a source of pride for us and we always try to learn from him. 

"For me, he's on another level – he understands the game in a different way and he's always a step ahead of everyone else." 

Inter are preparing to get their Champions League campaign underway on Wednesday, when they host Borussia Monchengladbach at San Siro. 

Martinez remembers watching Jose Mourinho's treble-winners defeat Bayern Munich in the final in 2010, when compatriots Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel all played. 

Zanetti, who is now Inter vice-president, was hugely important in helping Martinez settle in Italy after his move from Racing two years ago. 

"Javier is a very important Inter man, and for us [players] as well because he passes down to us everything he's experienced at this club," Martinez said. 

"He did so to me when I first came to Italy. Whenever I've needed something, he's always tried to help me. He always lends an ear and asks how I'm doing or gives me a hand with anything I might need. 

"He's always there to make sure I'm alright inside the club and outside too. Above all, he helped me with the language when I arrived, with what the club meant and how we train. He was very important in those matters, so I'll always be grateful to him. He really helped me out when I got here." 

Adama Traore is reportedly set to snub Barcelona and Liverpool to extend his stay at Wolves.

Traore has been linked with a move away from Wolves, where he arrived from Middlesbrough in 2018.

But the winger is seemingly happy at the Premier League club.

 

TOP STORY – TRAORE TO EXTEND WOLVES STAY DESPITE BARCELONA, LIVERPOOL INTEREST

Traore is set for a pay rise and is close to agreeing to a four-year deal with Wolves despite interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to The Sun.

The three-time Spain international is reportedly set for the new contract despite having a deal until 2023.

Barcelona and Liverpool have been linked with Traore previously.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paulo Dybala's Juventus future is again a talking point. An unused substitute against Crotone on Saturday, Dybala reportedly clashed with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are preparing for Dybala to exit amid links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and they are eyeing Salzburg teenager Luka Susic.

- Manchester United missed out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the close season, but there is a belief the Premier League giants will target the attacker again in January or next year, according to the Daily Star.

- Marcelo Brozovic could be set for an Inter exit. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club are prepared to sell the midfielder in January, with interest from Tottenham and Monaco.

- As he continues to impress at Salzburg, Dominik Szoboszlai is linked with a move. Football.london says the Hungary international is a target for Arsenal.

- Compared to Portugal great Luis Figo, Sporting CP teenager Luis Gomes is a target for Manchester United, according to the Mirror.

Milan and Aston Villa are the only remaining teams in the top five European leagues with 100 per cent records.

All eyes have been on the likes of Juventus and Inter in Italy, while the focus has been on Premier League champions Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in England.

But Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Milan have been flawless in 2020-21, winning all four of their Serie A fixtures to top the standings.

Ibrahimovic scored twice as the in-form Rossoneri defeated city rivals Inter 2-1 in Saturday's Milan derby.

Milan have scored nine goals – Ibrahimovic contributing four – from four matches, conceding just once to be two points clear of Sassuolo.

For the first time since 1995-96, Milan have won each of their first four seasonal Serie A matches, according to Opta.

Villa also own a perfect record after four matchdays in the Premier League following Sunday's surprise 1-0 victory at Leicester City.

After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Villa – who have a game in hand – now sit second, having humiliated titleholders Liverpool 7-2 prior to the international break.

Ross Barkley was the hero against Leicester, with Villa boasting the best defensive record with just two goals shipped, while scoring 12.

Villa have won their opening four games of a league season for the first time since 1930-31, per Opta.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Milan can end Juventus' Scudetto dominance after his double ensured a 2-1 derby win over Inter.

Milan are top of Serie A with the league's only 100 per cent record after seeing off their city rivals.

Ibrahimovic put Milan 2-0 up inside 16 minutes, with Romelu Lukaku pulling one back before the half-hour for Inter.

Inter could not complete the comeback, though, meaning Milan are three points ahead of Atalanta through four games.

Stefano Pioli's men have not lost since a 2-1 defeat to Genoa in March and Ibrahimovic sees no reason Milan cannot regain the title they last won in 2011 before Juve's run of nine successive Scudetti.

He told Sky Sport Italia: "We are at the beginning. Since I arrived, the team has been doing great things, especially after the lockdown.

"The team is growing a lot, the mentality is different, the young people take more responsibility. They all train great.

"I feel a lot of responsibility; I'm the oldest in the team. A situation that I really like, everyone follows me, and everyone is hungry to win.

"We are thinking one game at a time. Every game is like a final. When I arrived the goal was Europe and we got there.

"The goal for the club is to arrive again in Europe, my personal goals are different, but I keep them to myself.

"Scudetto? In my opinion, there is a sure possibility, one who believes can do anything. We believe it, then in the end we will see how it goes. It is still a long road."

Andrea Pirlo described Federico Chiesa as "naive" after he was sent off on his debut in Saturday's 1-1 Serie A draw against Crotone. 

Chiesa, who joined the champions on loan from Fiorentina on transfer deadline day, saw red on the hour mark for a late challenge on Luca Cigarini. 

He had earlier set up Alvaro Morata for Juve's leveller after Simy had given Crotone the lead from the penalty spot. 

Adrien Rabiot was dismissed in the 2-2 draw with Roma on September 27, Juve's last competitive game after they were handed a 3-0 win for Napoli's no-show last time out, and Pirlo accepts his fledgling side's over-enthusiasm might come back to haunt them on occasion. 

"Unfortunately, we went down to 10 men in the last two games because of our errors, but we are a young team that needs to work and there hasn't been much time for that with so many internationals," he told DAZN.

"Young players need to gain experience by playing in matches and it can happen that they make naive errors as part of the learning process.

"We built a team with quality, but it is still a work in progress and needs time. The lads will learn through mistakes, unfortunately that also means taking a few risks in the early matches of the season.

"We made a few mistakes in the timing of the press, but as I said, these things happen when we're still getting the machine oiled. We only really spent half-an-hour on this tactical movement in training yesterday, so it will improve."

Crotone were good value for their first point since returning to Serie A, limiting Juve to just two shots on target, and their boss Giovanni Stroppa says his side can take pride in their performance. 

"Serie A is another sport compared to Serie B," he said. "We've conceded a few goals with naive errors, but I still believe we are on the right track.

"We could've made more of the extra man and been sharper in the final third, taking them on one-on-one, but we still did well with 11 against 11 and 11 against 10.

"This is not the best Juve team, but we saw they still had remarkable talents to come off the bench and bring new elements to the side, so we can be proud of this result."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says "the wrong animal was locked in the house" after marking his return from a coronavirus-enforced absence with two goals in Milan's 2-1 derby win over Inter.

Ibrahimovic netted both of his goals in the first 16 minutes – the opener coming from a rebound after a penalty he won was saved – to maintain Milan's perfect start to the campaign.

He had missed four games and not played for almost a month after contracting COVID-19, but the 39-year-old made up for lost time with his match-winning brace at San Siro on Saturday.

"I was so hungry. They locked the wrong animal in the house," he told MTV. 

"It is not easy mentally to always be at homecoming from a very high pace – the body is shaking because it wants to work, it wants to play. 

"I stayed at home and have waited for him to pass to return with the team and work with the team."

Ibrahimovic, who now has five goals in three appearances this season, lasted the full 90 minutes against Milan despite his lack of playing time over the past month.

And it was revealed after the match that the Swedish striker asked to be substituted, only for head coach Stefano Pioli to keep him on until the end.

"He was very tired and even asked to come off, but this time I was the one who ignored him!" Pioli told Sky Sport Italia. 

"Zlatan is extraordinary, he brings so much to the side with his talent, determination and character. He's an exemplary professional, gives everything for his team, wants to win everything from a cup Final to a training ground routine.

" I can't take any credit for dealing with Ibrahimovic, as it's very easy."

Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for Inter just before the half-hour mark and had a penalty shout turned down by VAR in the second half.

Achraf Hakimi also wasted a good headed opportunity for Inter as Antonio Conte's side pushed for a leveller but Milan held on for to seal the bragging rights.

Not since 1995 have they won four straight league games at the start of a season, though Pioli can still see room for improvement as he put talk of a Scudetto challenge in perspective.

"The team spirit is incredible, we work hard for our cause," he said. "We won every game this season, but none of them were easy.

"That means we have to improve tactically and technically, because we cannot always rely on character.

"I like to think positive and consider myself an optimist, but I also acknowledge there are at least three or four clubs who invested more than we did and are at a more advanced stage. 

"We are ambitious, but largely invested for the future. There are seven clubs at a high level in Serie A right now and only four of them will be happy with a Champions League spot at the end of the season.

"If you want to challenge for the Scudetto, you need to raise the quality level of the squad. Even then, it takes a lot of time, there are sides that invested far more and haven't done as well.

"The club has been wise to lay the foundations and build upon them going forward."

Federico Chiesa was sent off on his Juventus debut as the Cristiano Ronaldo-less Serie A champions drew 1-1 with Crotone on Saturday. 

Bereft of the talismanic Ronaldo, who is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Portugal, Juve looked far from their best at Stadio Ezio Scida. 

Alvaro Morata's first goal since rejoining the club on loan from Atletico Madrid cancelled out Simy's early penalty for the hosts, but their hopes of going on to claim all three points were dealt a blow with 30 minutes remaining when Chiesa, who joined on loan from Fiorentina on transfer deadline day, received a straight red card. 

Juve - whose veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made his 650th Serie A appearance - thought they had won it late on thanks to a close-range finish from Morata but he was deemed to be offside after a lengthy VAR review. 

Crotone started with a spring in their step and were rewarded after 11 minutes when Simy stroked home from the penalty spot after Leonardo Bonucci had been adjudged to have fouled Arkadiusz Reca inside the area. 

Juve bounced back nine minutes later when Morata slid home from four yards after being picked out by Chiesa.

Manolo Portanova - making his first appearance since May 2019 - was denied by Alex Cordaz at his near post shortly before the interval, while at the other end Buffon denied Pedro Pereira. 

Rodrigo Bentancur flashed an effort wide immediately after the restart before Luca Cigarini whipped wide of Buffon's left-hand post from a promising position on the edge of the area. 

Chiesa then saw red for a late challenge on Cigarini, although Andrea Pirlo's men almost stole ahead soon after when Morata flicked a header onto the post. 

The Spain striker was denied a second inside the closing 15 minutes, with a VAR review showing that he was marginally offside when he turned home Juan Cuadrado's low ball into the area. 

A point moves Juve up to fourth, four points behind leaders Milan, while Crotone are off the bottom after picking up their first point of the season.

Inter boss Antonio Conte said bad luck was more to blame than his side's defending for their 2-1 derby defeat to Milan on Saturday.

Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured victory for the Serie A leaders, with Romelu Lukaku's effort proving to be mere consolation.

Inter created plenty of chances throughout, with Lukaku spurning two good openings and seeing VAR intervene with an offside call after he had initially won a penalty.

Achraf Hakimi also turned a header wide with the goal at his mercy as Inter managed just one shot on target in the second half.

"We're sorry to have lost a well-played game on our part. They were good and I think also a little lucky," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"We create a lot of chances to score goals in every game. We have to become more cynical to take advantage of them. But at the same time, I have nothing to blame the boys for. They fought to the end to equalise. We weren't very lucky."

Ibrahimovic's first came from a rebound after Samir Handanovic had saved his penalty, the veteran striker having been brought down in the box by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Kolarov, playing on the left of the back three, was nowhere to be seen when Ibrahimovic scored his second three minutes later at the end of a swift counter-attack.

Conte, though, insists such a position is "the best role" for the 34-year-old, saying: "He played it for the national team and for Roma. For his moment in his career, it's the right position."

When asked if Inter were wrong to allow the experienced centre-back Diego Godin to leave after last season, Conte replied: "Every decision was evaluated by the club and it's not up to me.

"What I must do is to try to get the best out of the players I am given, and I think that's something I do very well. If you want to talk about other matters, you can ask other people about them."

For the first time since January 2016, Milan is red and black. For the first time in eight seasons, the Rossoneri might just be in a title race.

Saturday's 2-1 victory over Inter ended a nine-game winless run in Serie A away games against their city rivals, who had won each of the previous four derbies. It was also Milan's 1,400th victory in the top flight, a tally only previously reached by Inter and Juventus.

But this was all about the present, about a Milan side who look capable at last of at least returning to the Champions League. They are vibrant, spirited and clinical – everything a modern team needs to be. It just so happens that their star performer turned 39 two weeks ago.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in three minutes at San Siro to put Milan on their way. He won a penalty after driving beyond Aleksandar Kolarov and drawing a foul and was then alert enough to turn in the rebound after Samir Handanovic saved his spot-kick. He struck again 16 minutes in, an emphatic first-time finish at the end of a swift break that left Inter on their knees. He now has eight goals in this fixture, six for Milan and two for the Nerazzurri, and is only four behind record-holder Giuseppe Meazza. He tested positive for coronavirus three weeks ago.

Milan rode their luck from there, it's true. Romelu Lukaku, who pulled back a goal in the first half, could conceivably have scored four. He spurned a free header, won a penalty only for VAR to intervene with an offside call, and he prodded wide when it seemed harder to miss. The man who had scored with every 1.7 shots in Serie A this year looked suddenly without poise in front of goal.

But this is a mark of this Milan, Stefano Pioli's Milan, a team who have scored in 24 league games in a row, taken 57 points in 2020 and won their first four league matches of a season for the first time since 1995-96: after years in the relative wilderness, they are not pushovers any more. They make you falter.

Ibrahimovic is at the heart of that. He exudes authority and demands success, even now, less than a year out from his 40th birthday. Only Silvio Piola has scored twice in four separate Serie A games after turning 38 other than the Swede, and there is no doubt Ibrahimovic will do so again. The man who scored 14 goals in 29 games to fire Milan to their last Scudetto in 2010-11 is dragging them into another title race few would have expected 12 months ago.

How Inter boss Antonio Conte would have wished for such displays from his own veterans. This was not a game that reflected well on his insistence on signing experienced heads over exuberant talent.

Kolarov distributed well as part of the back three, completing 39 of 49 passes, but looked every inch a converted full-back who turns 35 in November as even Ibrahimovic ran beyond him. Arturo Vidal, a Conte stalwart from their Juventus days, was a midfield wrecking ball who was taken off before he was sent off. Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen were thrown on in hope more than expectation, as Inter ended the second half with just one shot on target.

Inter's title credentials may have taken a hit, but Milan's are only getting stronger. Four wins from four, nine goals scored and one conceded is form to be reckoned with, however early in the season it may be.

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