Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri may choose to rest Cristiano Ronaldo for the final Serie A game of the season against Roma.

Juve have already secured the Scudetto, their ninth in a row, and are just a week away from the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Lyon, with a 1-0 deficit to overturn.

Ronaldo has not missed a game since the return of Italian football from the coronavirus-enforced break in June, the 35-year-old having taken his goal tally to 31 in the league to propel Juve to the title.

However, with Lazio striker Ciro Immobile four goals clear in the race to finish as top scorer, Sarri could give Ronaldo and others a well-deserved rest ahead of the Lyon clash.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey may feature with a view to being fully fit to face the Ligue 1 side next week, although Paulo Dybala's recovery from a thigh problem is ongoing.

"We'll assess [who will play] today and tomorrow morning, depending on who needs to rest and who is fit to play," Sarri said on Friday.

"Between tomorrow and next Friday there will be a big difference in terms of mentality. We'll need to be good at recovering all energies possible.

"Tomorrow, whoever is fit will play and we'll try to make it a day of celebration. I can see two light-hearted teams tomorrow evening, with clear heads: a beautiful game can come out of it.

"Let's see how Cristiano feels for tomorrow, he's one of the players that played the most in the entire season. With regards to Aaron Ramsey, he might be back with the team today and there are good possibilities that he plays in the Champions League.

"Dybala is with the medical staff, everything is proceeding well, but I don't know when he'll be back with the group."

Napoli have landed highly rated forward Victor Osimhen from Lille in a reported club-record deal said to be worth an initial €50million.

The 21-year-old attacker spent just a single season in France but showed enough to seal a big move to Serie A, with Napoli understood to have given him a five-year contract.

Nigeria international Osimhen moved to Europe in 2017 when he signed for Wolfsburg, but he was allowed to join Belgian club Charleroi on loan and they triggered a purchase option on him just last year after scoring 20 times in 2018-19.

Charleroi quickly made a significant profit on their apparent €3.5m outlay as Lille came calling, bringing him to France in a deal said to be worth up to €15m.

During his solitary season in Ligue 1, Osimhen scored 13 goals – a figure bettered by only Wissam Ben Yedder, Kylian Mbappe and Moussa Dembele – and set up four more in 27 league appearances.

The deal could eventually reach €54m, according to claims in Italy, making him Napoli's record signing.

Their previous record holder in that regard, Hirving Lozano, has been linked with a move away from Stadio San Paolo after an underwhelming first season in Serie A after costing €42m from PSV.

Barcelona are set to re-sign Ansu Fati until 2024, while Real Madrid are eyeing "the new Raphael Varane".

Fati, 17, has been linked with a stunning move to Manchester United after a breakthrough season at Barca.

But the teenage forward seems to be going nowhere.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO EXTEND FATI STAY UNTIL 2024

Barcelona are set to renew Fati's contract until 2024, according to the cover of Sport.

Out of contract in 2022, Fati has scored eight goals in 32 games this season, leading to links to Manchester United.

Sport also reports Barcelona are prepared to listen to offers for attacker Ousmane Dembele.

ROUND-UP

- Are Real Madrid looking to sign a new defender? AS reports the LaLiga giants are closely following Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, who it compares to Madrid star Raphael Varane.

- Raul Jimenez could be set for a Wolves exit. RTP Sport says Jimenez is on his way to Manchester United and Wolves are on the verge of signing Sporting Braga striker Paulinho as his replacement.

- Barcelona may be preparing to strengthen their defence. Mundo Deportivo claims three defenders – Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Paris Saint-Germain's Juan Bernat and Manchester City's Eric Garcia – are within range for the LaLiga giants.

- Tanguy Ndombele continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham. Sky Sport reports Inter have made contact with Spurs about the midfielder.

- Where to next for Willian? Coming out of contract at Chelsea at season's end, the attacker's future is uncertain. Sky Sports says Chelsea, Barcelona and Inter Miami have made contract offers to the Brazil international.

- A player looking likely to leave Stamford Bridge is Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Sun reports the goalkeeper fears he has played his last game for Chelsea.

- After Dejan Lovren's departure, Liverpool continue to be linked with defenders. COPE reports the Premier League champions have made an offer of £9.1million (€10m) for Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a perfectionist who "will kill" his team-mates if they do not give 100 per cent, according to Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

The 38-year-old foward, who rejoined Milan in January, showed once again what he is capable of on Wednesday with two goals and an assist in the 4-1 win over Sampdoria.

That took Ibrahimovic's tally to nine goals in 17 Serie A appearances, helping to propel Milan up to sixth place.

Milan director Ricky Massara has confirmed the club are in talks with Ibrahimovic over extending his stay at San Siro beyond this season and Bennacer has hailed the Swedish striker's dressing room influence.

"It's nice to play with him, of course," he told Sky Sport Italia. "It helps you to do more – you never want to lose a ball and you give your best, because he seeks perfection. 

"If he doesn't find it he will kill you, it's like that. But for me he is right – it's better to scream when you do something wrong so you learn and become a high-level player."

Bennacer has been a consistent performer for a Milan side which are unbeaten in 12 games since returning to action last month.

The Algeria international has played in 11 of those matches and is hopeful Milan can push on next season and break into the top four.

"We are in a European place and it is nice," he said. "We will try to go to the Champions League next year and to get higher in the standings. 

"This year I had a lot of fun with this team. We have got much better and it has been the best year for me. I have grown up a lot."

Andrea Pirlo has returned to Juventus to take over as the coach of their under-23s side, the Serie A champions have announced.

Pirlo spent four years at Juve between 2011 and 2015, helping the Bianconeri to four Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia triumph and two Supercoppa Italiana victories.

The playmaker left for MLS side New York City, spending three seasons at the club before retiring in 2017.

Now, Pirlo has taken his first step into coaching, returning to Juve to take over their U23s.

Juve's U23s finished 10th in Italy's third tier last season, while winning the Coppa Italia Serie C.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be back in black and white stripes next season as Juventus revealed their home kit for the 2020-21 campaign.

Ronaldo scored the opener as a 2-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday propelled Juve to their ninth successive Serie A title.

Juve had dropped their traditional black-and-white striped kit for this season, instead going with a block colour design.

However, the stripes – in a "painted" design – will return as Juve hunt a 10th straight Scudetto next season, with Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala among the stars to model the new Adidas kit, which was released on Thursday, with the tagline: "our stripes, our statement."

With the current season still not over in Italy, it has not yet been confirmed when the next Serie A campaign will start.

Juve face Roma in their final league outing on Saturday, before they take on Lyon in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Paulo Dybala hopes to use the "powerful weapon" of football to bring about global change after joining the Common Goal charity initiative.

The Juventus star has followed football figures such as Juan Mata, Jurgen Klopp, Megan Rapinoe, Shinji Kagawa and team-mate Giorgio Chiellini in pledging at least one per cent of his salary.

That money goes into a fund supporting organisations using the game to advance the United Nations' sustainable development goals, such as eradicating poverty.

Dybala believes the scrutiny top-level players attract means "lots of people pay more attention to footballers than they do to presidents" and is keen to use his platform to "change the world in just a small way".

"I've given to charity before but I've always done it anonymously because the purpose is not to get publicity but to help those in need," the Argentina star told the Guardian.

"But I think to be part of this initiative, to be one of 159 people working together [at Common Goal], is important in a different way. We've come together as a group and we want to work as a team in solidarity with people less fortunate than ourselves.

"Sometimes I look at society and I see things that I would like to change. It sounds ridiculous, but I would love to be able to change the world in just a small way.

"The truth is that football is a powerful weapon. For whatever reason, the things we say are heard around the world, and lots of people pay more attention to footballers than they do to presidents and prime ministers and important politicians. I think we have to use the power we are given to send positive messages, and to be strong role models. I believe that if everyone in football came together we could give so much and achieve so much, to help people in need and to fulfil the ambitions of so many children."

Dybala, who is the first high-profile South American player to join the initiative, wants his contribution to help causes in Colombia, Germany, India, Pakistan, Israel, and Rwanda, as well as his homeland.

"I had the good fortune to get where I have, but if it hadn't happened for me I’ve no idea what I would have done. That's what I keep thinking about," said the 26-year-old.

"Many young people who dream of going into football never learn anything else, and they never know about all the alternative paths that might have been there for them. I think education is such a powerful tool for giving people a helping hand. Once a person has an education there is so much they can achieve that might otherwise have been beyond them. Football can help bring people into education, give them a future and the potential to live a full life."

Dybala has just won his fifth Serie A title in a row with Juventus, but his thoughts are now on the Champions League, with Maurizio Sarri's side trailing Lyon 1-0 ahead of the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Should they come through that, it will be destination Lisbon for Juventus, with Portugal's capital hosting a shortened and behind-closed-doors version of the tournament from the quarter-finals onwards.

Dybala described Juventus' feat of winning nine consecutive Italian titles as "incredible" and vowed they would push for a 10th next season, ideally by that stage as European champions.

He said: "It'll be strange to play in the Champions League without fans, and to play just one tie in each round, but first we have to win in Turin. For now, that's all that matters."

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare has refused to discount the prospect of signing David Silva on a free transfer.

Silva will leave Manchester City after the Champions League concludes, having spent a hugely successful 10 years at the Etihad Stadium.

There has been growing speculation the 34-year-old could move to Simone Inzaghi's side, who have secured a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2007-08.

Tare claims to have mutual friends of the midfielder but appeared keen to make it clear that any prospective deal is some way off.

"He's a great player, but I don't know where certain stories come from," Tare told Sky Sport Italia prior to Lazio's 2-0 Serie A win over Brescia on Wednesday.

"I've heard from mutual friends that he would like to have a different experience to England, but as is often said, there's a big difference between saying something and doing something."

The victory over Brescia, Lazio's third in a row after going five games without a win in the top flight, was secured through Joaquin Correa and Ciro Immobile.

Immobile has scored 35 goals in 36 league games this season and is on track to finish as Serie A top scorer and win the European Golden Shoe.

Tare wants the 30-year-old to be the focal point of Lazio's growth in the coming years.

"Without a doubt, the Lazio of the future will be built around him," Tare said. "He has a long contract, he's an important figure for this club, this team.

"The party his team-mates had in the dressing room after the match against Verona shows everything that's been built around him.

"He's had an incredible season but so have the whole team, who have always supported him.

"We need to exploit the Immobile brand and the Lazio brand. We're back in the Champions League after 13 years. We need to create a strategy, which we've already started with several initiatives, to lift these brands higher."

Luis Suarez is eager to stay at Barcelona amid MLS interest, while Chelsea may have a choice to make.

Suarez, 33, is out of contract at the LaLiga giants next year and has been linked with a move away.

The forward seemingly has options.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ WANTS BARCELONA STAY AMID INTER MIAMI INTEREST

Suarez has no intention of leaving Barcelona, according to Sport.

It comes after Mundo Deportivo reported Suarez has an offer from MLS club Inter Miami, but wants to extend his stay at Barca beyond 2021.

Suarez has scored 19 goals in 34 games in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are linked with further moves this close season. But Sport Bild reports Atletico Madrid are relaxed over the Premier League club's interest in Jan Oblak, with the LaLiga side doubting Chelsea can afford both the goalkeeper and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.

- Philippe Coutinho is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo claims Arsenal are best-placed to land the playmaker and Barca want only money for the Brazil international.

- Bayern Munich have set their price for Thiago Alcantara, who is linked with a move to Liverpool. Sport Bild says the Bundesliga champions want £27.2m (€30m) for the midfielder.

- Could Manchester City have received a transfer boost? Sport Bild reports David Alaba's contract talks with Bayern Munich are at a stalemate. Alaba is out of contract at Bayern next year and has been linked to City.

- Jesse Lingard's time at Manchester United could be over. The Daily Mail says United are prepared to sell the midfielder, who has been linked to Roma and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Milan director Ricky Massara said the Serie A club are in talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gianluigi Donnarumma over new contracts.

Ibrahimovic has transformed Milan since arriving on a free transfer in January, though the evergreen 38-year-old is out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona striker scored two goals in Wednesday's 4-1 Serie A rout of Sampdoria, taking his tally to 10 in 2020.

Asked about Ibrahimovic's future prior to the midweek clash, Massara told Sky Sport Italia: "We are talking to Mino Raiola and trying to do it behind the scenes, even if it's difficult to keep anything from the media nowadays.

"There are issues that we will evaluate together, including Ibra's spirit and desire to continue this wonderful adventure, which has been so positive in the second half of the season.

"We are all happy, first and foremost Ibra, that he's been able to prove his value to Milan all over again."

Ibrahimovic and Milan goalkeeper Donnarumma are both represented by outspoken agent Mino Raiola.

Donnarumma, who made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2015-16, is contracted to the Rossoneri until 2021.

The Italy international – previously linked to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Real Madrid and United – is reportedly ready to extend his San Siro stay.

On Donnarumma, who saved a penalty against Sampdoria, Massara said: "That is a different situation, but we are eager and confident that we can resolve both of them positively. Donnarumma has a contract and we'd like a longer one to create a stronger future together.

"Ibra, on the other hand, is out of contract this summer and so these are very different discussions."

Maurizio Sarri claims he is pondering playing the Juventus Under-23 team against Roma this weekend because of the toll a hectic Serie A schedule has taken on his squad.

Juve were crowned Serie A champions for a ninth successive season when they beat Sampdoria 2-0 on Sunday, but a much-changed XI went down by the same scoreline at Cagliari on Wednesday.

Six days after the conclusion of their domestic season on Saturday, Sarri's men must try to overturn a 1-0 last-16 deficit against Lyon in the Champions League.

"The problem is that that we are the only team in Europe who will have to play five times in 12 days," head coach Sarri told DAZN, having seen Juventus win only two of their past seven top-flight matches.

"We'll see how we are tomorrow [Thursday] and whether we ought to field the Under-23 team in its entirety at the weekend, so that everyone can get a bit of rest.

"We had nine players left at home with injuries today, so obviously I've got some doubts ahead of Lyon. We’ll have to see who recovers."

One player not spared 90 minutes in Sardinia was Cristiano Ronaldo, who toiled in vain as he tried to close the four-goal gap Lazio's Ciro Immobile has opened up at the top of the Capocannoniere standings.

"Speaking to him yesterday [Tuesday], he was very motivated, wanted to play, was really enthusiastic and felt good," Sarri said of his 35-year-old top scorer.

"We made the decision together, he knows his body better than anyone."

Stefano Pioli recognises Zlatan Ibrahimovic's importance to Milan but insists his team's improvement since January is not solely down to his signing.

Ibrahimovic returned to former club Milan in January after leaving LA Galaxy at the end of his contract in MLS.

The 38-year-old has again been an instant success, taking his 2020 tally to 10 goals with a brace in a 4-1 win at Sampdoria, where he also provided an assist.

The result means the Rossoneri are unbeaten in 12 in all competitions, last losing in their final match before the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic in March.

But Pioli believes Milan's performances even before the stoppage had signalled a change.

"I want to emphasise that it is not only after the interruption of the season that this team is proving to have good qualities," he told a news conference.

"We have been at an excellent level since January and have been second or third place in the form table during that period."

That upturn would appear to coincide with Ibrahimovic's arrival, but Pioli says there is more to it.

"It is evident that Ibra has been very important for our growth," he said. "But it wasn't just the arrival of Ibra. It was a job done over the past months, too.

"Simon Kjaer has arrived, the formation has changed and a number of things have changed that have allowed us to field excellent performances with the right continuity."

Ibrahimovic is set to leave Milan at the end of the season, yet Pioli is not allowing himself to worry about that possibility with one game still remaining.

"It is wrong at this moment for me to put the cart before the horse," he said.

"We still have to play one game, we know what we have done and what we want to do. And then it will be for those who have to decide."

First-half goals from Luca Gagliano and Giovanni Simeone gave Cagliari a deserved 2-0 victory over Serie A champions Juventus.

Juve wrapped up their ninth consecutive title with a 2-0 win over Sampdoria at the weekend, although patchy recent form means Maurizio Sarri's side have now won only two of their past seven matches.

A vibrant Cagliari were the beneficiaries on this occasion, with Gagliano giving them an early lead to set them on the way to a first July win at the ninth and final attempt.

It proved a frustrating night for Cristiano Ronaldo, while Simeone – the son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego – came up with a superb finish worthy of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in first-half stoppage time.

Gianluigi Buffon was back in the Juventus starting line-up and picking the ball out of his net in the eighth minute, when Federico Mattiello drove Paolo Farago's right-wing cross back across goal for Gagliano to finish from close range.

Ronaldo – engaged in what appears to be an increasingly futile pursuit of Ciro Immobile in the Capocannoniere stakes – touched in Federico Bernardeschi's stabbed throughball from an offside position and racked up four blocked attempts by the interval.

Gonzalo Higuain volleyed over from Bernardeschi's 38th-minute corner before Juve found themselves further beyond due to Simeone's sublime 20-yard drive.

Joao Pedro sent a shot from similar range skimming wide early in the second half before Buffon plunged to keep out a Simeone volley – the defence in front of the veteran gloveman continuing to look terribly disjointed.

Atalanta-bound Simone Muratore had a long-range effort saved by Cagliari keeper Alessio Cragno, who also got down sharply to keep out Ronaldo's left-footer from 25 yard in the 68th minute.

Simeone might have added to his tally and Juve's misery when he sliced wide before the visitors pounded at the Cagliari defence with diminishing return until the final whistle.

 

What does it mean? Sarri has steepening Champions League task

The more Juventus turn in performances like this, the less their schedule of competitive action before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Lyon feels like an advantage.

The Ligue 1 side have, of course, been out of action since March as they prepare to defend a 1-0 lead in Turin next month. Sarri badly needs his team to find some rhythm, something an experimental line-up entirely ruled out in Sardinia.

Simeone back in the groove

The moment of defining quality was produced by Simeone as he sized up a backpedalling Leonardo Bonucci before lashing beyond a helpless Buffon. It was his 12th goal of the Serie A season – closing on the 14 he scored in a breakout 2017-18 at Fiorentina.

That form proved good enough to earn international honours, but the last of his five caps also came in 2018. At 25, he still has plenty of time to get back on track.

Record man Ronaldo falls flat

Ronaldo is two shy of chalking up the most prolific Serie A season in Juventus history even if Immobile is now surely out of reach. But he was brought to Turin to help bring Champions League glory.

The sight of that wider goal appeared to be lost by all concerned as Sarri indulged a spiralling shot count and another 90 minutes in the legs for the 35-year-old.

What's next

Juventus wrap up their Serie A season at home to Roma on Saturday, when Cagliari are on the road at in-form Milan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed to be "like Benjamin Button" after making history with two goals at Sampdoria as the veteran shows no signs of slowing down.

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January and has been as influential as ever in their climb up the table.

In a 4-1 win at Samp, the former Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United striker grabbed two goals - taking his tally to 10 in 2020 - and an assist as Milan made it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions.

In doing so, Ibrahimovic became the first player to score 50 goals for both Milan and city rivals Inter in Serie A.

The 38-year-old claimed on social media last week he was "just warming up" and repeated the statement post-match in Genoa.

Ibrahimovic then explained his continued brilliance by suggesting a resemblance to the fictional character who ages backwards.

"I'm like Benjamin Button," he told Milan TV, before adding: "I've always been young, never old."

The form of Ibrahimovic and Milan has seen head coach Stefano Pioli handed a contract extension at San Siro.

The Rossoneri appeared set to instead appoint Ralf Rangnick, but Ibrahimovic is delighted Pioli is staying on, even if his own future remains up in the air.

"I can say only positive things," Ibrahimovic said. "I'm happy for him because he did a great job.

"He worked under pressure without knowing the future. He did a great job and the renewal is deserved. When you work hard, you always get something back.

"I'm happy for him. He deserved this - it was not an easy situation. The team believes in him a lot and I respect him." 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Milan picked Sampdoria apart and extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions with a 4-1 victory.

Stefano Pioli's men have not lost since the Serie A season resumed in June, a run of form that has taken them to sixth place and European qualification while securing the coach an extended contract.

January signing Ibrahimovic has been key and proved the star of the show again with his two goals plus an assist for Hakan Calhanoglu - following a VAR review - in a dominant display at the Marassi that concluded with Rafael Leao's well-taken fourth.

Gianluigi Donnarumma saved a penalty in the second half but was eventually beaten by a brilliant effort from Kristoffer Askildsen.

Milan were outstanding from the off and needed just four minutes to forge the opener as Ante Rebic's smart turn on the left created space for a cross that found Ibrahimovic inexplicably unmarked for a simple header.

A second should have swiftly followed, but Theo Hernandez shot straight at Wladimiro Falcone, who bounced back up to steer Davide Calabria's drive clear.

Falcone then got a toe to Rebic's low finish, before he again came to Samp's rescue with a scrambling stop from a scuffed Ibrahimovic effort on the half-hour mark.

The home side somehow made it to half-time just a goal behind and almost capitalised with an equaliser six minutes after the restart as Donnarumma parried Fabio Quagliarella's free-kick and Omar Colley nodded the rebound over.

However, Milan went straight down the other end and deservedly doubled their lead, with Calhanoglu reaching Ibrahimovic's knockdown to thrash home. Referee Fabrizio Pasqua initially perceived a non-existent foul on Ronaldo Vieira by the goalscorer but made amends with a visit to the pitchside monitor.

Now ruthless where they had earlier been wasteful, Milan had a third when Calhanoglu returned the favour and fed Ibrahimovic to shoot through Falcone.

Donnarumma blocked from close range to deny Quagliarella a consolation and Samp still could not beat the goalkeeper even after Simon Kjaer barged Andrea Bertolacci to the ground in the area, with Gonzalo Maroni's penalty saved.

It took a spectacular effort to finally get the better of Donnarumma as Askildsen curled into the top-right corner three minutes from time, far too late to cause Milan major concern as Leao instead restored the three-goal cushion in style in stoppage time.
 

What does it mean? Milan in fine fettle

Milan will have a watchful eye on Roma's result against Torino later on Wednesday as they may yet be able to leapfrog the Giallorossi on the final day and avoid the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

But considering how ordinary the Rossoneri have been at times in seasons past, the entertainment of recent performances alone will send supporters into next term on a high, keen to see their side quickly pick up where they are leaving off.

Veteran vital for Pioli

Indeed, it has been a long time since Milan were this much fun to watch. As Rebic buzzes around up front, the full-backs pile forward, but at the centre of it all is Ibrahimovic.

The giant Swede may now be 38, but he has scored 10 times since January and brings others into play brilliantly. Milan must do whatever it takes to keep him at San Siro.

Rowdy Rebic escapes red

The one Milan disappointment since football's return was their Coppa Italia semi-final exit to a rusty Juventus side. They might well have won that tie, too, but for a foolish Rebic red card.

The forward avoided another dismissal here but only after a lengthy VAR review assessed his clash with Gaston Ramirez. Escaping with a booking, Rebic was then hooked at half-time with Milan unable to afford his ill discipline.

What's next?

Sampdoria have little to play for against already-relegated Brescia on Saturday's final day, while Milan will back themselves to extend their unbeaten run further at home to Cagliari.

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