Aaron Ramsey has withdrawn from the Wales squad to face Bulgaria and will return to Juventus.

The midfielder will not be involved in Sofia when his country play their latest Nations League match on Wednesday.

Ramsey captained Wales in their 0-0 draw with Republic of Ireland on Sunday, playing the full 90 minutes, but has been ruled out against Bulgaria with an unspecified injury.

He had previously missed the friendly defeat to England after a coronavirus outbreak at Juve.

The problem for Ramsey, who has started both of Juve's Serie A matches so far this season, was announced by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) on Tuesday.

That was also when the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) confirmed his club team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus.

Ronaldo is asymptomatic and "doing well", the federation said in a statement, and the 35-year-old has left the national team camp to begin self-isolating. 

Juve also have a concern over the fitness of Paulo Dybala, who has been ruled out of Argentina's match with Bolivia due to illness, having also missed their World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador last week.

The Italian champions return to action with an away game against Crotone on Saturday.

Juventus are having "more fun" under new boss Andrea Pirlo compared to last season when Maurizio Sarri was in charge, according to midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Pirlo was named as Sarri's successor last month and marked his first competitive game in charge with an impressive 3-0 win over Sampdoria last weekend.

Ramsey, who was in and out of the side last season, enjoyed arguably his best game for Juve as he created an unrivalled six chances – including an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo.

And the Wales international revealed the mood has now changed in the dressing room on the back of iconic former midfielder Pirlo's appointment.

"We have a new coach, a new staff, new ideas and the players are very involved in this," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"I think we are having more fun than last year. The training sessions are hard but there is also a little bit of joy."

Dejan Kulusevski and Leonardo Bonucci were also on target for Juventus in their opening match, but Ramsey believes there is still more to come from his side ahead of Sunday's trip to Roma.

"We started well but we still need to improve," he said. "In this team there are many great players, who can all play and help the team reach their goals.

"I'm happy to be able to play together with these top-quality attackers."

Inter finished just a point behind Juve last season and are expected to push the champions all the way this campaign after spending big during the close season.

Ramsey is predicting a tight battle at the top this term, adding: "Inter are a great team and have signed a lot of players. They are are one of the contenders for the Scudetto.

"Like Napoli, who are very strong. Milan finished last season well and started the same way. Serie A is a very tough league."

The Jadon Sancho transfer saga continues to ramble on.

Borussia Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave following Monday's apparent deadline, while Manchester United are still eyeing the English sensation.

Will Sancho be gracing Old Trafford in 2020-21?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STILL TARGETING SANCHO

Manchester United are not giving up on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in the UK.

United were dealt a blow on Monday when Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said Sancho will remain with the Bundesliga club in 2020-21.

Despite United's frustration over negotiations, the Independent and Goal claim the Red Devils are still pursuing the England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Kai Havertz is closing in on a move to Chelsea, reports the Evening Standard. The Bayer Leverkusen star is "desperate" to join Chelsea following the German club's Europa League exit on Monday.

Andrea Pirlo's Juventus overhaul is underway. Calciomercato and Tuttomercatoweb say Blaise Matuidi is set to move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. Aaron Ramsey, Gonzalo Higuain, Sami Khedira, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa are also on the chopping block following Maurizio Sarri's exit. United have been linked with a move for Costa.

- Sky Sport reports Chelsea and Barcelona are battling to sign Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico. Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested.

Milan are looking to re-sign star midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Calciomercato. Kessie is wanted by city rivals Inter.

- L'Equipe says Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is set to decide his future. Gabriel will choose between United, Arsenal, Everton and Napoli. RMC and L'Equipe, meanwhile, report Gent star Jonathan David will undergo a medical at Lille on Tuesday ahead of his €32million transfer.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri may choose to rest Cristiano Ronaldo for the final Serie A game of the season against Roma.

Juve have already secured the Scudetto, their ninth in a row, and are just a week away from the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Lyon, with a 1-0 deficit to overturn.

Ronaldo has not missed a game since the return of Italian football from the coronavirus-enforced break in June, the 35-year-old having taken his goal tally to 31 in the league to propel Juve to the title.

However, with Lazio striker Ciro Immobile four goals clear in the race to finish as top scorer, Sarri could give Ronaldo and others a well-deserved rest ahead of the Lyon clash.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey may feature with a view to being fully fit to face the Ligue 1 side next week, although Paulo Dybala's recovery from a thigh problem is ongoing.

"We'll assess [who will play] today and tomorrow morning, depending on who needs to rest and who is fit to play," Sarri said on Friday.

"Between tomorrow and next Friday there will be a big difference in terms of mentality. We'll need to be good at recovering all energies possible.

"Tomorrow, whoever is fit will play and we'll try to make it a day of celebration. I can see two light-hearted teams tomorrow evening, with clear heads: a beautiful game can come out of it.

"Let's see how Cristiano feels for tomorrow, he's one of the players that played the most in the entire season. With regards to Aaron Ramsey, he might be back with the team today and there are good possibilities that he plays in the Champions League.

"Dybala is with the medical staff, everything is proceeding well, but I don't know when he'll be back with the group."

Jadon Sancho still wants a move to Manchester United, while Inter could be ready to buy Alexis Sanchez.

Sancho, 20, has been linked with numerous European giants after starring for Borussia Dortmund.

While he could be set for Old Trafford, United may opt to get rid of Sanchez permanently.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO STILL WANTS MAN UTD MOVE

Sancho wants a move to Manchester United but the Premier League giants must still find an agreement with Dortmund, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The England international has been linked to the likes of United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Sancho is contracted at Dortmund, where he arrived in 2017, until 2022.

 

ROUND-UP

- On loan at Inter this season, Sanchez could stay at San Siro even longer. Goal reports the Serie A giants are looking to sign the Chile international permanently from Manchester United, for a cut-price deal of €20million (£18m).

- Eric Garcia could be getting closer to a Barcelona return. Sport reports the LaLiga giants have started talks with Manchester City regarding the defender, who left Barca for the Premier League side in 2017.

- Amid uncertainty over his future, it seems Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is looking for a new deal at Arsenal, where his contract expires in 2021. ESPN reports the forward wants a minimum three-year contract worth £250,000 per week.

- Tottenham reportedly had a chance to move Tanguy Ndombele on. The Telegraph reports Spurs rejected an offer to send Ndombele to Juventus, with Aaron Ramsey heading in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Goal says Tottenham are trying to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, but are facing competition from Juve.

- Daniele De Rossi only retired earlier this year, but the former Italy international is seemingly already attracting interest to be a coach. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Fiorentina are ready to offer the former midfielder the chance to take the helm.

Manchester United may be getting closer to finding a way to land Ajax star Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek has been linked to numerous European giants after impressing with the Eredivisie outfit.

United are among them and the Premier League side could be ready to make a sacrifice to bring the Netherlands international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD FIND WAY TO LAND VAN DE BEEK

Manchester United will sell Andreas Pereira to bring in Van de Beek, according to the Mirror.

Van de Beek has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, but United could beat the LaLiga giants to the midfielder.

The 23-year-old has managed double-digits in goals in three straight seasons, netting 10 times in 37 games in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United may keep Alexis Sanchez. On loan at Inter this season, Sanchez is contracted at United until 2022 and the Mirror says the Chile international could stay at the club if he accepts a squad role over being first choice.

- Barcelona are said to be struggling to find a suitor for Philippe Coutinho. Marca reports no clubs have made a move for the playmaker so far.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being linked with an Arsenal exit. However, The Sun says the Premier League club are willing to sell Ainsley Maitland-Niles to fund a new contract for Aubameyang, or find the forward's replacement. Aubameyang's deal at Arsenal expires next year.

- Several clubs are reportedly eyeing RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. Tuttosport says Arsenal are favourites to land the 21-year-old ahead of Milan. Staying at Arsenal and La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Justin Kluivert could join the club from Roma, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan – on loan at the Serie A club this season – heading permanently in the opposite direction.

- Speculation continues around Achraf Hakimi. Marca reports Bayern Munich are keeping an eye on the defender's situation, with the 21-year-old on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid this season.

- Juventus could be preparing to sell Aaron Ramsey. The Mirror reports Tottenham are one of several clubs to have been offered the chance to sign the midfielder.

Juventus will be without Giorgio Chiellini, Aaron Ramsey and Gonzalo Higuain for Friday's Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Milan.

Defender Merih Demiral will also be missing from head coach Maurizio Sarri's 23-man squad.

Paulo Dybala, one of three Juve players to test positive for coronavirus in March, has been included in the group.

Higuain sustained a thigh muscle problem while training last week and was not expected to face Milan.

Demiral, Ramsey and Chiellini – the latter of whom only returned from nearly six months out with a knee injury in February – are reported to be short of full fitness.

Juve's meeting with Milan is their first match since the Italian football season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The three first-team players to have tested positive for COVID-19 – Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani – are all in the squad.

Dybala had been self-isolating since March and only returned a negative test for the virus on May 6, at which point he was cleared for a return to training.

The first leg at San Siro in February finished 1-1, with a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo cancelling out Ante Rebic's opener.

The final against either Inter or Napoli will be next Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The Serie A leaders resume their bid for a ninth league title in a row away to Bologna on June 22.

Luring Lautaro Martinez from Inter to Barcelona appears complicated.

Barca are reportedly determined to sign Martinez as the Spanish giants look to bring in a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

But, Barca reportedly need some help from other clubs to get the deal over the line.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO KEY TO LAUTARO DEAL

Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City are set for a three-way swap involving Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to Sport.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Inter for Barcelona but the LaLiga champions are trying to drive down the price.

The proposed exchange deal would see Nelson Semedo leave Barca for City, allowing Joao Cancelo to return to Inter as Martinez moves to Camp Nou.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have agreed a £62million (€70m) deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, reports TodoFichajes. Dembele has been linked with United, Chelsea and Barca.

- The Telegraph says Bundesliga titleholders Bayern Munich are preparing a €56m (£50m) bid for City star Leroy Sane, who is set to return to Germany.

- Could Houssem Aouar replace Miralem Pjanic at Juventus? Pjanic is reportedly set to sign for Barca despite interest from United and Le10Sport claims Juve are eyeing Lyon star Aouar.

- Exchange deals might be needed for Juve to have a chance of completing their dream transfers. Linked to former star and United midfielder Paul Pogba, Il Bianconero says Douglas Costa, Adrien Rabiot and Federico Bernardeschi could be used to tempt the Red Devils. An exchange deal with Chelsea could also see Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey, and Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri, trade places.

Dries Mertens prefers a move to Inter over Chelsea should he leave Napoli, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Belgium international is set to become a free agent.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are focused on bringing Brescia and Italy sensation Sandro Tonali to San Siro.

Barcelona are seemingly getting closer to landing Lautaro Martinez.

The Inter star continues to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, where he could play alongside Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi more regularly.

It appears an agreement has almost been reached.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, INTER AGREEMENT FOR LAUTARO 'IMMINENT'

Barcelona and Inter are finalising a deal for Lautaro Martinez, according to the cover of SPORT.

The report says the clubs are going to agree a deal of close to €60million plus two players – midfielder Arturo Vidal and either Nelson Semedo or Emerson.

SPORT also reports Barca and Martinez have a verbal agreement for a four-year deal.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are still looking to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba. AS reports Juve are offering the Premier League club Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot in their bid to complete a deal.

- Talk continues over Miralem Pjanic's potential switch to Barcelona. SPORT claims Juventus have also offered LaLiga's champions Mattia De Sciglio, along with the midfielder. SPORT also says Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan at Schalke, could be part of the deal.

- With 22 goals for Lyon this season, Moussa Dembele continues to attract interest from the Premier League. The Daily Star reports Manchester United are increasingly confident of landing the former Celtic forward in a £60m (€68.4m) deal.

- Odion Ighalo's loan at Manchester United from Shanghai Shenhua expires at the end of June. The Sun says the striker is desperate to extend his stay at Old Trafford, with the Chinese Super League club reportedly demanding a transfer fee.

- Linked with a move to Liverpool, Werder Bremen striker Milot Rashica appears to be heading elsewhere. BILD reports the 23-year-old's move to RB Leipzig is becoming more and more likely. Rashica has scored seven goals in 20 Bundesliga games this season.

Neymar appears likely to remain at Paris Saint-Germain for another season, while Newcastle United have big plans.

Linked again with a return to Barcelona, Neymar could yet stay in Paris, where he is contracted 2022.

Meanwhile, Newcastle – reportedly on the verge of being taken over – are considering some big names.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SET FOR PSG STAY AMID BARCELONA LINKS

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and troubles at Barcelona, Neymar looks set to stay at PSG for another season, according to Marca.

It also reported that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is struggling to find the financial formula to sign the Brazil forward.

Neymar only arrived at PSG from Barca in a world-record €222million move in 2017.

ROUND-UP

- Newcastle could have money to spend if their proposed takeover goes through. Mundo Deportivo reports the club are looking at Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho, who it says is also a target for Everton. Foot Mercato claims Newcastle are eyeing PSG striker Edinson Cavani, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Real Betis forward Nabil Fekir.

- Like they are struggling with Neymar, Barcelona are battling to find a deal for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, according to Sky Sport Italia, which says the LaLiga side are struggling to meet the Argentina international's €111m release clause.

- Paul Pogba's future remains a talking point. Tuttosport says Manchester United are open to an exchange deal with Juventus, with Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa among the players linked with a move to Old Trafford.

- Barcelona are still a long way off reaching an agreement with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to Sport. Ter Stegen is contracted at Barca until 2022. Meanwhile, Sport reports Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is prioritising a move to Barcelona if he leaves the Eredivisie giants.

- Perhaps Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal after all. Sport reports the forward, whose deal ends in 2021, will renew with the Premier League club. Staying at Arsenal and the Daily Express says Arsenal are considering a move for Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele.

- A youth product who has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, Sergi Roberto has gone from untouchable to transferable, according to Marca.

Aaron Ramsey hailed Cristiano Ronaldo and said his Juventus team-mate was "unbelievable".

Ronaldo was enjoying another stellar season, scoring 25 goals in 32 games before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramsey only arrived in Turin ahead of this season and the midfielder was full of praise for the Portuguese star.

"He's an exceptional athlete," he told singer and songwriter Niall Horan during an Instagram Live chat.

"He's first in the gym, he goes through his whole routine first and then he's out onto the pitches.

"He's a winner, wants to win every single game, every small-sided game, whatever it is, then he'll be out there practising his free-kicks and things like that and shooting.

"You don't need me to tell you how good or driven he is, he's unbelievable, he's one of the greatest in the history of the game."

Ramsey, 29, decided to join Juve after leaving Arsenal, where he won three FA Cups.

The Wales international said his desire for more trophies – including the Champions League – was behind his move.

"Juve, such a massive club, one of the biggest clubs in Europe and there were other clubs interested," Ramsey said.

"But again, I just felt most wanted by them, with the history that they have, the players that they have.

"The last few years they've done really well in the Champions League and they're knocking on the door so I want to try and help them play a part in trying to win that, the Champions League.

"They're serial winners as well. They win trophy after trophy after trophy so that's another thing that I wanted to achieve is to go somewhere and be competing every single season for two, three, four trophies."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has paid tribute to "incredible human being" Peter Whittingham following the former Cardiff City midfielder's death at the age of 35.

Cardiff confirmed on Thursday that Whittingham had passed away after reportedly suffering head injuries in an accidental fall last week.

Whittingham represented Aston Villa, Burnley, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers during a 15-year playing career but was best associated for his decade at Cardiff.

Solskjaer, who spent nearly nine months working with the Villa academy product in south Wales, told United's official website: "I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Whittingham.

"Peter was a fantastic footballer and an incredible human being. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him during my time at Cardiff City.

"It's hard to believe that he has been taken from us at such a young age. Peter will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time."

Whittingham was twice Cardiff's Player of the Year and was named in the Football League Team of the Decade for 2005-2015.

Juventus star Aaron Ramsey started his career with the Welsh club and paid a touching tribute of his own to his former team-mate on Instagram.

"I will forever be grateful for you taking me under your wing," he said, accompanied by a picture of the pair playing together in their Cardiff days.

"You were one of the most technical and gifted players I've played with and that left foot of yours was like a wand.

"I'm proud to have played alongside you and will always remember the young vs old games and you just running the show.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, rest in peace Whitts, was too young."

Maurizio Sarri praised Aaron Ramsey's performance in Juventus' 2-0 win over Inter, saying the Wales international's improved fitness has helped him to thrive in the Bianconeri midfield.

Ramsey scored for the second Serie A game running, netting Juve's opener in Sunday's Derby D'Italia after also finding the net against SPAL.

He then teed up Paulo Dybala to score the hosts' second and Sarri said moving Ramsey into a three-man midfield rather than playing him behind the strikers had paid dividends.

"He [Ramsey] maintains that he needs to see more of the pitch in front of him, or he gets a little lost," said the Juve coach.

"He is doing well in this role, although in fairness he's also in much better physical condition now than he was when playing as a trequartista.

“I was about to introduce Dybala a minute before we scored with Ramsey, but I decided to put him on anyway, as I felt that was the moment we could finish the game.

"Inter tried to press us high in the first half and probably used up a lot of energy doing that. The inertia of the game changed after our goal, we had a very strong 20 minutes after that and gained confidence, whereas Inter lost it at the same moment.

"It's very positive that we barely allowed a quality side like Inter a single shot on goal."

After dominating the division in the first half of the season, Inter are in third place, nine points behind leaders Juve, having lost twice to the reigning champions.

Inter boss Antonio Conte called upon his players to grow from the defeat, saying: "We tried to stay in their slipstream, but must learn from defeat and take the lessons of comparison to grow in terms of character, quality and strength.

"It's a loss that must help us to grow and understand how far away we are. It certainly shouldn't make us distraught, as we knew there was a gap and we lost both meetings with them. The results speak clearly, they won two and we got zero points.

"We must grow in terms of character if we want to compete at the highest level. It's also about characteristics, as there are players who are stronger in personality and others less so.

"We all need to do better in that sense and be more determined."

If a pivotal game in the Serie A title race takes place and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

As it turns out, yes it does. Plenty of them – both expected and unusually clear all at once.

There were speculative shots from Inter midfield trio Matias Vecino, Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic – ballooned unhelpfully into the Allianz Stadium stands to prompt a plastic rattle from the empty seats.

Cristiano Ronaldo's radar was in better working order as his fierce strike thudded into Samir Handanovic's gloves with a slap.

Midway through the first half Ashley Young thundered into a robust challenge on Juventus' Juan Cuadrado, producing a dead thud of boots on leather and bones against flesh.

These familiar sights in Italy's most famous game unfolded in an alien setting of isolation, with the ban on attending sporting events in the country as a means to tackle the spread of coronavirus given its most high-profile stage to date.

This was the Derby d'Italia – the grandest game of all in a football-mad country. By necessity it was reduced to incongruous spectacle that frequently jarred the senses.

It was hard not to feel for Aaron Ramsey when he pounced to net the breakthrough goal, a wonderfully instinctive piece of penalty-box play that put Juve on the way to a 2-0 win and the Serie A summit.

They are one point clear of surprise package Lazio and now nine better off than Inter, whose Scudetto race is probably run, even with a game in hand for Antonio Conte's side.

Ramsey's was the sort of strike that in normal circumstances has a chance of being a "moment" goal. The moment fans know glory is within reach, the split second where anxiety gives way to elation and the prize comes within reach.

A goalscorer in two separate FA Cup final wins for Arsenal and a midfield driving force in Wales' improbable run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, the 29-year-old already has enough dizzying career highs to sustain him when retirement arrives.

But his key contribution against Inter should have been met with pandemonium in the stands, much like Paulo Dybala's sublime point-proving solo goal from the bench, just as Ronaldo's shot should have garnered roars where Inter's wayward attempts earned goading whistles.

As it happened, the only "woo hoo" came from Damon Albarn, as Juve's in-stadium team bizarrely retained their preference of spinning Blur's Song 2 when their side score.

Of course, there are far more important things at play in Italy and beyond than the emotional experience of elite footballers, when diagnoses and death tolls continue to climb.

But if a positive can be taken from this period of closed doors in Serie A, it should be the loud and clear reminder of just how central supporters are to the whole football experience; of the inimitable meaning paying punters give to the deeds of all-star millionaires.

These are people who find their personal schedules shunted around by kick-offs moved to please international television audiences, who watch on as Super Cup encounters are staged in far-flung lands and who tolerate processional one-club dominance of domestic competitions in the super-club era.

The vacant stands of this unique and troubling moment will not be repeated in the seasons to come, but when normal service resumes we will continue to see far too many examples of supporters being taken for granted and their attachment to their beloved sport undermined to the point of apathy.

Beneath every iconic footballing moment is a soundtrack of supporter ecstasy, which is exactly why Ramsey and Dybala's goals within Juventus' best display of 2019-20 are likely to fade from the collective memory. Sunday offered a demonstration of the emptiness that would remain if you remove a soul already being chipped away at piece by piece.

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