BREAKING NEWS: Simone Inzaghi appointed at Inter to replace Conte

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Inter have confirmed the appointment of Simone Inzaghi as their new head coach.

 

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  • Lewandowski clarifies Ballon d'Or comments: I never wanted to say Messi's words were not sincere Lewandowski clarifies Ballon d'Or comments: I never wanted to say Messi's words were not sincere

    Robert Lewandowski has clarified his comments and expressed delight at Lionel Messi's praise after beating the Poland striker to the 2021 Ballon d'Or.

    Messi claimed a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or last week, with Lewandowski having to settle for second and the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

    The Bayern Munich forward may feel somewhat hard done by, given he scored 53 times in 42 games for the Bundesliga champions between the start of 2021 and the winner being announced by France Football.

    That was the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues across all competitions, with 2021 Copa America winner Messi down in joint-fifth with 32 goals.

    Gerd Muller's long-standing record for the most goals (40) scored in a single Bundesliga season was also broken by Lewandowski, who netted 41 in 29 league games last term to make him favourite for the award that was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    After accepting the award again, Messi made special mention of Lewandowski as he suggested the forward deserved a Ballon d'Or of his own for his 2020 performances.

    Lewandowski appeared ungrateful for the praise, apparently saying to Polish channel Kanal Sportowy that he hoped Messi's words were "a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words," though he has since looked to clarify exactly what he meant.

    "My statement, which I made in an interview with a Polish TV broadcaster, is currently being misinterpreted," Lewandowski told Kicker. "I never wanted to say that Lionel Messi's words were not serious or sincere.

    "On the contrary. I was very touched and delighted by Lionel Messi's speech at the event in Paris, in which he expressed that, in his opinion, I deserved the Ballon d'Or 2020. I just wanted to express that I would of course be very happy if Messi's words were heard.

    "I respect and appreciate Lionel Messi beyond measure and once again congratulate him on winning the Ballon d'Or 2021."

  • Nagelsmann: Bellingham comments tarnished Klassiker Nagelsmann: Bellingham comments tarnished Klassiker

    Julian Nagelsmann claims Jude Bellingham tarnished Bayern Munich's Klassiker win over Borussia Dortmund with his costly outburst against the match referee.

    Bellingham was unhappy after Dortmund were denied two spot-kicks in Saturday's action-packed Bundesliga clash prior to Mats Hummels being penalised for handball.

    Robert Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty to earn Bayern a 3-2 win, leading Dortmund teenager Bellingham to question the integrity of referee Felix Zwayer in his post-game interview.

    The England international appeared to allude to a six-month ban handed to Zwayer following a 2005 match-fixing scandal, which centred around fellow official Robert Hoyzer.

    Hoyzer was found to have fixed 2. Bundesliga matches in 2004-05. One of those involved Zwayer operating as an assistant, with the allegation he took a €300 bribe. Zwayer strenuously denied any such wrongdoing in the course of that investigation.

    Bellingham's comments are reportedly being examined by police, while the German Football Association (DFB) has fined the youngster €40,000.

    As the fallout continues from Bayern's win, which moved them four points clear at the summit, Nagelsmann gave his view on the refereeing decisions and Bellingham's remarks.

    "Those comments tarnished the game a bit," Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

    "I can understand the discussions. But the incident involving Marco Reus couldn't have resulted in a penalty because there was an offside.

    "I wouldn't have complained about the penalty for us if it hadn't been given. I can understand from Dortmund's point of view."

    Bayern now switch focus to the visit of Barca to the Allianz Arena, with the game to be held behind closed doors due to rising coronavirus cases in Bavaria.

    The German giants have won each of their last three meetings with Barcelona, which is the longest run of wins by a team against Barca in their European Cup and Champions League history.

     

    Nagelsmann's side are already assured of top spot in Group E, while the visitors may need to win if they are to progress, depending on how Benfica get on against Dynamo Kiev.

    Despite Barcelona enduring a trying time on and off the field in recent times, Nagelsmann insists it is only a matter of time before the LaLiga heavyweights turn things around.

    "I think they are still an extremely attractive club for players and fans," Nagelsmann said. "The financial figures are known. If that hovers over you, you will be a little inhibited.

    "In a successful era you may become lazy and need too long for decisions. Then you seldom think about what happens when things go bad.

    "The spitting out of talent has been a bit lacking, but that will only come again. Obviously they are making ends meet and still have a good squad.

    "For me, Frenkie de Jong is one of the best midfielders in the world. They still have world-class players. They are under pressure in the table and have to win. They will give everything to make this a good game."

    Bayern have won all five of their group matches, scoring a combined 19 goals and conceding three.

    At home, they have scored five goals in each of their two Champions League games so far this term and have netted at least twice in each of their last 11 home matches in the competition.

    The Bavarians will remain without Leon Goretzka on Wednesday due to injury, despite the midfielder returning to training, while Serge Gnabry is out with an adductor issue.

    Despite having little to play for on the face of it, Nagelsmann intends to name a strong side to face Barca.

    "We'll play our best available team," he said. "Benfica don't have to worry! We are going for six wins from six and that is a worthwhile goal."

  • Dybala to start for much-changed Juventus against Malmo, Allegri confirms Dybala to start for much-changed Juventus against Malmo, Allegri confirms

    Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed he will rotate his side against Malmo, though Paulo Dybala will start for the Bianconeri.

    Juve have already secured qualification for the next round of the Champions League, level on 12 points with Chelsea at the top of Group H heading into the final matchday.

    Allegri's side, though, were crushed 4-0 by Thomas Tuchel's reigning European champions last time out, the Bianconeri's heaviest defeat in the competition and second-heaviest defeat in European Cup/Champions League history.

    Chelsea visit Zenit on Wednesday and Juve host Malmo, who have won just one of their last eight meetings with Italian opposition in Europe's premier competition, but Allegri confirmed he would make mass changes despite top spot being up for grabs.

    "Tomorrow, [Matteo] Perin, [Daniele] Rugani, Alex Sandro and [Adrien] Rabiot will play," Allegri told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

    "We will see how [Moise] Kean is doing after he took a hit on Sunday. [Mattia] De Sciglio is back and I hope to give him a few minutes. We have to close the group well to prepare for the league match [at Venezia on Saturday].

    "Arthur is fine and we'll see tomorrow morning because I have [Dejan] Kulusevski out and we only have [Federico] Bernardeschi as a winger. Let's see if we can play with three midfielders."

    Allegri also confirmed that talisman Dybala, who has been directly involved in seven goals in as many Champions League appearances, would start after scoring in consecutive league games against Salernitana and Genoa.

    "Paulo is fine, he'll be available tomorrow and he doesn't need to rest," Allegri added. "He's been out for a long time and he needs to play."

    Asked whether finishing first or second in the group would make a difference for the next round of the competition, Allegri responded: "Apart from Liverpool, City and Bayern Munich the other things are still to be seen.

    "We need to be lucky in the draw. It is important to have passed this round then let's see who gets us."

    Juve are 11 points behind Serie A leaders Milan and seven behind Atalanta in the final Champions League qualification spot but Allegri insisted he is not concerned about being behind the pace at this point.

    "When we win we are better, we train better, we are more serene," he continued. "We play and train to win all the games. And when we win the games, we work more peacefully, which is the most important thing.

    "We take one step at a time. In the league we are behind, the four in front are travelling at an impressive rate. We can only try to win as many games as possible and hope that they falter in front but right now they are not failing."

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