Real Madrid are planning to make a splash in the transfer market.

Reports claim three of Europe's finest – Kylian Mbappe, Kai Havertz and Eduardo Camavinga – are waiting to make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Could it happen?

 

TOP STORY – TRIO WAITING ON LOS BLANCOS

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga are holding off contract talks as they wait for Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Wednesday's edition of Marca.

Mbappe is highly coveted by Zinedine Zidane and Madrid, Havertz has been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, while Camavinga is reportedly a Madrid target.

However, the trio may have to wait beyond this year to make the move to the Spanish capital, though Sport Bild claims Havertz has asked to leave Leverkusen before 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona still want to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, despite his release clause expiring.

Borussia Dortmund have issued an ultimatum to United. Sport Bild claims United have been told if they want to bid for Jadon Sancho, the deal must be done by August 10. Sancho has been heavily tipped to move to Old Trafford.

Arsenal want to sign Lyon's Moussa Dembele if they lose Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, reports Foot Mercato. Lacazette has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter, while Barca, PSG and other clubs are reportedly interested in Aubameyang.

Inter are not David Alaba's first choice should he leave Bayern, says Sport Bild. Alaba has been linked to Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Sevilla are leading Juventus and Inter in the pursuit of Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, says the Express.

- According to the Express, Tottenham are confident of signing Kurt Zouma from London rivals Chelsea at the end of the season.

- Could Inter be about to hijack Napoli's bid for Lille forward Victor Osimhen? The Nigeria international has been tipped to join Napoli in a €80million deal, however, Le10Sport says Inter are making a last-ditch attempt to sign Osimhen.

- Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri has handed in a transfer request as he looks to reunite with Antonio Conte at Inter, reports Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira.

Milan are trying to hijack Inter's move for Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Inter have been favourites to land Tonali but Ralf Rangnick – who is tipped to become Milan's head coach in 2020-21 – has reportedly made the Italy international his top target.

The touching pre-match tribute to Ennio Morricone, the great Italian film composer who died, aged 91, on Monday, fitted nicely for what was about to unfold at San Siro.

Possibly for the last time in their decorated careers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – two of the most destructive gunslingers in modern European football – were ready to do battle as Milan and Juventus lined up.

More so than perhaps any other players of their generation, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's on-field deeds have frequently carried cinematic qualities. From the rippling physiques and inimitable preening, to their seamless combination of brute force and artistry, both men scream Hollywood.

Characters who polarise the audience were always the best pegs for Morricone's irresistibly lush arrangements and Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are good, bad and ugly to many all at the same time. If Lionel Messi's lack of overt edge leaves you cold, these two have always been your guys. Your antiheroes.

While Ronaldo and Messi existed unrelentingly in one another's orbit for the best part of a decade, the fleeting and often explosive addition of Ibrahimovic to the equation has usually left fans wanting more.

It is churlish to bemoan the lack of spectators given the ongoing gravity of the global situation but some occasions miss a live audience more than others. This potentially final installment of a flashpoint rivalry was one of those.

Although this match eventually made a case of its own, they were never likely to top the stupendous 2013 World Cup qualification play-off, where the pair scored all the goals over two legs that concluded with Portugal eliminating Sweden on away goals. Morricone could have gone to town on that one. Drama, tension, plot-twists, elation, despair. It had everything.

Almost seven years on, each player is past the peak they revelled in back then, even if Ronaldo's absurd goal scoring numbers make a compelling counter-argument.

The passage of time necessitates refinement. Today they are wily, all-knowing stars in complete control and happy to exist on the margins, rather than all-action leading men – more Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino than his Man With No Name pomp.

This was their lot during a brooding first half. Ronaldo cut inside from the left win to thump a trademark dipping drive just beyond the far post. He was more frequently seen remonstrating with the officials, most notably when Ibrahimovic's penchant for martial arts was on display and his boot grazed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's ear as he attacked a right-win set piece.

Ibrahimovic twice brought routine saves from Wojciech Szczesny before breaking clear in stoppage time. 1-0? No, cut! Offside, and the deadlock remained.

Tearing the length of the field to score goal-of-the-season contenders might no longer be Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's game, but Adrien Rabiot happily made that his business in the 47th minute.

The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder barged Franck Kessie out of the way and nutmegged Theo Hernandez to cross the halfway line on the right wing. Rabiot then opened his elegant stride to breeze beyond Alessio Romagnoli and brought things to a thrilling crescendo. As Milan's defence scattered he unfurled a majestic left-footed strike into the top-right corner.

A befuddled Rossoneri were struggling to regain composure – none too effectively in the case of Andrea Conti and Simon Kjaer, who got in each other's way defending Juan Cuadrado's raking ball.

And there he was. Ronaldo, finger on the trigger. Goal 26 of the Serie A campaign was a formality and Juve were going 10 points clear of a faltering Lazio.

Only, one man had other ideas. It was time for an audacious third-act twist almost too implausible for any composition.

The VAR playback of the 62nd-minute scene did no favours for Leonardo Bonucci. Handball. Penalty. Of course Ibrahimovic stepped up. Of course he scored.

There he was again four minutes later, that strapping back onto which you could probably project movies facing the Juventus goal. Ibrahimovic's penalty box presence was as booming as his lay-off was deft. Kessie was on hand for a redemptive finish, his earlier humiliation at the hands of Rabiot forgotten.

Ibrahimovic then left the chaos, his part played perfectly. But Milan were not done as Ronaldo's compatriot Rafael Leao ensured 0-2 had become 3-2 in the space of five berserk minutes.

If he'd been tasked with soundtracking this undulating drama, Morricone might have been tearing up his score at this point. At the very least, the keen Roma fan would have been disgruntled at the unlikely lifeline handed to Lazio's ailing Scudetto bid.

A roof-falling-in error from Alex Sandro allowed Ante Rebic to complete a 4-2 triumph. Six goals, the perfect number.

At full-time, Ibrahimovic strode around, a picture of satisfaction. Topless, of course. Just as Ronaldo, beaten and wounded, would have done had roles been reversed.

Perhaps the veteran Swede will survive the behind-the-scenes ructions at Milan to return next season. Is another sequel with the intoxicating sound and colour of the tifosi as opposed to the eerie emptiness of now too much to ask?

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri lamented his team's "total blackout" after the Serie A leaders capitulated in their shock 4-2 defeat to rivals Milan.

Juve appeared on track for a routine win at San Siro, where two goals in the space of six minutes from Adrien Rabiot and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the defending champions a 2-0 lead through 53 minutes.

However, Milan turned Tuesday's match on its head, scoring three goals in five minutes to take a 3-2 lead before Ante Rebic sealed the incredible comeback with 10 minutes remaining.

"I think our first 60 minutes were world class. We were in total control and had this blackout," Sarri told DAZN as he discussed Juve's collapse.

"There's not even much use thinking too much about it, because we have another game in three days.

"We had a total blackout for 15 minutes. It has happened to other teams in this period. We have to take the positives from the game, which are that we were in total control for an hour.

"It's usually not even possible to find the reasons for these inexplicable blackouts."

Sarri, who was without suspended pair Paulo Dybala and Matthijs de Ligt, added: "We had some bad performances and quite rightly lost them, but this is not the case now. We played well this evening.

"I've seen many other teams have similar blackouts lately, because it's an unusual situation to be playing and training in these temperatures, with so many games close together.

"Sitting here trying to over-analyse it or put ourselves on trial could be counter-productive and make us lose all the good work we’ve done so far.

"It's completely different to the defeats against Verona and Napoli, so we have to focus on the next match. This is a team that has excellent football in its capabilities and that is what we need to build on."

Despite the loss – which saw Juve concede four goals to Milan for the first time since 1989 – the Scudetto holders remain seven points clear atop the table with seven matches left to play.

Challengers Lazio failed to make any inroads following their surprise 2-1 loss to lowly Lecce earlier on Tuesday.

Asked if Lazio's result had made Juve complacent, Sarri replied: "I don't think it made a difference, otherwise the initial approach would've been poor.

"Instead, we were focused for most of the match. I don't even think we relaxed after going 2-0 up, it was the penalty that sparked the blackout."

Stefano Pioli was in no mood to ruminate on his Milan future after leading an incredible fightback to defeat Serie A leaders Juventus 4-2 at San Siro.

Milan looked set to become defending champions Juve's latest victims as the Rossoneri trailed to a wonderful individual Adrien Rabiot goal and Cristiano Ronaldo's swift second on Tuesday.

But a remarkable turnaround saw Milan score three times in the space of six minutes through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Franck Kessie and Rafael Leao, with Ante Rebic then securing the points after an awful Alex Sandro error.

Milan are unbeaten since the season resumed, also beating Juve's title rivals Lazio last week, yet it still appears Pioli will not be at the helm next season.

Widespread reports claim former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick will be installed as both head coach and technical director.

Pioli will not be distracted, though, telling DAZN post-match: "I don't think about what's going to happen on August 3. I'm focused on what we're doing.

"I hope to hit the target I was called for. I don't think about August 3rd; I like to train, I'm fine here. I can't think about the future and situations that don't depend on me."

Pioli, who saw Milan score four goals against Juve for the first time since 1989, added of the win: "I congratulate my players on a great day and a great victory.

"The work done at Milanello was important. The team is doing well, playing well, and I'm happy even if we haven't done anything yet.

"In 20 days, we play for everything. We think of Napoli [next]. There is satisfaction but great concentration. Everything we are doing needs to be improved. The level is high - if you make a mistake then you pay for it.

"The work of the staff was important. We were good at taking advantage of the penalty incident. We did well on the pitch.

"The first half was balanced, we were surprised. The team mentality is making a difference and we must keep going."

Rangnick's mooted dual-role would also impinge on Milan great Paolo Maldini's position at the club.

However, Maldini – the existing technical director – took a similar tone to Pioli as he spoke ahead of the Juve game, insisting his future was not an immediate concern.

"I don't know [about the future]," Maldini told DAZN. "I want to get to the end of this season in August by concentrating on the matches and the goals we have set ourselves."

The touching pre-match tribute to Ennio Morricone, the great Italian film composer who died, aged 91, on Monday, fitted nicely for what was about to unfold at San Siro.

Possibly for the last time in their decorated careers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – two of the most destructive gunslingers in modern European football – were ready to do battle as Milan and Juventus lined up.

More so than perhaps any other players of their generation, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's on-field deeds have frequently carried cinematic qualities. From the rippling physiques and inimitable preening, to their seamless combination of brute force and artistry, both men scream Hollywood.

Characters who polarise the audience were always the best pegs for Morricone's irresistibly lush arrangements and Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are good, bad and ugly to many all at the same time. If Lionel Messi's lack of overt edge leaves you cold, these two have always been your guys. Your antiheroes.

While Ronaldo and Messi existed unrelentingly in one another's orbit for the best part of a decade, the fleeting and often explosive addition of Ibrahimovic to the equation has usually left fans wanting more.

It is churlish to bemoan the lack of spectators given the ongoing gravity of the global situation but some occasions miss a live audience more than others. This potentially final installment of a flashpoint rivalry was one of those.

Although this match eventually made a case of its own, they were never likely to top the stupendous 2013 World Cup qualification play-off, where the pair scored all the goals over two legs that concluded with Portugal eliminating Sweden on away goals. Morricone could have gone to town on that one. Drama, tension, plot-twists, elation, despair. It had everything.

Almost seven years on, each player is past the peak they revelled in back then, even if Ronaldo's absurd goal scoring numbers make a compelling counter-argument.

The passage of time necessitates refinement. Today they are wily, all-knowing stars in complete control and happy to exist on the margins, rather than all-action leading men – more Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino than his Man With No Name pomp.

This was their lot during a brooding first half. Ronaldo cut inside from the left win to thump a trademark dipping drive just beyond the far post. He was more frequently seen remonstrating with the officials, most notably when Ibrahimovic's penchant for martial arts was on display and his boot grazed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's ear as he attacked a right-win set piece.

Ibrahimovic twice brought routine saves from Wojciech Szczesny before breaking clear in stoppage time. 1-0? No, cut! Offside, and the deadlock remained.

Tearing the length of the field to score goal-of-the-season contenders might no longer be Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's game, but Adrien Rabiot happily made that his business in the 47th minute.

The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder barged Franck Kessie out of the way and nutmegged Theo Hernandez to cross the halfway line on the right wing. Rabiot then opened his elegant stride to breeze beyond Alessio Romagnoli and brought things to a thrilling crescendo. As Milan's defence scattered he unfurled a majestic left-footed strike into the top-right corner.

A befuddled Rossoneri were struggling to regain composure – none too effectively in the case of Andrea Conti and Simon Kjaer, who got in each other's way defending Juan Cuadrado's raking ball.

And there he was. Ronaldo, finger on the trigger. Goal 26 of the Serie A campaign was a formality and Juve were going 10 points clear of a faltering Lazio.

Only, one man had other ideas. It was time for an audacious third-act twist almost too implausible for any composition.

The VAR playback of the 62nd-minute scene did no favours for Leonardo Bonucci. Handball. Penalty. Of course Ibrahimovic stepped up. Of course he scored.

There he was again four minutes later, that strapping back onto which you could probably project movies facing the Juventus goal. Ibrahimovic's penalty box presence was as booming as his lay-off was deft. Kessie was on hand for a redemptive finish, his earlier humiliation at the hands of Rabiot forgotten.

Ibrahimovic then left the chaos, his part played perfectly. But Milan were not done as Ronaldo's compatriot Rafael Leao ensured 0-2 had become 3-2 in the space of five berserk minutes.

If he'd been tasked with soundtracking this undulating drama, Morricone might have been tearing up his score at this point. At the very least, the keen Roma fan would have been disgruntled at the unlikely lifeline handed to Lazio's ailing Scudetto bid.

A roof-falling-in error from Alex Sandro allowed Ante Rebic to complete a 4-2 triumph. Six goals, the perfect number.

At full-time, Ibrahimovic strode around, a picture of satisfaction. Topless, of course. Just as Ronaldo, beaten and wounded, would have done had roles been reversed.

Perhaps the veteran Swede will survive the behind-the-scenes ructions at Milan to return next season. Is another sequel with the intoxicating sound and colour of the tifosi as opposed to the eerie emptiness of now too much to ask?

Juventus missed the chance to move 10 points clear at the top of Serie A as they incredibly let a two-goal lead slip to lose 4-2 at Milan after a remarkable second half on Tuesday. 

At the start of a crucial week in which Juve also face in-form Atalanta, the leaders had been boosted ahead of kick-off by news of another defeat for second-placed Lazio. 

However, the Bianconeri could not take full advantage despite a sensational opener from Adrien Rabiot and Cristiano Ronaldo's swift second. 

All six goals came after the interval as Milan staged a rapid recovery, scoring through Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the penalty spot, Franck Kessie, substitute Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic. 

Missing the suspended Paulo Dybala, Maurizio Sarri's side could not rally and so remain seven points ahead of Lazio, while rampant Milan climb to fifth. 

Few could have imagined such a chaotic second period when an offside flag against Ibrahimovic ensured the sides went into the break scoreless after a first half of precious little action. 

But Rabiot then required only 74 seconds from the kick-off to break the deadlock in magnificent fashion. 

The midfielder collected the ball just inside his own half and brushed off Kessie before advancing, nutmegging Theo Hernandez and then, 20 yards from goal, arrowing a left-footed shot into the top-right corner. 

There was little the Milan defence could do to deny Rabiot, but Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer would be well advised to avoid replays of Juve's second, the pair colliding to give Ronaldo time and space to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

Just as Juve looked set to coast to victory, a VAR review spotted a handball from Leonardo Bonucci inside the area, allowing Ibrahimovic to convert from 12 yards. 

The momentum swung and suddenly Milan were in the ascendancy. A wonderful team move created space for Kessie to shoot inside the area, a deflection deceiving Wojciech Szczesny, while Leao drove a low strike through the goalkeeper for a third goal in six minutes to turn the match around. 

Juve threatened to battle back as Donnarumma saved superbly from Daniele Rugani, but Rebic - earlier denied by Szczesny - lashed in Milan's fourth to clinch the points. Ronaldo thought he had netted again in stoppage time, only to be ruled offside.

Already rivals on the field, Manchester United and Manchester City might be set to clash off it.

Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Milan Skriniar of Inter are both reportedly wanted in Manchester.

An off-season battle may therefore be set to take place between the two foes.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED, CITY EYEING DEFENDERS

Manchester United and neighbours Manchester City are going head-to-head for centre-backs, according to the Independent.

United and City are both reportedly eyeing defensive reinforcements as they look to catch Premier League champions Liverpool next season.

Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter defender Milan Skriniar – also wanted by Real Madrid – have been strongly linked to the Manchester clubs.

 

ROUND-UP

Ralf Rangnick has agreed a deal to become the head coach of Milan in 2020-21, says The Guardian. Rangnick will replace Stefano Pioli, who was only appointed in October. The German is also set to hold talks about combining the coaching role with that of sporting director – a position held by Milan great Paolo Maldini.

- Qualifying for the Champions League will be the first step of any deal to bring Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho to United, reports the Evening Standard. Sancho has been linked to Liverpool, Chelsea and Madrid.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Paris Saint-Germain are poised to make an €80million offer for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Ligue 1 champions, however, are wary of competition from United, Madrid and Chelsea.

Kai Havertz is aware of interest from Chelsea but the Premier League side are yet to make an offer for the Bayer Leverkusen star, claims Bild's Christian Falk. Liverpool, United, Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have also emerged as possible destinations.

Juventus, Inter and Atletico Madrid are eyeing Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, according to L'Equipe.

- A cross-town move? Gianluca Di Marzio says Inter are continuing to pursue Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

Nathan Ake to United? The Daily Mail claims Bournemouth could be forced to sell some of their stars as they battle to avoid relegation. The defender has previously been linked to City.

Juve are interested in Arkadiusz Milik but Napoli would prefer not to sell to their Serie A rivals, reports Calciomercato. Napoli are said to be prepared to move Milik abroad amid links to Atletico and Tottenham.

Maurizio Sarri is determined to get the best out of Gonzalo Higuain, even if it means showing the Juventus forward some tough love.

Higuain, 32, has scored six goals in 26 Serie A appearances for Juve this term, most recently netting in a 4-0 win over Lecce in June.

The former Real Madrid striker, who has also worked under Sarri at Napoli and Chelsea, came off the bench against Torino and Genoa, having last started a game in March prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

Ahead of Tuesday's clash with Milan, another of Higuain's former clubs, Sarri has admitted he sometimes has to take an aggressive approach to get the best out of Higuain. 

"I always read that I fight with everyone, when actually the only person I fight with is Higuain," said Sarri.

"I don't know why that is, but it's always been the case. Maybe it's because he needs a rather aggressive counterpoint to bring out the best in him.

"Mentally he's fine but physically I don't know how much he can take because he's been on and off lately.

"He needs pampering one day and beating against a wall the next! When he's feeling down, he needs caring for. 

"When he's on a high, he must be brought down a peg because he can get too carried away."

Milan handed Juve a huge boost in their title bid by beating Lazio last time out, opening up a seven-point gap at the top of Serie A, but Sarri is not expecting any more favours from the Rossoneri. 

"Tomorrow's a difficult game for us," Sarri said. "Milan are in great physical and mental condition and are playing at high levels.

"At a time like this, the mental aspect is very delicate and mistakes are only around the corner. The lads know it's going to be a tough month, so they can't lose focus.

"Our lead at the top shouldn't make us relax. We're at a time when games are all difficult and messing one up is extremely easy."

Massimiliano Allegri says he had contact with Real Madrid over becoming their head coach two years ago, but wanted to stay loyal to Juventus.

The former Milan boss spent five successful years in charge of Juve prior to his exit at the end of last season.

After Zinedine Zidane left Madrid following the 2017-18 campaign, the club had short spells with Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari in charge.

Allegri was one of the other options pursued by the club and the Italian thanked Madrid president Florentino Perez for his interest at the time.

Madrid ultimately turned back to Zidane in March 2019.

"Two years ago, there was contact, but nothing came of it because I had a contract with Juve," Allegri said to Marca about Madrid's interest.

"Furthermore, I had a strong moral commitment to the club and its fans."

Allegri was asked what he likes most about the work Zidane is doing at Santiago Bernabeu, with a LaLiga title on the horizon as the delayed 2019-20 season nears its conclusion.

"The strength he has had in finding the indispensable balance of a team so full of class and talent," Allegri said.

"For me, the positioning of Casemiro has been a tactical masterclass from Zizou."

Discussing his own future, Allegri continued: "I've been charging my batteries [since leaving Juve] and enjoying time with my family and my city, Livorno, with my lifelong friends.

"I don't really care [if my next job is in Italy or abroad]. I'm looking for a club to share a project with and which has the ambition to compete to win."

And when questioned over whether he would like to coach in LaLiga, Allegri added: "Who in their right mind would say no to this question? No one.

"There is more pleasure of playing in LaLiga, no matter the result. After conceding a goal, the team keeps playing as if nothing has happened. 

"In Italy, on the other hand, there is much more love and attention for the details of the game and tactics. The brain almost always wins out over the heart, in general.

"[Italian football is more difficult] because of what I said before. The player doesn't have much freedom to enjoy themselves in a purely instinctive way and this sometimes makes it difficult."

Mario Mandzukic is a free agent after the Croatian forward confirmed he has terminated his contract with Al-Duhail.

The 34-year-old only moved to Qatar in December after falling out of favour at Juventus, where he won four Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia on three occasions.

However, Mandzukic announced on Twitter that he had cut short his deal by mutual consent, adding: "I appreciate the trust and hospitality that I have received in Qatar and I wish the best to the club and the team in the future."

A return to Serie A could be a possibility - both ambitious Benevento and Milan have been rumoured as potential destinations - while he has also been linked to Turkish duo Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

Prior to his successful stint with Juventus, Mandzukic played in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich - where he won the Champions League in 2013 - and Wolfsburg, as well as spending a season at Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.

Maurizio Sarri said the only suitable way to hail Gianluigi Buffon is with applause after the veteran goalkeeper set a new Serie A record on Saturday.

Buffon made his 648th appearance in Italy's top flight as Juve cruised to a 4-1 victory over Torino in the Turin derby, breaking the record previously set by his former Italy team-mate Paolo Maldini.

Juve's victory and Lazio's subsequent defeat to Milan means Sarri's side are now seven points clear at the top of Serie A with eight matches remaining.

But when asked to describe Buffon, who signed a one-year extension with Juve in June, Sarri said the 42-year-old can only be applauded, with his legendary status already assured.

"Everyone can just congratulate with Buffon for what he did during his career," Sarri said in a news conference.

"He's a legend. No words needed, just applause. That's how we welcomed him in the changing room today, no words needed. Look at his numbers, he is a legend."

One player who will be leaving Juve at the end of the season is Miralem Pjanic, the midfielder heading to Barcelona with Artur coming the other way.

Pjanic was taken off shortly after half-time in the derby, but Sarri insisted it was not to do with his performance, but instead related to a booking the playmaker had received towards the end of the first half, with Torino then pulling one back to make it 2-1 in stoppage time.

"Pjanic received the yellow card and he was one I was the most nervous on the pitch because the penalty given to Torino," Sarri added.

"That's why I decided to change him, I didn't want to risk [a sending off]."

Cristiano Ronaldo admitted to feeling a sense of relief after scoring from a free-kick in Juventus' 4-1 win over Torino on Saturday. 

Juve were comfortable winners in the derby and Ronaldo played a major role in their triumph, setting up Juan Cuadrado's goal before then making it 3-1, with Paulo Dybala having initially opened the scoring early on. 

Koffi Djidji's late own goal summed up the visitors' haplessness as he turned Douglas Costa's cross past Salvatore Sirigu, with Juve opening up a seven-point lead over Lazio at the summit. 

Ronaldo's stunning strike was his first direct free-kick goal in 43 attempts at Juve, and he acknowledged that his profligacy from such situations had been weighing on his mind. 

"I really needed that free-kick so I could get a bit of confidence [from free-kicks] back," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"[But] the important thing is to win regardless of who scores, be it Cristiano or Dybala. It is very important to win, but the truth is that we are doing well, Dybala and me, but the team is also doing very well, we are improving our confidence and against Milan we will try to win. "

It had not dawned on Maurizio Sarri how much such a goal mattered to Ronaldo either.

He added: "I didn't think he was suffering from the lack of a free-kick goal, but then he said 'finally' and then I understood he was."

Juve are next in action on Tuesday as they go to Milan in Serie A.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning goal and provided an assist as Juventus eased to a 4-1 derby win over Torino to open up a seven-point lead at the top of Serie A.

Ronaldo was by no means a constant nuisance to the Torino defence, but the Portugal great turned it on when he needed to, setting up Juan Cuadrado before scoring a brilliant goal of his own on Saturday.

Juve made a lightning start and opened the scoring through a fine Paulo Dybala effort, before Ronaldo teed up Cuadrado – who set up the opener – for their second at the Allianz Stadium.

An Andrea Belotti penalty gave the visitors a lifeline just before half-time, Gianluigi Buffon beaten in his record 648th Serie A appearance.

But Ronaldo struck with a wonderful free-kick in the 61st minute and Koffi Djidji's own goal added to Torino's misery as Juve put further pressure on second-placed Lazio ahead of their clash with Milan.

It took Juve just three minutes to take charge of the encounter, as Cuadrado found Dybala in the box and the Argentinian's quick feet saw him weave past two defenders before slotting home.

Cuadrado was involved again just before the half-hour mark, this time jinking on to his right foot and finishing emphatically after Ronaldo led a counter and set the winger up.

But Torino pulled one back on the stroke of half-time – Belotti slotting a penalty past Buffon after Matthijs de Ligt blocked Simone Verdi's initial shot with his arm.

Torino briefly thought they had levelled early in the second half, but Belotti had strayed offside in the build-up.

Juve increased their advantage just past the hour-mark, as Ronaldo stepped up to a 30-yard free-kick and sent an unstoppable effort into the top-left corner.

The visitors' haplessness was summed up by Djidji's late own goal, the defender turning Douglas Costa's cross past Salvatore Sirigu.

What does it mean? Juve a step closer to the title

Although derby clashes generally produce plenty of unpredictability, contests between these two rarely lead to surprises. After all, before Saturday, Juve last lost at home to Torino in April 1995.

Nevertheless, it was still another hurdle to pass and Juve managed to deal with Torino with minimal fuss.

Ronaldo does what was required

As a player who has produced countless memorable performances across his career, no one will claim this was among the standouts – but you cannot argue he was effective, as he set up Cuadrado and netted his first free-kick for Juve.

A day to forget for Lyanco

Torino centre-back Lyanco will want to forget about this performance quickly. While not necessarily guilty of gifting any goals away, he will be disappointed he could not do more for Juve's first two.

What's next?

Juve go to Milan on Tuesday, while Torino host Brescia the following day.

Gianluigi Buffon broke Paolo Maldini's record for Serie A appearances in Saturday's Turin derby, playing for the 648th time in Italy's top flight.

Buffon, 41, was an Italy team-mate of former Milan defender Maldini, who retired in 2009 at the age of 40.

The iconic goalkeeper broke in the Parma first team as a teenager before joining Juve in 2001 in a £32.6million deal, making him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper at the time.

It proved to be money well invested as he spent 17 years in a first spell with the Turin giants, staying at the club following relegation amid Italian football's Calciopoli scandal and helping Juventus reel off seven successive Scudetti before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.

After a year in France, Buffon returned to Juventus last July, competing with Wojciech Szczesny for the starting role in Maurizio Sarri's team since then.

Below, we have used Opta data to highlight the remarkable longevity of Buffon's career.

17 – Buffon made his Serie A debut for Parma on November 19, 1995 at the age of 17 years and 295 days. It was a 0-0 draw against Milan.

648 – Since then, Buffon has gone on to rack up 648 appearances in Italy's top flight, including Saturday's clash with Torino that has seen him break Maldini's record.

42 – Buffon is the third-oldest player to feature in Serie A during the three-points era, behind only Marco Ballotta (44 years, 38 days) and Francesco Antonelli (42 years, 235 days).

23 – This is Buffon's 23rd season in professional football. Having signed a new contract, he will play a 24th campaign in 2020-21.

247 – Giorgio Chiellini signed a new contract at the same time as Buffon. The centre-back is the player Buffon has most regularly played with in Serie A, 247 times.

480 – No one has played more Serie A games for Juventus, with Buffon's 480 two more than Alessandro del Piero's haul.

9 – Buffon has won nine Serie A titles, more than any other player. He could yet add a 10th later this month.

285 – The veteran had kept 285 clean sheets in 647 Serie A matches prior to the Turin derby, which is a record.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will break Paolo Maldini's Serie A appearance record on Saturday after he was selected to play a 648th top-flight game in the derby against Torino.

The veteran former Italy number one kept his place in the side, with Wojciech Szczesny named on the bench at Allianz Stadium.

Buffon, 41, was an Italy team-mate of former Milan defender Maldini, who retired in 2009 at the age of 40.

Buffon's Serie A debut came for Parma in 1995 when he shut out Milan in a 0-0 draw against the team that would go on to win the title.

He went on to join Juve in 2001 in a £32.6million deal, making him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

It proved to be money well invested as he spent 17 years in a first spell with the Turin giants, staying at the club following relegation amid Italian football's Calciopoli scandal and helping Juventus reel off seven successive Scudetti before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.

After a year in France, Buffon returned to Juventus last July, competing with Szczesny for the starting role in Maurizio Sarri's team since then.

At the end of June, Buffon signed new a contract to keep him at Juve for at least another year.

Page 1 of 45
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.