Neymar has sparked speculation over Lionel Messi's future.

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar enjoyed a successful period alongside Messi at Barcelona before leaving in a world-record deal in 2017.

Now, Neymar wants to team up with Messi again.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, MESSI IN?

Paris Saint-Germain will have to sell Kylian Mbappe if they sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 champions PSG after former Barca forward Neymar expressed his desire to reunite with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

If Manchester City target Messi arrives in the French capital, it could send Mbappe closer to LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has not ruled leaving the Spanish giants, reports El Transistor. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG, Juventus, Milan and Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino has been contacted by Madrid to replace under-fire head coach Zinedine Zidane, claims Sport. Pochettino, who has been out of work since he was sacked as Tottenham boss last year, has also been linked to United.

- Diario AS says Atletico Madrid are lining up a January bid for Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik. The Poland international has been frozen out since making it clear he will not re-sign with the Serie A side. Tottenham, Everton and Roma have also emerged as possible destinations.

Romelu Lukaku is on Pep Guardiola's shortlist of forwards at City but Inter insist the Belgian star is non-transferable, according to Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea's plan to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice rests on the success of off-season recruit Ben Chilwell.

Is Zinedine Zidane's second spell in charge of Real Madrid coming to an end?

Zidane guided Madrid to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint, and last season's LaLiga crown after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019.

But the Los Blancos great is under mounting pressure amid the club's struggles this season.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE IN DANGER

Mauricio Pochettino and Raul are waiting in the wings to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Madrid head coach Zidane is in danger of losing his job following Tuesday's Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Los Blancos have suffered back-to-back defeats and three in their past five outings across all competitions to be seven points adrift in LaLiga and on the cusp of Champions League elimination.

Thursday's Mundo Deportivo, Diario AS and Sport report former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Madrid Castilla coach Raul are eyeing the hot seat.

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims the race to sign Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga is down to Madrid and Manchester United. Serie A champions Juventus had also been linked, though there has been talk of Paul Pogba returning to Turin after leaving for Old Trafford in 2016.

- Bayern Munich star David Alaba is hoping to strike a January agreement with Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano's 'Here We Go Podcast'. Alaba is a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus have shown an interest in Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, according to Calciomercato. Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic are also on the shortlist.

Madrid are eyeing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, reports Calciomercato. The Uruguay international has also caught the attention of LaLiga rivals Barca.

- What does the future hold for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? Heavily linked to United, Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and even Barca, Calciomercato says Juve are monitoring the Norwegian closely.

Real Madrid's dream of signing Kylian Mbappe may have to wait.

Mbappe, 21, has regularly been linked with LaLiga's champions after starring for Paris Saint-Germain.

But the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are seemingly set to hurt Madrid's chances of landing the star.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CAN'T AFFORD MBAPPE NEXT YEAR

Madrid cannot afford a deal to sign PSG star Mbappe next year, according to Le Parisien.

It comes with finances of clubs around the world hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mbappe, who is contracted until 2022, has scored nine goals in 11 games in all competitions this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Out of contract at the end of the season, David Alaba looks set to leave Bayern Munich. AS reports Chelsea believe they will be in pole position to sign the defender with their offer.

- Linked with a move to Manchester United, Hakan Calhanoglu could yet stay at Milan. CalcioMercato reports Milan remain hopeful of re-signing the midfielder, whose contract expires at season's end, and a decisive meeting between the parties is nearing.

- Barcelona want to sign a centre-back in January and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia remains a target, according to Mundo Deportivo. The report says Barca also have experienced targets if City do not want to sell Garcia.

- Staying at Barcelona and Sport reports the Catalan giants are interested in Hoffenheim defender Melayro Bogarde, whose uncle Winston played for the club from 1998 to 2000.

- Manchester City are reportedly close to landing a teenage attacker. Fabrizio Romano says the Premier League side are in advanced negotiations to sign Dario Sarmiento, 17, from Argentine club Estudiantes after an opening bid of £17million (€19m).

Franck Kessie insists he is ready to step up to the penalty spot once again after mixed returns during Milan's 2-0 win over Fiorentina. 

The Rossoneri made light of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hamstring injury absence by restoring a five-point advantage over rivals Inter at the Serie A summit. 

Captain Alessio Romagnoli was left unmarked to head a 17th-minute opener before Kessie converted from 12 yards following German Pezzella's lunging foul on Alexis Saelemaekers. 

Kessie sent Bartlomiej Dragowski the wrong way in the 27th minute but the Fiorentina goalkeeper guessed correctly to gain a measure of revenge before half-time, Martin Caceres having brought down Theo Hernandez. 

“I scored the first, I missed the second but I am going to take the third one,” Kessie told DAZN.

Ibrahimovic might have something to say about that on his return, despite chequered recent returns from the spot, and the evergreen striker was not the only high-profile absentee, with Milan head coach Stefano Pioli isolating at home after a positive coronavirus test. 

Pioli spoke to his players via a video call to celebrate their victory and Kessie said: "He congratulated the team, he was happy. It was a very important game." 

Coach Daniele Bonera took charge on the touchline in Pioli's absence and reserved praise for Kessie, who gained possession more times than any other Milan player (11), contested 16 duels, completed 85.3 per cent of his passes and had five shots in an all-action display. 

“We know how important Franck is, he has become pivotal in terms of quantity and quality," Bonera told DAZN. 

"We used to think he was mainly muscle, but he has really improved his technique and we are very happy with him."

Milan made light of Zlatan Ibrahimoivic's injury absence with an assured 2-0 win over Fiorentina to restore their five-point advantage at the top of Serie A.

Evergreen striker Ibrahimovic made it 10 goals in six top-flight matches this season when his brace inspired a 3-1 win at Napoli, although he limped off with a hamstring complaint in the closing stages.

Yet Stefano Pioli's side marched on without their talisman against struggling Fiorentina, with Franck Kessie netting one first-half penalty and missing a second after Alessio Romagnoli opened the scoring.

The result meant Milan were able to keep Inter at arm's length in what is shaping up to be an intriguing title battle, their city rivals having dispatched third-placed Sassuolo 3-0 on Saturday.

Fiorentina undid an encouraging start in the 17th minute when Milan captain Romagnoli was left unmarked at the back post to nod in Kessie's flick-on from Hakan Calhanoglu's right-wing corner.

Dusan Vlahovic thumped against Gianluigi Donnarumma's near post as Cesare Prandelli's men searched for an equaliser but they were left with a mountain to climb when German Pezzella clumsily brought down Alexis Saelemaekers in the area.

Kessie coolly sent Bartlomiej Dragowski the wrong way but the Fiorentina goalkeeper levelled their personal battle in the 40th minute – springing to his left to keep out a poorly struck spot-kick after Martin Caceres bundled into the marauding Theo Hernandez.

Calhanoglu fizzed a fabulous half-volley into the side netting before half-time and came even closer in the 53rd minute, hitting the base of the left post.

Franck Ribery almost reduced the arrears two minutes later but Donnarumma was equal to the veteran campaigner's dinked effort – a squandered chance which summed up a Fiorentina display littered with moments of self-sabotage.

Lautaro Martinez's future continues to dominate headlines.

Martinez was tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona at the start of the season, but a move did not materialise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, Manchester City are emerging as a serious suitor.

 

TOP STORY – CITY WANT LAUTARO

Manchester City are continuing their pursuit of Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to the Mirror.

Martinez has been heavily linked with LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid and City, where Pep Guardiola is eyeing a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero.

The Argentina international has made his demands clear to Inter, who are hoping to re-sign Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca are open to the idea of selling Ousmane Dembele, says Mundo Deportivo. Dembele was wanted by Manchester United prior to the previous transfer window closing and Barca are reportedly aware of contacts between the France international and the Premier League side.

Arsenal are ready to part with club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, reports the Daily Star. Unconvinced about the Ivory Coast international, the Gunners are even reportedly open to a loan move amid links to Milan.

- The Sun claims Leeds United want Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui once fan favourite Marcelo Bielsa leaves Elland Road.

- The Mirror claims United want to sign former defender Jonny Evans from Leicester City. Evans – who won three Premier League titles at Old Trafford – left United for West Brom in 2015 before joining Leicester in 2018.

- Barca have offered Philippe Coutinho to Juventus, according to Calciomercato. Barca need to raise funds as they look to recruit Lyon captain Memphis Depay and City defender Eric Garcia.

Arsenal are reportedly lining up a move for Isco in January, while Barcelona and Liverpool are also eyeing a defender.

Isco is seemingly getting close to a Real Madrid exit as he struggles for minutes with the LaLiga champions.

The playmaker's next move could see him in the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL WANT ISCO

Arsenal want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco on loan in January before buying him ahead of 2021-22, according to Defensa Central.

Isco has been at Madrid since 2013, but is linked with a move as he seeks more game time.

Previously linked to Everton, Isco is wanted by Arsenal and the report says Mikel Arteta has already asked for the 28-year-old to be signed.

 

ROUND-UP

- Facing injury problems in defence, Barcelona and Liverpool could be set to make signings in January. Sport reports former Valencia and Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay, a free agent, has been offered to both clubs.

- Impressing at Milan, Hakan Calhanoglu is out of contract at season's end. Sport Bild reports the midfielder is almost certain to join Manchester United ahead of next term.

- In red-hot form for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland's future continues to be a talking point. AS says the striker – who has scored 17 goals in 13 games this season – is considered a luxury item for Real Madrid, who will fight half of Europe to sign him. It says Haaland's value is growing and is already at €100million.

- Linked with Chelsea and Manchester City, Nicolas Tagliafico has agreed to extend his contract with Ajax until 2023, according to De Telegraaf. The report says the defender will finish the season with the Eredivisie giants and he can then pursue his dream of playing for a top club.

- Yet to make a Premier League start this season, Christian Benteke is out of contract at Crystal Palace at the end of the campaign. But the Evening Standard reports the striker has been offered a contract extension at Selhurst Park.

Is a Manchester United reunion on the cards for Cristiano Ronaldo?

Ronaldo's future at Juventus has dominated headlines this season.

But returning to Old Trafford is reportedly not in the pipeline.

 

TOP STORY – NO UNITED REUNION FOR RONALDO

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will not be returning to Manchester United, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

A report earlier this month claimed United were looking to re-sign Ronaldo, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League in six years at Old Trafford before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

But Romano says United are focusing on different players and not Ronaldo – also a reported target for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are monitoring Hoffenheim centre-back Melayro Bogarde, claims Sky Italia. The 18-year-old has also captured the attention of Milan.

- Calciomercato reports Milan want to sign Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez at the end of the season. Vazquez is out of contract following the 2020-21 campaign.

Everton are in pole position to sign Juventus outcast Sami Khedira, says Calciomercato. The German midfielder looks set to leave the Serie A champions. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton have also been linked with Madrid midfielder Isco. It comes as Football Insider claims the Toffees are eyeing Tottenham trio Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Paulo Gazzaniga.

- The Express reports Liverpool could sell duo Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri in January. Origi and Shaqiri have struggled for regular game time at Anfield, where the Reds are desperate to bolster their defence amid an injury crisis. Liverpool have been linked with Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Ajax's Perr Schuurs.

- Estadio Deportivo claims Real Betis are eyeing Madrid winger Takefusa Kubo, who has struggled for game time on loan at Villarreal.

Milan are a "serious candidate" to sign Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe, reports Milan Live. The Rossoneri are considering an initial loan offer.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic only expects to be out for "one or two weeks" with his recently sustained injury and the Milan striker has given another strong indication he wants to make a Sweden comeback.

The in-form Ibrahimovic limped off with a hamstring issue after scoring twice in a 3-1 Serie A win at Napoli on Sunday.

There were concerns the 39-year-old could be sidelined for a month, but he allayed those fears after being named Swedish Player of the Year for a 12th time.

Ibrahimovic told Aftonbladet: "It's nothing serious. Only one or two weeks [out]."

The veteran recently hinted he is ready to end his international retirement by posting an image of himself in a Sweden jersey on social media, captioned: "Long time no see."

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson responded by saying the former Barcelona and Manchester United man must prove he wants to play for his country again before he considers recalling him.

Ibrahimovic again suggested he is keen for a return to the international stage ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 next year, having last represented his country at Euro 2016.

"Yes, I miss the national team. It is no secret," he said.

"I want to be in Friends Arena, I want it to be the Yellow Wall or what we now call it. You come out, you have the yellow shirt and you see that it is full ... Do I miss it? Of course.

"The one who does not miss it - he has already ended his career. And I have not finished my career."

Ibrahimovic says he is not even considering when he might retire, having scored 20 goals in 24 Serie A matches since returning to the club in January.

"I'll keep going as long as I can make a difference, otherwise it's not fun. I have to feel alive. In any case, I will continue as long as possible. As Mino [Raiola, his agent] says, 'squeeze the orange as long as you can.'"

Zlatan Ibrahimovic must prove he wants to play for Sweden again before head coach Janne Andersson considers recalling the in-form Milan striker.

The 39-year-old recently hinted he is ready to end his international retirement by posting an image of himself in a Sweden top on social media, captioned: "Long time no see".

However, Andersson was quick to rule out a return earlier this month after leaving Ibrahimovic out of his latest squad and stating that "the matter is closed".

With Ibrahimovic lighting up Serie A once again this term, though, Andersson appears to have paved the way for a sensational return ahead of next year's rearranged Euro 2020.

"First, it is necessary that he himself wants to be involved in the national team project," Andersson told Aftonbladet. "In 2016 he told me clearly he no longer wants to be part of it.

"I respected his choice then and over the years since. He has to be the one who says he wants to come back. If that is the case, it will then be up to me to decide."

Ibrahimovic is Sweden's all-time leading scorer with 62 goals in 116 matches but has not played for the Nordic nation since a 1-0 defeat to Belgium at Euro 2016.

And Andersson questioned whether the former Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United star is serious about reversing his international hiatus.

"We haven't seen each other for a while," Andersson said. "I don't follow him on social media, but in any case I don't care what he says on there or how he says it.

"I know what he told me and what we agreed when he left the national team. Since then, nothing has changed from my perspective."

After two years in MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy, Ibrahimovic returned to European football with Milan in January on an initial six-month deal that has been extended until the end of 2020-21.

He has been in phenomenal form in his second spell with the Italian giants, scoring 20 times in 24 Serie A outings this calendar year - only Ciro Immobile (23 in 27) and Cristiano Ronaldo (29 in 24) have managed more.

The evergreen striker scored twice in Milan's 3-1 win over Napoli on Sunday before limping off with a hamstring injury, becoming the oldest player to net at least 10 goals in the first eight Serie A matchdays.

His brace also saw him match Gunnar Nordahl for the second-most Serie A goals from the first eight games played of a season, only adrift of Marco Van Basten (12 in 1992-93).

"I can't say I'm so surprised," Andersson said. "If I were, it would mean I didn't believe in his potential. I'm very impressed Zlatan can continue to have this hunger and drive.

"He is really impressive, a great athlete, and by far Sweden's greatest player of all time. It is amazing what he is accomplishing, so hat off and congratulations to him."

Alen Halilovic is itching to get started at Birmingham City after the former Barcelona and Milan attacking midfielder penned a short-term deal with the Blues.

The now 24-year-old was once regarded as one of European football's brightest prospects and LaLiga giants Barca snapped him up from Dinamo Zagreb in 2014.

However, he spent most of his time with Barca's B side and was shipped on loan to Sporting Gijon before joining Hamburg two years after his arrival at Camp Nou.

The move to Germany did not work out particularly well for Halilovic but, after spending a season with Las Palmas on loan, he was signed by Serie A side Milan a couple of years ago.

Loan spells at Standard Liege and Heerenveen did little to convince the Rossoneri, though, and he was released in October.

Halilovic is now set to embark on a new venture with Championship side Birmingham in English football's second tier.

"Honoured and extremely happy to be here! Looking forward to getting started! Keep Right On!" Halilovic posted on Twitter.

Announcing the signing on their official website, Birmingham said: "[The] Blues have completed the signing of highly rated Croatian international, Alen Halilovic, on a short-term contract.

"The attacking midfielder joins until June 2021 having left Italian giants, AC Milan, when his contract expired last month.

"Halilovic will link up with fellow countryman Ivan Sunjic, having been touted as one of Croatia's most promising stars.

"At just 24 years old, the talented technician has already been snapped up by the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan, and will join Blues aiming to fulfil his undoubted potential."

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic is better now than he was 10 to 12 years ago following his match-winning display for Milan.

Ibrahimovic scored twice as Milan returned to the top of the Serie A standings with a 3-1 win over 10-man Napoli on Sunday.

Evergreen Milan star Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to score at least 10 goals in the first eight Serie A matchdays, the 39-year-old surpassing Lazio's Silvio Piola (29 years old in 1942-43) for the record.

Ibrahimovic – who struck in the 20th and 54th minutes before hobbling off – also matched Gunnar Nordahl for second-most Serie A goals from the first eight games played of a season by a Milan player, only adrift of Marco Van Basten (12 in 1992-93).

Gattuso played alongside Ibrahimovic at Milan between 2010-12 – the pair helping the Rossoneri to their last Scudetto in 2011 – and the former hailed the veteran.

"Milan believe firmly in Ibra, they believe 100 per cent in what they are doing," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. "He seems I think even stronger now than he was 10, 12 years ago.

"They put the crosses in because they know he'll get on the end of them. What we did today was create lots of chances and not believe in them fully.

"It's about mentality. Football is about helping each other out, clubbing together, having a kind, reassuring word for your team-mate when they're struggling.

"There are too many people who act like professors, who want to teach you everything. This hurts me."

Milan, two points clear of high-flying Sassuolo, have collected at least 20 points from the first eight matchdays for the second time in the three points for a win era – the Italian powerhouse also achieved the feat in 2003-04 as they went on to secure the Scudetto.

Napoli are six points off the pace in sixth position, having lost two of their past three Serie A fixtures.

Stand-in Milan boss Daniele Bonera said he is awaiting news on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's injury sustained in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Napoli.

Ibrahimovic scored twice at Stadio San Paolo to take his tally for the Serie A season to 10 goals in six appearances before limping off 11 minutes from time.

The 39-year-old has been in inspired form for Milan since returning to the club in January, scoring 20 Serie A goals in 24 games – only Lazio's Ciro Immobile (23 in 27) and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (29 in 24) have managed more in 2020.

But Ibrahimovic, who missed nearly a month of action after contracting coronavirus earlier in the season, may now be facing another spell on the sidelines after pulling up with an apparent hamstring issue against Napoli.

"We don't have too much information right now," Bonera told Sky Sport Italia. "We will have to wait a few more days to see the extent of it."

Ibrahimovic's double made him the oldest player to score at least 10 goals in the first eight Serie A matchdays and put Milan two goals ahead against Napoli.

Dries Mertens pulled a goal back for the hosts but Napoli midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off against his former club 165 seconds later and it was left to substitute Jens Petter Hauge to seal the win for Milan with his maiden top-flight goal.

Bonera, placed in charge of Milan due to head coach Stefano Pioli and various other backroom staff members being struck down by COVID-19, was pleased to come away with a win that moved the Rossoneri two points clear at the Serie A summit.

"This is evidently an important victory, one that shows we are on the right track," he said. "But it's really premature at the eighth round to talk about what might happen in May.

"I spoke to Pioli after the game and he was very happy and got to see all the lads in the dressing room, too." 

Milan had just 37 per cent of the ball but still managed seven attempts on target against Napoli, whom they had previously failed to beat away from home in the league since 2010.

But while being happy with the way 2020-21 is panning out, Bonera was keen to put his side's title aspirations into some perspective.

"We've learned from the past not to underestimate any opponent," he said. "I consider Napoli to be a great team - they were up against another great team in Milan, but there are so many games still to play. It's too early to say anything.

"There are squads who invested and were built to challenge for the Scudetto. In all honesty, we were not built to win straight away, but it does allow us to grow game by game and that might be an advantage in a way.

"We have a great squad at our disposal and are aware that we're up there now and want to stay there for as long as possible. This isn't a flash in the pan - we started this work a long way back."

Sixth-placed Napoli have lost two of their last three league matches and boss Gennaro Gattuso questioned his side's lack of hunger following this latest setback.

"I see football in such a completely different way to when I was a player," he said. "What I cannot accept, however, is to see my team without the fire in their belly. 

"At the first sign of difficulty now, we complain to the referee, complain to each other for it not being the right pass, complain to bad luck, we complain to everyone.

"Quality is not enough in football, we need to focus and fight for every result. I know what's wrong and it is not a coincidence that when we go into a really important game, we falter. We have to think as a team, with one mind, not as individuals."

Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to score at least 10 goals in the first eight Serie A matchdays on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic claimed a brace as the evergreen Rossoneri forward led the league leaders to a 3-1 victory at Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli.

Aged 39, Ibrahimovic made more history, surpassing Lazio's Silvio Piola (29 years old in 1942-43) for the record with a league-high 10 goals.

Ibrahimovic set the tone for Milan in Naples, where the visitors emerged victorious in Serie A for the first time since 2010.

Former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain star Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a stunning header in the 20th minute.

He doubled the lead nine minutes into the second half, getting on the end of Ante Rebic's cross before hobbling off with an apparent hamstring injury.

Ibrahimovic also matched Gunnar Nordahl for second-most Serie A goals from the first eight games played of a season, only adrift of Marco Van Basten (12 in 1992-93).

Jens Petter Hauge came off the bench and put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time, following Dries Mertens' 63rd-minute effort, as Milan returned to the top of the table.

Milan, two points clear of high-flying Sassuolo, have collected at least 20 points from the first eight matchdays for the second time in the three points for a win era – the Italian powerhouse also achieved the feat in 2003-04 as they went on to secure the Scudetto.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic maintained his scoring run with a goal in each half to help Milan earn a 3-1 win over 10-man Napoli that takes his side back to the top of Serie A.

Sassuolo moved to the summit earlier on Sunday with a 2-0 win at Hellas Verona but Milan responded with an Ibrahimovic-inspired victory at Stadio San Paolo to go two points clear.

The veteran striker headed in from 14 yards with 20 minutes played to score for the eighth league game running before kneeing in an unorthodox second after 54 minutes, but he worryingly limped off late on with a thigh injury.

Dries Mertens had responded for Napoli only for Tiemoue Bakayoko to be sent off 165 seconds later and Milan, without head coach Stefano Pioli and a number of other backroom staff members due to coronavirus, wrapped up the win through Jens Petter Hauge's debut Serie A goal in injury time to maintain their unbeaten start.

Returning Napoli keeper Alex Meret pushed Hakan Calhanoglu's shot past the post and Simon Kjaer shinned wide from the resulting corner as Milan made a positive start.

The visitors did not have to wait long to make the breakthrough as Ibrahimovic got in front of Kalidou Koulibaly and headed Theo Hernandez's left-sided cross away from Meret.

Gianluigi Donnarumma produced fine saves to deny Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano, either side of Giovanni Di Lorenzo firing against the crossbar, as Napoli initially responded well.

Those missed chances for Napoli would prove costly as Ibrahimovic converted Ante Rebic's floated delivery from underneath the crossbar to give his side some breathing space.

Ibrahimovic had an instant third rightly ruled out for offside and Napoli gave themselves hope when Mertens turned Alessio Romagnoli and beat Donnarumma with his shot.

But a clumsy challenge from Bakayoko on Theo saw the ex-Milan midfielder pick up a second yellow and Napoli failed to create any more clear-cut openings.

Ibrahimovic pulled up in what will be a big concern for the absent Pioli but substitute Hauge squeezed a shot past Meret from a tight angle to seal the three points.

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