Milan Skriniar has signed a contract extension with Inter, ending speculation he could join Real Madrid or Manchester United.

Defender Skriniar has long been linked with United while his agents claimed in March he was a target for Madrid and Barcelona.

The centre-back, though, regularly indicated he would renew his deal with Inter and the club confirmed on Thursday he has signed fresh terms to 2023.

Slovakia international Skriniar has started 33 Serie A games this term after he was ever-present in the league last season, with Inter third in the table.

"He is the defender with the highest average number of successful passes in this Serie A, 65 per match, with a total percentage of 92.3 per cent," read an Inter statement.

"He won 221 duels and is the third top defender for recovered balls in Serie A. With Skriniar on the pitch for the entire match Inter conceded no goals on 15 occasions in the current tournament."

Inter can seal Champions League qualification for next season when they travel to second-placed Napoli on Sunday.

But Luciano Spalletti's future remains in doubt with former Italy and Juventus coach Antonio Conte reportedly approached to take over for 2019-20.

Mauro Icardi and Paul Pogba would make ideal transfer targets for Juventus, according to former midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who has "never understood" why his old team-mate left the club.

Pogba spent four years in Turin after leaving Manchester United, before he returned in a then-world record £89.1million transfer in 2016.

The France star has been tipped to leave Old Trafford after this season, though, with Juve and Real Madrid said to be firm favourites to sign a player who has been criticised for inconsistency during his time in England.

Marchisio, who made nine Russian Premier League appearances for Zenit in 2018-19 in an injury-plagued first season after leaving Juve, wants to see Pogba back in black and white.

"Looking at Juventus' team, I think it lacks a player that can help the team offensively and Pogba would be the ideal player for that," Marchisio told Tuttosport.

"I never understood his decision to return to Manchester; he had already been there.

"If he wanted to improve, it would have made so much sense for him to move to Spain."

Marchisio also called for the Old Lady to swoop for Inter striker Mauro Icardi, claiming an all-Argentine strike force would be "perfect" for Massimiliano Allegri's side.

Icardi's wife and agent Wanda Nara added weight to reports the Nerazzurri star could be on his way to the Allianz Stadium to join compatriot Dybala when she confirmed offers from "the best teams" have come in for him.

Marchisio said he remains in close contact with Dybala and recommended Icardi as a perfect foil for the 25-year-old Juve forward.

"I often talk to Dybala, we are close friends," he said. "He knows that he didn't perform well this season, but that can happen to any great player.

"He is determined to bounce back, and I hope they find a way to play him alongside [Cristiano] Ronaldo, because he is insanely talented."

Marchisio compared 26-year-old Icardi to former Juve striker David Trezeguet, adding: "He needs his team-mates to play his style, but of course he is an amazing player.

"An attacking duo featuring Icardi and Dybala would be perfect, also considering the age of the two."

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta admitted rumours about Luciano Spalletti's future are not helpful as the Serie A side continue to be linked with Antonio Conte.

Despite third-placed Inter set for their best finish in the league since 2010-11, doubts remain over head coach Spalletti and whether he will continue in Milan next season.

According to reports, former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea boss Conte is set to replace Spalletti – who led Inter back into the Champions League last season.

Marotta, however, leapt to the defence of Spalletti prior to Monday's 2-0 Serie A victory against Chievo.

"The rumours about Spalletti's future aren't helpful," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

"I believe it's the new generation of communication that spread these stories so easily, they create a distraction and can be annoying to read sometimes.

"Spalletti has done a good job and that should be recognised. Our goal was to get into the Champions League spots, and we are going about it the right way.

"I don't understand the criticisms of the last few weeks, as we have almost achieved our goal."

Inter are third – a point clear of Atalanta and three ahead of rivals AC Milan – with two matches remaining.

Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti hit out at sections of the Italian press over reports that Antonio Conte is set to replace him at the Serie A club.

Goals from Matteo Politano and Ivan Perisic secured a 2-0 win over Chievo on Monday, moving Inter up into third place with two games to spare.

Champions League qualification for a second successive season now looks likely, though Spalletti's future at San Siro still remains uncertain according to speculation.

Former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea coach Conte has been heavily linked with taking over at Inter, much to Spalletti's chagrin.

"For three months, the same things have been said. La Gazzetta dello Sport has written the same for three months," Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia.

"If someone says it'll rain tomorrow every day, eventually it will probably rain.

"You keep asking me the same things every week and I don't want to be rude by not responding. If La Gazzetta dello Sport have written the same thing for two years, and over the last three months it was every single day, then they must know something.

"They are also pretty insulting, with headlines saying you're spent, you're empty, a flop, that in the end weighs on you.

"It’s not about me, anyway, because this sort of rumour mill has been particularly strong around Inter for seven years.

"It's also nasty and offensive in its language and that is not the same way with other clubs. I don't know if there are some sort of family and friendship issues here, but it is different with Inter.

"It's only right that [chief executive Giuseppe] Marotta goes to seek out the best for Inter, so it's not about that."

Inter's win over Chievo ended a three-match streak without a league victory, and Spalletti was impressed by his side's display, though he acknowledged there is still room for improvement.

"I saw maturity, clear heads, sharpness and the awareness to avoid making silly mistakes," he added.

"We moved the ball side to side because Chievo's attitude was forcing us into that, but it is true our passing didn't have the right quality to break them down. We can do better."

Inter ended a three-match winless run to take a big step towards Champions League qualification with a 2-0 win over Chievo in Serie A.

Already-relegated Chievo had not beaten Inter at San Siro in 15 attempts heading into Monday's encounter, and they never looked likely to end that streak once Matteo Politano scored in the 39th minute.

Politano's effort was just reward for a dominant performance from Luciano Spalletti's side, though their fans were frustrated by wasteful finishing from Ivan Perisic and some fine saves from Adrian Semper.

Chievo's slim hopes of a comeback were ended after Nicola Rigoni saw red late on, though, and Perisic made sure of the victory with four minutes to go as Inter moved back above Atalanta into third place.

Inter had no problem in asserting their authority, with both Perisic and Milan Skriniar passing up presentable chances in the opening stages.

Perisic went close again in the 28th minute – his shot from a tight angle well saved by Semper.

But Inter's siege on Chievo's goal finally paid off six minutes before half-time when Politano sent a precise finish in off the inside of the right-hand post.

Emanuel Vignato almost restored parity after the restart, though Chievo would have been further behind had Semper not pulled off a fine save to deny Politano a second before reacting sharply to keep out Perisic's follow-up try.

Semper was beaten after the hour, but Perisic's low strike clipped off the upright and fell kindly for the keeper.

Rigoni's rash challenge on Roberto Gagliardini saw him receive a second yellow card soon after and Inter made their numerical advantage count when Perisic finally found the net after Cedric Soares had hit the woodwork.

 

What does it mean? Inter closing in on Champions League qualification

Two games remain of the Serie A season and, as it stands, Inter are in pole position to secure a place in Europe's elite club competition.

The Nerazzurri sit third, one point above Atalanta and four better off than their city rivals AC Milan. One more win would be enough to guarantee a top-four finish.

Politano makes up for Perisic's profligacy

It would be harsh to say Perisic had a poor game, given he was involved in most of Inter's play but, until his late finish, the Croatia winger lacked his usual composure in front of goal.

Fortunately, his opposite winger Politano had no such issue, and he had already set Inter well on their way to a win when Perisic finally found his shooting boots.

Icardi a shadow of his former self

Inter striker Mauro Icardi has scored just once in Serie A since returning to the first-team fold, and he was largely anonymous on Monday against a defence that has conceded over 70 goals this season. Icardi then received a mixed reaction from the San Siro faithful when he was taken off in the 79th minute.

Given his form, perhaps Icardi's loss – if indeed he is to leave in the close season – would not be such a blow to Inter after all.

What's next?

Inter face a tough trip to Napoli in their penultimate Serie A outing, while Chievo face Sampdoria. Both of those fixtures take place on Sunday.

Luciano Spalletti insists neither he nor his team will be affected by speculation suggesting Antonio Conte is set for Inter as they chase Champions League qualification.

Talk built this week that former Juventus and Chelsea coach Conte could replace Spalletti at the helm next season, despite the Nerazzurri being on course for a top-four finish.

With Inter slipping to fourth in the Serie A table, a point ahead of fifth-placed AC Milan, ahead of their game in hand at home to Chievo on Monday, Spalletti will not allow rumours to provide a distraction.

He suggested in his pre-match news conference that speculation over his future was standard at this stage of a campaign.

"The newspapers have been writing for months that I won't be Inter coach next season and they must have their reasons for that, because that's how the game works," he said.

"That doesn't change one iota what our goal is this season. I'd happily open the doors to our training sessions to prove just how well the players are training.

"There is only one route forward for us, which is to win matches and to secure Inter's place in the Champions League once again. That is the future. End of story.

"The players aren't thinking about Spalletti or other coaches, there is only Inter on their minds. The same goes for me.

"We want to qualify for the Champions League this season, just as we did last term. That would be a significant objective."

He added: "I'm not bothered and nor are the players with regards to me or my future.

"The players are not worried about what Inter will look like next season, because everyone is focused on how the team is doing at the moment.

"There will be 60,000 in tomorrow [Monday] night, not to keep the seat warm for next season but to drive the team on towards victory. No one is getting ahead of themselves.

"We are focused on today's training session [and] on tomorrow night's match. Monday's game is crucial. That would allow us to experience another season in the Champions League."

Ivan Rakitic has denied speculation that he is in talks over a move from Barcelona to Inter, claiming the rumours have been invented by the media.

Recent reports in Italy have suggested that the 31-year-old's brother and manager - Dejan Rakitic - had confirmed that negotiations were under way over a move to San Siro.

The same rumours also claimed that Inter were close to agreeing a €50million fee, but Croatia international Rakitic took to his official Instagram account to affirm that his immediate future is at Camp Nou.

"If you want to stop inventing things, I would appreciate it," Rakitic wrote across a screenshot of a report claiming a transfer was close to completion.

"I only concentrate on Barcelona and continuing here for many years and to get the double.

"Besides, my manager is called Arturo Canales."

Rakitic moved to Barca from Sevilla in 2014 and has won four LaLiga titles, four Copas del Rey and one Champions League during his time at Camp Nou.

Matteo Politano rates Inter-linked Antonio Conte as a "great coach" but expects Luciano Spalletti to remain in charge beyond this season.

Reports in Italy state Inter are preparing to cut short Spalletti's tenure and install former Chelsea boss Conte as his replacement.

The 49-year-old worked closely with Nerazzurri chief executive Beppe Marotta during a successful stint at Juventus and this week revealed there is "60 per cent probability" of him coaching in Serie A next term.

Returning to champions Juve could also prove option if, as is rumoured, Massimiliano Allegri steps down from his post.

Inter winger Politano admires Conte but, with Champions League qualification appearing likely, believes Inter will avoid making a change.

"I think Spalletti will remain [in charge] next year," the Italy international told Sport Mediaset.

"He has a contract and we are at his and the club's disposal."

Asked about Conte, Politano added: "I've never met him but he is a great coach. His numbers speak for themselves."

Inter are third in Serie A, one point ahead of Atalanta and four clear of fifth-placed AC Milan.

The Nerazzurri will expect to improve on a run of three successive draws when they host bottom club Chievo on Monday.

Diego Godin has announced he will leave Atletico Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season, with a move to Inter rumoured to be on the horizon.

Club captain Godin joined Atletico from Villarreal in 2010 and was a key part of their LaLiga title win in 2013-14 but confirmed in an emotional news conference his time at the club has come to an end.

The 33-year-old centre-back played for Atleti in Champions League final defeats to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, though he did win the Europa League twice.

"I'm going to leave Atletico Madrid. These are my last days here," said Godin, who is expected to sign a contract with Serie A side Inter.

"Atleti have been my family, my club and my home, and it's very hard to say goodbye.

"These have been wonderful years I have enjoyed a lot and I have grown as a player, but above all as a person.

"I would like to play here until I'm 40, but that is impossible. We did not reach an agreement, so I have decided to leave, nothing else."

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo picked out Godin's second-half equaliser in Atletico's 1-1 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou in May 2014, which made them LaLiga champions for the first time since 1996, as a high point of the defender's time at the club.

Cerezo said: "This is a very special day for Atletico Madrid, the whole family have come together to say goodbye to you Diego, an extraordinary player who gave everything over nine seasons.

"You have been a great example both on and off the pitch during this historic stage of our club. Your gestures - like the goal at Camp Nou, which was worth a LaLiga title - deserve to be recognised forever.

"Next year you will continue your professional career at another club, but you will always have the support of all Atleticos throughout your career. Atletico Madrid is your family and the Wanda Metropolitano is your home.

"If you were a champion on the pitch, off the pitch you were a super champion."

Inter's Champions League qualification hopes were dealt a blow as they were held to a third consecutive Serie A draw in a goalless clash at Udinese, who picked up a vital point in their battle against relegation.

Luciano Spalletti's men dominated possession but were restricted to speculative efforts on goal by an Udinese rearguard fighting tooth and nail for survival.

The introduction of Mauro Icardi inside the final half an hour failed to inspire Inter, whose lead over fourth-placed Atalanta could be cut to one point on Sunday.

The result left Udinese five points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Empoli's clash with Fiorentina, despite having failed to win any of their last five league matches.

Radja Nainggolan scored in Inter's 1-1 draw with Juventus last time out and his dipping drive drew a good save from Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso diving to his right early on.

Danilo D'Ambrosio was lucky to escape with only a booking after a rash challenge on Rolando Mandragora and the Inter full-back fired narrowly wide after 23 minutes with a close-range header.

Pinned back for much of the first half, Udinese countered when Kevin Lasagna's run tore Inter open but Mandragora could only fire straight at Samir Handanovic after his captain played him in.

Ivan Perisic headed over the crossbar early in the second half as the home side defended in numbers, anticipating an onslaught.

Musso used his leg to deny Stefan de Vrij after Nainggolan's flick played the defender in and Inter's last clear-cut chance fell to Keita, who slid in to meet a looping ball into the box but was denied by the ever-alert Udinese goalkeeper.

 

What does it mean? Inter lack a cutting edge
This was a third winnable game in as many weeks for Inter, who simply do not possess the attacking threat to set themselves apart from the chasing pack and they mustered just one shot on target in the first half.

Lasagna puts it on a plate
Udinese's best chance of the game came when captain Lasagna led by example, slicing through the layers of Inter's rearguard and dishing up a golden chance for Mandragora, who should have done better.

Martinez misfires
At this stage of the season Inter cannot afford to be carrying players but Lautaro Martinez offered little by way of goal threat for the second game running.

What's next?
Inter entertain Chievo in a must-win game for Spalletti's men, while Udinese face a relegation dogfight at Frosinone.

Milan Skriniar has revealed he is close to signing a new contract with Inter.

Defender Skriniar has been a standout performer for Luciano Spalletti's side since joining Inter from Sampdoria prior to the 2017-18 season.

The 24-year-old's performances have seen him linked with a move to a host of major clubs across Europe, but Skriniar has now confirmed that talks to remain at Inter are nearing a positive conclusion, insisting he is unaware of how the transfer rumours came about.

While reportedly a target for Barcelona and Real Madrid, the centre-back is only interested in helping his current team qualify for next season's Champions League, starting with a win over Udinese on Saturday.

"Very little," Skriniar told DAZN when asked what stood in the way of him agreeing a new deal.

"I believe my future is here. I don't know where this thing about Real Madrid came from.

"If we win three games we're there [in the Champions League]. We must win in Udinese. It's a difficult match because they have something important to play for, but it also is for us. We must win there."

Reports have surfaced in Italy that Skriniar could be named Inter captain for next season, taking over from current incumbent Samir Handanovic.

Skriniar, however, says getting the armband would not change his approach.

"I don't think about the captain's armband. I just think about playing. Nothing necessarily changes with it," Skriniar added.

"You gain extra responsibility, but even if you don't have it you always have to give everything on the field and fight."

Diego Simeone hailed Diego Godin for his "remarkable" career with Atletico Madrid but refused to confirm whether the centre-back will leave at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old is out of contract in June and has been linked with a move to Inter.

Godin has spent nine years with Atleti, racking up 380 first-team appearances, though reports in Spain suggest he will confirm his departure following next week's home match with Sevilla.

Asked about Godin's future during Friday's news conference ahead of the weekend trip to Espanyol, Simeone said it is down to the player to make a formal announcement.

"I don't think it is appropriate to speak on his behalf," he said. "We love Diego so much. He has given and he is giving a lot to us in every single game he is playing.
 
"His career is just remarkable. We are very proud of his captaincy and if he has to tell something, I believe it is more fair to be him who talks on what can come in the future."

Thomas Lemar is another player who faces an uncertain future at the Wanda Metropolitano, having failed to make the impact desired since joining for a club-record fee of around €60m at the start of the season.

The French winger has directly contributed to three goals in his last four matches, however, and Simeone believes he still has a big part to play for Atletico.

"I think Lemar is a different player - he has some skills which are unique in this squad," he said. "His football is vertical and he is player who will be improving progressively.

"It will depend on him and us to get his best and also to keep it regular during the games, which has been the way lately. He is not just coming sometimes, he is doing 60, 65, 70 minutes. Working in defence, in attack, in the play, dribbling, crosses, things which will make him better player."

Atletico require just one more point from their final three matches to make certain of back-to-back runners-up finishes in LaLiga.

Simeone is confident that a lack of motivation will not be an issue for his players ahead of the games with Espanyol, Sevilla and Levante.

"There are still nine points to be played. It is true we need just one point to get the second position but we face every game in the same way and we want to win the game v Espanyol," he said on the eve of the trip to Catalonia. 

"When we compete, we fight for being as highest as possible. We always work to be first, but if you are not able, what logic says is you should try to get second position. That's the regularity we are looking for and this is what we can be happy for. 

"Sometimes being third, others second, others champions... it is what it should be with or without Simeone because the history of Atletico Madrid forces us to be that way."

Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti has no problem with Mauro Icardi's naked photos on social media as long as his striker continues to turn up for work appropriately dressed.

Icardi has posted a number of suggestive images of himself alongside wife and agent Wanda Nara on Instagram over the past week.

Those pictures and the media attention they attracted had the potential to become an unwelcome distraction for Spalletti and the Nerazzurri, who visit Udinese on Saturday looking to cement their grip on a place in Serie A's top four that would secure Champions League qualification.

But in a media conference on Friday, Spalletti shrugged off questions about Icardi's conduct away from the pitch.

"I don't know what you are exactly referring to," Spalletti said.

"When he comes here, he is always dressed as Inter. I'm interested in that."

Icardi was stripped of the captaincy earlier this season as the club took a strong stance in the wake of a dispute between the hierarchy, the player and Nara before he returned to the fold following a two-month absence.

The 2017-18 campaign saw Icardi rattle in 29 Serie A goals to finish as the division's joint-leading scorer, but this term he has managed just 10 from his 25 appearances.

And Spalletti believes the Argentina international has suffered as a result of his fractured relationship with the club, but insists there are no lingering issues between them as individuals.

"A few things have happened that may have limited him," Spalletti added. "What is special about him is the balance. A footballer who has a well-established depth of behaviour and way of doing things.

"This will lead him to confirm those great numbers he has always had. From my point of view there is no problem, my future is called Inter-Udinese, it's not called Icardi or not Icardi.

"Then it will be the result of Napoli, the match against Empoli. I have no problem with training or letting anyone play."

With matches against Udinese, Chievo, Napoli and Empoli remaining, Inter sit third, four points clear of fifth-placed Roma in the race for a top-four finish.

Inter general manager Giuseppe Marotta said Luciano Spalletti will continue as head coach next season.

Former boss Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have been linked with Inter, who are on track for their best Serie A finish since 2010-11.

However, Marotta insisted coach Spalletti will remain at the helm in 2019-20.

"Have I already chosen the Coach for next year? It is Spalletti, he has a contract, we're happy," Marotta said.

Inter are third in the league following Saturday's 1-1 draw with champions Juventus at San Siro.

Not since 2011 - when Inter were runners-up - have the club finished as high as third but Spalletti's men are poised.

Inter have collected 62 points, three more than fourth-placed Atalanta with four matches remaining.

Luciano Spalletti is not concerned about his future at Inter amid links with Antonio Conte and former boss Jose Mourinho.

Inter drew 1-1 with Serie A champions Juventus on Saturday and the third-placed Milan club are on track for their best league finish since 2010-11 when they were runners-up.

Despite Spalletti's work at San Siro this season, former Chelsea boss Conte and ex-Manchester United manager Mourinho have emerged as possible replacements.

But asked about his future post-match, Spalletti has no intention of leaving Inter.

"It's not a problem, the club will decide," he said. "I'd gladly remain at Inter for 100 years, but it's only right that Inter choose what is best for the club. If that means wiping out my work, that doesn't matter.

"Inter have the people who know how to decide and above all defend Inter."

Spalletti felt Inter had chances to beat Juve, with visiting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – who could have done more to keep out Radja Nainggolan's early opener – making five saves across the 90 minutes.

Nainggolan's seventh-minute strike was cancelled out by Juve superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who equalised past the hour-mark for his 600th club goal.

"We had control of the match in the first half and were dangerous in many situations, but scoring a goal is never easy, so we had to maintain that level of quality in our passing," Spalletti said.

"After the break, we didn’t manage to do that. Juve were more aggressive and we had less quality, giving the ball away a little too often. As soon as they got a tiny bit of space, they put it back on track.

"Both teams tried to win and it was an entertaining match. Defending isn’t really our strength and controlling a lead can create risky situations, so we should always press and go forward. We could (have) and should’ve taken the win home, yet we risked losing it at the end, so we still lack maturity and balance.

"I think it was a good game and we are in a period of time where the team has realised it possesses certain characteristics and capabilities, putting our plans into practice."

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