Blaise Matuidi revealed Juventus have exercised a clause in his contract to keep him at the club for another season.

The France midfielder's deal with the defending Serie A champions had been due to expire at the end of this campaign.

However, he is now contracted to the club until 2021 after Juve took up the option to retain his services.

"In my contract there was an option for another year," he told Le Figaro.

"Juventus have exercised it. I never had any doubts about it. I feel the trust of everyone."

The World Cup winner joined Juve in 2017 after a decorated spell with PSG. He has twice lifted the Serie A title and tasted success in the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in his time with the Bianconeri.

Giorgio Chiellini is close to making his Juventus return, head coach Maurizio Sarri has confirmed.

The 35-year-old had surgery in September on a ruptured cruciate ligament and was ruled out for six months.

Sarri hopes to have Chiellini ready to return as soon as the experienced centre-back feels physically comfortable, with Juve entering a potentially decisive part of the season in which they play five games in 16 days.

The Bianconeri head to Hellas Verona in Serie A on Saturday before two games next week, including a Coppa Italia clash with Milan on February 13. The first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Lyon is on February 26.

"He's proceeding as scheduled. Giorgio is alternating between individual and team training," Sarri said to reporters.

"The progress that he is making is very important. The most important thing right now is to listen to what he says to us. Clinically, he is totally healed. All that matters now is how he feels."

Sarri has no concerns about the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo, who turned 35 this week and struggled in the first part of the season with a knee problem.

"Cristiano was in excellent condition in today's training and has been ever since he got over his knee trouble," he said.

Sarri plans to give more playing time to Adrien Rabiot, who has started four Serie A games in 2020 after starting just five times in the league before the turn of the year.

However, he insists Blaise Matuidi will have an important role to play during the remainder of the season.

"Rabiot is improving a lot and is in a very good moment, so I've picked him rather than other midfielders, but we can't forget who Matuidi is and what strengths he has," said Sarri.

"In the long run, Matuidi is one of those players who is always useful. This is just one period; there are lots of games to play.

"But now, I honestly think we have to give this guy [Rabiot] some consistency. He's finding confidence and form. I think he can improve further. I think it's important now to let him play four or five games to find consistency."

France have called up Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi to replace the injured Blaise Matuidi for this month's final Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Juventus star Matuidi was diagnosed with a rib problem during medical tests in Turin on Monday, having played 70 minutes of Sunday's 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan.

"The midfielder today underwent an MRI scan, which showed a fracture of the cartilage of the 10th rib," Juve said in a statement.

"I'm unfortunately out of the squad," Matuidi wrote earlier on Twitter.

"But I'm certain that France will get qualification. I'm looking forward to coming back for the next dates."

The French Football Federation confirmed Guendouzi will link up with the squad at Clairefontaine later on Monday.

The reigning world champions will qualify for Euro 2020 from Group H if they beat Moldova in Paris on Thursday, or if Iceland fail to win against Turkey.

"Qualifying has never historically been simple for Les Bleus," head coach Didier Deschamps told reporters on Monday.

"We only took one point from six against Turkey, but the main objective is to qualify.

"It's our goal to finish first, but that's not in our hands anymore because of Turkey. But even if we're first, we wouldn't necessarily be seeded for the draw [for the finals]."

France finish their qualifying campaign with an away game against Albania on November 17.

Maurizio Sarri said he is "not worried" about the knee problem that contributed to Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half substitution against AC Milan on Sunday.

Ronaldo was taken off with the Serie A result still in the balance for the second game in succession and the Juve superstar appeared frustrated with the decision.

The 34-year-old forward jogged straight down the tunnel and reportedly left the Allianz Stadium before the final whistle in Turin.

His replacement, Paulo Dybala, later produced an excellent goal to secure Juve a 1-0 victory over struggling Milan.

Ronaldo had underperformed in his 55 minutes on the pitch, leading Sarri to explain the nature of his injury issue.

"He was hit in a training session. He suffered a knee bruise. Maybe the right knee, if I remember correctly," the Bianconeri head coach said.

"It's not a big issue, no twist, only a bruise at the collateral ligament. When he steps he can't push as usual, but I am not worried about it."

Sarri's withdrawal of Ronaldo when three points were up for grabs mirrored the move he made in the midweek Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow.

The former Real Madrid man's failure to reappear on the bench attracted criticism from ex-Juve coach Fabio Capello.

"The fact that he didn't sit on the bench and said bad words to Sarri is not a pretty picture," Capello told Sky Sport Italia.

"One must be a champion even when he is replaced, not only when things are going well. Right now, Dybala is in great shape.

"The truth is that Ronaldo has not dribbled past an opponent for three years. I remember it when he went past players and left them there. Now it doesn't happen anymore, while Douglas Costa and Dybala do it.

"If I had been in Sarri's place I would have reproached him in the changing room. I would have told him that he must have respect for his team-mates and if I take him off it is because I want to try to win the game."

Dybala's intervention means Juve remain a point ahead of Serie A title rivals Inter going into the international break.

Blaise Matuidi could be forced to pull out of the France squad following further medical assessment on a suspected rib fracture, Sarri confirmed.

Martin Odegaard is enjoying a stellar season at Real Sociedad.

On loan from Real Madrid, Odegaard's starring performances are attracting interest from across Europe.

A Norwegian connection at Manchester United could see Odegaard move to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT ODEGAARD

Manchester United have joined the race to sign in-form Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, according to The Sun.

Odegaard is currently on loan at LaLiga side Real Sociedad, where the 20-year-old has scored two goals and supplied two assists this term.

The Norway international, who joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in 2015 but only has two appearances to his name for the Spanish giants, has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester CityLiverpool and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to leave struggling Tottenham. It comes after Spurs' season hit a new low following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been linked to the London club.

- As doubts grow over Pochettino, The Sun claims ex-Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will wait until the end of the season before taking a Premier League job. Allegri, who left Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19, has emerged as a possible target for Tottenham and United.

Arsenal have the chance to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for £53million (€59.4m) at the end of the season, claims L'Equipe. The Gunners were heavily linked to the 20-year-old during the recent transfer window and they could return for the defender, whose release clause is reportedly set to drop.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, says The Sun. The 16-year-old has impressed in the Championship this season with two goals in six matches. Bundesliga champions Bayern have an eye on English talent following their unsuccessful pursuit of Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- Sport Bild claims Bayern will "resume talks with Leroy Sane's management in the coming weeks". The Manchester City star was targeted by the German giants before suffering a serious ligament injury in the Community Shield.

- According to Calciomercato, Juventus are hoping to agree a new deal with midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The Frenchman, who was linked with a move away before the transfer window closed, is out of contract at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on reuniting with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante.

Inter are set to launch a shock January move for Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez, says Calciomercato. Antonio Conte's list of attacking options to add to Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez reportedly includes Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic, Udinese's Kevin Lasagna and Andrea Petagna of SPAL.

Blaise Matuidi has insisted he never considered leaving Juventus during the transfer window, despite others being "convinced" he would move on.

The France international is into the final 12 months of his contract and was strongly linked with an exit during the close season.

But he is reportedly in discussions with the Italian champions over a new deal and has started all four of their matches this term, including Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

"You were convinced that I'd leave in the summer, but I never considered this opportunity," he told Tuttomercatoweb.

"I work every day for the team and I'm only thinking about what happens on the pitch. Juve are a great team and they give me so much confidence."

Matuidi added to Juan Cuadrado's strike to put Juve 2-0 up against Atletico in midweek, only for the Spanish side to snatch a point.

Both Atleti goals came from set-pieces and Matuidi admitted his side have to cope better with dead-ball deliveries.

"We had a good game against Atletico, creating lots of chances," he said.

"We only have a small problem with set-pieces and we're working hard to prevent it from happening again.

"I should've done more to put off [Hector] Herrera for 2-2, so we all still have a lot to learn."

Juventus return to Serie A action on Saturday with a home match against Verona.

Blaise Matuidi has called for meaningful action to be taken after Inter striker Romelu Lukaku became the latest player to be racially abused in a game at Cagliari.

Lukaku appeared to be the subject of monkey chants from the stands at Sardegna Arena on Sunday as he scored from the penalty spot in his side's 2-1 Serie A win.

It was the fourth high-profile incident involving Cagliari fans in just over two years, with Juve midfielder Matuidi previously targeted, along with Moise Kean and Sulley Muntari.

The Italian Football Federation and FIFA were quick to condemn the crowd's conduct, but Matuidi has urged the governing bodies to take firm action against the minority responsible.

"Racism in Italy? I already had this problem," the France international said at a news conference on Thursday. "There was the Lukaku problem. It was also in the same stadium.

"I think there must be some measures [taken]. It has no place in football. And in all sports even - and even in life. We don't like to see that. 

"This is not a good example for the young people, for our children. We will do everything so that it is no longer the case, even if it is difficult because it concerns a minority. 

"But this minority of people has no place in the stadiums. We have bodies that are there to make decisions and I think it's up to them to make the right decisions."

Matuidi was strongly linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain during the transfer window but, having started Juve's opening two Serie A matches, he dismissed rumours he was ever close to leaving.

"I always declared that I was comfortable at Juventus, one of the best clubs in the world," he said.

"Paris will always have a place in my heart. I have supported PSG since I was a child and wearing their jersey was a dream. But now I'm proud to be at Juve."

The 32-year-old is part of France's squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Albania and Andorra.

Aymeric Laporte and Paul Pogba have withdrawn from the initial squad, while Tanguy Ndombele and N'Golo Kante were not considered for selection due to fitness concerns, but Matuidi insisted others can step up for the world champions.

"We are lucky to have a huge pool, with a lot of high-quality players," he said. "There are important players who are absent, but there are others who are there and who have proved for their club that they can bring a lot. 

"We have great confidence in this group and we are able to win despite absences.

"[The absentees] should not be an excuse. We have 23 players and must be successful and win these two games, especially at home. When we wear the jersey of the French team, we always play to win."

Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

- One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

- Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

- Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

- Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

- Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

Manchester United look set to miss out on Paulo Dybala, but they had a chance to sign another playmaker as the Premier League giants rejected a bid for Paul Pogba.

Juventus midfielder Dybala was reportedly set to be part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku, but the Argentina international now seems likely to remain in Turin.

While United appear eager to strengthen before the transfer window closes, they received – and rejected – a bid for Pogba that included James Rodriguez from Real Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED REJECT POGBA, JAMES DEAL WITH DYBALA SET TO STAY AT JUVE

Manchester United rejected a bid of €30million (£27.4m) plus James from Real Madrid for Pogba, according to The Times.

The report says the LaLiga giants are unable to work out a deal approaching the €164.1m (£150m) United reportedly want for France star Pogba.

Now, it seems Juventus could bid for Pogba to return to Turin, with Tuttosport reporting they will offer Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi for the midfielder.

Meanwhile, and also reported by the BBC, Manchester United have ended talks with Dybala because of the attacker's wage demands and amid uncertainty over whether the 25-year-old wanted a move to Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- Suddenly, Inter are back in the race to sign Lukaku. Sky Sports News report the Serie A side are set to launch a new bid for the Belgium striker in the coming days.

- With United's pursuit of Dybala seemingly off, Corriere dello Sport claim Paris Saint-Germain could be an option for the former Palermo attacker.

- Could Philippe Coutinho be set for a return to the Premier League? Arsenal could make a move for the Barcelona playmaker and former Liverpool star in an audacious loan bid, according to the Mirror.

- Napoli are perhaps ready to give up on signing James. Amid what have been fruitless talks with Madrid, the Serie A side are again expressing an interest in PSV star Hirving Lozano, according to Voetbal International, with the Mexico international's release clause at €40m.

- Andy Carroll's future is unclear, but a return to Newcastle United appears off. The Mirror say the injury riddled striker, who is a free agent after being released by West Ham at the end of 2018-19, will not be heading back to the Premier League club.

Juventus needed two quickfire second-half goals to salvage a 3-3 draw against Team K League in an exhibition match in Seoul on Friday.

Blaise Matuidi's header and a splendid solo effort from midfielder Matheus Pereira three minutes later ensured Juve avoided what would have been a second defeat in three pre-season outings under Maurizio Sarri.

The Serie A champions named a relatively strong starting side, including new signing Matthijs de Ligt, for the clash with a selection of South Korea's best domestic performers.

There was nothing Netherlands defender De Ligt could do about the stunning seventh-minute opener, though, as FC Seoul midfielder Osmar unleashed a 25-yard rocket into the top left corner.

Gonzalo Higuain's cushioned pass enabled striker Simone Muratore to quickly restore parity, only for Daegu forward Cesinha to respond on the stroke of half-time.

Cristiano Ronaldo took no part in the match but Cesinha invoked his spirit by mimicking the Portugal legend's famous goal celebration.

The collection of locally-based stars had more to celebrate when Adam Taggart extended the margin to 3-1 five minutes after the interval, but the introduction of Leonardo Bonucci, Adrien Rabiot and Matuidi on the hour laid the foundation for the Bianconeri's late fightback.

Juve's next scheduled game is against Atletico Madrid in Stockholm on August 10.

The Neymar saga has dominated the narrative at Paris Saint-Germain in recent days, with his future yet to be settled.

But the Ligue 1 champions still have moves to make themselves in the remaining weeks of the transfer market.

And PSG might back themselves to tempt an out-of-favour Juventus star to make the switch to France.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE APPROACH FOR DYBALA

If Neymar does leave Paris, Paulo Dybala would represent a fine replacement. He is an option, according to RMC Sport.

It is reported PSG have approached Dybala's camp, with any deal quite separate from Neymar's future.

A fee of less than €50million could be enough to see Juventus sell, with Dybala no longer a vital cog following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival last year.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dybala might not be the only Juventus player heading to Ligue 1, though. Le Parisien have reported PSG interest in Blaise Matuidi, who Sky Sport Italia say is also a target for Monaco.

- Further movement in Serie A could see Suso heading off. According to Calcio Mercato, the AC Milan star is a target for Roma. The Rossoneri will ask for close to €40m despite the midfielder appearing to be out of favour.

- Working rather harder to keep a key man are Tottenham. They will offer Christian Eriksen £200,000 a week to keep Real Madrid at bay, according to the Daily Mail.

- With Laurent Koscielny's future at Arsenal uncertain, Unai Emery's captaincy group will look quite different next season. According to the Mail, Rob Holding or Calum Chambers could be in line to be skipper.

- Their London neighbours Chelsea, meanwhile, are set to temporarily part ways with Ethan Ampadu. The teenager is on the brink of joining RB Leipzig on loan, according to the Guardian, and could be joined at the Bundesliga club by Ademola Lookman of Everton.

- But as one young prospect arrives in Germany, another might be on the way out. Bild say Barcelona are keen on Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, who is also said to be in the sights of Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Maybe Juventus are not ready to give up on signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba just yet.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Real Madrid as he looks for an Old Trafford exit.

But, just as it looked like Juve were struggling and Madrid was the midfielder's most likely destination, that may have changed.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO OFFER THREE PLAYERS IN MOVE FOR POGBA

Juventus could offer a fee plus three players in their move for Manchester United star Pogba, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Full-back Joao Cancelo, attacker Douglas Costa and midfielder Blaise Matuidi are the players mentioned for potential moves in the report.

Meanwhile, ESPN FC report Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told coach Zinedine Zidane that it will be very difficult to sign Pogba this close season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are still trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. According to Sky Germany, Barca are offering €100million plus two players, having given PSG a list of six that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Malcom. That is up from the earlier offer of €40m plus two players. According to Sport, Barca have made Coutinho and Rakitic priorities to be sold.

- After being linked to Bayern Munich, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to re-sign with Chelsea. The Daily Mail report the 18-year-old England international will sign a five-year deal worth more than £100,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Giovani Lo Celso apparently wants to join Tottenham, but Spurs are unwilling to meet Real Betis' £60m (€66.8m) asking price, according to The Sun, who say Erik Lamela could be added into a deal. Danny Rose could also reportedly leave Spurs and Sky Sports say PSG are interested in the left-back.

- Arsenal have beaten their north London rivals to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, according to ESPN FC. Arsenal will complete the signing of Saliba for £26.9m (€30m) and loan him back to the Ligue 1 club despite late interest from Spurs, the report says.

- Another reported Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave, according to The Sun. Arsenal have reportedly had a £40m bid for the attacker rejected.

- Bayern Munich are ready to meet Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez's €25m release clause, according to Kicker. Mendez, 22, was handed a Spain debut late last year and scored six goals while providing seven assists for Celta in LaLiga in 2018-19.

Paris Saint-Germain were interested in signing Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax but will not be buying the defender, says sporting director Leonardo.

De Ligt's performances in leading Ajax to a domestic double last term, as well as the semi-finals of the Champions League, have made him one of the world's most in-demand players.

But Juventus seem set to win the race for his signature after De Ligt's agent Mino Raiola said personal terms have been agreed with the Serie A champions.

With negotiations over the transfer fee continuing between Ajax and Juve, De Ligt was present at the start of pre-season training with the Dutch giants on Monday.

And Leonardo accepts De Ligt will not be joining PSG while indicating the Ligue 1 champions are operating to a restricted budget.

"De Ligt will not come to PSG," Leonardo said to Le Parisien. "There was a possibility.

"He is a great player but it was not a good time to make a big investment. We must calm down a little.

"We don't have an envelope with €200million to spend."

Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly has been touted as a De Ligt alternative for PSG but Leonardo indicated the Senegal international would also cost too much.

"He is a very expensive player," Leonardo added. "There is no specific project for the moment. But I do not want to talk too much about individual cases."

Leonardo said he made no offer to try and keep Adrien Rabiot at the club, with the midfielder joining Juve as a free agent.

Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey moving to Turin has led to rumours former PSG player Blaise Matuidi may now be surplus to requirements.

"I love Matuidi," said Leonardo. "I have a lot of respect and esteem for him. He has always been fundamental for PSG.

"But at PSG today, there are already players and we will continue to play 11 on the field."

PSG have signed Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia ahead of the new campaign, but veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rejected a new contract to return to Juve.

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