Carlo Ancelotti launched a searing attack on the local council over the state of Napoli's Stadio San Paolo, claiming the ground's redevelopment has left his players with inadequate dressing room facilities.

After playing their first two games of the season away from home, Napoli are scheduled to play Sampdoria at San Paolo on Saturday before the visit of Liverpool in the Champions League three days later.

But according to Ancelotti the work has fallen short of what was promised, and suggested the council of the municipality of Naples, which owns the ground, showed a lack of regard for his team.

In a statement published on the club's official website, Ancelotti said: "I saw the conditions of the San Paolo dressing rooms. There are no words.

"I accepted the club's request to play the first two games away from home to allow the work to be completed, as was promised. In two months you can build a house - they have not been able to redo the changing rooms!

"Where should we change to play against Sampdoria and Liverpool?"

The planned redevelopment works included big screen displays, upgraded lights and a new surveillance system, as well as new changing rooms.

The council reportedly said the failure to complete the works entirely would not affect Ancelotti's team, but the Napoli coach disagreed vehemently.

"I am outraged by the incorrectness and inadequacy of those who had to carry out these jobs," he said.

"How have the region, municipality and commissioners been able to disregard the commitments made?

"I see a contempt and a non-attachment to the city team. I am dismayed."

Mauro Icardi's decision to turn down Napoli and join Paris Saint-Germain was a move the Italian club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis found understandable.

Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal ahead of the closure of the transfer window, having become a fringe figure at Inter following the arrival of coach Antonio Conte, who signed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

The Argentina striker had previously endured frosty relations with the Nerazzurri, too, and his departure always seemed likely.

De Laurentiis confirmed he made a move for Icardi, yet he had no issue with the player opting to join the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at PSG instead.

"To buy [Icardi], I came to Inter with an offer of €60million, plus bonuses for a total of €65million," he told Corriere dello Sport. "For Wanda Nara, for her husband's contract, I proposed a gross of about €12million.

"Icardi is not stupid and perhaps he understood that to re-launch himself at European level, it was the best choice to go to a team like PSG, where he can stand out more easily than at Napoli."

Napoli instead signed Fernando Llorente following his release from Tottenham.

And De Laurentiis revealed head coach Carlo Ancelotti had made Llorente his preferred option all along.

"Llorente wasn't my idea but rather Ancelotti's," he said. "No-one would have turned their back on a top player like Icardi but, from the first moment, Ancelotti wanted Llorente.

"He argued that, in attack, we were already heavily stocked and only needed a champion to play in the last 30 minutes of games that required unlocking."

Therefore, with Arkadiusz Milik another option, De Laurentiis has no regrets about the failed transfer.

"I never regret in life. The arrival of Icardi would have prevented the purchase of Llorente, of whom I am as convinced as Ancelotti," he said.

"Above all, he would have overshadowed Milik, who I continue to consider the true big star of the Napoli attack."

David Beckham and Inter Miami have set their sights on Lionel Messi.

Messi, 32, has regularly been linked with one day switching to MLS and it appears Inter are making their move.

Beckham seems to be trying his best to land the Barcelona superstar.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM IN TALKS WITH MESSI OVER INTER MIAMI MOVE

Beckham has spoken to Messi about joining Inter Miami, according to Catalunya Radio.

It comes in the wake of reports the forward can leave Barcelona at the end of any season, regardless of when his contract runs until.

The economic bid for Messi would be "brutal", the report said, as Inter look to sign the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Miami may not stop there. The MLS club, due to begin playing in 2020, are also eyeing Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to AS. Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has previously said he is open to coaching Inter Miami.

- After the latest transfer saga ended with Neymar staying at Paris Saint-Germain, it is set to come back to life in January. PSG sporting director Leonardo wants the Brazil international to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to Tuttosport, and a move could happen in January, with Barcelona and Real Madrid sure to again be linked.

- Barcelona are already looking ahead and are set to track Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz throughout this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. Fabian joined the Serie A side from Real Betis for a reported €30million in July last year.

- Expecting their transfer ban to be cut, Chelsea have identified Nice defender Youcef Atal as a target, according to The Sun. The Algeria international is also wanted by Valencia, Calciomercato.com reports.

- AC Milan have identified Stade Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga as a player to follow, according to Calciomercato.com. The 16-year-old made seven Ligue 1 appearances last season.

- Gonzalo Higuain is continuing to turn around his career at Juventus. Calciomercato.com says the forward – linked with a move away throughout the close season – will start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo when the Serie A champions face Fiorentina on Saturday.

"This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world." That was the message from Portugal head coach Fernando Santos after Cristiano Ronaldo's four-goal display.

Ronaldo became the all-time leading scorer in European Championship qualifiers with 25 goals after leading Portugal past Lithuania 5-1 on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old superstar was unstoppable in the Euro 2020 Group B qualifying clash in Vilnius, where he celebrated his eighth Portugal hat-trick while improving his international tally to 93 goals.

A five-time Ballon d'Or winner among numerous other honours in a remarkable career, Ronaldo's standing in the game is often debated alongside Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

But Portugal boss Santos has no doubt as to who the best player in the world is following another memorable Ronaldo display.

"This is the clear and irrevocable proof that he is the best player in the world," Santos said following the Euro 2020 qualifying rout away from home.

"There is no stadium in the world where Ronaldo is not applauded," Santos added. "He is the best in the world.

"We went to Paris in my first game, and the hotel in France was just across the street. There were a thousand people at our door."

Santos continued: "I think it's strange when he doesn't score. They say it is ending ... Nothing is ending. You have to be careful because it never ends."

Fernando Llorente expects new club Napoli to have a successful season but insists the title pressure remains firmly on former employers Juventus.

Spanish striker Llorente signed on at Stadio San Paolo two months after the end of his contract at Tottenham.

The 34-year-old has prior experience in Italy, having scored 23 Serie A goals in a two-season stint with Juve.

Llorente won the Scudetto twice during his time in Turin and knows toppling the Bianconeri is a tough ask.

"It's not easy. When I was at Sevilla we beat them 1-0 [in 2015], with me scoring," Llorente said.

"I've beaten them before but it's one thing to do it in a single game and another thing to do so over the course of a season.

"As I've said, I'm confident and I believe we can have a good season.

"There's a desire to win a trophy, but we can't put pressure on ourselves. Juventus are the ones with all the pressure. They have a very strong bench.

"We have a very talented group with young players who will develop. I'm sure that we'll have a team of top players in the future."

Napoli have scored seven goals in their two games this season, including three in a thrilling defeat to Juventus, with the diminutive Dries Mertens at the point of attack.

Llorente presents an entirely different option and while playing time might not be immediately forthcoming, the former Athletic Bilbao striker is no less enthused about working with esteemed head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"It’s a great feeling when a coach like Ancelotti calls you," he said.

"I was already keen on coming to Napoli, but when there’s such a successful coach involved you have no doubt that you’re making the right decision.

"Napoli is a big club with a great coach. I really wanted to work with Carlo so I’m delighted to be here."

Roma loanee Henrikh Mkhitaryan says he chose to leave Arsenal in a bid to rediscover his affection for football.

Armenia captain Mkhitaryan made the switch to Stadio Olimpico on a season-long loan last week.

The former Manchester United playmaker struggled to make an impression in 18 months at Arsenal, starting half of the club's Premier League matches last term.

He featured in each of the first three fixtures this season but felt a move was necessary to reignite his love for the game.

"It was definitely my wish," Mkhitaryan said at Tuesday's presentation to the media.

"I wasn't playing often and I decided to make a change. I knew at Roma I would have had more chances. It will not have been easy for Arsenal, but now I'm here and I have the opportunity to perform.

"England now belongs to the past and I want to concentrate on Italy.

"Choosing Roma, I don't feel I've taken a step backwards because it's a great club. It was time for a change of scenery. It's important for a player to enjoy playing football, no matter where.

"In the last few months at Arsenal I no longer felt the same pleasure."

Mkhitaryan will be full of confidence for a potential Serie A debut against Sassuolo on Sunday after scoring twice in his country's 4-2 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The 30-year-old faced Italy three days earlier and performed well for Armenia in an eventual 3-1 defeat.

"I exchanged a few words with Alessandro [Florenzi] after the Italy game," he said. "Now the national teams are behind us and it's important to focus on Roma.

"My aim is to score as many goals and assists as possible to help the team."

Andrea Ranocchia insists Inter's playing squad had nothing to do with Mauro Icardi's departure from the club.

Former captain Icardi left for Paris Saint-Germain last week, agreeing a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

The striker inked a one-year contract extension at San Siro before moving on deadline day but appears unlikely to revive his Inter career after months of tension.

Luciano Spalletti stripped him of the armband last term and new boss Antonio Conte signed another striker in Romelu Lukaku during the close season.

Centre-back Ranocchia claims the issues, which are said to have stemmed from stalled contract talks, never affected Icardi's relationship with his team-mates, despite reports they grew unhappy with public criticism from his wife and agent Wanda Nara.

"As I've always said, it was a problem between the club and the player," Ranocchia told Sky Sport Italia.

"They found a suitable solution for both sides and now we must continue what we started.

"During pre-season and in these first weeks of the league, the Icardi issue did not take any energy away from us."

Conte guided Inter to two Serie A wins from two before the international break to stir hopes of an improvement on last season's fourth-placed finish.

Ranocchia started both games and believes the Nerazzurri can achieve great things under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss.

"It's a very long season, there are many things that can happen and now the games will start every three days," the 31-year-old said.

"But the work we are doing is aimed at creating something extraordinary.

"All the players who have arrived are very good, some young and some a little older. They all bring great experience and seriousness."

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Juventus star Douglas Costa branded links with Manchester United as "baseless" after an agent claimed the Premier League club tried to sign him.

An English newspaper published an interview with agent Giovanni Branchini on Monday, in which he claimed United had held "strong" interest in Costa but Maurizio Sarri did not want to sell him.

But in response to the reports, Costa has issued a strong rebuttal and insisted Branchini, who worked as an intermediary in Costa's move to Juve, is not a representative of his anymore.

Writing on his official Instagram, Costa said: "I'm writing to deny the baseless news published today, which said I was in negotiations with some clubs during the last transfer window.

"Since the start of this season, I've been clear that I wanted to stay here to win trophies and give blood for the Juve jersey.

"Junior Mendoza is my only agent and the only person authorised to speak on my behalf."

Manchester United held a "strong interest" in Juventus winger Douglas Costa but Maurizio Sarri was adamant he would not be sold, according to the Brazilian's agent.

Costa, 28, only played a bit-part role under Massimiliano Allegri last season, starting seven times in Serie A as injuries hampered him.

The Brazil international had been linked with a move away from the club due to his decrease in playing time and his agent revealed United were interested in bringing him to Old Trafford.

United have been linked with Costa numerous times over the course of the winger's career, but Sarri was unwilling to see him depart, with the former Bayern Munich attacker starting both of Juve's first two games of the season.

"I sincerely say that Allegri and Sarri have never thought of letting him go," agent Giovanni Branchini told the Daily Mail.

"The interest of Manchester United was strong, a club that has always been interested in him. They were not the only club, but in England they were certainly the most active team on the trail of Douglas Costa.

"He had countless health problems. Last season he was very often injured. He is wanting to recover with great professionalism after standing still. Juventus never intended to sell him despite the big pressure from United."

While Costa is in no rush to leave Turin, his agent does not rule anything out in future, convinced the player can adapt to any surroundings.

"Douglas is a 'cool' professional in the best sense of the word," Branchini said. "He is able to adapt to everything. Just think of how well he did in Ukraine, in a country totally different from Brazil.

"He loves Juventus but is able to adapt to every reality. The Premier League is a beautiful championship, but for now United have failed in all their attempts to convince Juventus to sell him. The player remained in Turin and is a champion."

EA Sports has revealed the 10 highest-rated players on FIFA 20 ahead of the game's release later this month, with Lionel Messi back on top after Cristiano Ronaldo ranked first last year.

Messi enjoyed another stellar campaign for Barcelona in 2018-19, scoring 36 goals in 34 LaLiga matches, inspiring the club's title defence and run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo's first season at Juventus – who will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 – went as smoothly as might have been expected, with the forward finishing as the club's top-scorer as they claimed an eighth successive Scudetto, though that was not enough to retain his crown as FIFA's highest-rated player.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi were able to win the Champions League, however, with that honour falling to Liverpool, who have two representatives in the top 10.

Find out who they are and which other players join Messi and Ronaldo in the 10 below.

10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona – 90

Germany international Ter Stegen has developed into one of the globe's most well-rounded goalkeepers after an initially slow start to life at Camp Nou. He is one of three players with a rating of 90, making him the second best keeper on the game.

9. Luka Modric, Real Madrid – 90

Last year's Ballon d'Or winner, Modric's 2019 has not been particularly outstanding, as he has found himself out of the Madrid team a little more due to suspect form. He may be down one rating point from FIFA 19, but he still reaches 90.

8. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 90

A crucial part of Liverpool's Champions League winning side, Salah has truly established himself as one the world's primary stars over the last couple of years. He was not even in the top 20 in FIFA 19, however.

7. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool – 91

The most important player in Liverpool's Champions League success? Until recently the most expensive defender ever, Van Dijk's influence on the Reds is undeniable. That is reflected in the fact he will be FIFA 20's best defender.

6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – 91

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world for his quality and consistency, Oblak replaces David de Gea – who had a shaky 2018-19 – as the top-ranked keeper on FIFA.

5. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – 91

Even though injuries have plagued De Bruyne in recent times, robbing him of a chunk of last season, the Belgium star remains one of most highly regarded players on the game, with the City star beginning 2019-20 in ominous fashion.

4. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – 91

After helping Chelsea to Europa League success, enjoying a generally fine individual campaign as the Premier League's most creative player with 15 assists, he earned his dream move to Real Madrid. He's yet to feature due to injury, but he'll be hopeful of elevating himself to the next level now.

3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain – 92

Perhaps a controversial choice to some, Neymar missed a big part of last season through injury and only won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, as he was also absent for Brazil's Copa America success. Nevertheless, his skill is undoubtable and he comes in at number three.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) – 93

The best-ranked player on FIFA 19, Ronaldo's rating drops one to 93 despite enjoying a solid season in Serie A. Cynics might suggest Juve's exclusivity deal with FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer has something to do with it.

1.Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 94

The world's best player comes in at number one with a rating of 94 after he enjoyed another spell-binding season on all fronts, impressing even though Barca failed in the Champions League.

Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract is making headlines.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed Messi has a get-out clause in his deal.

Now, a move across the pond could be on the cards for the Argentina superstar…

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CONSIDERING MLS

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi could leave Camp Nou for MLS, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Messi has an annual exit option in his deal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could swap Spain for the United States.

It comes as the Catalan giants look to offer Messi – who has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise – a lifetime contract.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to sign a new contract, reports Il Messaggero. The Serbia international midfielder – contracted until 2023 – was linked to Manchester United, Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain during the transfer window. However, Lazio are looking to include a release clause of at least €100million.

- Tuttosport, meanwhile, says Inter are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are lining up Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek for the 2020-21 season. Van de Beek was heavily linked to Madrid prior to the transfer deadline but a move did not materialise.

Manchester City continue to be linked to Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Tuttosport says Pep Guardiola wants to sign the star defender in January following Aymeric Laporte's knee injury.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Dries Mertens could move to China, Belgium or the USA on a free transfer when his Napoli contract expires at the end of the season.

- According to the Daily Star, Adidas played a crucial role in keeping Paul Pogba at Manchester United. Reports linked Pogba to Real Madrid and Juventus but the Frenchman remained at Old Trafford.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez said this is the first time he has seen Romelu Lukaku "free and happy" as he backed the Inter star to lead the way for club and country.

Lukaku became Inter's most expensive signing when he joined from Manchester United for a fee understood to be €80million in August.

The 26-year-old, who spent two seasons at United following his Everton exit before moving to Milan, has scored two goals in his first two matches for Inter in Serie A.

Speaking ahead of Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow in Group I action, Martinez heaped praise on striker Lukaku.

"This is the first time I have seen him free and happy. Going back to many camps I have not seen Rom so focused, so happy, so refreshed by the new challenge," Martinez told reporters.

"I think he is now ready to face one of the biggest footballing chapters in his career with the Inter Milan move. And he is very driven to be as good as he can for the national team, so I have been very impressed with his happiness and the way he is looking forward to the football ahead.

"Romelu is one of the modern footballers in that he was born with the attention, with the media following him at the age of 16 in Belgium – he had media crews following him around seeing what he was doing.

"He was in a team with expectations to win at Anderlecht with Champions League participation [on top of that].

"Then he had a big transfer to Chelsea. As you know he had his time at West Brom, then a big transfer fee to Everton, another big transfer fee to Manchester United and now to Inter.

"Romelu does not get affected, he is one of the most driven boys you are going to see. His life is football, he just lives to score goals and to be effective for the national team and at club level."

Virgil van Dijk is set to remain with Liverpool until the end of 2025.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, 28, headed to Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, signing a deal until 2023.

But the superstar centre-back is rumoured to be ready to recommit to the reigning European champions.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DIJK AGREES SIX-YEAR LIVERPOOL DEAL

Van Dijk has agreed a new contract with Liverpool, according to the Mirror.

The defender will earn close to £200,000 per week with his new deal, up from his current £125,000 per week wages, the report says.

It comes just a month after Van Dijk lost his title as the world's most expensive defender when Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a reported £80m.

ROUND-UP

- David de Gea could be set to leave Manchester United. Coming out of contract at the end of the season, the goalkeeper has told friends he is willing to turn down a deal from the Premier League club, according to The Sun. The Express reports Serie A giants Juventus want to sign De Gea on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- Paulo Dybala almost left Juventus in the close season and the playmaker is set to be at the centre of talk again in January. Paris Saint-Germain want to beat Tottenham to the signing of Dybala when the transfer window reopens, according to the Express.

- Edwin van der Sar could be set for a return to Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the former Netherlands goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive is on Manchester United's list as they search for a director of football.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stars are happy Alexis Sanchez has left on loan to Inter, according to The Sun.

- After the emergence of 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, Barcelona have set up a plan to look after the teenager. Sport reports the LaLiga champions consider Fati a first-team player and want to protect him as he gains plenty of attention.

Juan Cuadrado says he is set to hold talks with Juventus over his future at the club.

The winger has only played 19 minutes of the 2019-20 Serie A season under new coach Maurizio Sarri.

Cuadrado is reportedly set to be used as a right-back following the sale of Joao Cancelo to Manchester City.

But Danilo moved in the opposite direction and Juve also have Mattia De Sciglio as an option in that position.

Cuadrado's opportunities to play as a wide attacker could also be limited with Juve boasting Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi in their squad.

The 31-year-old's contract is expiring and Cuadrado confirmed he will sit down with the club after the international break.

"I'm very happy and grateful, I have one year left with Juventus," he told reporters. 

"As soon as I return we have a meeting to see what happens. I'm in the hands of God to make the best decision."

Cuadrado started for Colombia as they earned a 2-2 draw with Brazil in Miami on Friday.

 

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