Andrea Pirlo says he is not concerned by Juventus' lacklustre performance in their 2-2 draw with Roma on Sunday, insisting they are a team still "under construction". 

The Serie A champions were far from their best in the capital and found themselves 2-1 down at half-time, Jordan Veretout scoring either side of a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. 

Juve midfielder Adrien Rabiot was dismissed shortly after the hour mark but Ronaldo salvaged a point for the Bianconeri with a towering header soon after. 

Pirlo, who replaced the sacked Maurizio Sarri last month, pointed to a lack of match fitness as the reason for his side's sluggish performance and expects them to get significantly better as the season progresses. 

"Roma attacked with many players like us so it was a different game than Sampdoria [who they 3-0 last weekend]," he said. 

"This was a step backwards but we are a team under construction. We didn't have time to try any solutions in pre-season so these games are tests.

"But, in the end, it was a point earned. [Alvaro] Morata only arrived two days ago, Arthur has not played for six months and has to adapt to Italian football. [Rodrigo] Bentancur is also starting to feel a bit better. The condition of these important players needs to grow a bit."

Juve beat Inter to the title by just one point last season, with Antonio Conte's side responding by bringing in Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Asked if Inter's squad is now stronger than his own, Pirlo said: "I don't know if it is better than ours, but it is certainly stronger than last season as they brought in players of quality. I think it'll be a battle to the very end."

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, meanwhile, was frustrated with his side's inability to kill off the game when they were 2-1 up, with reported Juve target Edin Dzeko guilty of a particularly glaring miss. 

"I think we had a good game, but I am not satisfied with the result," he said. "We created chances and played to win the match.

"I saw Dzeko focused, motivated and he worked hard for the team. There were errors in front of goal, as everyone did, but he played well this evening.

"I felt the team was always comfortable, we didn't allow Juve any real chances and were solid defensively."

Cristiano Ronaldo has predicted a "bright future" for Juventus after his double salvaged a 2-2 draw for the Seria A champions against Roma on Sunday. 

The Bianconeri were far from their best at Stadio Olimpico and went in at the break 2-1 down, Jordan Veretout netting a brace either side of a Ronaldo spot-kick. 

Juve's chances of clawing their way back into the game suffered a blow when Adrien Rabiot was dismissed for a second bookable offence after 62 minutes, but Ronaldo secured a point with a towering header seven minutes later. 

Despite Roma dominating for long periods, Ronaldo was pleased to leave the capital with a point and believes the Bianconceri are in for another successful season. 

"I think it is a point earned," he told Sky Sport Italia. "It had become a complicated situation but we got back into it, even after the red card, so by the end of the campaign this could prove to be an important point.

"We're at the start of the season, there's a new coach, new ideas, but I see the team working well. We're enthusiastic and I see a bright future for us.

"What we're seeing is that the team is happy to work with a smile."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus secured a scarcely deserved 2-2 draw with Roma after Adrien Rabiot was sent off on Sunday.

The Serie A champions cruised to victory against Sampdoria in Andrea Pirlo's first game in charge last weekend but they looked badly off the pace at Stadio Olimpico against a Roma side full of verve, vigour and no little skill. 

Jordan Veretout opened the scoring early on from the penalty spot before adding a second in first-half stoppage time, just moments after Ronaldo had drawn Juve level with a spot-kick. 

Rabiot was dismissed for a second yellow card shortly after the hour mark but, as is so often the way, Ronaldo rose highest to power home a header seven minutes later and seal a point for the Bianconeri. 

Roma started brightly and should been in front after 12 minutes but Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired straight at Wojciech Szczesny after an exhilarating run from inside his own half. 

The hosts did forge ahead shortly after the half-hour mark when Veretout squeezed home from the penalty spot after Rabiot had blocked the Frenchman's powerful shot with his arm. 

That woke Juve from their slumber and they pulled level shortly before the interval, Ronaldo slotting into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards after Lorenzo Pellegrini had handled the Portugal superstar's pass inside the area. 

Veretout restored Roma's advantage two minutes later, however, taking advantage of generous Juve defending to collect Mkhitaryan's pass in acres of space and slot past Szczesny.

Edin Dzeko squandered a golden opportunity to add a third shortly before the hour mark, clipping the outside of the post from 10 yards with scarcely a Juve defender in sight. 

The visitors' task was made harder in the 62nd minute when Rabiot was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Mkhitaryan. 

Juve's numerical disadvantage was of little concern to Ronaldo, though, who towered above a posse of Roma defenders to seal a point from Danilo's cross in the 69th minute.

Ruben Dias is on the verge of leaving Benfica.

The Portugal international is wanted by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Could he help City dethrone Premier League champions Liverpool?

 

TOP STORY – DIAS SET FOR CITY

Benfica defender Ruben Dias will join Manchester City, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Pep Guardiola has been eyeing defensive reinforcements following Nathan Ake's arrival from Bournemouth, and now Dias is set to swap Benfica for City.

As part of the deal, veteran centre-back Nicolas Otamendi will move in the opposite direction.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Barcelona rejected a €150million offer for teenage sensation Ansu Fati from an unnamed club. Manchester United have been linked previously.

Sergino Dest will travel to Camp Nou to complete his move to Barca, reports RAC1. The Ajax full-back is also wanted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Milan and Roma are both interested in signing Norwich City right-back Max Aarons, says Sky Sports. The Englishman has previously been linked to Barca and Bayern.

- According to Sportitalia, West Ham are in talks with Serie A holders Juventus for defender Daniele Rugani.

- Lyon want €50million (£46m) for in-demand star Houssem Aouar amid interest from Arsenal, claims RMC Sport. Paris Saint-Germain, City and Chelsea have also been linked.

Alvaro Morata was not the third-choice signing as he was always a priority for Juventus, insists head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

Spain striker Morata sealed his return to Turin on an initial season-long deal from Atletico Madrid, with Juve retaining an option to make the deal permanent for €45million or pay an additional €10m to loan him for a further campaign. 

Juve had been tipped to sign Luis Suarez from Barcelona before the deal broke down and he joined Atleti, while Edin Dzeko was also linked with a move from Roma. 

But Morata arrived instead to fill a void left by Gonzalo Higuain's departure to Inter Miami, with the 27-year-old having left to re-join Real Madrid in 2016 and subsequently spending time at Chelsea and Atleti. 

Pirlo, who started his coaching career with a convincing 3-0 win over Sampdoria last week, said the fact he previously played alongside Morata was a big draw. 

"We were waiting for a striker and he arrived," he told a news conference ahead of the Serie A clash against Roma on Sunday. 

"Alvaro Morata knows us well and I was fortunate enough to have played with him.  

"He was not a third choice but one of our priorities, from a technical and tactical aspect he's what we were looking for."

Dzeko is set to come up against Juve at Stadio Olimpico and Pirlo acknowledged the threat he poses.

"He could have been a Juve striker, but he remains a great player," Pirlo added. "We respect him, but unfortunately he will be an opponent tomorrow."

Pirlo has a couple of selection posers to ponder against Roma with midfielder Arthur – a close-season arrival from Barca – in contention having been an unused substitute against Sampdoria, while forward Paulo Dybala returned to training this week after a muscular issue.  

"We've worked with Paulo Dybala, who has gradually returned with the group," Pirlo said. "Let's see how he feels today and whether he can travel to Rome. 

"Also, Arthur is coming from a period of inactivity but has worked very well. He's settling in, from a tactical and physical point of view. 

"He hasn't played much at Barcelona either. He needs a period of acclimatisation, he's available tomorrow and we'll see whether to let him play or not." 

Alvaro Morata wants to end Juventus' long wait for Champions League glory after completing a "dream" return to Turin.

The Spain striker is back with Juve on an initial one-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid, with the Serie A club having an option to buy Morata for €45million or spend a further €10m to loan him for a second campaign.

Morata previously spent two years with Juventus between 2014 and 2016, scoring 27 goals in 93 appearances before returning to Real Madrid and helping them to win the 2016-17 Champions League, when they beat the Bianconeri in the final.

Achieving European success with Juventus - who last won the Champions League in 1996 - is one of Morata's main goals.

"Juve took a punt on me when I was younger and coming back was a dream of mine," he told reporters at his presentation.

"Leaving Juventus was not up to me. I was happy in Madrid, but now it's important for me to be here and I have kept in touch with everyone over the years.

"It was a great memory and now we have new challenges to face together.

"The Champions League is very important to Juventus. If we were to win it this year, I would be the happiest man in the world. We want to win it."

Morata, now 27, conceded he has been affected by those who have doubted his ability in the past, with a big-money move to Chelsea in 2017 not panning out as expected.

However, he believes he has now matured and is able to handle the pressure of playing for one of Europe's biggest clubs.

"I used to pay attention to the critics when I was younger. I know that I need to work hard and be clear about what I have to do," Morata said.

"I'm happy to be back. I've come back to Turin as a person that's grown in all senses. I'm in the right place at the right time: I know what I need to do, I have the necessary experience. Juve is the opportunity of a lifetime."

Morata played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo with Los Blancos and revealed the Portuguese is excited about being his team-mate again.

"I know Cristiano rather well, he's happy," Morata added. "We spoke quite a lot, even before I returned."

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Juventus are having "more fun" under new boss Andrea Pirlo compared to last season when Maurizio Sarri was in charge, according to midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Pirlo was named as Sarri's successor last month and marked his first competitive game in charge with an impressive 3-0 win over Sampdoria last weekend.

Ramsey, who was in and out of the side last season, enjoyed arguably his best game for Juve as he created an unrivalled six chances – including an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo.

And the Wales international revealed the mood has now changed in the dressing room on the back of iconic former midfielder Pirlo's appointment.

"We have a new coach, a new staff, new ideas and the players are very involved in this," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"I think we are having more fun than last year. The training sessions are hard but there is also a little bit of joy."

Dejan Kulusevski and Leonardo Bonucci were also on target for Juventus in their opening match, but Ramsey believes there is still more to come from his side ahead of Sunday's trip to Roma.

"We started well but we still need to improve," he said. "In this team there are many great players, who can all play and help the team reach their goals.

"I'm happy to be able to play together with these top-quality attackers."

Inter finished just a point behind Juve last season and are expected to push the champions all the way this campaign after spending big during the close season.

Ramsey is predicting a tight battle at the top this term, adding: "Inter are a great team and have signed a lot of players. They are are one of the contenders for the Scudetto.

"Like Napoli, who are very strong. Milan finished last season well and started the same way. Serie A is a very tough league."

Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer have made the shortlist for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award for the 2019-20 campaign.

Manchester City playmaker De Bruyne, who recently won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, is in the final three along with two Bayern Munich stars who helped their side to the treble last season.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk won the honour in the previous season, finishing ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

None of those three are on the shortlist this time, though, and whoever comes out on top will be a first-time winner.

Neuer missed only one game in Bayern's treble season and kept six Champions League clean sheets, while Lewandowski netted 55 goals in 47 appearances for Hansi Flick's team.

De Bruyne, meanwhile, produced a record-equalling 20 assists in the Premier League for City, adding 13 goals.

The final order of the top three is yet to be revealed, but UEFA has confirmed the occupants of positions four to 10.

Barcelona forward Messi came in at tie for fourth with Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, while Juventus attacker Ronaldo was down in 10th spot.

Thomas Muller (6th), Kylian Mbappe (7th), Thiago Alcantara (8th) and Joshua Kimmich (9th) were the others who featured in the top 10.

Ronaldo has won the honour three times since it was first awarded in 2011, while Messi has claimed it twice.

Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery, Luka Modric and Van Dijk were the other victors, with the award voted for by coaches and journalists.

Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard and Pernille Harder are up for the Women's Player of the Year accolade in the 2019-20 awards.

Bayern head coach Flick, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann are on the shortlist for Men's Coach of the Year.

The winners will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw ceremony on October 1.

Messi and Ronaldo also won the previous version of the award - UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – once each. That award was replaced after the 2009-10 season, when Diego Milito came out on top.

First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

Alvaro Morata has completed a return to Juventus on an initial one-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid, the clubs have announced.

The Serie A champions confirmed the move on Tuesday, sealing Morata's services for a second spell.

Juve will pay Atletico €10million, with the Italian club having an option to buy the 27-year-old striker for €45m or pay another €10m to loan him for a further campaign.

Should the Bianconeri opt to extend the loan, they will be able to purchase Morata for €35m at the end of the 2021-22 season.

A Juve statement read: "Memory albums are there to be opened, to reminisce upon old moments, but also to add new ones and we can’t wait to create many more memories, together once more!

"Even though Alvaro left the club four years ago, after having won five trophies in two years: two Scudetti, two Coppe Italia, one Supercoppa Italiana, he has always remained Bianconero in his heart and his return will be as though he never even said goodbye."

Morata scored 27 goals in 93 games across two seasons in Turin between 2014 and 2016.

He then returned to Real Madrid for a year before joining Chelsea and later Atletico, where he netted 12 LaLiga goals in 34 games last term.

With Gonzalo Higuain having left to join Inter Miami, Juve had been linked with Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Roma's Edin Dzeko.

Morata's move could pave the way for Suarez to join Atletico.

Juve have won nine consecutive Serie A titles and opened their campaign under Andrea Pirlo with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

Alvaro Morata has completed a return to Juventus on an initial one-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid, the clubs have announced.

 

Luis Suarez's Italian citizenship exam is being investigated over allegations of irregularities, the Perugia Prosecutor's Office has announced.

Suarez flew into Perugia to take the test ahead of a possible transfer from Barcelona to Juventus and passed the 'B1' assignment.

With Juventus having no remaining spots for non-EU players in their squad, the Uruguay striker would have needed to become an Italian citizen to make the move to the Allianz Stadium.

Italian financial police and the Perugia Prosecutor's Office are looking at claims Suarez may have been aware of the contents of the exam, allowing the result to have been predetermined.

There has been no direct accusation of wrongdoing towards any individual and there have been no charges.

A statement from the Perugia Prosecutor's Office read: "During the investigation started in February 2020 by Perugia's finance police on different matters within the university for foreigners in Perugia, some irregularities have emerged on the test on Italian language faced by the Uruguayan footballer Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz on September 17th to obtain the Italian nationality (passport).

"From the investigation it has emerged that the subjects of the test had been previously agreed with the candidate and that the mark had been decided in advance despite the fact that, during the online Italian lessons made by the university teachers, the player had shown just a basic knowledge of the Italian language.

"Today the military corps of the finance police are seizing documents in the offices of the university to ascertain the abovementioned misbehaviours and to deliver the warranty information for the crimes of violation of official secrecy and ideological falsity committed in public acts by the public official and others."

Suarez now appears unlikely to move to Juve, with the Italian champions reported to have struck a deal to secure the return of their former striker Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid.

Atleti are said to be close to bringing in Suarez from LaLiga rivals Barca, who have told the experienced forward he can leave Camp Nou, as a replacement.

Juventus welcomed Alvaro Morata back to Turin ahead of the forward's expected return to the Serie A champions.

Morata is reportedly set to join Juve on loan from Atletico Madrid in a deal that will cost €9million and the Italian club will also apparently have an option to buy the 27-year-old for €45m.

Juventus, who have been searching for a forward, welcomed Morata back as he landed in Turin.

"@AlvaroMorata is back in town!" the club wrote on Twitter alongside a picture of the forward.

Morata is set for his second spell at Juve, where he scored 27 goals in 93 games across two seasons between 2014 and 2016.

He then returned to Real Madrid for a season before joining Chelsea and later Atletico, where he netted 12 LaLiga goals in 34 games last season.

With Gonzalo Higuain having left to join Inter Miami, Juve had been linked with the likes of Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Roma's Edin Dzeko.

Morata's move could pave the way for Suarez, 33, to join Atletico.

Juve have won nine consecutive Serie A titles and opened their campaign under Andrea Pirlo with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed Barcelona star Luis Suarez will not be joining the Serie A champions, while insisting the club are not only eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko.

Reportedly told he can leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca, veteran forward Suarez had been heavily linked with Cristiano Ronaldo's Juve following Gonzalo Higuain's move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS.

But a delay in securing an Italian passport for the 33-year-old Uruguay international has scuppered those plans, Paratici confirmed prior to Sunday's season-opening 3-0 win over Sampdoria.

"Suarez can be removed from that list, because the time it takes to get the passport is longer than the transfer deadline or the moment we can hand in the Champions League lists," said Paratici, whose Juve have already filled their non-European quota.

"We evaluated the Suarez option when it was proposed to us. He was in the process of getting Italian citizenship, so we evaluated the possibility of registering him in time.

"It is not possible, so he was never really close."

While Suarez is off the list, Juve – led by rookie head coach Andrea Pirlo – continue to be linked with Roma's Dzeko.

Dzeko's proposed move to Juve is reportedly tied to Roma signing Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik as a replacement in the Italian capital.

Amid uncertainty over this future, Dzeko was an unused substitute in Roma's goalless draw at Hellas Verona on Saturday.

"Let's say there isn't a Dzeko situation, it's a striker situation, as Juventus need a centre-forward," Paratici said as Juve reportedly try to re-sign Moise Kean from Everton. "We know what we want and are working towards that calmly, there are 15 days to go in the transfer window and we're in no rush.

"There are other situations, not just Dzeko. We know what we want. We're working for a striker who can work with Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

"At this moment, we are seeking one striker, we have our objectives and will try to pursue them calmly, regardless of the names."

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