Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso said Federico Chiesa can leave if the club's valuation is met amid reported interest from Serie A and Premier League clubs.

Chiesa is a player in demand following his exploits for Fiorentina, with Italian champions Juventus, Inter, Manchester United and Chelsea among the teams linked.

The 22-year-old Italy international, who emerged from Fiorentina's youth system in 2016, had managed six goals and three assists in 23 Serie A appearances prior to the coronavirus pandemic halting the season.

Fiorentina owner Commisso has already said he is open to selling Chiesa if the forward wishes to depart and he reiterated his stance on Saturday.

"If Chiesa wants, then he can leave, but only for the figure that we set," Commisso told reporters.

"It's a different matter for Gaetano Castrovilli [the Fiorentina midfielder has also attracted interest], as he told me that he wants to remain in Florence.

"If Chiesa does go, then Castrovilli can have the Number 10 jersey."

Fiorentina – 13th in the table at the time of postponement – are set to resume their 2019-20 campaign at home to Brescia on June 22.

Wesley Sneijder claims he could have been in the same elite bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but a weakness for wine held him back.

The former Netherlands midfielder enjoyed a stellar career that included spells with Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter.

He is not held in the same regard as Messi and Ronaldo, who have shared 11 Ballon d'Or wins between them, but Sneijder insists that lofty status was within his reach.

"I could have become like Messi or Ronaldo. I simply didn't feel like it," the 35-year-old told Italian outlet Gianluca DiMarzio.

"I enjoyed my life, maybe I had a glass [of wine] at dinner.

"Leo and Cristiano are different, they have made many sacrifices, and that's fine with me.

"My career, however, was still amazing."

Matthijs de Ligt insisted any suggestions he wants to leave Juventus are wrong as the centre-back expressed his happiness at being in Turin.

The Netherlands international only moved to the Bianconeri last July, joining in a €75million deal after starring in an Ajax team that won a domestic double and reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19.

De Ligt's signing was seen as a coup for Juve at the time, yet the 20-year-old has struggled for consistent form in his maiden campaign, making costly errors against Napoli and Inter.

Despite reports he could be looking for a way out, with Barcelona rumoured to be interested, De Ligt stressed he wants to remain with the Serie A leaders.

"They invented many things about me: the truth is that I'm really happy in Turin and to be able to train every day with extraordinary players," De Ligt told Tuttosport.

"I have the feeling of improving day by day. So, yes, I'm very happy.

"When I arrived at Juve I immediately realised the international dimension of the club. All the other players immediately made me feel part of a family, literally all of them."

Juve were one point clear of Lazio with 12 games to go when the Serie A season was suspended back in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy's top flight is set to return with games behind closed doors this month, though, with Maurizio Sarri looking to lead Juve to a ninth successive title in his first season in charge.

De Ligt has been impressed by the former Chelsea head coach, admitting his style reminds him of the 'Total Football' system that previous Netherlands teams popularised.

"He's a tactician with a very specific idea of football," De Ligt added of Sarri.

"He is the Italian way to the 'Total Dutch Football'. I see we are improving day by day."

Lionel Messi could be set to extend his contract at Barcelona.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner's deal with the LaLiga giants expires next year, and there has been some speculation about the forward's future.

But, a renewal at Barcelona could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS WITH MESSI

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is planning to meet Messi's father next week to discuss a contract renewal, according to Sport.

The 32-year-old has won 10 LaLiga titles and the Champions League on four occasions during his time at Barca.

Meanwhile, Sport also reports Barcelona rejected a €100million offer for 17-year-old forward Ansu Fati.

ROUND-UP

- While RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is reportedly set to join Chelsea, it seems Liverpool may be looking elsewhere. The Independent says Liverpool are closely monitoring Borussia Dortmund attacker Jadon Sancho. The England international has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid. The Mirror, meanwhile, reports Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called Werner to tell the forward the club would not be pursuing a move.

- Barcelona are expected to be busy during the close season. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are still focused on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, despite the transfers being complicated.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Sport reports Bayern Munich consider Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo, valued at €40m, too expensive, with Ajax's Sergino Dest a cheaper alternative.

- Out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at season's end, Thiago Silva could be set for an exit. The defender is open to a return to AC Milan if he does not renew in Paris, according to Sport.

- Another player coming out of contract, Dries Mertens, is seemingly going nowhere. Sky Sport reports Mertens, 33, will extend his contract with Napoli for two years with an option for a third.

- Could Chelsea add a left-back this close season? The Guardian says they are stepping up their interest in Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, while Ajax's Nicolas Tagliafico is said to be an alternative.

Napoli players showed their support for Gennaro Gattuso by holding a minute's silence on Friday as the grieving head coach returned to training.

Gattuso is mourning after it was announced on Tuesday that his sister Francesca had died at the age of 37 following an illness.

She had worked as a secretary with Serie A club Milan, where Gattuso spent 13 years as a player and was later head coach.

Gattuso, 42, has been in charge of Napoli for almost six months, after succeeding Carlo Ancelotti in December.

The bond between the coach and his players, led by skipper Lorenzo Insigne, was made clear by the players' response to Gattuso at the Castel Volturno training ground on Friday.

"The day began with a very touching moment: the team wanted to express their closeness and make Gennaro Gattuso feel all their affection with a virtual hug," Napoli's website announced.

"Captain Insigne and the whole team observed a minute of recollection in memory of the Azzurro coach's sister before the start of training."

Serie A will allow teams to make five substitutions during games for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.

It brings Italy's top flight into line with a temporary law amendment announced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

World football's pre-eminent rule-making body made the alterations as a means to ease the strain on players returning to action following the extended coronavirus hiatus.

If a team wishes to make all five changes, they must come in no more than three match interruptions, aside from half-time.

Serie A is set to resume on June 20, more than three months after the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lille forward Victor Osimhen has hit out at "sickening" false reports that he has agreed to join Napoli at the end of the season.

The Nigeria international has scored 18 goals in all competitions for the Ligue 1 club after joining from Sporting Charleroi ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

Lille owner Gerard Lopez confirmed last week that a number of suitors from three different leagues are interested in signing Osimhen, with Napoli among them.

Reports in Osimhen's homeland suggested an agreement is already in place with Napoli, but the 21-year-old rubbished the speculation.

"The fake news about me agreeing a deal with Napoli is sickening for real," he told Nigerian website Omasports. 

"I'm surprised at the journalists, that say they are professionals. I find it amazing. Please disregard any fake news. When it’s time for my transfer, you'll hear from me directly."

Osimhen was crowned Lille's player of the season after finishing as their top scorer in Ligue 1, which ended 10 games early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chelsea have reportedly agreed a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 24, has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool after an impressive campaign with the Bundesliga club.

But their Premier League rivals are seemingly set to bring in the forward.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AGREE £54M DEAL FOR WERNER

Chelsea have agreed a £54million (€60m) deal for RB Leipzig star Werner, according to The Sun.

The report says the Germany international is set to sign a five-year deal at Chelsea.

However, it also reports there is still a danger of Liverpool making a last-ditch bid for Werner.

ROUND-UP

- Perhaps Paul Pogba will extend his stay at Manchester United. The Daily Mail reports the France midfielder, who has been linked with Real Madrid and Juventus, could extend his contract – which runs until 2021 – at Old Trafford if he forms a good combination with Bruno Fernandes when the Premier League season resumes.

- Having starred for Bayer Leverkusen, Kai Havertz has been linked with a move. The Manchester Evening News reports the attacker is open to a switch to Manchester United.

- On loan at Inter from Chelsea until the end of the season, Victor Moses' future is uncertain. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club want to hold onto the 29-year-old, either by his loan being extended or with a permanent deal worth less than €12m (£10.8m).

- Could Kurt Zouma be set for a reunion with Jose Mourinho? RMC Sport reports the Chelsea and France defender could join his former manager at Tottenham this close season.

- Perhaps Zouma could arrive at Spurs as a replacement for Jan Vertonghen as the Evening Standard says the Belgium defender is expected to complete the Premier League season before leaving Tottenham on a free transfer.

- Another player coming out of contract is Pedro. The Chelsea attacker has decided to sign with Roma, according to Sport, after links to the likes of Juventus, Valencia, Sevilla and Real Betis.

Sami Khedira believes he can realise a dream and win the Champions League with Juventus in the next few years.

Juve have dominated Serie A with eight straight title wins, but their last success in Europe's premier club competition came in 1996.

The Italian giants were in the last 16 this season – losing the first leg of their tie away at Lyon 1-0 – when the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Khedira, who arrived at Juventus in 2015, said he wanted to help deliver the Champions League trophy to Turin.

"I won almost everything, but winning is like a drug, if you don't win a title for one year, the next year you try to win all kinds of titles," he said on Instagram on Thursday.

"My dream is to win the Champions League with Juventus. Almost three or four years ago, we were very close in the final against Real Madrid.

"I think we can win this title with Juventus in the next few years. In my opinion, this is not just my dream, but also that of every Juventini."

Khedira helped Madrid win the Champions League in 2014 among numerous other trophies with the LaLiga giants.

A World Cup winner with Germany in the same year, the midfielder remembers his time in Madrid fondly.

"It was awesome. I spent unforgettable moments there with many successes. We won all sorts of titles like the league, the cup, but also the Champions League," Khedira said.

"We had a very strong team with very strong characters. That's why I will never forget this great time and I am still a big fan of this big club.

"That's why: Hala Madrid!"

Player wages should not fall because of the coronavirus pandemic and the onus is on clubs to run themselves better, says agent Jonathan Barnett.

Barnett, whose clients include Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, feels players should not be the ones to pay the price for falling revenues after the COVID-19 crisis.

The future values of sponsorships, matchday income and television deals are uncertain after the global lockdown halted all top-level sport.

But Barnett thinks players, who have short careers, are the star attractions needed to ensure football retains top billing.

"I don't see players' wages dropping, that is for sure," he told BBC Radio 4.

"Most players are on contracts. What I do see is maybe clubs have to look at how they run their club a bit better.

"Fans come to see players play, no one comes to see the chief executive play, that [players] is what puts money on the table.

"It's not a question of players earning less because it is a short period of time to earn their money."

Barnett was asked if the days of huge transfer fees are over and while he acknowledged there would be an initial drop, he felt it was unlikely to last.

"I think in the short term [there will be a drop], but not in the long term," he said. "They [the huge transfers] will come back. Market values will come back." 

On the approach clubs should take, Barnett added: "You have just got to look at it sensibly and say, 'This year I can't afford to pay so I won't do it this year'.

"Act sensibly and pay what they can afford to pay. If they can't [afford to buy], they don't. Nobody is going to be forcing them. 

"They can offer for a player whatever money they can afford. If it is right for the player, it's fine. If not, then he stays where he is or goes somewhere else.

"After the next television deal they [clubs] will hopefully be in a better position, or once the fans start coming back they might be in a better position again to do it. 

"[Then] their sponsorships go up and all these things come back."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the injury to the lower part of his right leg, Milan have revealed.

The veteran striker was the subject of some concern last month after a training-ground injury.

Initial reports suggested Ibrahimovic may have suffered a serious Achilles blow, yet scans showed the tendon was in tact and the Swede had instead damaged his soleus muscle.

Ten days on, the club are happy with how Ibrahimovic is progressing.

"AC Milan announces that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has undergone a check-up following the injury to his right soleus muscle," a statement read on Thursday.

"His recovery is proceeding well, without complications and a new check-up is to be expected in about 10 days."

Milan return to Serie A action amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 22, although they first have a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Juventus.

Ibrahimovic, who signed on a free transfer from LA Galaxy in January, has scored four goals in 10 games in all competitions since returning to Milan but was already suspended for the Coppa tie.

Gonzalo Higuain has strained his right hamstring in training and will be monitored ahead of Serie A's restart, Juventus have confirmed.

The Bianconeri are set to return to the field at Bologna on June 22 as the campaign resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But striker Higuain suffered a minor injury on Thursday, giving Maurizio Sarri some concern two and a half weeks out from Juve's next competitive match.

"During today's training session, Gonzalo Higuain suffered a muscle strain on the posterior region of his right thigh," an update on Juventus' Twitter account read.


"The tests performed at J Medical have ruled out any lesions. His condition will be monitored in the coming days."

Higuain was widely expected to leave Juve at the start of the season but remained to feature under Sarri, who coached the forward at both Napoli and Chelsea.

The 32-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of next season, has scored five goals in 23 Serie A games this term, ably assisting star duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.

Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman seemingly made a comical gaffe in a personalised video for SPAL striker Andrea Petagna.

The Napoli-bound forward reportedly paid around $600 to receive a message from Rodman, who won three straight NBA titles with the Bulls playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen between 1996 and 1998.

Rodman's success with one of the world's most famous sporting dynasties was the focus of the recent ESPN and Netflix docuseries 'The Last Dance', which may have been the prompt for Petagna to request a video.

So, there might have been a bit of a surprise when he was addressed as "honey" and told he may one day come up against Rodman's daughter Trinity on the pitch.

"Andrea, isn't it amazing?" Rodman said in the clip, which Petagna posted on Instagram alongside the caption 'I hope to meet you soon [Trinity Rodman], Keep going'.

"Dennis Rodman is calling you. Andrea, 'The Bulldozer', what does that mean? It means that you score a lot. 

"But I've got something for you right now, Andrea. I got a daughter named Trinity Rodman, she's the number one soccer player in the world right now.

"Come on, man. Look her up! One of these days you're going to face her and one of these days you're going to text me back and say, 'Dennis you know what? You're right, she's good, just like me. She's a bulldozer, but she's a Rodman'.

"Either way, honey, your friends really love you. Respect, respect, respect. Keep doing what you're doing."

Petagna later added to his Instagram story to show he had received a "Hey bro!!" from Rodman, who also won two NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990.

One-cap Italy international Petagna agreed to join Napoli in January but is staying with SPAL until the end of the season. The 24-year-old has 11 goals in 25 Serie A appearances this term.

The arrivals of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar at the end of the season had been the dream for Barcelona.

Forming the best attack in the world had been the idea, prising Inter's Martinez to Camp Nou and re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Barca have reportedly been priced out of a deal for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SET NEYMAR PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €175million in cash for Barcelona target Neymar, according to Sport.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017 but the Brazilian superstar continues to be linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

But Barca's hopes have been dealt a blow due to PSG's demands and coronavirus as they prioritise Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC Sport claims Manchester City are interested in Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Pep Guardiola has reportedly talked to Bennacer about a move to the Premier League. City are also interested in Barca's Sergi Roberto, claims Mundo Deportivo.

Real Madrid are keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, AS says. The England international has been tipped to join United, while Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are eyeing a move for Lille forward Victor Osimhen. It comes amid uncertainty over the futures of Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon. Milik has been heavily linked to Juventus, while the likes of Sevilla and Real Betis are reportedly interested in bringing former Madrid winger Callejon back to LaLiga.

Sevilla are prepared to wait until the end of the season for Barca's Ivan Rakitic, reports Mundo Deportivo. Barca are willing to sanction Rakitic's transfer and Spanish rivals Sevilla are looking to bring the Croatia international back to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

- According to L'Equipe, injury-plagued Barca star Ousmane Dembele has no intention of leaving Camp Nou for Juve.

- ESPN says United need more cash to sign Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old has also been linked to Dortmund.

Fabian Ruiz is wanted by Spain's two biggest clubs – Barca and Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo says the Napoli star is moving further away from a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu due to Madrid not being able to meet the Italian club's valuation. Luka Jovic and James Rodriguez have been mentioned as possible makeweights but Napoli only want cash.

- Lille defender Gabriel has emerged as a possible replacement for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Le10Sport says Napoli have identified Gabriel as well as Fiorentina pair German Pezzella and Nikola Milenkovic. Sky Sport Italia, meanwhile, says United are offering £71m (€80m) for Koulibaly but Napoli are holding out for at least £89m (€100m).

Pedro is a player in demand. The Chelsea forward is set to become a free agent and AS says Roma are the Spaniard's "priority". Juve, Sevilla, Betis and Valencia have also been credited with interest.

Atalanta owner Antonio Percassi has given his backing to head coach Gian Piero Gasperini, who was criticised by Valencia for being at a Champions League game despite suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

Gasperini revealed last week he was scared as he appeared to suffer from COVID-19 as Atalanta defeated Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors in the Champions League on March 10.

The Bergamo outfit advanced to the quarter-finals 8-4 on aggregate at Mestalla, although the competition has since been suspended due to the virus.

Valencia expressed "surprise" at Gasperini's comments, suggesting his actions "put at risk numerous people" in the city.

However, Percassi does not wish to drag the saga out, insisting he and Gasperini followed the rules and are moving forward.

"I am with Gasperini and the players. I am looking ahead," he told L'Eco di Bergamo.

"The controls say that, like Atalanta with our members, we did everything in compliance with the rules and with the utmost prudence.

"This is fundamental for us. We are in Bergamo."

With the Champions League reportedly set to resume in August, Atalanta will first return to Serie A action on June 21 as they look to secure qualification for Europe's elite club competition for next season.

La Dea are fourth, three points clear of fifth-placed Roma with a game in hand.

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