Inter have stated "we are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination" amid an Italian newspaper sparking a racism storm with a controversial front-page headline.

Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism.

"Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

Roma quickly criticised an editorial decision they suggest "not a single soul" would find appropriate, and rival Serie A clubs, including Inter, subsequently reacted.

Corriere issued a statement insisting the headline was not racist, claiming it had been "transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves".

Inter posted to their official Twitter page: "Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination."

Anti-discrimination body FARE posted a screenshot of Corriere's front page with the caption: "The media fuels racism every day."

Milan and Fiorentina joined Roma and Inter in commenting on the headline.

"It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism," Milan said. "We will not stay silent on this issue."

Fiorentina shared the image with a facepalm emoji and a single word: "Speechless."

A series of incidents have blighted Italian football this season, with Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Franck Kessie each targeted for racist abuse.

All 20 Serie A clubs last week united to call on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting to a "serious problem".

Roma have criticised an Italian newspaper for previewing their upcoming Serie A game against Inter with a "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.

Corriere dello Sport dedicated its front page to the contest between two of Italy's form teams, but their headline choice has attracted widespread criticism.

"Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

Roma – who Smalling is playing for on loan – brought the headline to the attention of their followers on Twitter, posting a screenshot of the offending front page and suggesting "not a single soul" would find Corriere's editorial decision to be appropriate.

Inter striker Lukaku and Smalling have been leading stars for their respective teams this season, but the headline is the latest in a series of incidents to have blighted Italian football this season.

Belgium international Lukaku, who is of Congolese descent, was subjected to racist abuse by Cagliari fans in September.

Milan's Franck Kessie was targeted for similar abuse at Hellas Verona later that month, before Smalling called for stronger punishments for racism in October.

Last month Brescia's Mario Balotelli reacted to monkey chants away to Verona by kicking a ball into the stands, while in an unrelated incident the club's president Massimo Cellino was criticised for racially insensitive comments about the Italy striker.

In relation to Balotelli being dropped from the first team, Cellino said: "What can I say? That he's black and he's working to whiten himself but he has great difficulties in this."

A statement from Brescia said the remarks were "clearly a joke said as a paradox" and a "clearly misunderstood... attempt to downplay an excessive media exposure and aimed at protecting the player". 

Arsenal have set their sights on Nuno Espirito Santo.

Incumbent head coach Unai Emery is running out of time and the Gunners are reportedly plotting to replace him.

Succession planning could result in a raid on Premier League rivals Wolves.

 

TOP STORY – NUNO THE NUMERO UNO FOR ARSENAL

Impressed with his work in the Midlands, Arsenal chiefs have identified 45-year-old Nuno as their preferred replacement for the under-fire Emery.

The Daily Mail reports Raul Sanllehi, the club's head of football, has a "long-standing relationship" with Nuno's agent Jorge Mendes and claims the former Porto boss is now the leading contender for the job.

Nuno guided Wolves to promotion from the Championship two seasons ago and achieved a top-seven finish last term.

ROUND-UP

- LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid are monitoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's situation as the striker stalls on an Arsenal contract extension, says The Daily Star.

- Jorge Jesus has emerged as a candidate to replace Marco Silva at Everton. The former Sporting CP coach guided Flamengo to Copa Libertadores glory over the weekend and his name has been put forward at Goodison Park, reports The Telegraph.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have held fresh talks with Leroy Sane's agent but are unlikely to lodge a transfer bid for the Manchester City winger until the end of the season, according to Goal.

- On-loan Roma defender Chris Smalling's impressive adjustment to Serie A has inspired Juventus to make enquiries to Manchester United, reports Italian broadcaster Radio Radio.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic's latest transfer hint might not be what it seems. ESPN suggests the Swedish free agent is considering investing in Hammarby, rather than playing for the Allsvenskan side. On Tuesday, Ibrahimovic tweeted an image of a Hammarby shirt sporting his name on the back, sparking rampant speculation.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

Roma defender Chris Smalling believes harsher sanctions are required from football's governing bodies to change the attitude towards racism.

The English centre-back joined Roma on loan from Manchester United after limited opportunities at Old Trafford last season.

Smalling has only made three appearances for the Giallorossi after missing the start of the season with a muscle injury but is settling in well at the Serie A club.

The 29-year-old is aware of the issues surrounding racism in football, but says while it is difficult to know what the right approach is, he hopes harsher penalties will deter supporters from racist behaviour.

"In an ideal scenario it wouldn't happen, but in a second scenario I think the authorities need to have the type of sanctions that make people think twice or three times about it," Smalling told his club's website.

"But until those are in place, if something was to happen to myself or a team-mate, then you could walk off.

"I know it's difficult because it's disappointing for 99 per cent of fans who are at the stadium to enjoy the spectacle and are not involved. But I feel like at some point it is going to happen – and it probably should happen. Maybe that then speeds up the authorities to change things.

"Unfortunately it takes for things to get worse before real change happens – that happens in all walks of life – but I do think that until those sanctions are strong enough we might not be far off a point where players do walk off.

"If one player is abused then the whole team should be together, and I'm sure they would be."

Earlier this season Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist chants during Inter's Serie A fixture against Cagliari, but Smalling is yet to experience it himself since arriving in Italy.

He said: "Honestly, I have not noticed anything – although I'm still picking up the language!

"I've not experienced it directly, but obviously you do see what's in the news. I don't think it is just a problem in Italy, I think we are getting more cases in England too. It seems to be very much a generational thing that I think definitely needs to be clamped down on.

"I think we are getting closer to the type of sanctions that there need to be, and they need to be harsh.

"But hopefully they can single out the ones that are unwilling to change, and then hopefully the new generation – like my boy, and other younger kids – don't grow up seeing it and thinking it's right."

Chris Smalling believes staying at Manchester United as a fringe player would have been an easy option for him and says he is ready to instead prove his worth at Roma.

The 29-year-old defender swapped Old Trafford for Stadio Olimpico last month in search of regular playing time following the £80million arrival of Harry Maguire at United.

Smalling was unwilling to play a bit-part role for the Red Devils and is hoping to improve his game during a season-long loan in Serie A.

"The easy decision was to stay. I had spoken to the manager before Harry came and I knew I was behind him and Victor [Lindelof]," he told The Telegraph. 

"But in previous seasons I had started behind [two first-choice centre-backs] and, after four or five games, I had worked myself into the team. 

"I love a challenge and when a new centre-back comes in, it makes you raise your game. You have to show more, you have to be more consistent.

"If I had stayed, I would have taken on that challenge and I would have been very confident that I would have played the number of games that I was worthy of. 

"Equally, I have a challenge here at Roma. Going back [to United], I will have an added element that some of the centre-backs won't have."

Revealing his discussions with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before leaving, Smalling said: "He told me I would get games. I am used to playing when I am fit - although that might have been slightly different this season. 

"I would have had the cup games and then in the league, depending on injuries. Would it have been the 40 to 50 games that I am used to if fit? It might have been the 20 to 30. Still a good number of games but I want to play."

Romelu Lukaku has repeated his call for more to be done to fight racism in football after he was targeted by monkey chants in a game at Cagliari.

On his second Serie A appearance for Inter, Lukaku was subjected to racist abuse while preparing to take a penalty, which he converted to win the game 2-1.

Lukaku subsequently used social media to ask football authorities and players to "unify" in the fight against racism, with Cagliari having been involved in similar incidents involving Blaise Matuidi and Moise Kean in recent years.

Racism has also been a problem in the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign with Paul Pogba, Kurt Zouma and Marcus Rashford among those targeted with abuse on social media.

Asked if players should leave the field if targeted by fans, Lukaku told Rolling Stone: "No. But I think he has to take a stand, yes.

"Because racism is something that must be answered. Look at England, where several things have happened to players from Manchester United and Chelsea in recent weeks: the question must be addressed.

"Football is something international, multicultural. If you really want to attract the best players in the world, you must welcome them with open arms, because in turn the athletes must adapt to the culture in which they arrive. Therefore it is fundamental not to discriminate, and to appreciate what one brings with his presence.

"I think it was a great thing for the club to launch a campaign like BUU - Brothers Universally United. And if they want my contribution, I'll give it to them. If I hear racist chants, I will answer. But my thoughts today are on the football field, to help my team-mates win."

Lukaku's former Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling, who joined Roma on loan, has also spoken out against racism.

"I think racism is unacceptable and should not be stood for," Smalling told reporters on Friday. "It is not an issue just in Italy, it is around the world.

"There needs to be a change, there will be generational changes and younger people will have a different perspective. But it does happen, not just in Italy but around the world, and it is very sad and unacceptable that it still happens in these modern times."

Lukaku initially thrived at United but found his opportunities limited last season under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the striker scoring two goals in two Serie A games since joining Inter.

"First of all, my decision is about sport. Inter was the club I wanted to play for in Italy and the coach [Antonio Conte] was an important element in my choice, besides the fact that I knew the team had some excellent players," Lukaku said.

"But even from a family point of view it was a good choice, because my brother [Jordan] is already here. I think Italy is a nice place to live, I am a person who likes to discover different cultures: not only playing in different football leagues but learning different cultures.

"This is why I am very happy to be here."

Chris Smalling can foresee a long-term future for himself in Serie A if his loan at Roma from Manchester United goes to plan.

The 29-year-old defender swapped Old Trafford for Stadio Olimpico in search of playing time after falling out of the first-team picture at United.

Harry Maguire's arrival sent centre-back Smalling further down the pecking order and his hopes of returning to favour appear limited for as long as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains in charge.

Roma offered a way out and the 31-cap England international jumped to seize what could become more than a temporary lifeline.

"I think this is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come," Smalling said.

"It happened very quickly. I am very focused on the next game, getting up to speed with training and learning the manager's methods. And then hopefully I want have a very good season. After that, we will see.

"To have a chance at a big club, if it goes well and the club is happy and I am happy, then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy."

Smalling is "looking forward" to testing his defensive qualities in Serie A and will have an important part to play in the Europa League, for which his parent club have also qualified.

The former Fulham man says winning the competition with Roma would be more special than it was with United in 2017.

"I think this club definitely has a chance," he said.

"We will be one of the favourites in the competition. Obviously, there are a few other clubs too, but Roma will be among the favourites.

"It has been great to have won it previously, but it would be even greater to win it here in Italy."

Roma have signed Chris Smalling on a season-long loan from Manchester United, the Serie A club announced.

Smalling signed a contract extension at Old Trafford running until 2022 last December, three days before then-manager Jose Mourinho was sacked.

The 29-year-old continued to feature under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but the arrival of Harry Maguire during the close season left him down the pecking order at centre-back.

He has consequently opted for a temporary move to Roma, who paid United €3million (£2.7m) to seal the deal.

"This is the perfect opportunity for me," Smalling said in a statement.

"The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.

"Hopefully I can hit the ground running. I'm looking forward to joining up with my team-mates."

Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi added: "We are pleased to bring a player like Chris, who has so much experience, to Roma. We are convinced he will help the growth of this squad and all the lads he plays alongside."

Like the similarly long-serving Phil Jones, Smalling has not managed a minute of first-team action this season, with Solskjaer preferring Axel Tuanzebe as back-up to Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Smalling has 31 caps for England but has not featured since June 2017, having fallen out of favour with national team boss Gareth Southgate.

Roma shared a thrilling 3-3 draw with Genoa on the opening weekend of the Serie A season.

Smalling was identified as the man to shore up a Roma defence shorn of the influential Kostas Manolas, who joined Napoli ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has completed a medical ahead of his proposed loan move to Roma.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed a deal was close on Friday, with Smalling having travelled to Italy to finalise a transfer to the Stadio Olimpico.

Smalling made 24 Premier League appearances last season, though with Harry Maguire's arrival for a record fee, the 29-year-old has been allowed to leave, having not made an appearance so far this campaign.

The move now looks to be nearing completion, with Roma posting pictures of Smalling undergoing his medical on their official Twitter account.

Smalling's departure comes after Alexis Sanchez joined Roma's Serie A rivals Inter on loan, while Matteo Darmian is also set to sign for Parma, though the former Fulham centre-back could still have a future at Old Trafford, according to Solskjaer.

"There haven't been a lot of English players in Italy. I think he'll enjoy the experience and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and better for it," Solskjaer told a news conference earlier on Friday.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Chris Smalling is set to join Roma on loan with Matteo Darmian likely to follow him to Italy.

After falling out of favour at international and now club level, England centre-back Smalling will seek to rebuild his career in Serie A.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca has been on the hunt for a new defender since selling Kostas Manolas to Napoli.

Confirmation of the impending move comes a day after Alexis Sanchez joined Inter but, unlike the Chile international, Smalling could still have a future at Old Trafford.

"It just came up in the last couple of days," Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday's match against Southampton.

"We sat down and discussed it. At the moment we have six fit centre-backs and I couldn't guarantee regular football for Chris. He's on the plane over there.

"There haven't been a lot of English players in Italy. I think he'll enjoy the experience and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and better for it."

Another little-used defender, full-back Darmian, appears poised for a return to his homeland, but Solskjaer ruled out a possible departure for Marcos Rojo.

Neither player has made an appearance in the Premier League this season.

"I can see maybe Matteo [leaving]," the United manager said.

"There has been some interest in Matteo over in Italy.

"Marcos is staying, definitely. We have a squad now less in numbers but certainly big enough and strong enough."

Maybe, just maybe, the Neymar transfer saga is coming to an end.

The Brazilian's future has dominated the headlines over recent weeks as Barcelona try to re-sign the wantaway Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

With the September 2 deadline looming, Barca may have struck a deal…

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND PSG REACH NEYMAR AGREEMENT

According to BBC Sport, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have agreed terms on the value of Neymar.

The two clubs have reportedly settled on a figure of €200million for a player who left Camp Nou in a world-record €222m deal in 2017.

The LaLiga champions are also willing to offer Jean-Clair Todibo, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele on a season-long loan, though all three players still have to agree terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Gianluca di Marzio, Atletico Madrid have made an enquiry for Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. However, the race seems to be between Napoli and Monaco, who are both reportedly prepared to pay €65million for the former Inter captain.

- A swap deal involving Keylor Navas and Alphonse Areola is close to completion. RMC says Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Areola has reached an agreement with Real Madrid. Marca, meanwhile, says Navas will sign a three-year deal with PSG.

Parma are confident of signing Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian, says Alfredo Pedulla. Former Torino defender Darmian has been virtually non-existent at Old Trafford in recent months.

- Radio Marte reporter Dario Sarnataro claims Chelsea have offered Michy Batshuayi to Napoli. The 25-year-old striker has recently spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace.

- Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is on the verge of moving to Roma on loan, according to widespread reports in Italy and England.

- Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is set to join Besiktas on a season-long loan, says Goal.com. The Egypt international only made 17 appearances last season. Il Messaggero, meanwhile, claims the Gunners and Tottenham are both monitoring Roma star Cengiz Under.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepted Eric Bailly's condition "doesn't look great" after the centre-back suffered a knee injury in Manchester United's win over Tottenham.

United clinched a 2-1 victory in Thursday's International Champions Cup clash thanks to Angel Gomes' well-taken effort in the 80th minute, but the main talking point from the contest was the blow to Bailly.

The Ivory Coast international had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes following his half-time introduction before going down in need of medical attention, having attempted to block a shot from Son Heung-min, who was flagged offside.

Bailly was carried off on a stretcher and later photographed on crutches with his left knee in a brace, continuing the injury nightmare he has had to endure over the past two years.

Manager Solskjaer could not offer any form of update after the game in Shanghai but seemed pessimistic about the 25-year-old's condition.

"It's never nice getting an injury and not worth it," Solskjaer told reporters. "He's done his knee, but we're not sure how bad.

"We need to get him back to Manchester and do scans. We'll hope for the best."

He added in an interview with MUTV: "It doesn't look great, but let's see how it goes."

United have been strongly linked with £80million-rated Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire in recent weeks and Solskjaer was asked if Bailly's injury will see the club intensify their pursuit of defensive reinforcements.

But he seemed to suggest he is content with the options available to him.

"We've had six centre-backs rotating here [on United's tour]," he said. "Phil [Jones] played first three games, then today Marcos [Rojo] and Chris [Smalling] took their chances.

"We looked assured at the back. You're never happy when you get injuries – let's hope for the best for Eric."

Page 2 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.