Newly appointed Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri is on the same level as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, according to Arrigo Sacchi.

Sarri was confirmed as Juve boss on Sunday, leaving Chelsea after just one season in the Premier League.

Reports suggested Guardiola was also a target for the Serie A champions, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last month.

Sacchi – who won two European Cups and a Serie A title at the helm of AC Milan in the 1980s and '90s – feels Sarri is one of the best tacticians in the world.

"Sarri is of the same level as [Jurgen] Klopp, Guardiola, [Mauricio] Pochettino," he said on Monday.

"They have the same vision of work."

Guardiola has won two Premier League titles in three seasons at the helm of City, but his last Champions League success came with Barcelona in 2011.

Sacchi played down suggestions Juve ever had a chance of bringing Guardiola to Turin.

"He sent me a message. I heard that with Guardiola to Juve there was never anything," he said.

"He is very happy where he is. This season he will try to win the Champions League."

The race for Paul Pogba appears well and truly on, but Manchester United will not let the midfielder go easily.

The France international said on Sunday he would be interested in a "new challenge", casting fresh doubt over his future at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid have continually been linked with Pogba, but it seems Paris Saint-Germain, and perhaps former club Juventus, could also be interested.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA INTEREST INTENSIFIES

Real Madrid indicated they are willing to pay £90million for Pogba despite United valuing the midfielder at £150m, according to The Sun.

United are ready to do their all to keep Pogba, with the Daily Mail reporting they are set to offer him a bumper new contract worth close to £500,000 per week.

This saga appears likely to take time to play out with Ligue 1 champions PSG also expressing an interest in Pogba, according to The Independent.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar appears more and more likely to leave PSG in the close season. Globo Esporte says talks are already underway for the Brazil international to return to Barcelona, who may pay €100m and send players, with Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti mentioned.

- It seems Benfica sensation Joao Felix has decided where he will be next season. According to Record, the 19-year-old Portugal international was in Spain to sign with Atletico Madrid in a €120m move, a report Benfica denied. El Chiringuito later claimed to have spotted the attacker and agent Jorge Mendes leaving a Madrid restaurant.

- Real Madrid look like they want to see Gareth Bale make an exit before next season. ABC says the LaLiga giants have lowered their asking price for the Wales international from €100m to €85m.

- With Neymar and Antoine Griezmann potentially arriving, Philippe Coutinho's Barcelona future seems clouded. AS reports PSG have made contact with the player's camp, while he may return to the Premier League. However, Sky Sports News reports Coutinho is unwilling to join Manchester United out of respect to former club Liverpool, but The Sun says he would head to Chelsea, although the club's transfer ban is standing in the way of that move.

- Now that Juventus have appointed Maurizio Sarri, the Serie A champions could make numerous additions. Tuttosport reported Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved met with agent Mino Raiola regarding Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt – who is expected to join PSG – and Pogba.

- A dream Chelsea return for Frank Lampard could be on the cards. The Sun reports the club great and Derby County manager is set for talks with owner Roman Abramovich over the position left vacant at Stamford Bridge by Sarri's departure. The same paper also reports Chelsea have rejected £35m bids from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for Willian, with the Mirror saying Lampard wants the Brazil international to stay.

Paul Pogba's tempestuous second stint at Manchester United will end this close season if the France midfielder has his way.

Speaking over the weekend, Pogba stated it was time for a "new challenge", having been linked with a big-money move away from Old Trafford for several months.

The 26-year-old was the most expensive player in football history when he re-joined United from Juventus for £89.3million in 2016.

Despite scoring 31 goals in all competitions over the course of three seasons, Pogba's failure to consistently hit top form for a sustained period has invited regular criticism, while the collapse of his relationship with Jose Mourinho was an unseemly factor towards the end of the Portuguese's ill-fated reign as manager.

Nevertheless, United are reportedly in no hurry to sell and a £150m price tag means only a small selection of the game's elite can consider a move for Pogba. We look at where the 2018 World Cup winner might end up next.

Real Madrid

The Santiago Bernabeu has long been mooted as Pogba's next destination and the appeal of him linking up with France great and Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is an obvious one. Following an underwhelming campaign, club president Florentino Perez has bankrolled a considerable overhaul for Zidane, with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo all arriving at considerable expense. The coffers are not bottomless and the question is whether Pogba, after his mixed recent seasons, remains the most appealing use of Madrid's remaining funds.

Paris Saint-Germain

Indeed, glances have probably been turned from the Spanish capital and towards the French one by Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi saying star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – along with the rest of the squad – must "work more", adding: "I no longer want to have superstar behaviour," in an interview with France Football. Pogba's detractors would argue such a policy change might rule him out, but PSG are light in central midfield and Al-Khelaifi will be aware of the commercial bounty to be made from bringing one of Les Bleus' 2018 heroes back to his home city. Links between PSG and Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt also suggest the lines of communication between the club and Pogba's agent Mino Raiola are open.

Juventus

Pogba's standing in the eyes of the United faithful has dwindled over recent months and he must long for the esteem in which he was once held in Turin. Four Scudetti in as many seasons preceded his second act in Manchester, although those did come in a talent-stacked midfield alongside the likes of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio. Juve are approaching a new era under Maurizio Sarri and Pogba would be a statement signing to bolster their Champions League ambitions alongside the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona

Pogba was widely considered to be on Barcelona's radar in the aftermath of Russia 2018, however that ship appears to have sailed. Arthur adapted impressively to life in LaLiga last term and Frenkie de Jong will arrive on the crest of an Ajax wave. On the other hand, recent speculation linking United with an interest in Barca duo Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho means a lucrative game of musical chairs might not be out of the equation entirely.

Paul Pogba finally confirmed his desire to leave Manchester United for a "new challenge" on Sunday, a revelation that will likely split the club's supporters.

While few would doubt Pogba's ability, the last three seasons since his return from Juventus have been anything but smooth.

Pogba has struggled for consistency in a United team that has so often been crying out for his creativity, while the soap opera around his turbulent relationship with Jose Mourinho before the Portuguese manager's December sacking became a distracting sideshow.

Although Pogba's form did initially improve after Mourinho left, the dominant performances soon dried up again – a haul of 13 goals (seven from the spot) and nine assists in the Premier League exaggerating his influence.

Sunday's comments about desiring a move will not have surprised many given the speculation surrounding him, but offloading Pogba might prove a blessing in disguise for a United side in need of a rebuild. We have identified some potential replacements.

 

Sean Longstaff - Newcastle United

Magpies midfielder Longstaff has only made nine Premier League appearances, but he impressed to such a degree he is being linked with a £25million move to United. Poised in possession with a maturity that belies his 21 years, Longstaff looks to have a very bright future but it would be asking a lot of him to replace one of the best midfielders in the world.

Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon

Ndombele is reportedly a target for Tottenham, who he has described as "a great team, a great club", though he could be a good fit at Old Trafford too. The France midfielder impressed in the Champions League last term but Lyon's outspoken president Jean-Michel Aulas is known among the hardest negotiators in the game. The Ligue 1 side are said to be demanding £70m for the 22-year-old.

Bruno Fernandes - Sporting CP

Nations League winner Fernandes is expected to leave Sporting this year, but United would surely face a battle for his signature, as Manchester City, Inter, Tottenham, Liverpool and Juventus are all said to be keen. Fernandes hit 20 league goals for Sporting, who missed out on Champions League qualification and will likely have to cash in on the versatile 24-year-old as a result. He is reportedly valued at £70m. 

Youri Tielemans - Monaco

Tielemans impressed on loan at Leicester City last term and, although the Foxes may wish to do a deal with Monaco to sign him permanently, they could be blown out of the water by offers from richer sides. Tielemans, said to be valued at £40m by the Ligue 1 club, has been linked with United, but speculation has also suggested they have moved on to other targets.

Adrien Rabiot - PSG

A risk-reward signing if ever there was one, Rabiot is available on a free transfer as his contract is expiring this year at Paris Saint-Germain. But the 24-year-old has a reputation as a difficult character, having been shunted aside at PSG over a contract dispute, while he rejected the invitation to be on the standby list for Didier Deschamps' France squad at the 2018 World Cup. The undoubtedly talented Rabiot is said to be in huge demand, with Juventus rumoured to be interested in a player Gianluigi Buffon has described as a combination of Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis 

Versatility makes Giovani Lo Celso an appealing option, with the Argentina midfielder able to operate in front of defence or in a more attacking role. He scored nine LaLiga goals for Real Betis last season and the club can expect to make a significant profit on a player they signed from PSG for €25m only two months ago. Should Lo Celso impress at the Copa America, demand in a player linked with Tottenham could increase.

Maurizio Sarri has left Chelsea for Juventus after just one year in the Premier League and it is fair to say it was a turbulent spell.

With the fiery Italian in charge, things were never likely to be dull at Chelsea in the 2018-19 season.

Sarri will undoubtedly consider himself to have been a success given what he achieved and the constraints he was under in the transfer market, but there are plenty of fans who will not be upset to see the back of him.

As Sarri prepares to return to Italy, we look at the triumphant highs and disappointing lows of his solitary season in English football.

HIGHS

Europa League success

Given the infamy of the Europa League final in Baku from a logistical perspective, Chelsea's performance and emphatic 4-1 win over Arsenal were effectively a sideshow. But, if one ignores the ticketing farce, location and security concerns preventing Henrikh Mkhitaryan playing, Sarri came out of it very well by masterminding a fine display to win his first major trophy as a coach.

Top-three Premier League finish

Sarri inherited a squad with plenty of issues. Several players were approaching 30 or already there, the midfield options were lacking and his main striker was enduring a difficult run. Chelsea's recruitment in the last couple of years has left a lot of be desired, yet Sarri still managed to ensure the Blues secured a respectable third-place finish and Champions League qualification.

Ending City's unbeaten start

Manchester City did not lose any of their first 15 Premier League games in 2018-19, form that sparked talk of Pep Guardiola's team going the entire season unbeaten. Chelsea ended such suggestions in December, beating City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz, evidence that Sarri had the Blues mixing it with the best of them at times.

 

LOWS

Crushed by City

Things started to get ugly for Chelsea and Sarri after the turn of the year. He looked to be heading for the exit at the start of February when Chelsea were demolished 6-0 away to City. Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan and a Sergio Aguero brace had the hosts 4-0 up after 25 minutes and a recovery never arrived. It was third successive away league defeat, following a similarly embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth and a 2-0 loss at Arsenal.

"F*** Sarri-ball"

With the Blues having suffered those heavy defeats not long before, they lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United in the FA Cup on February 18. The much-lauded style of play brought to the club by Sarri became the target, as fans chanted "F*** Sarri-ball" during the match. It was surely a sign that the 60-year-old's days were numbered.

Kepa challenges authority

Chelsea's run to the EFL Cup final arguably helped keep Sarri in the job and their performance against City was certainly more spirited than the drubbing they received from them just two weeks earlier. However, the match was marred by Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing to be substituted in extra time after appearing to sustain an injury. Sarri played it down after losing on penalties, stating it all came from his misunderstanding of the situation. However, it became the focus at Chelsea for several weeks, particularly given the coach's initial explosive reaction on the touchline.

Maurizio Sarri has landed the biggest job of his career having swapped Chelsea for Juventus and his planning for the new season starts immediately.

After taking the long road to the top of the game, instant success will be demanded of the 60-year-old former banker as Juve seek their ninth straight Serie A table.

Sarri's Napoli posed the strongest challenge to Juve in recent years and he will come up against fellow former Chelsea bosses Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti next term, with the Italians in charge of Inter and the Partenopei respectively.

Winning the league will be the least expected of Sarri at the Allianz Stadium, but what does he need to do to improve on the work done by predecessor Massimiliano Allegri?


Keep Ronaldo happy

Cristiano Ronaldo's first season at Juve was relatively successful - he scored 28 goals in all competitions including a Champions League hat-trick to down Atletico Madrid - but Sarri will hope there is more to come.

The 34-year-old was outscored by Duvan Zapata, Krzysztof Piatek and Fabio Quagliarella in Serie A, but, under Sarri at Napoli, Gonzalo Higuain plundered 36 league goals in the 2015-16 season and the new Juve coach will hope Ronaldo can achieve a similar return next term.

Of course, Higuain could well be back at Juve next season as, with Sarri gone after a single campaign at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are highly unlikely to trigger their option to either buy the striker or extend his loan for another season despite their transfer ban.

Juggling Ronaldo, Higuain, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala promises to be one of the major challenges facing Sarri.


Win - and with attacking football

Barring outliers such as a 6-0 mauling by Manchester City, results for Sarri at Chelsea were broadly good, but it was his style of football many fans did not like.

Although he brought midfield conductor Jorginho with him from Napoli, Chelsea supporters felt Sarri's side played too slowly in possession, dominating the ball but without incision.

It was strange, though, as Sarri built one of the most exciting teams in world football at Napoli, where Jorginho played the same role. Perhaps at Juve he will have players who are suited to a more entertaining style.


Decide Dybala's future

Should Sarri decide to keep Higuain at Juve, the player to lose out could be Dybala. Last season was difficult for the Argentina forward as he only started 24 league games, the lowest total of his four seasons at the club.

Dybala's relationship with Allegri was frosty and reports have suggested Sarri would be willing to swap the 25-year-old for Mauro Icardi, whose relationship with Inter broke down last term after he was stripped of the captaincy.


Establish new long-term defence

Juve have an aging squad and freshening it up will be on Sarri's shoulders as he signed a three-year deal. 

Andrea Barzagli has retired and, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci having a combined age of 66, Sarri cannot rely on the duo long term.

Daniele Rugani will likely enjoy more minutes in 2019-20 after starting 15 Serie A games last term, with the 24-year-old an obvious successor to Barzagli, but Sarri has big calls to make at full-back as well as in the middle of his defence.

Joao Cancelo is reportedly a target for Manchester City while Alex Sandro has also been linked with leaving. Reports have claimed the Brazil left-back could be offered to Manchester United as a makeweight, along with Dybala, in a deal to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin.


End wait for European glory

Allegri's Juve dominated domestically but they continually fell short in Europe, so there is no doubt where the improvements need to be made by Sarri.

Juve have not won the Champions League since 1996, losing five times in the final since then, while Sarri led Chelsea to the Europa League title last term.

Ultimately, it would not matter much if Ronaldo was unhappy, Dybala remains unsettled and the football was uninspiring were Juve to lift the trophy in Istanbul next year.

Chelsea are seeking yet another manager in the Roman Abramovich era following Maurizio Sarri's switch to Serie A champions Juventus.

Frank Lampard is widely reported to be first choice to take charge at Stamford Bridge, with the former Chelsea midfielder set to return after a single season gathering managerial experience in the Championship with Derby County.

Sarri was far from universally popular with Chelsea fans despite winning the Europa League, reaching the EFL Cup final and finishing third in the Premier League.

But how does he compare with Chelsea's many other managers under Russian billionaire Abramovich? Omnisport crunches the Opta numbers to find out.


CLAUDIO RANIERI

When Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, Ranieri was the man in the Stamford Bridge dugout - but he left the following year. The genial Italian won 61 per cent of his matches in charge under Abramovich as Chelsea - who bought players including Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Claude Makelele, Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo in a spending spree - finished second in the Premier League behind Arsenal's Invincibles. Chelsea also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League that year but Ranieri's decisions in a defeat to Monaco were questioned.


JOSE MOURINHO

Announcing himself as a "special one" on his arrival, Mourinho justified his own lofty billing by leading the club to the Premier League title, as well as the EFL Cup. They got to the last four of the Champions League again only to be beaten by Liverpool thanks to a controversial Luis Garcia goal. The Blues defended their Premier League title the next season but were unseated by Manchester United in 2006-07, although Mourinho led them to triumphs in both domestic cups. A poor start to 2007-08, including a Champions League draw at home to Rosenborg, saw Mourinho leave the club.

He returned in 2013 and Chelsea won the Premier League again in his second season in charge, as well as collecting another EFL Cup. But he left once more in December 2015, with his win ratio across both spells at the club, in all competitions, standing at an excellent 63.6 per cent.


AVRAM GRANT

In Mourinho's first spell at Stamford Bridge, Abramovich's appointment of Grant in a technical role reportedly led to tensions and the Israeli was then installed in the dugout. Despite being unpopular with fans, Grant steered Chelsea to the final of the EFL Cup, when they were beaten by Tottenham, and they finished second in the Premier League. Somewhat improbably, Grant's Chelsea also reached the Champions League final but they lost to Manchester United on penalties after John Terry's slip.


LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI

Former Brazil boss Scolari, who led them to World Cup glory, failed to complete a single season at Chelsea as they sacked him in February 2009 citing "deteriorating" results. Scolari won just 55.6 per cent of his games in charge of Chelsea.


GUUS HIDDINK

Then-Russia coach Hiddink arrived as a temporary successor to Scolari and took Chelsea to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they lost to Barcelona. They won the FA Cup final in his last game in charge but despite being popular with fans and players, he did not stay on.

Hiddink was a natural choice to return when Mourinho left a second time and a 12-game unbeaten run helped the Blues finish in the top half of the Premier League. Despite this, his win ratio across his two periods at Chelsea stands at just 53.1 per cent.


CARLO ANCELOTTI

Ancelotti arrived in 2009 and Chelsea pipped United to the Premier League title in his first season, adding the FA Cup to seal a domestic double. But United beat Chelsea in Europe and the Premier League in the following campaign and Ancelotti was dismissed even though his 61.5 per cent win ratio in all competitions was admirable.


ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS

Like Mourinho, Villas-Boas joined from Porto but he could not match his compatriot's success. With Chelsea outside the top four in the Premier League, he was sacked in March 2012 with a win ratio of 47.5 per cent - the lowest of any Blues boss in the Abramovich era.


ROBERTO DI MATTEO

Another temporary manager, Di Matteo moved up from being assistant to Villas-Boas and the Italian oversaw victory in the FA Cup final against Liverpool. Di Matteo also managed Chelsea to a remarkable defeat of Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League, then Didier Drogba's penalty in the shoot-out saw them beat Bayern Munich at their Allianz Arena home and claim the club's first European Cup.

Di Matteo was rewarded with a permanent contract but was dismissed after a Champions League group-stage loss to Juventus. His eight months in charge, while delivering two major trophies, yielded a win ratio of 57.1 per cent.


RAFAEL BENITEZ

Former Liverpool manager Benitez, whose win ratio was 58.3 per cent at Stamford Bridge, was another appointment that was unpopular with fans. But he secured Champions League qualification and more European silverware, with the Blues beating Benfica 2-1 in the Europa League final. 


ANTONIO CONTE

Another Italian, Conte took charge after successful periods at Juventus and Italy. They won the Premier League title in style in his first season but Conte left despite beating United in the FA Cup final in the following campaign. Conte's win ratio of 65.1 per cent at the club is second only to Grant and he will be a Serie A rival for Sarri next term as he has been appointed by Inter.


MAURIZIO SARRI

Sarri's style never won fans over but third place in the Premier League, coupled with an appearance in the EFL Cup final - overshadowed by Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing to be substituted - and Europa League glory marked a successful single season. Sarri's 61.9 per cent win ratio at the club narrowly pips fellow Italian Ancelotti, who replaced him at Napoli last year.

Maurizio Sarri has left Chelsea to take over Juventus on a three-year contract, it has been confirmed.

Sarri had only completed one of the three seasons Chelsea contracted him for, but an agreement was reached to allow him to return to Serie A, where he led Napoli to a second-place finish in 2017-18.

The Italian coach's position had been in doubt for several months due to a number of issues at Chelsea, and Frank Lampard has been tipped to replace him at the helm.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: "In talks we had following the Europa League final, Maurizio made it clear how strongly he desired to return to his native country, explaining that his reasons for wanting to return to work in Italy were significant.

"He also believed it important to be nearer his family, and for the wellbeing of his elderly parents he felt he needed to live closer to them at this point.

"Maurizio leaves Chelsea with thanks from us all for the work he and his assistants did during the season he spent as our head coach, and for winning the Europa League, guiding us to another cup final and a third-place finish in the Premier League.

"We would also like to congratulate him on securing the role as big as any in Serie A and to wish him the best of luck for the future."

Although he departs after a commendable third-place finish in the Premier League and winning the Europa League, Sarri's time in England was anything but smooth.

After an encouraging start domestically, Sarri's style of play began to be criticised and there were suggestions it was not quick enough to thrive in England.

The signing of Jorginho, who followed the coach from Napoli, received particularly negative attention.

A poor run of form towards the end of 2018 stretched into the New Year and saw Chelsea ship 10 goals without reply in successive away matches to Bournemouth and Manchester City.

That left Sarri's job in doubt, while Kepa Arrizabalaga's decision to defy the coach's attempt to substitute him in the EFL Cup final defeat to City led to suggestions the Italian had lost the dressing room.

Sarri held on and managed to guide Chelsea to a third-place finish and Europa League glory, with reports prior to the game in Baku suggesting defeat would result in his sacking.

However, he has been allowed to leave in a move that could pave the way for fan favourite Lampard to return to Stamford Bridge following his first season in management.

Lampard's strong links to Chelsea will not be his only advantage – he thrived under a tight budget at Derby County, using loans and young players, and that will likely stand him in good stead if the Blues' transfer embargo stands.

Maurizio Sarri has left Chelsea to take over Juventus on a three-year contract, it has been confirmed.

Gianluigi Buffon has lavished praise on the "incredible" Adrien Rabiot, claiming the midfielder is a combination of Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Goalkeeper Buffon saw at close quarters what Rabiot is capable of during their time together at Paris Saint-Germain, though the latter was frozen out since mid-December after failing to agree a new contract.

With his deal set to expire, the France international confirmed earlier this month that he has held talks with Juventus over a move to Italy.

Buffon believes the Serie A champions would be getting a player who offers similar traits to some famous former Juve midfielders, including Rabiot's compatriot Pogba.

"He is a fantastic mix, he has the physical strength of Pogba, who is like a wardrobe, has the personality of Vidal and potentially the dynamism of Marchisio," Buffon said in an in-depth interview with Corriere dello Sport.

"He is incredible, extremely strong, he needs to improve his timing when approaching the opponent's penalty area but he can become a player with 10 goals per season.

"He's also a good boy and a great team-mate."

If Rabiot joins Juve, he could be working under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, who is expected to be named as the club's new boss.

The former Napoli coach spent the 2018-19 season in the Premier League with Chelsea but is set to return to work in Italy, taking over from the departed Massimiliano Allegri at the Bianconeri.

Buffon, who is a free agent after leaving PSG, is confident the impending appointment is not a gamble, with the club opting to go down a different route as they aim to reign in Europe.

"I have experienced how competent president Andrea Agnelli, directors Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedved are," he said.

"Those who follow the same path will always achieve the same results, so Juve are seeking the Champions League and wanted to try breaking away towards pastures new.

"It's because the squad is frankly difficult to improve any more. Sarri is not a revolution, nor a gamble. He simply represents an untested path, a whole other story."

Paul Pogba has hinted he is ready to leave Manchester United after revealing his desire for a "new challenge somewhere else".

The midfielder's future at Old Trafford has been in doubt after an indifferent 2018-19 season, with Real Madrid reportedly interested.

Former club Juventus have also been linked with Pogba, who returned for a second spell at Old Trafford when United paid a then-record fee of £89million in August 2016.

Speaking in Tokyo, the 26-year-old - a World Cup winner at Russia 2018 - admitted the time could be right to move on.

"There has been a lot of talking, a lot of thinking as well. I've been here for three years in Manchester, it has been going great," he told reporters.

"There have been some good moments and some bad moments, like everywhere else. But after this season, after everything that happened with my season, it was my best season as well, I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.

"I'm thinking of this – to have a new challenge somewhere else."

Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri said he has been forced to take a year off from football after not receiving any offers.

Allegri and Juve parted ways following an eighth consecutive Serie A title in 2018-19 and fifth under the Italian's leadership.

The 51-year-old has been linked with Premier League giants Chelsea, who are reportedly poised to grant Maurizio Sarri a release ahead of his proposed move to Juve.

However, ex-AC Milan boss Allegri is set for some time away from the dugout following his Turin exit.

"Well my decision was even easier to take than I expected given that I haven't got an offer from any team," Allegri said. "So I have to stop.

"We are here today in this warm weather let's have a nice run and then we are ready for holidays."

Allegri was a surprise appointment at Juve in July 2014, his arrival initially met with some disapproval by the fans, but he added four Coppa Italia triumphs and two Champions League finals to his five top-flight crowns.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed 2018-19 as an "unforgettable season" after he set records and lifted trophies with both Juventus and Portugal.

Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay at LaLiga giants Real Madrid in July 2018, moving to Italian champions Juve for €120million.

The 34-year-old more than repaid his transfer fee, scoring 21 Serie A goals as Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus cruised to an eighth successive Scudetto.

Ronaldo also became the first player to reach 100 wins and 125 goals in the Champions League, though Juve were eliminated by Ajax in the quarter-finals – a defeat which ultimately may have been the reason for Allegri's departure at the end of the campaign.

But Ronaldo was not done there, and after his success with his new club, led Portugal to a Nations League Finals triumph on home soil, scoring a stunning hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland.

And, taking to his official Instagram channel, Ronaldo shared his joy at achieving so much over the course of the season.

"What an unforgettable season! New experiences, gigantic club, exciting city, broken records and three more titles," Ronaldo posted.

"I have to thank all of Juventus fans for the wonderful way I was welcomed in Italy! You're a very important part of our victories! 

"Thanks to all my fans around the world and particularly to the Portuguese people that helped us reach another historical win for Portugal! You'll always have a special place in my heart!

"Personally, I'll never forget the great moments and new record-breaking achievements I've had so far in 2019."

Ronaldo then went onto list some of his accolades from the season, including becoming the first player to win 10 UEFA titles, and being the first to score in all national team finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo has told James Rodriguez to join Juventus, according to Lothar Matthaus.

James – who is currently preparing for Colombia's Copa America campaign – is set to leave Real Madrid this off-season.

The playmaker has spent the last two campaigns on loan at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but will not extend his stay in Germany.

And Bayern great Matthaus believes the 27-year-old has his heart set on a move to Serie A, with James' former Madrid club-mate Ronaldo having instructed him to join Juve.

"I see him at Juventus," Matthaus told Spanish publication AS.

"We had a conversation two weeks ago, during the celebration of Bayern's Bundesliga win.

"He is very close to Ronaldo and told me that he was in contact with him and that he has told him that he wants to have him at Juventus.

"I understand why as James can serve Ronaldo so that he can score and the two of them can shine."

James signed for Madrid in 2014, on the back of starring for Colombia and winning the golden boot at the World Cup in Brazil.

Juve are not the only Italian club rumoured to be interested in the former Monaco player, with Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of Los Blancos when James arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu, reportedly keen on his services.

Maurizio Sarri looks set to be appointed as Juve's coach, following Massimiliano Allegri's departure at the end of last season, with a compensation package reportedly agreed with Chelsea.

Chelsea marked the anniversary of Frank Lampard signing for the club amid reports the former midfielder Frank Lampard is set to take over from Maurizio Sarri.

Despite leading the club to a third-place finish in the Premier League, the final of the EFL Cup and Europa League glory against Arsenal, Sarri has by no means been a popular figure at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian, who left Napoli for Chelsea last year, is widely reported to be on the brink of being appointed as head coach by Juventus, who are seeking a successor to Massimiliano Allegri.

The switch was expected to be completed on Friday, when Chelsea noted on social media it was 18 years since Lampard, now managing Derby County, joined the club from West Ham.

"On this day in 2001... Frank Lampard became a Blue!" Chelsea posted on Twitter in a message that quickly racked up thousands of likes.

Lampard is regarded as a Chelsea great, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2011-12 Champions League and becoming the club's all-time leading goalscorer during his 13 years at Stamford Bridge.

In his first season as a manager in 2018-19, the 40-year-old led Derby to the Championship play-offs finals, but they were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa at Wembley.

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