Juventus president Andrea Agnelli says the Italian champions have given thought to one day hiring Pep Guardiola, but feels it would be difficult for them to land the Manchester City boss.

Agnelli explained Juventus have contemplated the prospect of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach moving to Italy, while stressing a move now would be difficult due to his apparent happiness in the Premier League.

Juve in turn are thrilled with their progress under Maurizio Sarri, who joined them from Chelsea at the start of the season.

"It is heresy to say that you don't think of Guardiola, but you have to evaluate the moment you are in, like any professional," Agnelli said to Radio24 about the City boss, who has re-emphasised his commitment to the English club despite their two-year Champions League ban, which they intend to appeal.

"If someone is happy where he is, it is difficult to move.

"We are very happy with Sarri. Things are set up for three years, the strength of his ideas will come with their continuation in time, and this is the priority.

"The first half of the season has been excellent, we are first in the standings and we passed the Champions League group stage in first.

"I will evaluate the season at the end, thinking that I can win in February is foolish, but being first today is a good starting point."

Agnelli was asked if he was tempted to instead land former coach Antonio Conte, who ultimately joined Inter, when he was replacing Massimiliano Allegri.

"We wanted Maurizio Sarri and we took Sarri," said Agnelli. "Conte is a symbol of Juventus; he has won multiple Scudetti and the Champions League.

"Conte is Juventus from this point of view. We have a peaceful relationship with him, but we are professional.

"That he took on the challenge of bringing ambitious Inter back to the winners' circle, rubbing heads with [Inter chairman] Steven Zhang, who is a person I know and respect, is something that fascinates me."

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli made clear public health comes first amid the possibility of further fixtures being postponed in Serie A – even if that means his club taking on Inter behind closed doors.

Following the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy, the decision was taken to call off four of the top-flight games scheduled to take place on Sunday, including Inter's clash with Sampdoria.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said all of Serie A's week 26 fixtures could yet be postponed, with the country taking preventative measures following the death of two people, as well as dozens more reportedly testing positive for the virus.

Table-topping Juve – who played on Saturday, triumphing 2-1 at SPAL – are due to host third-place Inter on Sunday, though a media report has suggested the game could go ahead but without fans present at the Allianz Stadium.

Agnelli admitted during an appearance on Radio 24 that such a situation would not be ideal, but understands the bigger picture considering the situation.

"At this moment, the priority for the country is the protection of public health," he said.

"Starting from this, there is a dialogue with those who have to decide, but we will accept the decisions that are taken.

"The interruption of the sports system is difficult; the schedule is clogged. Starting the championship late – and not playing in the Christmas break – means that if you miss a game it becomes difficult to recover."

On the prospect of playing Inter without supporters present, or possibly even at an alternative venue, he added: "Organising a match like Juve-Inter in a different stadium is extremely complicated.

"I'm sorry about the show itself because the championship is affected because of a historic game of football. But we must preserve the priority: public health."

Blaise Matuidi revealed Juventus have exercised a clause in his contract to keep him at the club for another season.

The France midfielder's deal with the defending Serie A champions had been due to expire at the end of this campaign.

However, he is now contracted to the club until 2021 after Juve took up the option to retain his services.

"In my contract there was an option for another year," he told Le Figaro.

"Juventus have exercised it. I never had any doubts about it. I feel the trust of everyone."

The World Cup winner joined Juve in 2017 after a decorated spell with PSG. He has twice lifted the Serie A title and tasted success in the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in his time with the Bianconeri.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed all of Serie A's Week 26 fixtures, including the blockbuster showdown between Juventus and Inter, could be postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday's clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy's move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy's leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

"I don't think that in just one week we'd be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events," Conte told Rai.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We'll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week's matches."

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday's 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

Aaron Ramsey felt right at home in a midfield three for Juventus as he scored what proved to be the winner against lowly SPAL.

In a game where Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with the opening goal, it was Ramsey's strike that was decisive as SPAL went on to cut the deficit with a late penalty.

The Wales international confidently collected Paulo Dybala's incisive pass and lifted a deft finish over Etrit Berisha to score his first Serie A goal since September, moving Juve four points clear at the summit. 

Having often been employed in a more advanced role behind the strikers, Ramsey was pleased to settle into his rhythm as part of a midfield trio.

"Of course, this is my position, it's where I wanted to play when I came here, it's where I played my whole career," the former Arsenal player told Sky Sport Italia.

"I have the chance to make runs into the box and also score goals, so that is where I feel most comfortable."

Juve were not at their fluent best at Stadio Paolo Mazza on Saturday but got the job done against the division's rock-bottom side.

With a Champions League trip to Lyon and the visit of Inter for a crunch clash in the title race coming up next, Rasmey was pleased just to come away with the points.

"It's very big, it's always difficult to come to places like this," he said,

"It was important to stick at it, we got the three points. It's a big week for us and this is an excellent way to start."

 

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal as Juventus beat rock-bottom SPAL 2-1 to move four points clear at the top of Serie A.

The Portugal superstar, rested for the 2-0 win over Brescia last time out, scored in an 11th consecutive Italian top-flight game, matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

Maurzio Sarri's side, who were far from convincing, added a second through Aaron Ramsey before Andrea Petagna's penalty offered SPAL late, but ultimately fruitless, hope. 

The reigning champions will now watch on with interest when title rivals Lazio and Inter both play on Sunday. 

SPAL started brightly as Petagna tested Wojciech Szczesny inside the opening three minutes.

However, Ronaldo, who scored in the reverse fixture back in September, had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end, while the unmarked Juan Cuadrado blasted high and wide with an ugly first-time effort.

Juve began to build pressure and SPAL had to put their bodies on the line to thwart Cuadrado, with Etrit Berisha smothering the Colombian's deflected shot. 

Szczesny had a brief scare when Gabriel Strefezza's low strike threatened to nutmeg him, but the Pole recovered just in time.

After Paulo Dybala had struck the post with a curler, Ronaldo celebrated his milestone outing – his 1,000th for club and country – with a measured 39th-minute finish at the end of a move instigated by Ramsey, with Cuadrado providing the assist.

Giorgio Chiellini's first starting appearance since August came to an end just before the hour mark, and the ovation for the Juve stalwart had barely finished when Ramsey doubled his side's lead.

Picked out incisively by Dybala, Ramsey kept his cool to loft a fine finish over Berisha for his first league goal since September.

SPAL stuck at their task and halved the deficit when Simone MissirolI was felled in the box by Daniele Rugani, Petagna slotting in the spot-kick for a worthy consolation before Ronaldo's late free-kick hit the crossbar.

 

What does it mean?

Lazio and Inter will need to respond on Sunday, facing Genoa and Sampdoria respectively, or else Juve might begin to make themselves comfortable at the summit.

Ronaldo's class is permanent

The numbers behind Ronaldo's stellar career continue to defy belief, with this his 725th career goal. Having recently turned 35, we might be seeing the twilight years of an all-time great. Make the most of it.

Rugani a weak link

Rugani clumsily conceded the penalty from which SPAL pulled a goal back, but even aside from that the centre-back's display was scruffy, with a passing accuracy of 75.4 per cent, which dropped to 52 per cent in the opposing team’s half.

What's next?

The Champions League takes centre stage for Juve with Wednesday's game in Lyon, though next Sunday's visit of Inter in a crunch Serie A clash will certainly be on their radar. As for SPAL, they are off to Parma next weekend. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella in the Serie A record books after scoring in an 11th successive league game.

Ronaldo, on his 1000th professional appearance, put Juventus ahead after 39 minutes of Saturday's clash with SPAL, tucking in from Juan Cuadrado's cross.

The goal took 35-year-old Ronaldo level with Fiorentina icon Batistuta and Sampdoria star Quagliarella, both of whom had previously scored at least once in 11 straight Serie A matches.

While Batistuta achieved the feat in the 1994-95 campaign, Quagliarella – also aged 35 at the time – did so last season.

Neither player could make it 12 games on the run, however, meaning Ronaldo will have the chance to set a new record when Juve face Inter in a crucial match in the title race on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make his 1,000th appearance for club and country when Juventus face SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

The Portugal superstar was named in Maurizio Sarri's starting XI after being rested for the 2-0 win over Brescia last weekend.

Providing the 35-year-old comes through the warm-up unscathed, he will bring up his incredible landmark and seek to add to his tally of 724 goals. 

It will be the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's 73rd outing for Juve, with the bulk of his matches having come for Real Madrid (438).

Manchester United sit second on that list (292), with 31 of his games coming for Sporting CP, a further two for Sporting B and 164 for his country. 

Manchester City's Champions League ban could have some serious consequences.

While City are planning to appeal UEFA's two-season suspension from European competition after an investigation found the club broke financial fair play regulations, rivals are circling.

City's stars are reportedly attracting interest from far and wide.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE BERNARDO SILVA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are targeting Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, according to the Transfer Window Podcast.

The report comes following City's Champions League suspension handed down to the Premier League giants by UEFA.

City team-mate Raheem Sterling has already been linked to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Madrid are ready to make a move for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. The 17-year-old has starred for the Ligue 1 outfit and is reportedly valued at €70million.

Paul Pogba has also been linked to Madrid but Goal claims he could be offered a new contract by Manchester United, who expect the Frenchman to leave at the end of the season. Former club Juventus are also reportedly tracking the midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to either Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri amid uncertainty over the future of Thomas Tuchel, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Lille defender Gabriel is being monitored by Arsenal, Everton, PSG and now Leicester City, according to Le10 Sport.

- The Mirror says Arsenal are set to raise transfer funds through the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and potentially Matteo Guendouzi as the Gunners eye Valencia's Carlos Soler and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

Maurizio Sarri has vowed his Juventus team will not let their focus be affected by the prospect of next week's top-of-the-table clash with Inter.

Saturday sees Juventus travel to face SPAL, who sit at the bottom of Serie A with just four wins from 24 games, and coming away with three points is imperative for Sarri's side.

Juventus are locked in a three-way title battle with Inter and Lazio, and they also resume their Champions League mission next Wednesday with a trip to Lyon.

The Inter tussle follows four days later, so it would hardly be surprising if Juventus supporters were already looking beyond the SPAL game.

That approach is not for Sarri, though, as he explained in Friday's pre-match news conference, stating: "We're coming into the game ready, both mentally and physically in what is an important stage of the season.

"We're not worrying about players picking up suspensions ahead of Inter, we're just focusing on tomorrow's game.

"We're not thinking about the Scudetto race, just tomorrow's game in Ferrara because this is not yet a decisive period."

Sarri is continually exploring formation options and, quoted on the Juventus website, he added: "We're taking it game by game. A 4-3-3 depends on the players that we have available, on a defensive level not much changes.

"SPAL are different on a tactical level with [Luigi] Di Biagio at the helm. It will be a difficult game as they are playing to stay in the division."

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested by Juventus last weekend, when Sarri's men won 2-0 at home against Brescia, but can be expected to return.

Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini returned from injury as a substitute in the Brescia game but according to Sarri is "just lacking the last step", an apparent indication it will be a while before he is ready to start a game.

If veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon plays, a 648th Serie A appearance would take him ahead of Milan great Paolo Maldini and into the outright lead in the most games played by anyone in Italy's top flight.

Sarri could include Federico Bernardeschi, who has returned to training after a short lay-off, but warned the Italy attacking midfielder is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes.

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus is reportedly wanted by Serie A giants Juventus.

Jesus, 22, has struggled for regular game time since arriving at City from Palmeiras in early 2017.

And Juve may be prepared to take the Brazil international to Turin.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS WANT MAN CITY'S JESUS

Juventus want Jesus in a €69.9million (£58.5m) move, according to The Sun.

The report adds the Serie A champions also want Mauro Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter.

Jesus has scored 36 goals in 90 Premier League games for City, but just 48 of those have been starts.

ROUND-UP

- With his contract at Real Madrid ending in 2021, Sergio Ramos seemingly wants a new deal. AS reports the Madrid captain, 33, wants a further two years on his deal, but the LaLiga giants are not keen to offer it.

- Paulo Dybala looks likely to re-sign at Juventus. CalcioMercato reports the playmaker is getting closer to a renewal with the club with his current contract expiring in 2022.

- Amid Liverpool's reported interest in RB Leipzig star Timo Werner, Roberto Firmino has been linked with a stunning move to Bayern Munich. However, Goal reports the Premier League leaders' front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Firmino are "going nowhere" at the end of the season.

- Newcastle United remain keen to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare. Le 10 Sport says the Premier League club are continuing to press for the 20-year-old to make the move after being unable to get a deal done in January.

- Arsenal are eager to re-sign Bukayo Saka. The 18-year-old, who has impressed at left-back, is in talks over a lucrative long-term deal, according to The Times.

Inter Miami have their sights set on a big-name signing, with Lionel Messi reportedly among the possibilities.

With David Beckham among their owners, Inter Miami are preparing for their debut MLS season beginning next month.

Messi has been linked with the MLS club previously and those rumours are persisting.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI STILL A TARGET FOR INTER MIAMI

Barcelona great Messi is among the stars who could sign for Inter Miami, according to OKdiario.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani are also possibilities, the report says.

Messi reportedly bought an apartment in Miami in December, while he can leave Barcelona for free at season's end despite being contracted until 2021.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus have other plans should Paul Pogba not return to the club from Manchester United in the close season. Sport reports the Serie A giants are considering a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, whose contract expires next year.

- Barcelona will announce Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite as their latest signing on Thursday, according to AS, which reports the LaLiga club are set to pay €18million for the Denmark international.

- Linked with RB Leipzig star Timo Werner, Liverpool are seemingly considering their options. Bild reports the European champions are tracking Milot Rashica, the 23-year-old who has scored 10 goals in 21 games for struggling Werder Bremen this season.

- Hansi Flick's future is unclear. Bayern Munich will wait until May to make a decision on the head coach, who has attracted interest from other clubs, according to Bild.

- Could Adam Lallana be set for a reunion with Brendan Rodgers? Sky Sports reports Leicester City have approached the Liverpool midfielder's representatives about a move at season's end. Lallana and Rodgers worked together at Anfield and the 31-year-old is coming out of contract.

- After an initial move for Marcos Alonso in January failed, Inter are still considering the Chelsea left-back, according to CalcioMercato. However, the report says the Serie A giants are unwilling to pay Chelsea's asking price of €30m (£25.1m).

Mauro Icardi's agent and wife Wanda Nara does not know if the Paris Saint-Germain loanee will remain in the French capital or return to parent club Inter amid links to Juventus.

Icardi is on loan at Ligue 1 champions PSG, who have the option to make the deal permanent for a fee in the region of €70million at the end of the season.

The Argentina international was unwanted by Antonio Conte's Inter heading into the 2019-20 campaign and his move to PSG has yielded 19 goals in all competitions.

Icardi, who has only scored twice in his past 12 appearances, has previously spoken of his willingness to stay at PSG but Nara said she is unsure what the future holds.

"Will Mauro go to Juventus? I really don't know," Nara told Chi magazine.

"I don't know if next season we will return to Milan or Paris. In football you never know.

"He will choose and we will follow him. It's difficult for you to argue because I know Mauro very well and I know exactly what he wants as a footballer and what makes him feel good as a man.

"I will follow him in his choices as wife and as his agent for extra security."

Icardi was an unused substitute as PSG lost 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Ligue 1 leaders PSG and Icardi host 10th-placed Bordeaux in Paris on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe as the present and the future of football.

Mbappe has established himself as one of the best players in the world after bursting onto the scene with Ligue 1 outfit Monaco in 2016-17.

The coveted 21-year-old has already won a World Cup, three Ligue 1 titles and three other domestic trophies for France, PSG and Monaco.

Continually linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, Juventus superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo heaped praise on Mbappe.

"Mbappe is the future and the present," Ronaldo said in a promotional video shared by Marca.

"He's a fantastic player, very fast, and he will be the future."

Seen as the heir to Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Mbappe has flourished for PSG in the French capital.

After scoring 39 goals across all competitions last season, Mbappe has 24 this term – 15 of those coming in Ligue 1.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, is in red-hot form for Serie A champions Juventus in 2019-20.

The 35-year-old forward has scored 20 league goals and 24 in all competitions.

Ronaldo has netted 12 goals in his past eight matches for Maurizio Sarri's Juve, who are a point clear atop the table.

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