Atalanta can continue their impressive run in the Champions League and go all the way to the final, according to Zico.

The Serie A side have been a surprise package this season, recovering after losing their opening three group games to reach the knockout stages in their debut campaign in Europe's leading club competition.

They then saw off Valencia 8-4 on aggregate - winning both the home and away legs in the last-16 tie - to continue their progression before the Champions League was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Their performances have certainly impressed Zico, with the Brazil legend putting Atalanta alongside Atletico Madrid - who knocked out last year's winners Liverpool to reach the last eight - and Manchester City as potential candidates for glory.

"A month ago, I'd have said Liverpool were the favourites to win the Champions League, but they dropped in form too quickly and were eliminated," Zico said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are among the candidates. When you beat the reigning champions, it means you can go all the way with extra belief. I believe Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are the best.

"Among the Italians, I'd say Atalanta. They play fantastic football, have a very strong collective and I can see them reaching the final.

"Beating Atalanta is very difficult, Manchester City realised that."

Atalanta are on course to qualify for the Champions League again through their league exploits, too. They sit fourth in the Serie A table, three points clear of nearest rivals Roma with a game in hand.

However, it is unclear when action will resume. Italy has been one of the countries to suffer the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 15,000 recorded deaths from the virus.

Much of the world has been forced to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, with most professional sport consequently on hold for the foreseeable future.

With the outbreak occurring at a particularly inopportune moment for top-level football in Europe, the situation has bred uncertainty across most leagues – including Italy's Serie A.

Once normality returns, should finishing the season be the priority, regardless of the impact it might have on future campaigns?

At the moment, concluding the 2019-20 campaign appears the most likely option. However, even with Euro 2020 pushed back by 12 months, clubs and leagues are still having to work to tight schedules, with UEFA requesting seasons finish by the end of June.

Other views have been aired, with Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi suggesting the 2019-20 season could already be over, but while the debate rages on during the hiatus, the Stats Perform AI team have crunched the numbers behind the scenes.

With all 20 teams having either 12 or 13 league matches still to play, their goal was to simulate how the rest of the season would pan out if the games were played now to produce a predicted 2019-20 table.

 

The statistical model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model – with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

Without further ado, let's have a good look at the results of the simulation with the predicted final league table.

 

JUVENTUS ARE CHAMPIONS... AGAIN

The results in our model see Juventus retain the Scudetto, accumulating 87 points.

Undoubtedly the story of the season in Italy has been the rise of Lazio, who have mounted a genuine title challenge and went into the forced hiatus just one point adrift of the summit.

With Ciro Immobile's goals and Luis Alberto's creativity in midfield, Simone Inzaghi's men have excelled and delighted neutrals with their entertaining football.

But, in our model, Juventus see them off in the title race, with Maurizio Sarri picking up where Massimiliano Allegri left off last term and guiding them to a ninth successive Serie A title.

However, their points haul is their worst since getting the same amount in 2014-15.

INTER SETTLE FOR THIRD

For much of the first half of the season, Inter looked destined to push Juve all the way in the title race.

Under Antonio Conte and with Romelu Lukaku leading the attack following his move from Manchester United, Inter appeared invigorated.

But their form since the turn of the year has dipped, leaving them nine points off the top when the season was put on hold, though they had a game in hand.

In the simulation they did not recover to overtake either of the top two, finishing third on 79 points. 

Nevertheless, this would still represent an improvement on last season, when they only amassed 69 points and finished fourth.

 

MILAN SCRAPE EUROPA LEAGUE PLACE

It has been a difficult few years for Milan, and this season has not been much better.

Stefano Pioli's appointment as coach late last year has seen them improve somewhat, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival also giving the team a boost.

But there remains a lot to fix with the Rossoneri, with the squad lacking in quality and the hierarchy at odds with each other.

The simulation has Milan finishing seventh and that would be enough to scrape a Europa League spot, as the other three teams left in the Coppa Italia semi-finals with them are all predicted to end the season higher than Pioli's men in Serie A, therefore qualifying for Europe already.

Roma and Napoli take fifth and sixth, with Atalanta rounding off the Champions League spots in our model thanks to a five-point advantage over the Giallorossi.

SAMPDORIA AVOID THE DROP, RIVALS GENOA NOT SO LUCKY

Only one of the current bottom three escapes relegation in the simulation, with Lecce preserving their top-flight status at the expense of Genoa.

Il Grifone and bitter rivals Sampdoria sit just above the drop zone in reality, but our predicted table sees Genoa drop to Serie B for the first time since 2006-07 – last season they only guaranteed their survival on the final day.

The model has Genoa eventually reaching 36 points, but Samp and Lecce manage to climb to 41, giving them both a healthy five-point cushion.

Brescia unsurprisingly prop up the predicted table, given they are nine points from safety in the real standings. Our AI team give Brescia a 1.8 per cent chance of avoiding relegation.

Also going down in our predicted table are SPAL, whose haul of 29 points - one more than Brescia in this experiment - leaves them well adrift of safety.

Barcelona seemingly continue to make progress in their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez, while Real Madrid reportedly have seven transfer priorities.

After impressing at Inter, Martinez has been linked with a move away, with Barcelona appearing to be leading the chase for the forward.

Meanwhile, Barcelona's rivals Madrid have priorities of their own.

 

TOP STORY – INTER READY TO ACCEPT PLAYERS FROM BARCELONA IN MARTINEZ DEAL

Barcelona want to make their move for Martinez cheaper by offering several players and Inter view this option positively, according to the cover of Sport.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games in all competitions for Inter this season.

Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, and Ousmane Dembele are among the Barcelona players to have been linked with moves away.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid have seven major questions to answer, according to Marca, which says the LaLiga club must sign a goalscorer, extend Luka Modric's contract, bring Martin Odegaard back from loan, decide on the future of Achraf Hakimi, sign Donny van de Beek, decide between Alphonse Areola or Andriy Lunin as second goalkeeper and loan out or sell Dani Ceballos.

- Will Jadon Sancho leave Borussia Dortmund? The Mirror reports Manchester United are increasingly confident of landing Sancho during the next transfer window. The Sun, however, says Dortmund may be changing their plans with the attacker due to the coronavirus pandemic.

- Barcelona may want to sell Samuel Umtiti, but it is shaping to be difficult. AS says the club are aware selling the France defender is likely to be tough due to his injury problems.

- With Martinez potentially leaving, Inter are lining up replacements. Sport claims Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud would be one of their signings, while they are also targeting Atalanta's Duvan Zapata.

- On loan at Monaco from Chelsea, Tiemoue Bakayoko may see his future elsewhere. Calciomercato reports the 25-year-old is keen to return to Milan, where he was on loan in 2018-19. It also reports Milan are targeting Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen.

- There could be other departures at Stamford Bridge. According to The Sun, Chelsea are ready to sell Emerson Palmieri and Victor Moses to raise around £30million with the duo linked to Juventus and Inter respectively.

Deportivo Alaves have confirmed 15 players and staff at the club have tested positive for coronavirus.

Like the vast majority of European football, Spain's LaLiga is on hiatus at least until April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted several teams.

Real Madrid were put in quarantine after a basketball player at the club was found to have contracted the virus, while Valencia confirmed 35 per cent of tests on those associated with Los Che came back positive.

Some have put Valencia's high infection rate down to them facing Atalanta of Italy in the Champions League earlier this month – they were then Alaves' last opponent before the league was suspended.

A statement on Alaves' website read: "A total of 15 people have tested positive, three of them belonging to the Deportivo Alaves first team, seven more to the coaching staff and none to the basketball team. Five workers have also been affected.

"The club made the decision to carry out the tests with respect to the responsibility policy with the people who are part of our family and the results have shown that it was the best way to urgently locate the cases and implement preventive measures to reduce, as far as possible, more infections.

"The people detected are asymptomatic and in good health."

COVID-19 has infected 208,000 people worldwide since his emergence from the Hubei region of China late last year.

With 13,910 confirmed cases, Spain is the second worst-affected European nation behind Italy.

Serie A is on hiatus until at least April 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic, and authorities expect the suspension to continue long after the initially scheduled resumption date.

Only China – where the virus was discovered – has been hit harder by COVID-19 than Italy, where, as of Monday, there have been 24,747 confirmed cases and 1,809 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Prior to the disruption, free-scoring Atalanta and title-chasing Lazio had been the stories of the season, with Simone Inzaghi's men pushing defending champions Juventus hard for the Scudetto.

Inter showed signs they were heading back towards their former heights before losing ground in the title race, though the same cannot be said for Milan, who sit seventh.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the most interesting facts relating to Serie A's top four and the Rossoneri.

JUVENTUS

- Juve have been trailing for 133 minutes in 2019-20, less time than any other team in Serie A this season.

- At home, Juve are unbeaten in their previous 34 league games (W29, D5), more than double the next best streak (Lazio's 15).

- This term, Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record of 11 consecutive goalscoring appearances in a single Serie A season. He has also already levelled his haul of goals from 2018-19 despite making nine fewer appearances, averaging 0.95 goals per game compared to 0.68 last season.

- Among the players who made their debut in the three-points era, Ronaldo was the fastest to reach 42 goals (52 appearances) – before him the record was 58 games played (Vincenzo Montella, Andriy Shevchenko and Brazil great Ronaldo).

LAZIO

- Lazio are unbeaten in their previous 21 league games (W17 D4), already an all-time Serie A record for the club. Six of the seven previous teams with streaks as long as that in a single season went on to win the Scudetto (the only exception was Roma in 2009-10).

- Lazio have scored at least two goals in 19 games in the 2019-20 Serie A season. Only Liverpool (23), Manchester City (21) and Paris Saint-Germain (21) have done so in more games across Europe's top five leagues this term.

- Ciro Immobile has 27 goals in 26 games in 2019-20. Only Antonio Valentin Angelillo (29) in has managed more after 26 matchdays.

INTER

- Antonio Conte is the first Inter coach to see his team score in each of his first 19 games in all competitions.

- Inter have won nine of their 13 Serie A away games this season (D2 L2): only in the 2006-07 campaign have the Nerazzurri won more (11).

- Romelu Lukaku is one of three players to have scored at least 17 Serie A goals in their first 25 games of a debut season with Inter, emulating Giuseppe Meazza (1929-30) and Stefano Nyers (1948-49).

ATALANTA

- Atalanta's 70 goals in this Serie A campaign already represents their second-best haul in a single season (77 in 2018-19).

- No team has scored as many as 70 goals in the first 25 matches of a single Serie A season since 1959, when Fiorentina netted 79.

- Three Atalanta players are into double-figures in terms of goals in this season: Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata. Only in 1949-50 and 1951-52 have the club had as many players reach 10 goals.

MILAN

- Since Stefano Pioli joined Milan, they have kept the most clean sheets in Serie A (seven).

- Milan have increased their winning percentage since the turn of the year across Serie A and the Coppa Italia. It was 35 per cent in 2019, rising to 50 per cent in the new year – they also increased their goals per game from 0.9 to 1.7.

- Since his first spell at Milan (which began in August 2010), Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 60 goals for the Rossoneri in all competitions, more than any other player with the club in the period.

Josip Ilicic smashed a couple of records as Atalanta surged into their first Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

Ilicic became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League knockout away game as high-flying Atalanta defeated Valencia 4-3.

The 32-year-old attacker also became the oldest player to score a hat-trick away from home in the Champions League – his stunning haul of five goals across two legs helping Atalanta complete an 8-4 aggregate triumph.

Ilicic – the jewel in Atalanta's crown – continues to take Italy and Europe by storm this season, but how does he stack up against Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi domestically and abroad?

We take a look at his 2019-20 Serie A and Champions League numbers using Opta stats.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE/LEAGUE

Games played
Ilicic: 7/21
Ronaldo: 7/22
Messi: 6/22

Goals
Ilicic: 5/15
Ronaldo: 2/21
Messi: 2/19

Penalties
Ilicic: 2/0
Ronaldo: 0/7
Messi: 0/3

Mins/Goal
Ilicic: 103.2/99.47
Ronaldo: 311/92.62
Messi: 240.5/99.47

Shot Conversion Rate (ex. Blocks)
Ilicic: 45.45/26.79
Ronaldo: 9.09/22.58
Messi: 10.53/23.75

Hat-tricks
Ilicic: 1/1
Ronaldo: 0/1
Messi: 0/3

Four or More Goals (inc. Hat-tricks)
Ilicic: 1/0
Ronaldo: 0/0
Messi: 0/1

Big Chance Conversion percentage
Ilicic: 80/70.59
Ronaldo: 66.67/68.18
Messi: 40/42.86

Assists
Ilicic: 0/5
Ronaldo: 0/3
Messi: 3/12

Dribbles Completed
Ilicic: 21/55
Ronaldo: 14/40
Messi: 47/118

Big Chance Created
Ilicic: 3/13
Ronaldo: 0/6
Messi: 7/22

Josip Ilicic said he improves with age after scoring four goals as Atalanta's fairytale Champions League run continued against Valencia.

Ilicic's stunning haul led Atalanta to a 4-3 win away to LaLiga outfit Valencia on Tuesday and an 8-4 aggregate triumph in the last 16.

The 32-year-old attacker became the oldest player to score a hat-trick away from home in the Champions League as Serie A side Atalanta reached their first quarter-final in Europe's premier club competition.

Slovenian veteran Ilicic also became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League knockout away game.

"Atalanta aren't a surprise any longer. We're doing great things and want to carry on," Ilicic, who scored in the first leg, said afterwards.

"We want to show we deserve to be here and improve day by day.

"I improve with age – I am having fun and want to carry on improving."

Atalanta continue to fly high this season – Gian Piero Gasperini's side having scored a league-high 70 goals to sit fourth in Serie A.

The Italian entertainers have also netted 16 goals en route to the Champions League quarters.

"It's never normal to score so many goals – often four – it truly is special, both in the domestic league and in the UEFA Champions League," head coach Gasperini said.

"We've won four games in a row, and the Champions League helps us improve. For now we're very happy with what we've achieved."

Atalanta have requested supporters do not celebrate their historic Champions League quarter-final qualification with public gatherings after Italy was put on lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side played out a thrilling 4-3 win over Valencia at Mestalla on Tuesday, with Josip Ilicic scoring all of Atalanta's goals in a wonderful individual display.

Victory secured Atalanta an 8-4 aggregate win, seeing them qualify for the last eight for the first time.

But the club has urged fans to not greet them at the airport or have public gatherings to celebrate, with a government decree on Monday putting the country on lockdown following the spread of COVID-19.

A statement posted on Twitter read: "Atalanta, in compliance with the Ministerial Decree of March 9, for the purpose of safeguarding public health, invites all people not to create gatherings in the center of Bergamo, at the Orio al Serio airport or at the Centro Bortolotti [Atalanta's training base] in Zingonia when the team returns from Valencia."

Josip Ilicic produced a sublime individual display as his four-goal haul led Atalanta to a 4-3 win away to Valencia, securing an 8-4 aggregate triumph and a first Champions League quarter-final.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men travelled to Valencia on the back of a comprehensive 4-1 win at San Siro and that coupled with the efforts of the exceptional Ilicic at Mestalla took Atalanta through to the last eight, the two sides playing out a thriller despite no fans being in attendance as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.

Atalanta went into the break with a deserved lead, as Ilicic won and scored a pair of penalties either side of a poacher's effort from Kevin Gameiro.

Gameiro got a second to pull Valencia level and Ferran Torres put them in front for the first time on the night, but Ilicic completed his hat-trick with a fine strike before earning the visitors the victory with another excellent effort.

Ilicic showed a sign of things to come after just three minutes as he lured Mouctar Diakhaby into a clumsy challenge with a clever turn after a brilliant solo run, and the Slovenia international converted the spot-kick confidently.

Gameiro got Valencia back on level terms for the match, slotting into an empty net despite Jose Luis Palomino initially doing well to cut out Rodrigo Moreno's throughball.

But Atalanta were in front again just before half-time – Ilicic dispatching another penalty after his run into the box was halted by Diakhaby handling the ball.

The second half began at breathtaking speed and Valencia were fortunate to not concede again, as Remo Freuler's long-range effort struck the crossbar, but the hosts equalised less than a minute later – Gameiro heading in Ferran's delivery.

Ferran then got himself on the scoresheet with a clever finish over the approaching Marco Sportiello, only for Ilicic to deny Valencia a victory.

Ilicic finished clinically after beating Dani Parejo on the edge of the box, before completing the scoring by caressing a first-time shot into the top-left corner with eight minutes remaining.

 

What does it mean? Atalanta a force to be reckoned with

Unfortunately, Atalanta's chances of really making a dent in the latter stages of this competition are likely to be heavily impacted by the lack of football that awaits them with all sporting events in Italy suspended until April 3.

But, whatever their fate, Gasperini's side will certainly provide us with a little more fun, particularly with the wonderful Ilicic.

Ilicic toys with the Valencia defence

No one else on the pitch came close to Ilicic in terms of quality on Tuesday. The forward was simply unplayable – his elegance and craft leaving the Valencia defence in knots on a regular basis. He won and converted both penalties, while he was always a threat coming in off the right with his wand of a left foot, as evidenced by his third and fourth goals. 

Dire-khaby

It was a day to forget for Valencia centre-back Diakhaby. After conceding both penalties during a first half in which he was run ragged by Ilicic, he was unsurprisingly taken out of the firing line at half-time.

What's next?

Valencia return to LaLiga action on Saturday with a local derby against Levante, though once again there will be no supporters in attendance. As for Atalanta, it is unclear when they will next be in action, but they are not due to play again this month.

Tottenham and Valencia each face uphill battles ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second legs.

Spurs, rocked by injuries in attack, go to RB Leipzig trailing 1-0 from their home leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium three weeks ago.

Valencia's hopes of progression are even more remote after a thumping 4-1 defeat at Atalanta. They will play the home second leg without the backing of supporters, too, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

We take a look at the key Opta statistics ahead of the two fixtures.
 

RB Leipzig v Tottenham

1 - Tottenham have only lost one of their five away Champions League games in Germany (W2 D2), although that defeat came earlier this season at Bayern Munich.

8 - Spurs have been eliminated in eight of their past 10 major European knockout ties when they have lost the first leg. But they overturned a deficit the previous time this happened against Ajax in last season's Champions League semi-finals.

4 - Four of Leipzig's past five Champions League goals have been penalties. Only Barcelona in 2011-12 (five) have ever scored more than four spot-kicks in a single campaign.

6 - Timo Werner is yet to find the net in six home Champions League appearances, attempting 22 shots without success. In away games, he has seven goals from 14 shots. Werner has scored more Champions League goals without netting at home than any other player in the competition's history.

7 - Jose Mourinho has lost more away Champions League games in Germany (seven) than in any other country.

Valencia v Atalanta

4 - Only four of the previous 36 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie by three or more goals have then progressed. However, two have been Spanish sides – Deportivo La Coruna in 2003-04 versus Milan and Barcelona in 2016-17 versus Paris Saint-Germain.

3 - In the first leg, Atalanta became only the third team to score four goals in their first ever Champions League knockout match, after Manchester United (4-0 versus Porto in 1996-97) and opponents Valencia (5-2 versus Lazio in 1999-00).

9 - Valencia are winless in nine Champions League knockout matches (D5 L4) and have not scored three goals in such a game since winning 3-0 against Leeds United in May 2001.

0 - The Serie A side are yet to have an Italian scorer in the Champions League this season. But their 12 goals have been scored by 10 different players of nine different nationalities. Only Arsenal in 2009-10, Manchester United in 2010-11 and Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17 have had 10 different nationalities net in one campaign.

6 - Atalanta scored with six of their first 29 shots on target in the Champions League this season but have since found the net with six of their previous eight, including their four most recent shots on target in their 4-1 win in the first leg.

Parma's game against SPAL proceeded on Sunday despite confusion before kick-off, when it appeared Serie A could be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Players from both teams were in the tunnel at the Ennio Tardini but were ordered back into the changing rooms to await a final decision over whether the match would go ahead.

Kick-off was initially delayed by half an hour before being rescheduled for 13:45 local time (12:45 GMT), over an hour after the intended start time.

The incident came about as Italian authorities apparently considered whether all Serie A matches should be cancelled amid the ongoing spread of the virus in the country.

Speaking on Sunday, Italy's minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora confirmed he was recommending an immediate halt to the top-flight season.

He said: "It makes no sense right now, as we ask citizens to make huge sacrifices to prevent the spread of the disease, to put at risk the health of players, referees, coaches and fans, who will surely gather together to watch the games, just to protect the interests that revolve around the sport.

"Other federations have wisely decided to suspend football for the next few days. I think it is the duty of the FIGC [the Italian Football Federation] president, Gabriele Gravina, to reflect again, without waiting for the first case of a Serie A player to be infected, before taking on this very serious responsibility."

Authorities had already ordered all sporting events to be played behind closed doors until at least the start of April to limit the risk of infection.

On Saturday, the Italian government locked down the northern region of Lombardy in an attempt to contain the proliferation of COVID-19, which has infected 5,883 people in the country and claimed 234 lives.

People face fines if they are caught entering or leaving the region unless they have a serious reason to do so. All public events, including weddings and funerals, have been banned.

Valencia's Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Atalanta is due to be played on Tuesday without fans present at Mestalla, while traditional pre-match media duties have been cancelled.

Speaking last week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insisted it is not the right time to consider "dark scenarios" such as postponing domestic and European competitions or the Euro 2020 finals this year.

"We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it," Ceferin said. "You don't know how many big concerns we have: we have security concerns, political instability and one is also the virus.

"Let's try to be optimistic, not think about dark scenarios – there's time for that later."

Lautaro Martinez is a wanted man and his future could become clearer.

The Inter star has dazzled in Italy this season, alongside team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

And Barcelona are reportedly keen to tie up a deal for the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TABLE MARTINEZ BID

Barcelona have made their first offer to Inter for star forward Lautaro Martinez, according to FCInterNews.it.

Martinez has reportedly been identified as a long-term replacement for Barca veteran Luis Suarez, while the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United are interested.

According to the report, LaLiga champions Barca have tabled a €70m bid for Martinez plus two players – Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph says United are favourites to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho at the end of the season. Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked with moves for the 19-year-old.

Athletic Bilbao are interested in Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, reports Marca. Bilbao have a Basque-only transfer policy, however, Argentina international Higuain qualifies due to the Basque-French origin of his grandfather.

- Amid doubts over Martinez's future in Milan, Calciomercato says Inter are eyeing Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata.

- According to Goal, Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is considering a move to MLS outfit and sister club New York City. The 36-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces an uncertain future at Milan amid doubts over directors Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini, claims Tuttosport. Boban and Maldini had reportedly been seeking to extend Ibrahimovic's contract until 2021 but the pair are reportedly set to leave San Siro following a row with Elliott Management.

Atalanta were in seventh heaven for a third time this season after hammering Lecce 7-2 in a one-sided Serie A clash at the Stadio Via del Mare.

Gian Piero Gasperini's great entertainers put on another ruthless show to extend their winning run to five matches in all competitions, Duvan Zapata helping himself to a hat-trick.

It was the third time this season that Atalanta have scored seven in Serie A, having thumped Udinese 7-1 in October and thrashed Torino 7-0 away from home in January and have now amassed 70 goals in 25 matches.

They also become the first team since Milan way back in 1958-59 to score five or more goals in five Serie A encounters in the same season.

Zapata's treble ensured fourth-placed Atalanta have three players with a double-figure goal tally in the current campaign.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are the other only sides in the top-five European leagues to have three players with at least 10 goals this season.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed all of Serie A's Week 26 fixtures, including the blockbuster showdown between Juventus and Inter, could be postponed due to coronavirus fears.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday's clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy's move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy's leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

"I don't think that in just one week we'd be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events," Conte told Rai.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We'll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week's matches."

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday's 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

Inter's game against Sampdoria and two other Serie A matches have been postponed following the recent coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

At a news conference, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed Sunday's fixtures in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, including the Hellas Verona-Cagliari and Atalanta-Sassuolo clashes, would not go ahead.

The move comes as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Saturday's scheduled Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese was earlier postponed and up to 88 amateur football matches were also called off, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

In a short statement, Inter announced only that their meeting with Sampdoria at San Siro was postponed "to a later date".

The third-placed Nerazzurri sit six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, who won 2-1 against SPAL on Saturday.

Sunday's three other games are expected to go ahead as planned.

Genoa are due to host title-chasing Lazio, with Torino to face Parma and Roma entertaining Lecce.

Page 1 of 6
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.