Juventus are set to be without Alex Sandro and Sami Khedira when they resume their quest for a ninth successive Serie A title at Bologna next Monday.

Left-back Alex Sandro suffered a medial collateral ligament injury during Juve's defeat to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday.

The Brazil international's knee problem could reportedly keep him sidelined for three weeks.

Khedira damaged his thigh in the warm-up ahead of a drab final at Stadio Olimpico, where Napoli won 4-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

Juve did not specify how long the duo will be out of action four days before their first Serie A match since the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus crisis.

A club statement said: "Diagnostic tests carried out at J-Medical this afternoon [Thursday] showed for Alex Sandro, a first-degree lesion of the medial collateral ligament. Physiotherapy began immediately.

"For Khedira, a partial injury of the tendon on the long adductor muscle of the right thigh. In the coming days he will undergo further investigations to define recovery times.

"Personalised work for Giorgio Chiellini and Gonzalo Higuain also continues. Training is scheduled for Saturday afternoon."

The Turin giants are top of the table with 12 games remaining, just a point ahead of Lazio.

Roma have suspended sporting director Gianluca Petrachi with immediate effect.

Petrachi only started his role just less than a year ago after he was lured from Serie A rivals Torino on a three-year deal.

The 51-year-old now appears to be on his way out of the club after reports of a falling-out with president Jim Pallotta.

It has been reported that team manager Morgan De Sanctis will step up to replace Petrachi, whose suspension was announced by the Eternal City giants on Thursday.

A club statement said: "AS Roma can confirm that it has today suspended Gianluca Petrachi of his duties as sporting director with immediate effect.

"The coach, and the team, will be guided directly by club CEO, Guido Fienga."

Roma are fifth in the Serie A table and face Sampdoria next Wednesday in their first game since the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Gennaro Gattuso and Napoli have only been together for six months but the tight bond between coach and club was illustrated by Wednesday's Coppa Italia triumph.

Napoli lifted precious silverware with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out triumph over Juventus, following a largely drab goalless draw in Rome.

Gattuso, whose sister Francesca died after a cancer battle earlier this month, was supported through that trauma by Napoli, and his response to success at the Stadio Olimpico was naturally highly emotional.

Appointed last December, the former Milan head coach already looks a strong fit for Napoli, and Gattuso felt he was kicking every ball as the Naples outfit landed their third Coppa success in nine years.

"A great win," Gattuso said. "I am 42 years old, this is my fourth final as a coach, I played 15 when I played, so it's 19 in my career.

"When you start, coaching is completely different. I feel many responsibilities on my shoulders. Sometimes I act like I am the chairman, or the doctor, or the storekeeper, and it's difficult when you live football like me.

"But it's the only way I know. That's why I feel this trophy as I played it by myself. Because I know where we started and how I pushed my players and the people working for the club. We deserved it."

The achievement came at the expense of Maurizio Sarri, the Juventus boss who previously led Napoli with distinction from 2015 to 2018, albeit without laying his hands on a trophy.

Questions will inevitably be asked of Sarri's ability to get the best out of his highly talented squad, but there are few doubts over Gattuso drawing every last drop of sweat from Napoli's players.

Now it remains to be seen who stays with Napoli for the next campaign. 

Dries Mertens has committed himself by signing a new contract, and Gattuso expects support from owner Aurelio De Laurentiis during the transfer window as he shapes the team's future.

"We don't need to operate so much on the market," Gattuso said. "We have to see who's going to leave us.

"Our chairman knows it, we speak every week about it. This is a strong team, but I think that 70-80 per cent of the players will stay with us.

"We will do few [transfers]. I am sure the team has great qualities."

Lionel Messi is reportedly set to re-sign with Barcelona.

The Argentina star is out of contract at Camp Nou next year, but is seemingly set to extend his stay with the LaLiga giants a little longer.

Messi, 32, has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona – and he may yet end up a one-club player.



Messi will extend his contract at Barcelona until 2023, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says the forward will get to decide if he wants to leave the club before then.

Messi is enjoying another fine season with Barcelona, scoring 26 goals in 33 games in all competitions.


- Tottenham want to hold onto their stars. The Telegraph reports chairman Daniel Levy is eager to keep Spurs' best players, including Harry Kane – who has been linked to Real Madrid – and Dele Alli and Son Heung-min.

- It remains to be seen if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal. CalcioMercato reports the forward – out of contract until 2021 – is open to a move to Inter, but the Gabon international is not among the Serie A club's top choices if they need to replace Lautaro Martinez, who is wanted by Barcelona.

- Madrid are reportedly eager to sign Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga. But Sport says the Ligue 1 club are working to extend the the 17-year-old's contract, with his deal running until 2022.

- Liverpool could be set to make changes. The Sun reports Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Dejan Lovren could make exits, while Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson may leave on permanent deals. It also says Liverpool are set to give Naby Keita one more season to prove his worth.

- Borussia Dortmund seem some way off landing Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. Bild reports the Bundesliga club have offered just a little more than €20million (£17.9m) for Bellingham, who reportedly has a release clause of €35m (£31.4m).

- Empoli midfielder Samuele Ricci is reportedly catching the eye. CalcioMercato says Milan have kept an eye on the 18-year-old, while Napoli and Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested.

The 2019-20 season brought renewed hope for Milan fans.

A new coach and the return of two club greats – this season promised so much after years of pain.

Not since 2010-11 have Italian powerhouse Milan won the Scudetto.

A fifth-place finish last season, narrowly missing out on Champions League football, provided renewed optimism upon Marco Giampaolo's arrival.

But problems continue to plague the Rossoneri – who have taken a financial hit during their six-year Champions League absence after withdrawing from this term's Europa League for Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches – as the Serie A campaign prepares to restart following the coronavirus pandemic.

Stats Perform News looks at the issues at San Siro, with Italian league football returning on June 20.


There was excitement when Giampaolo replaced Gennaro Gattuso on a two-year deal, having established Sampdoria's position in the top half of the table with an entertaining brand of football over his three seasons in Genoa. But it was a short-lived spell for Giampaolo – the 52-year-old overseeing just seven Serie A matches before becoming the seventh Rossoneri boss to be sacked since Massimiliano Allegri left in January 2014. Four defeats and only six goals scored in those seven league games underlined the difficult start at San Siro, where Milan made their worst start to a campaign since 1938-39.


Zvonimir Boban returned to Milan as part of Ivan Gazidis' revamp of the staff following the departures of Leonardo and Gattuso. Boban, who played for Milan between 1991 and 2001, left FIFA to make his way back to the Rossoneri as chief football officer but things quickly turned sour. The Croatian was relieved of his duties in March, just nine months into the role, after speaking out publicly against chief executive Gazidis. The frustration stemmed from Gazidis' reported pursuit of former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick as head coach and potentially director of sport, without consulting Boban or technical director Paolo Maldini, with Stefano Pioli still in charge. Following his sacking, Boban compared Milan to North Korea.


Like Boban, club icon Maldini headlined a new-look Milan amid much fanfare. Previously working as Milan's sporting strategy and development director, former captain Maldini replaced Leonardo at the start of the season. The Italian's position has come under threat, especially after Boban's exit, and it stems from Milan's interest in Rangnick. The possible arrival of Rangnick would leave no place for coach Pioli or Maldini – who told the German to "learn the concept of respect" amid ongoing speculation. It has not gone according to plan for Milan's favourite son, criticised over Giampaolo's failed tenure and opting to appoint former Inter coach Pioli. Factoring in Boban's exit and Gazidis' pursuit of Rangnick, it remains to be seen whether the 51-year-old will still be around in 2020-21.


Gazidis, again, is front and centre when it comes to veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Juventus and Inter striker returned to Milan in January. Ibrahimovic – who was part of the last Rossoneri team to win the Scudetto in 2011 – gave Milan a boost prior to the coronavirus pandemic, scoring four goals in 10 appearances. However, the 38-year-old's future is far from certain. His short-term contract until the end of the season has the option to extend the deal by another year but Boban's departure has thrown a spanner into the works. Ibrahimovic reportedly committed to staying while Boban was still at Milan, but that has changed as Gazidis tries to convince the veteran to continue in the red and black stripes.


Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is often in the headlines and it is no different this season. The Milan and Italy goalkeeper, once again, is linked with a move away from his boyhood club. Donnarumma was close to leaving Milan in 2017 following a contract dispute, which led to severe condemnation from fans. Agent Mino Raiola has continued to be outspoken over the 21-year-old, who has previously been linked to PSG, United, Real Madrid and Juventus. The latest reports suggest Donnarumma could extend his contract, but the longer Milan go without challenging for Serie A honours and Champions League qualification, the longer rumours persist.

Federico Balzaretti welcomed the introduction of an eight-team tournament in Lisbon for the return of this season's Champions League and called for the format to be an annual event on the football calendar.

There will be a condensed finish to the 2019-20 Champions League after the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Champions League will be completed in Portugal's capital city in August – the quarter-final and semi-final ties to be just one-off matches as opposed to the traditional two legs.

Quarter-final matches will take place across four nights from August 12-15, with last-four games contested on August 18-19, and the showpiece to be held at Benfica's Estadio da Luz on August 23.

"This kind of match of competition, new competition for Champions League, just one direct match. Great surprise because in one match you can beat or lose against everyone," former Juventus full-back and Italy international Balzaretti told Stats Perform News.

"Also Atalanta, they could win against anyone in a single match. I'm waiting for a big, big surprise in this kind of Champions League and I'm happy about that.

"I think it's great to have a final eight every year. In one city, it's like a mini European Championship every year.

"Why not [every year]? I'm very curious about it. I think it's good. There's less matches and you create Euros every year, with big surprise.

"It could be interesting. Also because FIFA would like to introduce a World Cup for clubs every two years. So, with one competition and more matches, this is a question of money, eh?"

The outstanding last-16 games will be completed on August 7-8, though a decision has not yet been taken on whether they will be played at the home stadiums without fans or in Portugal. The Estadio do Dragao in Porto and the Estadio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes will be added as venues if need be.

Juventus' last-16 clash with Lyon is one of the remaining ties after the Serie A champions lost 1-0 on the road in February prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Since then, the Ligue 1 campaign was cancelled and Paris Saint-Germain were crowned champions, much to the anger of Lyon.

Meanwhile, Serie A leaders Juve – eyeing their first Champions League title since 1996 after finishing runners-up in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2015 and 2017 – are preparing to restart their season away to Bologna on Monday following Wednesday's Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli.

"I think for Lyon it will be very hard because they didn't play for six months," Balzaretti, who spent two years at Juve, said. "So this is incredible. You play your most important match of the year and after six months you haven't played.

"And Juventus, they'll play 14 matches for this game. It is a big advantage for sure. I think [Lyon president Jean-Michel] Aulas is not happy about that. It will be very difficult.

"Everything is possible of course. But it's a big advantage."

Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali is ready to play for a "top, top club" amid strong links to Juventus and Inter, said former Italy international Federico Balzaretti.

Tonali is highly coveted following his exploits for Brescia – the Italian midfielder attracting interest from the likes of Serie A champions Juve, Inter, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona.

The 20-year-old, compared to Italian great Andrea Pirlo, has been tipped to join either Inter or Juve at the end of the 2019-20 coronavirus-hit season.

Balzaretti hailed "special" three-time international Tonali in an interview with Stats Perform News.

"Tonali, the first time I watched him, his passing [stood out]," former Torino, Palermo, Juve, Fiorentina and Roma full-back Balzaretti said. "His idea, to pass and to play vertical. He is totally different to Andrea Pirlo but he could play together with Pirlo. It would be a great, great partnership because he is more physical maybe than Pirlo. What Andrea has is a light interior and a vision to map the field, to play under pressure and understand one or two times before other players. Tonali doesn't have that yet.

"But of course, Tonali is a great character. His defensive numbers are very high in the league. When you watch him after 10-15 minutes, you say okay he will be a national team player for the next 15 years. It's impressive. I watched him three years ago, he is very young. It's unbelievable. He is an incredible player. He is ready to play for a top, top club in Europe – if it's Juventus, Inter, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, I don't know, it doesn't matter. He is ready for the next step."

Tonali is set to shape the future of Italian football alongside fellow 20-year-old and Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo has flourished in the Italian capital since arriving from rivals Inter in 2018, establishing himself as a key player for Roma and Italy.

The attacking midfielder, who is continuing his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), has been linked with a move away from Roma.

A possible return to Inter has been mentioned, while Juve have reportedly had an offer rejected amid reports Roma could be forced to sell prized asset Zaniolo due to their financial situation.

"It's very important to keep the best player, of course," Balzaretti, who spent three years playing for Roma before retiring in 2015, said. "But also, there is the financial part, which is sometimes more important because if you have a big debt, you have to sell, sometimes the management doesn't want to sell but they need to.

"When you need to sell, the offer comes for the best player you have. Clubs aren't stupid. They don't want to buy your worst player, they want your best player. Sometimes you need to. The problem is not to sell this kind of player, maybe it's a problem, but the first thing is to have a good balance financially. You have to be stable. You don't need to sell players, Zaniolo or someone else. This is the goal for this kind of club for me. Sometimes, you don't want but if you have less €100million, you need to sell because if not, FIFA will kill you.

"If you want to win the league, be stable in the Champions League, compete with the best clubs, you have to keep your best player. If they are young, like Zaniolo and [Lorenzo] Pellegrini, that can improve and be part of your future, of course it's not good. But if you ask everyone in Rome, the president and sport director, no one wants to sell their best player and sometimes you have to."

The 38-year-old added: "Zaniolo is a modern player physically. The power, amazing power. He is fast, he kicks well, he is a very modern player. He can play in midfield, wide, he can play number 10. A complete midfielder, an offensive midfielder.

"His impact in Serie A is so huge. You have to think that he played in Primavera, so under-19. His step was U19 direct to Serie A and not direct to Serie A to one 'normal club', with Roma and the pressure you have at Roma is amazing, so huge. His impact was more huge than the pressure he has. When you are special, you do something like that."

Dries Mertens has signed a new contract with Napoli to tie him to the club until 2022 and end transfer speculation.

The Belgium international was seemingly set to depart Stadio San Paolo with his previous deal set to expire at the end of the season.

His contractual situation led to reports of apparent discussions with Chelsea and Inter, the latter of whom were said to be offering a significantly better wage than the package put together by Napoli.

But the 33-year-old is claimed to have reached an agreement to remain at Napoli in May, with the club making the official announcement just four days after Mertens overtook Marek Hamsik as their all-time leading goalscorer.

A Napoli statement read: "Napoli is pleased to announce that it has agreed terms with Dries Mertens over a new contract with the club.

"Mertens has signed for a further two years with the option to extend for a third."

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis added on his official Twitter account: "Pleased to be together for a long time to come – long live Dries!"

Mertens moved to Napoli in 2013 after an eye-catching two-year spell with PSV and has since scored 122 goals in all competitions, including 90 in Serie A.

His most prolific single league campaign was with Napoli in 2016-17, when the forward netted 28 times in Serie A.

Cristiano Ronaldo will "probably" play out the final years of his career in MLS, according to his former Manchester United and Portugal team-mate Nani.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has established himself as one of the sport's all-time greats, winning four of his five Champions League trophies during a nine-year spell with Real Madrid.

He left the Santiago Bernabeu as their all-time leading goalscorer and has surpassed 700 for club and country since moving to Juventus in 2018.

Although he is showing few signs of decline – as evidenced by his 21 goals in Serie A this term, equal to his tally in 2019-20 despite playing nine fewer matches – Ronaldo is now 35 years old.

Retirement does not appear to be imminent, however, with his Juve contract running for another two years, and he is seemingly planning on a spell in the United States before calling it a day.

"A couple of years ago, he told me that he will probably end up in America," Nani, who plays in MLS with Orlando City, told ESPN.

"It's not 100 per cent, but probably. There is a chance."

Nani is convinced by the quality of football in MLS, even if he does recognise there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"It is a great league," Nani said. "Obviously there are points where we must improve as a league, even in the quality of the players.

"[But] here you have fantastic clubs, well organised with fantastic conditions, great coaches, great players. You see every season improving.

"I think we all have the conditions in this league. We are in a great country, everything is around us. It is all about being better, not being afraid to improve."

Bologna head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has signed a contract extension until June 2023.

Mihajlovic was diagnosed with leukaemia ahead of the 2019-20 season and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October. He was back in the dugout six weeks later.

The Serbian had two years left to run on his deal but agreed to an extension with Bologna 10th in Serie A, which will resume this weekend having been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, with 12 games remaining.

They sit five points adrift of Europa League qualification and two away from seventh, which will also provide a route into continental football next season if Juventus win the Coppa Italia, or if Napoli claim the trophy and finish in the top six.

Mihajlovic was present for Bologna's first game of the season in August despite spending the month prior in hospital undergoing treatment.

Bologna will play their first game in almost four months at home to reigning champions Juve on Monday.

Manchester United know what they will need to pay for Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, and they may look elsewhere.

Grealish has been linked with a move to Old Trafford after an impressive campaign with Villa.

However, United could opt for a cheaper alternative.



Aston Villa want at least £80million for Jack Grealish amid links to Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

The report says Villa also have hope of keeping the attacker if they can avoid Premier League relegation.

Grealish, 24, has scored seven goals and provided six assists in 26 Premier League games this season.



- Could Manchester United look elsewhere? The Sun reports United are eyeing Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey as a cheaper alternative to Grealish and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

- Staying at Old Trafford and France Football claims Manchester United have made contact with Willian, who is coming out of contract at Chelsea.

- Miralem Pjanic's Juventus future seems unclear. Sport reports the midfielder is moving away from the Serie A club amid links to Barcelona and Chelsea.

- Perhaps Juventus and Chelsea could be set for a swap deal. The Sun says Chelsea are set to be offered Adrien Rabiot and Federico Bernardeschi for Jorginho and Marcos Alonso.

- Another player who has been linked to Manchester United is Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. However, BILD reports Borussia Dortmund have reached an agreement with the 16-year-old midfielder, but are having problems with the transfer fee.

- On loan at Borussia Dortmund since 2018, Achraf Hakimi is due to return to Real Madrid. However, AS reports Bayern Munich are eager to sign the full-back and are willing to offer a sizeable transfer fee and salary.

Maurizio Sarri has expressed frustration at the way his record in Italy can be perceived ahead of Juventus' Coppa Italia final clash against Napoli.

Serie A leaders Juve face Napoli in Rome on Wednesday after the two sides emerged triumphant from their semi-final ties against Milan and Inter respectively.

Juve were runners-up in the Supercoppa Italiana earlier in the season, so a Coppa triumph would be a first trophy with the club for head coach Sarri.

Prior to his year at Chelsea, when he won last season's Europa League, Sarri spent three successful campaigns with Napoli, though silverware eluded him.

That stint came after a long managerial run in Italy that included spells with Empoli, Perugia and Sorrento.

"I get a bit annoyed when I hear that I didn't win anything in Italy, because I won eight promotions," Sarri told reporters ahead of the final.

"That is perhaps a small thing compared to the Champions League and the Scudetto, but it is not easy.

"It's always an important incentive to win important trophies and there is a desire to lift the cup. I am happy that we are in the final."

The 61-year-old urged his players to seize the moment after the coronavirus crisis left them wondering if their hard work earlier in the season would come to nothing.

Sarri added: "We had seven months of play but then three months of lockdown before we could play these games.

"Now we have to bring out that little bit extra to take home as many trophies as possible.

"We have worked hard to get to this position to play games like this, so it is time to give everything we have.

"Winning is never a foregone conclusion, but it will be important to do it for the players, for the club and for the fans."

Maurizio Sarri has praised his opposite number Gennaro Gattuso ahead of the Coppa Italia final while urging his Juventus players to turn their fine season into something "concrete".

Napoli and Juve saw off Inter and Milan respectively in the semi-finals at the weekend.

Juve boss Sarri will now battle it out against his former club for the trophy in Rome on Wednesday.

Sarri is under no illusions over the quality of Napoli, now led by Gattuso after he coached them between 2015 and 2018.

The Partenopei have only lost once in 10 matches and are bidding to win their first trophy since 2014, while Juve are top of Serie A and still in the Champions League as they target multiple trophies. 

"Napoli are a difficult team to face," Sarri said.

"They are solid when they close the spaces and dangerous on the counter. They won against us, against Inter and drew with Barcelona, they know how to play at a high level.

"Napoli are a team of dribblers, on Wednesday we must remain compact and not allow easy counter-attacking situations. 

"I like Gattuso a lot, he is straightforward and direct. I'm not surprised by what he's achieving."

Sarri believes his approach has changed during the lockdown enforced by the coronavirus crisis.

He added: "From a mental point of view it's been a difficult period for everyone but I've seen the guys at their best: open, smiling and ready to play. 

"Maybe I've also improved too, I'm more patient and less uncompromising. I am completely focused on the final and on our team, with the right concentration and conviction.

"We've played for seven months, and then have had a long break in order to play these remaining matches. 

"Therefore, we'll have to give everything that we have and give that little bit more to win as many trophies as possible. 

"Apart from a few games that haven't gone our way the results have been good so far. 

"We have an excellent points average so we can be pleased with that, but now we want to transform it into something concrete."

Milan winger Samu Castillejo has relived the terror he felt at being robbed at gunpoint.

Castillejo had a watch worth €80,000 stolen when he was ambushed in his car by two men on a motorbike in Milan.

The 25-year-old Spaniard was later reunited with the valuable timepiece after police arrested two men at a service station.

The incident happened at the Piazza Principessa Clotilde in Milan.

"Luckily they could find my robbers," Castillejo told Radio Marca.

"The scare remains, nobody likes to have a pistol put to his head. It all happened in 20 seconds, they approached on the motorcycle.

"They put the pistol to my head and asked for the watch again and again."

Milan will return to Serie A action against Lecce on June 22, with the Rossoneri seventh in the standings through 26 rounds.

Cristiano Ronaldo would have his ideal partner at Juventus if they signed Arkadiusz Milik, according to Marco Borriello.

Poland international Milik's contract with Napoli, who face Juve in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday, is due to expire at the end of next season.

The 26-year-old has scored 26 goals in Serie A since the start of 2018-19, with his first two seasons at Napoli heavily disrupted by a pair of anterior cruciate ligament tears – one in either knee.

With speculation over Paulo Dybala's future at Juve ongoing, Borriello, who was part of the Bianconeri side that lost the 2012 Coppa final to Napoli, believes Milik could provide the perfect foil for Ronaldo in Turin.

Asked how he thought the pair would work together, Borriello told Tuttosport: "Very well. Milik is a complete number nine and, if he hadn't suffered those bad injuries, he would be one of the strongest with [Gonzalo] Higuain and [Edin] Dzeko.

"Arek is not just a penalty-box striker, he is one of those who scores more with shots from outside the area.

"For CR7, he could be a bit like what [Karim] Benzema was in his time at Real Madrid.

"But, trust me, these transfer rumours do not exist on the pitch. Now Milik is only thinking of Napoli."

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