Maurizio Sarri has no qualms with Cristiano Ronaldo's frustrations at being substituted and says Juventus must thank the superstar forward for attempting to play through the pain barrier.

Eyebrows were raised when Ronaldo was withdrawn after 55 minutes of Sunday's 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan with his replacement Paulo Dybala scoring the winner in Turin.

It came just five days after Ronaldo was substituted with eight minutes remaining against Lokomotiv Moscow and in need of a goal, which eventually arrived from Douglas Costa deep into injury time of the Champions League clash.

Ronaldo gave a sulky reaction on that occasion and headed straight down the tunnel when brought off against struggling Italian rivals Milan.

Juve head coach Sarri again insisted Ronaldo – who reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle – is struggling with a knee injury that is affecting his performance and believes his frustrated reactions are a result of that.

"We must thank Ronaldo, because he made a sacrifice to be there at all tonight in a difficult situation," Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

"He did everything possible to play, but I saw he was not well and thought it best to take him off.

"It's only natural a player is going to be irritated to leave the pitch, especially when he worked so hard to be there. 

"Over the last month, he has had this little knee problem, he had a knock in training and it hurt the collateral ligament. 

"When he trains at high intensity or plays, it unbalances him, so he ends up overcompensating and it damages the calf and thigh muscles.

"It is affecting his performances and he is not at his best at the moment. All players who are trying to give their best will have at least five minutes of being annoyed when they are substituted, but a coach would in general be much more worried if he didn't seem upset."

In isolation, scrappy wins over Lokomotiv Moscow and AC Milan in the space of five days hardly scream significant moments in Juventus' season.

But it is the bold measure taken by Maurizio Sarri to achieve those victories that make this week seem particularly important in the wider picture for the Bianconeri and their legendary forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Needing a goal against Lokomotiv in midweek with the score locked at 1-1, Sarri made the audacious call to hook Ronaldo in the 82nd minute.

Juve huffed and puffed and finally blew the door down thanks to Douglas Costa in the third minute of added time.

After the game, Sarri insisted he made the decision because Ronaldo had been suffering with a knee injury in the build-up, a line he repeated after Sunday's game. The hunched shoulders, sullen face and refusal to shake his coach's hand suggested it was a decision that did not have the approval of the Portugal captain. 

It was an infinitely more drastic call against Milan on Sunday. Spare for a decent disguised pass into the area for Gonzalo Higuain and a long-range effort shortly before half-time, it was unquestionably another subdued performance from Ronaldo, who stormed straight down the tunnel after being withdrawn.

But to haul off one of the greatest goalscorers of all time after 55 minutes with your team needing a goal is brave at best, reckless at worst.

And yet, Sarri's decision was again entirely justified as Ronaldo's replacement Paulo Dybala jinked and weaved his way through the Milan defence and coolly picked out the bottom-left corner with 13 minutes left to play to seal a 1-0 victory.

What feels so pertinent about all this is the way Sarri is considering ordinary decisions for a player who throughout his career has been out of the ordinary.

It is worlds apart from the Sarri we saw nine months ago during the EFL Cup final, where his then Chelsea side were eventually beaten on penalties by Manchester City.

On that occasion, Sarri's authority was left in tatters by goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's shocking act of insubordination when he seemingly refused to be substituted at Wembley.

The sight of a seething Sarri trudging down the tunnel, only to return to the dugout moments later was an uncomfortable one.

Perhaps that moment has instilled in Sarri a take-no-prisoners attitude that even a player of Ronaldo's history and calibre cannot escape. Perhaps he genuinely, and justifiably from the fact they won both games, felt others were more capable of earning his team the result. 

What is certain, is that none of Ronaldo's coaches during his record-breaking days at Real Madrid, regardless of personal relationship, would have had the nerve to make such calls.

Ronaldo has clashed with coaches who boast far superior records to the one major honour Sarri has won in his career and one wonders how long he is willing to accept being the fall guy if Juve continue struggling to fire.

But the fact remains whether you consider Sarri to be inspired, brave or reckless, ultimately the decision to replace Ronaldo in two straight games with his side chasing a goal has proven to be the right one.

And that absolutely seems like a significant moment.

Stefano Pioli rued AC Milan's profligacy in the 1-0 defeat to Juventus, especially given he felt his side "were at least on a par" with the Serie A leaders.

Milan put in one of their better performances of the season at Allianz Stadium but a mixture of questionable finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Wojciech Szczesny proved the Rossoneri's undoing as substitute Paulo Dybala scored a 77th-minute winner.

Head coach Pioli was unable to hide his frustration and urged Milan to be more clinical following Sunday's loss in Turin.

"We were at least on a par with our opponents, if not more, but if you don't turn those chances into goals, you are going to pay," Pioli, whose side are 14th, told Sky Sport Italia in quotes reported by Football Italia.

"We've got to keep working and improving. Our current position is unworthy of Milan and that must keep us worried and concentrated at all times.

"Unfortunately, it's the same thing I said last Sunday after Lazio, which is that we had the opportunities and I don't think many have 15 shots on goal the way we did at the Juventus Stadium, but we need to convert more of them.

"We also conceded a goal when we should've been tighter in our defending and marking. I can only underline that the performance is good, but we need the results too. We have to improve our position in the table, it's time to take some punches and work hard.

"I see improvements every day, I saw them in recent matches, as we were by no means inferior to Lazio or Juventus. We must understand that at this level, every single ball can be decisive.

"We haven't had as many points as we expected, nor as many as we probably deserved lately, but the performances have been there."

Paulo Dybala vindicated Maurizio Sarri's decision to introduce him for the underwhelming Cristiano Ronaldo as the Argentina international clinched underwhelming Juventus a slender 1-0 win over AC Milan on Sunday.

Sarri's men were well below par for the visit of Stefano Pioli's Milan and Ronaldo was no different, as the Portugal star failed to inspire an Old Lady attack that looked bereft of creative ingenuity until matchwinner Dybala replaced the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Belying the form table, Milan looked considerably more fluent and inventive in attack during the opening 45 minutes, but questionable finishing and a wonderful save from Wojciech Szczesny prevented them going into half-time ahead.

Juve remained short of ideas going forward initially in the second period and that resulted in the withdrawal of Ronaldo – who was also hooked in the Champions League against Lokomotiv Moscow.

While the Portugal captain looked utterly unimpressed as he headed straight down the tunnel, Dybala made the difference late on with a fine goal to retain Juve's status as Serie A pacesetters.

Milan should have taken the lead with 18 minutes on the clock, but Krzysztof Piatek miscued his header from Suso's excellent delivery from deep, before Szczesny thwarted Lucas Paqueta's nodded effort.

It took Ronaldo until the 42nd minute to threaten the Milan goal, but his 25-yard strike was easily kept out by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Sarri's response to Juve's ineffectiveness in front of goal was to withdraw Ronaldo for Dybala before the hour, while Douglas Costa – the hero in Wednesday's 2-1 win in Moscow – came on soon after.

The Brazilian went as close as any of his team-mates with a 30-yard strike that Donnarumma stopped, before Blaise Matuidi curled just off target.

But fittingly it was Dybala who got the decisive goal, as he played a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain on the edge of the box and then swept home right-footed 13 minutes from time, confirming an undeserved defeat for Milan, who have not won at Juve since March 2011.

What does it mean? Juve remain top as Ronaldo's mortality becomes clear

Inter's 2-1 comeback win against Hellas Verona put Antonio Conte's men top and that looked to be where they would stay until after the international break before Dybala's strike.

But arguably more signficant than the result is Ronaldo's status in the squad. Having spent much of his career as an untouchable, that no longer appears to be the case.

Szczesny gives Juve a hand

While Dybala was undoubtedly vital to victory, it is fair to say Juve owe much thanks to Szczesny in goal. The Poland international was dependable on every occasion and had he not been at this level Milan probably would have won.

Ronaldo fades into the background

With just one shot and a single key pass to show for his efforts, there is no doubt Ronaldo was not missed when he made way. Suddenly the hosts had more energy and impetus in attack, not usually something one could say about a team that hooks Ronaldo.

What's next?

After the international break, Juve face a tricky trip to Serie A's most prolific team Atalanta, while Milan host Napoli and former Rossoneri boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta insisted head coach Antonio Conte and the club "share common objectives" as the Nerazzurri look to strengthen their squad in January.

Conte hit out at Inter's management over his squad following Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund, accusing the Serie A side of failing to plan sufficiently for the season ahead.

Inter signed club-record recruit Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Diego Godin and Valentino Lazaro for the 2019-20 campaign, but Conte wanted more in his bid to overhaul Serie A champions Juventus.

Barcelona pair Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal have both been linked to Inter, as well as out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Asked about Conte and his relationship with Inter prior to Saturday's 2-1 Serie A win over Hellas Verona, Marotta – who worked alongside the Italian boss at Juve – told Sky Sport Italia: "I know Antonio very well, he is very severe and demanding. His culture of victory is very strong and he has his own special way of communicating.

"We share the desire to seek excellence and victory. That is going to be a gradual process, so we are aligned with the desire to improve the squad in the January transfer window, where we'll look at every opportunity. We agree with Conte's requests for a strengthening of mentality and are all on the same page."

Marotta added: "Experience tells me the January transfer market tends to be fairly quiet. We agree with our coach that we'll see what opportunities there are.

"We have a strong club, an excellent coach and he is very transparent when dealing with everyone. We share common objectives.

"We are looking for a player with experience, but not at the end of his career. We want to create a good mix of experience and youth. What we lack somewhat at the moment is many players with Champions League experience, so we want to keep raising the bar, making this a more competitive side with players who fit the profiles that the coach is looking for.

"To be honest, I did not expect to be just one point off Juventus at this stage of the season. We aim to raise the bar constantly, that is the desire of the club, the coach, the players and the fans."

Inter bounced back from their Champions League collapse by rallying past Verona at San Siro, where Conte's team emerged triumphant thanks to Barella's stunning 83rd-minute winner.

Matias Vecino had cancelled out Valerio Verre's 19th-minute penalty before Barella produced a moment of magic in Milan to move Inter two points clear of Juve – who are due to face AC Milan on Sunday.

"Look, to be honest after four months we must be proud looking at the table," Conte told reporters. "All we, players, staff, all who works for Inter must be.

"31 points after 12 matches are important. But, the guys have been great, even in the Champions League. We proved we are able to look in the eyes of important teams like Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. We have to make many steps more to improve our experience. We worked a lot in these four months."

Antonio Conte lauded his side's response to the midweek Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund as they came from behind to beat Hellas Verona 2-1 on Saturday.

A penalty from Valerio Verre gave the visitors a surprise lead at San Siro but Inter stormed back in the second period thanks to Matias Vecino's header and a stunning strike from Nicolo Barella.

The win moves Inter to the Serie A summit and Conte was delighted with his players' response so soon after the disappointment of throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 in Germany.

"I saw an important response to the game in Dortmund, despite the fact we went behind and faced an uphill struggle against a team that man-marks," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was a great situation for them as they could defend and counter. We did very, very well not to lose our patience, to keep faith and not lose our heads. We rebelled against the result and the situation.

"The team are doing something important, as 31 points from 12 games is a good tally to have in our pockets. I thank the players, as once again they threw themselves into this and overcame every obstacle.

"The disappointment in Dortmund was very painful as we had the game in hand, but that is part of the maturation process and this response was what I wanted to see.

"After Dortmund, going down here could've killed us, but we fought back and must continue like this. Our fans also pushed us on to the end as they could tell we wanted to win it at all costs."

Barella whipped home a wonderful strike from 25 yards seven minutes from time to seal all three points, the midfielder describing it as the best goal of his career.

"It was a pretty difficult first half as Verona play good football, have intensity and caused us problems," he said.

"After the break, our intensity emerged over time and we deserved the victory. We are all giving our best and are highly motivated so that's the most important thing.

"It has been a tough time for all of us with so many games in a row, but that's why we trained so hard over the summer, to be ready for this.

"I think it was the best goal of my career!"

Juventus can leapfrog Inter back to the top of Serie A if they overcome AC Milan at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Nicolo Barella scored a wonderful winner with seven minutes left as Inter came from behind to defeat Hellas Verona 2-1 and move top of Serie A.

Valerio Verre scored a 19th-minute penalty, his first Verona goal, to give the visitors a surprise lead at San Siro.

Inter piled on the pressure but could not find a breakthrough until Matias Vecino headed in to score for the second straight game with 25 minutes remaining.

And just as it looked like Verona would come away with a point, Barella produced a moment of magic.

The victory moved Inter two points clear of champions Juventus, who will attempt to respond when they host AC Milan in their game in hand on Sunday.

Mario Balotelli has been criticised by Italian politician Matteo Salvini after the Brescia striker was racially abused in a Serie A match with Hellas Verona.

Balotelli kicked the ball at the Verona ultras after receiving racial abuse from sections of the home support during Sunday's clash.

The former Manchester City striker subsequently called out "a few idiots," while Verona responded by banning the leader of their ultras for 11 years.

In the week, Salvini - the leader of the party Lega Nord - claimed the abuse of Balotelli was "the least of his concerns," but added the behaviour should be condemned.

Salvini has now hit out at Balotelli again, with the former minister of the interior suggesting Italy has bigger problems to deal with than racism.

"Poor, innocent Balotelli, poor star. A person so staid and polite. I condemn every gesture of violence and racism but I prefer others in the field to Balotelli," he said.

"Italy has other problems."

Maurizio Sarri is hopeful Cristiano Ronaldo will feature for Juventus against AC Milan, though conceded the forward may miss out with a knee problem.

Ronaldo was substituted off with eight minutes of normal time remaining in Wednesday's Champions League meeting with Lokomotiv Moscow, as Gonzalo Higuain's last-gasp effort secured a 2-1 win.

Juve return to Serie A action against struggling Milan, who sit 12th - with new coach Stefano Pioli having managed just one win from four matches in charge.

Asked for an update on Ronaldo's fitness on Saturday, Sarri revealed he is still uncertain if the former Real Madrid star - who has six goals in all competitions this season - will be able to play.

"How is Ronaldo? I still don't know, because yesterday he was with the physiotherapists and we will see today and tomorrow in the last training session," Sarri told a news conference.

"Let's see what he can do. He feels a little pain in his knee but it is nothing serious."

Ronaldo looked set to open the scoring for Juve in midweek when his free-kick squirmed out of Lokomotiv goalkeeper Guilherme's grasp, only for Aaron Ramsey to ensure the ball went over the line.

It brought up Juve's 300th Champions League goal, as well as marking a second strike of the season for Ramsey, who has been restricted to eight appearances.

Sarri, however, is looking forward to having what he sees as a crucial player more readily available.

"He has important technical qualities and can do both the roles I ask," Sarri said of Ramsey.

"He can be a modern midfielder. He can be an offensive midfielder, as an attacking midfielder he can also give cover."

Sarri has previously aired his frustrations with some profligate finishing from Juve this term, but the ex-Chelsea coach has been pleased with his side's ability to push for late winners.

"The fact is that the team is still unable to close out games," Sarri said. "The strength, however, is that until the end we go to look for the victory and often we succeed.

"Milan is a good team, which did not make a good start to the season. In football there are cycles; rebuilding to get back to a very high level is not easy. Milan have many young players and they are laying the foundations for an important future." 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a "great player" but Stefano Pioli is unsure if the striker will return to AC Milan.

The 38-year-old's contract with MLS side LA Galaxy expires at the end of the year and he has been linked with a move back to European football.

MLS commissioner Don Garber claimed this week Ibrahimovic is "being recruited" by Milan, where he spent two seasons before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.

Milan have been tipped to strengthen their squad in January following a poor start to the campaign, but Pioli was unwilling to confirm Ibrahimovic is a target.

"Ibra is a great player," he told a news conference on Saturday. "But the January market is far away. There will be time to make assessments."

Milan have won one of their four matches under Pioli, who was brought in to replace Marco Giampaolo last month.

The 18-time Serie A champions are in the bottom half of the table after 11 matches and travel to Juventus on Sunday.

Despite the 16-point gap to champions Juve, however, Pioli has full faith in his players and is relishing the chance to pick up a potentially season-defining result.

"I trust my players, even if the table says we are far away from Juventus," he said. 

"Matches start from 0-0, 11 players against 11. It's a great challenge, but the big challenges also mean having a great opportunity.

"Talking about turning points is always difficult. It is clear that on a mental level, doing well tomorrow would mean a lot for us. 

"It's a difficult challenge but a great opportunity, one that we need to be ready to fight for."

Ronaldo has failed to find the net in three of his past four outings, but Pioli is well aware of the Juve forward's capabilities.

"It is difficult to say how to stop him," he said. "He has many chances to hurt teams. We are talking about a phenomenon, a champion.

"Against him we must be much more careful and determined, giving him little space to work in. He is among the best players ever, alongside [Lionel] Messi, Pele and [Diego] Maradona."

Franck Kessie, Samu Castillejo, Mateo Musacchio and Fabio Borini are all out of Milan's squad to face Juve, but Suso returns after missing the 2-1 loss to Lazio last weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Roberto Mancini has handed maiden Italy call-ups to Riccardo Orsolini, Gaetano Castrovilli and Andrea Cistana for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Forward Orsolini has scored once and provided three assists for a Bologna side who sit 13th in Serie A after 11 games.

Castrovilli has been impressive in the heart of Fiorentina's midfield so far this term, while Cistana has been an ever-present for struggling Brescia.

Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri returns having missed the previous squad through injury, while Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora and Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi are also recalled.

Italy have already qualified for next year's Euros having taken maximum points from eight matches in Group J of qualifying.

The Azzurri will look to complete a perfect campaign when they face off against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia.


Italy squad in full: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Cristiano Biraghi (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Andrea Cistana (Brescia), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Armando Izzo (Torino), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma); Nicolo Barella (Inter), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Jorginho (Chelsea), Rolando Mandragora (Udinese), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma); Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Shanghai Shenhua), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna).

Bayern Munich have removed another name from their list of potential replacements for Niko Kovac.

Arsene Wenger reportedly contacted the managerless German giants to personally express his interest in becoming head coach but will not considered for the role.

Now back to winning ways, Bayern could even delay the naming of a new boss until the end of the season.

 

LEAD STORY – BAYERN DELIVER BAD NEWS FOR WENGER

Arsene Wenger's hopes of coaching Bayern Munich have been dashed, according to Sport Bild.

A new report from the German publication claims the Bundesliga champions, while respectful of Wenger's work at Arsenal, are not considering him for the job, despite his attempts to convince chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Interim boss Hansi Flick, who steered a wounded side to a 2-0 win over Olympiacos in the Champions League, could now remain in charge until the end of the season, when it will become easier to approach either Erik ten Hag or Thomas Tuchel.

 

ROUND-UP

- Kai Havertz's future is becoming a matter of intense speculation. SPORT say Barcelona have strengthened their interest in the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder and sent scouts to watch him in the midweek Champions League win over Atletico Madrid. Havertz was linked with an £80million move to Manchester United earlier in the week.

- Havertz is not the only player on Barcelona's radar. Spanish television programme El Chiringuito believes the LaLiga's champions are interested in signing Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

- Arsenal, meanwhile, are preparing to part with Granit Xhaka in January after stripping him of the captaincy. The Mirror claims the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder could be shipped back to Germany in the next transfer window.

- Manchester United have added Spain international Jose Gaya and his Valencia team-mates Ferran Torres and Carlos Soler to their list of transfer targets, reports Medios Deportivos. 

- There is good news for United's rivals Manchester City, who could welcome Leroy Sane back into the first-team fold in February, according to The Sun. Sane suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield in August.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "being recruited by AC Milan", according to Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

The 38-year-old has spent the past 18 months in MLS, but his contract with LA Galaxy expires in December and he has been linked with a return to European football.

Ibrahimovic played for Milan for two seasons before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 and Garber has suggested a return is on the cards.

"Zlatan is such an interesting guy," he told ESPN. "He keeps my hands full and my inbox full, but he's a thrill-a-minute. 

"You need to have those guys that break through the clutter like [David] Beckham did in our early days. He is a 38-year-old guy who is being recruited by AC Milan, one of the top clubs in the world."

Ibrahimovic was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals, and Garber has not entirely ruled out the Swedish striker agreeing a new contract to stay in Los Angeles.

"He has almost set records for the number of goals he's scored in the last two years and is exciting on and off the field. 

"He keeps our hands full but I'd love to see him back - that's up to LA Galaxy. I've enjoyed the Zlatan moments, especially when he speaks to me in third person."

One star name may appear to be on his way out of MLS, but Garber hopes others will follow in the steps of Ibrahimovic, Beckham and Thierry Henry.

Beckham spent five years with Galaxy and is now the co-owner of new club Inter Miami, who will make their MLS debut in 2020.

Asked about Beckham's influence in luring others to America, Garber said: "We saw Henry come to this league because he had a conversation with Beckham five or six years ago.

"David is out there speaking to lots of players and, just as importantly, he is very involved in the academy down at Miami. 

"They are recruiting young players and their academy has been open for a year now with a team that's not playing until next year. They have a combination of young players and some international guys that David will bring in."

Inter are set to be without Matteo Politano for around a month after the Serie A club confirmed the winger sustained a sprained ankle.

Politano suffered the injury after coming on as a substitute in Inter's 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Inter have now confirmed the extent of the issue, with reports suggesting he will be out of action until December.

"The results showed a sprain to his left ankle. The joint will be immobilised for the first stage of treatment and Politano's condition will be monitored and evaluated over the coming weeks," an Inter statement read.

Politano enjoyed a fruitful first campaign at Inter last season but has started only twice in Serie A under Antonio Conte.

He is now likely to miss Inter's matches against Hellas Verona, Torino and SPAL in Serie A, as well as the Nerazzurri's Champions League meeting with Slavia Prague.

Politano will also be unavailable for selection by Italy for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, though he has not been picked by Roberto Mancini since March.

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