Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sport Italia on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sports on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

Italian football chiefs are prepared to abandon the Serie A season and use an algorithm to determine final placings if coronavirus forces another long interruption.

That is the last-resort option but one that the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina admits is an important back-up should the worst happen.

Gravina is optimistic the Serie A and Serie B league seasons can be completed, with a resumption date of June 20 confirmed.

But with three months of the 2019-20 campaign already lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is little wriggle room remaining, given the intention to begin next season on September 12.

Gravina said the FIGC "always wanted to avoid a Plan B", but they are prudently addressing what the logistics would be if another means of deciding placings needs to be established.

He said that if the league is interrupted but can later resume, there would be a play-off system invoked.

However, Gravina added: "If instead there is a definitive suspension, an algorithm would be used, which will be approved on June 8, which will take account of the sporting merits.

"The standings will be crystallised but with this algorithm the classification will be projected at the end of the season."

Speaking on Sky Sport 24 in Italy, Gravina said football was still in a "delicate" place in terms of the return to action, with risks that are "always present".

Gravina said he paid close heed to the words and actions of Pope Francis during the height of Italy's crisis.

"We were vulnerable and fragile; now I feel stronger and more determined than before," Gravina said.

Leo Duarte hopes Milan team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic can recover quickly from injury after having a major impact since returning to the club.

Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in all competitions after rejoining the Rossoneri, having previously spent two seasons with them before departing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.

While now 38, the Swede's competitive nature has helped inspire his team-mates in training, according to defender Duarte.

However, Milan may be without the talismanic striker when the Serie A season resumes next month, as he suffered a calf problem in training that requires further examination.

"Ibra is a great champion, very competitive," Duarte - who has had injury problems himself since arriving at San Siro last year - told Sky Sport Italia.

"He helps us a lot in training to stay focused and improve - it really makes a difference for our team.

"We hope he can recover soon because he is very important for us."

Brazilian Duarte was signed from Flamengo but made just five league appearances before undergoing ankle surgery.

The break in the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic has allowed him time to recover, though, and he is back training ahead of a resumption.

Serie A is scheduled to return on June 20 having been suspended since March, with Coppa Italia semi-final games to be held beforehand.

"Now I am fine, without pain and we hope to be stronger than before. I am ready, I am training with the group and I feel very good," Duarte said.

"I hope to play as many games as possible because I am physically well.

"We want to finish the championship in the best way, playing for Milan and getting as many points as possible to get to the Europa League or, better yet, in the Champions League."

Milan sit seventh in the table, 12 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta who also have a game in hand.

Roberto Mancini acknowledges Juventus have an advantage in Serie A's title run-in, but he expects the Scudetto race to go to the wire and believes Inter still have a chance.

Juve lead Lazio by a point ahead of the planned June 20 resumption of the top-flight season in Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bianconeri beat Inter in their most recent match on March 8, leaving the Nerazzurri - contenders for much of the campaign - nine points adrift with a game in hand.

But Italy coach Mancini has noted the unpredictable results since Germany's Bundesliga returned, with a series of shock away wins in recent weeks.

The former Inter boss believes similar surprises could follow in Serie A, potentially bringing the San Siro side back into the mix, although he thinks Juve's strength in depth makes them favourites.

"Lazio and Juve will play until the end," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"But since they started playing in the Bundesliga, the home field factor has actually been wiped out. I think that Inter can still have possibilities. In my opinion, there may be some surprises.

"But then it is clear that Juve have an advantage because they have a very large squad."

Mancini is anticipating some struggles as football returns, adding: "All the coaches will have a bit of a problem. The players have come from two months of home training.

"Returning to work on the pitch and resuming playing immediately with competitive games will not be easy.

"The tempo of the matches is much slower. German football does not have the tempo that we are seeing and, in the first games, I think that even in Italy we will not have an extraordinary tempo."

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal "loves" Boca Juniors and is "dying" to play for the Argentine giants, according to Chile team-mate Gary Medel.

Vidal continues to be linked with a Barca exit, the veteran Chilean star a reported target for Serie A side Inter.

The 33-year-old has insisted he is happy at Camp Nou, where he arrived from Bayern Munich in 2018.

Amid the ongoing speculation, former Boca midfielder Medel claims Vidal wants to move to La Bombonera in Buenos Aires.

"Arturo would like to play in Boca with me or without me," Medel, who played for Boca between 2009 and 2011, told Radio Continental.

"He loves Boca and follows them on social networks. He is the only one who follows Argentina and is dying to go. Boca have a magnitude in Europe that you cannot imagine."

It comes as Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio distanced the Italian club from Vidal, who worked with Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte during the pair's time together at Juventus.

"I don't feel like making any final considerations, let alone for Vidal. Right now he's not an opportunity for us. We already have a very strong central midfield," Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia.

"[Christian] Eriksen arrived in January and, like anyone else who arrives in January, he needs time, not just to settle on a technical level.

"I've never seen a player who comes to Serie A and immediately makes the difference.

"Think of [Michel] Platini and [Zinedine] Zidane, they're the first two examples that spring to mind."

Jadon Sancho and a return to England continues to make headlines.

The England international and former Manchester City youngster is reportedly keen to move back to his homeland.

But Borussia Dortmund are not willing to make things easy for Sancho's suitors.

 

TOP STORY – BVB NOT BUDGING ON SANCHO PRICE

Borussia Dortmund are not prepared to offer discounts on Jadon Sancho amid strong interest from the Premier League, according to Goal.

Dortmund star Sancho has been linked to Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and the England international remains keen on a move to the Premier League.

While Sancho reportedly has no intention of renewing his Dortmund contract – which expires in 2022 – the Bundesliga outfit are unwilling to accept anything less than £100million (€110m) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60m offer for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio, however, are reportedly set to reject the bid.

- Staying in the French capital and Sky Sport in Italy reports PSG and Inter have reached an agreement over the transfer of Mauro Icardi. The Argentina international forward has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at PSG. The Ligue 1 champions are reportedly set to pay €50m plus €7m in bonuses.

Arsenal, Chelsea and United are interested in Juventus and Italy international Federico Bernardeschi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says United are eyeing Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri. The 19-year-old Italian has been plagued by injuries in France.

Juve want to bring Chelsea forward Pedro to Turin, according to Calciomercato. The Spanish veteran, who is set to become a free agent, worked with Maurizio Sarri during the Italian coach's time at Stamford Bridge.

- Sport reports Martin Odegaard's future at Real Madrid depends on head coach Zinedine Zidane. Odegaard has flourished during his two-year loan spell at Real Sociedad and whether the Norwegian returns to the Basque Country remains to be seen.

Arthur remains committed to staying at Barcelona amid Juventus links, Mundo Deportivo says. Juve have been keen on bringing Arthur to the club, with Miralem Pjanic tipped to leave for Barca. However, Arthur is happy at Camp Nou and sees Spanish football more compatible with his style.

Lega Serie A has decided the season will recommence with the four outstanding games in hand on the weekend of June 20-21, with the Coppa Italia final confirmed for June 17.

Italy's top tier was on Thursday given the green light to return, as sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora announced the intention is to resume the fixtures from June 20.

During his statement, Spadafora confirmed the Coppa Italia would take place the week before, though no specific dates were set for the last three matches – the two semi-finals and the showpiece.

But a Lega Serie A statement released on Friday said there was a unanimous agreement that the remaining games in hand from matchday 25 will go ahead on the first weekend.

It was also confirmed the Coppa Italia final shall be played on June 17, though dates for the semi-finals are still to be determined.

The statement read: "The assembly of Lega Serie A met today [Friday] in the presence of all 20 associated clubs in a video conference.

"The clubs welcomed the green light to the return of Serie A communicated yesterday by minister Spadafora and unanimously voted on the dispute of the four matches of the 25th matchday (Atalanta v Sassuolo, Hellas Verona v Cagliari, Inter v Sampdoria and Torino v Parma) on the weekend of June 20-21 and the planning of matchday 27 starting from Monday, June 22.

"Furthermore, welcoming the wish of minister Spadafora, the sporting activity of the 2019-2020 season will resume immediately with the Coppa Italia, of which the final is scheduled for June 17.

"Dates and times of the matches will be announced by Lega Serie A in the coming days."

Juventus were a point clear of Lazio at the top of the table with 12 games remaining when the league season was suspended in March.

They were due to face Milan in the second leg of the Coppa semi-final in Turin on March 4, with the first leg having finished 1-1.

The other semi-final was also finely poised, with Napoli 1-0 up against Inter ahead of their second leg at the San Paolo.

Inter have ruled out a move for Timo Werner after accepting the Germany star would not be willing to join them.

Werner has caught the eye in the Bundesliga and the Champions League with RB Leipzig this season.

Only Robert Lewandowski has scored more than 24-goal Werner in Germany's top flight this season.

Inter was once the place to go for Germany stars, with the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus and Andreas Brehme pulling on the famous black and blue stripes in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

However, Inter will not enter any close-season battle for Werner's signature, sporting director Piero Ausilio has revealed.

He said: "We have always liked him but he will not come.

"I know the reasons and they are various. I know the opinion of the boy and his entourage.

"It is true he has a clause [in his contract], but he will not come."

Premier League champions-elect Liverpool are the club to whom Werner has been most frequently linked.

The 24-year-old is widely reported to have a €60million release clause in his contract.

Ausilio, who was speaking on Sky Sport Italia, said Inter were keeping tabs on Hertha Berlin winger Matheus Cunha.

He also stressed Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani was "not a priority", pointing to Inter having Lautaro Martinez, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez already at the club.

Serie A is set to resume the 2019-20 season from June 20, it was confirmed on Thursday, more than three months after it was put on hold during the coronavirus crisis.

Hot on the heels of the Premier League, it was announced on May 28 that Serie A would be resuming its season next month.

Italy's top flight is to get back underway from June 20, all being well, with the Coppa Italia semi-final second legs and final to be held during the week prior.

It means four of Europe's top-five leagues are committed to finishing the coronavirus-disrupted campaign, with only Ligue 1 having declared the season over.

Ahead of the return of the action, which includes a true title tussle, a fight for Europe and unease in the bottom half, we look at the story so far of 2019-20...

 

What is the state of play?

It's hardly a surprise that Juventus were top when the season was suspended in March, but this has by no means been a procession towards what would be a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio are just a point behind, while Inter, who have a game in hand, are a further eight points back.

Antonio Conte's Nerazzurri were beaten 2-0 by Juve in their final match before the season was halted, but while the title looks a touch beyond their reach, there would be little sense in writing them off entirely.

The race for Europe is similarly close. Free-scoring Atalanta are fourth but only three points above Roma, having played one game fewer, while only five points separate Napoli in sixth and Bologna in 10th. Milan, Hellas Verona and Parma are all in need of some improved form, though.

At the bottom, Brescia and SPAL look to be fighting a losing battle, but no side in the bottom half of the table could realistically declare themselves safe. Lecce are 18th, level on points with Genoa, but it's Torino who are enduring the worst form of all, losing six league games in a row to slide to within two points of the drop zone.

 

What have been the big controversies?

The return of football, for one.

There has been plenty of uncertainty around whether or not Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, would sanction the resumption of the league. Indeed, Brescia owner Massimo Cellino has been outspoken against the idea from the start and branded the decision to declare a return date "crazy".

There is also concern around kick-off times as we move into the Italian summer. Umberto Calcagno, the vice-president of the Italian Footballers' Association, told La Repubblica there was "no way" the organisation would support matches taking place at 16:30 local time in June and July, when average temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celcius.

Even before the league was suspended, confusion reigned. When Parma were due to face SPAL in early March, players were sent back to the dressing rooms minutes before kick-off after sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora recommended all matches be stopped. The game eventually went ahead, 75 minutes late, with SPAL winning 1-0 in front of empty stands.

Juve might be top of the table, but things haven't been going swimmingly for Maurizio Sarri this season, either. The Bianconeri have often produced rather turgid displays and relied on individual brilliance from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to see them through, and they only won four of their final eight games in all competitions before the enforced break.

Ronaldo's frustrations have boiled over at times. There have been suggestions of discord between the head coach and the 34-year-old, who was angry at being substituted last November and was caught on camera telling Paulo Dybala "We're left alone out there" at half-time of their Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lyon.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

Juve's results have been sufficient to keep them top and the convincing 2-0 defeat of Inter on March 8 was a real statement of intent, but Lazio, unbeaten since September in the league, are the real form team.

Led by 27-goal man Ciro Immobile, their run of 16 wins from their past 18 games has come in stark contrast to city rivals Roma, who have lost five of their past nine in Serie A to lose ground on Atalanta in the Champions League race. As for Milan, some bright January form tailed off in February and their season is in danger of petering out, although they are level at 1-1 with Juve after the first leg of the Coppa semi-final.

Lecce's improved form has left SPAL and Brescia looking forlorn at the bottom, but Torino should be particularly concerned - their last points came on January 12.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Although the most high-profile confirmed coronavirus cases came from Juve, where Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani were infected, other clubs have had higher figures.

Fiorentina returned six positive tests this month, while Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic were all confirmed as having contracted the virus in March.

There were also confirmed positive tests at Sampdoria, one at Atalanta and one at Torino, while Milan director Paolo Maldini and son Daniel both had the virus.

All clubs have, of course, been hugely impacted by the loss of earnings during the suspended season.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said to Riparte l'Italia this week that "more than €500million has already been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown".

Inter have triggered their option of a one-year contract extension for Ashley Young and could yet keep Manchester United-owned Alexis Sanchez, club sporting director Piero Ausilio has confirmed.

Young, 34, joined Inter on a short-term deal until the end of the season in January, following Sanchez out of Old Trafford in the process, and he enjoyed a solid start to life in Milan prior to the coronavirus pandemic forcing a halt to the season.

The versatile wide player made five Serie A starts between joining Inter and the league's hiatus, and in those outings the club have seemingly seen enough to convince them to keep him around for another year.

Sanchez's future remains a little more uncertain. His loan from United is set to expire at the end of the season, but with first-team football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appearing unlikely, Inter are still open to keeping the Chile international, despite reports to the contrary.

"We don't go into detail, we focus on him [Sanchez] in these months," Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia.

"He has been injured for a long time, but before he did well: I think in Barcelona and the match with Sampdoria, I saw [the] Sanchez of his best seasons in Udine and London.

"He had little time, now he has the chance to prove his worth and then we will make a decision with him.

"We think of [Inter's attacking options] as composed by [Romelu] Lukaku, Lautaro [Martinez] and then we evaluate the possibility of considering Sanchez talks. For many he is down and out of the project, but for us he can be very useful."

And, with regards to Young, Ausilio added: "We've exercised the option for Young, it is already done."

Serie A is set to resume the 2019-20 season from June 20, it was confirmed on Thursday, more than three months after it was put on hold.

Could Spain international Fabian Ruiz be set for a return to his homeland?

Former Real Betis star Fabian, who now plays for Napoli in Serie A, is a reported target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish rivals are trying to lure Fabian back to LaLiga.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, MADRID DO BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to battle each other for the signing of Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spanish midfielder Fabian has been linked with a return to LaLiga throughout the season, having left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Napoli are expecting Barca and Madrid to go head-to-head for Fabian – who is contracted to the Serie A side until 2023.

 

ROUND-UP

- L'Equipe says Inter have made an offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. With Inter star Lautaro Martinez linked to Barca, the Nerazzurri are eyeing alternatives, however, Lacazette is not interested in swapping London for Milan.

- There could be some big changes at Madrid in 2022. AS Diario says Los Blancos want Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to team up with Eden Hazard in a new strike force. The likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Juventus are ready to negotiate a deal for Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, according to Calciomercato. Santos are demanding €30million for the 18-year-old, though Juve are only prepared to pay €15m.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City and Newcastle United have joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for 18-year-old Penarol winger Facundo Pellistri.

Odion Ighalo is prepared to pass on a £75m contract with Shanghai Shenhua to stay at Manchester United, reports the Daily Star. Ighalo's loan deal is set to expire at Old Trafford.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said he would try to sign Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar as he is the second-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian forward continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old failed to make his way back to LaLiga champions Barca at the start of the 2019-20 season and he is reportedly a transfer target again.

Rosell was president when Barca signed Neymar from Santos in 2013 and the 56-year-old heaped praise on the Brazil international.

"If I were the president of Barca, I would try to sign Neymar," Rosell told COPE and Radio Marca.

"He is the second-best player in the world after Messi and fits perfectly into the philosophy of the club.

"But with experience, he would sign him with two contracts, one sports and the other behavioural."

Since swapping Barca for PSG, Neymar has won three successive Ligue 1 titles, to go with Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions honours.

Neymar scored 13 league goals before Ligue 1 was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and PSG were eventually declared champions.

Barca, meanwhile, have been tipped to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez in the off-season.

However, Inter have insisted Martinez will not be sold unless his release clause – reportedly worth €111m – is met.

Rosell added: "I would not sign Lautaro for €111million but I would try to exchange two players".

Lazio president Claudio Lotito said the Serie A's proposed return following the coronavirus crisis is a victory for all of Italian football.

The Serie A season is set to resume from June 20, Italy's sports minister confirmed on Thursday.

The 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but clubs were permitted to return to contact training this month.

Lazio were second and just a point behind defending champions Juventus through 26 games at the time of postponement.

Lotito revelled in the announcement, telling Adnkronos: "This is not a victory for Lotito, but for all Italian football.

"I am certain that with this restart, our football will be able to maintain the elevated quality standard that is recognised all over the world.

"Serie A is one of the most important leagues in the sport."

Coppa Italia semi-final games are to be held on June 13, with Serie A to get back underway the following week.

Milan were due to face Juve in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final in Turin on March 4 after a 1-1 draw in the opening fixture.

The other semi-final was also finely poised, with Napoli 1-0 up against Inter ahead of their second leg at the San Paolo.

However, Milan president Paolo Scaroni told ANSA: "We understand the value of offering fans quality matches after months of lockdown.

"However, from a sporting perspective, we find the idea of assigning such an important trophy as the Coppa Italia with two games in three days after three months of inactivity to be at the least debatable."

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