Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has declared Giorgio Chiellini's decision to leave Juventus and retire from international football as a "pity for everyone".

Juve great Chiellini confirmed after the 4-2 Coppa Italia final loss to Inter last week that he will depart Turin at the end of the season, ending a 17-year spell with the Bianconeri that has seen him lift 20 trophies.

The centre-back has also already revealed he will retire from international duty with Italy after the Azzurri play Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1.

Chiellini opted to play in the Finalissima, a new final pitting the winners of the Copa America and European Championship against each other, as a fitting conclusion after Italy lifted Euro 2020 at Wembley in July.

Reports suggest 37-year-old Chiellini may accept an offer to play in MLS before taking his sizeable experience into management or a coaching role.

Mancini, speaking at the Prisco Prize in Chieti where he received a Special Jury Prize, was quick to heap praise on the veteran Chiellini as he reflected on the influence he has had on Italian football.

"It is a pity for everyone because he was a great player for the national team and for Juve," Mancini said, as quoted by Corriere dello Sport.

"Unfortunately, time passes for everyone. He made this decision but leaving after winning the European Championship in a race like the one at Wembley is still important."

Napoli talisman Lorenzo Insigne has also announced he will leave Serie A to move to Toronto FC at the end of the season.

The 30-year-old scored on his final home appearance for Napoli on Sunday, becoming the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history as he moved clear of Marek Hamsik's tally of 121.

Only team-mate Dries Mertens, with 148, has managed more goals for Napoli, and Mancini spoke glowingly of Insigne after his efforts in Naples and with the national side.

"He will go on to have an important experience anyway. He gave a lot to the national team and I hope he can do it again," the Azzurri boss added.

With those two experienced campaigners leaving Serie A, Mancini believes it is time for the Italian top flight to provide more young talent to fill the void Chiellini and Insigne will leave.

Mancini and the Italian system came into criticism for not trusting younger players after Italy failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup following play-off defeat to North Macedonia in late March.

"The important thing when things didn't go well is to get up," he continued. "We will have games in the summer and then the Nations League restarts. 

"There are several interesting youngsters in the championship but we would like more."

Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cited Manchester United's Paul Pogba as an inspiration as speculation grows over a transfer to Old Trafford.

Milinkovic-Savic has played an integral role at Lazio since joining from Genk in July 2015, appearing over 200 times in Serie A.

The Serbia international has again delivered for Maurizio Sarri's side this season, providing 10 goals and 11 assists in the league, while no Serie A midfielder can match his 21 goal contributions.

Meanwhile, no Lazio player has started more Serie A games than the 27-year-old this term, while he also ranks top for tackles (67) and duels won (247).

A creative presence as well as a dominant midfielder, only Luis Alberto (64) has created more chances than Milinkovic-Savic (47), but reports in Italy suggest Lazio are ready to sell their star midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain and United are among the favourites to sign him, with Lazio's preference not to sell to fellow domestic side Juventus, and Milinkovic-Savic has referenced two Premier League players as his idols.

Pogba, who appears set to depart United at the end of the season, came under special praise from Milinkovic-Savic, while Thiago Alcantara's creativity for Liverpool was also cited.

"Comparisons between me and Pogba? I learned a lot from him at the beginning when I arrived in Italy and he was at Juventus," he told DAZN.

"He is tall like me, has the technique and always makes a difference."

On Thiago, he added: "Against shorter players, I struggle more because I have to lower myself too. Who do I get my cue from? I always look at Thiago from Liverpool.

"I developed some body movements thanks to Futsal, a sport I practised as a child."

Milinkovic-Savic acknowledged he was pleased to continue developing after producing arguably his best season and spoke long term about harbouring Ballon d'Or ambitions.

"My best year? For a few years, the statistics say, I play a little better," he added. "If I feel undervalued? I don't think about this, when I finish the game if I have time I see it again and then I decide if I did well or not, I'm honest with myself.

"In the movements without the ball I have grown a lot over the years. Little by little I have worked and this year you can see the results.

"Five years from now? I don't think so much about the future, I look day by day and I don't think too much about things. Ballon d'Or? Of course, I'd like to win it!"

Another Manchester United rebuild could potentially benefit Newcastle United as they seek to flex their financial muscle.

The recent takeover at Newcastle will make them active players in the transfer market, while Erik ten Hag's imminent arrival in Manchester will also likely create player turnover.

Reports suggest Ten Hag's rebuild at Old Trafford does not only have consequences for outfield players, however.


TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE TO SWOOP FOR HENDERSON  

Newcastle United's interest in Dean Henderson has ramped up, according to the Mirror.

Reports suggest Magpies boss Eddie Howe, who wanted Henderson on loan in January, sees him as the ideal replacement for Martin Dubravka.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old goalkeeper is understood to be ready to leave unless Ten Hag can guarantee him the number one spot ahead of David de Gea.

Newcastle have now guaranteed their Premier League status but have also conceded 61 goals this season, which is more than relegation-threatened Everton and Burnley.

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror is reporting Juventus will hold fresh talks with the representatives of Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba.

- The Bianconeri are also interested in 24-year-old Arsenal centre-back Gabriel, according to Tuttosport.

- Newcastle are interested in Reims striker Hugo Ekitike, but Borussia Dortmund are also keen on him as a replacement for Erling Haaland, per Fabrizio Romano.

- Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is set to met with the club's president Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid speculation over his future, Marca reports.

Leonardo Bonucci will be the new captain of Juventus following the announced departure of Giorgio Chiellini, Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The Bianconeri head coach was speaking ahead of Juve's final home game of the season against Lazio and said he wants to "combine all three things", referring to playing well while saying goodbye to outgoing duo Chiellini and Paulo Dybala.

Chiellini confirmed he will leave Juventus at the end of the season following their 4-2 defeat to Inter in the Coppa Italia final.

The veteran centre-back has spent 17 years with the Bianconeri, winning 20 trophies during his time in Turin.

Dybala is also exiting the Allianz Stadium at the end of the campaign and has been linked with the likes of Inter, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Manchester United.

"It's the last home game, you have to honour it to the fullest. And then it's Giorgio Chiellini's party and Paulo Dybala's last [game], we have to combine all three things," Allegri told reporters at a media conference on Sunday.

"They are two different things. Giorgio stops or has an experience in America, I don't know. Paulo changes team. Both will have the tribute of the fans, as I believe will [Lazio boss, Maurizio] Sarri, who returns and was the last [head coach] to win the Scudetto with Juve."

As for Juve's next skipper, Allegri added: "The new Juventus captain will be Bonucci."

The former Milan boss was also asked about Paul Pogba, who has been linked with a return to Juve once his contract at Manchester United expires next month.

"Pogba is a United player. Before talking about the transfer market, let's finish the season and then we'll take stock with the club," he said. "We don't have to evaluate not only the market but also what happened during the season at 360 degrees.

"[Do I] remember Paul? I have already forgotten, several years have already passed. I have a full memory card."

Allegri was asked to summarise the season, with Juve qualifying for the Champions League but never really challenging in the Serie A title race.

"I'm satisfied with the path and the goal, but not satisfied to have not won a trophy," he said.

"The team has done its best. Even if I always say, 'let's play with those who are here', in the long run we have paid for traumatic injuries: [Federico] Chiesa, [Weston] McKennie, Danilo, Bonucci… We have players who will certainly grow, then with the club we will improve the shortcomings of this team."

Manchester United's midfield has long been an area of dysfunction, even in relative terms at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have not been able to find balance with the likes of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred.

As a result, Erik ten Hag's rebuild at United could mean a big-name signing to rejuvenate their play in the centre of the pitch.


TOP STORY – KANTE TARGETED BY 

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants N'Golo Kante to form the basis of his rebuild at Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

The 31-year-old has one year left on his contract at Chelsea and Ten Hag is reportedly confident in Kante's sustained ability to perform at the highest level.

Kante is believed to be an attainable target if Todd Boehly's takeover at Stamford Bridge is rubber-stamped, giving Thomas Tuchel a sizeable transfer budget to work with.

United are no guarantee to even play in the Europa League, sitting three points ahead of West Ham, who have a game in hand.

ROUND-UP

- The Sun is reporting Frenkie de Jong is prepared to waive €7million of unpaid wages by Barcelona in order to move to Manchester City.

- Arsenal have agreed on a fee of up to €25m with Bologna for Scotland international Aaron Hickey, according to Calciomercato.

- Robert Lewandowski is set to leave Bayern Munich and join Barcelona on a three-year deal, the Sun reports.

- Ousmane Dembele might be moving in the other direction to join Bayern when his contract expires at the end of the season, per Sky Sports.

Following Wednesday's Coppa Italia final defeat to Inter, it was confirmed Juventus will finish the 2021-22 season without a trophy for the first time since 2011.

Last season under Andrea Pirlo, Juventus not winning Serie A was in itself shocking, but this season has only shown further regression.

Massimiliano Allegri returning to replace Pirlo after his single season in charge was viewed as a means to halt that slide, but Juve will not just likely finish 10 points off the Serie A title winners and without a trophy this term; the Bianconeri are set to finish with a double-digit deficit in a season where the champions will likely will not break the 85-point barrier.

How much the Turin club spend relative to the rest in Italian football must be brought into context. Granted, the financial impact of COVID-19 caused significant restructuring, but they are still the only club in Italy to have a gross annual payroll in excess of €150million and are joined by Inter as one of only two over €100m. Meanwhile, seven Juventus players make up the top 10 salaries in Serie A this season.

Given that comparatively gaudy expenditure, that represents a spectacular failure – especially in comparison to the likes of the notoriously thrifty Atalanta or this Milan project that has sought to maximise value on the pitch and cut unnecessary spending. The major issue with Juve over the past four seasons has been a dramatically diminishing return on investment, but how has it manifested on the pitch?

Juventus had this inevitable capacity to find a way to win games in Allegri's first stint, but they were still volatile. It would be misguided to look at this season in isolation when in a continuum. Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival for the 2018-19 season – which was viewed as the key signing to propel them to long-awaited Champions League glory – arguably accelerated the regression.

Real Madrid's midfield and Karim Benzema allowed Ronaldo to have a largely singular role as the end point to the team's actions in possession. At Juventus, a player who was largely a finisher and was not going to force defensive collapses between the lines by that point had to take on greater responsibility in the team's build-up. Despite the Portuguese star's stature in the game, he was effectively signed for a task on the pitch he was not capable of fulfilling.

Consider that in his last season at Madrid, Ronaldo was averaging 46.87 touches per 90, and 10.02 were in the opposition's penalty area. The next two seasons at Juventus saw a dramatic shift, where for touches per 90 he averages 54.5 and 56.26 respectively. Touches in the penalty area actually decreased, however, at 6.64 and 6.92 respectively per 90.

With Paulo Dybala as the team's attacking focal point, Miralem Pjanic had previously mitigated the deeply conservative nature of Juve's midfield, but with Ronaldo it became a bridge too far. Ronaldo might have sustained his goal involvements, but it came at the expense of the collective. The Bianconeri came no closer to winning the continental silverware he was brought to Turin to secure but, more importantly, declined domestically and were suddenly challenged for what had become a fait accompli that decade in Serie A.

Pjanic's departure at the end of 2019-20 further accelerates that regression, despite the arrivals of Arthur, Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie that off-season, as well as Adrien Rabiot, Mathijs de Ligt and Dejan Kulusevski the previous off-season.

Arguably, the additions of Rabiot, McKennie and Arthur have only further reinforced the rigidity of Juve's midfield over the years. Pjanic's final season saw him average 1.21 chances from open play per 90, along with 10.34 passes into the final third and 0.13 for expected assists at 92.66 touches. Not one Juventus midfielder since has been able to match all of those averages individually, and trying to replace them in an aggregate creates different requirements elsewhere.

 

Amid Dybala's increasingly marginalised status upon Ronaldo's arrival, it necessitated someone like Morata, whose fantastic movement and ability to incorporate the players around him is paired with erratic finishing in front of goal. It represents a sizeable trade-off. Still, Morata leads the Bianconeri for chances created (1.63) in open play per 90 in all competitions this season.

That provides some context for this season and Dusan Vlahovic's arrival, because he is almost the opposite to Morata – cold-blooded in front of goal, but much less flexible in build-up play and movement off the ball. Yet, while he creates fewer chances in open play (0.81) than Morata, the quality of his shots (0.13 xG per shot) is still lower than Morata's average of 0.16.

 

 

It all matters because, with the exception of Inter and Lazio, the Bianconeri still keep more of the ball than anyone else in Serie A. They both can and cannot afford for their midfield to be so palpably one-dimensional. While Juventus rank 19th across the top five leagues in Europe for touches per 90 (678.46) in all competitions, they rank 32nd for big chances created per 90 (1.56), and 50th for passes into the final third (53.02), calling into question the nature of their possession and how they actually generate their chances.

With that all in context, it can be difficult to definitively assess someone like Fabio Miretti or where he best suits in a system of play, because it is akin to developing an emotional attachment to a captor.

Yet Dybala's forthcoming departure from Turin at the end of this season is symbolic, let alone if he ends up somewhere else in Serie A.

His career trajectory over the past four years, coinciding with Juve's regression and eventual embarrassment of this season, represents how badly the club have managed squad composition and, to reference Jose Mourinho's famous quote, their Champions League dream that became an obsession. As such, they have lacked anything resembling a plan or clarity, and have been blindly led by ambition to this empty-handed season.

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is reportedly on his way out of Leeds United, with Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham said to be the parties most interested in prying him away.

Phillips, 26, has been with Leeds since 2010, but Football Insider has reported he has no interest in remaining with the club next season, even if they remain in the Premier League.

The tough midfielder followed in the footsteps of Wilfried Zaha and Jack Butland as the only English players in the 21st century to earn a senior cap while having never played in any country's top division, and confirmed his class at Euro 2020, starting every game and earning the title of England's 2020-21 Men's Player of the Year.

 

TOP STORY – PHILLIPS GETS READY FOR EXCITING NEW CHAPTER

Believed to be valued at £60million, this will be the first time in Phillips' career that he has a chance to shape his own future and pick a situation he feels can elevate him into the conversation of the world's top midfielders.

There will be a Paul Pogba-sized hole in the centre of United's line-up, Villa have signalled their intent with their move for Philippe Coutinho, and David Moyes reportedly has visions of owning the English centre-mid pairing of Phillips and Declan Rice – or replacing the latter if they cannot retain his services through upcoming the transfer window.

Phillips missed four months of this season – from December to March – with a serious hamstring injury, restricting him to just one goal and one assist from 21 club appearances across the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

 

ROUND-UP

Newcastle have made Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin a priority target in the upcoming transfer window, according to the Telegraph.

– Fichajes is reporting Bayern Munich have entered the race for Paul Pogba, while The Mirror claims Juventus are confident about the Frenchman returning to his former Italian club.

– According to Give Me Sport, Chelsea are looking to bring in Sevilla's Jules Kounde to replace outgoing defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

– Marca is reporting some of the world's biggest clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal and Milan are chasing 19-year-old Racing striker Charly Alcaraz.

– The Athletic claims that if Raheem Sterling is to leave Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, it will not be to Premier League clubs Arsenal or Tottenham, instead favouring one of Europe's top teams in Champions League contention.

Paul Pogba's departure from Manchester United at the end of this season has been long assumed.

The French midfielder's 2016 arrival for a second spell at Old Trafford came in a world-record breaking deal, but he has not delivered on the expectations that accompanied the £89million price tag.

As a result, the World Cup winner could well make a return to Juventus, the club where he first came to serious prominence.


TOP STORY – JUVENTUS LINE UP POGBA RETURN

Juventus have made a contract offer they believe puts them in the box seat to sign Paul Pogba, according to the Mirror.

Pogba is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Juve have reportedly offered an £8million annual salary.

With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini's impending departures freeing up salary room, the Pogba offer is also said to include a substantial signing-on fee and bonus package to complement the base deal.

The 29-year-old Pogba has missed the Red Devils' past four Premier League games due to calf trouble, and he was absent for two months earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain would want to trim their playing squad before considering any more for United's Pogba, RMC Sport is reporting.

- United will seek to replace Pogba by signing cash-strapped Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.

- According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are interested in Everton's RicharlisonAnthony Gordon and Ben Godfrey.

- In order to compensate for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures, Calciomercato reports Chelsea will look to sign Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Giorgio Chiellini confirmed he will leave Juventus at the end of the season following their 4-2 defeat to Inter in the Coppa Italia final.

The veteran centre-back has spent 17 years with the Bianconeri, winning 20 trophies during his time in Turin.

He was unable to claim a 21st as Inter prevailed in a thrilling showpiece at the Stadio Olimpico.

Juve appeared set to salvage silverware from a disappointing season when second-half goals from Alex Sandro, aided by Alvaro Morata, and Dusan Vlahovic gave them a 2-1 lead, turning things around after Nicolo Barella's stunning 10th-minute opener put Inter in front.

There was a late twist, though, as Hakan Calhanoglu netted from the spot to send the game to extra-time, in which Ivan Perisic also converted from 12 yards and then sealed victory with a sumptuous half-volley.

Having previously refused to reveal his future plans, Chiellini - who is reported to have offers from MLS - said: "We had these 10 magnificent years, it's up to the lads to continue now.

"I did everything I could, I hope that I left something. On Monday I will say goodbye to my Juventus Stadium, then if I've still got something in the tank might have a run-out in Florence [against Fiorentina].

"It is my choice 100 per cent, I am happy to leave at such a high level, because for many years I've said I didn't want to finish struggling and not being able to play at my level.

"I gave it my all, soon I will be the biggest Juventus fan from the outside. After so many years within this club, you cannot shake it off."

Defeat means Juve will finish the season without a trophy for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.

"It’s disappointing, especially as Inter certainly had more of the ball, but we had more than enough chances," added Chiellini. 

"Mattia Perin basically didn't have to make a save, we conceded two fantastic goals and two penalties.

"Inter proved throughout the season they are stronger in all the head-to-head clashes, so that means something. I hope the anger of losing three out of four games against Inter will fire us up for next season.

"We know that you don't win a Scudetto just in the big games, but every day. It's a pity to end the season without trophies after a decade, but we need to use it as fuel for next season."

Ivan Perisic has suggested his time at Inter is coming to an end after his extra-time brace secure the Nerazzurri a 4-2 win over Juventus in Wednesday's Coppa Italia final.

The Croatian played a decisive role in ensuring Inter ended an 11-year Coppa Italia drought as Simone Inzaghi's men came out on top in a thrilling contest.

Nicolo Barella's gorgeous first-half strike put Inter in charge, but Juve then appeared to be closing in on the title themselves thanks to two goals in a three-minute period just after the interval – Alvaro Morata and then Dusan Vlahovic converting.

But Hakan Calhanoglu's emphatic strike in the 80th minute – after Lautaro Martinez was awarded a contentious penalty – took the game to extra time, with Perisic then taking centre stage.

He converted Inter's second penalty of the day following Matthijs de Ligt's clumsy challenge on Stefan de Vrij and then ended Juve's hopes of a fight-back with a sensational arrowing finish.

But with his contract up at the end of next month, Perisic hinted he may be moving on.

Asked about a renewal, Perisic told Mediaset: "I don't know, but with the important players [the club] doesn't wait until the last moment."

If these next few weeks are to be his last in Inter colours, he could yet have a say in their quest for another trophy.

The odds are stacked against Inter in the title race heading into the final two games of the season, but Milan's slender two-point lead means there is still hope.

"All the time," he said when asked if Inter still believed they could usurp Milan.

"We have to continue like this. There are two finals left, we have to give everything, win and wait because everything is possible in football."

In the context of a generally disappointing season for Juventus, securing one last trophy for a club great before he begins a new chapter would've at least provided one reason to look back on 2021-22 with a degree of positivity.

It remains to be seen exactly what happens next for Giorgio Chiellini. After all, he suggested on Tuesday that he might not have even been playing football at all this season were it not for Italy's Euro 2020 success.

But remaining at Juventus has become increasingly unlikely over the past few weeks, with a move to MLS – rather than retirement – strongly mooted despite him being contracted to Juve until next June.

In Tuesday's pre-match news conference ahead of the Coppa Italia final, Chiellini – perhaps as you'd expect – at least attempted to deflect the focus from himself, seemingly adamant he didn't want to be the big story ahead of the game.

Yet, regardless of his obvious deflection the day before, it will have been tricky for many to not look at Wednesday's showpiece as the last meaningful match of Chiellini's storied career for the Bianconeri, with little riding on Juve's final Serie A matches of the campaign.

Twenty trophies, 559 appearances – third only to Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero – and countless head injuries, Chiellini's laid everything on the line and dedicated the majority of his career to Juve, even when the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid apparently came calling

But that one last trophy was a dream too far, with Inter ending their 11-year wait for a Coppa Italia triumph by emerging 4-2 victors after extra time.

As far as small mercies go, Chiellini could at least take solace in the fact he at no point looked out of place on the big stage.

Nevertheless, as good a defender as he's been down the years, there wasn't much Juve's captain could've done to prevent his side falling behind in a frantic first half at the Stadio Olimpico.

Nicolo Barella received the short corner and the run of Ivan Perisic created space for him to unleash a sumptuous curling effort into the top-far corner, the ball floating well out of the reach of Chiellini's not insignificant head.

But Inter became strangely negative after getting themselves in front, with Juve crafting several presentable chances as they became the controlling force – Chiellini found himself involved further up as a result as well, a comical fish-out-of-water-like run into the final third leading to a foul by Edin Dzeko.

Juve's superiority told early in the second half as a period of concerted pressure led to the ball dropping kindly for Alex Sandro, whose first-time strike found its way in via a deflection off Alvaro Morata.

Inter barely had enough time to look at the scoreboard before they found themselves trailing, as Juve sprung a brilliant counter and Dusan Vlahovic found the net at the second time of asking.

The game soon entered the realm of Chiellini, whose seven clearances at the end of the 90 minutes was a match high.

Within moments of Juve's second goal, the 37-year-old crucially blocked a cross that Dzeko was primed to tap home – true to form as a full-blooded centre-back, he celebrated his clearance as if he'd scored.

Soon after he was on hand again with a vital header, but like with the opener, he could only watch on as Inter levelled in the 80th minute. Chiellini's centre-back partners Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci tangled with Lautaro Martinez, who appeared to invite contact and then hook his foot around the latter's leg before tumbling.

It was as ingenious as the ultimate VAR-confirmed penalty decision was farcical, but Hakan Calhanoglu converted the spot-kick and Chiellini's night was soon over.

Soon after an important interception/clearance ahead of the lurking Martinez, Chiellini made way, perhaps owing to the knock received in that collision with the Inter striker.

Even at that point there was almost a sense of foreboding. While perhaps not a decisive presence at the other end, Juve were suddenly without their most experienced player and leader – the personality in the side dropped considerably in that one change.

It was fitting that De Ligt – a player who has flattered to deceive since essentially being brought in as Chiellini's long-term successor – proved to be the one to gift Inter the lead in extra-time, clumsily tripping Stefan de Vrij and allowing Ivan Perisic to rifle home the penalty, with the Croatian's spectacular second soon after signalling Juve fans to head for the exits.

As Inter players joyously made their way to the Nerazzurri end of the stadium at full-time, a dignified Chiellini trudged onto the pitch and shared a speechless embrace with Massimiliano Allegri.

While Chiellini helped Juve to more success than most players enjoy in a lifetime, when it came to giving him a fitting send-off, the Bianconeri failed him.

Ivan Perisic's double secured Coppa Italia glory for Inter as they came from 2-1 down to beat Juventus 4-2 after extra time at the Stadio Olimpico.

Nicolo Barella's sensational 10th-minute opener appeared to have put Inter on course to repeat their Supercoppa Italiana triumph over Juve in January.

But two goals in the space of just over two second-half minutes from Alex Sandro, aided by Alvaro Morata, and Dusan Vlahovic turned the tide in Juve's favour.

There was a twist in the tale late in normal time, though, Hakan Calhanoglu netting from the spot to send the game to an extra half-hour, in which Perisic also converted from 12 yards and then sealed victory with a fine half-volley.

Barella broke the deadlock in stunning fashion as he cut in from the left and unleashed an unstoppable long-range strike into the top-right corner.

Juve's response was impressive, Samir Handanovic forced into action to deny Paulo Dybala and then producing a superb save to turn Vlahovic's near-post effort behind.

Handanovic tipped Matthijs de Ligt's header over the crossbar on the half-hour mark, with Dybala then firing narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

But Juve's persistence was rewarded five minutes after the restart as Handanovic gifted them an equaliser.

Morata seemingly got a slight deflection on Alex Sandro's drive from the edge of the area, which Handanovic allowed to squirm through.

Juve's comeback was completed two minutes later as Inter were caught cold by a rapid counter.

Dybala threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to Vlahovic, who showed the composure to drop his shoulder and unseat the chasing Danilo D'Ambrosio before hitting home on the rebound after his initial effort hit Handanovic in the face.

Matteo Darmian drew a save from Mattia Perin but Inter did not look like forcing extra-time until Leonardo Bonucci was adjudged to have brought down Lautaro Martinez in the 78th minute.

Calhanoglu emphatically levelled, sending an excellent penalty in the top-right corner, and Perisic found the other corner with his spot-kick nine minutes into extra time after a VAR review into De Ligt's challenge on countryman Stefan de Vrij.

Perisic gave Inter breathing room in style, rendering Perin helpless with a sumptuous half-volley to cap an absorbing final. 

Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon expressed his hopes that Giorgio Chiellini can end his Bianconeri career on a high note by defeating Inter in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juve will look to defend their Coppa Italia crown at the Stadio Olimpico and become the fifth team in Europe's top five leagues to win their respective domestic cup at least 15 times.

The clash with Simone Inzaghi's Inter – who have won their last two games against Juve, as many wins as in the previous 13 (D4, L7) – could prove to be Chiellini's final swansong.

The veteran centre-back is widely expected to leave Turin at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to the MLS before using his vast experience to go into management.

Former team-mate Buffon marked his 685th and final appearance for Juve with victory over Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final last season, and the goalkeeper hopes Chiellini can follow suit.

"Chiello was my rock," Parma man Buffon told Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport

"He was, and still is, a friend I shared a good chunk of my life with. Far more than a player or simply a team-mate. We understood each other perfectly, we were aware of our strengths and limitations.

"Chiello is so demanding with himself and others, he is an example of where intelligence, hard work, dedication and passion can let you reach unthinkable heights.

"He will admit, he was not the most technically gifted player, but I cannot think of a better defender over the last 10 years.

"I hope he can leave Juve the way I did by lifting the Coppa Italia trophy."

Another ex-Juve colleague Andrea Barzagli added that the Bianconeri will be significantly weakened without Chiellini to call upon.

"Even off the pitch, Chiellini gives a sense of belonging to Juve," Barzagli said.

"Looking at him, you understand what winning teams are made of; you need to be a great person before being a great player. He is one of the greatest defenders in the history of the club.

"He is a complete defender. If this is the end for him at Juve, then the team will miss his leadership."

Should Juve succeed against Inter, Allegri will become the first manager in Coppa Italia history to win the trophy five times, surpassing Sven-Goran Eriksson and Roberto Mancini (both four).

Samuel Eto'o has urged Inter to sign Paulo Dybala and declared "all important players" should join the Nerazzurri "sooner or later".

Dybala will leave Juventus when his contract expires at the end of next month and the Argentina forward has been linked with Inter.

Former Inter striker Eto'o believes Dybala would be a great acquisition for Simone Inzaghi's side, who are two points behind city rivals Milan with two games to play in the battle for the Serie A title.

Cameroonian Football Federation president Eto'o also stressed the importance of Inter keeping Dybala's compatriot Lautaro Martinez.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the Coppa Italia final between Inter and Juve on Wednesday: "I say that all important players must play for Inter sooner or later and Dybala is more than important.

"Lautaro Martinez? He has done things very important for Inter and I hope he will continue in the future.

"I wish him a great career, without injuries here with us."

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi says there is no "special recipe for winning finals" ahead of the Coppa Italia decider against Juventus on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old boss guided Lazio to the Coppa Italia title in 2018-19, along with winning the Supercoppa in 2017 and 2019.

Inzaghi also led the Nerazzurri to the Supercoppa crown earlier this season, prompting hopes his excellent record in cup finals bodes well for Inter.

"We're already very proud to be here for such an important game," Inzaghi told reporters.

"I don't think there are any special recipes for winning finals. You need to run hard, be determined and focused.

"We'll have to give 120 per cent to lift our second trophy of the season."

The Coppa Italia final comes amid Inter's title chase, sitting second two points behind Milan with two games to play.

Inzaghi admitted re-focusing their energy away from the league to the cup would bring a unique challenge.

"That’s something we’ve spoken about," he said. "It probably would've been better to play the final at the end of the Serie A campaign, but the structure was set out at the start of the year.

"I’ve been involved in finals as a player and as a coach, and I don’t think it’s a problem to play just before the end of the league season."

Inzaghi has collected a record points tally in his first season in charge in the league, with the side firmly in contention for the Scudetto, having won the Supercoppa.

But the common view on the success of Inzaghi's first campaign may be determined by their final few games, as they chase both the Serie A and Coppa titles.

"I owe everything to the team, as the players have always backed me," Inzaghi said.

"It's been a brilliant season. It's match number 50 now. We played wonderful football for seven or eight months, but then suffered a dip and dropped some points, but if I think back to how we played against Liverpool and the way we’ve reached the final, I have no bad words to say about the team."

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