Ante Rebic set himself the target of a Derby della Madonnina goal against Inter after confirming his agent held talks with AC Milan's city rivals.

Croatia international Rebic moved to the Rossoneri in a deadline-day swap that saw Andre Silva head to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The winger could have been turning out for the opposition in next weekend's San Siro showdown had Inter's discussion with his representatives led to a deal.

But after sealing a two-season loan switch to Marco Giampaolo's side, Rebic made his loyalties clear.

"I didn't speak to Inter, my agent had talks with them, but I don't know anything about it," the 25-year-old said at his presentation to the media on Friday.

"Once I knew of Milan's interest I had no doubts. When I also asked my father he told me Milan was the best option.

"I hope to have a great season. The derby will take place on my birthday [September 21]. I want to give myself a gift with a goal but I especially want to win."

Ahead of that match comes Sunday's trip to Verona, where Rebic could make his Milan debut.

Rebic spent time at Verona on loan from Fiorentina in 2016 but believes he is now better prepared to flourish in Serie A.

"I arrived when I was young," he said.

"After my experience in Frankfurt I feel perfectly ready to play here. I have grown a lot and I feel ripe for this adventure."

Milan lost to Udinese and beat Brescia to secure three points from their two games before the international break.

Antonio Conte has pledged Inter will help Alexis Sanchez recapture his best form.

Sanchez has joined the Nerazzurri on loan after losing his way at Manchester United, where he scored three goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

The Chile forward, described by former United boss Jose Mourinho as a "sad man" this week, is in line to make his Inter debut in Saturday's Serie A game at home to Udinese with Conte expectant over the 30-year-old.

"Sanchez is a strong player, he has shown in the past the quality that he possesses," Conte told reporters.

"We need to help him recapture the form that he lost at Manchester United. He has to adapt to our game and that is what he is doing."

Sanchez will at least have a familiar face at Inter in the form of another ex-United player, striker Romelu Lukaku.

"He has entered the world of Inter with great humility and has shown a real willingness," Conte said of Belgium international Lukaku. "The rest of the group understood that immediately and have welcomed him in the best possible way.

"He has great qualities as a human and is a true team player. His fitness has improved. We hope he scores as many goals as possible for the team – he has always scored goals."

Inter have two wins from two since Conte arrived at San Siro, but the former Chelsea, Juventus and Italy coach is judging progress by other metrics.

"An important foundation is being built irrespective of results," Conte added. "Enthusiasm shouldn't depend on the results we achieve but the way we obtain them. It should depend on what the team manage to transmit to the fans.

"With today's Inter, you can see that there's a team and club with clear ideas. We're trying to work to find a clearly defined tactical identity on a daily basis: when those who have played less up to this point come into the team, they’ll know exactly what they have to do.

"We are the team that have undergone the most change. It is inevitable that there will be a period of adjustment, but we want to turn the question marks around us into exclamation marks."

Mauro Icardi is a similar player to Edinson Cavani but could form a strike partnership with the Uruguay international, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel.

Icardi has joined PSG from Inter on a season-long loan with an option for a permanent deal and is in contention to make his Ligue 1 debut against Strasbourg on Saturday.

His arrival further bolsters a forward line that already includes Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Neymar, who is available after the closure of the transfer window ended his chances of returning to Barcelona.

Tuchel now faces a balancing act when it comes to team selection, though the club's record goalscorer Cavani and World Cup winner Mbappe will both sit out the visit of Strasbourg due to injury.

"He has to get back to his rhythm, he's a number nine like Edi," Tuchel told reporters of Icardi, who was stripped of the Inter captaincy last term.

"He's here, he's very happy to be here, I feel like he's free, and tomorrow it might be the first game where we can use him. 

"I do not know if he's ready to play 90 or 60 minutes, but the competition helps us, my team. 

"I do not see them as competitors on a job but as accomplices. We can play with Mauro and Edi in a match, I expect from my team that we have a good mindset to work in.

"If we have a lot of attackers, it is necessary that they be accomplices, even if everyone wants to play."

Mbappe and Cavani are not expected to be fit for next week's visit of Real Madrid when the Champions League group stage gets under way, with Neymar ruled out of that match due to suspension.

Pressed further on juggling his strikeforce, Tuchel said: "We cross that bridge when we come to it.

"We do not have Kylian or Edi, we will not have Neymar for Madrid. 

"I have a lot of options in my mind, but we're not there yet.

"But we do not achieve high goals without hard choices."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists he is not worried about Angel Correa's state of mind after his failed move to AC Milan.

Correa, 24, was strongly linked with a move away from Atletico in the transfer window and was understood to have been a primary target of Milan.

The Argentina international, who has struggled to build on his early promise, looked to have fallen further down the pecking order in attack over the pre-season, with Joao Felix arriving, Alvaro Morata already on the books and Vitolo producing some eye-catching displays.

Milan were reported to have offered him a route out and a key role in a new era at the club, but they and Atletico failed to reach an agreement for the player who is said to have been valued at €50million.

He is yet to play for Atletico this season, but Simeone is adamant Correa has a place in the squad and can be important.

"I have seen him train in the best way, with the best predisposition and prepared for what the team needs, be it on the wing or as a forward," Simeone told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Real Sociedad.

"That has not changed because of what happened. Now that he has returned, he has had these 10 days.

"He is an important player. He gives us a directness and change of pace in attack that not many have. We will use him where he feels most comfortable."

Friday is the 32nd anniversary of Simeone's professional debut with Velez Sarsfield and the former Argentina international paid tribute to his coaches for developing him into the tactician he is today.

"I debuted 32 years ago when I was just 17 years old," he said. "It was a beautiful stage in my career.

"I remember working with some really great coaches. They made me a better person and they helped pave my way for the future to give me that possibility to become a coach.

"That allowed me to be immersed in my big passion, which is football, and the truth is I feel very happy about that.

"To have that moment, it's clear there were many happy and sad moments, just like life itself."

Jose Mourinho claims Alexis Sanchez flopped at Manchester United because he was a "sad man", but has backed the Chilean to reignite his love for football at Inter.

Sanchez joined the Italian club on an initial season-long loan deal two weeks ago after struggling for form and fitness during his 18 months at Old Trafford.

Much was expected of the Chile international following his switch from Arsenal in January 2018, but he managed just three goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

Mourinho was in charge of United at the time of Sanchez's arrival and is willing to accept some of the blame for the ex-Barcelona forward's lack of impact.

"I felt him [to be] not a happy man," Mourinho told The Telegraph. "I think in every job you have when you are not happy it is not so easy to perform at every level. 

"Maybe I am wrong - maybe it was me who was not capable to get into him and to get the best out of him.

"As a manager sometimes you have the capacity to get the best out of the players and other times you are not successful in that approach. 

"But the reality is that I always felt [of Sanchez], 'a sad man'. So probably in Italy he will recover this. I hope he can. I always wish well to every player."

Inter also took Romelu Lukaku from United on a permanent basis during the transfer window and Mourinho has no doubt the Belgian will continue to score regularly in Italy.

"[He has scored] for West Bromwich Albion, for Everton, for United," Mourinho said. 

"In terms of Lukaku the move looks more like player ambition, player desire to change, than [the notion] he didn't deliver anything for the club."

Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked by United last December and is desperate to find the right job, believing he has always picked difficult projects.

"For sure my next job will be a difficult one because I am very bad at choosing projects," he said. "I am either bad at choosing projects or the bad projects choose me. But it is always the same. 

"When I go to Real Madrid, it is because Madrid are in trouble. When I go to United it is because United are in trouble. When I go to Chelsea the first time it is because they haven't won the league in 50 years. 

"When I go the second time it is because their top team disappeared and they want to be champions with a new team. When I go to Inter it is because they haven't won the Champions League for 50 years.

"I have never had one of these clubs where it is, 'Come on, the team is here ready'. But that is the nature of things. When the teams change coaches in the middle of the season it is for a reason. It is because of bad results."

Maurizio Sarri has defended his decision to leave Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic out of Juventus' Champions League squad.

The pair were surprise omissions from the Italian champions' selection for the group stage of the competition, which begins next week with a trip to Atletico Madrid.

Can admitted to being "furious" and "shocked" at Sarri's selection call and said he was not given an explanation as to why he was overlooked.

Sarri has previously expressed concern about the size of his bloated squad and insisted at Friday's news conference that he made the "necessary" decision in leaving out Can and Mandzukic.

"It wasn't easy or pleasing to make the choices I had to for the Champions League list, but it was necessary," he said.

"I'm sorry because two important players were left out. However, these difficulties demonstrate the strength of our squad."

Asked if he expected the reaction from Can, Sarri said: "It's normal that when a player suffers from a strong and impactful choice that there's an emotional aspect involved. 

"We must give him the opportunity to let out how he is feeling. I'm of the right age to understand these kinds of reactions."

Can played the final five minutes of Germany's 2-0 win against Northern Ireland on Monday, having been an unused sub for the loss to Netherlands, and he may get the nod to start Juve's trip to Fiorentina on Saturday.

Juventus are back in action four days later when travelling to Atletico in the Champions League and Sarri is ready to make full use of his big squad.

"At this moment our attention must be on the league," he said. "Then we will think about the cup. 

"We are in a moment in which the team must take its own identity. We must fight the difficulty that is having many players who have played very little in the last period."

Among those pushing for inclusion is midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has not featured in a competitive game since arriving from Arsenal during the close season because of a muscle injury.

"A few weeks ago he was far behind his team-mates from the physical point of view," Sarri said. 

"In the last 10 days I have seen progress in training. He is not yet at his best but if his evolution continues he can soon return to a high level."

Massimiliano Allegri lauded the mentality of Cristiano Ronaldo, while the former Juventus head coach believes Inter can win the Scudetto.

Ronaldo should be in the twilight of his career, but the 34-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down after joining Juve from LaLiga giants Real Madrid in 2018-19.

Allegri was in charge when Juve prised Ronaldo to Turin in a stunning €112million deal last season – the five-time Ballon d'Or winner scoring 21 Serie A goals and 28 in all competitions as the Italian champions claimed their eighth consecutive Scudetto.

Asked about Ronaldo – who netted four goals in Portugal's 5-1 rout of Lithuania to become the highest scoring player in European Championship qualifying history – Allegri hailed the veteran superstar.

"His strength is on a mental level," said Allegri. "He is 34 years old, he has won Championships, European titles and Golden Balls but he continues to give himself important stimuli that make the difference.

"The technique is fundamental to stay at high levels for many years, but the difference is made by the head and the professionalism. If I prefer to coach Ronaldo or a young talent? Ronaldo, without a doubt."

Allegri worked with Ronaldo last season before the Italian coach and Juve parted ways following his fifth successive league title.

Juve reportedly turned to Maurizio Sarri in pursuit of European glory after their Champions League quarter-final exit – the Old Lady managing two runners-up medals under Allegri in 2015 and 2017.

Reflecting on his exit, Allegri said: "I have absolutely not regretted the choice made with Juventus, things must not be forced. After five years it was time to take a break, perhaps the president had understood it before me."

There is a touch of Juve at Inter this season, with former Bianconeri coach Antonio Conte joining chief executive Giuseppe Marotta in Milan.

Allegri won four straight Serie A title under Marotta's leadership before the 62-year-old moved to Inter in 2018 and the Nerazzurri are now one of the favourites to dethrone Juve.

"At Juve I won both with him [Marotta] and without him," Allegri added. "At Inter he built a strong team and with Conte he made a choice of weight on the bench. They can win the scudetto."

Inter forward Alexis Sanchez said there is no one like Romelu Lukaku in the world as he hailed the Serie A club's most expensive player.

Lukaku joined Inter in a club-record deal after leaving Premier League giants Manchester United last month.

The 26-year-old has already scored two goals in two games for Antonio Conte's Inter, who are looking to dethrone Italian champions Juventus this term.

Sanchez followed Lukaku to Inter from United on loan and the Chilean heaped praise on his star team-mate.

"You won't find anyone else like him, anywhere in the world," Sanchez told ESPN.

"Lukaku and I trained very well. But we needed to play more in games to get to our best.

"It wasn't the right time for us to be at Manchester. Too many changes. When you change that much, it's tough.

"Lukaku and I trained very well. I can feel the will here to achieve. This is why I'm here.

"That's why Romelu is here. Will it work? We will have a lot more to say about that at the end of the season."

Lukaku scored 42 goals for United across all competitions following his move to Old Trafford from Everton in 2017.

Sanchez swapped Arsenal for United in a high-profile transfer in January last year, however, form and injuries limited the 30-year-old to just five goals.

Inter host Udinese on Saturday, with Sanchez looking to make his debut for the Nerazzurri.

Romelu Lukaku says he was "scapegoated" during his time at Manchester United.

The Belgium striker left Old Trafford to join Inter ahead of the 2019-20 Serie A season and has scored two goals in two games under Antonio Conte, who previously tried to sign him for both Juventus and Chelsea.

And the 26-year-old feels he was mistreated after falling out of favour last term under United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"Scapegoated," Lukaku told ESPN. "Meaning 'You. Are. The. Reason.'"

Lukaku was criticised for a perceived weight problem, with former United captain Gary Neville describing the issue as "unforgivable" for a professional footballer.

"Normally I have a fine digestive system," Lukaku explained.

"I digest everything very quickly. That's how it had been my entire life. But what the nutritionist said to me was it had stopped working.

"I'm good now. My body is in the zone."

Lukaku feels the time was right to leave United and revealed he has settled in quickly at Inter.

"This could be the team I need," he said. "There's the love I have for this area. The love that I have for Inter.

"And it was the perfect moment for me to leave England. I didn't want to be there anymore."

Gonzalo Higuain says he is determined to prove his worth to Juventus after being handed another chance at the club.

Higuain, 31, struggled to make an impact during loan spells at AC Milan and Chelsea during the 2018-19 campaign.

Chelsea opted against triggering a purchase option in Higuain's loan and he therefore returned to Serie A and reunited with new Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri.

He was not expected to be given opportunities to start, with Juve boasting forward options including Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.

However, Higuain has started both Serie A games this term, while he scored a brilliant goal as Juve beat his old club Napoli - where he thrived under Sarri - before the international break.

"I am here to prove my worth," Higuain said on Thursday ahead of this weekend's trip to Fiorentina.

"I wanted to stay from the first day I returned. I am happy to be at Juve, at a big club with a great team and a big fanbase, in a city that I know.

"I don't think about the past, I only have the present and the future in mind. It will be an important season, last year was difficult for me but I still went into double figures and won a Europa League title.

"Now I only think of our season: I have good memories against Fiorentina, I made my Juve debut against them.

"It's never easy at the Franchi, but we must be strong as we know we are and take home the victory. I'm back on the same team as Cris [Ronaldo] after a few years and he's even stronger, more complete and ambitious, I'm happy to play with him again."

Higuain has switched shirt number this term and he believes the move to 21 is helping him turn his fortunes around.

"This is a decision that I made," the attacker added.

"I decided to swap from number nine, although it was available, with the day in which my daughter was born, to take her with me in every game - a choice of the heart, which is bringing me luck."

Mario Balotelli is "very happy" being back in Brescia and can be a real success for his hometown club, according to former team-mate Nigel de Jong.

The enigmatic former Inter, Manchester City and Nice striker returned to Italy in August, signing a multi-year deal with the newly-promoted Serie A side.

Balotelli, 29, spent much of his childhood in the Brescia region and revealed his mother cried when she found out he was signing for the Lombardy outfit.

De Jong played alongside Balotelli at City and AC Milan, and he expects the move home to bring the best out of his friend.

"Of course [he can succeed], he's back in his home town Brescia with his family around him," the former Netherlands international said after Vincent Kompany's testimonial match, which Balotelli attended as a spectator.

"I know him very well, we speak quite often, and he's happy.

"For me, it's important for Mario to be in an environment he's happy with and [where] he's back with his family.

"I think he needs two more weeks before he's really fit and he can play his first game.

"Mario's Mario – the qualities will always be there. We just hope that he can pick up where he left off [in France] and show his qualities for Brescia because they're going to need it this year.

"He is very happy. So we'll see."

De Jong and Balotelli were part of the City outfit which won the Premier League in famous fashion in 2011-12.

Pipping rivals Manchester United paved the way for a sustained period of success, during which the so-called 'noisy neighbours' have secured a further three league titles.

The hard-nosed midfield anchor of Roberto Mancini's side believes the Etihad Stadium has become an attractive destination in the eyes of top players for more reasons than money.

"There are more players coming in and it's due to the fact people will choose Manchester City now over other teams," De Jong said.

"City, back in the day, you had to come in and say, 'Listen, here's the contract, here's the big money, come play for us', instead of watching the whole culture.

"Now [some players would] rather choose Manchester City over Barcelona or Madrid. That is a change, a momentum shift.

"United as well. I think a player would rather choose City at this moment than the other side of town.

"It is what it is, that's football. It shifts. We'll see how it goes."

When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Paolo Di Canio said he is not surprised by Mauro Icardi's move to Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions are "the natural home of undisciplined players".

Former Inter captain Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal on transfer deadline day after being frozen out by Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte.

PSG have the option to buy Icardi – who was linked to Napoli and Juventus prior to the deadline – for a reported €70million at the end of the season.

Former Lazio, Juve, Napoli and AC Milan forward Di Canio hit out at Icardi following his switch to the French capital.

Di Canio told Il Mattino: "Why did Carlo Ancelotti want someone like Icardi at Napoli? Someone unable to apologise to his team-mates for the words of his wife-agent?

"Besides which, Maurito only scores goals from crosses at the byline. For the rest, he is incapable of anything a modern striker should be able to do.

"I am not remotely surprised he went to Paris Saint-Germain, the natural home of undisciplined players."

Icardi, who arrived at Inter from Sampdoria in 2013, scored 111 Serie A goals and 124 goals in all competitions to be eighth on the club's all-time list.

Lautaro Martinez's agent Alberto Yaque said it would be wonderful to see the Inter forward playing alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

Martinez put himself in the headlines with a stunning first-half hat-trick as Argentina routed Mexico 4-0 in the absence of suspended captain Messi on Tuesday.

Yaque confirmed LaLiga champions Barca's interest in Martinez in July and he talked up a potential move to Camp Nou again.

"It'd be wonderful to see him play with Leo Messi at Barcelona," Yaque told TyC Sports, with Inter set to face Barca in the Champions League group stages.

"It's great to see him play like that, so relaxed and happy.

"He has remarkable control in his first touch and that makes it very difficult for defenders to catch him."

Martinez – who was linked with a €112million move to Barca, just one season after joining Inter from Racing Club – scored in the 2-1 Serie A win over Cagliari prior to the international break.

The 22-year-old finished with six league goals last season and nine across all competitions for Inter.

"Lautaro is very humble. When I went to meet him at Bahia Blanca, it wasn't easy to take him with me, as he was very close to his family and felt homesick. Fortunately, his parents trusted me," Yaque said.

"Before going to Inter, I told him he wouldn't struggle to settle in, because I know that whatever Lautaro puts into his head, he achieves. It's no mean feat to waltz into San Siro and play as if it's your backyard."

Antonio Conte's Inter welcome Udinese to San Siro on Saturday, seeking to preserve their perfect start to the season.

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