Cagliari have hired Eusebio Di Francesco as their new coach after opting to cut short the stay of Walter Zenga.

Former Italy goalkeeper Zenga had been appointed during the coronavirus-enforced suspension, replacing Rolando Maran on a deal until June 30, 2021.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Milan in the club's final match of the season, Zenga seemed optimistic about his chances of continuing at the helm next term.

But club president Tommaso Giulini was clearly of a differing opinion, with Cagliari confirming on Sunday that Zenga's stay had been terminated despite guiding them to safety.

Di Francesco arrives in his place, signing a two-year deal as he returns to work following an ill-fated spell at Sampdoria last year.

He presided over Sampdoria's first seven Serie A matches of the 2019-20 season, but was dismissed in October having lost six of those games.

The former Roma boss will be hoping to rebuild his reputation with the Sardinian club, but will surely be aware he may have to hit the ground running if he is to do so, as he will be Cagliari's 19th coach since the start of 2010.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli lauded "champion" Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Rossoneri star made more Serie A history in the 3-0 win over Cagliari.

Ibrahimovic – aged 38 years and 302 days – became the oldest player to score 10-plus goals in a Serie A season with his strike against Cagliari in Saturday's 2019-20 finale at San Siro.

After having a penalty saved, Ibrahimovic netted in the 55th minute to take his tally to 10 goals in just 18 top-flight appearances since re-joining Milan from MLS outfit LA Galaxy in January.

Pioli heaped praise on the evergreen veteran striker, telling MilanTV: "Don't tell him he's the oldest to have scored 10 goals in Serie A.

"He is a champion in everything he does, he has made a very important contribution. Our improvements have gone hand in hand, individually and collectively.

"The boys will have a well-deserved rest but soon they will have to resume training at home as during the lockdown."

Milan are in negotiations with Ibrahimovic over a new contract, with the former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star's deal set to expire.

"We have built something this season and it should be given consistency. So next season will be trying to build on what we've already done," Milan director Paolo Maldini told Sky Sport Italia pre-game.

"In all honesty, Zlatan is part of this project. It won't be an easy negotiation, but we fully intend to keep him with us. We have many young players who can grow exponentially with Ibra by their side.

"We might have different ways of achieving our objectives, but we need the same general vision of where we want to end up, otherwise I wouldn't be here."

Milan – inspired by Ibrahimovic – have been rejuvenated since the restart, with Ragnar Klavan's own goal and Samu Castillejo's effort capping a sixth-placed finish for Pioli's side.

In-form Milan (35) have scored the most goals in Europe's top-five league since Serie A resumed in June following the coronavirus-enforced break, while only Real Madrid (31) have gained more points than the Italian powerhouse (30) in those top-five leagues over the same period – a run that led to being retained as coach.

Pioli, whose team ended the campaign in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten run in the league, added: "The boys were exceptional, a fantastic return with excellent performances. Beyond the positive results, it was important to create a mentality, it must be a basis on which to build an even more satisfying future.

"We have confidence and conviction, we also need quality. It means that we have these values. We close the season with satisfaction. We hoped we would not have to do the playoffs but we will face them with conviction. We need to close the gap with the top teams."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the oldest player to reach double figures for goals in a Serie A season with his strike against Cagliari on Saturday.

The Milan striker, who the club are negotiating with in order to extend his stay at San Siro, netted in the 55th minute of his side's 3-0 win after earlier having a penalty saved.

Ibrahimovic, aged 38 years and 302 days, bounced back to send a fine strike into the top corner having been found by Samu Castillejo.

It meant he reached 10 goals in just 18 top-flight appearances, having only re-joined the club in January.

In-form Milan have scored the most goals in Europe's top-five leagues since the lockdown, with 35 to their name partly due to Ibrahimovic's impressive impact.

Only Real Madrid (31) have gained more points than Milan (30) in those top-five leagues over the same period, a run that led to Stefano Pioli being retained as head coach.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic bounced back from missing a penalty by scoring to help Milan round off their fine finish to the Serie A season with a comprehensive 3-0 home victory over Cagliari.

A supreme run of form that has secured Stefano Pioli's future as head coach continued as Milan, who were sure of finishing sixth regardless of Saturday's outcome, moved to 13 games unbeaten since the restart.

Ragnar Klavan scored an own goal after 10 minutes of a first half that also saw Ibrahimovic's spot-kick saved by Alessio Cragno.

Pioli said ahead of the game he was hopeful it would not prove to be Ibrahimovic's last for the club as negotiations over a new contract continue.

And the former Sweden international showed what the fuss was about with a fine strike after 55 minutes, which was swiftly followed up by a goal from Samu Castillejo.

Milan impressed again despite missing the suspended Ante Rebic, with Cagliari, who did not manage a shot on target until stoppage time, unable to follow up their win over Juventus last time out with another signature result.

Klavan lost possession before he was helpless as a shot from Rafael Leao, who had been fed by Hakan Calhanoglu, hit the post and deflected off him into the net from close range.

Cagliari goalkeeper Cragno denied Ibrahimovic before Davide Calabria's right-wing cross found Leao, who sent spectacular acrobatic effort against the crossbar.

An injured Leao was replaced by Giacomo Bonaventura and Ibrahimovic, who helped earn the penalty when his aerial effort was handled by Sebastian Walukiewicz, was denied from the spot a minute before the break when Cragno dived to his right.

Ibrahimovic laid a chance on a plate for Calhanoglu, who somehow bounced his effort over from six yards, but the veteran scored himself in Milan's next attack, taking a touch and firing into the top corner after being found by Castillejo's first-time pass.

Castillejo scored himself two minutes later, sending in a cool close-range finish after a slick one-two with Bonevantura.

Having had little to do, Milan captain Gianluigi Donnarumma impressively saved Paolo Farago's header in the final moments to preserve his clean sheet.

First-half goals from Luca Gagliano and Giovanni Simeone gave Cagliari a deserved 2-0 victory over Serie A champions Juventus.

Juve wrapped up their ninth consecutive title with a 2-0 win over Sampdoria at the weekend, although patchy recent form means Maurizio Sarri's side have now won only two of their past seven matches.

A vibrant Cagliari were the beneficiaries on this occasion, with Gagliano giving them an early lead to set them on the way to a first July win at the ninth and final attempt.

It proved a frustrating night for Cristiano Ronaldo, while Simeone – the son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego – came up with a superb finish worthy of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in first-half stoppage time.

Gianluigi Buffon was back in the Juventus starting line-up and picking the ball out of his net in the eighth minute, when Federico Mattiello drove Paolo Farago's right-wing cross back across goal for Gagliano to finish from close range.

Ronaldo – engaged in what appears to be an increasingly futile pursuit of Ciro Immobile in the Capocannoniere stakes – touched in Federico Bernardeschi's stabbed throughball from an offside position and racked up four blocked attempts by the interval.

Gonzalo Higuain volleyed over from Bernardeschi's 38th-minute corner before Juve found themselves further beyond due to Simeone's sublime 20-yard drive.

Joao Pedro sent a shot from similar range skimming wide early in the second half before Buffon plunged to keep out a Simeone volley – the defence in front of the veteran gloveman continuing to look terribly disjointed.

Atalanta-bound Simone Muratore had a long-range effort saved by Cagliari keeper Alessio Cragno, who also got down sharply to keep out Ronaldo's left-footer from 25 yard in the 68th minute.

Simeone might have added to his tally and Juve's misery when he sliced wide before the visitors pounded at the Cagliari defence with diminishing return until the final whistle.

 

What does it mean? Sarri has steepening Champions League task

The more Juventus turn in performances like this, the less their schedule of competitive action before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Lyon feels like an advantage.

The Ligue 1 side have, of course, been out of action since March as they prepare to defend a 1-0 lead in Turin next month. Sarri badly needs his team to find some rhythm, something an experimental line-up entirely ruled out in Sardinia.

Simeone back in the groove

The moment of defining quality was produced by Simeone as he sized up a backpedalling Leonardo Bonucci before lashing beyond a helpless Buffon. It was his 12th goal of the Serie A season – closing on the 14 he scored in a breakout 2017-18 at Fiorentina.

That form proved good enough to earn international honours, but the last of his five caps also came in 2018. At 25, he still has plenty of time to get back on track.

Record man Ronaldo falls flat

Ronaldo is two shy of chalking up the most prolific Serie A season in Juventus history even if Immobile is now surely out of reach. But he was brought to Turin to help bring Champions League glory.

The sight of that wider goal appeared to be lost by all concerned as Sarri indulged a spiralling shot count and another 90 minutes in the legs for the 35-year-old.

What's next

Juventus wrap up their Serie A season at home to Roma on Saturday, when Cagliari are on the road at in-form Milan.

Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sport Italia on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

Former AC Milan and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is planning to take his next job outside of Italy, according to Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. 

Allegri has been without a team since leaving Juve at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led the Bianconeri to five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and the Champions League final twice in five years at the club. 

The 52-year-old revealed last year he was learning English and has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, while talk of interest from Bayern Munich and Arsenal was rife earlier in the campaign. 

Allegri spent two seasons at Cagliari during his playing career and was their coach between 2008 and 2010. 

Giulini offered him the opportunity to return during the club's centenary year but was rebuffed as Allegri intends to work overseas for the first time in his career.

"I made a bit of a mad phone call towards the end of January, offering Allegri the job, knowing full well it was going to be impossible," Giulini told Sky Sports on Saturday, Cagliari's 100th anniversary. 

"Massimiliano told me his next adventure will be abroad, even if he was fascinated by the proposal of leading Cagliari during our centenary year. 

"I knew even before making the phone call it was going to be improbable." 

Hot on the heels of the Premier League, it was announced on May 28 that Serie A would be resuming its season next month.

Italy's top flight is to get back underway from June 20, all being well, with the Coppa Italia semi-final second legs and final to be held during the week prior.

It means four of Europe's top-five leagues are committed to finishing the coronavirus-disrupted campaign, with only Ligue 1 having declared the season over.

Ahead of the return of the action, which includes a true title tussle, a fight for Europe and unease in the bottom half, we look at the story so far of 2019-20...

 

What is the state of play?

It's hardly a surprise that Juventus were top when the season was suspended in March, but this has by no means been a procession towards what would be a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio are just a point behind, while Inter, who have a game in hand, are a further eight points back.

Antonio Conte's Nerazzurri were beaten 2-0 by Juve in their final match before the season was halted, but while the title looks a touch beyond their reach, there would be little sense in writing them off entirely.

The race for Europe is similarly close. Free-scoring Atalanta are fourth but only three points above Roma, having played one game fewer, while only five points separate Napoli in sixth and Bologna in 10th. Milan, Hellas Verona and Parma are all in need of some improved form, though.

At the bottom, Brescia and SPAL look to be fighting a losing battle, but no side in the bottom half of the table could realistically declare themselves safe. Lecce are 18th, level on points with Genoa, but it's Torino who are enduring the worst form of all, losing six league games in a row to slide to within two points of the drop zone.

 

What have been the big controversies?

The return of football, for one.

There has been plenty of uncertainty around whether or not Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, would sanction the resumption of the league. Indeed, Brescia owner Massimo Cellino has been outspoken against the idea from the start and branded the decision to declare a return date "crazy".

There is also concern around kick-off times as we move into the Italian summer. Umberto Calcagno, the vice-president of the Italian Footballers' Association, told La Repubblica there was "no way" the organisation would support matches taking place at 16:30 local time in June and July, when average temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celcius.

Even before the league was suspended, confusion reigned. When Parma were due to face SPAL in early March, players were sent back to the dressing rooms minutes before kick-off after sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora recommended all matches be stopped. The game eventually went ahead, 75 minutes late, with SPAL winning 1-0 in front of empty stands.

Juve might be top of the table, but things haven't been going swimmingly for Maurizio Sarri this season, either. The Bianconeri have often produced rather turgid displays and relied on individual brilliance from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to see them through, and they only won four of their final eight games in all competitions before the enforced break.

Ronaldo's frustrations have boiled over at times. There have been suggestions of discord between the head coach and the 34-year-old, who was angry at being substituted last November and was caught on camera telling Paulo Dybala "We're left alone out there" at half-time of their Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lyon.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

Juve's results have been sufficient to keep them top and the convincing 2-0 defeat of Inter on March 8 was a real statement of intent, but Lazio, unbeaten since September in the league, are the real form team.

Led by 27-goal man Ciro Immobile, their run of 16 wins from their past 18 games has come in stark contrast to city rivals Roma, who have lost five of their past nine in Serie A to lose ground on Atalanta in the Champions League race. As for Milan, some bright January form tailed off in February and their season is in danger of petering out, although they are level at 1-1 with Juve after the first leg of the Coppa semi-final.

Lecce's improved form has left SPAL and Brescia looking forlorn at the bottom, but Torino should be particularly concerned - their last points came on January 12.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Although the most high-profile confirmed coronavirus cases came from Juve, where Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani were infected, other clubs have had higher figures.

Fiorentina returned six positive tests this month, while Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic were all confirmed as having contracted the virus in March.

There were also confirmed positive tests at Sampdoria, one at Atalanta and one at Torino, while Milan director Paolo Maldini and son Daniel both had the virus.

All clubs have, of course, been hugely impacted by the loss of earnings during the suspended season.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said to Riparte l'Italia this week that "more than €500million has already been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown".

Serie A has been given the green light to resume on June 20 following a three-month hiatus.

Italy's top flight was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the country's sports minister announced on Thursday the league - and the Coppa Italia - will restart next month.

Juventus are one point clear of Lazio as they chase down a ninth successive Scudetto, while Inter are nine points adrift of top spot with a game in hand to play.

The reigning champions' first league game back is scheduled to be away to Bologna, a week after they take on Milan in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.

Below is the full list of Serie A games still to be played, including four fixtures carried over from earlier in the season.

 

Matchday 25

Inter v Sampdoria
Hellas Verona v Cagliari
Torino v Parma
Atalanta v Sassuolo

Matchday 27

Atalanta v Lazio
Bologna v Juventus
Fiorentina v Brescia
Genoa v Parma
Hellas Verona v Napoli
Inter v Sassuolo
Lecce v Milan
Roma v Sampdoria
SPAL v Cagliari
Torino v Udinese

Matchday 28

Brescia v Genoa
Cagliari v Torino
Juventus v Lecce
Lazio v Fiorentina
Milan v Roma
Napoli v SPAL
Parma v Inter
Sampdoria v Bologna
Sassuolo v Hellas Verona
Udinese v Atalanta

Matchday 29

Atalanta v Napoli
Bologna v Cagliari
Fiorentina v Sassuolo
Genoa v Juventus
Hellas Verona v Parma
Inter v Brescia
Lecce v Sampdoria
Roma v Udinese
SPAL v Milan
Torino v Lazio

Matchday 30

Brescia v Hellas Verona
Cagliari v Atalanta
Inter v Bologna
Juventus v Torino
Lazio v Milan
Napoli v Roma
Parma v Fiorentina
Sampdoria v SPAL
Sassuolo v Lecce
Udinese v Genoa

Matchday 31

Atalanta v Sampdoria
Bologna v Sassuolo
Fiorentina v Cagliari
Genoa v Napoli
Hellas Verona v Inter
Lecce v Lazio
Milan v Juventus
Roma v Parma
SPAL v Udinese
Torino v Brescia

Matchday 32

Brescia v Roma
Cagliari v Lecce
Fiorentina v Hellas Verona
Genoa v SPAL
Inter v Torino
Juventus v Atalanta
Lazio v Sassuolo
Napoli v Milan
Parma v Bologna
Udinese v Sampdoria

Matchday 33

Atalanta v Brescia
Bologna v Napoli
Lecce v Fiorentina
Milan v Parma
Roma v Hellas Verona
Sampdoria v Cagliari
Sassuolo v Juventus
SPAL v Inter
Torino v Genoa
Udinese v Lazio

Matchday 34

Brescia v SPAL
Cagliari v Sassuolo
Fiorentina v Torino
Genoa v Lecce
Hellas Verona v Atalanta
Juventus v Lazio
Milan v Bologna
Napoli v Udinese
Parma v Sampdoria
Roma v Inter

Matchday 35

Atalanta v Bologna
Inter v Fiorentina
Lazio v Cagliari
Lecce v Brescia
Parma v Napoli
Sampdoria v Genoa
Sassuolo v Milan
SPAL v Roma
Torino v Hellas Verona
Udinese v Juventus

Matchday 36

Bologna v Lecce
Brescia v Parma
Cagliari v Udinese
Genoa v Inter
Hellas Verona v Lazio
Juventus v Sampdoria
Milan v Atalanta
Napoli v Sassuolo
Roma v Fiorentina
SPAL v Torino

Matchday 37

Cagliari v Juventus
Fiorentina v Bologna
Hellas Verona v SPAL
Inter v Napoli
Lazio v Brescia
Parma v Atalanta
Sampdoria v Milan
Sassuolo v Genoa
Torino v Roma
Udinese v Lecce

Matchday 38

Atalanta v Inter
Bologna v Torino
Brescia v Sampdoria
Genoa v Hellas Verona
Juventus v Roma
Lecce v Parma
Milan v Cagliari
Napoli v Lazio
Sassuolo v Udinese
SPAL v Fiorentina

El Flaco, the silky, slender Uruguayan born Enzo Francescoli Uriarte, was an elite playmaker of maybe understated class. In a glorious period for Uruguayan football, El Flaco played 73 times for his country between 1982 and 1997, nobody has played more. El Flaco made two appearances at the FIFA World Cup in 1986 and 1990 and won three Copa America titles. He would enjoy stints in his home country with Wanderers before globe trotting to feature in the Serie A, in France’s Ligue 1 and in the Argentine first division. So impressive a career did El Flaco have, that he is the only Uruguayan to make Pele’s list of the world’s 100 greatest living footballers.

Playing Career

Full name: Enzo Francescoli Uriarte

Date of birth: 12 November 1961 (age 58)

Place of birth: Montevideo, Uruguay

Height: 5 ft 11 1⁄4 in (1.81 m)

Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club Career

           Years                         Team                    Apps   (Gls)

  • 1980–1982          Wanderers                     74         (20)
  • 1983–1986          River Plate                     113        (68)
  • 1986–1989          RC Paris                        89          (32)
  • 1989–1990          Olympique Marseille       28          (11)
  • 1990–1993          Cagliari                         98         (17)
  • 1993–1994          Torino                          24           (3)
  • 1994–1997          River Plate                    84          (47)

           Total                                                     510     (198)

 

Club Honours

  • River Plate - Primera División (5): 1985–86, 1994 Apertura, 1996 Apertura, 1997 Clausura, 1997 Apertura; Copa Libertadores (1): 1996; Supercopa Sudamericana (1): 1997

 

  • Marseille - French Division 1 (1): 1989–90

International Career

  • 1982–1997 Uruguay 73 (17)

International Honours

  • South American Youth Football Championship (1): 1981
  • Copa América (3): 1983, 1987, 1995

Individual Honours

  • Copa América player of the tournament (2): 1983, 1995
  • South American Footballer of the Year (2): 1984, 1995
  • Argentine Primera División top scorers (3): 1984 Metropolitano, 1985–86, 1994 Apertura
  • Player of the Year of Argentina (2): 1985, 1995
  • France Foreign Player of the Year (1): 1990
  • South American Team of the Year (4): 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
  • FIFA 100
  • World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time
  • Cagliari Hall of Fame
  • Cagliari Greatest All-time Starting XI

Radja Nainggolan says "the door is always open" for a return to Roma as he revealed his pain at leaving for Inter.

Former Belgium international Nainggolan joined Roma from Cagliari in 2014, establishing himself as a star performer in the capital before his exit in 2018.

The 31-year-old is back at Cagliari on loan after subsequently falling out of favour at San Siro and a future return to another of his former clubs also appeals.

"I would go back to Roma. If the conditions are right, I would go back," Nainggolan told Er Faina on Instagram. "The door is always open.

"I lived beautiful years there, where they love me, where I always gave everything."

Despite choosing to join Inter nearly two years ago, Nainggolan explained it hurt to leave Roma.

Coach Luciano Spalletti was then sacked in May 2019, and the midfielder was pushed out of the door under Antonio Conte.

"It was my choice to go to Inter," Nainggolan said. "They had Spalletti, with whom I had a good time at Roma. My choice was easy. Spalletti, for me, is the best coach I have ever had.

"But if you asked me if I was happier to have arrived at Inter or sadder to have left Roma, I would have told you the latter.

"Maybe I wasn't myself, maybe a little because of guilt or maybe other things. I can't explain it. I could give more.

"Then Inter dumped me, even though I went to China on tour. I already knew that I would not play the friendlies, but I left the same."

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."

Cagliari have sacked head coach Rolando Maran following a run of 12 games without a win in all competitions.

The Serie A side announced on Monday that the contracts of Maran, assistant coach Christian Maraner and match analyst Gianluca Maran have all been terminated.

Former Palermo, Sampdoria and Wolves boss Walter Zenga has been tipped to take charge.

Cagliari have not won a Serie A match since beating Sampdoria 2-1 at home on December 5, while they were knocked out of the Coppa Italia with a 4-1 defeat at Inter on January 14.

Despite their miserable form, they are 11th in the table, 10 points above the bottom three.

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.

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