Merih Demiral wants to live up to the example of his idol Giorgio Chiellini during the early stages of his Juventus career.

Turkey international Demiral joined Juve from Sassuolo in an €18million deal last month – the centre-back having impressed following his move to Serie A from Alanyaspor midway through the 2018-19 season.

The 21-year-old's style has been compared to former Juventus and Uruguay favourite Paolo Montero.

However, despite arguably posing a threat to the club's much-vaunted old-guard at the back along with standout close-season recruit Matthijs de Ligt, Demiral insists he need only look to the likes of Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci for inspiration.

"To be compared to Montero is an honour for me," he said on Tuesday.

"I hope to be able to show the fans that I'm a strong defender and live up to that expectation. My real idols are the players that I'm playing with now, like Chiellini.

"Chiellini and Bonucci have been helping me a lot to settle in here as well as the other players, I hope to learn a lot from them.

"[Head coach Maurizio] Sarri looks over the defensive side of play personally and this allows me to train in the best possible way and work on my weaknesses."

Demiral is the first Turkish player to sign for Juve, something he described as an "absolute honour", although he is grateful for the presence of Emre Can in Turin – the Germany midfielder of Turkish descent having helped him adjust to new surroundings.

"Emre Can is helping me a lot to settle in both on and off the pitch and I'd like to thank him publicly for that," he added.

Federico Fazio has signed a two-year contract extension with Roma, the Serie A club have confirmed.

The centre-back's fresh terms at the Stadio Olimpico run until June 30, 2021.

"It's my second renewal with the club and I am incredibly pleased," said the 32-year-old Argentina international, who moved to the Italian capital on an initial loan deal from Tottenham in 2016.

"From the very first day here I have felt that the club has confidence in me, something that is important to every player. 

"I've sensed that belief from everyone who works at Trigoria [Roma's training ground] – a place I want to stay at for the long-term."

In three seasons with the Giallorossi, Fazio has made 135 appearances and scored 11 goals.

"Federico is a key player within our squad, and because of that we are delighted to be able to extend his contract," said Roma's sporting director Gianluca Petrachi.

"We will be relying on his ability and his experience, qualities which will also be hugely important in the growth and development of our younger players.

"Federico will be a mentor for our defence and for our lads."

Roma open their Serie A campaign at home to Genoa on Sunday following a busy close season under new head coach Paulo Fonseca.

Pau Lopez, Bryan Cristante and Amadou Diawara are among those in line to make their competitive debuts.

Neymar continues to dominate the headlines and Barcelona look set to finally get serious in a move for the Paris Saint-Germain star.

The Brazil international, 27, has been linked with a move from PSG, but progress has seemingly been slow amid links to Barca and Real Madrid.

It appears Juventus are now ready to join the race, too, as Barcelona prepare to submit an offer.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO SUBMIT NEYMAR BID

Barcelona have decided to submit a formal offer to PSG for Neymar, according to RAC1.

The cover of Sport reads 'Offer Offical' as Barcelona continue their pursuit of the star they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago.

They say Barca are hoping to get a deal done and have an option to buy Neymar next season.

 

ROUND-UP

- There may yet be a bit to play out in the Neymar saga. AS report Juventus have opened talks with PSG and are keen to sign the Brazil star, willing to offer Neymar the €37m per year net he currently makes at PSG.

- Paulo Dybala could be part of a Juventus move for Neymar. Dybala was reportedly close to a Premier League switch earlier this month and is valued at €80m and a target for PSG, according to Sport and the Daily Mail, giving the Ligue 1 champions an ideal replacement for Neymar.

- Christian Eriksen's Tottenham future remains unclear. However, ESPN FC report the Denmark international is only interested in moving to Barcelona, Real Madrid or Juventus if he leaves Tottenham.

- As Barcelona try to find a deal for Neymar, Nelson Semedo has been one of the players mentioned as part of a potential package. However, Marca report the defender does not want to go to PSG and Barca are aware.

- Roma are still trying to strengthen their defence and Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi has emerged as a target, according to TuttoMercatoWeb. The Serie A giants would consider an initial loan move for the defender.

- Franck Ribery could be close to making a decision on his future. According to Fabrizio Romano, the former Bayern Munich star is in advanced talks with Fiorentina.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed there is interest in Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez, who is strongly linked with joining Serie A side Inter.

Sanchez has endured a miserable time at United since he joined from Arsenal in January 2018 in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to the Gunners.

He has scored four goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, with his spell at Old Trafford heavily affected by various injuries.

Inter are reportedly keen to sign Sanchez on loan, which would allow the Chile international to reunite with his former United team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

While Solskjaer was unwilling to give firm details about the status of a potential move for Sanchez, he accepted the 30-year-old may depart before the European transfer deadline on September 2.

"There's still a couple weeks left of the transfer window," Solskjaer said after Monday's 1-1 league draw away to Wolves.

"There is a chance [he could leave]. Some clubs have shown interest in Alexis and we'll see what happens. 

"We can't update you more than that."

While Sanchez's time at Old Trafford looks to be coming to an end, fellow forward Anthony Martial has started the 2019-20 season in fine form.

The France international hit the opening goal of the game at Molineux to reach 50 in all competitions for United and Solskjaer hailed his impact.

"He's scored two in two now and he'll only improve," Solskjaer said of Martial. "The relationship between him and Marcus [Rashford], Jesse [Lingard] and the other forwards will only improve.

"The more we get him into positions to score, the more he will. He's more between the posts so I'm happy with that.

"It was a wonderful goal."

United were denied the three points that would have taken them top as Rui Patricio saved Paul Pogba's second-half penalty after Ruben Neves had cancelled out Martial's effort.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has been diagnosed with pneumonia, the Serie A champions have confirmed.

Sarri missed Juve's friendly win over Triestina on Saturday due to "the persistence" of flu, which he developed last week.

He returned to the club's training base on Monday but was unable to oversee preparation work on the pitch due to his illness.

The club conducted further examinations and Sarri has now begun a course of treatment.

A statement released by the club on Monday read: "Maurizio Sarri, after having observed rest over the weekend, was at the JTC Continassa [Juve's training facility] today where he coordinated the work of his staff.

"Unfortunately, he could not conduct the training on the field due to the persistence of his flu, which struck him over the course of last week.

"In the late afternoon, he underwent further tests that confirmed he has pneumonia, for which specific therapy has been prescribed.

"The coach has authorised the club to communicate his state of health."

Juve begin their Serie A campaign against Parma on Saturday. It is unclear whether Sarri will be in a position to take charge of the team at Il Tardini.

Juventus have sent new signing Luca Pellegrini on loan to Cagliari for the 2019-20 season.

Pellegrini joined Juve at the end of June as part of the deal that took Leonardo Spinazzola to Roma, with the 20-year-old costing the Old Lady €22million.

Juve have been forced to trim down their squad in order to meet Champions League registration rules, though, and Pellegrini is a victim of that situation.

There have also been reports claiming coach Maurizio Sarri is not entirely convinced by the youngster, who spent part of last season on loan at Cagliari.

Despite this, the Sardinian club do not have a purchase option on Pellegrini, who has a contract with Juve until 2023.

Mario Balotelli says his mother cried when she found out he was signing for Brescia.

Balotelli, a free agent since leaving Ligue 1 side Marseille, has agreed a multi-year contract with his hometown club.

It marks a return to Italy for the former Inter and AC Milan striker, who has not played in Italy since 2016.

Spells with Nice and Marseille have rebuilt Balotelli's career and he revealed his mother's delight at his latest move.

"At the beginning she was crying. She was very happy," Balotelli told a news conference on Monday.

"My father was from Brescia, he was always in Brescia, for him it would have been a dream to see me here.

"I chose Brescia, I thought of nothing else when I got the offer. Brescia can give me everything, it is the team of my city And I can give more to Brescia than to others."

During his time at AC Milan Balotelli was targeted by racist abuse, which has continued to blight Serie A in recent years.

"I don't know what to expect," he said when asked about racism in Italian football. "I hope things don't happen like in the past."

Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic lead the names nominated for FIFA's Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the season.

A panel of FIFA and external football experts selected 10 goals to put to a public vote, with the efforts ranging from the sublime to the outrageous.

Barcelona icon Messi is nominated for the fourth time in five years, while three female players are included after there were none up for the award last year.

All goals selected for consideration were scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019, and we have the low down on each one, with voting open until September 2…

 

Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig) v Bayern Leverkusen – April 6, 2019

Brazilian midfield Cunha dazzled the Leverkusen defence in April's 4-2 win as he latched on to a pass in from the left, beat a defender with a pirouette and then found the net with a sumptuous chip.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) v Toronto – September 15, 2018

Ibrahimovic has always been synonymous with the extravagant. His goal in last year's 5-3 defeat to Toronto is up there with his best. The Swedish forward got on the end of Jonathan dos Santos' lofted throughball and, despite initially looking set to take it down on his chest, he spun and guided the ball into the net acrobatically. His penchant for martial arts was immediately noticeable from the finish.

 

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) v Real Betis – March 17, 2019

We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

 

Ajara Nchout (Cameroon Women) v New Zealand Women – June 20, 2019

Arguably the standout goal of the Women's World Cup was also a vital winner. With Cameroon being held to a 1-1 draw, Nchout – who also got her team's first – embarked on a mazy run, beating her marker twice with sharp turns before guiding a composed finish in to seal a late 2-1 win and book their place in the knockout phase of the competition.

 

Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) v Napoli – September 2, 2018

Quagliarella went on to have the best season of his career at the ripe old age of 36 last term, scoring 26 times. We should have seen the early signs, as his first of the campaign was a truly special effort. Against his former club Napoli, Quagliarella met Bartosz Bereszynski's right-wing cross with an airborne back-heeled effort from 12 yards that left the goalkeeper helpless.

 

Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate) v Racing Club – February 10, 2019

A former so-called 'wonderkid' who went off the boil before enjoying a resurgence, Quintero has had a fine couple of years. A playmaker with an eye for the spectacular, his free-kick against Racing in the 2-0 Superliga win in February was quintessential Quintero – from about 35 yards out on the right flank, his left-footed strike bent inside the top-right corner in a remarkable display of accuracy.

 

Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals) v Sky Blue FC – June 16, 2019

After picking up possession inside her own half, Rodriguez cleverly side-stepped a defender and burst into the attack. She got to the final third and, sensing little support, let fly with a left-footed screamer that nestled in the top-right corner.

Billie Simpson (Cliftonville Ladies) v Sion Swift Ladies – August 9, 2018

A truly ridiculous goal. Straight from the opposing goal-kick, Simpson volleyed it right back in the opposite direction, catching it perfectly with a ferocious volley that caught the goalkeeper completely off guard.

 

Daniel Zsori (Debrecen) v Ferencvaros – February 16, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Zsori announced himself to Hungarian football in astonishing fashion in February. On his league debut, the attacker met a cross from deep with an overhead-kick just inside the area, picking out the top-far corner in stoppage time to secure a 2-1.

Mauro Icardi will not be joining Monaco, the Inter striker's wife and agent Wanda Nara has insisted.

Argentina international Icardi has been linked with a switch to the Ligue 1 side after being told he can leave San Siro.

The Inter captaincy was taken off the player last term and he appears to have no future at the club under coach Antonio Conte.

Nara, however, has ruled out a Monaco move before the French and Italian transfer windows close on September 2.

"He will not go to Monaco," Nara said simply to TyC Sports.

Monaco are reportedly seeking a successor to Radamel Falcao, who has been linked with Galatasaray.

Free agent Daniel Sturridge, who left Liverpool at the end of his contract, is reportedly a target for Leonardo Jardim's side.

Real Madrid lead the race to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, while Barcelona are optimistic.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Ligue 1 champions PSG before the transfer window closes on September 2, with either Barca or Madrid his likely destination.

It remains to be seen just where the Brazil forward ends up, but Madrid have apparently moved ahead of their rivals in the race.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID LEAD BARCELONA IN RACE FOR NEYMAR

Contacts intensified between the parties involved in getting Neymar from PSG to Real Madrid, according to AS.

However, the cover of Sport says Barcelona are "optimistic" about signing the star they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago.

They also report that PSG are making constant calls to the LaLiga champions as they try to find an agreement.

 

ROUND-UP

- Napoli appear to be growing tired of waiting for Mauro Icardi, who is unwanted at Inter. According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli want an answer from the forward regarding a potential switch by Saturday.

- One more time? Real Madrid are set to make a final push to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to The Times, who say the Premier League club are expected to reject any offers for the France international.

- A player set for an exit from Old Trafford is Alexis Sanchez and more details are emerging about his move from Manchester United to Inter. Fabrizio Romano reports Inter are in talks with United to sign Sanchez on a season-long loan with an option to buy for €15m (£13.7m), with United to pay part of the Chilean's wages.

- Could Emre Can leave Juventus after just one season in Turin? Bayern Munich and PSG are interested in the former Liverpool star, according to Tuttosport, with the Serie A champions set to let a midfielder leave after the arrivals of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. PSG are also set to meet with Paulo Dybala's representatives on Tuesday, reports in Italy say.

- Amid fresh rumours PSG are chasing Gianluigi Donnarumma, the goalkeeper has reiterated his desire to stay at AC Milan, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Daniel Sturridge could be close to making a decision on his future. The Daily Express report the former Liverpool forward is in talks with Turkish side Trabzonspor, while Ligue 1 outfit Monaco could also make Sturridge an offer if Radamel Falcao departs.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant Paul Pogba will stay at Old Trafford amid links to Real Madrid and Juventus.

Pogba said a "question mark remains" over his future following United's 4-0 rout of Chelsea in their Premier League opener on August 11.

While the Premier League's transfer window has already closed, the LaLiga and Serie A markets remain open until September 2 – prompting ongoing speculation about a possible move to Madrid or a sensational return to Juventus.

Solskjaer, however, has no concerns over star midfielder Pogba ahead of United's trip to Wolves on Monday.

"You [the media] always put question marks around Paul," Solskjaer said. "I don't think it's odd saying enjoy playing, I have fun with my team-mates, I enjoy what I'm doing, I love my job and enjoy the game.

"Of course that sentence with the question mark about him, there's always question marks about Paul.

"There's not one press conference that I've not answered a question about Paul Pogba – 80 per cent of what he said was that he enjoyed that game and his time here.

"I've got absolutely no concerns on Paul. For me, yeah, he's going to stay."

Meanwhile, Solskjaer admitted United have "too many" centre-backs following the world-record arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

With Maguire now at the Theatre of Dreams, Solskjaer's options also include Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly, who is recovering from a serious knee injury.

Argentina international Rojo was linked with a deadline-day move to Everton but a transfer did not materialise.

"I do have too many centre-backs to keep everyone happy," said Solskjaer. "But we need to win games, we need to perform, so we're going to pick the players that will give us the biggest chance to win games."

"They're all quality centre-backs and I know that we will need quite a few of them," added Solskjaer. "Of course, Eric's injury means that at the moment I've got six fit ones, which is maybe one too many to keep everyone involved.

"But then that's our jobs, to make the most of what we have now, and for them as well to make sure every day in training.

"And when they get the chance, because they will – we've got loads of games, play well when you get it. All of these, Marcos, Phil, Chris – they've been here for a long time and they've proven that they can do it."

Mario Balotelli has signed for hometown club Brescia after agreeing a "multi-year" contract with the Serie A outfit.

The Italy international was a free agent after his short-term deal with Marseille expired and when negotiations with Brazilian club Flamengo broke down he looked set to start the new season without a club.

But Brescia president Massimo Cellino told Gazzetta dello Sport Balotelli made it clear he wanted a move to Stadio Mario Rigamonti on August 12 - his 29th birthday.

"That day he expressed his desire to return to his city," said Cellino of Balotelli, who spent much of his childhood in the region of Brescia.

"Hence all those rumours have only caused confusion, because there was no written agreement and Flamengo rushed to Monte Carlo to trip us up."

Balotelli scored eight Ligue 1 goals in 15 appearances for Marseille in 2018-19 but the club's failure to qualify for the Champions League forced them to lower their wage budget and allow him to leave.

Prior to his move to Stade Velodrome, Balotelli impressed during a two-and-a-half-year spell at Nice, where he scored 33 league goals in his first 51 appearances, before enduring a difficult start to the 2018-19 campaign.

Cellino has high hopes for him at Brescia.

"I have good feelings," said Cellino.

"I'm sure Mario will give everything for survival, which remains a difficult goal.

"It is also a way to thank Brescia, who is very close to me. I won't talk about figures, but this operation costs a lot."

Balotelli could make his debut when newly promoted Brescia begin their Serie A campaign with a trip to Cellino's former club Cagliari on Sunday August 25.

Mario Balotelli being without a club once again as a new season approaches is "not normal", says Italy head coach Roberto Mancini.

Balotelli is reportedly close to joining hometown club Brescia after negotiations to join Brazilian giants Flamengo broke down.

He scored eight goals in 15 appearances for Marseille last term, having impressed in an early stint with their Ligue 1 rivals Nice, but budgetary constraints at the Stade Velodrome left the 29-year-old once again seeking pastures new.

Mancini managed Balotelli at Inter and Manchester City and ended his four-year international exile by recalling the striker when appointed as Azzurri boss in 2018.

Nevertheless, some exasperation with his one-time protege was evident in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

"At 29, and for the second year in a row, less than 10 days before the start of the championship, he still didn't have the absolute certainty of a team," Mancini said.

"He didn’t prepare, he didn't train regularly. He must reflect, it is not normal."

On whether Brescia might be the right option in terms of Balotelli getting back into the Italy fold, he replied: "Whether it will be a good solution does not depend on Brescia but on him.

"Perhaps by playing closer to home he will feel more comfortable but it is not [guaranteed to] be enough.

"I love him, but for him I can't do anything anymore. He must think that he is in the middle of his career and that he still has much to give – if he wants."

For now, Mancini's hopes in attack for Italy are far more likely to rest on Moise Kean, who completed a surprise switch from Juventus to Everton during the close season.

Although he views the transfer as a disappointing development for Serie A, the 54-year-old feels it can ultimately benefit his national team.

"It is a pity because he is Italian and an international," he said. "But he goes to play in a beautiful and difficult league, at a club where they have not won for years and have to make the team competitive again.

"This can help him grow; my sorrow is more personal. But by now we know – it is no longer the football of 20 years ago, when everyone came to play in Italy, the most beautiful championship where they earned the most."

On whether Serie A should aspire to be more like the Premier League, Mancini added: "We can't expect the rhythm of the Premier League, that's just their thing. They have always been used to it – much faster and with fewer interruptions.

"With us, the pace can grow and we must understand that technical quality is essential. But we are making progress."

First Romelu Lukaku. Now Alexis Sanchez?

Lukaku left Manchester United for Inter and former team-mate Sanchez could join the powerhouse Belgian in Milan.

Antonio Conte's Inter are set to be active before the transfer window closes.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHEZ SET FOR INTER

Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez has agreed terms with Inter, according to Sky Italia.

Sanchez has endured a nightmare spell since joining United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, managing just five goals in all competitions.

While United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has publicly declared Sanchez will play a significant role this season, the Chilean is reportedly poised to join former Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku at Inter.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Real Madrid will make a late €65million (£60m) bid to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, The Sun reports. The Danish star has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Juventus, while Madrid have been talking to Ajax about Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

- Le Parisien says Neymar remains convinced he will leave Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window shuts. It comes as Sport claims Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has taken command to re-sign the Brazilian, who left for a world-record fee in 2017.

- According to the Mirror, Manchester United are ready to pay defender Marcos Rojo to leave Old Trafford. With two years remaining on his contract, Rojo was linked with a deadline-day move to Everton. The Argentina international is now reportedly pushing for a loan switch to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Bayern Munich want to re-sign Mario Mandzukic from Juventus, claims Bild. Mandzukic spent two years at Bayern, where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the Champions League.

- It comes as Soccerlink reports Serie A champions Juve have turned to Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, with Inter outcast Mauro Icardi proving difficult to sign.

Napoli are preparing to relaunch a €60m bid to sign Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. Juventus are willing to offer Paulo Dybala in a swap deal but Inter are reluctant to deal with the Bianconeri. Napoli are also reportedly set to complete the signing of PSV's Hirving Lozano, who will undergo a medical on Wednesday.

AC Milan have asked Tottenham for full-back Serge Aurier on loan with an option to buy, claims Soccerlink.

Aaron Ramsey said he was "very proud" after making his debut for Juventus in a friendly match against Triestina.

Ramsey made his first appearance for Serie A champions Juventus since leaving Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of 2018-19 – the Wales midfielder coming off the bench in Saturday's 1-0 win.

The 28-year-old had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since April, but Ramsey replaced Federico Bernardeschi 20 minutes from the end at Stadio Nereo Rocco, where Paulo Dybala's 38th-minute stunner settled the game.

"I feel good. I have had a good rehab so hopefully now I can stay fit and healthy and help the team as much as I can," Ramsey said.

"I am really excited to be a part of it [Italian football] and experience the Italian league. We start now on Saturday, so I am looking forward to that and playing my first competitive match. I am really looking forward to it.

"This was a very proud moment for me to put on this famous jersey. I am happy that I got a few minutes out there tonight. I have been working hard to get back fit and hopefully now I can stay fit. I am naturally quite good physically.

"I have been working hard, and I know I haven’t had the minutes on the pitch, apart from tonight, but I feel good physically. It will take a few games to get there.

"I think I have had a good pre-season. We have got a new coach who has given us his own ideas. We have been adapting to that. I think the team is in good shape and hopefully now we can have a very successful season.

"We have been working hard on certain tactics and I think he wants to do good to the team, and we have put that into practice a few times. We are feeling quite confident."

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