Erling Haaland has paid tribute to "the best" Mino Raiola after the renowned agent died at the age of 54.

Raiola's family announced he passed away on Saturday, two days after it was revealed the Italian was in a critical condition in San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

One of the most recognisable agents in the world, Raiola represented the likes of Haaland, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and many more.

Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland reacted to Raiola's death by posting a picture of the two of them along with a heart emoji and wrote: "The best."

On-loan Juventus striker Moise Kean also paid an emotional tribute to his agent.

He posted on Instagram: "I still can't believe, you took me out from the streets and you made me learn so many principles in life… to be honest it's not a not goodbye for us wherever you are you will always be in my heart . R.I.P BIG Boss."

Raiola's family said in a statement: "In infinite sorrow we share the passing of the most caring and amazing football agent that ever was.

"Mino fought until the end with the same strength he put on negotiation tables to defend our players. As usual, Mino made us proud and never realised it.

"Mino touched so many lives through his work and wrote a new chapter in the history of modern football. His presence will forever be missed.

"Mino's mission of making football a better place for players will continue with the same passion.

"We thank everybody for the huge amount of support received during these difficult times and ask for respect to the privacy of family and friends in this moment of grief."

Moise Kean came off the bench to score a late winner as Juventus took a big stride towards securing a Champions League place with a 2-1 victory at Sassuolo.

Sassuolo were much the better side in the first half of the Serie A clash at MAPEI Stadium – Citta del Tricolore on Monday and they were rewarded when Giacomo Raspadori put them in front.

Paulo Dybala equalised on the stroke of half-time, though, and substitute Kean's first goal for two months in the 88th minute snatched a huge win for the Bianconeri.

Juve remain in fourth place with four games to play, eight points better off than Roma in fifth spot and just one behind Napoli.

 

Inter are firming as a likely destination for Paulo Dybala, as the end to his time at Juventus draws near.

The Argentina international has provided 96 goals and 51 assists in 265 league appearances for Juventus, but will not stay in an evident rebuild under Max Allegri.

While Dybala is set to leave after seven seasons in Turin, and after a near-move to Tottenham, it appears he might stay in Italy's Serie A after all.

 

TOP STORY – INTER CLOSE IN ON DYBALA

Inter are closing in on Paulo Dybala, whose contract at Juventus will expire at the end of the season, according to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 28-year-old attacker has drifted out to the periphery for the Turin giants, ever since Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer, to the point where they are not willing to renew his contract.

Per the report however, Inter face potential stumbling blocks in fitting Dybala within their wage structure, with talks between the club and his representatives focused on bridging any gaps in expectations.

While Inter would seek to bring Dybala in next season, they are not in a capacity to offer a €6milliion salary, currently earned by Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

Though Inter are unsure of Martinez's future at the San Siro, Alexis Sanchez falling out of favour under Simone Inzaghi could facilitate Dybala's addition.

 

ROUND-UP

– Juventus are keen to sign Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo, and are prepared to add Moise Kean as part of a package deal, according to Nicolo Schira.

Manchester United have reached a verbal agreement in principle for Erik ten Hag to leave Ajax and become their next manager, The Athletic is reporting.

Liverpool are prepared to make a £25million (€30m) offer for Torino's Gleison Bremer, per Tuttomercato.

Barcelona must be prepared to pay Juventus €100m in order to sign 22-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, Fichajes is reporting.

– Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Lautaro Martinez, with Inter setting a transfer price range of €70-80m, per Nicolo Schira.

Massimiliano Allegri was full of praise for Alvaro Morata following Juventus' 3-1 win away to Sampdoria on Saturday.

The Spanish forward bagged a brace in an important victory for Juve, who put themselves nine points clear of Atalanta in Serie A's race for the final Champions League spot, though having played two games more.

January signing Dusan Vlahovic started on the bench for the Old Lady ahead of their second leg tie against Villarreal in the Champions League last-16 on Wednesday, but it was Morata who made the difference at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Allegri was quick to compliment the 29-year-old, who followed up his first half penalty with a fine header in the 88th minute after Abdelhamid Sabiri had pulled a goal back for the hosts two minutes earlier.

"Alvaro is one of the best forwards on a technical level in Europe," the Bianconeri boss told DAZN post-match. "He will struggle more if you use him with his back to goal, but if he plays a little wider, with the space to run inside and use his characteristics, he's excellent.

"The team did well today on a technical basis. We need to improve when we are in control of the match, though, lower the tempo and then speed it up with a vertical pass. We need to understand when it's time to be patient and wait a moment."

Despite Maya Yoshida's opening own goal on 23 minutes, taking the eventual three points was not a simple task for Juventus. Allegri believes the result puts his team in good stead for the return leg against Villarreal, though.

He also gave special mention to Moise Kean, who made his second start in three games after a string of appearances off the bench in February.

"Sampdoria are not an easy team to face, we needed this result to consolidate fourth place and prepare for Villarreal in the best possible way," Allegri said.

"Kean played a good game, when he plays he is always effective. He earned the penalty [for 2-0], and started the action for the first goal, so he is an important player for this squad. He has to improve from a technical point of view, but can be devastating when he has space to run into."

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri hailed the quality that Dusan Vlahovic has brought to the Bianconeri squad after he netted two superb goals in a 3-2 win at Empoli.

Vlahovic netted twice after Moise Kean had opened the scoring for the Old Lady in a win which saw them consolidate fourth place in Serie A, although they had to survive a late onslaught from their lively hosts.

The Serbian striker now has 20 Serie A goals this season, while the victory has given Juventus a six-point cushion over fifth-placed Atalanta, ahead of Gian Piero Gasperini's team's clash with Sampdoria on Monday.

Vlahovic's neat finishes proved the difference in a hard-fought encounter in which Empoli managed 11 attempts to the visitors' 12.

Allegri was keen to praise the in-form striker for the qualities he displayed.

"Vlahovic is an important player, he has character as well as quality," Allegri said. "You could tell straight away this lad has character, wants to win and is eager to learn. 

"He has the kind of characteristics we didn't have in the squad.

"He moved a lot more in this game, didn't just stay central, and that was a big advantage for him and for us."

 

Allegri was also asked how his number seven compared to the man who wore that shirt during his last spell in charge in Turin, two-time Serie A player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't think you can compare them," he said. "The previous seven won the Ballon d'Or five times, whereas Vlahovic is at the beginning of his career. 

"A good game isn't enough, [for comparisons with Ronaldo] you need immense mental strength, and he is at the start of his journey."

Vlahovic has now scored two or more goals on nine occasions in Serie A since the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign, equalling Ronaldo's tally of multiple-goal hauls in Italy during the same period.

Allegri also professed himself pleased with the forward options at his disposal, as both Kean and Alvaro Morata recorded goal involvements, but the Bianconeri boss maintained that Juventus are not contenders for the Serie A title.

He added: "Kean struggles with his back to goal and coming back to connect with the midfield, but he does well when wide and attacking the box. Alvaro Morata is the same, he gave a great pass to Vlahovic for the third goal.

"Football is very simple, you just have to put players in roles where they can work to their characteristics.

"We couldn't do that for four or five months, so we had to adapt, but we stayed in range of the top four and now we'll see what happens.

"I remain fully convinced it will take 84 to 85 points minimum to win the Scudetto. Our objective is to finish in the top four and we need to be consistent, because there's Atalanta, Fiorentina, Lazio are coming up too.

"The title will be a battle between those three up there [Milan, Inter, and Napoli]."

Juventus are now unbeaten in their last 13 Serie A games, their longest such run since a 14-match run under Maurizio Sarri between August and December 2019.

Dusan Vlahovic continued his fine form as Juventus boosted their Serie A top-four hopes with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Empoli.

Moise Kean's header and Vlahovic's neat finish came either side of Szymon Zurkowski's scrappy leveller, as Juve established a 2-1 half-time advantage on Saturday.

Vlahovic's sublime lob put Juve two ahead, though Andrea La Mantia's goal produced a nervous ending for the visitors.

Yet Massimiliano Allegri's team stood firm amid late pressure to move six points clear in fourth place.

Danilo and Denis Zakaria both passed up good opportunities in the early exchanges but the visitors broke the deadlock when Kean met Adrien Rabiot's cross, powering a header past Guglielmo Vicario.

Juve suffered an injury blow when the impressive Zakaria limped off, before Empoli levelled as Zurkowski evaded the visitors' statuesque defenders to prod home from a corner.

Juve were not to be denied their half-time lead, however, with the superb Vlahovic turning smartly on Juan Cuadrado's pass before drilling home.

Massimiliano Allegri insisted it is "actually impossible" for Juventus to recover to win the Scudetto as he previewed Saturday's clash with Empoli.

The Bianconeri have enjoyed an upturn in form since struggling at the start of the Serie A campaign, sitting in fourth as they fight with Atalanta for the final Champions League qualification spot.

Juve are also still in Europe's elite competition – their last-16 tie with Villarreal finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg – and the Coppa Italia, where they face Fiorentina in a two-legged semi-final clash across March and April.

Allegri was quick to quash suggestions Juve – who are unbeaten in 12 Serie A games – can still win the Scudetto this season, revealing he may rest either Dusan Vlahovic or Alvaro Morata on Saturday as he eyes success elsewhere.

"Tomorrow, Moise Kean could play. If he does, one of Vlahovic or Alvaro Morata will rest," Allegri said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"Kean always has chances to score, so I am very calm. We are fighting on all fronts, even if the Scudetto is hard. Actually, impossible.

"We are out of the title race, I think that 85 points will be enough to win the title and we can't reach that. We have a Coppa Italia semi-final against Fiorentina and the Champions League against Villarreal.

"At the moment, it's a good season. Let's see which trophies we can lift, it's not easy to win every year. The important thing is to improve, but we have to do more in some situations."

 

Juve could be 12 points adrift of leaders Milan by the time they are next in action, given Stefano Pioli's men host Udinese on Friday.

Juve have won each of their last four top-flight visits to Empoli and Aurelio Andreazzoli's side are winless in nine Serie A matches, their longest such streak since November 2018, but Allegri is aware of the threat they could pose.

"We lost in the reverse fixture and it's never easy to play at Empoli," he added.

"We need to give continuity to our recent results. We need solid performance and recharge batteries, physically and mentally.

"Empoli have three offensive players, it's difficult to play against them. They have no problems in the table, we know that we must win tomorrow.

"We made many mistakes in Spain and didn't make the most of some opportunities.

"We must understand the right moment to 'kill' the opponents. We were doing well against Villarreal, but then we conceded a goal because we were too naive.

"When you play at a high level, you can't give your opponents the chance to get back in the game."

Allegri will have to do without several key figures as well, with Weston McKennie, Paulo Dybala, Alex Sandro, and Giorgio Chiellini heading a growing list of absentees.

Juventus maintained their push for a Champions League qualification spot as goals from Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie sealed a 2-0 win over Udinese at the Allianz Stadium.

Massimiliano Allegri's side produced a stirring fightback to beat Roma 4-3 last weekend, but they needed no such drama to record a 10th win in their last 13 top-flight games against Udinese on Saturday.

Dybala was comfortably Juve's brightest spark and he put them ahead in composed fashion, with McKennie adding a second late on. 

The result lifted fifth-placed Juve onto the same points as Atalanta, who occupy the last Champions League qualification spot, although Gian Piero Gasperini's men do have two games in hand. 

Juve were dominant in the early stages and deservedly went ahead in the 19th minute courtesy of Dybala's seventh Serie A goal of the season.

The Argentina international did well to adjust his feet after receiving a deflected pass from strike partner Moise Keane before coolly lifting the ball over the onrushing Daniele Padelli.

Udinese's goalkeeper pushed away a Juan Cuadrado free-kick from an acute angle on the hour mark, while Dybala whipped narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area. 

Yet the result was wrapped up when an unmarked McKennie headed in Mattia De Sciglio's left-wing cross from six yards, the United States international's third league goal of the campaign. 

What does it mean? Juve rarely tested by tepid visitors

Juve were miles off their best but they scarcely needed to get out of second gear to ease past a poor Udinese outfit, who have lost two Serie A matches in a row for the first time since September. 

Allegri's men have now won their last six top-flight home games against Udinese, scoring at least two goals in all of them. The last time they registered a longer home winning streak against the Friulians was between 1980 and 1987 (seven).

Dybala proves his worth

Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Inter and he showed here why Juve are desperate to tie him down.

The 28-year-old was his side's best player and has now scored more times against Udinese than any other side in the Italian top flight (10 goals in 17 games).

Kean off the pace

Kean struggled in attack for the hosts, taking just one shot and failing to play a single key pass before he was hauled off for Morata in the 64th minute. 

He did play a crucial part in Juve's opener, however, with his flick turned into Dybala's path by a defender's accidental touch.

What's next?

Both sides are in Coppa Italia round-of-16 action on Tuesday, with Juve hosting Sampdoria and Udinese visiting Lazio. 

Federico Bernardeschi played a part in both goals as Juventus edged past Cagliari 2-0 to extend their unbeaten run in Serie A to five matches and make up ground on the top four.

Massimiliano Allegri's men had defeated Cagliari in nine of their previous 10 league meetings but were unable able to seriously assert their authority and were nearly made to pay before killing off the game late on.

Having earlier gone close with a header against the post, Moise Kean opened the scoring for Juve five minutes before half-time in their final match of a disappointing 2021.

Juve survived a couple of big scares in the second half before Bernardeschi, who created Kean's opener, struck in the 83rd minute to seal a win that moves the Bianconeri within four points of fourth-placed Atalanta, who drew 0-0 with Genoa elsewhere on Tuesday.

 

Kean headed Juan Cuadrado's right-sided cross against the upright with a thumping header 10 minutes into what proved a frustrating first half for the hosts.

However, the breakthrough duly arrived shortly before the interval when Kean adjusted his body to guide Bernardeschi's deflected cross past Alessio Cragno.

Cagliari, who have now conceded in 23 successive away league meetings with Juve, wasted a big chance to equalise before the hour as Dalbert steered wide from seven yards.

Joao Pedro did at least manage to test Wojciech Szczesny eight minutes later with a header down the middle that the Juve keeper tipped over.

But Juve made certain of the points through Bernardeschi's angled drive at the end of a counter, the winger ending a run of 513 days without a goal in Serie A.

Moise Kean's early header proved enough to earn Juventus a 1-0 Champions League win over Malmo and top spot in Group H on Wednesday.

The Bianconeri controlled the game well but could only muster one goal despite playing a team with just one point to their name.

Federico Bernardeschi's classy cross from the right was one of the few moments of true quality in the final third, which Kean met with a darting run to the near post in the 18th minute.

Malmo rarely threatened in the time that remained, but Juventus never looked like claiming an emphatic win either and their solitary goal proved enough to see them finish above Chelsea, who conceded a 94th-minute equaliser in their 3-3 draw with Zenit. 

Kean came close to opening the scoring in the sixth minute after being slipped into the area by Paulo Dybala, but the striker lashed his low effort just wide of the bottom-right corner.

The Italian made amends 12 minutes later, however, nipping in front of Ismael Diarra Diawara to nod Bernardeschi's outstanding outside-of-the-boot cross in and put Juventus ahead.

Kean then laid the ball off to Arthur just inside the box on the stroke of half-time, but the midfielder lost his balance as he took the shot on and fired narrowly past the top-right corner.

Juventus, despite dominating the game and holding the lead, lacked conviction in the final third as Adrien Rabiot burst forward down the left and smashed a shot into the side-netting after the break.

Kean forced a low save in the 66th minute and should have doubled Juventus' advantage with under 10 minutes remaining after Diarra Diawara spilled Rabiot's initial effort, but the goalkeeper recovered to make a stunning save at point-blank range and deny the 21-year-old, whose contribution proved decisive in settling the group thanks to events in St. Petersburg.

Matthijs de Ligt scored the decisive goal as Juventus came from behind to beat Spezia 3-2 and belatedly claim their first Serie A win of the season.

Failure to seal maximum points at Stadio Alberto Picco would have seen the Bianconeri go five games without a victory at the start of an Italian top-flight season for the first time since 1955-56.

Massimiliano Allegri's side went ahead through Moise Kean's first goal since he rejoined his boyhood club from Everton, yet Spezia stormed back through Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste either side of half-time.

Federico Chiesa restored parity with a fine goal, though, before De Ligt ensured a much-needed first win of the campaign with 18 minutes remaining.

The Bianconeri had deservedly taken the lead shortly before the half-hour mark, with Kean collecting Adrien Rabiot's knockdown and firing in off Jeroen Zoet's right-hand post from 18 yards.

It took the hosts just five minutes to respond, however, as Gyasi cut in from the left and fired across Wojciech Szczesny courtesy of a slight deflection.

Paulo Dybala forced a fingertip save from Zoet soon after – one of 11 first-half Juve attempts to Spezia's two – but the visitors fell behind four minutes after the interval when Antiste jinked inside Leonardo Bonucci after a swift counter-attack and clipped past Szczesny.

Zoet denied Kean and Dybala, as Juve desperately tried to claw their way back into the game, and the pressure told in the 66th minute when Chiesa fired in after superbly finding his way through the Spezia defence. 

De Ligt then lifted some of the clouds that had begun to gather over the Turin giants, powering past Zoet after a corner had fallen kindly to him, much to the relief of Allegri.

Moise Kean has insisted he does not feel the pressure of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus following his return to Turin.

Ronaldo, who scored 101 goals across 134 matches in all competitions at Allianz Stadium, moved back to Manchester United in August as he ended a 12-year absence from Old Trafford.

Moments after the Portugal captain's departure, Kean signed for Juve on an initial loan from Everton, with the Serie A outfit obliged to buy if certain objectives are met.

The Italy forward spent last season on loan at Paris Saint-Germain, where he impressed with 13 goals in 26 Ligue 1 matches.

Despite arriving in the wake of Ronaldo's move, Kean told reporters at his Juve presentation that he is focusing on achieving success with Massimiliano Allegri's team and not on who he has replaced.

"I don’t feel any pressure in replacing Ronaldo,” he said at Thursday's news conference. "I just want to lend a hand to the team where I grew up and where I lived good times.

"I just want to play, I have no pressure, I just feel the responsibility of wearing the Juventus shirt."

Indeed, the 21-year-old has played for the Bianconeri before, making his debut aged just 16 years, eight months and 21 days to become the club's youngest ever player.

He managed seven goals in 16 Serie A appearances before an underwhelming spell at Everton, where he managed only two goals in 32 outings.

Allegri has already granted Kean cameo appearances against Napoli and Malmo and Juve's new signing is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"Wearing the black and white jersey has always given me great emotions," he continued.

"It is the right choice, I am ready for this new challenge. I'm lucky to have played in foreign championships.

"I'm here to give a big hand to the team I grew up in. I don't feel its weight, but the responsibility of wearing this shirt and giving 100 per cent.

"We didn't start well but we have great objectives. I'm sure we will aim for great results."

Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini insisted Moise Kean is not Cristiano Ronaldo's replacement, rather "one of the pawns in a plan to continue winning with a different project".

Ronaldo left Juve before the transfer window closed, re-joining Premier League giants Manchester United after asking for a move away from Turin.

After Ronaldo departed Juve, the Serie A powerhouse – who were dethroned by Inter in 2020-21 – brought Kean back to the club from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy.

"When Cristiano told us he wanted to leave, we immediately thought of anticipating the future," Cherubini told Tuttosport in an interview that will be published in full on Friday.

"Kean is not the replacement of the Portuguese striker, but one of the pawns in a plan to continue winning with a different project."

During his time at Allianz Stadium, Ronaldo scored 101 goals across 134 matches in all competitions.

Ronaldo topped the goalscoring charts with 29 Serie A goals last season but Juve finished fourth in Andrea Pirlo's first campaign at the helm.

Pirlo was sacked as a result, with Juve turning to former head coach Massimiliano Allegri, who have only collected one point from their opening two fixtures of the 2021-22 season.

Roberto Mancini was pleased with Italy's response to their weekend draw with Switzerland as they cruised past Lithuania 5-0 to set a new all-time record of 37 matches without defeat.

The Azzurri equalled Brazil's record with an underwhelming 0-0 draw against Switzerland on Sunday but they moved clear of the Selecao with a resounding win at Mapei Stadium on Wednesday.

Moise Kean was the star of the show, the Juventus man scoring twice in a pulsating first half that also saw an own goal from Edgaras Utkus and a Giacomo Raspadori strike – the Sassuolo man's first in international football.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo scored after the break as the European champions moved onto 14 points at the top of World Cup qualifying Group C, six points clear of second-place Switzerland after their goalless draw with Northern Ireland.

Mancini made eight changes from the side that drew with Switzerland and he was pleased with how his new-look starting XI acquitted themselves.

"Despite losing so many players over the last couple of days, the lads reacted well. Obviously, the opponents weren't of the highest quality, but you can't always score five or six goals, so they did well," he told RAI Sport.

"Anyone can make a mistake [the result with Switzerland], the important thing is to stay calm, not lose our heads, and it will be fine."

Kean and Raspadori took their chances to shine and Mancini insisted both players will be given more opportunities to impress.

"We already brought Raspadori to the Euros, we saw he has quality, but he is young and needs to gain experience," the Italy boss added.

"Of course, it's all in their minds and their feet. If they do what they need to do, work hard, remain organised on the field, then it depends on them, but they can have their chance."

 

Kean did not make the cut for Italy's triumphant Euro 2020 squad, but he shone in Reggio Emilia.

The 21-year-old scored with both his shots on target and was full of running as Italy swept their sorry opponents aside with ease.

Kean, who is back at Juventus after a torrid time in the Premier League with Everton, acknowledged it was not easy to watch his country's success from afar but said he is delighted to be back in the fold.

"It was important to get back in this shirt and give 100 per cent for the jersey, as it means so much to me every time," he said.

"It was not easy to be at home watching the Euros, but I was always in front of the television cheering on my team-mates. They brought home the trophy for Italy and that's what matters.

"It's all about hard work, how professionally I approach it. My team-mates gave me a warm welcome, I am working every day and returned with new objectives, a new mentality, and I'm always ready to help my team-mates."

Page 1 of 3
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.