Davide Calabria should be fit to return for next season after undergoing surgery on a sports hernia, Milan have confirmed.

The full-back has not been included in Italy's provisional squad for Euro 2020, so his season was already over after helping Milan qualify for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Atalanta on Sunday.

Calabria played 36 times across all competitions for Milan in 2020-21, scoring twice and providing one assist from 26 chances created, while also helping Stefano Pioli's team keep 11 clean sheets.

The 24-year-old may well feel hard done by to have missed out on Roberto Mancini's 33-man selection, which will be cut to 26 by the deadline of midnight on June 1.

His numbers stack up well when compared to the three right-backs included in Mancini's squad – Alessandro Florenzi, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Manuel Lazzari.

Napoli's Di Lorenzo is the be standout option from an attacking perspective, having scored four goals and teed up a further seven in all competitions, with his 62 chances created far better than the efforts Calabria, Florenzi or Lazzari (both 28).

Defensively, however, Calabria seems to the outstanding candidate. He attempted 105 tackles, 10 more than Di Lorenzo and far ahead of Florenzi (38), who spent the season on loan at Paris Saint-Germain, and Lazio wing-back Lazzari (29), with an impressive 61.9 per cent success rate. 

Calabria went into 333 duels, winning 200 – more than either Florenzi or Lazzari – and he won 32 of his 62 aerial battles, with Di Lorenzo bettering the Milan man for interceptions (47, compared to 41).

He did attempt fewer open-play crosses (78) than any of his counterparts, with only 21 of them finding a team-mate, although Calabria's tally of 130 passes into the final third was second only to Di Lorenzo (153).

Nevertheless, Calabria's focus will now be on Milan's 2021-22 campaign, with the club confirming a planned recovery time of six weeks.

A Milan statement read: "The operation, performed by videolaparoscopy by Dr Giuseppe Sansonetti in the presence of Rossoneri doctor Lucio Genesio, was perfectly successful."

Paul George may have insisted it is not time to worry just yet but the Los Angeles Clippers face a critical Game 3 on the road against the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas returned home from LA with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series that is a repeat of a first-round playoff clash in the NBA bubble from last season. On that occasion, the teams were locked together at 2-2 before the Clippers pulled clear to prevail.

This time around, the favoured team - though admittedly it is a meeting of the fourth and fifth seeds in the Western Conference - has plenty of work to do if they are to progress again.

Luka Doncic starred once more in a 127-121 triumph on Tuesday to help the Mavericks double their advantage, though George made clear in the aftermath that the Clippers can still dig themselves out of the early hole.

"It's a competition. We've got to rise to the occasion. The fact of the matter is if we don't, we're done for," he told the media.

"But it's no level of concern. We've just got to play our game. We've got to play through this. We've got to incorporate our defense.

"Luka's going to get his touches. We've just got to do a better job defensively of just quieting everybody else."

Doncic is certainly getting touches - the Slovenian has scored 70 points so far in the series, as well as contributing 18 assists. Now with home-court advantage, he has the chance to push Dallas' much-fancied opponents to the brink of an early elimination that will raise serious questions over their future.

With George and Kawhi Leonard paired together, the Clippers were tipped to contend in the 2019-20 season. A dramatic collapse when 3-1 up against the Denver Nuggets in the West semi-finals put paid to any title hopes, but an even earlier exit this year would be just as surprising.

"This is playoff basketball, we've just got to figure it out," Leonard told the media. "Just like the regular season, you might lose two in a row and then go on a winning streak, so just having that same mentality.

"We're playing the same team; we know what they're doing. We've just got to stay focused and make sure we are keeping our eye on the prize."

A defeat in Dallas, however, and the Clippers should be seriously concerned about their predicament.

TOP PERFORMERS

Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks

In the previous series between these teams, Doncic dazzled in defeat. He averaged 31.0 points per game back then – but he is already up at 35 this time around. That number is helped by him shooting 41.7 per cent from deep, while the team itself are averaging a spectacular 50.0 per cent on their attempts from three-point range.

Paul George - Los Angeles Clippers

After averaging 23.3 points per game in the regular season, George has raised that number up to 25.5 at the start of the playoffs, despite landing just three of his 15 shots from beyond the arc. That level of production is pivotal for the Clippers, but so too is his ability to help get stops as they aim to slow Dallas' offensive production.

KEY BATTLE – TAKING AIM FROM DISTANCE

Can the Mavs remain hot from long range? Doncic was always likely to get points in the series, but the supporting cast have done an excellent job helping their star turn. Tim Hardaway Jr has been particularly impressive, averaging 24.5 points thanks to 11 made three-pointers. 

In contrast, LA have not lived up to their team average of 41.1 per cent on three in the regular season, which was the best in the league. It is not due to a lack of opportunities either, as they have had 10 more field-goal attempts than their rivals through the opening two games. 

HEAD TO HEAD

The franchises are locked together at four wins apiece when it comes to previous playoff meetings, but Dallas dominates the record in the regular season at 95-67. They won two out of three earlier in this campaign, but the solitary defeat did come at home.

Following their encounter in Gateshead less than a week ago, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was supposed to face off with Sha Carri Richardson again tomorrow in Doha.

Fifteen-time major winner Tiger Woods says leaning to walk again unaided is his top priority as he continues a painful recovery following his shocking car crash in February.

Woods suffered a comminuted open fracture in his right leg, which required emergency surgery, while also sustaining additional injuries to his foot and ankle as a result of the single-vehicle incident in California.

The 45-year-old returned home to Florida three weeks later and has undergone extensive rehabilitation since.

Woods is no stranger to going under the knife, having had five procedures on his back, but the pain experienced in the collision earlier this year was unlike anything the golf superstar has encountered.

"This has been an entirely different animal," he told Golf Digest.

"I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past [golfing] injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.

"My physical therapy has been keeping me busy. I do my routines every day and am focused on my number one goal right now: walking on my own. Taking it one step at a time."

Woods uploaded a picture of himself on crutches and his right leg in a brace to social media last month.

"It's funny because in that photo, the crutches definitely make my shoulders look big," he said.

"Maybe it's the workouts, too. It's been nice having the ability to still stay strong and work out my upper body."

Woods, who did not answer any questions on whether he intends to play competitive golf again, is thankful for the support he has received from well-wishers.

"It's been incredible," he said. "I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf which means so much to me and has helped tremendously."

Los Angeles police said in April that Woods' crash was caused by excessive speeds that caused him to lose control of the vehicle he was driving.

Police examined data recorded from the vehicle – a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV – and found he was driving at speeds in excess of 80mph in an area with a 45mph speed limit.

He was travelling at an estimated 75mph when he hit a tree, with officers believing the 15-time major winner might have inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake as there was no evidence of braking.

Simone Inzaghi has stepped down as head coach of Lazio amid strong links with the vacant Inter job.

The 45-year-old has spent his entire five-year managerial career at Stadio Olimpico, where he also enjoyed 11 years of service during his playing days.

Inzaghi guided Lazio to Coppa Italia success in 2018-19 and a couple of Supercoppa Italiana triumphs in 2017 and 2019, as well as ending the club's 13-year wait for Champions League qualification.

He had been widely expected to extend his contract with the Biancocelesti, which is due to expire at the end of next month, but it has now been confirmed the former Italy international is leaving the club.

Lazio released a statement on their official website on Thursday but did not refer to Inzaghi by name.

"We respect the change of mind of a coach and, before that, of a player who for many years tied his name to the Lazio family and the many Biancocelesti successes," the statement read.

Inzaghi, who was previously touted as a contender for the Tottenham job, won 108, drew 35 and lost 55 of his 198 matches in charge of Lazio.

Reports from Italy suggest Inter are close to agreeing a deal with Inzaghi to succeed Antonio Conte, who left San Siro by mutual consent on Wednesday just a month on from ending the Nerazzurri's 11-year Scudetto wait.

Conte's departure came amid a reported dispute between the coach and the club's owners over salary cuts and player sales, with Inter reportedly looking to raise €100million to help balance the books.

Novak Djokovic felt he produced his best performance of the year in breezing past Federico Coria at the Belgrade Open for a milestone victory.

World number one Djokovic needed a little under an hour to beat Coria 6-1 6-0 on Thursday and set up a semi-final with Andrej Martin on home soil.

The victory moves the 34-year-old above Argentine great Guillermo Vilas for the fifth-most victories in the Open Era with 952.

He is 70 wins adrift of fourth-placed Rafael Nadal (1,022). Ivan Lendl (1,068) is third, behind Roger Federer (1,243), with Jimmy Connors holding the record of 1,274 wins.

Djokovic won 53 of the 75 points played against Coria and dropped just one game to remain on course for a third crown in Serbia ahead of the French Open.

"It was a great display," Djokovic said in his on-court interview. "It's probably one of the best matches, if not the best match, I played this year. I felt fantastic from the first point.

"It was the first time that I played against Coria and I tried to impose an aggressive style from the very beginning and not allow him to have too much time to play around. I played a phenomenal second set, really flawless.

"It's not always possible to play like this. But I think this definitely helps me feel better on the court. I think everything worked perfectly for me today."

Martin awaits Djokovic in the last four after the world number 119 recovered from a set down to beat Dusan Lajovic 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Alex Molcan remains in the hunt for a shock triumph in Belgrade, meanwhile, after beating Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-0 to set up a showdown with Federico Delbonis.

Eighth seed Delbonis advanced to his second semi-final of the season following Roberto Carballes Baena's withdrawal through illness.

At the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Sebastian Korda eliminated Yoshihito Nishioka to set up an all-American semi-final with Tommy Paul, who took down Jan-Lennard Struff with a 6-2 6-4 victory.

Richard Gasquet was another seeded player to fall as he lost 6-1 6-1 to Jaume Munar, with the Spaniard now set to take on Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato – a straight-sets winner against lucky loser Norbert Gombos – for a place in the final.

Unseeded duo Sorana Cirstea and Jule Niemeier marched into the semi-finals of the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Thursday.

Romanian Cirstea emphatically beat eighth seed Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-1 and moved into the last four after Bianca Andreescu withdrew following her second-round success over Maryna Zanevska due to an abdominal injury.

Cirstea lost only seven of the 31 points on her first serve and did not face a solitary break point in an impressive victory ahead of the French Open.

She broke Zhang on four occasions and will do battle with Magda Linette for a place in the final.

Linette took out fourth seed Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-3, breaking once in the first set and three times in the second.

Qualifier Niemeier upset seventh seed Shelby Rogers, completing a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory following a rain delay. 

The German will look to pull off another surprise when she faces Barbora Krejcikova, who eliminated Ekaterina Alexandrova with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 victory.

In a mere eight games, Luka Doncic has established himself as an elite postseason performer. Need proof? Just ask the Los Angeles Clippers, who surely must be tired of his act by now.

The Dallas Mavericks superstar is already among the game's best players at 22 years old, but that he seems to be taking his game even further when it means the most bodes well for his inclusion as a player potentially on his way to legendary status. 

All eight of Doncic's playoff games have come against the Clippers, the first six last summer as part of the NBA bubble and two more this week at Staples Center. Dallas lost last season's series in six games despite stellar play from Doncic but has taken the first two games of this first-round series with more otherworldly efforts from the Slovenian wunderkind aided by a better supportive cast.

In the first two games of this series, Doncic has totalled 70 points on 27-of 53 shooting (50.9 percent) with 17 rebounds and 18 assists. He notched his second career 30-point triple double in the playoffs in Game 1, to go along with his 43-point performance in Game 4 against the Clippers last August. The only other active player to have a 30-point triple-double in the playoffs at age 22 or younger was LeBron James in 2006.

Doncic, who also had a triple-double in Game 3 of last season's series against Los Angeles, is the first player in NBA history with three triple-doubles in his first seven career playoff games. He is also the only player since at least 1984-85 to accumulate 250 points, 70 rebounds and 70 assists in his first eight postseason games.

Doncic's playoff scoring has him alongside basketball royalty at this early juncture of his career. Since the 1963-64 seasons, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (287), Michael Jordan (283), LeBron James (266), Bob McAdoo (261) and Anthony Davis (258) scored more points in the first eight playoff games of their NBA career than Doncic's 256.

Whichever defender has been sent his way in the first two games of this series, Doncic has had an answer. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George aren't just outstanding offensive players but also have reputations as excellent on the defensive end. Both have locked down star players in the past but neither has had much success in this series against Doncic. 

While Doncic's physical gifts are well-documented, his basketball IQ and calm demeanour are just as important parts of his basketball arsenal. Also working in Dallas' favour this time around is a supporting cast that has continued its strong play from the regular season. 

A more confident Kristaps Porzingis has scored 34 points in the first two games and Tim Hardaway Jr. has been an absolute revelation for the Mavericks with 49 points - including 11 of 17 from three-point range - on 17 of 27 overall from the field. Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber also have made key contributions. 

Conventional wisdom says double-teaming Doncic is the easiest way to slow him down, but that won't work if Hardaway continues to knock down shots with such regularity. 

If the Clippers' plan was to push Doncic further away from the basket, that may need to be reconsidered after he connected on 10 of 24 from long range in the first two games. 

Perhaps sending Doncic to the free throw line is the way to go since he has made just six of 14 in this series. Since sinking 14 of 15 from the stripe in his playoff debut last season, Doncic is just a 54.0 percent (34 of 63) free-throw shooter in seven postseason contests. 

The Clippers were the league's top three-point shooting team in the regular season at 41.1 per cent but have only made 24 of 73 (32.9 per cent) in this series. Dallas, meanwhile, has hit exactly half of its shots from beyond the arc (35 of 70) and is shooting a blistering 54.4 per cent (86 for 158) overall. Los Angeles needs that to change if it is to have any chance at coming back. 

There is not much more the Clippers' stars can do after Leonard poured in 41 points and George added 28 in Tuesday's Game 2 loss. It's almost hard to believe the Clippers are down 0-2 in this series heading to Dallas with Leonard and George combining for 118 points on 51.8 percent (43 of 83) from the field and 34 rebounds. 

The Mavericks haven't won a postseason series since Dirk Nowitzki led them over Miami in the 2011 Finals, losing all five of their series since then. They certainly weren't expected to win this one, and while there's still plenty of work to be done, history is on their side.

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, only four teams have won a series after losing the first two games at home: The 1993 Suns (Lakers), the 1994 Rockets (Suns), the 2005 Mavericks (Rockets) and the 2017 Celtics (Bulls). 

Alberto Bettiol chased down Remi Cavagna on the final climb to claim victory on stage 18 ​of the Giro d'Italia on a day that saw Egan Bernal retain his lead.

EF Education-Nippo rider Bettiol was part of a 23-strong breakaway when starting his pursuit with 15 kilometres remaining and caught Cavagna with six to go on the longest stage of the race.

The 2019 Tour of Flanders winner went solo from that point on to earn his maiden win on home soil and his team's first stage triumph at this year's race, while Cavagna slipped down to ninth.

"I really wanted a victory like this," Bettiol said. "I had already come close on a couple of occasions. 

"This morning Hugh [Carthy] gave me the green light to go on the attack. I want to thank him and the whole team. I didn't want to miss this opportunity."

Bettiol finished 17 seconds ahead of a congested pack, with Simone Consonni second after pipping Nicolas Roche on the line in Thursday's 231km journey from Rovereto to Stradella.

The peloton were around 23 minutes further back as Bernal enjoyed a stress-free day on the mostly-flat surface to hold on to the maglia rosa, having finally showed signs of weakness on Wednesday.

He will head into the three remaining stages with a two minute and 21 seconds lead over Damiano Caruso, while Simon Yates is three minutes and 23 seconds behind.

Friday's 166km stage 19, which has been rerouted following a tragic cable car crash earlier this week, takes the riders from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera and gives Caruso and Yates another chance to chase down the race leader.

"I hope I've recovered well. I felt much better on the bike than yesterday and I hope tomorrow will be another good day," Bernal said.

"It's difficult to say I'm super confident – I'm just trying to do my best.  I have a lot of respect for the other guys and I need to be focused and do my best, that's it."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) 5:14:43
2. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) +00:17
3. Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) +00:18
4. Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) +00:18
5. Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) +00:18

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 77:10:18
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +02:21
3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +03:23

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 135
2. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 113
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) 110

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 180
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 109
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 79

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet at the semi-final stage of the French Open, while Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty are in the same half of the draw.

Nadal will start his quest to win the Paris grand slam a staggering 14th time with a first-round encounter against Australian Alexei Popyrin next week.

Defending champion Nadal, the third seed, is in the same half of the draw as fellow all-time greats Djokovic and Federer, who could face the Serbian world number one in the last eight.

Top seed Djokovic, who is two major titles shy of the record of 20 held by Federer and Nadal, will take on Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

Swiss great Federer will come up against a qualifier in round one at Roland Garros, while two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem is up against Pablo Andujar.

Pole Swiatek claimed her maiden grand slam title at the French Open last year and takes on her close friend Kaja Juvan in the first round.

World number one Barty, who did not travel to Paris to defend her title in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, has will make her return at the clay-court major against Bernarda Pera.

Serena Williams comes up against Irina-Camelia Begu, while last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin must do battle with the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in a standout first-round match.

Carla Suarez Navarro can expect plenty of support when she takes on Sloane Stephens in her first tournament since successfully completing cancer treatment.

Antonio Conte celebrated the "journey" he has been on at Inter and the success of being able to "break the logic of mediocrity" after he decided to leave the Serie A champions.

Conte guided Inter to their first Scudetto since 2010 in the 2020-21 season, with the Nerazzurri ending Juventus' dominant nine-season streak.

Inter finished second and reached the Europa League final in Conte's first season at the club, but there was speculation he would leave then amid rumours of disagreements with the club's hierarchy.

Conte stayed on but, with speculation of a supposed dispute with the club's owners over salary cuts and player sales, his departure was confirmed on Wednesday.

Links to the now-vacant Real Madrid job have already started to surface, while Inter reportedly have to raise €100million by selling players ahead of next season, with the futures of star men Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar uncertain.

But with his future up in the air for now, Conte used his official Instagram account to reflect on his time at Inter and thank the club's president Steven Zhang, who has been the subject of fan ire following the upheaval. 

"What a journey in these two years!" Conte posted.

"Every day we have made grow in us more and more strength, determination, will and sacrifice, managing to break the logic of mediocrity with which we are often surrounded.

"No excuses, but only work, work and work, combined with respect and education. We brought the Scudetto back to Inter after 11 years, but above all we brought Inter back to the place where history and tradition deserve to be.

"THANKS to who made this possible! Footballers, staff, president, managers and all those people who have helped and supported us in these two years.

"I would like to say to the Inter fans that in a very difficult period for everyone due to the pandemic, we have always felt their support, warmth and closeness.

"The image of the Scudetto Cup raised from the highest ring of San Siro with you in celebration, I will always carry it with me! THANK YOU!"

Inter lost just three league games to secure the title and finished with 91 points – 12 more than runners-up Milan.

Stade Michel d'Ornano in Caen is a long way from Porto's Estadio do Dragao. To be precise, it's 1,573 kilometers in the unlikely event you ever have the urge to drive across Portugal and Spain, then all the way up to Normandy in northern France.

In terms of staging posts within a career, second tier French football in 2013-14 and the 2021 Champions League final are a million miles apart. But this is the journey Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have taken, almost stride for stride, as they wait to contest the European club game's greatest prize.

A look at Ligue 2's YouTube highlights from the first time the Manchester City winger and Chelsea midfielder faced one another on September 27, 2013, when Caen hosted Le Havre, reveals a few very familiar traits.

Kante can be seen bustling around with intent from the right of Caen's midfield three, although three-minute condensed match clips are obviously not the best medium for showcasing his qualities.

Mahrez created Le Havre's best first-half chance with a cute throughball, almost snuck in a cheeky free-kick at the near post and then did that first touch. You know the one – kills a cross-field ball stone dead with the outside of his left boot, twists the defender inside out and gets a shot off.

That attempt was saved, however, and a Faycal Fajr penalty after Le Havre's Zargo Toure was sent off gave Caen a 1-0 win. They would go on to secure promotion, beginning a remarkable mid-decade run of success for Kante, irrespective of which team he happened to be representing.

But Mahrez was the first to escape Ligue 2, joining Leicester City midway through the campaign and similarly earning promotion from the Championship.

After an improbable escape from relegation in 2014-15, Leicester parted company with manager Nigel Pearson and appointed Claudio Ranieri. Kante was one of his close-season signings, with Caen pocketing £5.6m, and the rest is gloriously improbable history.

That was a hefty outlay compared to the £400,000 Leicester sent Le Havre's way for Mahrez, who finished the Foxes' Premier League-winning campaign in 2015-16 with 17 goals, 11 assists and the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

 

While the Algeria winger won the approval of his fellow professionals and Jamie Vardy's astonishing rise from non-league to the top of the English game earned him the FWA Footballer of the Year prize, the biggest revelation was arguably Kante.

"This player Kante, he was running so hard that I thought he must have a pack of batteries hidden in his shorts," Ranieri told the Players' Tribune.

"I tell him, 'One day, I'm going to see you cross the ball and then finish the cross with a header yourself!'."

A run to the final of Euro 2016 followed with France, and Kante was the one jewel of the Leicester triumph to depart in its immediate afterglow. He joined Chelsea for £32m, helped to drive Antonio Conte's men to the Premier League title and cleaned up at the end of season awards.

Twelve months later, he was a world champion as France romped to glory at Russia 2018. Kante was football's sure thing, at club or international level. And yet, in hindsight, the full palate of his qualities were perhaps a touch under-appreciated.

All eulogies came back to that insatiable work-rate, that battery pack in the shorts. Maurizio Sarri's installation as Antonio Conte's successor at Stamford Bridge, bringing with him his cerebral deep-lying playmaker Jorginho, would mean a change of pace.

In his two seasons under Conte, Kante made 127 and 113 tackles. This was down from terrifyingly relentless 175 (winning 71.4 per cent – his best success rate in the Premier League) in that season at Leicester, which does much to explain how his reputation was established and remained in the popular imagination.

 

In 2018-19, his tackles number fell to 74 and it has never returned to previous levels under Frank Lampard or Thomas Tuchel. But as a shuttling midfield presence under Sarri, his 73 touches in the opposition box that season were more than in his entire Premier League career up until that point, with four goals and four assists his reward.

Where some feared Jorginho's arrival would shove Kante out of his preferred position, they now operate very effectively in tandem and will probably do so against City. For all that the former Napoli man is charged with setting the tempo, Kante remains tidily efficient in possession. His pass completion in every season at the Bridge tracks between 85 and 89 per cent.

The 30-year-old stamped his presence all over the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and was named man of the match for both legs in a 3-1 aggregate triumph. During the second encounter in London, Kante made five interceptions – only bettered by six from Jorginho – but also made more passes in the opposition half (25) and created more chances (three) than any other Chelsea player.

This week in Porto, UEFA is displaying the Champions League trophy in a public square opposite Jardim de Joao Chagas. The shimmering prize is flanked by a City shirt bearing Kevin De Bruyne's name and number. The Chelsea jersey has Kante on the back. He is unquestionably one of the main attractions and keys to victory this weekend.

The same can be said for Mahrez, although his adjustment to life in Manchester was not as seamless as Kante's in England's capital.

As his old team-mate adapted to Sarri, Mahrez struggled to take on board Guardiola's demands having got the £60m move he had long craved. However, his 2019-20 returns showed improvements, with 11 Premier League goals and nine assists – up from seven and four a year earlier. Waiting patiently on the right-wing for his team-mates to disrupt opponents and leave him with one-on-one duels was different to the freedom he enjoyed at Leicester but starting to pay dividends.

He is now one of Guardiola's go-to men, came second behind Ruben Dias in City's player of the year poll and is a scorer of heavy goals.

When the Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund was on the line, 2-2 on aggregate with his team heading out on away goals at Signal Iduna Park, Mahrez slammed home a high-pressure penalty after an interminable VAR delay. He went on to score a goal in each leg as Paris Saint-Germain were swept aside 4-1 on aggregate, including the winner through a disintegrating defensive wall at the Parc des Princes.

"Riyad always was at a good level," Guardiola said earlier this month. "Maybe at the beginning he didn’t play much in the first season because we already had a structure with Leroy [Sane] and the other ones, but step by step he regained his position.

"Lately he has been playing really good and hopefully he can maintain this level."

At the other end of the square where Kante's shirt stands alongside the trophy he hopes to lift this weekend, UEFA have installed a merchandise stall where a shirt to commemorate the all-English final will set you back €60.

That amounts to fleecing that could not be further away from the value for money Leicester enjoyed when they plucked Mahrez and Kante from France and set them on the path to Porto.

Chelsea forward Timo Werner admits to having mixed emotions as he approaches the conclusion of the "worst and unluckiest season" of his career.

The Germany international joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig last June for a fee in the region of £45million (€50m) with a reputation of being one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.

He scored 34 goals and supplied 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig in 2019-20, departing as the club's all-time leading scorer with 95 goals in total.

Werner has not been able to scale the same heights in his maiden campaign in English football, though, the 25-year-old scoring 12 times in 51 appearances in 2020-21.

However, Werner has also contributed 15 assists and is the first Chelsea player since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 to both score and assist 10 or more goals in a single season.

And while the former Leipzig man accepts more will be required of him next season, he is keen to take some positives from the 2020-21 campaign, which concludes with Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester City.

"In terms of scoring and missing chances, it was the worst season, but in the end I still have 27 goal contributions," he told The Telegraph.

"I think I'm the first in our team for that, so it was not everything bad.

"A lot of people's expectations for me outside the club but also inside were very high because of my goalscoring record. I also assisted many goals last year in my old club.

"But I think the main reason why they brought me here in the club is to score and maybe at the end 12 goals and six goals in the Premier League, that's not good enough. 

"You have to say that I have 12 goals and 15 assists or something like that in every competition and 27 goal contributions – that's not so bad in what's maybe my unluckiest season.

"It is also maybe my worst season I've had for many years. If I'm scoring next season, hopefully, maybe people will become happier with me."

Werner has gone on runs of 13 and 14 matches without scoring for club and country at various points this season.

During that most recent barren streak, which ended with a winning goal against West Ham last month, Werner says he started to lose faith in himself.

"I had these two or three games after the international break where I missed a lot of chances and that was in my head. After this my confidence was gone," he said.

"It was like a period where in my head I was going crazy because I missed those chances."

Werner's shot conversion rate of 7.59 in the Premier League this term was substantially lower than the likes of Edinson Cavani (29.41), Gareth Bale (28.95) and Alexandre Lacazette (28.89), who led the way among forwards.

Chelsea have been linked with a number of high-profile strikers to lead their line from next season, but Werner insists he has no intention of moving on during the transfer window.

"I don't think about leaving the club this year, for sure not, and also for the next year," he said.

Milan have completed the signing of Mike Maignan from Ligue 1 winners Lille ahead of the departure of fellow goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The one-cap France international, who played a key part in Lille's stunning title success this term, has signed a five-year deal at San Siro for a reported €15million fee.

Maignan kept a league-high 21 clean sheets in 38 games – seven more than next-best Keylor Navas and Benoit Costil – and his save percentage of 78.9 was bettered only by the Paris Saint-Germain keeper among those to have played at least three times.

He made 180 appearances over six seasons for Lille in total and was named Ligue 1's goalkeeper of the year in 2018-19.

Milan announced the arrival of Maignan, who is part of France's Euro 2020 squad having made his debut in October, on their official website on Thursday.

The signing comes a day after Rossoneri director Paolo Maldini confirmed current first-choice stopper Donnarumma will leave next month when his contract expires after turning down fresh terms.

Donnarumma, a rumoured target for the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United, has been with Milan since 2013 and has been a regular for the last six seasons.

The 22-year-old kept 14 clean sheets in Serie A this season – a joint-high along with Inter's Samir Handanovic – to help Milan to a second-placed finish, their best since 2011-12 when also finishing as runners-up.

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